Y'all, I can't believe we are already here. This summer was the fastest summer in the history of summers. Ever. Seriously, I feel like I blinked and now I am back in my room trying to find the bottom of a dozen crap piles. I do have all of my furniture set where I *think* it will go this year. I'm praying my class won't bust at the seams but I'm not holding my breath on that one.
Back to school. What does that mean to you? Right now it = stress. I am on a serious mission to get my classroom completely ready along with Meet The Teacher stuff by Monday when I have to start back on contract (which means being paid for work, ha). When Monday comes, there are meetings after meetings and one day to work in my room. Let's be honest, that is never enough, hence my master plan.
Back to school on August 24th will = excitement though. I really will be super excited to meet my newest class family. I'm already praying for those sweet babies. Even the not so sweet babies, I'm praying for myself that I will be able to give unconditional love and figure out what support they need from me.
Last year, when I was knee deep in sheep (and had stress a mile long), I created a linky called Dear Future Me. Here is what I posted. You can check out that post here.
Man, 2014 me was kind of smart. Ha! I really loved reading this today. It gives me great prospective as I mentally prepare for what lies ahead.
So, let's talk first week of school. Oh, good night nurse. Cue expectations for tears (and not just yours, ha), potty accidents, unplanned naps (again, not you…you wish), sweet littles who just can't understand why they have to come back EVERY DAY. Yes, this is the transition of a life time my friends.
What can you do? Don't plan too much. Seriously, my plans look pathetic and EVERY year I never get everything done that I planned.
Each day I start with a simple coloring sheet. This is a simple activity that will buy me some time while I am comforting my criers. Then we will have our morning meeting. The first day I introduce myself and allow them to introduce themselves to the class too. We read the Kissing Hand (tomorrow we will make our first day feelings chart). We go to the cafeteria and practice getting a tray and going to our table. Of course we are also talking about how we stand in the hall and walk quietly (and we will do this for the next 180 days, ha). We then learn how to use the restroom in our classroom. Next, we have a short recess. We have to talk about the playground rules first and sometimes learn a little song to help us remember. During the first two weeks of school, we let the kids have two recess times. It really helps break up the long periods of time and let's them unwind. They carry a ton of stress when starting school too. We will also do a few GoNoodles in between when we can.
We go to lunch = oy, fiasco. I don't expect to eat that day. Ha! After lunch we will have another short recess. Bless their hearts. By now they NEED a nap but unfortunately, that doesn't happen in kinder anymore. When we get back to our room, we will meet on the carpet and read No David. We will decide what we want our class rules to be and I will write them on a chart. Day two, we will add No David drawings to our chart and put in on our wall.
Then, I will introduce the class to different areas in the classroom (home living, library, blocks, legos, etc.). They will be allowed a little bit of free time in one of these areas. This is a great way for them to learn to share, get along in a small group and allow for me to walk around and give extra instructions for those who need “personalized instructions.” Most kinders can’t wait to come to school to “play” with everything in the classroom. Often we as teachers torture them with so many rules and procedures (which are clearly necessary) but never let them play. I try to squeeze in a free play time every day the first week of school. In the second week, that “play” time will transition to fine motor centers. I like to start centers immediately but for children to learn the rules, it is really important to structure centers that are manageable and also give you insight as to their needs. You can read more about my fine motor centers here. We will wrap up with reading Pete The Cat School Shoes and making this adorable hat made by my friend Tammy. You can find it here. If there is time, I will teach them how to play with playdough. Each student will have a mini tub (you can get a 15 pack in the party section). My kids always have playdough in their supply boxes. It's a great buffer if I need a minute. It doesn't have to always be free play either. You can have them make their name or a certain letter or number. They love that!
So, first day will a wrap. See, simple plans and honestly we may not get half of it finished. It's really like herding cats people. You know. Mixing with a blender with no lid. It's no joke. Be realistic when planning. Remember that they are four or five years old. You are their new everything. They will spend more waking hours with you than anyone else. Earn their trust and you will have their dedication to making good choices. Remember to laugh, play, sing, dance and have FUN. You may be the first person in their educational career and are setting the tone for their love for learning.
Back to school: the good, bad, and ugly. No matter what…you've got this!
Make sure you check out my friends' posts on back to school. Click the pictures to take you there. Happy planning and preparing. It's going to be a great year!!