Sunday, September 20, 2015

Spotlight Saturday: Weekly To Do Lists

I am so excited to link up again with Kindergarten Dragons for Spotlight Saturday

I love the Basic Shape Roll, Trace, and Color she spotlighted this week - it's perfect for my class this upcoming week - and it's FREE!!

My spotlight this week is my newest product on TPT.... 
Weekly To Do Lists

I have the most RANDOM schedule ever when it comes to prep and planning time.  I needed something that I could quickly and easily jot down things I needed to do that were in relation to my lesson plans for the week and that would help me ORGANIZE MY LIFE! Since my whole motto is "Work Smarter, Not Harder" this was the perfect solution.  I love that it gives me direction and focus.

This helps me know what I need to do and pick things based on how much time I have at that moment.  Here's my list in action from one of my Instagram posts:

This has helped tremendously already!! I just hole punch it and throw it in my planning binder in the front - that way I can see it and know exactly what I need to do! 

Make sure to check out Kindergarten Dragon's post!! I hope you also decide to link up as well!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

The first week of TK

It has been a great first week of TK!! 
(If you're asking "what is TK?" Check out my friend's post What *is* TK? explaining perfectly what TK is all about!)

We had our parent orientation the week before school started and I was able to ask for a few volunteers to come in on our first day - which was HUGE! My lovely mother in law also came in and helped out too!

There are SO many routines to learn at the beginning of the year in general, but given that this is most of the kiddos' first time at school (depending on if they went to any type of preschool), there are even MORE routines to learn!! I LOVED getting to tell them about some of our classroom routines, introducing them to our class rules, and setting our classroom up for success. 

It's crazy to me to remember that they are 4.  Just babies!! Coming from 3rd grade, it's quite a bit different, but I just absolutely LOVE the age level! I am looking forward to getting things established in the classroom in order to promote as much growth and development as possible.

I'm such a problem solver and a "work smarter, not harder" kind of person, so I've already noticed a couple of things in our classroom that I've needed to change up to be more fitting to the kiddos and to me.  One of them was our station rotation routines.  I had the kids "line up" on a certain line based on what table they were just finishing at stations, then when everyone was on their lines, we'd rotate to the next group.  It was chaotic.  Imagine 20 four year olds just buzzing around the classroom "finding" their line.  Once the parent helpers and I got them to their line, some would buzz away from their line and it would start all over again! Now we are pushing in our chairs and standing behind the chairs waiting to rotate.  Much better so far!!

Another was our dismissal procedures of "coloring in our day."
(I'm still working on getting 20 four year olds packed up and ready to line up, but that's another story!)
I use my Clip Chart Behavior Calendars to help communicate and document our daily behavior.  This has always been a great tool as it reinforces behaviors on an individual level and helps communicate these things to parents each day.  Well, given that my kiddos are 4, hardly know what a "homework folder" is, let alone a "calendar," nor could probably not tell you very easily what day of the week it is...... Some say this might be a challenge... I say it's a learning opportunity!!
School started on the 31st of August which was a wacky day to start a behavior calendar on!! But, with the parent's help, we got all of the calendars colored in!! Day 2 and day 3, my mom volunteers and I worked out a system to color in our days by having me call all of the kiddos who were "pink" to go color their day, then "purple" and so on.  This worked out well too, but I knew there had to be a better way!  I came up with the idea to have a plastic tub full of crayons that were separated by color into different cups.  I set up Go Noodle or You Tube on our projector for the whole class to watch.  Now I can call each group of colors, hand each kiddo their crayon and point to the day on the calendar for them to color!  When they are done, they put their crayon back into the right cup, and go sit down on the carpet with their folder.  This went SO great!! I am planning to have a printed out copy of the month posted by our mailboxes and our homework folders with an arrow pointing to what day to color to help them remember in case there isn't an adult who is always able to be standing there.

It's so fun to have one week down in the books already.  I'm excited for this year and all of the learning and growing we'll be doing!!

I hope everyone is having a great start to the year!