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Posts Tagged ‘kindergarten’

It seems like in school we are always testing our children.  It begins before they  even officially begin school.  Youngsters in our area are given the  Bracken School Readiness Assessment (BSRA) to test their skills in various areas such as colors, letters, numbers/counting, sizes, comparisons, and shapes.  This test is supposed to be administered when the children are being registered and parents are supposed to be present so they can fill out relevant information that we use as test questions later.

My job today was to help administer the test to all the kids who had not taken the test…about a third of the grade -_-;   This wasn’t too bad after I was told what answers counted.  I had no clue whether a squishy oval counted as copying a circle or when you say, “hands above your head,” if it counted if the hands were touching the child’s head.  That wording can be so tricky!  I tried to make it like a game.  I told them we were playing Simon Says when I asked them to perform tasks such as putting their hands in their pockets and showing me their left foot.   I also got to test motor skills such as catching, hopping, skipping, stair climbing, writing, cutting, and copying.  So I had them do the “work” part first which wasn’t too bad because they had been dieing to use the scissors all week.  We then got to run around playing catch, jumping, and skipping.  If only all tests were so easy!

There were a few complications.   First, there were several sections involving the identification of  shapes, colors, and numbers in a book that took a fair amount of time.  I was ready to help by taking students to another section to complete their test but we only had one book.  Guess I couldn’t work on that.  I then decided to work on the section where students told me about themselves.  To do this I needed the child’s full name,  address, birthday, etc to verify they were giving the correct answers.  As I stated, this is usually filled in by the parents who are present when the test is normally administered.  However, when the test is delayed we don’t have the parents around to help and we have to go on a hunt.  If the child brought back his or her emergency information packet we can look on that.  Unfortunately, some students do not and then I have to turn to the office to get the information.  Sadly, I wasn’t able to get it because the secretary in the office looked at me like I was crazy for asking for the information.  Maybe tomorrow will be a better day to try; it still is the first week of school with craziness to be straightened out. Anyway, testing continues tomorrow.

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Each day, the kindergartners get snack time about an hour before lunch.  This is a time to take a break.  The funny thing is, the parents have been  really good about giving their kids lunch with a snack.  However, the kids are not so good at taking their snack out of their lunch.    We quickly realized this when we walked around the first day to check what they were eating and saw them consuming their sandwiches and several of the snacks in their bag.  I had one student whine how he wanted to eat his sandwich now and wouldn’t listen when I tried to explain he wouldn’t have lunch later.   Even after walking around each day, it seems the trend has continued.

Well, what is a “snack”?  How big or small can it be?I have one girl who brings in a sandwich.  The first time I thought she was eating her lunch but it turns out she brings two.  Another student brings in a tiny bag of fruitchews.   Some students ate through half the lunch they brought on the first day before we caught them.  Others, do not eat anything from their lunch but have a drink.

To try to remedy the confusion we have sent a note home to parents asking them to put the item in a separate bag or write “snack” on it.    We’ll see how this works in the coming weeks.

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Twenty-six kids do not belong in one classroom.  Twenty-six kindergartners REALLY do not belong in one classroom.  In an ideal world all classes would be smaller so teachers could devote more attention to individual students but I know it doesn’t happen.  But these youngsters really do need more individual attention.  There is so much they do not know.   Just teaching them the basics like how to line up and signals to not talk was a challenge.

The town I am in does not pre-register their children; parents were signing children up as late as yesterday and there were still some children that showed up that were not on any class rosters.  This can be good to let parents have more time to decide if their child is ready for school and get enrolled.  However, it leads to problems such as unlisted children, a shortage of supplies, and crowded classrooms.    They are thinking of splitting the sections and creating a third class but then they need to worry about where they would put them.  They require a room that has a bathroom and the only room available is being used as a lunch room. Another option is to have aids in each of the rooms.  I was helping in one of the classrooms and it was still a bit overwhelming with so many students.  Granted, it was the first day of school but the kids only have a small attention span.  They are bored after the first fifteen kids telling their name or a fun fact, getting through the last ten is challenging.

I like the new class part.  I think the concessions that would have to be made, such as having students stay in their class for lunch, would be small compared to the benefits that would be gained by having the smaller class.  Of course the budget needs to be taken into consideration and just about everywhere it’s tight.   What do you think would be best?

We’ll see what happens.  I get to move up to first graders tomorrow.

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