Sunday, November 18, 2012

Building independence and saving my sanity.

I knew that when I saw a class list of 26 little kinders, it was going to be everything I had to keep things under control.  In order to keep things sane, I would have to keep my centers and stations small and in order to keep them small I would have to have more stations and centers.  But with one of me and my allotted aide time, how on earth could I make it happen?  I had to try and give my kinders the opportunity to be independent and take control of their own learning. 

I had to quickly figure out what my go to strategies to move them towards taking control over their own learning. 

I CAN sheets have been a blessing.  Most of kinders can look at these by now and know exactly what the expectations of the activity are because they are familiar activities (some routine centers/stations are an absolute must when you have 9 of them going on at one time).  For instance, even though we do I-Spy centers all the time, you can easily see that this one is for letter sounds and they know how to complete it.  You know I was actually beginning to think that no one was using these but me when I got a request from some readers to keep adding them to my letter/sound I-spys.  So I put them back in. (I guess I'm not the only one, huh?)

I also have found that by putting my answer keys in one location on a hook, students, when finished with an activity, can check their answers themselves.  We have some basic rules.  You can't go look unless your activity is completed and you need to go with a friend (if possible) to have them help you check.  If you have some areas that aren't correct.  You need to go back and redo it.  You can't just change your answers.  It's worked pretty well and everyone knows, in the wise words of Junie B Jones, there is no 'sneaky peaky spying.'

And then of course, there are those self correcting activities!  I will use any and all I can find or make.  It took some training and a couple of trips to Walmart for clothes pins, but by being able to complete a task and checking it themselves, they are getting immediate feedback.  In the past, immediate feedback was them poking me and saying, 'Mrs. McGuire...(poke poke poke) Mrs. McGuire (poke, poke, poke) but these kinds of activities have really saved me this year. I am a fan of all clothes pins, plain and fancy, that have allowed me to provide my kinders with self correcting activities. 

So I'm sane for the time being anyway.  But please tell me, what are you're secrets for moving for students towards more independent learning?  I need a full arsenal and would love to hear all your secrets.


  1. I love the I-can sheets. I also had not thought of putting the answers up front! Great idea! I'm with you on the Mrs. Lumpkin (poke, poke, poke), but mine keep calling my name. I tell them jokingly (after I have heard my name a million times in one day) I'm going to change my name and not tell them what it is!
    Great post and food for thought! Thanks bunches!

  2. Those are great ideas, thank you for sharing! My prekinders are still working towards independence (never has my name been so popular than during centers!) And I can't wait to use some of your strategies! Thanks,


  3. I have 26 kiddos this year too and I have yet to find a solution that works for really making that time effective. Thank you for sharing your "I can" strategy!:)




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