Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Two Additions to our Kinder-room!

Earlier this year, our whole staff attended APL training.  Basically, in a nutshell, it is classroom management and strategies to get the most out of our kids.  We had a two day training, and in March we will have another 3 days of this training!  Before we left, we had to discuss a few things we would try and implement before meeting next time.  Two things stuck in my head.  1.  Post learning objectives so students know what is coming and can be prepared and focused  2.  Post your schedule so (again) students know what to expect and it can be a predictable day.

1.  Post learning objectives - when I first heard this, I honestly just shrugged it off because I thought….well I teach Kindergarten….some can read SOME words but it would be a waste of my time to do this.  The more we learned about it though, the more my ears perked up.  I got busy right away creating learning objective headers to use in my room.  I have seen on Pinterest many ideas with these that include putting them in frames or making bulletin boards out of them.  The easiest solution for me was to attach it to my whiteboard so it would be an easy write on/wipe off system.  When  I first started writing my objectives, my students would say, "What does that say"  "What are we doing in Writer's Workshop"?  So then, at the beginning of our day, I would make it a point to look at each of the objectives quickly and then revisit them as we got to the subject.  Not only did my kids start using the word "learning objective" but I found myself more focused.  As I would make my lesson plans, I would ask myself "what do I want the kids to know at the end of this lesson".  Another fabulous colleague of mine, Mrs. Smith (4th grade teacher who I mention her A LOT!!) and I collaborate often.  She is always taking an idea to the next level.  As we were discussing this she said she was planning on adding a section in her lesson plans that said:  "what" and "how".  Basically, what do I want my kids to know?  And how am I going to know my kids 'get it'.   So when I made my lesson plans, I put "I can…" statements.  Plain and simple!  It states what the child should be able to do at the end of that curricular period.  Here is a link to my learning objective headers on tpt!
Some snapshots of my objectives are below:

 2.  Post your schedule so students know what will be happening.  I have done something similar in the past, but kids were always pulling them out and I never remembered to switch things, and…well….I was kind of lazy with it!!  I will admit it!!  So,  I mustered up the courage to try again and to make it better and more useful.  I found these schedule cards on teacherspayteachers by firstgradeparade!  It is a FREEBIE and it is AMAZING!  I copied the subjects off I needed.  During a brain research class I took to receive my Masters Degree, we learned about how kids' brains learn in a circular way, not in a 'list' form.  I will say the kids seem to pay attention to the way I have my schedule posted vs. when I have it posted in a list form.  So, I decided to give that a try…and I tell you what - we have LOVED it!!  I don't know what I was doing wrong before, but it holds me accountable and my kids know what the day looks like.  I have a weekly helper and it is his/her job to "move the magnet" when we do something different.  The kids are constantly looking at it and seeing what we are moving onto next and what specials we have.  I was worried that I was going to have to explain each section all the time, so we spent some time in the beginning simply looking at the pictures that came with.  Now, when they ask "Do we go to PE today?"  I will just say, "check the schedule!"  and it pushes the task onto them.  This is another way they can become a bit more independent in our classroom.

Before I leave each day, my goal is to have my objectives written and the schedule changed for the following day.  It doesn't ALWAYS happen, but the majority of the time it does.  These are two ideas that help support my little ones in the classroom.

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