I don't know what it is. It could be their wide range of ability levels, or the fact that I've had more students leave and more new students come then I have the past few years. It could be that changing rooms every year is wearing me down, or that the environment that I work in is getting to be too much. Whatever it is, I don't feel like I am working to my full potential. I'm trying to change that because it isn't fair to the kids. This has caused me to really evaluate the efficacy of what I do, and tweak my practice as neccesary.
One of the things I have been playing around it is my centers. At the begining of the year, I had to increase my center time to twice daily. This particular class needs more freedom, movement, and play. I ended up splitting my reading and math centers into their own individual time slots. My kids do centers first thing in the morning and also in the afternoon. It has made more work for me, but the results have been worth it.
I started thinking that I need to work smarter instead of harder. I decided to implement my own tweaked version of Daily 5 (If you have never heard of it, there is more information here) which we call the "weekly 5". They have the 5 choices of listening to reading on the tablet, word work which I switch out weekly and base on their current needs, reading to themselves, reading to a friend, or writing. I also conference with them throughout the week, whether it is to go over their writing, pull their small group, or conduct assessments.
I have them tracking themselves on a dry erase check list. Each time they do one of the weekly five centers, they have to mark it off. If they don't finish all of them by Friday, then they have to finish during our fun Friday time.
So far it has been working out pretty well. We have to tweak a few things here and there, and they have to be reminded to hit all of the centers instead of just going for tablet. They are getting the hang of it though and it gets better every single week.
My next thing I want to focus on is making the most out of my time so I can pull every one of my small groups every day. I also want to work on beefing up my math centers.
One of the reasons that I enjoy teaching is because it is ever evolving. I enjoy the challenge to make the most out of each and every day so that my students will get the most out of their Kindergarten experience.