Sunday, August 17, 2014

First Days of School!!!

We survived the first two days of school!  I always forget just how HARD the first few days weeks of school are!  The kiddos are so little and really have no idea what is going on. If another adult was in my room they would probably go crazy because I am explaining how to do EVERYTHING all day long - this is how we line up, this is how we sit down, this is how we hang up our backpack, etc. That first day of procedures makes for a very long and overwhelming day for the kiddos and myself but it's totally worth it. I already saw progressed on day two! Here is what our two days at school looked like:

Day 1: 
Every teacher is on every duty the first two weeks (well week and half since start on a Thursday) to ensure procedures are taught and routine are learned. The first day of school all K teachers were in the hallway ready to meet our kiddos! In our building, K students sit in the hallway outside of their classroom in the morning before school starts. My class was amazing! I only had 2 criers! :)

When the bell rang and we said goodbye (and goodbye and goodbye and goodbye...) to mommies and daddies, we jumped right in learning our morning routine. We made this chart together and worked through the steps one at a time. 

I modeled for students how and where to hang up their backpack and put their folders. We then worked on making our lunch choices. 

Our WONDERFUL OT's have worked hard to make us any visuals we need in the classroom. We use a lot of Boardmaker pictures (very simple and direct pictures that give students and very clear picture of what to do - good for students with Autism and all students in general!) The pictures from my morning routine chart and the food choice pictures were all made using Boardmaker. 

After we made it through our lunch choices, it was time for morning work. I went with my dough. For more on that see below!!!

After a quick bathroom break and our first recess, we came back inside and went to the cafeteria to practice our lunchtime procedures.  We then returned to our classroom to discuss good and poor choices and our classroom rules.  We read the story David Goes to School (always a classic!) and did a good/poor choices sort.  This always starts a great discussion of what is and is not appropriate at school.

 You can get this FREE sort from Mrs. Ricca's Kindergarten HERE.

We had lunch, recess, and rest time, then went to specials - yay for music!  The rest of the afternoon we completed our calendar and worked on identifying letters using our ABC chart and had another recess.  Before I knew it, it was time to go home!!!

Day 2:

Our morning routine took HALF the time it did on Day 1!  Progress!  Only one kiddo cried and it wasn't as long!  :)

We started our day off right with our calendar and our Dr. Jean songs.  The kiddos LOVED them!  We practiced our ABC chart and then read the story No David!  We reviewed our rules and the good/poor choices sort.  To prepare for our next activity (a craft), we used this glue dot sheet from the Moffatt Girls Back to School NO PREP Math and Literacy Pack (Kindergarten).  It was a GREAT way to practice the rule "A dot does a lot!"  We then headed to recess!

After recess, we sat down for our first real project - making David!  My Kinders were SO.  EXCITED!  It was easy to see the level of fine motor skills each kiddo had and what we need to work on!  It was also great practice following directions!  I love how each one turned out a little different!

Grab this FREEBIE from Fall Into First HERE!

This took activity took us right up to lunch, recess and rest time (the days FLY by!).  We went to specials (PE!!!!) and recess then came in to finish up our day. We began work in our "All About Me" flip books! 

These sweet little books are from Regan Tunstall (get them HERE) and I love them! I've decided we are going to take it slow filling these out so today we just talked about the book and write our name.  We then had a little bit of time to color them. We will fill out one page a day until they are finished!  After writing, we packed up and got ready for dismissal. 

So that's it! Those are my first two days of school!  Whew! I'm exhausted just typing that up!  Yeesh!

Now let's talk about how play dough saved my first day of school. Literally. It saved it. 

When I received my class list I noticed two things - I have a large quantity of very young children in my room and I have a larger number of children than I usually have with speech/language IEPs or some sort of developmental delay.  I knew that I wanted to do something the first day that would capture and hold the majority of my students interest.  Play dough was an easy solution. Most children enjoy play dough and are familiar with it (most of them) and it would be something fun to get their hands busy (i.e. off each other and other things in the room).  When I mentioned my plans to two of my other colleagues I got the "Really? Have you lost your mind?" look. But I was determined! 

My mother in law actually helped me by making my play dough for me the night before (while I laminated, labeled, sorted, freaked out, etc.). I have a recipe that I have been using for YEARS and it's the absolute best. I'm not exactly sure the original source so if you do please let me know so I can give credit!!!

Kool-Aid Play Dough

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup salt
3 tsp. oil
2 pkgs. kool-aid
2 cups boiling water

Mix dry ingredients together, add oil, then water.  Mix and knead until smooth. 

We made a red (strawberry) batch, a purple (grape) batch and a green (green apple) batch. They smelled so yummy! After we finished going over our morning routine, each child received a ball of play dough to work with while I did attendance and lunch count. It was amazing. All kids were engaged! Remember my two criers? I told them I would give them play dough when they were finished crying and had put their backpacks away. And they did! My little one with Autism (who up to this point had refused to look at me or talk to me) built and sculpted the entire time and even got up to show me what he made! (A picture of himself and a birthday cake!) I didn't regret the play dough decision for a second and I'm even planning on using it next week! 

To begin working on name recognition and letter identification, I created some fun play dough cards for my kiddos to use!!! Students will use play dough to build their names, letters and count! Here is my Madilynn testing it out! 

I made an EDITABLE pack for you to use in your room too! Click on the picture below to check it out!  All you have to do is type in your students' names, print, laminate and cut apart - good to go!!! I am super excited about this product because I KNOW my students are going to love it!  It's also 20% for the first 48 hours so I hope you love it too!  :)

I've got a busy week ahead planned and I can't wait to get started!  I'll be posting updates throughout the week of what we are working on!
Happy New School Year!



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