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Sbkangas!
Old 02-28-2018, 05:55 AM
 
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I keep thinking about how you have play time first. Our specials (art, PE, etc.) are first thing, so I haven't been able to implement it. I mentioned it to a co-worker. Her special was canceled on Monday, so she did play time instead. She was blown away by how well the rest of her day went!

We are now on a mission to rearrange our schedule so we can do that every day. THANK YOU!


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Old 02-28-2018, 08:19 AM
 
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Well now I am thinking about that. I love the idea of it for so many reasons. Now I just have to figure out how to get around the other "stuff" our school does in the morning.
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Old 02-28-2018, 04:34 PM
 
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The fact Sbkangas tried it and found success was enough for me...the fact my coworker had the same result is fueling my resolve to make it happen.

I told my P about it today and he had a different take on it. He said kids who are chronically tardy will be super motivated to get to school on time and will bug their parents. This could have far-reaching effects...train the parents in the first year of school to get there on time! My P is 100% on board with this.
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Old 02-28-2018, 05:08 PM
 
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One of our kinder teachers does that, too and raves about how successful it is. She is a little on the kooky side, so I wasn't truthfully sure if she was right or just bonkers!

I think bonkers is a requirement for teaching k.
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Old 02-28-2018, 05:38 PM
 
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I think she can be both bonkers AND right to do play first! It's not mutually exclusive!


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Thanks Zia :)
Old 02-28-2018, 06:13 PM
 
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I can't take credit, but I will say you're welcome! It really has changed the whole dynamic of my day for the better. Not that it's a cure-all, but talk about starting every day on the right foot!

Quote:
The fact Sbkangas tried it and found success was enough for me...
Awww... And I'm so glad your principal is on board!!

For anyone who's on the fence, here are the benefits we've found:
  • Kids always want to come in and talk and share - now they can!
  • If a child comes in crying, or has had a hard morning, it gives me time to sit with them and listen and calm them down.
  • No worries if parents have questions - the kids are happy and busy!
  • Kids are so excited to come in and see what's available - for many it is their favorite part of the day and it DOES get them to want to come to school (and on time!)
  • We focus on fine motor skills during this time, so most things that are out have that added benefit.
  • We usually have some type of art available as well - when's the last time you had art every day?!
  • I was worried about cleaning up and refocusing, but they are totally ready to focus and it's never been a problem.
  • I get the time to check in with kids, and I also have kids read one on one with me (which they love!)
All I can say is try it! I have yet to convince my colleagues (they are all fairly inflexible in changing their schedules) but I hope it will help out more people here!
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How Long?
Old 02-28-2018, 06:23 PM
 
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How long is your beginning of the day play time? We do morning meeting first thing after breakfast (we have breakfast in the classroom) and then guided reading. After guided reading we have free choice (play time). I have it in there as a break so I'm curious if it's more valuable to have it first thing or to save it as a break.
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Old 02-28-2018, 08:24 PM
 
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Sbkangas, thank you for the response. I shared your bullet points with the other K teachers at my school--hope that's okay!

We currently have free play the last hour of the day (2:30--3:30). I'm thinking about splitting it up, 30 minutes right at the beginning and another 30 at the end of the day. Thoughts? Should I do a full hour right off the bat, or just 30 minutes at the beginning of the day?
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Old 03-01-2018, 05:46 AM
 
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And this is the response I got from the email I sent with Sbkangas' bullet points:

Quote:
After trying it for one day, Iím in! It was that convincing!
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Old 03-01-2018, 06:20 PM
 
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We currently have free play the last hour of the day (2:30--3:30). I'm thinking about splitting it up, 30 minutes right at the beginning and another 30 at the end of the day. Thoughts? Should I do a full hour right off the bat, or just 30 minutes at the beginning of the day?
Well, in that I'm kind of torn.

The 30 minutes I have seems like a nice amount of time to get settled. And sometimes we'll have another 30 at the end of the day where I have different things available, and it's a nice balance.

