These are my thoughts on Chapter 2 of the book Literacy Beginnings. Chapter 2 was hosted by Deborah at Teach Preschool.
Chapter 2 was about creating community in the classroom and how important it is to begin creating community from the very beginning of school. It was also about establishing routines and rules in the classroom.
I liked their idea of creating a picture chart with the steps children should take when coming into the classroom in the morning. I haven’t done that before, but I can see how it would help children to have signs that indicate they should hang their backpack, get out their folder and put it in the basket, “sign” in, and go to the classroom library. Sometimes children forget one or more of those steps, especially when winter comes and they now have to remember to take off their jacket, hat, and mittens.
I do have picture signs posted for our bathroom procedures. I got the images from dotolearn.com. The picture signs remind children to flush, wash hands, and turn off the light. I often see children pointing to each sign as they “read” it.
The authors suggest letting children create the classroom rules. I have four classroom rules that I’ve created picture signs as reminders. At the beginning of the year, I do let children discuss the rules and create their own, but they always create such a long list of things, and I’ve read elsewhere that you should have no more than four rules for young children. What I have done in the past, was to let children discuss rules and tell what should be a classroom rule, but then I show them which category that falls under on the picture signs. For example, our rules are: be nice to others, listen to the teachers, talk quietly indoors, and work and play safely. If a child creates the rule “no hitting”, then I would show them the picture for the rule “be nice to others”, and explain why that rules goes there. I’m not sure if others would agree with doing it this way, but I don’t like the idea of posting a really long list of rules.
The main rule I focus on is “Be nice to others”. I often remind the children of that rule and I often say “we are all friends”. I guess you could say these are our class mottos. I tell the kids if they will just follow that one rule, be nice to others, everyone will have a happy day. Maybe I’ll make a poster with those mottos, along with a clipart graphic showing children being friends.
In this chapter, the authors also shared several circle time games for creating community. Last year on the Teachers.net Gazette, I shared some Getting to Know You Activities that can help build classroom community.
Scott at Brick by Brick hosted Chapter 3 on his blog. I probably won’t write a response to chapter 3 because tomorrow I am hosting chapter 4 here on PreKinders.