It's my turn to blog over here at Teaching Blog Round Up again! If you haven't met me yet, I'm Lisa from Always an Adventure in Kindergarten.
And this is my new mini me! This has nothing to do with my blog post, but it's SO cute that I just have to show it off!
That's me in my favorite Ohio State jersey and my Buckeye beads. Football season kicks off this weekend and I can't wait! GO BUCKS!
And thanks to my blogging buddy over at Teaching in the Tongass for creating my awesome mini!
OK, now for the real reason you're here--
I'm in the midst of my first full week of school. We started on Tuesday last week, but in Kindergarten in my district, we do what we call phase-in. I mentioned it on my Facebook page the other day and someone suggested I blog about it! I guess we all get so caught up in the way we do things that we don't realize that everyone may do things differently!
Here's what we do. Like I said, school started for us on Tuesday. Because we do phase-in, only a third of my class (about 6 students) came that day. We ask that parents bring them at 9:15am (school typically starts at (9:00am) and wait with them in the cafeteria. Our principal introduces himself and then sends them up to their classrooms. As the children come into my room, I greet them, direct them to find their hooks and hang up their backpacks. I direct the parents to their child's seat where there is a folder FULL of papers waiting for them and ask that they begin filling out Emergency Medical Forms and Transportation forms. Meanwhile, I can show the kids how they choose their lunch and milk each day. Then I direct them to the carpet area where I've laid out a big floor puzzle and ask them to work together to see if they can put it together. This gives me a minute to take lunch count and see if any of the adults have any questions I can answer quickly.
After we've worked together to complete the puzzle, I read them Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready For Kindergarten. I love this book for the first day of kindergarten! It really gives us a chance to talk about how they are feeling and to make connections between the kids and the classroom in the story and our classroom.
After I've spent about 30 minutes with the kids, one of our Title I reading teachers comes and gets them to take them on a tour of the school which always ends on the playground!
While the kids are on their tour, I go over my school handbook and other important information with parents. I really like this time because there are only a few of them there at a time and there aren't any kids. It's informal and they can ask any questions they might have as I go through things. The best part is that it's required that a parent stays with the kids so I have the chance to be sure each of them knows about rules, procedures, and everything else that's in my handbook. Sadly, this is the only time I ever see some of these parents.
When the kids return, they go to lunch with their parents and then they get to show them the playground. While the kids and parents are doing that, my team and I quickly scarf down our lunches and return to the playground. Now it's time for the parents to say goodbye and leave the kiddos with us for the rest of the day. I really like that we say goodbye on the playground rather than in the classroom. It makes the separation so much easier because they are having fun playing.
In the afternoon, we have some quiet rest time while I begin some one on one assessments and begin to get a feel for what they are able to do. We also do this coloring sheet from Mrs. Miner's Monkey Business that I save for the end of the year. I also give them time to just play and explore the room.
Perhaps the best part is that we get to practice the dismissal routine with only 6 kids rather than trying to be sure all 20-some of them are in the right bus or pick-up line!
We repeat this phase-in for three days and then on Friday THEY ALL COME AT ONCE! They get a little shell shocked because many of them didn't realize that there were going to be more than 6 kids in their class!
I'm a fan of this phase-in just because it's so nice to get to explain everything to parents and meet the kids in small groups. We can explain and practice routines more in depth with the kids than if they all came all at once on the first day! I really admire all you Kindergarten teachers that do it that way!
So, that's how my year started! If you'd like to keep reading about my year, head over to my blog at Always an Adventure in Kindergarten!
And leave a comment telling me how your district handles the beginning of kindergarten . . . Enquiring minds want to know!