Monday, August 11, 2014

Exploring the Classroom

Hey everyone!  It's Alison from Ms. Lilypad's Primary Pond.  I can't believe it's back to school time again!  The summer just flew by.  Today I have a quick idea to help make planning for your first few days of school easier.

I have taught PreK through 2nd grade, and one thing I've discovered about the little ones is that they are always so CURIOUS about what you have in the room!  When I taught PreK and K, I had a lot of "stuff" in my classroom - blocks, counting bears, markers, etc.  I found that one of the best things you can do in the first few days of school is to let the kiddos explore that "stuff" - because they are dying to check it all out!

During the first few days of school when I taught Kinder, I wanted to teach the kids how to work in centers.  I needed to be able to focus on teaching routines and procedures, so I couldn't have them doing any real challenging "academic" work.  This is a perfect opportunity to let them explore your materials!  I would briefly introduce a certain type of material, we would talk about how to use it appropriately, and then I would add it to a center.  I would add just a few things each day so as not to overwhelm the kids.  Then, while they were in their centers, I could focus on helping them learn the routines and procedures, rather than worrying about whether or not they were doing an academic task correctly.  The photo above is actually not from the beginning of the year - I would let the kids explore play dough freely at first, and then not until later in the year would I expect them to do something "academic" with it (i.e. make the shape of a circle, as pictured).

When I taught 2nd grade, to allow them to explore the room, I set up a scavenger hunt.  I had a list of some items in my room, I paired the kids up, and then I had them explore.  They had to draw a picture of each item and write a brief note about where it was in the classroom.  This was way more interesting for them than listening to me talk about our classroom materials!

Make planning easier on yourself - let the kids explore the materials during the first few days of school!  I guarantee they will love it, and you will be able to spend time teaching routines and procedures!

Happy teaching!



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