Expectations In the Classroom
My number one expectation is that children take risks to be true to themselves and try new things. Number two is that they respect the space and its inhabitants. By now, children are getting comfortable (yay!) and some are also starting to show a little pushback with boundaries and expectations [totally normal…but less yay 🙂 ] This just means that being consistent with where the “lines” are will help everyone to internalize expectations, so we can move on to using our time and energy for the fun stuff. Children are learning through trial and error where the boundaries are in the classroom, with materials, tools, bodies, and most importantly with adults and peers. We made meeting agreements last week to help our time together on the rug be more productive, respectful, and efficient. They are displayed in the meeting area. This week we made Community Classroom Agreements which are displayed on the door. Many children need reminders to help them to listen and navigate the space successfully, which is typical of this age and this point in the year!
Natural Consequences in Real Time: Transition Time
This week, we worked on coming together on the rug in a timely fashion, and being ready for the next activity. It takes between 8-10 minutes, right now…which is long lol and cuts into time for other activities. Our goal is 2-4 minutes. They learned the natural consequence of not following directions promptly is essentially losing play time, later. We talked about how one activity runs into the next, and that means that by the end of the morning if we spend 30 minutes total cleaning up and making it to the rug – that’s 30 minutes from some fun activity planned. I’m also very honest with them about how it makes me feel as a teacher when this happens.
The 3 steps to transitioning include: 1. Clean-up, 2. coming to the rug (not wandering), and 3. finding a good space for your whole body to be able to listen. Once at the rug, I introduced two kinds of meeting seats (bubble seat and rocking chair), noise cancelling headphones, and velcro “hug” vests and weighted vests. All these tools help children in various ways to focus their bodies and minds a little more during whole-group rug time or even other times of day when their energy gets too high or too low. Children tried almost every tool, and as the year moves forward, not every child will request them or use them. Usually, by the mid-year point, only the children who really need them use them most and eventually they grow out of the need for that item as a strategy/tool for self-regulation.
In order for students to be able to self-regulate and check-in with their body, they need to understand how they are feeling and how that affects what their behavior. Camille, the resident Occupational Therapist at our school, came to speak with us about Whole Body Listening and the Zones of Regulation, on Monday. This is something we’ll be talking about more and more, as the year moves along. It was a rather long presentation, but I’ve included, below, a direct excerpt of the 4 Zones from the website, and how they were explained to the children:
Our Feelings & States Determine Our Zones
The Red Zone is used to describe extremely heightened states of alertness and intense emotions. A person may be elated or experiencing anger, rage, explosive behavior, devastation, or terror when in the Red Zone.
- The Yellow Zone is also used to describe a heightened state of alertness and elevated emotions; however, one has some control when they are in the Yellow Zone. A person may be experiencing stress, frustration, anxiety, excitement, silliness, the wiggles, or nervousness when in the Yellow Zone.
- The Green Zone is used to describe a calm state of alertness. A person may be described as happy, focused, content, or ready to learn when in the Green Zone. This is the zone where optimal learning occurs.
- The Blue Zone is used to describe low states of alertness and down feelings, such as when one feels sad, tired, sick, or bored.
“The Zones can be compared to traffic signs. When given a green light or in the Green Zone, one is “good to go”. A yellow sign means be aware or take caution, which applies to the Yellow Zone. A red light or stop sign means stop, and when one is the Red Zone, this often is the case. The Blue Zone can be compared to the rest area signs where one goes to rest or re-energize. All of the zones are expected at one time or another, but the curriculum focuses on teaching students how to manage their Zone based on the environment and people around them. For example, when playing on the playground or in an active/competitive game, no one would think twice about one being in the Yellow Zone but that would not be same in the library.”
Mark Those Calendars!
