My transition to my new school for the last two weeks has been going well. My coworkers are welcoming, and my students are cute. Teaching Kindergarten has been good so far, but definitely different from third grade. It is TIRING! I am so glad that I have this week off for Fall Break, so I have been relaxing, reading, and meeting up with friends. In two weeks, I have learned some striking differences between teaching third grade and Kindergarten. So here are a few of my observations, at least from what I see in my own class!
At any time of the day, no matter what I am doing, whether circulating the classroom or even in the middle of talking to the whole class, I am constantly asked, “Can you tie my shoes, please?” Sometimes it’s one shoe, sometimes it’s two. Most of the time, I tie them immediately because I am scared that if I don’t attend to them right away, it will cause this student or another student to trip and fall and get a nose bleed, cut, or even worse, concussion. My problem is that I don’t tie my shoelaces the way most people tie theirs, so I don’t know how to teach my students the “proper” way. If they are observing me, they will see that I am doing something different, but much faster, than what their parents are doing.
Here’s how I think most people tie their shoelaces:
Here’s how I have been tying mine for as long as I can remember (my memory is terrible!):
(Apparently, it’s called the Ian Knot. You can read these instructions if you’re interested.)
Going to the Bathroom
As with tying shoelaces right away, I let my students go to the bathroom as soon as they ask because at this age, they can’t hold it for any longer than a few minutes. Thankfully in Kindergarten, there’s a bathroom conveniently inside my classroom. I have learned that if you don’t let them go immediately, you may risk them having an accident in their chair, on the rainbow carpet, or even worse, on your lap…
One day, I had a rough time getting one of my students to listen because she was too busy in her own world pretending to be a teacher like me and had a hard time staying on task. After multiple reminders, I sat this student down on my lap and had a chat with her about her behavior during center time. As soon as she sat down, I was thinking, OMGOSH something feels wettt! So I took her off my leg and found pee stains left on my khakis! I was sooo disgusted!! Trying not to shame her in front of other students, I quietly asked her if she peed in her dress, but she couldn’t answer me. I think she had asked to go to the bathroom while another student was already inside, so I told her to wait. I guess she couldn’t hold it and went somewhere on the floor at the back of my classroom… gross!
I feel like most of my time spent after school is no longer grading like it was in third grade, but now it’s cleaning up the classroom from the way my students have left it. And when you’re like me, a little OCD about organization and cleanliness, it takes more time to put things back the way they were. I’m still in the process of training my students to clean up. For example, when I have centers with puzzles or the ABC and numbers foam puzzle mat, I have to count on spending time after school finishing up these puzzles for them. Thankfully in Kindergarten, the bathroom is cleaned, the floors are mopped, and the carpet is vacuumed every day, but that means I need to put the chairs on top of the tables every day. I spend my first few minutes after school putting all these chairs up and the first few minutes in the morning putting all these chairs back down.
Managing Classroom Supplies
Everything runs out FAST. Kindergarteners don’t use regular pencils because they are not quite ready with their fine motor skills, so fat pencils need to be bought and sharpened with a special pencil sharpener that will fit such fat pencils. One student was breaking crayons in half, and when I asked him “WHAT are you doing!”, he answered, “I wanted to share.” That’s nice of him, but NO! In just 1.5 weeks, I ran out of 24 glue sticks, a supply that would have lasted me the whole year in third grade. As many times as I have told my students to leave the glue sticks just the way they are, some twist them all the way up so that when they use the glue, all the glue pretty much comes out of the stick. What a waste!
With that, I leave you with photos of my students’ work from our first two weeks! Enjoy!
Color posters made from magazine clippings
This is Me in September
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom coconut trees made from construction paper and foam letters
Apples made from ripped up construction paper