Favorites for back-to-school. Don’t laugh. There are some great perks to the return to school insanity.
1. Brand new boxes of crayons. Who doesn’t love the sharpy points before they are used until they paper has to be torn off. Speaking of….tearing paper off crayons makes my eye twitch. I hate scraping wax under my fingernails.
2. New Teacher Planner. I have an awesome planner from Erin Condren but I don’t have a review yet and I haven’t used it yet. The first week of kindergarten is an endeavor in survival. I’m not sure how to write that in a fancy lesson planner nor do I want to memorialize the memories of the first week. It can be horrifying.
3. Kid stories. Oh my, this year, the kids are hilarious. I’ve overheard discussions that involve calling me “beautimus…..I mean hideous……I mean beauti-something!” and this group has a great handle on the things you CAN’T do in kindergarten. Things such as cussing, poking people in the eyes with sticks, making guns out of Legos, killing people you don’t like even if they make you mad, skanking people (I think she mean “shanking”), rolling over peopleses feets (sic) with the chair on wheels—(just a friendly warning to the boy in the wheelchair) and kicking people in the privates. Don’t let your kids watch adult TV, people. They will repeat everything.
4. The first English words. I teach in a school with a high ELL population, majority Hispanic with some Guatemalan and Kanjobal thrown in for fun. Some of these babies have never spoken in English prior to coming to school. By Friday, every one of them (I have 50% in my class) were using some basic English like bathroom, look, yes, teacher, snack, run, Wishy-Washy, and bye.
5. Using technology with 5 year olds. We have ipads and I use a smartboard and my personal ipad daily. Using an app like Splashtop allows me to use my ipad to control my laptop and that has made a HUGE difference. With 24 kids, I need to be able to move around the room, not stand behind a tech cart and hope all my non-English children and my wiggly distracted children are paying attention. I need to be able to stand in front, move to the wigglers, focus the ELL and still control the laptop. But the very best part of using tech in the classroom is handing an ipad to a child who has never held one and then hand them a pencil and paper 15 minutes later to see if they can write the letters they just practiced drawing on the ipad. I had a 4 year old write his name..and okay, maybe his name is short, but still. He wrote his name because he was focused for 15 minutes and 100% on a task that gave immediate feedback. I’m not saying everything needs to be tech centered. I still sit on the floor and read books to kids. They still use their hands to move letters to make words and read them and build blocks. But, as an experienced early ed teacher, I pick and choose the very best uses for tech in the room and balance those times with traditional teaching methods that have worked well for years.
One week down, a bunch more to go. But so far, this year is off to a fabulous start 🙂