Monday, August 4, 2014

The Classroom Fairy

Surprise! Your room is ready for the first day of school!

Oh my!  What a trick it would be if we could open our classroom doors and walk into a "ready-made" room! The bulletin boards would be bright and colorful, the tables and chairs would be organized, the books would be neatly stacked on the shelves, and our teacher desks would be cheery and color coordinated! 

The room environment would be PERFECT, and we could begin to think about CURRICULUM and TEACHING STRATEGIES! Just think of all the TIME we would save!

BUT, we all know it's not going to happen! The CLASSROOM FAIRY is not going to wave her magic wand and make our classrooms ready to go!

And,  if you're like so many other kindergarten teachers, you want the "cutest" room ever! Perhaps you even have a color or classroom theme that you can't wait to show off!  You've been buying lime green and turquoise paper, chevron borders, and striped baskets, for the last few weeks! 

You are ready to create a masterpiece with or without a fairy to help!

But, wait a moment ..I would love to be your cyber WINGLESS FAIRY and offer you a few suggestions:

Go EASY on yourself! Keep in mind that as much as you may WISH that your room looked like the ones you see on pinterest boards, the fancy touches do NOT make a quantitative difference in the academic growth of your students.  

Kindergarten room environments should meet the NEEDS of your young students. They should be bright and colorful, but not over stimulating and busy.  Your little ones should have access to the majority of the materials and be able to INTERACT with TEXT on walls, posters, sight words, BIG BOOKS, and phonics materials. 

Although it is not always possible,the text should be LOW enough for kids to see it, touch it, and read it.  

Every year, for the last two decades, the characters from Brown Bear, Brown Bear, by Bill Martin, are on my wall.  The characters were created years ago, so the NEW KIDS have nothing to do with the creation of these characters. Does this mean that they have less ownership of the wall?  No way! Don't we all love a good chocolate chip cookie, regardless of whether we baked it or mom baked it?

My kids love interacting with this WALL STORY and I love TEACHING many of the kindergarten foundational skills from CCSS ...  beginning on day one!

Brown Bear Interactive Story Wall

After reading the book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, by Bill Martin, I use the wall to model READING! I want my kids to see what REAL reading looks like.  Using the classroom reading wand, we practice reading from left to right and touching EACH word. (CCSS: word awareness) We also talk about "characters", sequencing, colors, before and after, letter recognition and letter sounds. By painting the title (later in the year, the kids will paint the titles) we can practice touching each word with the big reading wand! 

This interactive WALL STORY remains up for the first month of school. We "PLAY" with it EVERY day in whole group, small group, individual instruction, and especially during the kids CHOICE TIME. Everyone wants to "practice" reading the wall!  There is always a flurry of excitement happening around the wall. I can hear kids exclaiming, "My turn to read! Watch me, Mrs. Kane. I can really do it!"

And in reality, isn't this exactly what we want to happen in our classrooms? Kids choosing to practice reading while modeling concepts of print for their peers?

Maybe the CLASSROOM FAIRY left a little MAGIC after all!

1 comment:

  1. I am so delighted to see your recent endeavor!! I have searched for you for years after having seen you in Wisconsin oh umm.... about 10+ years ago. I am sure that I even have Scribble~N~Dots catalog somewhere. I absolutely love your materials and super happy that you are on TPT.