With Mrs. Shapiro back from her absence and my sheet music completed, I returned to the classroom for Day 3.
I was immediately given a hug by Patrick, whom I then instructed to keep his hands to himself. Later, I asked Mrs. Shapiro what her policy was on hugging, and she told me what I had suspected—she did not allow it in her classroom for my protection initially, even though she hugged kids once the parents got to know her and she knew they would not get upset if she hugged their kids.
Mrs. Shapiro then assigned me to facilitate a game between Alex, Patrick, and Robert, three students who were playing a game of name identification. They had just created toy “spinners,” in the style of Wheel of Fortune, but instead of sums of money at each spin, there were the names of each student in the class. Mrs. Shapiro then instructed me to start a game with them—tell them a name that they must then find on their spinner.
I put a second variable in the game—I would keep score and the student who found the name I announced first would get a point. I decided to start with the names of the students who were playing. I announced Alex. Patrick and Robert were unable to find Alex’s name, but Alex was. I gave him a point. I then asked them to look for Patrick, only to find, once again, that only Patrick was able to find his own name. By now Alex, Patrick, and Robert had gotten quite frustrated and did not want to play anymore. But I did not know how far I had to go with the game, so I continued.
I called out Robert’s name, and Alex and Patrick had trouble finding it. And of course, Robert was able to find his own name. Then I asked the three of them to find Brittany’s name, and Alex found it. But by now the kids were bored with this game, and I asked Mrs. Shapiro how longer I had to play the game with them. She told me that I should continue until they had lost their enthusiasm or they had gotten to their own names. Since both had already come, I stopped the game immediately. It was pretty ironic to think that a loss of enthusiasm would be grounds to stop a lesson—that surely would not have gotten me out of a book report in the fourth grade, or one of the assignments in this class!
For free time on Day 3, Mrs. Shapiro had taken out large sheets of construction paper and was tracing each student, lying down on their backs, on the paper. With the name game over, I was asked by Patrick to trace him. While I did not accept any more of his hugs, I would not deny any requests to do something with him if I was not currently occupied. So I traced him on paper and then helped him draw his face and clothes on the tracing I had made of him.
After helping Patrick I was asked by Robert to trace him, since he had not yet been traced. I did and then was asked by Grace, another student, to show her the school song on the vibraphone. I went to a stapler, stapled the music, and then showed her the music. Grace played two of the five pages that comprised the music and left.
The bell rang, and it was clean-up time again. However, this was Wednesday, and on Wednesday, free time was not followed by row time, but by a trip to the library. Faithful to Mrs. Trainor’s word, I did not leave the kindergarten classroom.
While the kindergartners were at the library, I took the five pages of sheet music and removed the staples I had put in them earlier. With the help of Mrs. Holmbeck, who had returned for a second evaluation, I took the paper and had it laminated in the lamination machine located in Shay’s copy room. Then I took the sheet music and put it in its permanent place—right next to the vibraphone.
When the students returned from the library they took their books and put them in their backpacks. Now it was row time, and the students were introduced to what a square was by Mrs. Shapiro, and the various things in the classroom that were shaped like a square and were not. Then she assigned the kids to draw four things on a worksheet that were shaped like squares and to write what they were. One example she gave as to something that is shaped like a square is a TV. Another child drew SpongeBob Squarepants, as he too has the shape of a square.
Once the kids were seated at their desks drawing their square objects, I went to one of the tables. The students started to ask me how to spell certain words like computer, SpongeBob, and TV. I started to spell SpongeBob, since I felt this was a writing lesson, not a spelling lesson. However, Mrs. Shapiro instructed me to only sound out the letters of the words I spelled for them—since they needed to know how to recognize a letter by its sound. I did that, and they were able to pick up the letters immediately or after I gave them a little help.
After spelling computer, SpongeBob, TV, and bed, I was asked by Patrick to read to him the book “Mrs. Smith’s Incredible Storybook.” I did, and this attracted the attention of Mark. I read the book to both of them, and then it was time for the students to get ready to go to gym. Mrs. Palatia, the gym teacher, came to line the students up for gym. She said hello to me and I explained to her, like the other teachers whom I had previously known as a student at Shay why I had returned to Shay.
This is an advantage of working at Shay; it is much easier to explain one’s presence when the people you have to explain yourself to already know who you were, even if they knew you as a much younger person!
During this time Mrs. Holmbeck started her second evaluation of the class. This time, she was evaluating motor control. She gave each student a handwriting sheet that they had to complete, and a sheet of shapes that they had to copy. I commented an observation that I have long known about kindergartners—their tendency to reverse their letters. She told me she sees the same thing as well.
After gym, Mrs. Shapiro asked the students words they knew that began with the letter “S,” and wrote them onto a large letter S she had cut out of white poster paper. Once she had filled the first half of the letter with words (saving the other half for the afternoon kindergartners), she read the book “Mary Had A Little Jam,” a collection of fractured nursery rhymes.
After she finished the book, kindergarten was over, and she sang the traditional end-of-kindergarten song.