Tuesday, June 14, 2016

A Day in Kindergarten

To the untrained eye, a day in kindergarten may look like a complete three ring circus act. However, I assure you everything we do is intentional and purposeful for the benefit of growing as little learners. We are working hard, exploring the social setting of school, becoming friends, and growing our independence and confidence. Yes, I do get asked what we do all day in kindergarten a lot and about naps and centers. So, I would love to share what our day looks like in kindergarten.

Welcome to the Class
- Morning Work, Attendance, Lunch Count, Pledges, etc.

Morning Routine - Calendar, Lots of daily math and some literacy skill practice. This is where a lot of my math challenge work comes in! (15 - 25 Minutes)

Math - Math Topic, Manipulative Practice, Student Practice. We may also incorporate videos, create anchor charts, act it out, or connect it in a real world way. (1 Hour)

Phonics Time! - Flashers routine, Lessons, Student Practice - We are moving, see a phonics clip, navigate SmartBoard lessons, practice letter formation, and build words!  (45 Minutes)

Break & Get ready for lunch, Student Lunch, Activity Time

Restroom and Regroup - Story, quiet desk work, coloring, etc. (15 Minutes)

Read and Write! – Sight Words, Texas Treasures, Theme Stories, Close Reads, Direct reading and writing instruction with daily journals. (1 hour)

(Note: Daily Journals - We try to write everyday practicing a certain skill or responding to literature usually at end of our Read and Write time. We may do journals before theme and centers or after depending on the flow of the topics and day.)

Theme Studies - Engaging in thematic studies for science, social studies, and/or seasonal activities. We do week long or two week theme studies throughout the year that are cross connected to Texas Treasure topics and any holidays/seasons. We also create artwork to match our writing projects during this block of time to display in the halls. (30 Minutes)

 Centers! - Learning disguised as play! (30 Minutes)

Pick Up and Pack Up

Snack and Recess 

Nap time? 
No, but I do allow some quiet moments, and I can adjust when I notice my class is needing downtime. Quiet music, Junie B. Jones, or some calming art works wonders!

Are centers play oriented?
In the past I have done really structured centers working on skill concepts. I have also done play only centers with a kitchen and dramatic play, but now I have a great middle ground with learning disguised as play. Students work with freedoms and choices while also incorporating an element of skill practice. Students work with partners or groups of three so social/emotional growth is taking place as well. I have Art, Library, Writing, Magnadoodle, Math, Science, Computer, iPad, Magnets, Book Boxes, Word Work, Puzzles, and "Fun Center Fridays." I also do small groups or one-on-one interventions during center time. I sometimes interact with the children in centers and get in on some of their fun, but mostly I allow them peer time.

Which activities incorporate technology?
All! Our Morning Routine starts on the SmartBoard (I couldn't live without it!) and our math, phonics, reading, writing, and theme studies all have Smart lessons I have created or incorporated from TpT. I also use my Elmo document camera to display activities/manipulatives and use online videos or games to support our lessons. Students also rotate for computer and iPad time in centers. I set up activities, websites, and apps to use but also allow them choices to navigate as they would like. I  LOVE technology in the classroom!

Approximately Per Day 
1 Hour, 15 Minutes: Math
2 Hours: Phonics, Reading, Writing
30 Minutes: Theme Studies (Science, Social Studies)
30 Minutes: Centers
1 Hour, 15 Minutes: Playground and Activity

Although I set time aside for each of these skills, they are intertwined throughout our day. We make connections across curriculums no matter what activity is at present. Making learning relevant and connectable is so important to kindergarteners. Being the only kindergarten teacher gives me a great autonomy to follow the interests and abilities of my students. Some days we may have to completely rework our schedule to fit in a special activity or guest. Some days we take a quick morning recess or have extra reward time. I can truly tailor my instruction and schedule for what is BEST for my students, and for that I am truly blessed as an educator! I really like that I have a very supportive administration that allows me to make those decisions as well.

Let me know if you have questions or would like to share what your day in kindergarten looks like! I love hearing other perspectives and seeing what other schools and states are doing!  Comment below or email me at ohsoelementary123@gmail.com. Thanks!

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