Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Dot and Growth Mindset in Kindergarten

I just spent the last 4 days meeting all of my new students. I am so happy my school lets kindergarten have a staggered start the first week of school. It is a little like the movie Groundhog Day but I really like getting to know my students and teaching rules and routines to a small group. They all come tomorrow and I am looking forward to bringing everyone together and starting our year!

Over the last two years I have had some professional development around the theory of  growth/fixed mindset. I am pretty lucky that nearly all kindergarteners come to school with a growth mindset. It seems to be what happens after they enter the school doors that changes their mindset. When I was planning lessons for the start of the year I came across this book and art idea on Pinterest. It is about a student who believes she can't draw but her art teacher encourages her by saying, "Just make a mark and see where it takes you." When I read that line, I knew I had to make it part of our kindergarten day. I read the book The Dot 4 times this week. Each time the students were able to see where the art teacher encouraged the student to try. We had some pretty great conversations about not giving up and never saying "I can't".  I was very impressed with my brand new kindergarteners. I plan to reference back to this lesson throughout the year when things get tough.
The students were so excited to get to paint on their very first day of kindergarten. I prepared the paper ahead of time by attaching a circle of to clear contact paper to the middle. In The Dot the art student explains that she once even made a dot by not making a dot at all. The students were pretty wowed by me peeling the circle on their papers.

It is so interesting to me that all the art is so different. I hung the art up right away so by today the Thursday group had many samples to look at but they all did their own thing.
For more information about Growth and Fixed Mindset you can watch this or visit this website.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Classroom Photos for 2015-16!

Welcome to my classroom. It is as "done" as it can be for our first day on Monday. 
 Our Daily Focus wall - I am still working on this. It is so hard for me to wrap my brain around logical goals and scales when the kids can't read them.
Anchor charts will go here eventually - This is where the writing supplies are kept for writing workshop and inside the cabinet are blocks.
I made this response board after seeing a blog post about a trip to a Pittsburg children's museum. I wasn't sure what the choices were- so I emailed the museum. The students will use magnets to indicate what they did that day. This goes along with our closing circle activities at the end of the day. 
                       Puzzle area and chalkboard

Safe Keeper box ready and waiting. We are so lucky to have staggered start in my district so I only have 4 students on Monday!
                          Meeting place and library

Song, poem, and Fundations handwriting grid ready and waiting.  Our essential question for the next few weeks is "What is a community".
Word Wall, Sensory Table with Reading Buddies underneath
My desk with all the materials for the week waiting.. Two bags of stuff to bring home and finish tonight!
I always make sure to find a little time each day to play. My daughters donated a few things to make this area a more exciting. 

      Writing center with dollhouse/puppets peaking in the back and mailboxes waiting for work!

I got this idea from kindercraze and schoolstyle - I love it!

Timeline waiting for some events! Supplies ready to go-
Here is the back of my room. I just love how this turned out!