Emmett painted this picture of walking into school on the first day.
Do you see the sun? That came straight from Emmett’s heart.
Yes, there was even more that happened over the first days of school. On our science table there is an old and very heavy book about Earth. The photos are fascinating, all taken from above. A child was lugging the heavy book to the floor to see the photos.
Heavy and old is definitely cool.
I asked, “Do you want to see the photos? Let’s play “The ‘Stop Game’ and see our planet Earth.”
Seizing the moment is what I do, because it’s the opportunity for some of the best teaching. So, we played ‘The Stop Game’. I fan the pages of the book, and children yell out “Stop!” Whatever that page happens to be, I stop. That’s the page we study and learn about. All week, this book has been a huge hit. The Stop Game is also perfect for poetry books.
We have one ‘Big Book’ in the classroom this first week, “Anno’s Counting Book.” It’s a classic. The children love it!
A child was dragging the book across the floor to look at the pages (and count) when I said, “Wait! You won’t believe what I have!” I pulled out my own copy of the book. Connor couldn’t believe there was a big one and a little one. He insisted on going through every page together to see if they were all the same.
These are the important moments in teaching. They’re not planned. They just happen. And if I don’t pay attention and do something, I have lost a great teaching opportunity. If I follow the children, they are empowered. They want to learn more.
This is a djembe (pronounced jem-bay), an African drum.
This week we learned about its construction, how to make different sounds, and we played the beat of the syllables in our names. Then, we did something really fun – we went to the doorway of other classes and ‘serenaded’ them with the “Goodnight Moon” rap. Reciting the words while playing the djembe is very popular. Other classes loved it!
We weren’t able to go outside as our playground is still under some construction. Besides serenading other classes, moving and dancing, we used scooter boards up and down the hallway. This was hard work, great upper body strengthening, and of course fun. Children who were waiting for a turn cheered their classmates along as they zoomed on scooter boards.
Oh, we also tackled our first 60-piece puzzle. It took two days to put it together, and we never gave up. The whoops and hollers when we finally connected the last piece felt good.
Can you tell we have already adjusted? Children are now familiar and comfortable with their new school. They know all the ins and outs of routine and where things are. It feels good.
And then Eddie asked, “Jennie, where is Gloria going to sit?” Oh my! Gloria wasn’t at school this first week. I thought it might be too much. Leave it to children to notice and want to make their new home complete, with Gloria.
I love all you are doing, together, with these kids 💜
Thank you, Ritu. 🥰
So cute- love his picture
It will be one of my keepers, for sure! 💕
A fun-filled first week, Jennie I love how you pick up on every opportunity to teach so spontaneously they are the best moments…tell Emmett his painting is beautiful and such a lovely colour my favourite…xx
Thank you, Carol! I will tell Emmett. 🥰
I agree with Eddie. “Where’s Gloria?” was my first thought too!
Exactly! Boy, did that question catch me off guard. So, we looked all around the classroom. Eddie was right, there’s no place for her to sit. We have a corner by the window beside my book cabinet that will hold a tall stool, like a bar stool. My assistant teacher has one, so when Gloria makes her entrance tomorrow, we’ll be ready. I think she’s going to be scared of the new school, don’t you? She’ll need a lot of reassurance tomorrow. 🙂
What, no Gloria??!! I’m sure she will love the school just as much as you all! I love the Stop Game in books and that is just how I read poetry books! Ahh … Connor is so bright and it’s great how he wanted to make sure every single page was the same as the smaller book! As for play time, what fun! Did you have a go?! 😀
Gloria joins the new school tomorrow. We found a corner where she can sit and look out the window, so fingers crossed she won’t be too scared tomorrow. 🙂 I really like the Stop Game for poetry, as it holds children’s attention. And Connor is a delight! No, I didn’t try the scooter boards… I would never have been able to get back up! Haha! 😀
I used to love the big heavy books as a child. They always seemed very ‘important’ if they were huge!
Best wishes, Pete.
Yes! I think that’s a big part of the book’s popularity. Best to you, Pete.
There is now much more light in the rooms, and one can see how useful the also won new space is. Oh yes, reading the posting about the opening day, i had missed Gloria too. Seems next week needs to be Gloria’s revival. 😉 Best wishes, Michael
The light is glorious in this wonderful new space. Gloria will be back tomorrow!! 🙂
Beautiful Post, Jennie. I love all these activities. 😁
Thank you, John. Much appreciated. 😊
Lovely Post! I think the most important thing to instil in children is curiosity. An engine that drives learning.
Well said, Pam! Thank you.
glad the transition went smoothly. just think of how much this will help any of your students whose families move to understand that it is different, but the love is the same. teachable moments are so key in education and often so over looked. glad you found a spot for Gloria
Thanks, Lori. Yes, I do think this will help children down the road if they ever move. Love is the glue that holds it all together.
Children adapt so quickly. Of course, they would remember that Gloria was not there. I do hope she shows up soon. Glad the first week went well in the new surroundings.
They really do, Darlene. You would think nothing surprises me after all these years. I think that’s the beauty of teaching and children. Gloria arrives tomorrow! Stay tuned. I think she will be scared and worried, and might need extra TLC. 🙂
I really want to go back to school and be in your class, Jennie. I hope these kids never lose their enthusiasm for learning.
Awww… thanks Dan. I do wish you could be in my class. When the whole COVID thing is over, you can visit and bring your hand tools to show the children. Then we can set up a woodworking table. That will keep the enthusiasm for learning going. Wait! We’ll call you Dan the tool man. 😀
Haha – I’d love to do that.
