Friday, May 18, 2018

Diary of a First Year Kindergarten Teacher: 13th Entry

Thursday, September 11
Dear Diary,

Another hectic day, I'm exhausted.

I did get a few major things accomplished that I'm pleased with:
*The anchor chart with the rules and consequences was written and discussed during our first large group meeting this morning. (Miss Mary was there for that.)
*We practiced walking in the classroom and lining up.
*We read The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn, and then the children traced their hands, decorated them, and drew a heart in the center. (Ramona Johnson and Christopher Matthews ripped theirs apart.) The others look cute on the wall outside the classroom. 

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  A few drawbacks that I'm concerned with are:

*Ramona Johnson threw the box of materials I made for her.         
It nearly hit another student in the head. When I removed the box, Ramona screamed, threw herself on the floor, and wrapped her arms around my calves.         
It was difficult to get her off of me and I almost fell.
*Rafael Cruz was angry because he thought another child was bothering him.
This wasn't the case. The child was simply looking at him.
I tried to explain this to Rafael but he didn't want to hear it. He ran away from me and pulled down the curtain hanging in the window.
*Devon Wilson grew angry when I didn't keep calling on him during the real-aloud of The Kissing Hand.
I told him that I had to give other children a chance to speak but he just turned around in his spot mumbling, and ignored me.
*Christopher Matthews seeks negative attention. All day long he pestered his classmates, talked incessantly, and fell out of his chair.
A lot of the children laughed when he fell out of his chair. Naturally, this encouraged him to keep doing it, until I took his chair and made him stand for a few minutes.
When I gave it back to him, he was falling out of it again within five minutes.
The other students were of course watching all of these behaviors and taking them in. Some were startled by the angry outbursts, others were afraid.
Each outburst was a total distraction that jeopardized my lessons. I was able to rein most of the students back in with a finger play or a clapping song, but it took a lot of effort.
To reward the positive behaviors of the other children throughout the day, I gave out lots of stickers and verbal praise. They were very excited, however, some of the children who didn't get stickers had tantrums.
I'm thinking of starting personal sticker charts for the students with challenging behaviors. I'm not sure what to do about Christopher and his chair. I'll sleep on it.

How do you handle difficult behaviors in your classroom?

Thursday, May 10, 2018

A Field Trip To Pennsylvania's Crystal Cave

A Little Background Information

 A field trip to Crystal Cave would be the perfect culmination to a unit on geology or inspiration for a creative writing essay. It definitely stirred up some story ideas for me. As a fantasy enthusiast, I couldn't help imagining wizards and dwarves inhabiting the halls of glistening rock. 

Discovered in 1871, Crystal Cave is a natural spectacle of marvelous stone formations that have evolved over thousands of years. 

Our guide called this, 'The Upside Down Ice-Cream Cone'.

Under a display of carefully placed lights, students can view stalactites, stalagmites, flowstone, rimstone and other visual wonders, up close and personal, as long as they don't touch anything. Human hands diminish the luster of the stone.

 The 50-55 minute tour begins with a short film on the history of the cave. Immediately after, a knowledgeable guide walks you through the cave, pointing out stones molded into magnificent sculptures by the hand of time.

After the tour there are other activities, like miniature golf and panning for gemstones, that students can do. There is also an ice-cream parlor and a gift shop to purchase souvenirs and specimens from around the world.

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Information for Teachers

If you teach young children, I would recommend, if possible, assigning each student their own escort. Concrete steps with steel railings cross over openings and enclosures that I found to be steep.
I spoke with an associate of Crystal Cave who informed me that Kindergarten is the youngest grade to visit the facility. He believed students younger than that may not fully appreciate or understand the presentation.
Be sure to advise parents to dress their children in walking shoes and a light jacket for the tour. It's 54 degrees in the cave all year long!
            There are picnic tables available for lunch and snack.  
            They have special rates for schools, camps, and other organizations.
            Their contact number is 610-683-6765.

Children's Books On Rocks and Minerals:   (I found these on Amazon.)


Educational Resources

             Lakeshore, Becker's, and U.S.Toy have some wonderful rock and mineral items for students and teachers.
             I also found some incredible ideas for rocks and minerals on Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers.
             What lessons and activities do you do when teaching a geology unit to your students?