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Kindergarten Reflection

Entering my kindergarten teaching experience in the last


quarter of school year I had to quickly become familiar
with kindergarten content standards and the school’s
curriculum. To do this I observed my mentor teachers
instructional time with the children and gained as much
information as I could about the children’s educational
standing by developing a professional relationship with
the my mentor teacher and the children. I learned that
the majority of my kindergarten children had not
previously attended preschool and that this was their first
year of school. I found that interacting with the children in
social activities provided me with great insight to their
literacy, math, science, and social studies …show more
content…
In observing my mentor teachers classroom
management strategies I quickly learned that
communicating teacher expectations for the children’s
behavior and guideline or rules for active participation in
lesson planned activities was important to cover. In my
lead teaching I did much of the same except I struggled
to follow through with the consequences established for
breaking rules. I learned that I must follow through with
consequences I set for children, no exceptions or else I
will lose the children’s trust and respect for what I say.
My goal in managing the class was to keep the children
focused on their learning tasks and preventing problems
before they transpire.
Effective approaches as to how the children can solve
their own problems in the future were also emphasized in
my classroom management. It is essential for “teachers
to set clear limits regarding unacceptable behaviors and
enforce these limits with explanations in a climate of
mutual respect and caring. Teachers attend to the
children consistently, not principally when they are
engaging in problematic behaviors. Class meetings and
group discussions are often used to talk about and set
rules together.” (Bredekamp and Copple, p. 228) In all, I
felt I was always aware of the children needs and
concerns and made myself available by keeping my back
toward the wall, scanning the class when working one
Open Full Document
Kindergarten Reflection Entering my kindergarten
teaching experience in the last quarter of school year I
had to quickly become familiar with kindergarten content
standards and the school’s curriculum. To do this I
observed my mentor teachers instructional time with the
children and gained as much information as I could about
the children’s educational standing by developing a
professional relationship with the my mentor teacher and
the children. I learned that the majority of my
kindergarten children had not previously attended
preschool and that this was their first year of school. I
found that interacting with the children in social activities
provided me with great insight to their literacy, math,
science, and social studies development. In reviewing
the children’s class projects, school displays, and an
array of their work sample along with my mentor
teachers year-long assessments I was able to recognize
challenging, emerging and advanced content areas of
the children’s core curriculum. These emerging and
challenging content areas is what I centered my
curriculum planning around. “Information about each
child’s learning and development is used to evaluate
teaching effectiveness. This may lead to changes in
schedule, curriculum and teaching strategies, room set
up, resources, and so on.” (Bredekamp and Copple, p.
249) This experience as a whole provided me with the
opportunity to show my professional quality as an
educator, a cooperative team member, and a lifelong
learner. A few things that I continuously had to reflect on
throughout this experience was my self-competence, my
performance as well as the children’s, and of course my
professional demeanor which directly impacted the
effectiveness of my planning, teaching and learning. It
was interesting to learn that the children often take on the
attitude, interest, motivation of the teacher, so asserting
self-competence was essential in my motivation of the
children’s interest. In observing my mentor teachers
classroom management strategies I quickly learned that
communicating teacher expectations for the children’s
behavior and guideline or rules for active participation in
lesson planned activities was important to cover. In my
lead teaching I did much of the same except I struggled
to follow through with the consequences established for
breaking rules. I learned that I must follow through with
consequences I set for children, no exceptions or else I
will lose the children’s trust and respect for what I say.
My goal in managing the class was to keep the children
focused on their learning tasks and preventing problems
before they transpire. Effective approaches as to how the
children can solve their own problems in the future were
also emphasized in my classroom management. It is
essential for “teachers to set clear limits regarding
unacceptable behaviors and enforce these limits with
explanations in a climate of mutual respect and caring.
Teachers attend to the children consistently, not
principally when they are engaging in problematic
behaviors. Class meetings and group discussions are
often used to talk about and set rules together.”
