#NoOfficeDay - Kindergarten

#NoOfficeDay - Kindergarten

With the conclusion of my #NoOfficeDay in Kindergarten this past Friday, it serves as a reminder just how close we are to the end of the school year. I schedule my day in Kindergarten for the end of the year, because it just blows my mind, how far our students in Kindergarten have come since they entered our doors back in August. Each #NoOfficeDay I have, I walk away with a renewed appreciation for the teachers in our building and it serves a humble reminder how hard they work each day. At the end of Friday, I was reminded just how dang hard it is to be a Kindergarten teacher.

My day got started in the Science Lab with a group of aspiring scientists. The scientists were making hypotheses and predictions on whether or not specific materials would sink or float, focusing on the terms density and buoyancy. To activate the mind, our resident lab expert, Mrs. Gebhardt, led the students through a little dance and video demonstrating sinking and floating, in which I participated fully and then it was time to test the hypothesis.

Learning the dance routine to activate the brain
Scientists discussing their hypothesis

After the time in the lab, we headed back to the grade level for a special read along with yours truly. Ms. Hakari had briefed me prior to my appearance and provided me all of the necessary essentials I would need, including a lion puppet and the materials to make my very own Lion Hat. The letter of the day was L and of course L is for Lion! 

L is for Lion
With my Lion hat in place, students completed a KWL chart sharing what they knew and what they wanted to learn more about before we read our Lion story. The students were great as I read the story and were able to recall many of the facts as we reviewed what we learned to complete our KWL chart. 

Keeping with the reading theme, I traveled to see the students in Ms. Mootz's room. You will notice I do not have any pictures of my time with these students and there are two reasons for that. 

1. Ms. Mootz had me working HARD at the teacher table having her bilingual students read me stories in English about food, seeds, fruits and vegetables. 
2. I was blown away at our students abilities to not only read in English, but write complete sentences, in English about their favorite fruits and vegetables. 

May I add, the work our students have been doing in English Language Development (ELD) this year was evident as a couple of students were even self correcting their sentences changing is to are when appropriate! Absolutely amazing!!!

At this point I only had two rotations complete and was exhausted, but I had three to go and a whole bunch of students that were looking forward to seeing me, so I had to persevere! 

My third stop was with our other classroom of bilingual students! This may have been one of my favorite #NoOfficeDay activities in my three years at Sigler. (I am hoping my art work is still in the classroom where I left it, with my Lion hat). 

Students were in Integrated Curriculum and the learning target was about combining and mixing colors. Mrs. Brito set it up beautifully and allowed me to read the following story. 

Mixing colors to make new ones 
After our story the students had the opportunity to get messy and mix some colors of their own! (As if KN students need an opportunity to get messy) Students were so proud of their work!!

Mixing Primary Colors 

Our new colors: Orange, Purple and Green
(My favorite picture)
It was on to classroom #4 and all before recess, so if I was exhausted before I am running on pure emotion at this point! 

Ice cream was the motivator behind being in Ms. Dismukes classroom and if you haven't noticed, do you think literacy is important in KN? Each of the rooms I have been in thus far have been able to integrate a book into their lesson and this room would not be different. Even though it was a math lesson, we started with a terrific story about ice cream! 

The Ice Cream King
While we read the Ice Cream King, the students were busy thinking about what their favorite type of ice cream is, because we were about to create a pictograph representing the favorite ice cream flavors in the classroom, teachers included! The winner is....

Chocolate Wins! I should have known! 

As you can see in the picture above, students love their chocolate and after interpreting the data from the pictograph, which is a graph with pictures (that is what the students told me) they created a bar graph on their own. (A bar graph is a graph with candy bars stacked on top of each other. Sounds good to me) 

This math lesson incorporated it all. We started with a story, did some graphing, interpreting data and it ended with students doing a little writing about their reign as the Ice Cream King or Queen. 

