Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I Know I Can...Be What I Want to Be...

This year, as with last year, I've had to tackle how to help my students believe in themselves! I have students who are perfectionists (yes, at 5!),  and they struggle when their pictures aren't "just right." Last year I had a student who would get so upset if he was unable to finish his work...and he often wasn't able to finish his work, because he worked so carefully and slowly that he took significantly longer to complete his work than other students.

From the get-go this year, I have prompted my students with: All you have to do is do your... (and they chime in with) Best!

However, I've noticed for some students, their best isn't good enough, and I can relate! I remember being a perfectionist when I was younger too. I would get so frustrated if my printing didn't look right (or my hair or anything else for that matter!). So, I am always on the look for ways to boost my students' confidence.

I mentioned the book Ish in an earlier post, and I have to include it again!
Ish by Peter H. Reynolds

This book is amazing! At first, my kids thought that ish was a bad word (who knew?!), and so they seemed shocked I was reading this book to them. However, once we established that ish is indeed not a bad word, the lesson took off! We read the story two days in a row, talking about how Ramon, the main character might be feeling, and about his ish-drawings. Then, we all made our own ish-drawings and labeled and/or wrote about them. My students are now not as stressed if their artwork or writing isn't perfect, and I love the ish-ful thinking taking place in my class!

We also start each day with a chant/cheer to get excited about the day in front of us and to remind us *why* we are working so hard in kindergarten. 

I got the chant from Achievement First, and the clip art obviously comes from my many google searches! My students love to lead the cheer, and it ensures that college is a part of their daily vocabulary. We just had our field trip to a local college as part of Kindercaminata, a district-wide field trip, and I love that my kids know that college is the path to their amazing futures.

I also just purchased I'm Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem by Jamie Lee Curtis, and I'm excited to read it to my students soon.
I'm Gonna Like Me: Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem 
I've become a huge fan of Jamie Lee Curtis' books, and I love her book It's Hard to Be Five : Learning How to Work My Control Panel too!
It's Hard to Be Five : Learning How to Work My Control Panel

I want my students to go to 1st grade ready academically, socially, and emotionally...and I think the academics are the easiest part! It's the social and emotional development that really takes time and lots of individualized planning to make sure my students have the skills they need to believe in themselves and to care for each other! 

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