Category Archives: Responsibility

Responsibilities for 5 and 6 Year Olds

When we clean up in our classroom, the children are expected, and required, to clean up after themselves.  This seems pretty simple, you make the mess, you clean it up.  However, this is a new concept for many Kindergartners and First Graders who come to me from homes where Mom/Dad or someone else cleans up after them.  What a shock it is for these children when they find out they have to clean up themselves without adult assistance.  One of the questions that I ask parents at our parent/teacher conferences is what type of responsibilities/jobs does your child have at home?  What job will only get done if your child performs it?  Many parents have the answer right away since their child does have responsibilities at home.  Other parents, after giving it some thought realize that their child has no home jobs.  Now some of these parents realize that it IS time to help their child mature and do small tasks at home, but others will listen to my advice and then go home and continue to do everything for their child.  Kindergartners and First Graders are old enough to do many things at home:  Make their own bed, put their dirty laundry in the hamper, help sort/fold clean laundry, empty the silverware from the dishwasher, feed the fish/dog/hamster/guinea pig/, set the silverware/napkins on the table, the list is endless.  The point is, NOW is the time to have your child start helping out at home, as these self help skills will carry with them wherever they go throughout the day.

re-posted from 2009


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Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Parents, Responsibility

Be Good At School

What is the last thing that most parents say to their children before they head out to school?  “Be good at school!”  Famous last words.  Parents know exactly what they expect from their child by reminding them to ‘be good.’  The problem is that most 5 and 6 year olds have absolutely no idea what mom and dad mean when they say ‘be good at school.’  Ask your child what he/she thinks you mean when you say ‘be good at school’ and see what kind of answers you get.  You may be surprised that your child doesn’t understand your directive as well as you think he/she should.  Take a few minutes to lay out for your child your expectations of his/her behavior while at school.  Tell your child EXACTLY what you expect from him/her while he/she is away from you:

  • Try and do your best work at all times
  • No matter what other children are doing, follow your own head and do what you believe to be right
  • Play nicely with the other children
  • Follow the rules at school
    • Talk when you are allowed to talk, listen when you are supposed to be listening
    • Listen to your teacher at all times
    • Your teacher will only say the directions once…Listen the first time
    • Do what the teacher asks of you at all times, even if it is something that you may not want to do
    • Keep your hands and feet to yourself (even on the bus)
    • Listen to the bus driver and stay in your seat at all times while on the bus
    • Be a good friend and others will be a good friend to you

Re-posted from 2009






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Filed under Behavior, First Grade, Kindergarten, Parents, Responsibility

Time Out Table In School

Blog  51 Time Out Table in Kindergarten

You might wonder about the number one question that parents ask Kindergarten and First Grade teachers at the start of the school year.  It is not about Academics, Assessments, Daily Schedules, Curriculum, Seating Arrangements, etc.  Oh,no. The number one question is about discipline.  How do we handle children when they misbehave in our classroom?  This leads me to believe that most parents know that their children misbehave, and believe me some misbehave more than others.  Parents just want to be sure that they are OK with how we handle their rule breaking 5 year olds.  I have a time out table in my room (located  about 4 feet from all of the action) and I explain to parents at Back to School night that it gets heavy use during the month of September as we lay down the class rules and expect the children to follow them.  By October, it is hardly used at all, as children settle into the routine and have learned to follow the rules and regulations of our classroom.  But, it still sits there waiting, just in case it is needed. This is the way it is used in my classroom and you could use a table, chair or quiet spot at home to achieve the same goal.  When a child misbehaves, in this example talks to a friend during story time, this is what happens:

  • I tell the child he/she is interrupting my story by talking to his/her friend.  I say that they can either listen to the story quietly, or talk, but if they choose to talk, they have to go to the time out table.
  • Always, the child will say “I will listen to the story quietly” and the within moments, ‘chooses’ to talk again.  At this point I will say, ‘you have chosen to talk and we said that if you talk again you would have to go to the time out table so you need to go to the time out table now’
  • This interchange is not always met with favorable results and I will then say, you can walk to the time out table or you can choose to have me hold your hand and walk you there.
  • Most children then decide walking the 4 feet to the time out table is the better choice rather than being led by the teacher.
  • I will continue to read the story and when done I will go and talk to the child at the time out table.
  • I will ask, “What were you doing that go you sent to the time out table?”  Ultimately I am looking for the response that begins with the words “I WAS……” In this case “I was talking during the story”
    • Notice I did not start my question with the word “why”.  The word why is very open ended and does not always need a factual answer and 5 year olds know that.  Be sure and start your question with What…you will get a more factual answer.
    • I will now say, yes you were talking during the story but the next time you will listen quietly to our story and then that is the end of our talk
    • When a child is able to accept responsibility for what he/she has done wrong, he/she is well on the road to improving that behavior
    • When a child says that the reason he/she is at the time out table is because I put them there, we have to review again what took place prior to being removed from the class group and I will remind the child that he/she had a choice to go or not go to the time out table and they chose ‘to go.’ This child needs a few more minutes to think and then I will repeat the question, “why are you at the time out table/?” and hopefully the answer will begin with “I was”

