Thursday, June 11, 2015

Tips to a Kindergarten Teacher From a Kindergarten Teacher

Mary from Sharing Kindergarten is hosting a great linky to get your ideas flowing and ready for back to school.  Even if you just finished and are enjoying the summer, or, like me, are still in school (waa-waa) you might be able to find a new tip or two from veteran and new teachers.

I am just finishing my first year in kindergarten (which is actually pre-k) but I have 7 years of first grade under my belt.  Kinder is a unique grade to teach but I did manage to learn a few things and gather some tips for you.

1.  Celebrate the small moments like they are BIG moments.

This year in your class might be the first time they have ever been in a structured school environment.  So they need lots of positive reinforcement.  Yes, Common Core is breathing down your neck and you. must. get. these. kids. reading.  But take a moment each day and celebrate those tiny successes.

Did they find their name for the first time?  Give them a certificate for reading their name.  Did they write their name independently (or attempted to and it looks like it could be a name).  Give them their own glittery pencil.  Did they comfort a crying friend who was told they couldn't play? Reward them with a smelly (a flavored lip balm rolled onto the back of their hand).

Reward the small stepping stones and they will reach for the stars for you.

2.  Show them your love of books.

There are many amazing read alouds out there in the world.  Show your students how much you love books by reading to them.  Make time each day to read a favorite book.

Laugh at the funny parts.  Cry when it's sad.  Read the great parts again and again.  Make silly voices for the characters.  Make sound effects.

Make it fun.

SHOW those kiddos how enjoyable sharing a book can be.  They will remember these moments and learn to love their own favorites (which in kindergarten happen to be all of your favorites).

3. Academics comes second.

Gasp!!!  What???  It's true.

Academics comes second.  First should be caring for the needs of your students.  This usually means meeting their emotional and social needs first.  In my experience, if students are not comfortable and happy they will not be learning anyway.  No matter how many hours you spent prepping that lesson and cute-sifying those anchor charts.

So reward those small moments and milestones. Hug them often.  Love them.  Laugh with them. The academics will come soon enough.

4.  Model it.  Model it.  Then model it again.

Oh this one is so true.  You will model procedures and center activities until you are dreaming of them in your sleep.  Then a little kiddo will totally do something out of order and you will wonder why do I bother...

Relax.  This is all part of teaching kindergarten. You will get used to it.  Maybe.

I hope you found some great advice.  Make sure to check out the other blogs for some more helpful tips.
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  1. Love the advice you said it so well! I really enjoyed reading your post!
    Sharing your love for books and reading aloud to children it's so important, and when you do it, you are also modeling! Every year my students seem to have the same favorites, like all the Pigeon books (Don't let the Pigeon Drive the Bus); these are always a hit, and students get so excited as soon as they see the pigeon on the cover! Pete the Cat books are also super popular in my classroom. You can never go wrong if you include any of these in your read aloud!

    1. Thank you for stopping by and leaving such thoughtful words. I love the Pigeon books AND Elephant and Piggy (so sad I can't use Elephant and Piggy here). I just bought my first Pete the Cat books last year and love them too.


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