The Self-Regulated Teacher

Our personal journey towards self-regulation in Kindergarten

About Us

“About Us” is the third most read post in a year of writing over 80 posts for The Self-Regulated Teacher since December 2015.

Today, we’ve revised “About Us” to reflect where we are a year later. You’ll always be able to find it in the menu at the top of our website or you can click here.

Regular readers will notice we’ve had a wee makeover!  We love our new look and thank you always to one of our besties, Cari Wilson, our West Vancouver School District Innovation Support Teacher (Technology) for her friendship and continued technical support to keep our website looking fresh and modern.  We would not be here without her.

 

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Food for Thought

a delicious homemade sandwich

a delicious homemade sandwich

Hot Lunch is available to order again for next term.  However, before you decide to order, please have a conversation with your children about how they feel about their hot lunch.  Many of the children do not like their main course.  We try to send home the uneaten food so you know if your child does not like it.  We know it’s easier to order the lunch than preparing it at home, but a lot of food is being wasted and not worth the expense.

You might not know that:

  • We pour out a lot of milk and juice the children do not drink or have time to finish
  • We pour out the remaining TCBY yogurt, and wash down most of the half melted frozen fruit bars down the sink
  • Rarely is all the ordered lunch eaten.  You might considering ordering less and supplementing with homemade food.

The children are not missing out if you decide not to order the hot lunch.  Many children in the class do not order the hot lunch, or receive hot lunch just once a week, and then it is a treat and something special to look forward to.  Some families have just ordered the TCBY yogurt for their child once a week.

Here are the Kindergarten children’s favourite selections based upon what we have observed our classes eating for the past three months:

  • BBQ Beef Sliders
  • Jumbo Beef Hot Dog
  • Cheese Quesadilla
  • Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Baked Chicken Strips
  • 4” Turkey Sub
  • 4” Ham Sub
  • Vegetable Cup (assortment of fresh garden vegetables with a side of creamy ranch dressing)
  • Fruit Cup (assorted fresh cut fruit)
  • TCBY frozen yogurt cups (all flavours)

These are the foods most frequently left behind, or disliked by our classes:

  • Mac and Cheese
  • Pasta with Tomato Sauce and Meatballs
  • Butter Chicken
  • Chicken Fried Rice

Although there are some new items on the menu this term, we cannot give any opinions about them at this time.

We recommend not ordering the milk and juice as we usually have to pour out every drink which is ordered into the sink. The children are very content to drink water which truly quenches their thirst and helps them to stay better hydrated throughout the day.

It is very distressing when the children pick at their food, or eat only a few bites.  We are unable to make them eat, and keeping them inside longer at lunch to eat, thereby shortening their outside playtime, is not the answer.  Their young bodies need to be refuelled properly at lunch, or they will not have the energy to keep going for the afternoon.  This affects your children’s self-regulation as it’s very difficult for them to focus and learn when they are hungry.

This Week In Our Room:  December 7-11, 2015

Christmas Concert

We sent home a note today (on green paper) with your children explaining what will be happening for the Christmas Concert dress rehearsal, matinee and evening performance.  Please let us know if you have any questions.

Reindeer GamesFullSizeRender-7

We had a very successful Reindeer Games this week.  Thank you so very much to our wonderful FullSizeRender-8parent helpers.  We had lots of fun participating in five different activities:  we made reindeer food for Christmas Eve, a reindeer gift bag, a reindeer placemat, coloured in our reindeer colouring books and played with Christmas play dough.

Leaving Early

Please let us know if you are leaving early for the Christmas holidays. We would like to be able to gather together your children’s crafts to send home with them.

Early Dismissal

We’re dismissing at 2 pm on the last day of school, December 18.  If your child attends Camp Ridgeview that day, please let them know of the earlier pick-up time.

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Happy Birthday to Us!

The Self-Regulated Teacher is one year old today!

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To our dear readers, thank you so very much for reading and supporting us.

