Sunday, June 7, 2015

Tips to a Kindergarten Teacher Linky Party!

Are you a new kindergarten teacher? Or an existing one, looking for some new ideas to help you manage your classroom? Well, you've come to the right linky!

After 19 years of teaching our youngest learners, I've got a few tricks up my sleeve to help my classroom run as smoothly as possible. Although this is a kindergarten linky, I use these same strategies with my first graders, as well.

We all know that modeling proper procedures is incredibly important for children of any age. However, sometimes, we tend to forget, that our youngest learners need us to model
 From what to do the second they enter the classroom, to how to pack up for dismissal, and everything in between. 

And don't expect to model it once or twice and think they've got it down pat. It takes days and days and, for some classes, weeks and weeks, of modeling and reminding, until you can finally sit back and be a guide on the side. 

If you've done it right, then after about 2 months of school, your students should be able to run the classroom without you. And make sure to tell them this, because this information will empower them. Tell everyone who enters the classroom that your class practically runs itself because your students know how to do everything and find everything with or without you.

Teach your students how to be in charge of your classroom, so if the telephone rings, or someone comes into your classroom and needs to talk to you, or a child has an accident and needs your attention, or, and this is my favorite, if you just need a few minutes to blow your nose or find something you misplaced, your class will not fall to pieces. 

I always have a leader of the day, so at a moments notice, if necessary, I can tell him/her to line the children up or call them quietly to the carpet or tell them a joke to keep them entertained.

I never, ever worry that my class will lose control if I don't pay attention to them 100% of the time. And we all know that if we let our guard down, even for a split second, we run the risk of a mutiny. These children know when we are weak and will not hesitate to take advantage of that.

So, in short, if you model, incessantly, every little procedure, no matter how mundane, you will be a very happy teacher, who works smarter, not harder. 

I sing everything! From reminding my students to put their name and date on their paper, to telling them it's clean up time, I sing, sing, sing. 

Pick a catchy tune, like Row, Row, Row Your Boat, or Frere Jacques, and run with it! Or, make up your own tune. Your students will sing with you while completing the chore, making it a fun time, with no distractions or interruptions. Singing songs about the alphabet and letter sounds and other skills and concepts you teach will really help it sink in. 

I still remember songs from when I was young, and I mean in the 80s! And why do I remember all the words to these songs, but I can't remember where I left my car keys on any given day? Because the tunes are catchy and they get stuck in your head and you can't help but remember them even if you haven't sung them in years. I think there's a part of our brain that is just for remembering songs and jingles and it's always there, whether you sing it all the time or hardly ever.

So sing. 
Sing a song. 
Make it simple
 to last your whole life long.
Don't worry that it's not good enough
for anyone else to hear.
Just sing.
Sing a song.

These lyrics are so true. Because if you don't keep the song simple, then you'll always forget the words. I learned that the hard way! And even if you're not the greatest singer or if you're downright awful, don't worry. Your students will love your voice no matter what.

My classroom is not only a singing room, it's also a Whole Brain Teaching room. If you're not familiar with Whole Brain Teaching, then use your summer vacation to learn some of their techniques because they are wonderful at getting your students' attention. Even if you have other classes in your classroom and it is very noisy, WBT signals will work. Here are some of my favorite signals. 

Teacher: Class, dear class!
Students: Yes, dear, yes!

Teacher: Classity, classity!
Students: Yessity, yessity!

Teacher: Oh class!
Students: Oh yes!

And the list goes on and on. Read up on Whole Brain Teaching techniques because they really help make your day fun. I have some blog posts here on WBT.

I LOVE my timer! I couldn't possibly live without it. I even keep extra batteries in my classroom so I'm always ready to replace them if they die. Here are some of the ways I use my timer...

1. I challenge the children to clean up or complete an independent activity before the timer rings.

2. I set the timer so I know when to end an activity if I am in a time crunch.

3. If I need some peace and quiet or I want my students to work silently, I tell them it's time for "3 quiet minutes." And then I set it for 10 minutes! LOL! 

If I didn't set my timer all day long, my classroom would be a mess, my activities would go on forever, and my students would never have any quiet time.

So, there you have it! Four tips for you from someone who has been teaching a really, really long time. These tips work and will definitely help keep you sane as you teach our youngest learners.

Check out these links below from some amazing K teachers and see their tips.
{And if you are new to K, you now have a TON of Kindergarten teachers to follow!}


  1. Love my timer too! I use the clock/timer app on my iphone since I carry it around the room for Plickers, audio notes to myself or Class Dojo. :) Love your post!

  2. Great tips! I have just started digging into WBT and can't wait to incorporate it more next year!

  3. Replies
    1. I have the Lux Minute Minder. Can't live without it! :)

  4. Totally agree with you that modeling is SO important! Taking the extra time to model everything definitely pays off when students become so much more independent because they know exactly what to do and what is expected of them. Thanks for sharing your tips!!
    ~Heather :)

    Recipe for Teaching

  5. I used Whole Brain Teaching Rules but not the signals. I definitely need to try them for the coming school year! Thanks for sharing!
    I Heart My Kinder Kids


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