# 58 Apples Don't Fall Far......
There is a saying if you want to know the character of a child, ask his or her Kindergarten teacher. I believe this saying is true. Character is nice and clear by six years old, whether parents want to believe it or not. I have never been surprised by a name on the arrest list in the newspaper. I remember conversations where a parent thought I was treating the child unfairly, even when an abundance of evidence existed against it. When a child is taught they have a sense of entitlement, they also believe their way is the only way, and everyone else is wrong. They make up stories about their teacher, and other students, and their parents always believe them. I remember getting a call from a parent who jumped all over me like white on rice in a fit of anger because of a statement their child said I said. And no, I never said there was no Santa Clause. In fact I never discuss Holidays unless absolutely necessary, and it is never necessary.
When parents have an open mind, they listen to a teacher's concerns and then share their own. Everyone does not have to agree, but being respectful is paramount. And no, I am not going to bring your six year old to our meeting so he can tell how it really happened. I tell parents the facts, children tell stories. I like the use of a simple behavior chart with not more than four areas to check daily. Students love incentives. I once had a student whose behavior went from poor to excellent. And why was this? Because everyday when she got a good report, a parent gave her a crisp new dollar bill. Awesome!
Seating charts can be an effective strategy to improve behavior. Try boy girl boy girl. Students are a little uncomfortable until they get to know their seating partners. Try to always choose different students when grouping.
You will be surprised at how quickly students can work together. Use every opportunity to have students read out loud in front of a group. You may have to settle for students reading at their desk at first. The rest of the class will think the reading is hilarious, They will seek out the student and ask what comes next on today's saga. Student's will change their voices for different characters. Students copy other's idea's and still others put several ideas together. I do free writing every day for 20 minutes, and then share for 10 minutes. Sometimes
I allow them to get in small groups on the floor and read their story aloud. Homework is writing in their notebook at home for 20 minutes.When changing activities, choose a child to read what they have written for homework. Allow comments. I like the way you changed the wolf's voice..... You sure put a lot of humor in your story.....
As the teacher, pick up a random notebook and read an excerpt to the class. This is a delightful way to teach reading!