The three formal written reports that teachers write for our students are just one way in which we communicate student learning with their parents.  The report cards are a “snapshot” that describes our students’ learning at a specific time.  Our Meet the Teacher Night (September), Student Led Conferences (to be held in the second term), parent/teacher interviews and this website are other means by which we hope we are able to show what your children are learning in school, and how their learning style is evolving as they move through Kindergarten.  We also hope that our classroom parents feel that they are better informed about the inner workings of our classroom.

We originally started this website to move to a “paperless” weekly newsletter for our classroom parents.  We also knew we had a lot of very important information to relay to parents new to Kindergarten and our school, and we had been considering for several years about how best to make it available.  Our website has allowed us to reach out to share our thinking about learning in Kindergarten, provide some classroom teaching ideas and resources and post our weekly classroom newsletter in an online format.  You can read more about our story, and how we became the The Self-Regulated Teacher here.

We really appreciate the positive feedback from you, our colleagues and classroom parents, over the past twelve months.  We look forward to continuing our journey with you in self-regulation, and all things Kindergarten.

It’s time to eat cake!

Andrea and Christy

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The Self-Regulated Teacher’s Top 5 Most Read Posts for Term One, September-December 2015

Beautiful shadows on a beautiful late autumn day!

Beautiful shadows on a beautiful late autumn day!

Well, time has flown by again.  Who can believe we are already finished the first term of the school year and now we’re in the countdown to Christmas?

Today marks the 80th post for theselfregulateacher.com and as we do at the end of every term, we highlight the top five most read posts (according to our WordPress.com stats) for you to read in case you missed them!

Setting Up the Self-Regulated Classroom

We decided to make further changes in setting up our classrooms this past September, to better support the children’s self-regulation.  We started with reviewing Stuart Shankar’s Calm, Alert and Learning: Classroom Strategies for Self-Regulation to consider what distractors and stimuli could be changed or removed to enhance a calm and peaceful classroom environment.  We made purposeful wall colour choices (ocean blues and forest greens), increased the natural light, considered other attractive lighting options (pretty lamps) and new storage containers (all matching) for a more pleasing visual appearance.  Click here for the full version.

Our Kindergarten Classroom Routines

Classroom routines are extremely important in the day-to-day running of the classroom.  Let’s face it:  we all want to have fun at school whether we are the teacher or the students, and classroom routines help us to make it so.  The children feel safe and secure in their classroom, and with their teacher and classmates, when they know the expectations.  They know they can explore, play and learn within the established boundaries.  As teachers we create the routines every year for the students;  we know based on our own teacher training, and professional and personal (we’re parents, too) experience, what children in this particular age group can do independently, and what they can learn successfully with teaching and practise.  Click here for the full version.

Self-Regulation Resources

It’s exciting that our link to self-regulation resources has been visited many times, as that means more of us are thinking about self-regulation and how we can support our students.  We have a list of self-regulation sites for you, in addition to links to self-regulation tools we use ourselves in the classroom, and curriculums to consider.  We update this page on our site about once a term so check in regularly. Click here for the full version.

About Us

Christy and I are long-time teachers in the West Vancouver School District and have dedicated our professional lives to teaching primary-aged children.  We’ve been friends and colleagues for many years.  I was teaching Grade 3 at Chartwell Elementary in 1994 when Christy was hired there to teach Kindergarten, having just completed her student teaching right here at Ridgeview.  We became Buddy teachers and I also acted as a teacher mentor for Christy as she was a beginning teacher.  Today, congratulations are in order for Christy as she was honoured in September for having completed 20 years of teaching in West Van!  You can read more about us Our Story:  Becoming the Self-Regulated Teacher.  Click here for the full version.

Self-Regulation Tool:  The Breathing Ball

We’ve been using the “breathing ball” for over a year now, and continue to find it a useful tool to practise deep breathing with our classes.  We introduce it quite early in the school year and like most things we do, we incorporate it into a routine.  This year, we try to use the breathing ball daily after the lunch recess.  We expect the children to walk quietly to the meeting area in the classroom; they sit down on the carpet and we practise deep breathing with the breathing ball as a visual aid before we read our afternoon story.  Although it takes time and thought to set up, and persistence to shape each routine, teaching and practising strategies is a necessary building block to helping children develop self-regulation.  Click here for the full version.

