The little things

From the beginning, when I started out teaching in an inner-city kindergarten, if things go wrong, I more or less blame myself.  And I ask myself, “what could I do differently next time, to prevent that from happening again?”

It has led me to do lots of little things that make a huge difference.  For example, I got really tired of hearing children say, “he budged me!” when they were trying to get in line, or walking in line.  So I asked myself, “what’s something I could do so I never have to hear the word ‘budged’ again?” 

It seemed to me that if every child had a place in the line, there wouldn’t be any confusion, so I started doing the line in ABC order (using first names, of course).  Every year I write the children’s names in alphabetical order before the first day of school, and start teaching it to them on the first day of school.  Within a few days I’ve got it memorized, and can rattle it off:  Amy, Ben, Carrie, Chris, Darnell, Eduardo, John, Julie, etc.* all the way to Xavier or Zed or whoever has the last name in the alphabet that year.  Then on the job chart, each week someone else gets a turn to be line leader (and holds open doors for us), and someone gets to be the caboose (and close doors for us).

My preschoolers can do it by the third week of school without help, and from then on, lining up and walking in line is a breeze.

*not their real names, from this or any year.


4 thoughts on “The little things

  1. Hi!,
    I love the idea, and it will work. I’ve used similar structures when my 4th/5th graders forget how to line up with causing mass destruction to the room.

    What I really like from your post, however, is your practice of asking yourself what you did or didn’t do in a bad situation so that you can improve upon it the next time. The practice works! True, many things happen that aren’t our fault, but so often by simply making one little change things can move much more smoother.

  2. Pingback: Walking in the halls « Elbows, knees, dreams

  3. Okay Love that idea but I have a question. I teach at a child care center some kids come all week, some kids come 3 days a week, some 2. Since I already have a tough class, I can just imagine the chaos “BUT I AM AFTER E” DO you think it could sill work in my classroom? It probably could since they have assigned seats for lunch . ROUTINE ROUTINE ROUTINE.

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