I've been gone from Kindergarten for 4 years and I've found out (usually the hard way) that there are a LOT of things I've forgotten. Here's a small sampling:
1. Watch your fingers c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y when holding the paper for the 4 year old who is cutting. Watch the scissors they're holding even more C-A-R-E-F-U-L-L-Y!
2. Tape the ends of the strings before attempting to string fruit loops to make AB pattern necklaces.
3. Don't wear anything you care about on days that painting is going to be done. Even if you aren't the adult in charge of the painting activity & you are all the way across the room at the time....somehow you will end up with paint on you.
4. They miss their mommies. And sometimes that makes them cry. New discovery- their crying will make me think about missing my kids and make me cry. Kind of like the student-teacher version of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.
5. Their attention span is about 10 minutes max at the beginning of the year.
6. The beginning of Kindergarten is VERY, VERY similar to playing Whack-a-Mole at Chuck E. Cheese's...or dropping a jar of marbles and then running around & trying to collect them. You pick which form of torture you prefer. I have chosen to teach Kindergarten.
7. Cut and staple all the books together before having the group. If not, all you're going to get done at this point is cutting & stapling....forget coloring or reading.
8. Since I am unable at this time to clone myself, I have come to understand that the new reality of my life as a "Kindergarten teacher with 2 small children of my own at home" is that I just physically can't do it all. There are not enough hours in the day no matter how organized & efficient I am. My type-A personality recoils from this fact, but a fact it is. It's killing me. I will adjust to this new reality...eventually. Until then I'll continue to see how the human body functions on about 4-5 hours of sleep a night.
I was planning on there being 10 items on this list, but right now I'm too tired to remember any of the other bazillion items I've re-learned these last couple weeks. However, I have found some amazing teachers to borrow ideas for some great lessons this week. We read Where the Wild Things Are, Go Away Big Green Monster, and Leonard the Terrible Monster this week and did the monster glyphs, graphing, and writing activities from the August section of Mrs. Jump's Kindergarten site.
On one of the MANY sticky notes covering my desk (see #8 above) I have a reminder to put together the calendar binders. I got the idea from Kristen's Kindergarten. I had planned to start them in August, but the new reality is now hoping for sometime next week & we'll "practice" with a catch up of the August calendar & then really do well at it in September. Same thing for the actual calendar. I have
Another cool thing I'm trying this year are my CAMP books. I decided on a camping theme so we could be the Kinder Campers...and I love a good theme, so when I do it, I do it all the way. Man oh man have I made the camp stuff (or found it online). I'll come back & post files to share when my 2 remaining brain cells have recharged. For now, back to the CAMP books. Basically it's a binder that the kids take home & bring back for communication. I think they're working great & it seems to be helping to organize the chaos of notes, lunch $, important schedules, etc. I call them CAMP books to go with my theme (stands for Communicating And Managing Paperwork), but the idea is based on BEE and MOOSE books I found on other teacher's sites.
Lastly for tonight. God bless the powers that be in CCSD for the wonderful Math RAP stuff they've posted to be used on the new Smart Boards we have. I had "beginner" training at the end of last year, then got laid off & missed the intermediate summer training, and got a condensed version Wednesday. On my own I discovered this stuff, so now I'm thinking, "Bye bye paper calendar whose space could be used for something else", hello to doing calendar on the Smart Board every morning.
Okay, going to see if I can break my record and get MORE than 5 hours of sleep tonight!