That is wonderful! And thank you. As long as you don’t mind the drive to Groton, Dan the Tool Man can visit next school year (when we can have guests and COVID is gone). I am so excited! And think of the many doors you will see along the way. 🙂
What a wonderful week! Gloria will be in her glory when she arrives next week… We live best when we do it through the eyes, minds and hearts of the children! 💞 xo
Thank you, Bette. Gloria will certainly be excited tomorrow, probably a little worried too. Yes, when we live through children, we are at our best. 💕
I wish my own Kindergarten year had been as happy as that of your class. This is wonderful and I’m sure they love coming to school. It’s so important to get a good start. They’ll remember this year their whole lives.
Aww… thank you, Anneli. I always feel sad when someone (like you) has had a bad or unhappy year at school. A good start is tremendously important. They may not remember specifics, but hopefully they’ll remember how good they felt. Gee… that’s much like what Maya Angelou said. 🙂
That was a bad year for me, but I had many good years too and those made me want to become a teacher. It’s the good teachers I remember most (and one or two bad ones). Yes, it’s how they make us feel that leaves the impression.
Yes!! I’m glad you had many good teachers along the way.
That is a very happy painting from Emmett! I’m glad to hear that you and the chilren are settling into the new space so well. I’m sure that Gloria will feel right at home when the time is right for her to join you.
Thank you, Liz. They are definitely settling in. Children are far more resilient and able to adapt than we are. Emmett’s painting shouts ‘happy’ all over. Gloria will return today, so fingers crossed she’s okay. 🙂
You’re welcome, Jennie. Even if Gloria is having some struggles, I’m sure the children will help her overcome them.
Oh, they did! It was wonderful. Stay tuned. 🥰
I love the scooter boards. This afternoon on our walk we passed our neighbor sitting outside on a lawn chair wrapped in woolens watching her two year old happily playing in the sawdust with his trucks. What a great mom to know how important it is to be outside. I know you value that so much with your kids too.
Hooray for that mom! Scooter boards take some upper body strength to move one along, which is a good thing for children. The muscles develop from the core outward. So a child can’t write or do Legos very well (small motor) until s/he can do a scooter board or pump a swing (large motor). We teachers just make learning fun!
I wish more teachers knew that before they agonized over late developing fine motor.
I think many do, although the problem is public schools would never have scooter boards zooming up and down the halls. Heaven forbid a child might get hurt. 🙂
Even without scooter boards, I wish teachers were more relaxed about when a kid mastered anything.
Interesting point. I’m all whoop-de-do when a child masters something.
Better than hovering before they have.
You guys will just have to serenade Gloria’s welcome on the djembe! I’m thrilled with the rhythm ‘lessons’ done with percussion and for poetry foundation, etc. I often brought my bongos to enhance my poetry workshop presentation during my time volunteering in my kids classes. Makes a difference plus it’s so darn fun!
Yes, we will! The rhythm lessons are really fun, because I have a real instrument. You’re right, it makes a difference. Thanks, Laura!
This made me smile. I have been there. It can be overwhelming to get caught up in the have to get done but you now what the reall teaching moments aren’t in the books. I mean reading of course and writing but it’s the moments. What a lessons for the school of LIFE too.
And if I don’t pay attention and do something, I have lost a great teaching opportunity.
Yes!! Those moments are what matter most. And they’re life lessons, too. Thank you, Mireya.
correction you know what, the real
I did! 🙂
You nailed so many important elements as usual. Movement? Of course! Children need and love it. Culture? A djembe offers so many opportunities. Fun? I don’t know too many kids who wouldn’t get into the stop game. Literature? What’s more fun for a child than a book that is almost as heavy as they are. (Especially when the teacher has a smaller copy of the same book. Performing? So good for their confidence and self-esteem. Exercise? Scooter boards look like a blast. I want a turn! Puzzles? I can imagine their proud feelings to see this come to fruition. What’s left to complete the move? A space for Gloria. Kids want everything to be just right.
I love your comments, Pete. You’re like the fairy who comes along to sprinkle sparkly fairy dust on a moment of teaching. Yes, there was much that happened. I’m off to work and Gloria will return today. Thank you!
So many great ideas in each blog post, Jennie! Of course, I am a big fan of this one: “If I follow the children, they are empowered. They want to learn more.” Thank you for teaching all day and THEN sharing a wonderful blog post with the rest of us.
My pleasure, Will. I’m so glad you liked these posts, and my words. Thank you!!
Sounds like great fun, Jennie. I love your spontaneous teaching! And so cute that the children asked about Gloria. How sweet!
Thanks so much, Diana! 🙂
It’s wonderful that your first week was a huge hit! I hope Gloria likes her new place in the classroom and I hope she returned today.
Thanks, Deborah. She did! And she loves the new place. 🙂
That’s marvelous! I wish Littlest was in your Aqua Room. 🥰
Thanks so much, Deborah. I do, too! ❤️
What fabulous days. I’m sorry Gloria missed out. I’m sure she’ll be happy to catch up with the children again.
She is back, Norah. I just posted about her. 🙂
I’m pleased to hear it, Jennie. 🙂
Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
Here is the 3rd part in Jennie’s series on the new school opening. If you have never been to her blog, please go there. She is an extraordinary teacher.
Thank you so much, Charles. I am always honored to be part of your blog. And sharing my series is very much appreciated.
Charles, when I go to your site, I cannot ‘like’ a post and it rejects my URL (isn’t that http://www.jenniefitzkee.com?) This may be something on my end. Just didn’t want you to think I wasn’t visiting your blog.
I love Emmett’s air hugs most of all!
They’re the best! 🙂