Saturday, August 4, 2012

Back to School Countdown- Kindergarten!

Now that August is here, the back to school countdown is on!  As much as I don't want to admit it, school is around the corner and it is time to start getting ready.  We know that getting ready for a new school year is something that spans every teacher and classroom k-12.  Heather and I are so lucky to teach in a school with AMAZING teachers.  We thought that it would be fun to showcase some of our K-5 friends in our own school and have them share some of their favorite things they like to do in the classroom that helps them prepare for their new class of students.  Each of these teachers will be guest bloggers for a day as they share their fantastic ideas that will help you as you prepare for your own classrooms.

First up is our friend, Melissa!

Hi there! My name is Melissa Culp and I teach Kindergarten at Heather and Juli’s school. I am so proud of them and their cute and helpful blog. This is my first time gettin’ my blog on so go easy on me!
Our Open House is a ‘drop-in’ for typically three hours and we usually have a REALLY good turnout.  Like, it’s unusual if a family doesn’t show up. Our Kindergarten families are so excited that they usually all come bunched into the first hour, then tour the school, then come back again!! I love it! But, it can get very hectic when there is one of me and 24ish families that all need their special time with me. I find that they are also all ready to share some important information with me.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember A THING unless I have it written down where I can refer back to it. I used to keep a notepad to jot notes on clipboard during open house but I found that my notes got jumbled, I was concerned about keeping some info in confidence, and it took too long to write down the child’s name then jot some notes. That led me to create my anecdotal notes folder. Here is what the finished project looks like:

To begin use any old standard size file folder and a 4x6 size index card for each child. Some years I have used pink for girls and blue for boys, but this year I am just using alternating colors. It would be helpful to write your students’ names on each card before you put it together. I don’t know my kiddos yet, so I’ll be adding their names later. You will need to turn the card upside down then write their name below the red line – like I have written Mrs. Culp in the pic above. 

Then just line up your first card upside down – with the red stripe on the bottom – being careful to leave ample room on either side for the folder to close. Then put a small piece of tape on the top of the card. 

Then place the next card on top, lining up with the red line and tape again. 

Then continue until you have enough cards. This one has 13 on each side. I wanted to do a total of 24, then I added two more to be for me to write misc notes.

I LOVE using this folder. All my notes stay together, I’m able to write notes on one child without letting parents see notes about another child, it is compact and slides right into my bag, and it gives me a good quick snapshot of a child’s strengths, needs, loves, etc. I continue to use this throughout the year when having conferences, speaking on the phone and email. I can document everything in one place!!! It is very simple, but I’ve found that the more simple and streamlined I can keep things, the more time I have to devote to my students and the more smoothly my classroom runs.
Yes, I have run out of space on the card before (several times – you know about this teachers!!). In that case I begin writing on the back of the card, just slip in a second card behind the student’s first one or I use a post it note to add to the card. I have used this folder as a reference several times in a parent/admin conference and love the confidence it ensures when I am able to reference a particular situation.
I hope you find this helpful!!


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