Kindergarten, Take 2


March 2nd, 2008

Tomorrow, kindergarten is starting over. My class lost all their privileges last week and when then come to school on Monday, it is going to be a bit of a shock.

My room was a very serve yourself style room. All of our supplies are kept on low open shelves so if the kids needed scissors then went to the scissor bin and got a pair. If they needed crayons or markers, they knew where to look. The toys were set up the same way. Some days I would only let them play with certain activities but most days they had a choice and understood how to take things out, play with it and put it back in its spot. The library was organized and kept that way by our class librarians. Floors and tables were kept clean by the class janitors. Up until about a month ago, they took pride in their room and took care of it. This last month…I don’t know what happened. Something in their brains snapped and they all turned into out of control seek and destroy missiles. They have been ripping books, coloring on anything within reach, not putting things away, throwing toys at each other, fighting over everything, breaking each others pencils, and in general not caring. Now I realize it may be cabin fever but I can’t let them get away with behavior like this just because they haven’t been outside. So Friday I told them if they couldn’t get their acts together then I would take away all the “fun” parts of school and we would practice the rules. One of my kids countered me with a “you won’t really make us do that” and I quickly reminded him that I have never told them anything that I didn’t make them do. I stayed after school for about an hour and half covering bookshelves and toy shelves with black paper, taking down the job chart, our hopes and dreams chart, our behavior lights. I took away all the crayon and pencil boxes. The puzzles are gone. The library is closed. There is no more access to the toy and block shelves. Dramatic play and the sand table are closed. The media center is gone. So is the science center, math center, writing center and art center. Special groups with the school councilor have been canceled for the week. Gym class and computer class are going to involve practicing the rules. Recess will consist of practicing walking to the playground and back. They don’t get to pick spots to line up. There will be a line order. And around Wednesday I expect that they will be forming a coup.

But it needs to be done. We will be spending the next 2-3 weeks re-learning how to behave in kindergarten. We will rewrite our hopes and dreams. We will recreate the rules for our classroom. We will remember that we are kind and caring community. We will learn how to appropriately play with toys and use our supplies. We will work together to keep our room clean and to put things away where they belong. We will work together to repair the damage that has been done to our toys, books, walls, desks, chairs, and anything else that has been colored on. We will learn that not being the first in line is not the worst thing in the world. We will create new jobs in our room. We will remember to listen when others are speaking. We will remember to share, to take turns, to help others and be patient.

I keep saying we because my class is always included in doing these things. At the beginning of the year (and it has continued all year) we hold class council meetings were we discuss and try and solve problems we are having. We also create the rules for our room as a class not just me telling them what to do. If I include them in the process it becomes much more meaningful for them and they remember it and hold to it.

I’ll let you know how it goes.


One Response to “Kindergarten, Take 2”

  1. jaime on March 3, 2008 7:22 pm

    Wowee…. That’s awesome. I hope it goes well!

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