Moving to the Kindergarten Classroom
April 06, 2005
For anyone moving from middle school or upper primary grades to kindergarten, be prepared for a vast difference in attention span and level of independence. Especially at the beginning of the year, many children will not know much about this new social situation. On the plus side, you have greater freedom to specialize your curriculum and will see an enormous amount of growth over the year.
As you plan a schedule, remember that most activities will need to be changed every 15 to 20 minutes at the beginning of the year. Vary from large group, to seat work, to active exploration frequently. Encourage parent volunteers, after the first couple of weeks for adjustment, to assist you in play centers to engage students in language and guide social development. Later they can listen to beginning readers and give struggling students more experiences with learning.
Classroom management begins with a few rules that are role-played and discussed often in the early days. I use a red light with each child's name on a clothespin. Every child begins the day in the green light. If a rule is broken, the child moves his/her pin to yellow, which means slow down and think about the behavior. If another rule is broken, the pin moves to the red light, which means stop. Time out is given. Other moves increase the consequence. Assessment is best done individually, orally, actively and frequently. Writing can be assessed later in the year.