Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Kindergarten Tuesday

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.


splatypus said...

I have really enjoyed sitting in on the first few minutes of art each week... your management through song is just amazing and I love watching my kids respond so positively!! I'm impressed with specialists - teaching every grade level. Those 5th graders give me the heebies.

Diane said...

WOW! I love the paintings they are making!! They are so wondrful!

Anonymous said...

Diane, I'm an art teacher (K-8) in Grand Rapids, MI. I would love to see you in action w/ the wee ones. I'm about to loose my ever-lovin' mind with the 5 year olds. Admittedly, while I am an animated personality, I'm not sure I could pull of the song and dance routine to captivate the incredibly short attention spans of my kids. 99.8% of my kids come from "at risk" environments and I have 30-35 of them at a time (no aide, no teacher, just me). Any suggestions beyond song, that could help me out? Also, would you mind video taping you doing a lesson and posting it to youtube? (Never hurts to ask..... ; ))

vfg said...

_still_ wishing you taught at our school!

so late this thanks for the awesome wee buildings. Marian is on slow-mo for her thank you cards (and I had plans for her!), but since it was really to the others of us, we will soon remedy.