Two Months In....

It has been a few months since the 2016/17 school year began. It's been a whirlwind! 

I realize this year how much I miss having my own classroom since having my daughter, but making the choice stay working 1/2 time has been a huge blessing, allowing me to be home part of the day with her. It's made me a better mum, wife and teacher. 

My role this year is once again, LSST (Learning Support Teacher), specifically working with JK/SK students. I work with students needing remedial support (specifically with ELL students and students needing a little extra). The majority of my morning is working with 3, 4 & 5 year olds, teaching them a phonics program called PALS (Peer Assisted Learning Strategies). It is a scripted program that teaches students. My goal every year (not matter what grade I teach), is to make it FUN!

PALS- I move the students around often, having them sit down and stand up many times! Their attention spans are ultra small in the early months, so I pack my classes with the scripted program, as well as various supporting activities.

Here are a few ideas on how I get my kiddos to stay focused and to stay on task:

I always start my classes with a copy cat game or a roll and catch question and answer game. The students love to tell me new things (i.e. what they did last night, what they had for dinner, what they are being for Halloween, that they have a cat, or that they have cheese in their lunch pails). You name it, they want to tell me. So this is my way of getting to know them better, and honouring their excitement of wanting to share something they deem important or interesting. 

I ask them questions about their field trip or favourite season or favourite snack foods. They answer in complete sentences and they expand their thought. It's a fast warm up to get on the same page, yet get to know each other better. 

Found these cute "would you rather" for kids, cards. You can grab them here.
Even lining up is a game of some sort. I always play a quick game of "Can you hear Mrs. Edmunds?" As they get into line, they are to listen for my instructions. Whether it's saying "Yehaw" or "jumping 4 times", their actions tell me very quickly who is "on the train" and who is not.  

I then take my kids to a media room. When they enter they need to find their name card (in a different place every day). Eventually their name cards will come with a game card or puzzle piece, linking to my lesson. Stay tuned.

Once we find our names and settle in, I do a recap of the lesson from the day before. I try to make this interactive. I am super lucky to have access to a Smartboard. I have created a few games that allow me to 'check in' with certain students individually, or as a group. I have also found some great freebies on Smart Exchange.

I then have them move around. I sometimes stick with a phonics based song/dance or mix it up with something they are into (like the Gummy Bear song). Ha!

Then we sit back down and get to a lesson from the PALS program. We'll have competitions on which group sounded like a choir, say our sounds in wacky voices or just keep it simple. Either way, it has got to be engaging or they're done. And really, so am I. 

As of now, I am teaching in a whole group setting. Eventually, I would like to get my kiddos into some small groups. But that'll take some time. Until then, each day is a new adventure. 

A few months ago I would have said "Junior and Senior Kindergarten is not in my wheelhouse". But now, I can't imagine spending my morning any where else. It's tiring, but definitely rewarding and hilarious, all at the same time. 

Lots planned for this year. Hopefully I will get around to blogging about it, often. 

~Kaitlin~


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