Sooooo, anyone that teaches Kindergarten knows that when you get up around the mid 20s...it's just too many Kinders!!! Well, I have 26 this year!! (16 boys!!! and 10 girls) And it seems that more and more Kinder teachers that I have talked to have anywhere from 25-32 Kinders in their rooms!!! YIKES!! What are these administrators thinking?!?....I know the answer-it's called a budget :(
I'm not gonna lie...26 Kinders is NOT easy!! But I think there are 2 VERY important things that you HAVE to have to make it through the day.....and to make it through your year!!!
#1 is GOOD CLASSROOM MANAGEMENT!!!!
When it comes to Classroom Management, I know if you've heard it once, you've heard it a MILLION times!!!! Establish regular rules, procedures and routines and be consistent!!!! But, it's so true!!! Model and review those rules and procedures over and over and over!!!! And, I think a lot of teachers really mean to do this....but, I think a lot of times teachers just give up on things too easily when they don't work the first couple of times and revert to just raising their voice when things don't work out. DON'T DO IT!!! Stick to it-use it constantly, remind them of it constantly and it WILL WORK!!!
Here's a perfect example of that!! I had these noise level charts and signs as Freebies on my blog a couple of years ago and I still use them!!! (the only thing that is still Jungle themed in my room-but that's o.k:) Anyway-I know a lot of people who started using them and gave up on them because they "didn't work for their class". I'm telling you-if you are consistent with them and use constant reminders-they ARE effective!!! Before we even start an activity-I do a quick reminder about what sign is up and call on someone to remind the class what that means. 1=No Talking. When the orange #2=whisper sign is up during morning work, journal writing etc. I remind them before we start and if it starts to get loud I just say "what kind of voice should we be using right now?" And they all reply with "whisper" in a whispering voice. That way, they are not only hearing, but saying AND practicing it! IT WORKS! If you'd like, you can grab this oldie but goodie freebie HERE!
P.S. If you want your kids to whisper-you and any other adults in your room also need to whisper. If others are loud-the kids will get loud ;)
I was sooooo lucky to get to see Deanna Jump present twice this Summer!!!! Once in Vegas and once at a Kinder Conference in St. Louis!! She has these "Attention Getters" in her "All Set, You Bet" unit!!! Many of these are the same idea that I talked about above-you say something to the students and they RESPOND to you and presto!!!!! You have their attention!!! It is amazing how well it works! Instead of yelling "BE QUIET!!!" or "Stop it-you know better than that!!"....we all know that doesn't work!!!! Just use one of these attention getters!!!! You're not singling anyone student out-you just say it to the whole class and you get everyone's attention. It's magical!! ;)
Another quick simple thing that I do is "raise a quiet hand". We all know that Kinders like to shout out answers ;) EVERY time I ask a question I say "raise a quiet hand if you know...." and I put my hand up in the air with my finger on my mouth. It's a habit now-I just do it and say it automatically EVERY time ;) So, the kids hear it and see me model it constantly. If someone yells something out-I still pick someone who is raising their hand and I say "Thank you, Sarah, for raising a QUIET hand!" And, I let them answer the question again. It really does work GREAT!!!! AND, it's simple ;)
Of course, I LOVE my clipchart!!!!! I LOVE that the kids have a chance to improve their day and move back up!!! I know we all know how this works....so, I won't get too much into it;)
I love this little idea to help with table behavior!!! I have a dream catcher hanging above each of my tables. When everyone at the table is on task or they are all doing the right thing-they get a feather. If a table receives 5 feathers in one day-they are rewarded!! This works wonders!!!! When I had a jungle theme-I did the same thing with barrel of monkeys and the tables got a monkey hung above their table each time. You can see a picture of that here.
Another classroom management MUST is ANCHOR CHARTS!!!!! Good anchor charts are constant reminders of what your expectations and/or procedures are. After you've went over and over and over your anchor charts-all it takes is pointing to a specific graphic to remind your student(s) what they might be forgetting to do.
Here are a few of my favorites that help tremendously with classroom management!!!
This one on how to be a good listener is from Deanna's "All Set, You Bet" unit!!!
