Well my friends here is another year year under my belt in the magical world of Kindergarten.  This up-coming year I will be returning to the village of Shaktoolik, Alaska.  While this site is primarily used as a communication tool for parents and families for my new class and resource page for teachers; I encourage all of my friends who are interested in keeping up with my career to continue to visit.  There will be plenty of goodies and pictures to check out in the near future!

So say goodbye to 2012-2013

There has been so much that has happened in the past few weeks, it’s hard to put it all into one post but I shall try.  The past two weeks has featured special days and activities, not only in the school but in the classroom.  Yesterday was the last day for all of my Kindergartners, and the last day of teaching in the monstrosity known as “the POD”.  The POD being one big room separated into three classes by box plywood walls and no doors.  This means there is noise CONSTANTLY.  Very very challenging environment to say the least!

The end of year has been very bittersweet.  This year has provided some of the biggest challenges I think any teacher should have to face in their career.  However I will say that because of everything that I’ve had to face; I have learned more than I could have ever imagined.  I’d like to think I am a much better teacher now than when I was when I first entered in this year.  It is also very sad because I really became close with quite a few of my students especially at the very end of the year.  The very last day it was very sad and I had quite a bit of crying.  But it ended with lots of hugs and smiles once they got their Kindergarten Diplomas!

Final academic days

Before I get to the Kindergarten Promotion Ceremony, I’d like to share all of the fun we had in our last few what I like to call “normal days” of school.  Through the whole year we’ve been doing Workshop / Centers where students interact with hands on activities that reinforce previous skills taught.  Last week we had our final workshop days which included a massive farewell to all the centers we’ve used this year.  Students were able to use the blocks, ANY folder game that we’ve ever used, any math center we’ve ever used, computers.  Below are some pictures that features the excitement!

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Science Day

The next week (this last week of school) has been pretty much clean up and fun activities.  We’ve had a few school wide activities that were pretty enjoyable and interesting.  We had a science day which featured several different centers focusing on various concepts.  One center children tested out the result sound waves had on different items.  Children learned that sounds are just vibrations heard by our ears.

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Other centers included students testing out the floating properties of certain items, how electricity words, ecosystems, and a miniature planetarium where students could watch different slides in the dark of up planets in our solar system up close.

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Kindergarten Promotion Ceremony

Teaching Kindergarten also means that you and your little ones get to participate in the time honored tradition of the “graduation” into 1st grade.  Since Kindergarten has changed quite a bit over the years, it’s no longer as different from the rest of school as it used to be 10 years ago.  However it is still fun tradition to keep and have your little ones participate in.  Since the other Kindergarten teacher left about a month and a half early, the planning and implementation of the ceremony fell completely to me.  I had taught Kindergarten the previous year but the promotion ceremony was added onto the high school graduation (since the school was K-12) and I didn’t really have to plan for anything.

This year I made sure to send out notices to all parents asking for volunteers, decorations and food.  I sent out the information out at about the end of April.  If you want an example of what my communications looked like, take a look here:

Volunteer Sign-Up | Ceremony Announcement

The responses I received were overwhelming.  I used the Volunteer Sign Up slips to have updated numbers for all parents and called each one by one just to confirm what they were bringing.  If parents were bringing decorations, I had the students bring the decorations the day before the actual ceremony so I had time to set everything up before the actual ceremony.  Here is how the decorating turned out:

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The day of the actual ceremony, EVERY SINGLE PARENT or family showed up.  Which in my school is almost completely unheard of.  It definitely helped that I was extra diligent in calling parents and sending out two separate reminders about the ceremony.  Families brought a huge spread of food and all the food was set up in the POD common area.  The ceremony went off without a hitch.  I had all the Kindergarteners walk in a line and had them stand in front of the blue wall.  They performed three of our special songs we learned in Kindergarten, and I spoke very briefly about what they had learned this year.  Then I sat them all down in the front two rows and handed out a few awards, followed by the actual “Kindergarten Diploma”.  The Kindergarten Diploma was quite possibly my favorite thing that I made.  The name has been crossed out to keep from being sued lol.

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