- Lunch Assessments Starting: Remember to SIGN UP your child for either 12:45-1:30 or 1:35-2:20pm! The lunches will begin and END as promptly as possible, especially on Tuesday. Here’s a link to the signup genius for those who haven’t signed up, yet: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0f4fadac2ba7f94-getting
- Community Snack Schedule: This week is the Graham Family. Please, let the Snack Coordinator Kudsana (firstname.lastname@example.org) know if you’re able to provide snack in the next few weeks! And a BIG thank you to the Kurtze family who volunteered last week!
- Early Classroom Help Request: If you’re a former D2 TK parent, have an older child in the school, and finished your Positive Discipline Requirements to volunteer in the classroom, please sign up to help in the classroom throughout the week, if you can: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e0c49aea72daa8-kinder Thanks!
- Parent Meeting: Tuesday August 16, 2016 at 6:30-8:00pm (whole-kinder meeting 6:30-7:00pm, 7:00-8:00pm meeting in individual classrooms). This meeting will end on time. Minutes: Nicole Kerbey (Thank you!)
- Parent Social Night Out: Post-parent meeting at Aqui!
- School Counselor Visit: Danielle Torrez will be visiting the classroom to introduce herself, observe, and let children know she’s there for support throughout the year, should they need her.
- Tuesday’s 10th Day Celebration: To celebrate the 10th day of school, our whole TK/K pod will celebrate the 10th day with some “10” inspired activities in each classroom, during exploration. Children will be able to go from room to room to try the festive activities. I will be painting nails (10 fingers) in our classroom, for our activity. If your child cannot participate in that, please email me.
- Parent Work Schedules Due: Deepa needs your work shift schedule sheets NO LATER THAN Wednesday August 17, 2016.
- DSC Board Meeting: Wednesday August 17th, 6:30-9pm
- D2 Community Meeting: 7 PM – 9 PM (D2 Atrium)
- Books: See list at the bottom of post!
- Visitor: Camille the Occupational Therapist
- Kinder Community Sing: The ASL Good Morning Song, The Pizza Man, Best Day of My Life, and The Green Grass Grows All Around
- Music Breaks: Ask them about You’ll Sing A Song And I’ll Sing A Song and “I have a friend her/his name is __________ and this is what she/he likes to do: ________ and ________.” (To the tune of B-I-N-G-O)
- Community Building/Movement Break: “Who has/Who likes…”Game – Children went from one side of the grass to the other depending on their answers to questions about their physical features (i.e. Who has brown eyes?) or their personal preferences (i.e. who likes bananas?)
- Guided Discovery: Children learn about new materials and tools in our room through guided discovery and then exploration with those tools afterward. Tools they discovered this week were skin tone markers/crayons/colored pencils/paint and pattern blocks. Our exploration of skin tone is a starting point for delving into our identity unit.
- Fun Cooking Activity: Making play dough with Doreen, Maddie’s mom!
- Puppets Shows: Children have requested a “puppet stage” and used our mobile bookshelf as one. I will procure one from another classroom for Monday’s exploration!
- Goals for the Year: Children began thinking about our hopes and dreams for the year, by starting with what they’re good at and what they’re working on. We will hone those goals during lunch assessments and post them on our Olympic Skills Board to remind us of what we are working toward as we learn 🙂 Each one of us will carry the skills torch at one point or another as we play and grow. “Play” can look very different as children grow older and their interests and skills advance. So, let’s see what’s in store this year!
- Buddies/Exploration: We played some open-ended math games using MOBI tiles with 4th grade buddies, on Friday! Afterward, we played “What Time Is It Mr. Fox?” We will pick buddy pairings in later August/early September.
Guided Discovery with Pattern Blocks…
Guided Discovery with Skin Tone Art Tools & Identity Unit Questions…
Whole-Group Read-Aloud Books & Songs:
- I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont
- The Colors of Us by Karen Katz
- Making Friends is an Art! By Julia Cook
- Skin Again by bell hooks
- Amazing Animal Counting Book by Holly Jones Buttimer
- Songs: The Pizza Man, Best Day of My Life, The Green Grass Grows All Around, and ASL Good Morning Song