This year I will be teaching a different age group of children: a combined class of grade 1 and grade 2. The timetable and many curriculum expectations for these grades are different to kindergarten and, in order to be ready for the first day of school, there were some school preparation activities I did during my summer break.
I created pen/marker/pencil holders with recycled materials. For a while I had been collecting the tins of canned food (tomato puree, tuna, chick peas). I soaked the cans in bleach to get rid of any food smell residue. Then I cut wallpaper to size from a roll I had picked up at a recycling depot. Covering the paper with sticky plastic to protect it, I smoothed it onto the tin. I had chosen a paper that focused on neutral colours and which would add to the calming environment I wish to create in the classroom that has been assigned to me. I do not yet have enough of these holders and shall be adding to the collection as I consume more canned foods.
With my class I will need to use the numbers 1 – 100 to teach them to count in French; as well as to learn certain skills using a 100 math grid. I looked at buying the numbers but decided to make my own. I made penguins as it is the school mascot – and the penguin image I found was too cute! Using Word I created 100 penguins, printed them out, pasted them onto card, and then laminated them. My final task is to put magnets on the back of them so that I can place them on the board. I have done the first one and it really stands out on the white board.
One of the projects I gave my children during the summer was to clean out their shelves and closets. As they are teenagers now, I am encouraging them to give away the toys and games they played with when they were younger. One of the games they passed onto me to use with my class was a shape game. As I teach French immersion, I set to translating the game. I will use these cards when I teach shapes and will set it up at the game center with some tangrams.
Last week I worked on the cards that I will display on the white board to show the timetable. In this way, the children will know what their routine for the day will be. I will also display cards to show them which centers they will work at on that day. I have found that knowing the routine helps to calm the children as they know what they can expect to do during the day. In addition, I use the timetable to help them learn to manage their time .
As well as working on the cards for my board, I read a little about teaching combined classes. When looking at the curriculum, I thought it would be easier for me to see it side by side. I decided to cut & paste it so that I could easily compare the two classes. I have noticed some differences and many similarities. In addition, often grade 2 is an extension of what is learned in grade 1. I am sure that during the year I will often refer to the large sheets of paper that I prepared.
I am currently working on setting up my classroom and have put many of these things in place. I am eager to share what I have created with the children I will be teaching next week.
Do you use your free time to prepare for work?
© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015