Just for a comparison, here are some pictures of the regular Kindergarten that was right next door to the TK I observed last week. Again the class was small (under 20) and I must say seemed just a little more lively than the littler ones.
The first thing I notice is they had the rug that I need. I NEED THIS RUG! It has my groups'COLORS!! How incredibly awesome. And the squares are nice and big and there are THIRTY of them. The heartbreak came when I told my co worker about it and she said there had been the exact rug left on the stage at the beginning of the year (do all schools use the stage as a dumping area? Maybe because the curtain can hide all the mess??) and because it was really really dirty she was pretty sure they had thrown it out. At which point I went home and cried into my pillow.
Now please forgive me if this looks like your room but I think this is too much. I'm all for a print rich environment but there seems like a lot going on here with calendar, centers chart, language arts, math and rules all mixed up on one section of the wall. Maybe some rolling pocket charts would help this situation? I have two and I use both sides of both.
At the teacher directed center they were using magnets to form cvc words. I like the way she made squares on the cookie sheets for this. I do this right on the table with my buckaroos
I love this alphabet that is made with stuff that begins with each letter! I did this long ago and each student made their own. A perfect beginning of the year project.
This school requires teachers to post the standards used next to projects on their bulletin boards. Mine doesn't. Does yours?
Here there are dots on the letters to show where to start! Genius.
Here all the writing stuff is isolated to one spot. Again with the standards posted. I always like to see what other teachers are using to get the kids writing. Helps me remember how behind I am this year. Dang.
So basically the regular Kindergarten had way more print in the room. The centers were more structured but I did notice they still had a dramatic play area. I didn't see any building stuff but maybe it just wasn't obvious. The noise level was higher and there seemed to be more "happening" in the thirty minutes that I observed than in the TK.
The lovely woman who conducted the tour was very professional and had answers for every question. The main difference, she kept repeating, was that Transitional Kindergarten was based on developmental needs ESPECIALLY social and emotional needs. Evidently in her opinion all the emotional and social development was going to happen in TK and then when they went on to regular K there would be less need for discipline. Hmn. The only question that stumped her was when I brought up the idea of a combination TK / regular K class, which is what I am anticipating. We have a teeny tiny district (just two schools) and nowhere near enough Little Darlin's with a September - or - up birthday to qualify for an entire TK class. The lovely professional woman kind of shifted and rolled her eyes around and hmned and hawed and said er, yeah that would be hard.
Again I feel like HEY I've been teaching these young kids all along and YEAH I think all Kindergarteners need emotional and social development, even those a few months older than the others. That's why I have Choice Time most days. So more thinking needed. Any opinions??
Though now I think we better start journal writing before Choice. Hmn.