Friday, July 27, 2012

First Day of Kindergarten


         This has been the shortest summer ever!  And since I have spent a lot of the summer reading and writing blogs, cutting out and laminating, rearranging and redecorating my classroom, and buying school stuff -- well, it doesn't seem like it could possibly be time to start back in a little over a week.  We were very lucky to get our floors cleaned the first week of vacation, so I was able to get back in my room in June.
        But now it is time to think about what we will actually DO when the room is full of all those little blank slates -- eager (I hope) to learn!  I am glad to have a place to get my thoughts together -- and there are lots of other ideas shared if you click on the link.
        We have Meet the Teacher night next Thursday.  I always take a picture of the kids -- and a picture with their family on that day.  I use the kids' pictures in lots of ways, and the family picture helps me remember who belongs to who. So I hope to have pictures of all the kids on the door on the first day.
        All the kindergarten kids usually meet in the library every morning -- some will eat breakfast at school first. I will meet them there and clip on a name tag that I've already prepared -- it will have their lunch number on there as well, and they will wear these to lunch until they memorize that long number.  I will already have asked the parents to say a quick goodbye and let the children walk in the room alone -- that worked really well last year.  I'm hoping for no tears!!
     Names will be on cubbies -- and they should remember where theirs is since I showed it to them just a few days ago. So they will put bookbags away and go to a table.  In the previous years, I have had math manipulatives, a "Kissing Hand" raccoon picture to color, or a ball of white playdough with red food coloring inside.  They squeeze the playdough until it all turns pink -- magically -- and we will later make it into a heart shaped magnet for them to take home.  I'm still thinking about this -- but leaning toward the playdough.
    After everyone is in the room -- and hopefully all they parents have gone to cry -- or celebrate -- because their baby has grown up.-- I will play the Jack Hartmann "Hello" song and gather everyone on the carpet.  I will use what I have learned from the "Whole Brain Teaching" website to teach
"Class -- Yes" and "Hands and Eyes."
 Now we will develop the CLASS RULES.
 Now, there are lots of rules to chose from, but I always like to let the kids come up with the rules we need to be safe and happy. I actually have the rules all laminated and ready,  but I think it means more if they take part, so I don't show them my posters until the next day.  And everything they suggest can be incorporated into my rules.  For example, if they say "Don't hit" -- that's rule #3. Keep your hands and feet to yourself.

    I'll show them the clip chart -- and their own name on a clip -- and explain how that works.  I also have a silver box full of Skittles -- it is amazing what they will do for one little Skittle.

    We will practice names a little -- the WBT way, then stand and sing "Ready to Read"  and look at the Morning Message.  This will mostly involve counting words, counting letters, and seeing what they know.

    I'll introduce the job chart and assign jobs, then we will start our first Letterland lesson (our phonics program).  We will meet Annie Apple and Bouncy Ben -- hear their story, song, and actions, and perhaps color a picture of Annie Apple.

   By now it is time to move around a little, so after a discussion about rules in the hallway -- and rules in the bathroom -- and a story about Pete the Cat Rockin' in his school shoes, we will go on a tour of the school.  This involves stopping in to meet the office staff, librarian, computer lab teacher, and the lunchroom.  I always have them walk thru and show them how to get their tray -- and don't touch the food -- show your lunch number at the cash register, and where to sit.

   On the way back we will have our first group bathroom break -- something of an ordeal trying to keep 25 kids quiet while they wait in line for the 2 toilets.  This is usually the place for the first Skittles to be given to those who follow all the rules.

   Back in the room now -- on the carpet, criss cross applesause -- I sing Dr. Jean's "Everybody Have a Seat"-- and we will practice the RULES again.
   Reading Time -- We will talk about names -- long names, short names, and sort the names I have on the pocket chart -- as I see who can recognize their own name.  We will look at "Mary Wore a Red Dress" in a big book,
 then sing the song using  names of the children.  I might show the the Heidisongs "R-e-d spells red" video if we have time.
Sometime we will talk about voice levels -- 1 is a whisper voice and 5 is outside yelling.
  By now it is probably time for Gym or Art class -- don't have the schedule yet -- so time for teachers to take a breather and get ready for the rest of the day!
  Unless the schedule has changed, we go right from that class to the lunchroom.  Last year lunch was 10:50-11:20.  Oh, no -- another bathroom break!  If our library cards are ready, we will visit the library after lunch and check out a book.
  This year, we have "Enrichment/Intervention" on the schedule after lunch.  So this is the time I will introduce The Daily 5 and Cafe.  I'll read one of my favorites "No, David"
as I teach 3 ways to read a book. I have a little song about 3 ways that I will teach, then we will make a "Read to Self" anchor chart and model the right and wrong way to read.
I have  laundry baskets for some to sit in -- and I will assign good place to read on this first day.  We will try to build stamina -- training body and brain -- and color in a graph.
Math -- We will start our math time with calendar activities -- singing "Days of the Week" before the calendar person comes up to help me do the calendar. We are using Math Investigations -- plus Deb Diller's "Math Stations" -- so we have a mini-lesson -- just an intro -- and will graph bus riders and car riders with a pocket chart -- or magnets, if I get them done by then.  On this first week, we will just have exploration activities -- pattern blocks, etc.  During this time I will try to do a little math assessing -- find out if they can count, etc.

