Friday, March 29, 2013

Words, and Rethinking The Behavior Chart

34 days...that is the amount of time I have left to imprint truth, love, and passion for learning in the hearts of my kindergartners.

When we return to class on Tuesday, my little friends will notice the absence of the behavior chart.
Matt Gomez-"Reward Free Year" and Amy Night-"Too High A Price" have shared their thoughts on not publicly posting behavior in the classroom and I'm listening.

What changed my mind?  More than a few things have made me rethink my management tool.  When MissJ moved her name straight to the bottom, instead of one color down, I thought, "This isn't helping her.".  When MrJ said, "So what if I move down a color?  Mrs.P will give me grace.", I cocked an eyebrow.  When I forgot to move 'em all up at a certain point on any given day, someone would remind me that the chart is ever before our eyes.  The treasure chest will also be given a big "Buh-Bye".  When all but one student earned dips into the chest for completing the February choice homework calendar, I knew that the one student would be devastated.  (Yes, there are times to remain firm with expected completion dates, but extenuating circumstances do exist.  I chose to honor February's met goals with a different privilege.)  

If your class is similar to mine, the same handful of students are not hitting the top color on the chart, on a daily basis.  And the others are.  A certain smugness has grown around my top-of-the-chart students.  At the same time, I can see a reckless giddiness mounting in the friends who routinely drop down the rainbow.  I would hate to be tracked in this way, in my job.  I would be discouraged if my coworkers expected me to be late for work most days, causing my nametag to be moved down the rainbow chart.  I would prefer that my boss meet with me on a regular basis, discuss goal-setting and offer constructive feedback.  So, that's what I'm going to do with my little friends.

Let me be honest, a few children have issues that will still present a problem and I plan to help these children in changing those behaviors.  Maybe my plan will falter, but I have to try.  I'll let y'all know how it goes!  To round out this post, I'd like to share my new favorite song, "Words" by Hawk Nelson.
(check out the video on their website)
Since my class happens to be The.Chattiest.Bunch.EVER (I should trademark that phrase), I'm using the chorus during Bible time, throughout April, to learn more about the power of our words.

Monday, March 25, 2013


Are you on Twitter?
If yes, leave your name or link--I'd love to follow you!

Back in 2009, I opened a Twitter account in the middle of a session at Blissdom.
I signed on with the username that matched my go-to blog at the time, "singalullaby".  
Did I use it?  Not really.  Blogging filled my social media plate.
Then, over this past Christmas break, I discovered a Twitter app on my smart phone!
I logged on while waiting around at the airport.

A whole new world has opened up before me.  
I've found kindergarten teachers from all over North America, administrators from my own backyard.  Connections have also been made with favorite authors, singers,
Downton Abbey fans, and the incredible KidPresident.
My family is a bit concerned that I've
too well connected

 My iPhone days may be numbered (not really), so join my Twitter adventure now (please, do)!
See you there!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Navigating Friendship

Some days, my class is as calm as a lake in mid-summer.
Other days, I ride the waves of a stormy kindergarten sea.
Can you relate?

We are learning about weather.  I'm intrigued by the comparisons I am finding between my students and certain weather conditions.  Most of my kiddos are extroverts and we've reached that time of year where I can see the sparks flying.  Lightning!  I wish I were referring only to those moments of brilliant academic insight, but I'm also speaking of behavior that causes friction.  This year, I have a high ratio of impulsive friends in my roster.  One child will gain control over a certain behavior just as another develops a new trick.  This is making me a bit dizzy, and I want to beg and plead with preschool teachers everywhere-"Please, continue to place a high priority on social and emotional development!".  We all know that kindergarten standards are being raised around the country, but I'm not asking for increased academic progress in preschool....I'm just pointing out that children need opportunities to play together, to solve problems, to talk it out.  

You may be wondering what type of lightning and rain is occurring; imagine tackle hugs, spitting, rolling on the floor, arguing about every.little.thing.under.the.sun, temper tantrums.  Yes, temper tantrums!  This is a first for me, in kindergarten.

As my year has progressed, I've added more time to explore together and play.  This has helped, yet, I have two workbooks to complete and an approaching week of Terra Nova testing.  We have only 40 remaining days of school!  I'm hoping to add sunshine to the raindrops that have fallen amongst my little friends.  Maybe we will get a rainbow, after all!

Suggestions welcome!     

Monday, March 4, 2013

YeeHaw! Round Up Week and a Freebie!

It's that time of the year again:
incoming kindergartners spend the entire day in my class!
Over the span of a week, I can have as many as five visitors each day.

I always wonder how I'm going to keep my class on track....
you know, the writing, the reading, the subtraction, the telling of time on the quarter hour.  
Somehow, it all works out.  My kinders are exceptional ambassadors!

Although patterning is not part of the K Common Core, it is on my report card.

Do you have a Kindergarten Round Up at your school?
How does it work?