There was EXCITEMENT in the air! Today was our first day back to school for the 2020-2021 school year. AND it was our first day back IN PERSON since mid-MARCH! (insert happy dance here!) Students were introduced to some of our routines yesterday during our one on one orientation times, so they knew that once they arrived in class, they would wash their hands. After that, I wanted to take an individual first day picture. With a lot of space outdoors, I asked each student to remove their mask for a quick minute. I had prepared “First Day of K” signs…one for each student to hold.
After a Zoom Welcome Meeting with Dr. Surber, we dove right into fine motor building playdoh activities. The children loved exploring all the new tools they received.
With the new layout of the classroom, it was important to me that students immediately were introduced to ways they could use the space around them to move and stretch during learning times. We practiced standing in our desk area, sitting on the carpet in front of our desk, laying on our tummies under our desk, and sitting in our desk chair. I read aloud the story “The Line Rhyme” by Alisha Gabriel about routines, and we made a list of all the routines in our classroom. We marked off the routines that we have already learned and practiced. (Our hand washing discussion happened yesterday and today….I forgot to mark it!)
Next, students were introduced to one of my favorite fine motor building activities…pokey pins! Students were all given a large push pin. After discussing how to carefully use a push pin, students were invited to sit on the floor by their desks and start poking polka dots on their paper. I mentioned that students would see something magical after they poked all the polka dots!
They were thrilled to see the sunlight streaming through the poked holes!
After snack and recess, we came back to class to start our kindergarten portfolio. Students will complete a series of activities each month in their portfolios and will have a wonderful collection of activities that show their growth from September to June! Today’s writing prompt asked students how they felt on the first day of school.
Kindergarteners also shared their summer treasure boxes. We placed each one under the document camera and projected their three special summer items onto the Smart Board. They loved seeing their treasures on “the big tv!” Finally, we enjoyed both Art class and Spanish class today. Would you believe that we were only at school for half the day?! What a bunch of happy worker bees I have this year! As one student said on her way out the door, “The worst part of the day is leaving school!” Sounds like we had a pretty successful day!
Tomorrow is the big day- our official first day of school for 2019! The classroom is ready! The supplies are organized! The lessons are planned! Come one! Come all!
These first three days we will focus on building friendships and establishing a caring classroom community. Lower School teachers were fortunate to participate in an eight-hour Responsive Classroom training last week. We will begin many of the Responsive Classroom strategies and practices starting on our first day!
“Responsive Classroom is an evidence-based approach to teaching and learning for kindergarten through eighth grade that focuses on the strong link between academic success and social-emotional skills. We believe that a high-quality education for every student is built on the foundation of a safe, strong, and joyful school community.” (2016 Center for Responsive Schools, Inc) Look for another blog post soon with more details about Responsive Classroom.
My goal is to gather information on each student throughout this week so that I can begin differentiated instruction and groupings next week. This week students will be learning the ins and outs of the classroom as well as procedures for the many different parts of our exciting day. Through a lot of modeling and practice, these new kindergarteners will be set up for success.
Oh, the first day of school! Newness, smiles, nervousness, laughter, sometimes a few tears, the first day of school always produces so many emotions for students, parents, and teachers. We welcomed the kindergartners to school with open arms and, of course, a few craft projects, because what takes ones mind off things better than beading and painting?
Students were each given a bead kit so that they could create their own “First Day of School Necklace.”
While they were working on these necklaces, we invited students over to create a handprint puzzle. These puzzles were sent home at the end of the day with the hopes that students and families would work together to complete it while chatting about the first day of kindergarten.
After recess, students shared their treasure chests. This was an activity I gave to the students to complete last week at our Meet and Greet.
My thought was to give the students a project about which they were excited so that coming to the first day of school was a little easier. Students had a choice to share the items themselves or work with me to share them. I love how much time and thought the students put into these precious treasure chests.
Once the treasure chest sharing was complete, the kindergarteners headed over to Art Class, where they delighted in meeting our new art instructor, Mrs. Guay. (How much do you LOVE her outfit?!)
Here is to a very successful first day!