Change is coming!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I've been spending my winter break reading a lot of things for my classroom.  I've been scouring blogs, watching YouTube videos, reading books and generally thinking about how my classroom runs.  I work at a unique place, it's an all kindergarten school.  You heard me right, all kindergarten!  All the kids in my district come to my school for kindergarten then they go to their neighborhood school for 1-5 grades.  It's super unique and extremely awesome! All the kids in our district get to know each other in kindergarten so when they see each other on the sports fields or around town, the community is united.  It's really wonderful and I love working in my district.  The kids and parents build lasting friendships with families that don't live in their immediate neighborhood.

Since we are an all kindergarten school (8 kindergarten classrooms and 2 EAK classrooms) we have the unique opportunity to do many innovative things.  For instance, we have a school wide program where the kids go to a small group every day for reading (20 minutes), then to a Phonemic Awareness room (20 minutes), then to 2 of the following places (20 minutes each), depending on the day of the week- Music keyboarding, Spatial-Temporal Math on the computers, SPARKS PE, or Word Work.  We call this program "Pathways Plus" and we all love it.

Because we are an all kindergarten school and because we collaborate weekly with each other, we can do many unique things like Pathways Plus.  We have a school wide behavior system that we teach at the beginning of the year.  Everyone on campus is aware of the rules and expectations for behavior at each of the different locations around the school.  We teach the kids the playground rules, the bathroom rules, the library rules, etc. etc.  One thing that we are doing is to switch from individual behavior systems in our own classrooms is to move to a more standardized system that is school wide.  We think this will help the kids with consistency from room to room (since they move around so much).

Every teacher has her own behavior system set up in her classroom.  Mine was a chart where kids started on green and moved up or down the behavior ladder depending on their behavior.  They took a ticket home each day.  When they save 10 good tickets then they got a chance to choose treasure from  my treasure box.  This system has worked well for me for over 10 years.  Well, now it's time to change that (YIKES) and move toward the Whole Brain Teaching model.  Now you see what types of videos I've been watching and understand what types of things I've been reading.  I've been busy because we will be switching over to this new system in January (mid year- YIKES!)

I'm both excited and apprehensive about the switch.  It's hard to change from something that has been working for you to something new and different.  I know that it is a good thing for the kids, but it means a steep learning curve for me.  I will keep you posted on how it's going.  I'm sure I'll have many funny stories to tell.
manage your classroom resources

In the mean time, I'm not throwing the baby out with the bath water!  I still plan to use my songs and chants to help my transitions run smoothly.  I've updated my file and added some new things.  If you own it, make sure to go back to TpT to get the updated file.  If you don't own it yet,  I highly recommend it.  It is full of songs and posters that cover topics like cleaning up, lining up, writing your name on your paper, not using too much glue, etc.  I have a sub binder with all of these in it, and I have them posted around my room so that I remember to use them.  The kids LOVE them and it makes transitioning super easy and fun.

call and respond chants
Just a dot- Not a lot


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