(Bredekamp and Copple, p. 228) In all, I felt I was always
aware of the children needs and concerns and made
myself available by keeping my back toward the wall,
scanning the class when working one on one with
individuals and frequently moving about the classroom
activity centers and problematic situations. In
communicating with my mentor teacher time
management was a useful tool for me. With so little time
for my mentor teacher and I to discuss concerns,
questions and suggestions I begin to manage what little
time we did have to conference by writing my questions
for her down ahead of time. This provided her and I with
more curriculum planning time and allowed for the both
of us to share our thoughts with one another.
Communicating with my mentor teacher was not always
easy. At times we misunderstood each other which
caused much confusion and hindered my lesson
planning. To solve this misunderstanding on my part, I
began to research my concerns by accessing the
children’s previous work samples and test scores while
the children would attend specials as well as collaborate
with other members of the school staff to learn about
school events that might affect my implementation of
lesson planned activities. I also began to pull children
from computer time to work with in small groups to build
my understanding of the children’s development within a
specific content area before bringing my concerns to my
mentor teacher. Communicating with the children was at
first a challenge in large group situations. Over time with
the help of my professional University of Cincinnati team,
I learned to project my voice with a definite tone of
firmness, and to never talk over children. Once I put
these two methods into practice I was more than amazed
at how effective these strategies were in gaining and
keeping the attention of my kindergarten students during
whole group lessons and activities. With these changes, I
also began see myself more like teacher than a student
or friend of the children. Having two children in the
classroom who are learning to speak English as a
second language provided me with the opportunity to
differentiate instruction and apply some terms and
phrases I learned in my three years of high school
Spanish courses. “Teachers attend to the particular
language needs of English language learns and children
who are behind in vocabulary and other aspects of
language learning. They engage the child more
frequently and sustained conversations and make extra
efforts to help them comprehend.” (Bredekamp and
Copple, p. 235) At times, even with an English to
Spanish translation dictionary communicating in Spanish
and checking for their comprehension was challenging
because of the lost for words. This situation was a bit
uncomfortable because I felt like as a teacher I should be
able to communicate with all of my students.
Nonetheless, I made an effort to work closely with these
children in particular on vocabulary and writing within
individual and small group activities. In my lesson
planning I would often spend quite some time practicing
words in Spanish, making picture cues, and providing
bilingual instructions to include the children in my
activities. In some sense I feel as if it was more
imperative that I work and learn alongside these children
in the areas of literacy to gain experience and effective
developmentally appropriate approaches to differentiated
instruction as well as promote their literacy development.
In reflecting on my previous experience in preschool to
kindergarten it has become more evident that children
progress at varying levels of development. In comparison
to preschool children between the ages of five and six
are more accepting of rules and structure, they are more
cooperative in play and turn taking situations and
comprehend, relate, and reflect on stories in a much
more meaningful way. I also noticed a huge difference in
the teaching instruction and planning. In preschool my
mentor teacher seemed to implement for of a personal
touch to the children’s curriculum along with aligning the
curriculum to state content standards. In my kindergarten
practicum my mentor teacher did away with teacher
designed lesson plans and relied only on state
recommended literacy, math, social studies and science
reference books for curriculum instruction. In teaching by
the book instead of from the heart with the book in mind,
I feel as though my kindergarten teacher was less aware
of her children’s personalities and varying stages of
development. In addressing this theory of mine to my
kindergarten mentor teacher she explained the schools
strain for better test scores as a seven year straight
lowest performing school in the Cincinnati public school
district. A few goals I have set for myself in my future
teaching experiences includes to plan ahead. By
planning head I will be better prepared to discuss and
work out any rough areas of my lesson plan activities
such as grouping which will make my activity run
smoothly and allow me to be more flexible in last minute
changes. Planning ahead will also provide my mentor
teacher with more time to assess and evaluate my
lesson plan. Another future goal of mine is to request
frequent feedback on my performance and lesson plans.
This quarter in kindergarten my mentor teacher provided
little to no feedback on my lesson plans which lead me to
believe they were sound when they actually could have
been tweaked a bit more to fit my mentor teachers
instructional approaches and the children’s way thinking.
I will also need to pay closer attention to dates, deadlines
and my performance expectations. I often found myself
mixed up with dates which are a critical in our short time
spent in practicum. Even though I had some rough
encounters with my kindergarten experience I felt I
learned a great deal about professionalism, patience and
working with children developing on varying levels.