Thursday, February 8, 2018

Learning Empathy

Teaching Kindergarten students about empathy is hard. By nature they are self-centered at this age. This is not a bad thing. They are exploring their world and how to live in it. As a Kindergarten teacher, I am responsible to them to help broaden their world. Teaching empathy is the best place to start. While they are not all ready at the beginning of the year, I see a need to learn empathy during the winter months. Honestly, it is perfect because it goes right along with Valentine's Day. 

How do you teach 5-year-olds to care for others? You talk about it! This month at our community circle, we are working on real-life situations in which children can relate. I have attached the situations we discuss as a class. I state the situation and we go around the circle discussing our feelings on the topic. Some can relate. Some can't. The goal is to imagine what this feels like and share.

We are reading a variety of books that relate to empathy. The first book we read is Stand in My Shoes by Bob Sornson. In this story Emily learns what it means to think about how others are feeling.

Finally, I want to give you the 5 ways to teach your children or class empathy. More and more students spend time with the tablet or phone. Less and less spend time with other people. Without these interactions, we are responsible to teach them how to relate to others.

With all the academics we are required to teach please think about this quote:
Imagine what your child can be if they learn this skill in Kindergarten? Amazing. The answer is AMAZING!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Zones of Regulation

I have been using the Zones of Regulation this year to help my students become aware of their emotions. Of course, as the Disney lover I am, I added the popular Inside Out characters to make it a little more fun. My students were introduced to the Zones at the beginning of the year and have these posters up in their calm-down corner of the classroom.

By giving my students the vocabulary they need to express their emotions, I have seen a major improvement in students who easily get over-excited, sad, and angry. Download these posters as a FREEBIE for your class!

Friday, January 12, 2018

We are embarking on learning about cultures from around the world. We are also learning about the people that sparked and drove the Civil Rights Movement. Today we ,made our hallway bulletin board with pictures inspired by Rosa Parks. She knew that everyone had a right to self respect. If we can teach this in Kindergarten, we will inspire our kids to know that they are just as important as every other person in the world.
“I would like to be remembered as a person who wanted to be free… so other people would be also free.”
-Rosa Parks 


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Mystery Science

Recently I was introduced to a program called Mystery Science. What I love about this program is that it follows all of the Next Generation Science Standards and makes it relevant for both teachers and students.

Mystery Science revolves around a man named Doug. He narrates the slide shows and includes stories, videos, and activities right into the slide show. The slide show even has directions for the kids to watch on HOW to do the activities. We have only completed the first couple of lessons, but I really wanted to share this site so that other teachers can check it out.

Right now it is free for teachers. I don't know if they will start charging at some point, but I suggest signing up.

It is a K-5 curriculum with 6 lessons in each unit.
There are a total of 3 Kindergarten units:
Weather Watching
Force Olympics
Plant and Animal Secrets

and a total of 3 First Grade Units:
Spinning Sky (Space)
Lights and Sound
Plant and Animal Superpowers

There are also seasonal lessons. Check it out!

All of the resources are directly in the program. Nothing costs extra. Check out our start on the Weather unit. We have become Weather Watchers and are learning how to check the weather.

Our 4 questions are:
1. What is happening in the sky?
2. What is the temperature?
3. Is it windy?
4. Is it raining?

My students really understood the direct instruction provided to them. We went outside and applied these questions to our learning. While you might think they just watch a video, they don't! The slide show consists of video portions and teacher read-aloud portions, movement and team talk portions, as well. Definitely engaging!
Check out our observations!

As you can see, it was 1) cloudy 2) cold 3) windy and 4) raining. I appreciated my students having the questions right in the corner of their paper to remind them what to look for.

We also created some art to go along with the second weather lesson, which was about storms. I chose to have the students paint, although Mystery Science suggested other activities as well.
While I am just getting started with Mystery Science, I have to recommend it to all who are looking for a good science curriculum. I will keeping you updated on how it goes.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Community Unit Part 1

My elementary school is an International Baccalaureate (IB) school. And we are part of the Primary Years Program (PYP) for IB. Each month we focus on a unit that fosters meta-cognition and global awareness. What does this mean at the Kindergarten level? 

Our first unit was a focus on self. What does it mean to be in school? This unit covered everything Kindergarten classes do at the beginning of the year: routines, rules, friendship, understanding, and patience. Our second unit is on Community.

We began our Community unit this week and are starting small. 
Our first question was: What is a community?  
We discussed our classroom community and tied it into our rules and routine. Then we made our self-portraits that now hang in the hall and remind us that we are a team and depend on each other.

 Our second lesson in community was on Neighborhoods. We learned that we have 3 neighborhoods that we could possibly be a part of: Rural, Suburban, and City. We are working through the unit by Karen Jones titled  Little Thinkers Social Studies Unit 4: Community

This unit it very well organized and takes students through meaningful lessons with PowerPoint presentations and activities that students love.
 We learned that many students in our class live in apartments.
We learned that some students live in a house. 
We also learned that some students live in a hotel as temporary housing. 

We celebrated every type of neighborhood and living arrangement as a way to understand that being part of the community it important, no matter where you live.

Next week we will learn about our neighbors and places in the community.
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