Are you changing grades or schools into a Kindergarten class?
Or are you just looking to start this upcoming school year with a fresh game plan?
- Can I see the curriculum map? Most school systems and individual schools have a scope and sequence or a curriculum map to guide and pace the year. This is a big picture glimpse of when themes are taught. This should cover the entire school year. This guide breaks down any letter sequences, standards, and math skill taught. You should also see when assessments are given. For example, my school gives the baseline assessments within the first 10 days of school. We also have to complete our state evals by a certain day in the beginning of May. We also break down which standards are being assessed which nine weeks. This gives me a great short term as well as long term guide to pacing. (And YES I will upload my new curriculum map as soon as we finalize it. 🙂 )
- What does the daily schedule look like? Ask your other teachers to see their schedules. It is reassuring to get a glimpse of when computer, music, PE, or other activities take place. It helps to know when lunch time and recess occur. We also like to see what teaching time we are left with. I would advise you to not make an actual schedule just yet. (You should wait until closer to the school year for that when EIP, IEP, and other schedules are finalized.) Here is a look at my daily schedule last year. It mostly likely WILL change during pre-planning when I get the list of students and their services. I am usually special ed collaborative teacher. I have been for the last 8 out of 12 years at least. )
- How many students can I have in my class? This is a critical question you need to know. You must make sure each student has a seat, cubbie. or carpet place accordingly. A few years ago my class limit was 20. Now it is 24. Each and every teacher had to add cubbies and a table to make room for those students. We also had to know increase a center activity or daily 5 slot to make room the extra students we projected to have.
- How can I contribute towards the team? Everyone, even those with no experience have a new perspective and new ideas towards a grade level and team. Check out the team dynamics. Ask your team mates to give you a responsibility like newsletter, copies, or homework. Take the duty or responsibility that no one else really wants to do. No one in my new school wants to do car rider duty. So guess who was on car rider duty the entire school year voluntarily? Yep… me. I didn’t love it, but I knew being a team player was helping out.
- What are the expectations of the parents and co workers? Find out if the parents expect lots of parent communication or certain activities to be done each year. Find out what the grade level above you expect from your students. Also ask if you can and should decorate outside your classroom. Should you walk your students into the lunch room or leave them at the door? Some administration love seeing technology being used my the students while others want to see lots of small group activities and differentiation. It is also good to gain a perspective on behaviors that are and are not tolerated per grade level or school. You would be shocked to learn the differences in actions and consequences from school to school.
It doesn’t hurt to look in each of their rooms for basic decor or display ideas as well as material they swear by!
Compliment them away at what you like and share some tips of your own.
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