Written on Monday, August 26, 2013 (before I finally gave in to my exhaustion):
Today was the first day of school. Wow - I forgot how exhausting the first day of kindergarten can be! Seeing that it's 8:30 p.m. and I would love to crawl in bed, how about a picture tour of my classroom instead. (Then I realized my classroom pics had not been downloaded to the computer yet and exhaustion won).
Fast forward to Sunday, September 1, 2013 (after some great sleep and an amazing "end of first week" massage)
Wow! The first week of school was ah-may-zing! I totally forgot how exhausting it was, but I also forgot how much fun it was. This week we really focused on school and classroom expectations and procedures. Actually for the next few weeks that will be a BIG focus in our classroom. Through all of our activities I will be teaching and reinforcing procedures and expectations. I have learned that it pays to take it slow in the beginning and build a solid foundation. I wanted to share some of the things we did this week that were loved by students and teacher alike. Some were new and some old favorites.
To reinforce expectations I used these fantastic sets by D Conway of Peace, Love and Learning. I stumbled across these during the Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale and I am so glad that I did!
Each set comes with a color "book" that goes over expectations for the area (hallway, recess, cafeteria, classroom). There is also a black and white "easy reader" master so your kids can have a copy of the book, a pocket chart sorting activity to reinforce good and bad choices, and a craft. On the first day of school we covered a lot of these expectations, but I also knew we would need to review and reinforce. So each of the next 4 days we focused on one of these areas I used these sets for our activities. The kids loved the books and the activities. I used the patterns from the set and created a coloring sheet for the marshmallow toes and recess rules because I was not ready to tackle tracing, cutting and gluing on those days. I have not yet done the sorting activity, because after a 3 day weekend I know we will need to review again. So on Tuesday, we are going to make a giant poster will all the expectations mixed up and the kids are going to sort them and talk about them.
On Friday, we read Pete the Cat Rocking in My School Shoes. Pete is one of my favorites and the kids quickly fall in love with him too! After reading the book we went on a school tour looking for Pete the Cat. You can find the free school tour cards from Inspired by Kindergarten by clicking the picture below.
We did lots of exploring at table centers and the kids loved getting to "play" with the different manipulatives. We started doing one table center at a time with other activities in between. By the end of the week we were using the timer, completing the center, cleaning up and switching to a new table center. It was great fun!
We also learned learned the about how to hold and use scissors. I used some basic cutting pages from KidsLearningStation and the kids loved them. We also talked about how to use glue and did some glue practice sheets from Little Miss Kindergarten.
Add in some brain breaks, singing and dancing, and that about covers it. I am looking forward to getting into our "real" schedule next week. What are your favorite first week of school activities?