This article is a dramatization of what would happen on a day in the life of kindergarten. There are two examples. Mrs. K's class is described and then Miss A's class events are discussed. Utopian in this case refers to the perfect school day, meaning that there is nothing that goes wrong and everything is as perfect as perfect can be with smooth transitions and great behavior.
The Utopian School Day
This is the perfect day in the life of a kindergarten teacher and class.Nothing goes wrong, there are smooth transitions, the lessons are clear, and the children are ready to learn
Mrs. K's Utopian School Day
When the children arrive to Mrs. K's class, there are copies of the poem November at their tables. The children read the poem by highlighting words they know and then decorating it. When they have finished, it is put into their poetry folders. Students who are finished ahead of others can read a book from their book basket, work on a piece in their writing folder, write in their journal, or read a National Geographic magazine. (20 minutes)
The “Good Morning” song begins playing. The children know that is the signal to come to the rug for the Morning Meeting. At the rug the class reviews the agenda for the day. Then Mrs. K asks if any one has “big news?” Griffin shares that he ate at Friendly’s last night. Elana contributes she noticed the sight word and four times in the book her Mom read to her last night.
The class is now ready for shared reading. Mrs. K reads the big book Wee Willie Winkie. Throughout the book, words are covered with sticky notes. Mrs. K. is having the children practice using the reading cue “what would make sense” to figure out the unknown words.
After the big book the Mrs. K. plays “We Are the Dinosaurs” and the children move to the music. The class reassembles on the back rug for Interactive Writing. Today the class is writing labels for the classroom. Each child has a whiteboard, dry erase marker and a pen. After some discussion, Mrs. K. invites Ryan up to write a label on an index card. Ryan writes “wal” for wall. Mrs. K praises Ryan’s efforts – he has all the right sounds! She explains some words have two letters for the sound of one and adds the final “l.” The class writes “wall” o their whiteboards. This procedure is repeated for three more labels.
Mrs. K tells the children to “jump like frogs” to the shared reading rug for Reading Workshop. Today’s mini lesson is on noticing patterns among different leveled books, i.e. they all have sight words, there is repetition of text on most pages, and Level Two books and higher have a “twist” at the end. After the mini-lesson the children go back to their tables for “private reading,” where they independently look through books in the baskets at their tables for the same patterns discussed in the mini-lesson.
Next the children choose two books that fit the criteria anda partner. The pairs find a space in the classroom where they can share what they found. Two children who are reading at level 14 are working together on retelling.
Snack time! While the students eat Mrs. K reads aloud another chapter from The Prince of the Pond, by Donna Jo Napoli. The students delight when Mrs. K changes her voice to talk like the main character, De Fawg Pin.
The second part of Reading Workshop consists of small groups either working with the teacher for Guided Reading at literacy centers. Two students are at the listening center reading along with an audio book. Another is “reading the room.” Four are gathered in the classroom library for “just right” reading and “book talk.” Another pair flip through the poetry posters reciting favorites. Four little boys are writing more labels for the classroom as they did during interactive writing. One boy is working at his desk using wiki sticks over the letter cards. Mrs. K is meeting with three children at the Guided Reading table. She is reviewing the “does it look right” cue.
Mrs. K rings a bell to signal to the children it’s time to clean up their centers and return to the rug. Mrs. K looks at the agenda with the class and reviews what went on during each part of the schedule,so far, and looks ahead to what will happen next. Mrs. K calls the children to line up by having them listen for clues like, “If you have an –e- in your name, you may walk to the door.” It is time for lunch!
Miss. A's Utopian School Day
At a learning center, the kindergarten children are picked up in Miss Daphne’s room so that they can come back to their own classroom to have breakfast. All of the children sit down with their hands in their laps ready to be served. Three of the assigned job helpers, the cup passers, the utensil passers, and the plate passers, are called to the front of the room and without running, do their jobs. Then, Miss A. passes out the cereal into each child’s bowl, and then she pours juice into each child’s cup. When everyone has their food and juice, napkin, cup, and spoon, Miss A. raises both hand and opens and closes her fingers just as her hands were mouths. She begins singing the morning song, “Open, shut them, open, shut them…” and the students chime in, “open, shut them, give a little clap, clap, clap…” They do this in their indoor singing voice without screaming. “Now, you may begin eating,” says Miss A.
When everyone is finished their breakfast, Miss A. calls one child at a time to throw out their trash. They walk nicely to the trash can and back again to their seats. Then, one table at a time is called to the carpet for circle time. There, the children sit criss-cross applesauce quietly as they wait to begin circle time. Miss A. joins them at the carpet after wiping down the tables. Then, she sits in the chair closest to the window and white easel board. She takes out the duck foam hat and the apple pointer to give to the calendar helper of the day. She comes up and Miss A. puts the duck hat on her. Everyone laughs as does she. Then, circle time begins by the helper pointing to “Today is…” then “Friday.”
Everyone repeats as they are pointed to: “Today is Friday.” Then, she points to the month. Miss A. asks “What month is it?” One child raises his hand and says, “November,” and Miss A. says, “Very good!” Then, the helper points to “Today is… Friday, November” (as everyone repeats it), and then to the number 19, “19th, two-thousand ten.” “Excellent,” proclaims Miss A. So, then the helper goes over to the weather wheel. I ask “What’s the weather like outside today?” Miss A. asks the helper to choose one of the children with a raised hand. The response is “Sunny!” So, Miss A. tells him to come up and turn the arrow to sunny, and he does. Then, he colors in a block on the chart under sunny. “How many days has it been sunny?” And, we count them together… 1, 2, 3…. 42.” “Wow, it’s been sunny a lot of days so far this year,” says Miss A.
Then, the calendar helper sits down after giving Miss A. the duck hat and apple pointer. Now, it’s time for our morning songs and the pledge of allegiance. So, everyone stands up, and automatically puts their correct, right hands over their hearts and begins, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America…” When they are finished, they all sit back down criss-cross applesauce in the circle. Then, with the white gloved blue handled pointer, Miss A points to the large notepad on the wall with the morning songs. As she points to each word and says it the children sing along with her, and they sing 4 songs together including one about Thanksgiving. When the songs are finished, Miss A. chooses a book from the library, and reads it to the children as they listen intently and quietly. One child raises her hand and asks a question about what is going on in the book. Then, Miss A. says look at the town in this book and how it is decorates so nicely for Thanksgiving. “Why do we give thanks on Thanksgiving, do you think,” she asks. Then, she begins to tell them why after a few students share their ideas.
Then, after the story, everyone shares what he or she is thankful for and when they get all around the circle, they get back to Miss A. who says she is thankful for her family and being able to share her time with such a great class in a wonderful school. Then, she says, “anyone that is wearing orange go back to your seat.” Then, she says, “Any boy with black sneakers can go back to their seat.” “Now, any girl with a headband can tiptoe back to their seat, and anyone that has blonde hair can hop on one foot back to their seat.” “Anyone with yellow on their shirt put both hands on your head, and then go back to your seat.” Once everyone is back at their seat, Miss A is ready to start the Math lesson for the day that involves turkey feather counting. Miss A. opens with, “Put on your Pilgrim thinking caps and get ready to gobble, gobble, snip, snip your way to cutting and counting your turkey feathers” as she gets ready to choose two volunteers to pass out supplies for the day’s math lesson.