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A Teacher’s Day in the Life: Kindergarten

May 1st, 2018

{photos by Amy Houser}

It’s teacher and staff appreciation week and we think it only adds to our appreciation of our amazing teachers when we see what a day in their classroom life actually looks like! So once again, we’ve asked one of our SLOCA teachers to share an account of a “day in the life” at school. We hope you not only enjoy a teacher’s perspective on all the exciting learning happening at SLOCA, but also delight in the dedication, creativity, patience, thoughtfulness, and passion that our teachers have, when you read this snapshot of SLOCA life on campus.

(And we think it just might make you want to go back to Kindergarten, too…)

Today we bring you a day from the classroom of Track B Kindergarten teacher, Amy Houser. Amy is also a SLOCA parent, with three kids at our school: Charlie (UMS), Henry (LMS), and Ellie (Primary). This is her 7th year at SLOCA.

April 10, 2018

7:52 am
As we unload the car I ask my kids for their help in the classroom before school begins.  All 3 willingly help out and they complete their jobs fairly quickly.  My prep time before school is so much smoother now that my kids are older! Meanwhile, I’m trying to get back into ‘school mode’ after the break and work on setting out my supplies for the morning.

Morning Meeting!  Afterwards, I greet each student as they head into the classroom to unpack and settle on the carpet.  I’m surprised how quickly they unpack and settle in.

We sing our Good Morning song, take attendance, then I do a quick overview of our day.  I pick my Helper of the Day, and we move straight into our Calendar Wall activities.   We sing lots of songs and do lots of movement to review the Days of the Week, tally marks, place value, money, counting, time, and number bonds!  A lot happens in 15 minutes!

Our math lesson today is wrapping up our unit on addition, using goldfish crackers.  After I introduce the activities, the class breaks up into 2 groups, one stays with me and the other heads over to the table with our parent volunteer.  Both groups do a separate activity and then halfway through, we switch groups.  This is has been a great way to get lots of hands-on math practice all year long!  Who doesn’t love eating their math?

We all return to the carpet to get ready for this week’s literature, Make Way for Ducklings, by Robert McCloskey.  To help make the transition from math the literature, we review addition by counting the baby ducks and the mama duck altogether.  As we are discussing what we see in our story before reading, a student remembers that Robert McCloskey also wrote Lentil, which we read earlier in the year, and another points out the Caldecott Award on the cover.  Reading through the story, one student raises her hand and shares her observation that in both of our duck stories, Ping and this one, there are large rivers in each story.  In all my years reading these books, I can’t remember ever making that connection before!  Then, after a few more pages, one boy shouts out, “Look, he’s preening!”  (Before break, we learned about how preening helps ducks stay dry. Yay! They remembered!)  Then a few more students share their experience of seeing preening ducks before.  Back to the story… We continue reading, but I am corrected multiple times for saying ‘Ouack’ wrong (tough crowd today!)

At the end, I leave them wondering how the eggs don’t crack when the mama duck is sitting on them.  We come up with lots of good ideas and talk about the shape of the egg, which leads us into our activity that will demonstrate how strong eggshells are.  As we gather around the table, each student brings their hardcover book they brought from home and we take turns laying them down on 4 eggshell halves.  After a few books were placed, one kiddo tosses his book onto the pile, ending our experiment.  So, we try it again!  (Luckily we have lots of extra eggshells!) When all is said and done, our eggshells held up 13 books before caving to the weight.  Pretty amazing!  Afterwards we all got to smash the extra shells!

Snack Time & Recess!  We head out into our little yard for a snack.  I help a pick up a student’s snack that spilled on the ground, tell a few boys to stop running in our yard (repeatedly), and listen to lots of stories various students wanted to share.  It’s just about time for recess and I ask each student if they used a baby wipe after they ate before sending them out to play.  Then I set up for our next activities, make a necessary pit stop, head to the office to make a few photocopies, and head back to my room to bring in my class from recess.

After getting water, the class is on the carpet for recitation.  It is a new poem, so I like to have the class sit with their eyes closed and picture in their mind what they are hearing when I read the poem aloud.  Once I’m done, we go over the poem line by line and I pick out key words for the class to describe what they saw.  The class seems to enjoy it and I think it helps them individually connect with the poem.

It’s time to introduce the new OPG lesson and discuss what words we will be writing for our handwriting practice in our new handwriting folders.   I like to split my class into 2 groups for handwriting so I can monitor them better, so before we split, I introduce the OPG review activity they will be doing when they aren’t in my group.  Ready, split!  The activity group is having some questions, so I make a mental note for Thursday to give more detailed directions.  I have now seen both groups in my handwriting group, and it is now time to practice our routine for cleaning up before music.  It goes pretty smoothly for only the second time being divided into these new groups. Yay!

Miss Perry is here!  For the next 50 minutes, Miss Perry teaches music to my class and they love it! Meanwhile, I prep at my desk for our next day’s math activities and fill up some of the water tables outside for use during Discovery Time.

12:00 pm
Lunch!  I’m hungry today too!  Luckily I like what I am eating!

I pick up my class from lunch and we head in for Discovery Time!  I forgot the camping center is new to them so first I call those speedy ones out of the tent and the class gathers around so I can introduce all of the parts of the new center and how to properly use the tent.  This time, the boys get to play camping first and then about halfway through the girls will get a turn.  On Thursday, it will be first come first serve, but at least everyone who wants to can play without it being overcrowded.  Not everyone likes camping, so I set out new art supplies for the month, and I see others are in the water table.

I have the girls in the camping center start to put their shoes on for recess and by 1:25 we head out for our last recess of the day.  Since we will have extra time after recess, we will clean up from Discovery Time later.

Recess is over and we drink more water before heading over to the library for story time with Mrs. Rohr.

We say goodbye to Mrs. Rohr and head back to our room to finish cleaning up from Discovery Time and pack up our backpacks.  My class loves Share Bag, so I pass out the 2 Share Bags for Thursday before I forget, then we spend some time sharing what we did over Spring Break.  Just before it’s time to go home, we read one more book about eggs which sparks lots of comments.  Maybe we will look through them again on Thursday.  But, it is time to go home so the class heads back to their seats while they wait for their parents to come.

I open the door for dismissal.  As I call each student, they decide if they want to give me a hug, a handshake, or a high five.  Today it was mostly high fives and a few hugs.

Thank you, Amy, for sharing this delightful day with us! We love learning about a day in the classroom, and Kindergarten is certainly a magical place. Hugs and high fives to you from all of our readers!

Please leave comments below if you have something to add...

Read past teacher Day in the Life posts from our Primary, Intermediate and LMS levels.