Most children only need one or two visits to the time out table to know I mean what I say, but there is usually a few that will test awhile longer.  Please parents, under no circumstance should you use the “I will give you to the count of three to …….(fill in the blank here with what you want your child to do) You have only taught them that you don’t really mean it on the first try and that they have some more time for stalling.  If you use, 1,2,3, please stop now.

Re-posted from 2009

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Child Development Tracker

Here is a wonderful site from PBS that will help you to track the skills your child should possess for his/her age. Take a look at how your child should be functioning in the following areas according to his age:

  1. Approach to Learning
  2. Creative Arts
  3. Language
  4. Literacy
  5. Math
  6. Physical Health
  7. Social and Emotional Growth

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Filed under Alphabet, Beginning Readers, Behavior, Fine Motor Skills, First Grade, Improving Reading Skills, Kindergarten, Language Arts, Math, Maturity, Parents, Play, Reading, Responsibility

My Child Is Shy

Each year I meet a new group of children that will be in my classroom for the entire school year.  I meet these children usually at School Open House which takes place a few days before school actually begins. I love meeting the children with whom I will spend so much time with this year.  I love meeting parents and talking to them about their children.  What all teachers do not like, is when a parent says “My child is shy” in front of that very child.  Beginning of the year jitters are common, even for teachers if you can believe it.  Jitters aside, when children are hiding behind parents legs, won’t talk to the teacher when spoken to, the LAST thing a teacher wants to hear from the parent is “My child is shy.” When your child hears you say this time after time after time, he/she will begin to feel that being ‘shy’ is exactly the way you want him/her to behave.  Praise your child in public, especially when meeting a new person, such as a new teacher. Talk about what a wonderful year he/she had in other school situations.  Talk about something your child is good at, like a sport, or singing or drawing.  If you have just moved talk about something special from your last school or home.  The more you draw attention to positive things about your child, your child will begin to expect that you are going to say something nice about him/her when you meet other adults and your child will be ready and listening.  In time, the ‘shyness’ will go away, but it will take a much longer time to happen if your child is always hearing about how ‘shy’ he/she is.  If you think that your child really does need practice in new social situations, join a sports team, make some playdates with new friends from school, take lessons from another adult where you won’t be able to stay and answer for them when the instructor is talking to them. No one can answer for your child in school.  Think about that parents!


Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Maturity, Parents, Responsibility, Social Skills

Proper Methods of Handwashing

School will be starting soon and more than likely your child will be using the school toilets.  More and more Kindergarten and First Grade children are arriving at school without the basic knowledge of how to wash their own hands.  Teachers know that most parents are assisting their children with hand washing at home, but at school, your child will be washing his or her own hands.  Now is the time to practice this skill at home each and every time your child uses the restroom and encourage your child to wash without adult assistance.  Keep in mind at school your child will be using a paper towel dispenser so you might want to practice using that as well.  Your child’s Kindergarten or First Grade teacher will be forever thankful.

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Effects of too Little Sleep

Sleep deprivation seems to start early. A 2004 survey by the National Sleep Foundation found that on average, children in every age group from infancy through fifth grade failed to get even the low end of the recommended range of sleep. Experts say that most children do not get enough sleep each night and are being asked to work at school without a properly functioning brain.  Many children suffer from the psychological and physical effects of sleep deprivation that include:

  • Difficulty paying attention
  • Difficulty  concentrating and then thinking becomes extremely hard
  • Difficulty learning new information
  • Difiiculty in retaining anything that was heard or read at school
  • Difficulty performing at school
  • Increased mood swings, fatigue, irritability, impulsivity and behavior problems, difficulties in relationships with other children


Signs of Sleep Deprivation in Children

By  Charlina Stewart

When children are sleep deprived, they can exhibit any combination of these symptoms:

  • irritability
  • temper tantrums
  • decreased patience
  • hyperactivity
  • crying and fussiness
  • tired when they wake-up in the mornings
  • poor concentration
  • poor school performance
  • poor impulse control
  • clumsiness

Read more:

Re-posted from Aug. 2009

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Filed under Behavior, First Grade, Kindergarten, Parents, Responsibility, Social Skills