Monday, January 4, 2016

Day 1 of Going Table-less(ish)

Alrighty folks. I did it. Last minute and all... Today was day 1 of going table-less and guess what?! It was a success. I totally went in pretty blind and making things up as we went along. It was a try & making adjustments kind of day but in a very good way.

First things first... I asked the students if they noticed anything different about our classroom and of course they noticed we were missing tables. I told them all about our wonderful new mats that I purchased so that they can choose where in the classroom they would like to work. We talked about how they could work in their group, in pairs or by themselves. I made it very clear that if they wanted to work with peers and another student asked to work with them that they couldn't tell them to go away. We talked about why we wouldn't do that and how it's not nice. We also talked about the right way to tell someone who wants to work with you if you'd prefer to work alone. There is a handful of friends who need extra reminders in this area usually, but guess what... those friends did not have those behaviour difficulties today. Talk about a proud teacher-momma day for me. :) Yes, I said teacher-momma. I guess I could actually say teacher-momma-nurse-counselor-etc. etc. 
Now I DID NOT let my kiddos choose their mat today. No mam'. No sir. I explained to them that next week I will let them choose their own mat but that this week I would hand them a mat. Of course they all said- You get what you get and you don't get upset. aka- You get what you get and you don't throw a fit. We discussed how during different activities they may end up with a different color mat and that it was okay. For example, we stopped working on center activities, cleaned up, went to music. When we came back from music the kiddos went back to work and picked a mat based on when I called their name and choosing the mat on the top. I did have one friend who just HAD to get the same colour (gray) mat that he had when he was first given his mat that morning and I went a head and let him. After trying to convince him to take the one on top for about a second I just let him pick a gray mat. 
I know how to pick my battles y'all. Heck, I was just happy he was willing and ready to get back to working on his center activities.

Before going table-less we used 5 tables and the students would start at their specific colour/shape table. I would set the timer for 10 minutes for them to complete their center activity. Once the timer rang the students knew to clean up & stand up. After all students were standing I would ding by bell and the students would move to the next table (counter clockwise in a circle). Now that we got rid of our tables most of our tables, I set up this system like you see above. I kept the students in the same colour coded group. 

Here's my step by step of our routine for centers with no tables:
I explain each of our 5 centers & show the students where they can find their materials. The 1st time before we began our centers I called each group one at a time to grab their materials and find a spot they would like to work. With that being said one of the center activities is my guided reading group where we read & create our sight word reader, so I had them go to the back carpet. Another center activity was the listening station so all of the kiddos didn't really get a choice as to where they would like to sit but I did explain that they could choose how they sat or laid to listen & follow along in their book. After the listening station was finished with the book then they could choose a book off the shelf to read/look at where ever they'd like. I set the timer to 10 minutes. When the timer went off I told the kiddos that they were to leave their mats on the floor while they cleaned up & put back all of the materials where they got them from. Then the kids picked up their mats, carried them with them back to our blue carpet. I noticed a few (very few) students roll up their mats to carry with them. Once everyone was on the carpet I bragged on the kiddos that I noticed who rolled up their mats. I said "Oh, what a wonderful idea. I bet that makes it easier to carry." What do you know... All of the kiddos suddenly rolled up their mats too. I did have two friends that decide to hit another kid with their mat & use it for a pretend gun. First I told them how proud I was of them that they worked so well on their mats. Then we had a little chat about how we should hold & use our new mats.
Before we began round 2 of center activities on our mats I pointed to each center activity card & asked them what they would be doing for each center. I chose one group at a time to get their materials & find a working space. Our clean up routine went a lot better the 2nd round.
Now folks for round 3,4 & 5 all I had to do was say, "Look for your name, get your materials & find a spot when I ding my bell." I couldn't believe how fantastic these kiddos did! They were wonderful!!! 

Our center activities for today were very simple. It included:
Guided Reading- sight word reader
Magnetic Boards
Math- Count, cut & paste activity
Listening Station
Word Word: build letters or sight words with play-doh, jewels or bingo dabbers.
Today was our 1st time introducing word work in our class. They did pretty good .We definitely need some work at using the bingo dabbers.

I think some of the kiddos do appreciate having the option to work alone at times when they want.

I was a bit worried about how eating snack & lunch would go. I really like how Greg @ Kindergarten Smorgasbord talked about how classmates are just like family and a community, and how a family may eat together at a table. I talked about how maybe they ate at a table with their family over the Christmas holiday and asked if they would like to eat together like a family but around our carpet. They loved this idea. I did have to remind a few of them to eat around the carpet and not on it. I was surprised at how less messy they were. Some days we have some very messy eaters. I did tell them that if they had something difficult to eat around the carpet then they could sit at the table for a bit (like soup).

There was only one thing that didn't go so well today and it's all my fault. I totally knew it would be a challenge when I woke up this morning and put on this outfit but it's a NEW outfit. I just had to. I try to wear something different to school everyday and when it's new you just have to wear it. Right? I still got down on the floor with the kiddos. I just wasn't able to sit cris-cross apple sauce is all. I am DEFINITELY wearing pants or leggings tomorrow!!!!

In a past post I mentioned how we are doing Zones of Regulation in my classroom. District wide actually. Well more like... every classroom is suppose to be doing it but I think we may be one of the few classrooms that actually does. Mainly because my friends REALLY need it. Like bad! 
Today we talked about being a good friend and a bad friend. We talked about how sometimes we all are a bad friend and do something to a friend that they don't like. We talked about what we do when we make those bad choices and how we might fix it. You can check out some lessons on Zones of Regulation HERE in the LL&M TPT store. Want to know more about Zones of Regulation? Learn more about Zones of Regulation here.

I held up a card. The kiddos told me what was happening in the picture. Then I called up a student to add the card to the Good Friend side or the Bad Friend side. Afterwards we reviewed each picture card.

Along with talking about good and bad friends I also introduced the kids to one of their Tools Reader. This reader talks about how sometimes they may get mad, angry or frustrated. In "I Can" sentences this reader tells them of things they can do when they get mad, angry or frustrated. Some examples include going for a walk, read a book, use a stress ball, etc. They just coloured one page of their Tools Reader. We will focus on one tool a day, talk about situations that would make them want to use that tool, if that tool is a good fit for them & then colour that page in their reader.

I did have a few (very very few) who wanted to sit or stand at a table to colour or write their name at some point in the day and I told them that it was perfectly okay. It's all about what works best for them at that moment.

This was just my Monday/Wednesday class so we will see how my Tuesday/Thursday class does with their first day of going table-less. :)

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