It's been WAY too long since I've posted here. I have missed it, but sometimes other life stuff just takes priority.
BUT... I love a good linky party and this one is right up my alley.
I am finishing up my 11th year teaching Kindergarten (one more day!), and I am passionate about this foundational year of school. Often, we are a child's/family's first school experience and what we do sets the tone for years to come. A high calling and awesome responsibility!
Here are some of the most important tips I keep in mind each year.
Number One: Set high expectations....and then believe that your students can reach them! I think my expectations for my students get higher and higher each year, and each year they rise to the challenge! It's such a privilege to challenge my students and set lofty goals, and then cheer them on every step of the way as they work to achieve big things! Expect them to be readers, problem solvers, mathematicians, and scientists. Expect them to be respectful in conversations, to treat each other with kindness, to use high-level vocabulary properly, and to take responsibility for their actions. When you set your expectations high, and motivate and encourage your students along the way, they will amaze you every time!!
Number Two: An organized space is a happy space. Have you heard the saying "A place for everything and everything in it's place"? I follow that notion in my classroom. I try to keep my space uncluttered and well-organized. I expect things to be put away when they are not being used and we make sure that each activity is cleaned up before we move on to the next thing. We clean our classroom tables and floors several times each day. It definitely makes it easier for me to focus when things are in their place, and I also think it benefits my students to have an organized, orderly place in which to learn. Of course they are children, and it won't be perfect, but I hold my students accountable for keeping our classroom safe and organized.
And labels! Words can be tricky for young children, so pictures really help them stay independent. Sometimes I use clip art, and other times I use actual photographs, but I have found that labeling things well, with pictures when possible, keeps us neat and tidy and saves me from a million "Where does this go?" questions.
Number Three: Consistency is key with kids in general, and this is so true with our littlest learners! From daily schedule, to language in the classroom, to routines, to behavior expectations and consequences, it is SO important to be consistent! Of course flexibility is necessary in any classroom. I think that when you begin to master the art of remaining consistent while being flexible, you are really on to something as a teacher! Kids thrive with consistency. It's so important.
Number Four: Teaching is FUN! Keep it fun. Smile and laugh every day. Sing and dance and be silly! Remember to find the JOY in what you get to do for a living! It's a gift! It's a privilege and a great honor to be entrusted with little hearts and minds. Not every single moment will be fun, but there is fun to be had in every single day. When you are having fun, your students will have fun too. Make sure that they know how much you love spending time with them and that you think they are one-in-a-million! They are! I want my students to look back on Kindergarten and, above all, remember it as a fun and happy place where they felt loved and valued.
Head on over to Sharing Kindergarten to link up or check out other Kindergarten teachers' tips!