How can others apply what I learned to their classrooms? What needs to be considered now? What will I do next?

Others can apply what I learned to their classrooms by tracking their own learning centers to find out where interruptions and off task behavior occurs. It is hard to know how to correct a problem if you don’t know exactly what the problem is or where it happens. I think that the most important thing for others to take from my research is that learning centers can be engaging, independent, and aligned to the Alaska State Curriculum Standards. Another thing that others can take from my research is that self-assessments work for students, even if they are in kindergarten. They can evaluate their own behavior and it helps them think about what they are doing. It makes them more accountable for their own actions.

What I need to consider next is how to help my students who are struggling with being on task. I do not want to harp on them and remind them several times because it does not create independent behavior. I know that some of my five and six year olds cannot stay on task. I have said that I believe that my student who has the most off task behavior has a running musical in her head. I have observed her many times and I have watched her hum and sway as she tries to work. I have discussed instructions with her and had her repeat them to me. I have had her trace lines that she is supposed to cut. But when I get the work back, she has done something random and completely different than what we discussed. She simply cannot stay focused and that is our reality. Her strength is in her creativity, it is like nothing I’ve ever seen before and I believe it comes from the musical that is constantly playing in her brain. I want to balance the independence and interrupting behavior without making her lose her spirit. I want to be able to do that for all my students.

What comes next for me is finding out if I am going to be laid off this year. Fairbanks has been hit very hard with budget cuts. I know that I want to stay in kindergarten for at least one more year. So, regardless of where I work, I will plan my learning centers and set clear expectations for my students. I will also integrate self-assessments into my teaching. I would like my students to fill them out on a regular basis. Next year, I will have learning centers every week. I no longer feel anxious or nervous with the noise level or loss of control. I will also use my recording sheet to track which learning centers are working and which needs to be tweaked. My recording sheets will help me see which students need additional support to become independent workers and I can work with them over the course of the year to help them improve.

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5 thoughts on “How can others apply what I learned to their classrooms? What needs to be considered now? What will I do next?

  1. I hope you are able continue teaching kindergarten next year!!
    Does your school have an intervention team? Would they be able to provide suggestions for interventions for your student who struggles with staying on task?

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    • I have talked to the head of intervention team, but they are booked solid focusing on academic interventions. My student is not having academic issues, probably because her mother (and I as much as I can) work one on one with her. She excels in one-on-one instruction. It helps keep her focused. However, with a room full of 26 kindergarteners, I cannot do that for her all the time. Your suggestion has given me another idea of a person in my school I could talk with for ideas. We have a building sub who was a teacher for many many years. She probably will have some suggestions. Thank you!!

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  2. How awesome that would be if we could teach students at the Kindergarten level to manage their own behavior and be accountable for their own actions!
    I’m not sure if this is your Recommendation/Next Steps section or just your blog, but it made me wonder if the recommendation section is for our own personal use or for other possible researchers who want to try to emulate our procedures. You’ve got me wondering.

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  3. Even though we had totally different projects, I also learned a little bit more about a problem during my centers time. I don’t think I would have put the pieces together had I not been taking notes and having the students fill out their self-assessments. In the end, I learned that I needed to switch up word work activities more, because the students were getting bored and the majority of the off task behavior was coming from that center.

    On another note, I really hope you get to teach kindergarten next year! I can tell you are a dedicated, passionate teacher. My fingers are crossed and I’m sending good thoughts your way!

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  4. I am so glad that you enjoy and see the value of centers now. I like how you wrote that others can learn from you by tracking their own learning centers to see where the problems and distractions are. They have to find their own.

    When I read about your student who has a running musical in her head, it made me think of my own daughter. She was off task a lot in kindergarten. She had a wonderful teacher who worked with us and found ways to help her stay focused – like letting her have a notebook (which the teacher kept) that she could draw in when she was done with her work. She excelled in her work when she did it. Then there were other times, that the teacher decided that as long as she wasn’t distracting others, it was fine. For instance, I came into class after beach day (they take a field trip to the beach to explore the tide pools) and they were watching a movie about the ocean. My daughter was laying with her belly on her chair “swimming”. Her teacher just smiled at me and said, “she’s swimming in the ocean” and just shrugged.
    Thank you for trying to help your student stay on task while not stifling that creativity.

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