After another bathroom break -- PLEASE be quiet-- I'll introduce writer's workshop.  We will talk about procedures -- again -- as we gather in the carpet.  I am having a hard time putting my writer's workshop together.  Here are the books that I am trying to combine: "Talking, Drawing, Writing" and
Growing Up Writing" and "Mastering the Mechanics" and a book I got from Jessica Meacham's website -- plus a gazillion ideas from other bloggers.  All have wonderful ideas -- and more than I could ever complete in a year -- so I am still working on that.  The first day, I expect we will just tell some stories and do a self portrait in their journals.
Oh HELP! -- the day is almost over and we haven't made the magnets yet!! And I still have to get bookbags packed and planners given out and look at the list to see who is riding which bus! And I have 3 more books that I wanted to read!  Oh, and did I mention that I will need to start assessing to see who knows the alphabet?
OK, obviously I still have more planning to do -- when I get the final schedule and the final class list.
But I am glad to have a plan of sorts -- and you can bet I'll be checking out all the rest of the links during this last week of cutting, laminating, planning...


  1. Wow, Ann! You're such a fantastic make me want to come back to kindergarten! I enjoy reading your blog. Its full of wonderful ideas, bright colors, and lots of love and enthusiasm. Wishing you all the best for a great year!

    1. Thank you sweet friend--it will probably be crazy for a while. But I can't think of anything more rewarding than teaching a child to read.

  2. You definitely have a great plan for the first day! I need to remember to incorporate more songs and movement-I know it's hard for some of ours to adjust to work days again! (For the teachers too :). I love the option of reading in a laundry basket-I know the kids probably just love that!


    1. I got a new red basket this year to match my new theme -- the kids like the baskets, and it helps them stay in one spot! I try to stay aware of the need for breaks -- and always have a song in my head to help get the wiggles out! "Heaad and shoulders, knees and toes" is a good one.

  3. I appreciate your sharing these ideas.

    1. Thanks -- it helps me get my thoughts in order as the big day approaches! Thanks for your comment -- it's nice to know I am helping someone else while I work on my plans.

  4. I like to read "No David!" as well, seems to get them comfortable with the environment, as it is so playful!! Great ideas - thanks for sharing!

    ~ Kimberlee ~

    Two Fulbright Hugs

    1. I agree - it's always a favorite and gives me another chance to talk about "The Rules!"

  5. I love that I'm not the only teacher frantic about the first day of school. I'm going into year four and I still worry about dismissal and hope my school will take note on the good ideas of the blogs I've seen to lesson our frustration! I love the idea of using Mary Wore her red dress with kids names!

    1. We just got permission to have staggered entry, so it won't be so overwhelming with about 12 on the first day instead of 24! Good luck!

  6. I love Pete the Cat! We have staggered entrance too - 3 groups - very nice.
    Have a great first day back! We (teachers) begin 20th, kids 27th.

  7. Wow! I would be impressed with myself if we got through a third of your plan on the first day!
    I love your laundry basket idea - I have some kids who I know would love that sense of being tucked in.
    I am a new follower.

    rubber boots and elf shoes

    1. I like to always plan more than I can do-- you never want to run out of àcttvities in kindergarten!! Thanks for following! Ann

  8. Ann -

    Can you share more about your song "Ready to Read?" I love that idea and the laundry baskets and well all of it is brilliant! Thank you so much for taking the time to share!

    Think, Wonder, & Teach

    1. Thanks! Ready to Read is on "Shake Rattle and Read" by Jack Hartmann --it's a great song. We even sang it at graduation. Picture of gingerbread man on the cover --another good song. Some of the words "I feel it in my heart --beat by beat. I feel it in ME-- I'm read to read! " The motions are fun too. We love Jack Hartmann.


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