The Ice Cream King

The Ice Cream Queen
I survived the morning! I made it to recess! 

I have known for sometime that our Kindergarten students love recess and they run all over the playground and take full advantage of the playground equipment, but it was not until this past Friday, that I realized Kindergarten recess is survival of the fittest. With students so excited to be outside, they have to be careful not to bump into each other. It was one accidental collision after the other. I felt as if I was a car on the tollway during rush hour traffic and I was doing my best just to get out of the way of others.

Surviving the morning was one thing, but surviving recess was just as difficult. I managed to escape with only a few minor bumps and bruises and arrived safely in the cafeteria for a little lunch and an opportunity to rest up for the home stretch! 

Biggest kid at the table, but I have the smallest lunch

After lunch I was re-energized and made it down to classroom #5 with Mrs. Davis. Again, I must apologize for the absence of pictures, but who has time to take pictures when you have two back to back groups at your teacher table with eight students in one group and nine in the other. (Hopefully some of the pictures Mrs. Davis took, captured our time together) 

I always have an appreciation for students who know their alphabet, but even more so when 5 and 6 year olds can go around the table reciting two, three and four letters at a time and not skip a beat. I am one of those guys who has to start with A and keep rolling, but they just pick up right where they need to be! 

With the brains being warmed up, we read a story about being fast! Before reading I needed the students help in identifying some animals that were going to be in our story. (Tortoise, squirrel, lady, lion, cheetah, giraffe, just to name a few) Once they were identified, students worked together to predict which was the fastest and slowest and the correct order in between. With a focus on the language development, I was provided a great sentence frame for the students to use. (__________ is faster than ________ & ________ is slower than _______.) At the end of our time, neither group was 100% right with their predictions, but they knew the tortoise was the slowest and the cheetah was the fastest. 

Our Kindergartners are working on their end of the year performance which is just around the corner so I was able to peek in on some of their rehearsal time.  Students were dancing, signing and signing and some were able to do it in English, Spanish and Sign Language! That is being tri-lingual folks!!!

Fun Friday - The World is a Rainbow

Panoramic View of Fun Friday

I ended my time in Kindergarten by accompanying them through their specials rotations. My first stop was in the Art Studio, with the ever talented Ms. Newsome! I was able to lend a hand and get some student art passed back out and assist with a couple of other house keeping duties before students were introduced to their lesson for the day. The piece below by Matisse served as their inspiration! 

After time in the studio, I hopped across the hallway into the fitness room. "What Does the Fox Say" was turned up and students were dancing their hearts out! Again, I could not resist and was able to participate fully, ending with a dance routine to the tune from Despicable Me! 

Being short of breath from the dancing, I slowly made my way into the gym where students were balancing their speed with agility and core strength as they balanced a bowling pin on a scooter as they pushed it back and forth across the gym floor trying to secure beanbags from the half court circle. I was able to "pay-back" some of the students for making me work so hard by targeting their bowling pins with some balls thrown right on target. If I was able to hit their pin off their scooter, they had to start over. I am way to competitive and probably should have taken it easy on them, but hey...Maybe next time! 

My final stop was in the music room, just in time for some old fashioned duck, duck, goose styled fun, but of course it was much more sophisticated than a traditional game of duck, duck, goose as the students sang under the direction of the talented Mrs. Caldwell. They sang, they played, they chased me around a circle and had an absolute blast incorporating games into their music class. 

I was exhausted at the end of the day, but honored to be a part of the Kindergarten team for the day. I will end just how I began, reminding myself with just how hard the job of a teacher has become and how a #NoOfficeDay can be a humbling reminder of their work with our students! 

So, if you know an administrator who has yet to schedule a #NoOfficeDay share this post with them and if necessary have them reach out to me! Yes, it is a challenge to schedule them, but I get them on the calendar during the summer and keep those days sacred. Nothing else gets scheduled on the days I am doing a #NoOfficeDay!