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.


About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
This entry was posted in behavior, children's books, Early Education, Expressing words and feelings, Inspiration, picture books, preschool, School, Teaching young children, wonder and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

71 Responses to The New School Opening… Part 3

  1. Ritu says:

    I love all you are doing, together, with these kids 💜

  2. beth says:

    So cute- love his picture

  3. CarolCooks2 says:

    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

  4. barbtaub says:

    I agree with Eddie. “Where’s Gloria?” was my first thought too!

    • Jennie says:

      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. 🙂

  5. Annika Perry says:

    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?! 😀

    • Jennie says:

      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! 😀

  6. beetleypete says:

    I used to love the big heavy books as a child. They always seemed very ‘important’ if they were huge!
    Best wishes, Pete.

  7. 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

  8. Beautiful Post, Jennie. I love all these activities. 😁

  9. quiall says:

    Lovely Post! I think the most important thing to instil in children is curiosity. An engine that drives learning.

  10. 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

  11. Darlene says:

    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.

  12. Dan Antion says:

    I really want to go back to school and be in your class, Jennie. I hope these kids never lose their enthusiasm for learning.

    • Jennie says:

      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. 😀

      • Dan Antion says:

        Haha – I’d love to do that.

      • Jennie says:

        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. 🙂

  13. 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

    • Jennie says:

      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. 💕

  14. 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.

    • Jennie says:

      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. 🙂

  15. 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.

  16. Elizabeth says:

    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.

  17. 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!

  18. Mireya says:

    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.

  19. Mireya says:

    correction you know what, the real

  20. petespringerauthor says:

    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.

    • Jennie says:

      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!

  21. willedare says:

    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.

  22. Sounds like great fun, Jennie. I love your spontaneous teaching! And so cute that the children asked about Gloria. How sweet!

  23. 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.

  24. Norah says:

    What fabulous days. I’m sorry Gloria missed out. I’m sure she’ll be happy to catch up with the children again.

  25. frenchc1955 says:

    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.

  26. I love Emmett’s air hugs most of all!

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