Saturday, August 16, 2014
Hello friends and happy weekend!
It's been a busy week and I am happy to have a couple days off to relax and refresh before I start teaching this week! One wonderful thing about teaching kindergarten is that we stagger start our kiddos. That means we only have a few each day and we do some assessments on them to see where they are academically. The first day for students is always an early release day, so kindergarten doesn't have any students that day. Starting Tuesday I will have about 6 per day for testing. The following Monday is when they start full time. We are over in our numbers and are looking at possible hiring a sixth kindergarten teacher. A little information about my school....we are in a high poverty area and almost 90% of our students receive free or reduced lunch. Our students come from very low socioeconomic homes. Many are being raised by grandparents because their parents are jobless (by choice much of the time), uneducated, drug addicts or are in jail. I am not exaggerating....it is very sad. But, the wonderful thing is that our school, in spite of all the challenges, is an "A" school. Florida schools are graded based on may different aspects, but primarily the student's standardized test scores. My school was the highest scoring school in the surrounding districts and not only that, we had higher scores that schools in other districts that are primarily high socioeconomic students. To put it simply....we ROCK! I work for the most amazing faculty and staff a person could ask for and we all care. We care that our babies come from homes that are less than desirable. We love them and care for them and offer them the best we can offer while they are in our care. We don't just assume that because they come from homes of uneducated parents that they can't learn. We know that they can and we have high expectations for these kids and they rise to meet our expectations. I am so blessed to have the job I have and I know that God put me right where He knows I need to be. With all that said, let me share my classroom. I am so thrilled to be in a bigger room this year. Last year I was in a tiny room and I had no closet. This year I am in a huge room with a closet! Oh happy day!
This photo was taken from the back of the room, near the student tables and windows. The left side opens into the hall and this is the entry area where the student cubbies are. The computer area is at the front of the room as well and to the right is my meeting area. The kids sit on the rug for whole group teaching a lot. The whiteboard is to the right of the rug. The table and chair just in front of the computers is for my paraprofessional who will help during center time.
This is the bulletin board above the computers. I divided it in half to hold my birthday board and my 5 Bees Promise. We have a bee theme this year in kinder and our hallway won the contest. Our principal has each grade choose a different theme from her list each year and this year was animals. We chose bees, and the other halls were ladybugs, swamp animals, flamingos, ocean animals, birds, and owls. They are voted on by the office staff. We were excited to win this year. Maybe I will share hall pictures soon. Anywho, I made the bees on the board from scrapbook paper...they are adorable! Above the board is my book jacket banner I made last year.
Here is a closer picture of the entry. The board above the cubby will hold my students brag tags. It's a new reward system I am using this year. I am making tags similar to dog tags and the students will earn them for various things as well as get one on holidays, birthdays, when they lose a tooth, etc. They are going to LOVE it! The yellow charts are for my helper of the day. The kids rotate through being helper. I am calling it my hive helper of the day and they have a cute bee vest to wear all day. The red tub and striped bucket are for white boards and markers.
The library area below isn't finished yet. I inherited about a thousand books I have to go through before I can finish this area. I will give many of them away and organize them by theme and label them by theme before I put them in the library. This helps the kids know where they go. The wooden door is the closet door. It is so big...around 6' x 10' or so. Lots of shelves too! I'm still organizing in there so no pictures!
Here's the back of the room. I have 6 tables for students on the tile floor. The kitchen area is back here as well. I have a full size stove and fridge. We will cook something every now and then. The kids love to participate and help. So many of them have never had the chance to do anything like that at home. The "U" table is where I will meet with my small groups during center time. We work on learning the alphabet and sounds and how to read at this table...:)
Here's my meeting area. We will have morning meeting here and phonics instruction, listen to stories and have calendar time here, among other things. Sometimes the students will sit on the rug and I will pull the screen down and instruct from my document camera. It's similar to the old overhead projectors, but it's in color and real life. They can see me writing and I can use math manipulatives, place a book under it, or anything. They are really cool! The area by the fridge holds puzzles, Lego's, and other toys for imaginative play time.
Another view of the back of the room. The shelf behind the "U: table holds things I use to teach my small groups. It also holds the treasure box.
Speaking of the treasure box, here it is. I bought it back in the spring but finally decorated it over the summer. The kiddos will love it!
Check out my curtains I sewed over the summer. Yes, among all the remodeling, I worked on school projects too. The middle panel has the book character Corduroy Bear in a library setting surrounded by books. I thought it was perfect for a kinder classroom. I bought a coordinating stripe to border it with. I love how they turned out!
My spider plant I potted over the summer and the adorable bee watering can for the kids to water it with sits in the library area.
Across from the library area is the kitchen play set. There is also a small round table here that I painted with chalkboard paint. You can see my office space behind it. The office space really only gets used before the kiddos get to school and after they go home. Sometimes I use it when they are at PE as well. Not much sitting down occurs when they are in the room...lol!
Here is my office space. It needs some tweaking. I still have to put a few things away here. I like having my little space to work on lesson plans, plan activities, etc. I have some personal pictures and things here as well. See Sadie's face on the wall to the right...:)
I do hope you enjoyed touring my kindergarten classroom. This is not only my job, it's my home away from home and a huge part of my life and heart. Thank you for taking time to read and check it out. I hope your Saturday is beautiful my friends. Until next time.....