Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Though I dearly loved playing with five year olds outside of the classroom, I used to dread teaching them in kindergarten. Out of 23 years of teaching, I have only begun to love this group in the last couple of years. I spent most of those years trying to figure out what I was doing wrong to dislike it so much, and it finally gelled.
One of the big leaps forward happened when I got an art room instead of teaching from a cart. Being able to reassemble the room to meet the needs of different ages was tremendously helpful. If you look at the way fifth grade classes are arranged, they are entirely different from kindergarten classes.
The way I teach fifth grade is the same as I have done for years, but that too is as different from teaching kindergarten as possible. It took me way too many years to figure out just how to teach five year olds so that they would remain on task. But another leap forward came after teaching Head Start for a few years.
I had always taught Head Start classes differently that I had been teaching kindergarten. We did a lot of singing, dancing, and moving. Once I was figured out that this was the missing element from my kindergarten classes, and added those things in, THEN things started changing for kindergarten. I just love to see them coming up the stairs to my room now.
Now I'm starting to wonder if I need to add more play into the next grade.