Sunday, January 4, 2015

Personal Space & Standing in Line

Happy New Year! 2015 Baby!!!!

I have to say that the past two months have been craziness for me. I first got sick about mid November and then traveled to Connecticut to visit my in-laws for Thanksgiving. Even though it was fun and I love spending time with them, I was super sick and the 11 hours traveling and no rest didn't help me to get better. The hubby and I came back to Virginia for a week, only to drive 6 hours to New Jersey the following weekend to visit my family and attend a wedding in Pennsylvania. I pretty much lost my voice that weekend and ended up with bronchitis. Then on to the rest of December where I was pretty sickly the whole time. The last day of school before winter break, I thought to myself, "I'm finally better. I will have a sick free winter break." And then I sneezed. Folks, I was sick again. Anyway, I was better before traveling back to New Jersey for Christmas. Do you know we came back to Virginia for a few days and then went to Connecticut for New Year's Eve? I am so glad to finally be feeling well and back to the normalcy of being home.

So, here we are the day before school is back in session after two long weeks off. Part of me is really excited to be back and see the kiddos. I miss them and I wonder what stories they will have to tell. The other part of me is remembering how every year at this time I have to review the rules and procedures. I don't know about you, but my little first graders are still learning how to get along with each other and use proper social skills. I'm kinda thinking we'll have to start over in that area.

One of the biggest issues in my class this year is how kids come sit at the carpet. They have the walking part down (with occasional reminders), but the sitting part is always a bust. For some reason they want to sit on top of each other. This only leads to bickering and hurt feelings.  I found the book Personal Space Camp by Julia Cook. It's a super cute book about a boy who is learning about personal space (and thinks he is going to learn about outer space instead).
Personal Space Camp on Amazon
In the book, the boy practices personal space by staying within his hula hoop. I have those in my classroom so we gave it a try.
Maybe they don't need that much space when sitting at the carpet, but I think they got the idea. Then we practiced sitting with enough space for all of us. Well, most of us. Some of us were at our daily pull-outs.
I love how they were even using their quiet fingers to show the proper way to sit at the carpet. Fabulous!

Another order of business for following rules and procedures is getting and standing in line. My oh my, how hard this is! There are a few kiddos who run and push to be first, even though there is a line leader. Some of them get in front of others who are already in line so they can be next to buddies. Oy! I started a rule that if I saw anyone run, push, or get in front of anyone else than that person would be sent to the back of the line. Well, there are some who can handle being redirected and others who can't. You know what I mean. So, I found the book Me First by Helen Lester. This is another cute one about a pig who always wants to be first.

Me First on Amazon
In the end, the pig learns that first is not always best. As a class, we decided this was a pretty good saying. I made this reminder to hang above the door. Whenever someone  runs, pushes, or gets in front of anyone else I point to the sign. If I'm not near the door then I just say it. 
So far this has worked as a great reminder. Yes, there is still occasional running and pushing, but far less crying and stomping when the kiddo is asked to move to the end of the line.

And here they are practicing the right way to stand in line. Look at those quiet fingers again. Love it!
Tomorrow I will have to whip out these pictures and show them they know what to do. Hopefully it works as a visual reminder. They love looking at pictures of themselves anyway. 

Enjoy the second half of the school year and best wishes!

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