Saturday, April 14, 2018

Principal Lyons Goes Back to Kindergarten

Today I went back to kindergarten and had the joy of shadowing a kindergarten student for the day.  I was privileged to have the opportunity to shadow Paige in Mrs. Ashley Patelle's kindergarten classroom.  Ms. Katharine Trahan is the instructional assistant in the room.  Ms. Sarah Tully and Ms. Emilie Manna are also instructional assistants who provided instruction in the classroom too.   

All of the teachers are incredibly kind and have a talent for providing instruction that allows for kindergarten students to have fun while learning the state standards and benchmarks.   They all embracing our school philosophy of creating a lifelong love of learning.

I began my day with the before school program.  Students had me join in a game called "Going Bananas" which is a tag game.  The game also helped me practice walking in line since it has been a while since I was kindergarten. 

Then I joined the kindergarten line where students line up for the start of school.   Next, we put our bags and coats in our cubbies and put our folders in our mailboxes.  This was followed by some morning work on constant digraphs.  Every student in the room could explain to me what a constant digraph was and examples of words containing constant diagraphs.  

After moring work, the whole building was lead in the Pledge of Allegiance and with it being Friday the Students of the Week were announced. Students then went to the rug to have a morning meeting. During the morning meeting students see a displayed message from Mrs. Patelle. This is a time when students feel part of a community and our diversity is celebrated. In addition, we had a lesson on constant digraphs to finish the morning meeting.

We left the classroom following the morning meeting and walked in a straight line to the cafeteria. In the cafe, Mr. Musselman, from the Burlington Science Center, had a fantastic presentation on magnets. Students learned about concepts like force and poles.

When we returned from the classroom, we all sat down on the carpet for our mystery reader. I received a Dojo point for doing the just right thing by sitting "criss-cross applesauce" in my spot appropriately. Students love to receive Dojo points recognizing their appropriate behavior. Sean's dad, Mr. Murphy was the mystery reader. After the mystery read, Mr. Murphy stayed and joined us for a shake break. This motor break helps kindergarten students make transitions. All the students love to do the "Pop See Ko." We all had a snack next.

It was time for ELA after the snack.  We use the Fundations Program which is a multi-sensory structured program for learning phonics, spelling, and handwriting.  Students were very adept at knowing their phonemes and constant digraphs. 

The next transition after ELA was lunch and recess. I had a blast eating lunch with the students and playing with them on the structure. I think I went down the slide faster than most of the kindergarten students. We were all happy it was not raining or snowing so we could go outside. 

When we came back in from recess, we had a meeting on the carpet and we did the calendar.  This is a fun way to learn the common sequences such as the days of the week and months of the year.   We transitioned from the calendar to science/written expression.  There were four interactive or hands-on centers were students learned about the lifecycle of a chicken.  This was followed by ST Math which the students all told me is one of their favorite things.  Students use their iPads for this visual instructional math program.  ST Math helps develop conceptual understanding through engaging creative problem-solving.   Following math, we had a closing meeting where we came together again as a community to end the day.

Although I am in all the classrooms K-5 daily at Pine Glen Elementary School, nothing compares to seeing a school day through the eyes of a student.   I loved it how every aspect of the kindergarten day had a scientific research base.   Everything from the curriculum - such as the Fundations Program and ST Math - to the instructional practices in used for the science lesson had a strong research base.   Also, the morning meeting is a part of our social-emotional learning curriculum, Responsive Classroom, which likewise has a strong research base.  I also loved how the kindergarteners had fun throughout the day helping to develop their lifelong love of learning.

I must thank the people of Burlington for supporting Pine Glen and allowing us the resources to hire such amazing teachers as Mrs. Ashley Petelle, Ms. Katharine Trahan, Ms. Sarah Tully, and Ms. Emilie Manna and have the great curriculum to provide to students.  Thank you also to the parents of the Pine Glen community for allowing us the joy of teaching the great students like Paige, who teach us too.    

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