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It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

IMG_2278We love Christmas, it’s our favourite time of year.  But a Kindergarten Christmas is extra special.

The children have been practising their songs for the upcoming Christmas concert these last few weeks.  This will be the children’s first time on stage with their classmates, singing and performing for their parents.

We’re decorating our classrooms already.  Although it might seem early to some, we’re going into the last two weeks before the Christmas break.  We have some children leaving early and we want to enjoy the feelings of excitement and anticipation with everyone before we go our separate ways.

We’re trying to adhere to some of our self-regulation guidelines for keeping the classroom calm and peaceful, while still making it a beautiful and special Christmas space.

We’ve changed the fairy lights from autumn orange to Christmas multicolour.  We’re still keeping the overhead lights off, except on the darkest days when we turn on just one bank of lights so we can read our books.

FullSizeRender-4We’ve set up a small Christmas tree for the children to contemplate when we’re listening to quiet music, part of our after the morning recess routine.

We’ve downsized the Christmas clutter of figurines and signage.  We’re going to create a Christmas word bank instead so our “decoration” will also be a useful writing reference.

Confession time….we have hung small Christmas stuffed animals from the wires we’ve strung across the classroom which are definitely distracting.  But the little stuffed teddy bears, angels, Santas, reindeer and snowmen are just so cute and the children love them.  Call us old-fashioned Christmas softies, but Christmas comes FullSizeRender-5once a year and you’re only young once.  We clarified our expectations with the children (no jumping up to grab the toys) and so far, things are going pretty well. We’ll talk again in two weeks.

This Week in Our Room:  November 30-December 4, 2015

The big excitement this week was that our Kindergarten classes got to see their Big Buddies not once, but twice!

FullSizeRender-3We made our annual Christmas Crackers with our Buddies for our traditional donation to several local organizations this year, including. The Union Gospel Mission and our sister school, Grandview Elementary in Vancouver.  We fill a paper roll with your Hallowe’en candy donations, and wrap it beautifully in Christmas paper and ribbon.  Our children have learned that there are many children and adults in communities close to us who will receive only this candy as a gift this year.  We are firm believers that if we are able to share some of what we have to bring comfort and a little holiday joy to others, then we should.  Thinking globally begins at a very early age; talking about the gratitude for the privileges we receive, whether through hard work or good fortune, is a discussion a Kindergarten child is able to participate in.

Our other Big Buddy project this year is a secret.  We started working onFullSizeRender-1 our Christmas gifts for our families!

We browsed the Scholastic Book Fair and enjoyed looking at possible gift purchases.  We did not take out a library book this week as the book fair bookcases were blocking access to our storybooks.

Upcoming Events and Reminders

The Primary Musical is called “Toys” and our Kindergarten children will be dressing up as Prince and Princess Dolls.

Girls: please wear a princess costume (Disney Princess is fine) and crown.  No wands, please.

Boys:  please wear a long sleeved green top and black pants.  We will supply the gold garland sash and prepare the crowns at school.  If you already have a crown, please let us know by Monday, December 7.

Wednesday, December 9 is our second annual Reindeer Games Activity Party.  We will be having some fun, reindeer themed activities for our class.  If your children would like to dress up with reindeer or Santa hats, Christmas jewelry and headpieces, or Christmas t-shirts, this would be a good day to do so.

Also on December 9, our Me to We Team (Grade 7) is hosting a gingerbread house evening.  You can make a wonderful gingerbread house with your family.  Please note that children must be accompanied by a parent.  You can order your gingerbread house kit, extra icing and candies, with the form we sent home earlier this week.  Please see the office if you need another one.  Mrs. Daudlin and Mrs. Campbell will also be attending this evening to support the Me to We team, make there own gingerbread houses and look forward to seeing the Kindergarten families who may be in attendance!

 

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