But I've also read that it can often take a good 30-45 minutes for kids to really get into deep, imaginitive play. Which is why I have a huge chunk of time on Fridays. So I don't know! I'd probably do whatever makes sense with the rest of your schedule.


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Old 03-01-2018, 06:22 PM
 
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Quote:
How long is your beginning of the day play time?
It's usually about 30 minutes. Then we do a morning opener and move into centers/guided reading. It works well with our schedule, and my kids go to recess right after centers so that is our break. I've done play time in the middle and end of the day as well and this is by far my favorite!
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We Voted
Old 03-01-2018, 08:24 PM
 
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So, I had my kiddos vote on which they would want to do. Keep it the same or move it to first thing. Everyone voted to moving it earlier. I had them state reasons before the vote. The kid who didn't vote for moving it was in K last year and they did it first thing. I'm interested to see how it pans out. However, I have a reading specialist in my room at 8:30 and breakfast goes until 8:15. I only have time for a 15-20 minute free choice first thing which is the same amount we typically have after guided reading. We have lunch at 11, so I normally do breakfast, morning meeting, guided reading, free choice, about 30-40 minutes whole group reading, and then we go to lunch. I told them we'd try it in the morning for a week and see how we like it. I am not sure how some people fit in a whole hour. I feel guilty allowing the two 15-20 minute free choices in addition to our lunch recess. There is so much I am expected to fit in. As it is we only have a writing mini group/lesson once a week because that's all that I have been able to fit in. Otherwise we do writing as a rotation during centers/daily 5. Maybe you guys go to school longer than I do? I am expected to have reading, math, handwriting, science/social studies, and morning meeting everyday. Due to the fact I have a Title I teacher co teaching from 8:30-10:00 that block is all guided reading. I tried other things earlier in the year but then it meant he was twiddling his thumbs watching me teach.
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Old 03-02-2018, 05:08 PM
 
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I feel guilty allowing the two 15-20 minute free choices in addition to our lunch recess.
Do NOT feel guilty about this! Play is crucial at this age, and they are learning and practicing so many skills that will help them be successful students. My class has much more play time than any other of our K classes and they do just as well academically, and better socially (I think - this is not proven but every year everyone complains that we have the "easy" class... hmmm...).
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Old 03-02-2018, 05:57 PM
 
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Quote:
I feel guilty allowing the two 15-20 minute free choices in addition to our lunch recess.
I'm with Sbkangas on this! My kids have an hour of recess a day and an hour of free play. And I have the "easy" class every year, too. Hmm...think there's a connection?
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How do you do it?!
Old 03-05-2018, 07:10 PM
 
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How do you guys fit it all in?! I'd be curious to see your schedules.

With free choice in the morning we're now doing...

8:15-8:35 Free Choice
8:35-8:55 Morning Meeting
8:55-10:20 Guided Reading
10:20-11:00 Whole Group Reading
11:00-11:40 Lunch/Recess (Recess 11:25-11:40)
11:40-12:40 Math
12:40-1:00 Handwriting
1:00-1:30 PE
1:30-1:50 Snack
1:50-2:20 Music
2:20-2:50 Science/Social Studies
2:50-3:05 Free Choice/Pack Up

That's our schedule Tuesday-Thursday. On Monday and Friday we have a 10:00-10:30 special (Library/Art) and on Friday we have computers instead of music.

Guided Reading is my largest block of time but it allows me to meet with each student for 15-20 minutes everyday (15 Mon/Fri).

I'm not sure how I could cut anything else to allow more time for play. Occasionally I do cut Science/Social Studies short or skip it all together. For example today we needed the time to problem solve some issues we've been having as a class.
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Old 04-30-2018, 06:37 PM
 
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Wow! That sounds so cool. I can't yet think how to do it because we have a staggered schedule, which I love. Maybe on Wednesdays. It is the one day a week they all come at 8 am. hmmm, this is good food for thought. Thanks!
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