Here is a list of must reads for every new to K teacher! Are you going to be teaching Kindergarten next year for the first time? Welcome to the world of Kindergarten. No one can even understand all the joy and hard work that goes into teaching Kindergarten until they actually do it. It is the HARDEST, most rewarding job that you will love.
Now is the time teachers are learning they will be moving to Kindergarten for the first time, or maybe returning to K after teaching other grades. I thought it would be helpful to provide you will a one stop post to answer any, if not all of your questions concerning teaching Kindergarten. The ultimate goal is your knowledge, comfort, and to get a jump start to make this year, your Kindergarten teaching year, a success.
Plan for the Year at a Glance
First, you to find out if your school has a curriculum map. If they do, use that. If they do not. Make one. It is a breakdown of each standard you will teach week by week. It will be your road map and pacing guide for the upcoming year. You can look at my map from 2016-2017 school year here. This map will be changing some for the upcoming school year, so I do not have that map ready yet. I am still waiting on the final shuffling of the county’s guidelines. Best yet, you can work on this from home.
Next, I think it is important to create a tentative schedule. You can look at mine here. Now, this schedule isn’t going to be set in stone, but it should give you an idea of each part of your day as well as how much time you will be spending in each part of the day. I recommend getting a tentative schedule from your co workers to start with before you set up your room. Why? I want you to wrap your brain around math time and where you will want to store you math materials. Also think about reading time and where a good location for a class library needs to be.
Now that you know what you will be teaching, lets look at what formats you can use to teach. My county requires Daily 5 and I personally love it. YES… you can do daily 5 in Kindergarten. We even have a book study here on Daily 5.
Why Do I Daily I
Self Management Necklaces
You can check out how I teach my students to self monitor their choices during Daily 5 here with necklaces. I have used this system for 5 years and it works amazing for 99.9% of my kinders.
Choice Board in K
I also use a choice board for my students to make self selected choices during Daily 5. I promise you that taking this leap towards independence REDUCES behaviors in my classroom year after year.
Now, let move on to what is more interesting, but also involves a trip to school… Wall decor. Once you know what you are teaching and in what order, deciding what you need on your walls is a great step to move forward. Keep your walls simple but showcase what you will use all year. And if you it right the first time, you will get to keep it up for years and years to come.
Finally, we can move onto room prep now. You may not be able to do a LOT of this over the summer, but grab some times and tricks to be fully prepared now. I have another post about Preparing for Kindergarten here as well which goes into more detail about the thought process by where and why I put things where I do.
A staple in almost every Kindergarten classroom is calendar time, or morning meeting. I won’t lie… some Kindergarten teachers are taking it out of their day, but many are continuing to use it. I simply love calendar time and I can’t wait for you to check out this post to read all this information about how to cover so many standards and to have FUN with this time of the day.
7. Phonics and Letter FUN
Now, one of the most critical subjects you will teach is phonics. Check out these posts of phonics made fun as well as the ABCs of Letter Order Fun. Remember your curriculum map will help you organize phonics skills and which letters you teach in which order, but you get to add engaging games, fun activities, and memorable art projects to bring these lessons to life.
Additionally, center time is simply the best time of the day. I do centers separately from reading groups, but you can do it any way you want to.Check out ways you can make center time a HUGE success in your classroom to review and master skills, but also as remediation and as learning accelerate. (Think spiraling review.)
9. Sight Words
A huge component in teaching Kinders to read is teaching them sight words! Here is a breakdown on how I teach sight words to my students. Keep in mind the minimum sight word requirement for your area. For my county it was 100 words to go to 1st grade but now it is changing to a minimum of 200, although they would like closer to 300. Students can not advance reading levels without knowing sight words. If you need more specific sight word help, I have a FREE online webinar all about sight words! You can check that out here.
Finally, what about that first week of school? I know that has you sweating already. We can set you up for success with that as well. Here is a freebie art project that I do each and every year on the first day. As a matter of fact, we use it for the cover of our scrapbook as well. The first lesson every single Kindergarten teacher uses the first few weeks of school involves procedures and rules. Check out this post about School Rules that will be a HUGE time saver.
Kindergarten is a true and complete blessing to teach. Be forewarned; you will work harder than you ever thought possible. You will love them more than you ever knew. You will see them grow more than you will ever see another student grow. And then you will give them up to another grade knowing you were the teacher who taught them to read. 🙂