If you’re a new teacher or even a veteran, the first thirty days of school are CRUCIAL to your survival until the end of the school year. There are so many things to get done and those days zoom by. During the first 30 days of kindergarten, your number one goal each day should be to get all of the kids fed and then make sure you get them home. That’s it, right? WRONG!
Even though some people think those are the only two priorities, you have an entire list of routines and procedures that MUST be taught if you want to make it until the end of the school year. You have to teach them HOW to line up, WHERE to put their backpacks, WHEN to ask for things, WHAT to do if they need something. The list goes on. When are you going to have time to do all of the fun stuff?
You’ll do both. It’s super easy to incorporate all of the routines and procedures that you need to teach your five year olds. Need help with what you need to teach and when? Here’s what I do.
First Day of Kindergarten
The first day of school is complete CRAZINESS. I have the students come in and I do not let them take ANYTHING out of their backpacks. They hang their backpacks on their chair and I usually have something for them to play with on the table. This keeps them occupied for a little while until I’m done getting it together in my brain and greeting any stragglers into the room.
Once everyone is there, I have them to clean up. Then, I talk about coming to the rug. I go over very specific things. “First, you stand up. Then, you push in your chair.” I walk over to a chair and show how to do this. “Then, you walk over to the rug and sit in a spot with your mouth zipped.” I usually zip my mouth with a smile even though I’m not playing about the talking.
This all depends on how you want them sitting. One year, we sat on the edge of the rug the entire year. Sometimes I have too many kids to do that so we have to sit in spaces within our rug. I tell them how to choose a space. For the first few days of school, I let them just sit where there is an available spot. After a few weeks, I know who needs to sit where and then assign them a spot on the rug. This ends any “I wanted to sit by my best friend” conversations.
Next, I call them one by one to demonstrate how to come to the rug. This does take precious time, but it so worth it. I will send someone back if they ran, didn’t push their chair up and even if they talk when they sit on the rug. I compliment each of them when they do it correctly. This is one of the DO IT EVERYDAY routines that I do the entire first month.
After we come to the rug and we all meet each other, I usually read a book. This is the time when I go over how to ask a question, how to tell me something, how to sit quietly and listen. Yep. Five year olds have to be taught how to sit and listen attentively. I usually give them a task such as listen for the word “pop” or touch your nose when you see the dog. Anything to keep them focused on the story. This builds their stamina for sitting for longer than .239347 seconds.
The next 29 days of Kindergarten
What do I do the rest of the month? I practice routines and procedures OVER and OVER and OVER again. You have to be very consistent in what you do and how you do it. They’re watching you. Every little single thing that you do, they see it. This is why creating routines and practicing procedures in kindergarten is so important during the first few weeks of school.
A few of my must do routines/procedures:
How to wash hands
How to push up your chair
How to come to the rug
Where to put your paper
Where to put your broken pencil
Where to get a new pencil
Where to put your broken crayon (NOT in the trash, duh!)
Where to find a specific color crayon
When can you get water
When can you go to the restroom
How to get Ms. Brown’s ATTENTION – I’m already cringing thinking about a new school year and hearing my name two bajillion times
These sound super silly, but I promise they are not. Especially if you are a NEW teacher or new to kindergarten. If you’ve never taught kindergarten, you’re in store for tons of WTF moments quietly being said in your head. It’s hilarious, scary, enjoying, fulfilling and downright exhausting to teach kindergarten. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
So, are you ready to kickstart to creating your routines and procedures? Grab my checklist here and start checking off on the FIRST day of school or sign up for our newsletter below.