So, it's Friday and I'm finally able to breathe, enjoy some peace and quiet, and rest my poor feet. I'm soooo worn out from this week. I have 30 little darlings, 5 of whom are native English speakers (thank heavens for them) and I serioulsy feel like I'm running a circus. My cuties speak so many different languages at home and answer to different names than their "school name" it's making things really difficult. But as always, I'm trying to find ways to make it work.
As I was surfing the net, I found a cool blog: Aloha Kindergarten and she has some cool ideas for management that I had never heard about before (and some other cool links/freebies). There's something out there called CHAMPS. I looked into CHAMPS a bit and basically it's a management system that asks teachers to review the expectations before each activity. The acronym is for: conversation, help *how to ask for it, activity, movement, and participation. I loved this idea and am surprised I've never stumbled upon it before. So, I printed her picture cards and made my own voice-level cards. This is a very ELL friendly thing to have so students know appropriate times to use the bathroom, water fountain, how to ask for help, and so on.
I attached my picture cards to the side of my teaching easel with velcro and rather than doing the whole "CHAMPS" format...I just post our activity, the voice level cards, how to ask for help, and the movement (bathroom/water) cards. I also added a card that is a picture of my mailbox/paper sorter thing where kids turn in their papers. This has helped eliminate the major problem of having all the kids want to go to the bathroom at the same time. You know how it is...once you break the seal...they all have to go. The kids are catching on and are even helping me change the signs and are really buying into it (more so in the am than the lonnngggg pm).
I'd like to end on a happy note. I am feeling really thankful to have a teacher's aid this year for 2 hours a day. Mr. S...you're rocking my Kindergarten world with all of your help. I am thankful to have a wonderful practicum student who is pitching in and is so great with the kiddos. And, I also am thankful for the teachers I work with. The crazy stories we get to share with one another (like my little friend to decided to go potty on the playground, and many more) make me laugh and keep a happy spirit when all else is going crazy and I think my head is spinning. I really love this class of mine, and I can't wait to watch their language skills take off. My goal numero uno is that everyone answers to their name. Oh, if that happens...then we'll be doing all right!