Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Kindergarten Graduates: Nine Months Later!

 With the closing of school came the Kindergarten Graduation (Kindergarten, Eighth, and Twelfth for our school, with K and 8 having their ceremony together). It was a stressful time planning for me and trying to wrap everything up for the school year, but so exciting for the kids. One of them strut down the hall and was proudly saying: "Tomorrow is Graduation Day!" I hope that they all will be just as stoked to be doing the same thing in 12 years!

Our ceremony went something like this:
- Students walked in
- Director spoke
- Kindergarteners sang "Ready to Go"
- I spoke
- Handed out diplomas to Kindergarten
- Slide show of the year in pictures with the songs: "The World's Greatest" by R. Kelly, "I'm On My Way" by Rusted Root, and "Waving Flag" by K'naan
- Eighth Grade adviser spoke
- Eighth Grade speakers 
- Handed out diplomas to Eight Grade
- Reception

It went well. Very well! And all the kids looked great in their caps and gowns. They did complain relentlessly about how scratchy the caps were and kept them on only until they got their diploma!

The Song: Ready to Go
I searched a nice long time to find a perfect song for my kiddos to learn and sing. After listening to too many songs on youtube, I found this one. You can find the original song here: Ready to Go. My students sang without the song in the background because I rearranged it to include the chorus in the middle as well. I thought this would better break up the song to let students catch up if they got lost. They also loved the chorus and we added clapping after the lines in the chorus. 
There is a powerpoint that I found here. I changed it around and you can download the version I did or do the original if interested. I point ** where we clapped. 

How Time Flies!

Last summer around this time, I found out I would be teaching Kindergarten for the 2012-2013 school year. I never imagined just how much those kids would grow from when they came into my class at five (and four) to when they left it nine months later. Boy! It was an incredible experience to be a teacher to the youngest learners at school. Setting them up for the success they have had and, I am sure, will continue to have has been a humongous reward.

Where We Started:
- Most students did not have any preschool or head-start
- No student could name every upper and lower case letter of the alphabet
- No student could read more than one, two, or three of the beginning sight-words
- Few students could count to 20 (most missed 14, 15, 16, or 17)
- One student only knew a few words English, another was at a beginning speaking level as well

Where We Ended Up:
- Students know expectations, routines, etc.
- Students know all the letters and can write stories and answer questions
- Students use phonics to decode words and write words including tricky consonant blends like: sh, ch, th, ph, and wh and tricky vowel blends like: ou, oi/oy, ar, oo, ay, ee, etc.
- Students can read all Reading Street readers, majority were reading the Above-Level option for reading groups
- Students could count and read/write numbers to 100 and beyond
- Students know addition and subtraction to 10 or more
- Students know so much and are eager to learn more!

It is astonishing just how much kids learn in one year of school. I was very lucky to have my students who were eager to learn and loved to be challenged. I have high expectations in my classroom and all the students met those expectations. They will most definitely be going places in their future!