I went into stress mode about two weeks ago when I realized that I only have 2 more months with my sweet kinders! It not only made me very depressed, but it also gave me the oh-so-familiar feeling that I haven't done enough with them yet. This feeling is par for the course - it is my 4th year of teaching, and the 4th time I have felt this way. I never feel like I give them "enough," because there are so many wonderful things I want to show them and teach them. There will never be enough time, so my only hope is that I give them the most important things.
One way to spice up the end of the year was with a total room makeover. This happened at the beginning of March, and it is the happiest Team Johnson has been with our room all year. I am a creature of change, so the best way to make me happy as a teacher is to redo our room. Here is an idea I got from the book Literacy Centers in Photographs. I LOVE this book! If you haven't read it and you teach first grade or kindergarten, go out and get it NOW! I ordered it last year from my bonus points with Scholastic. I also got Kindergarten in Photographs this year and it has been an amazing inspiration! :o) Check them out at Amazon or Scholastic! You will not be disappointed, I promise!
Here is one of the ideas I got from the Literacy Centers book: The teacher has small shelves that sit at the end of the student tables. The writing folders and other notebooks for the students at that table are housed on the shelves. On the top shelf are Center Activities. We call our center time "Workshop," so all of our workshop materials are on the top shelf of our shelves. When it's workshop time, our tables transform into different workshops, and the students have a table to complete their work. The following are four of our workshops...
Here is the Writing Workshop. This week we were decorating the cover of our new Writing Journals. Inside we are practicing writing stories in sequence. They are doing a great job!
This is our ABC Workshop. The students have a cut-up sentence to complete. I got these pages from http://kinderblogger.wordpress.com. She has the most AMAZING printables - and they're all free! I also have found some great puzzles at Ross (if you don't know what Ross is, shame on you! It is like TJ Maxx or Marshalls but with better prices! I can get lost in that store for hours). This game has about 20 words to put together as puzzles - each letter is a puzzle piece, and each puzzle has a picture to help with the spelling. It cost me $3.99 at Ross, and would have been $15 elsewhere! LOVE IT! We also have finger puppets that have to "read" the sight words to each other.
Here is our Science Workshop. This week we were making a Spring book from the Mailbox. My kinder-buddy, Cindy, let me borrow her stack of about 15 Mailboxes and Teacher Helpers. She has been teaching for over 20 years and has had a regular subscription to the Mailbox. Also in this workshop are wonderful kinder-friendly non fiction books.
BRAIN GAMES WORKSHOP
I'm sorry this is turned sideways; iphoto does not want to cooperate tonight for some reason. This is our Brain Games Workshop. There is always a new board game (Hi, Ho! Cheery-O, Chutes and Ladders, Connect-4, etc.) Also we have at least one puzzle and some flash cards. This is a favorite every week!
One last Kindergarten moment for tonight...meet Timothy the Terrifying Turtle! He was purchased at a yard sale for 50 cents. He plays Phonics games from our Imagine It! reading series. He always tries to scare us, but somehow they don't buy it. If you have seen Jeff Dunham's ventriloquist act, Timothy is modeled after and speaks just like Achmed the Terrifying Terrorist. :o)
This is also a chance for me to tell you about a piece of my Classroom Management. Our class earns pebbles each time we do something great as a whole group. At the beginning of the year we earn pebbles all the time (it helps them work together to follow the rules). As the year goes on, we earn pebbles for more on-going things, like having a great day, or everyone having exceptional manners. When our jar is full, we earn a "party" that we have voted on. Right now we are working towards earning a popsicle party where we get to go outside and sit on the sidewalk together eating - you guessed it--popsicles! :o) Wish us luck! The best part about earning pebbles is that when I put a "handful" in, we all cheer together "Go Team Johnson!" I also always add in "one for good luck."
Have a wonderful week! We have 2 weeks until our Spring Break...hopefully we won't have Spring Fever too bad this week...
Be at peace, and all will be well....