Wow! What a fun and busy week! I am absolutely exhausted! Every year it just amazes me how tired I get and how long it takes me to get into the swing of things again! This Friday night a much needed bubble bath and glass of wine will be coming my way!
We started out our first day with a “School Year Kick Off” on our turf field. Let me tell you, getting 23 Kindergarteners to walk with me, stay with me and sit with me all in the first ten minutes of school was enough to give me a dozen new gray hairs. But we made it. What a special way to kick off the new year!
When we got back to the room we played a little “Name Game” and went over our classroom “rules”. I call them the 4 “L’s” and you can read about them here.
Next it was time for our “Gingerbread Boy”. You see, all the way back 35 years ago when my school first opened, they started a “Gingerbread Boy” tradition in Kindergarten. We read the “Gingerbread Boy” story and I show the kids a special gingerbread snack that I made to celebrate the first day of school. Well, while I am reading the Gingerbread Boy “runs away” (my TA hides him in the closet) and when we are done with the book and ready to eat him, he is gone! So we have to go on a “search” for him around the school. We use this opportunity to give the kiddos a tour of the school. We drop by the nurse, specialist classrooms, and even pop in to say hello to our principal! All the while looking for our tasty treat.
And, surprise! When we finally make it back to the classroom, there is our Gingerbread Boy. So we gobble him up! I really love this tradition and every year the kids are so excited to participate. It builds up our class as a team right from the start.
But let me tell you, it is definitely not without it’s adventures. Some years we have the one kid that will comment, “I know he’s not real!” or the child who pipes up “Is he organic because I only eat organic!?!”. But this year I almost had a heart attack when we were on our “search”. We had just passed by the principal’s office and one of the staff members had told us that she had seen the gingerbread boy running around the corner towards the gym. So off we went! The excitement was at it’s peak at this point and all of the children were swearing that they could smell the cinnamon in the air so he must have come this way. That was when the sweetest little girl in the front of the line says, “I think I see his frosting footprint!” And before I could even blink an eye, I see her bending down on the floor to LICK the FOOTPRINT! Which is really just one of those greasy black spots on the carpet where something horrible happened and the custodial staff can never quite get the stain all the way removed! I was horrified and I do believe that I stopped her before her tongue came in contact with the floor. I DO believe that and that is what helps me sleep at night so that is what we are going with! #theteacherstruggleisreal
After that very close call we went back to the classroom to regroup and there was our gingerbread boy, right where he had been before. So we enjoyed our special treat, BUT we washed our hands really well first!
Here is a picture of all of the different books I have out during our first week while we are doing gingerbread activities…
I always make sure to read “The Gingerbread Man” by Nick Page because of the great rhyming words and “sing song” verses. The kids always love “Ten Gingerbread Men” by Ruth Galloway, which is wonderful because we introduce numbers 1-3 out first week. “The Gingerbread Boy Loose In The School” by Laura Murray is another class favorite and great for compare/contrast!
I got my gingerbread pan passed down to me by one of the teachers who had started the tradition but you can get one like it here. There is an easy recipe included on the back of the pan or you can get the Betty Crocker Gingerbread Mix :0)
Through out the week the kiddos will decorate gingerbread men to look like them, play with play dough and gingerbread cookie cutters, count/ sort gingerbread counters, learn how to “talk” about different gingerbread books and do a gingerbread sequencing activity.
Click on the picture to download the “Gingerbread Sequencing”. This works great with “The Gingerbread Man” book by Nick Page. The kiddos cut out the boxes and then glue them on construction paper in the order that they happened. Next I have them label the boxes with a 1,2, and 3. Lastly, they color.
We also do a few things the first week that don’t have to do with gingerbread!
In Bible, I really like to focus on who God is and how much He loves us. Listener Kids has the perfect video for the “Jesus Loves Me” song that my kids absolutely adore. We watch the video and sing along. I also always take time to pray for the class, thanking God for each one of my kindies!
In Math we introduce Numbers 1-3 and explore a few math manipulatives like teddy bear counters and magnetic numbers.
In Writing, we keep things very simple. I read the story “God Knows My Name” by Debby Anderson. Then we practiced tracing and rainbow writing our names. We also write about how we feel on the first day of Kindergarten. This activity and the “First Day of Kindergarten Handprint” are available in my “Kindergarten Back to School” Product on TPT.
Carpool is always interesting the first week of school but we made it! My kindies managed to make it home safe and sound each day with a smile on their faces!
Whew! What a week! Teach. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. Am I right?!?