Saturday, January 12, 2008

Awards, PE, Buddies

I photographed a few moments of our day in kindergarten Friday. We began, as we almost always do, in song. After singing and roll call we walked next door to the Community Room for an awards assembly to honor of students who participated in the PTO's Walk-a-thon.

Awards Assembly
The student council awarded medals for the top money earner in each class and a medal for the boy and the girl who walked the most laps in the event. Here is a picture of the winners in Kindergarten.

Kaylee (left) and Clayton (right) walked the most laps. Blaine (center) was top fund raiser.

Immediately after the awards ceremony, I noticed that some of the students seemed a little fractious. I was glad we had P.E. right after the assembly so the class could stretch its legs and to brighten their mood.

Ms. Campbell led us in a few minutes of P.E. outdoors.

Ms. Campbell leading us in outdoor exercises

We followed P.E. with our usual table time activities. I am very grateful that our Friday parent volunteers are flexible enough to stay later than usual so that we can still do our small group activities on Fridays.

After table time, I noticed that the students still felt
querulous, and I had a hunch about what might have caused it.

I grabbed Archy, and we had a talk.

"Archy, you look grumpy!"
"I am grumpy, Mr. Gurney."
"Why, Archy? What's wrong? You can tell me."
"I'm afraid you don't like me."
"Don't like you? Why would you say that?"
"I didn't get a medal. I wasn't even in the Walkathon. I don't even have any legs."
"Archy, you don't need to win a medal for me to like you."
"I don't?"
"You don't even need legs. I like you just the way you are."
"You do, Mr. Gurney?"
"Of course I do, Archy. You're a fine mouse puppet. I've always liked you, and you've never won a medal."
"Oh. I'm glad you still like me, Mr. Gurney."
"I do, Archy. Do you feel better now?"
"Yes, Mr. Gurney. I do."

I put Archy up on the chart stand where he could look at the class. Without anyone asking, Clayton and Kaylee took off their medals and lent them to Archy.

The Buddy Program
At the end of the day we launched a new feature of kindergarten, the Buddy Program. In it, we partner fifth graders with kindergartners for a wide variety of activities. Friday's activity was to make a little poster to show what each pair's favorite food, book, and sport and what they want to be when they grow up.

Partnering across grades like this has so many benefits. It's good, first of all, for the kindergartners. They get to know "the big kids" at school and they glow under the light of the caring from the big kids.

It's good, too, for the fifth graders who employ their skills for the benefit of the younger ones. They get to serve!

And I enjoy working with my former students—most of these fifth graders went to kindergarten here—now more grown up. One of the deepest satisfactions of teaching kindergarten in a small school that you get to know children—and their families—through seven years of childhood.

The fifth graders have been asking for kindergarten buddies since the early this year and our principal, Mrs. Wilding, found a curriculum (really a binder full of ideas and activities) that fills the bill. The bonds formed this year will hold next year, too, when they become sixth grade/first grade buddies.

These photos will show you what I'm trying to describe:

The room was crowded with students focused on their work.

Morgan helps Sierra and Madison think about their favorite foods.

Paige helps Elias record his favorite book.

Sarah and Sergio smile for my camera.

Jacob and Aden work on their Buddy Chart.


Gail Jonas said...

This is wonderful! Your description of using Archy to get your message out that even non-medal-winners and even non-participants was great.

Thanks for standing in the parking lot and talking with me yesterday.

I sent Sarah last night's post; it's about Incidents at Sea Agreements and what we can do to promote them.

Gail Jonas said...

Oops, previous comment was incomplete. "[Y]our message out that even non-medal winners and even non-participants are A-okay was great."

Dan Gurney, Mr. Kindergarten said...

Thanks, Gail! I enjoyed chatting with you, too. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Archy's a real help in getting important messages across.