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.
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.
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.