This is one that I've used for a few years now on Good Coloring. I originally got this idea from my good friend Deedee Wills from Mrs. Wills Kindergarten!!! ;)
Everyone knows that you have those kiddos that no matter how many times you go over it-there are those students who just cannot remember every job to do when they get there in the morning!!! These picture cues on help TREMENDOUSLY!!!!!!!! I <3 them!!!!!!! I got this idea from Deanna's "All Set, You Bet" unit!! (I changed a couple of the graphics/wording on mine slightly to match my routine)
Yep, you guessed it!!! This is also from Deanna's "All Set, You Bet" unit!! Can you tell that I LOVE that unit?!?! If you don't have it you MUST go buy it RIGHT now!!! ;) Everyone knows that pack up at the end of the day can be a nightmare!!!!! Not with this anchor chart!!!! (I again, changed my wording and graphics slightly)
This little song also makes pack up easier and the kids LOVE it!!!! The idea is also from Deanna's "All Set, You Bet!" Unit-but her song uses bees. (I used the exact same song, but changed a few words to make it match my warrior theme ;) Sorry, I'm a little anal ;) Ha!! The song lets you call tables back one at a time, so that there's not a huge mad dash for your lockers/cubbies/mailboxes all at one time ;)
The second thing that you MUST have in your classroom is ORGANIZATION!!!!!
This one is hard for me....because, let me tell ya-I'm NOT an organized person!!!! But, being a Kindergarten teacher, you HAVE to be or your days will be complete chaos!!!!! Over the years, I've learned ways to be more organized, which makes my days run a MILLION times more smoothly. I'm one of those people, that when I crash and burn, I RACK my brain trying to think of ways to make it better and easier for me and my students.
Here are our WARRIOR binders. Everything the parents and students need for communication is in this binder. You can read more about it HERE.
Our binders are kept in these mailboxes....
Last Summer, I spent DAYS and DAYS going through all of my CRAZY disorganized, OUT. OF. CONTROL. files and organized them into these binders. Now, when I need something, I know exactly where it is-right at my fingertips! ;)
When you need something, you need it QUICK!!!! Have you ever left a class of 26 Kinders to go and search for something?? NOT a great idea!!! ;)
Have Supplies that students might lose or run out of, right at their finger tips...so, that if you're in the middle of an a project or assignment-they can quickly go grab what they need.
I love my crayon buckets!!! Lost your green crayon?? No problem! Go grab one out of the green bucket! Super quick, Super simple! (I also have sharp/not sharp pencil buckets...but, sadly, I forgot to take a pic of them :(
A few years back, lunch count got SUPER difficult for us!!!! We had FIVE lunch choices!!! Are you kidding me?? So, I started taking pics of our lunches ;) Now, we are down to 4-LOL!!! But, having pics makes it a little easier for my Kinders to decide what they want each morning ;)
I made this little flip chart MANY years ago to show who gets to take the all important Mystery Bag home each day and who gets to do one of our other fun calendar time jobs. This way, EVERYONE gets a turn and it helps the students to be able to SEE who is next ;)
I love my super organized classroom library!! My new bins are soooo much nicer than my old ones! They are so much roomier-which makes such a huge difference!! Now, I just need to finish my theme labels to put on the front of the bins ;)
Have a super organized procedure for your centers!!! Here are my centers charts. Students are able to see who is in each center that day and can get to that center easily on their own. The group number on the chart match the numbers on the bins. There are also smaller matching numbers on the shelves-so that students can easily see where to put the bin when it is clean up time ;)
Make a chart and post it by the door so that you, the students and substitute teachers can easily see how they get home each day. I use mini clothes pins and clip it on the circle to show which bus the student needs to ride. That way, there's no confusion on how someone gets home and you're not searching for a bus list at the last minute ;) It's always right there for you :)
ALWAYS keep those kiddos busy!!! Have a few extra minutes??? Here is a bucket of questions to ask to fill that extra time!! Down time and 26 5-year-olds do NOT mix!!! ;) You can find all the supplies you need to make one of these buckets in YOU GUESSED IT!!! Deanna's "All Set, You Bet" unit!!! LOL!!! No, I'm not her spokesperson!! I just LOVE her unit THAT much!!!!! ;)
Those are a few of my favorite tips/ideas to have an organized, smoothly functioning classroom-no matter how many Kinders you have!!! ;) Hope you grabbed a few good ideas! Obviously, they're not all of my original ideas-but the WORK!!!!! Here's to a great year!!!!