First Week!

Hello from the great beyond......well ok, it's just feels like I've passed over. I have been dead tired this week. Summer is such a tease. During summer I'm always so full of energy, stay up till 3a.m. without a worry in the world.

 Then reality sets in during the first week back in school. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my job....but first week in kindergarten is R-O-U-G-H! But I am a

 S U R V I V O R !!!!!

I did want to share some first week pics with you! We are well on our way to becoming independent learners.......

I'm always asked, "How do you start centers at the beginning of the year? What's the process?"

The pictures below show our "table centers" on Day 3 in my kinder class. "Table centers" are actually toys and games that will later be used during inside recess time (for rainy/cold days).....I use these items as my beginning of the year "table centers" because they are a great transition activities from items that children would normally play with AND it gives me an opportunity to show the kiddos how to use these materials.

 (Here the kids were building circles and triangles)......It's amazing what kids will do with materials even when given no directions. This is a great reason why kid-watching is such an important thing for kinder teachers to do. Think about what I can already tell about this little girl. She not only has a good understanding of circles and triangles. She understands how to put pieces together to create circles and triangles. She then proceeded to tell me the circles were like the letter o and also the number zero (she knows they are different).... She also told me the triangles were like capital A's. Good job, sweetie!

 (Here the kids were actually using the legos to build letters. This was the letter T before it got broken.....) One child kept fumbling the pieces and "breaking" the letters. He didn't mean to, but his fine motors skill seem to be lacking... Again....the wealth of info kid-watching gives you is incredible.

(I had to take pic of this one because it shows this boy beginning to sort the pipe pieces.....He was only using the straight pieces. It's just an easy thing to overlook, but it tells me he is ready for sorting and patterning. :0)

I use "table centers" because they are easy activities that the kids enjoy doing. It also  gives me the opportunity to teach my procedures which will later help during normal center time. I want to help the kids gain a sense of "we do this activity in this area" and then we will switch and do a different activity. 

My table center rules are:
1. I must stay in my spot.
2. I must share.
3. I must keep the materials on the table.
4. I must clean up when I hear the Tidy Up song (by Dr.Jean - I swear it is the BEST song to teach kids to clean up even if it does drive me crazy).

When kids clean up their center - they must sit at their table with their heads down - ready to listen for directions. They are learning well and we are almost there with this!

In addition to table centers, I begin introducing regular centers that are "almost play" centers, but will become a regular part of our center time -- good bridge between "table center" activities and regular centers. Yesterday, I introduced the sand table. This is the first center in which kids are NOT at their tables. I also use duct tape boxes around the centers to define the area and give kids a good visual of where they can and cannot be. 
 (See, you can see a little bit of the blue duct tape in the lower left corner.)

Today, I introduced the home center and the kids were SUPER excited. Home center is ALWAYS a big hit! Again, I will place a duct tape border around this center to help define the area and let kids know where their center begins and ends.

Tomorrow, we will learn more about the building center....By the end of the first week I will have taught and the kids will have practiced going to all the "play centers". I do believe in their important in the kindergarten curriculum. They are a great addition to all the purely "academic"centers we will be learning this year! 

How do you start teaching center procedures at the beginning of the year?

Oh, and I had to show you a couple pics of my table at the end of the first day of school. I'm sure you can empathize! :0)

It really was clean at the beginning of the day.... You can see my bag of marshmallow on the right side.....they go with my Marshmallow Mouth - Marshmallow Toes lesson HERE!


  1. I love the idea of table centers, in the UK, I call them simply the maths/ science... tables, but you seem to have a much more structured system. I tend to ask the children to chose an activity and then they can change whenever they want to. DO your children work in rotation with time allocated?

  2. I was just telling my friend who is a kinder teacher that I don't know how you all do it. I know that I'm beyond exhausted with the beginning of first grade. I can only imagine how kindergarten teachers feel! :)
    Learning Is Something to Treasure

  3. Welcome back! I love how you did those centers and learned so much about your students. Seems like a very fun learning environment!

    Pixy Stix and Teacher Tricks

  4. We do sort of feel like Survivor's (my favorite show) those first few days! I loved seeing pictures of your centers.
    Conversations in Literacy

  5. I too spend the first week introducing our free choice centers and expectations during workshop time. Then they experiment with the ones we've introduced when it's their plan time. And since you can't be everywhere at once, they need to have something that they know how to do successfully. Now, in our second week, I'm working in one center each week, setting expectations for Daily Five.

  6. Looks like the kids had fun with those hands on activities! Also, I posted about the giveaway! Thank you for participating!!!!
    Apples and ABC's

  7. Love your comment about being a survivor. I think all kindergarten teachers are. :)

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  8. How many centers did you have out this week? I saw 6 centers: circles and triangles, legos, pipe pieces, sand table, homed center, and building center. How long is each rotation and how many students are at each center?