Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Kindergarten Curriculum and Textbooks - Link Up

     I'm going to go ahead and confess at the beginning of this post that I use curriculum in my classroom. If you write and create your own materials I think that it awesome... its just not a priority for me right now. I don't have a planning period. I don't have an assistant. I don't have a co-teacher, in fact, I'm the ONLY  Kindergarten teacher in my school. My kids don't go to specials. My kids do not have special ed  or other pullout programs to attend. I help serve my students breakfast and lunch and clean it up everyday. My school has gone as long as 3 months with no janitorial staff before, during, or after school - so I became responsible for cleaning my classroom and bathroom as well.  Some years I get as much as $100 to spend on school supplies and materials for my classroom. Some years I am given as few as 600 copies for the school year. Many of my students' parents don't speak English well and some of my students don't speak English at all before they come to me.(We don't have an ESL program either.) Our school day goes from 7 to 3:30 and I have early duty every other week of the year. I do not have ANY time during the school day without a full classroom of children who I am solely responsible for. If I need to go to the restroom... I am holding it until 3:30!!! Did I mention I get paid less than public school teachers?  But what I DO have is curriculum... which is finally aligned to the common core standards that my students are tested on and my job is staked on! Therefor, I utilize my curriculum on a weekly basis. I use it along with other activities and lessons that I create myself. I also have to say that I have a job that I am BLESSED by EVERYDAY. I have an amazing school family and I would not trade my boss, co-workers, or students for the world. I get to share Jesus with Kindergarteners who have never heard about Him before! What I DO have is worth so much more than the things I don't.  I am in LOVE with what I do and where I do it!    
    So getting to the point...last year we got this new curriculum - GO Math! Common Core edition - and it came with these GIANT student books. Were talking 532 bound pages yall! Don't even get me started on the 296 page homework book that comes with it... like I would ever see those again if I sent them home!!! Before this, I was accustomed to ordering unbound Abeka Numbers K and sorting the pages to hand out to my students. I did some simple math... 532 plus 296 is 828.. .so 828 times 15....12,420 papers to sort for math each year. YIKES! Not how I wanted to spend my summers... although I did talk to a teacher in my town who uses GO Math and does that very thing. So  I decided to put workbooks into my students' hands for the first time ever. I decorated and laminated half sheets of card stock to create giant bookmarks for our giant books. This didn't work so well at the beginning of the year last year because silly me didn't realize that I needed to teach my kiddos how to open up to their bookmarks. FYI: most K kids either rip the bookmarks right out or turn page by page until they find it. This year I went around to my students, put their hands in mine, and demonstrated one-on-one how to open the book and place the bookmark under the pencil box at the start of math each day. I did this for the first three math lessons and now my kids are using them no problem! Another problem I ran into last year was storing and distributing the books. My students sit at round tables and they do not have a place to store their individual text books. When I was half way through last year I became so tired of walking around and distributing/collecting these heavy books! I tried having the students shelve them and I never managed to coordinate it without it turning into a huge ordeal with books falling everywhere. Y'all sometimes I just get so busy that I don't stop and think first!!! We don't have these problems this year!!! 

STACK THEM HORIZONTALLY, MS.PEDEN!!! EASY YALL!!! We haven't dropped a book yet! Every student had the pick up and return procedure down pat by the second day of school!! (With the exception of one student who needed a few extra days to get the binding facing out.)   

     So I'd love to hear from you K teachers / early grades teachers out there who are using curriculum in your classrooms.  Do you sort it or do your kids use the textbooks themselves? Do you send textbooks home? What do you do when they don't come back? Do your students ever tear the pages out themselves? Tips? Tricks? Let's hear it :) Link up below! 

TBA's Ultimate Linky Party

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