Wednesday, February 11, 2015

100 Things I have Learned

Here I am, 100 school days smarter and still standing (most days). I really wanted to title this post 100 Things I have Learned ( Or At Least Think I've Learned) In My First 100 Days Teaching Kindergarten. But that seemed a little wordy. 

I didn't want to overwhelm readers with a never ending list so I've conveniently broken it down into chunks of wisdom by category. Enjoy.

General Knowledge About Myself
Because I matter.
1. Coffee. Good, bad, doesn't matter. Coffee.
2. Every pet-peeve of mine will be discovered and used against me.
3. I must really schedule time spent with friends or it doesn't happen.
4. It can genuinely hurt when a student doesn't like me. Even if only for 5 minutes.
5. I must wear a watch at all times. Preferably digital.
6. When I dress like a frumpy teacher, I feel like a frumpy teacher. 
7. I like hummus.
8. I will always have mark on me.
9. My walls will be covered in children's art work.
10. Teachers Pay Teachers. Not only a way to get amazing resources but it's also paid for some of my other hobbies and interests. 

Items I've Learned to Love
Because they make it easier.
11.  Sending out Scholastic book orders is worth your time. I love getting free books!!
12. Highlights free offer is another one I love. I am awaiting my first free gift. 
13. Heavy duty pencil sharpeners.
14. Hand Sanitizer. Did you know it can help remove in stains from clothes, whiteboards, and laminated sheets? 
15. Personal at-home laminators are wonderful. My Scotch Thermal Laminator (TL901) is great.
16. Always use Ticondaroga pencils
(Ok technically I have always loved them but even more now!)
17. Investing in a a laser printer is 110% worth it! I LOVE my HP LaserJet Pro.
18. Quartet whiteboard markers are pretty and sometimes that makes a big difference.
19. Pinterest. Always Pinterest.
20. Go Noodle!! 

Things I've Learned to Do
21. Document everything. Not just the big, but also the odd and uncharacteristic behaviors. Student starts falling asleep in class regularly? Document it. Student occasionally steals things? Document it. It is amazing what comes back around to be useful information.
22. Admit when I am wrong or make a mistake. I have no shame letting my students know I am merely human when I accidentally send them out 5 minutes late to recess or take them to PE on a Music day. 
23. Re-do a lesson that flops. Not every lesson I've taught deserves a gold start, sometimes it's best to take a deep breath and try again tomorrow. 
24. Ask for parent volunteers. It took me two class celebration to realize I didn't not want or need to do it alone.
25. Let the school pay for things. If I want to potentially take it with me in the future, I buy it. But if the school is willing to purchase things like supplies, a new pencil sharpener, or decorations then I let them.
26. Pick your battles.

Things I've Learned NOT to Do
27. Do not be threatened by parent advocacy. What parents do and say may feel like personal attacks but the core of it is that most parents just want what’s best for their child. 
28. Do not try to do every single thing everyone else suggests. Be open to try new things but also know that you are the one who knows your class best.
29. Do not compare yourself to other teachers, especially about things that don't matter.
30. Do not make promises you can't or don't follow through on. If you promise to give back the item at the end of the day, you better give it back. Kindergartners will remember and they will call you out. This especially goes for class parties and celebrations.

Instagrams Accounts to Follow
Because I've learned daily inspiration and laughter are good for me
31 - 33
Things I've learned About Kindergartners
34. Ice packs are some sort of mystical healing mechanism. "Ashley looked at me mean. I think I need an ice pack."
35. They are often tamed by songs and rhythm. Always have a few songs ready in your back pocket.
36. Greeting students by name each day is meaningful.
37. No topic is off limits. They will ask about EVERYTHING.
38. Always keep a special stuffed animal handy.
39. Stickers are like gold.
40. They might never learn where the trash can is.

General Knowledge About My School
41. It pays to make friends with the PTA. 
42. It pays to be involved in the random stuff. Box Top collection competitions, fundraisers, Friday potlucks, spirit day competitions. Do something to be noticed, because if you don't people will notice that too.
43.  Be nice to the office staff. Not mousy, quiet, I-don't-want-to-disturb-you-nice because that gets you no where. But do be genuinely nice and grateful for them.

Classroom Management
44. Everyone tells first year teachers classroom management is super important BECAUSE IT IS. 
45. Be straight forward with your students. If the principal walks in and ask a student about the reward system in your class, they should be able to answer.
46. Be prepared to integrate a new student at any moment.
47. Classroom management should really be stressed more in college.

Blog I Can Always Turn to For Inspiration
Because I've learned there are super create people out there willing to share!
48 - 53

Quotes to Inspire Me
Because I've learned inspiration is important.
54. “She believed she could, so she did.” - R.S. Grey
55. "Don't limit yourself. Many people limit themselves to what they think they can do. You can go as far as your mind lets you. What you believe, you can achieve." - Mary Kay Ash
56. "Friendship is like peeing on yourself: everyone can see it, but only you get the warm feeling that it brings." -  Robert Bloch
57. "The purpose of life is not to be happy – but to matter, to be productive, to be useful, to have it make some difference that you have lived at all." - Leo Rosten
58. “You can cry, ain’t no shame in it." - Will Smith

Book To Always Have In My Classroom
59. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
60. David Goes to School by David Shannon
61. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
62. Bear Snores On - Karma Wilson & Jane Chapman
63. Wemberly Worried by Kevin Henkes
64. Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola
65. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
67. Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor
68. The Opposite by Tom MacRae
69. Actual Size by Steve Jenkins
70. Chrysanthemum  by Kevin Henkes

Things I Shouldn't Say Outside the classroom
Because I've learned people don't think it's as funny as I do.
71. "I'll just wait 'till you're all quiet."
72. "3, 2, 1, I'm almost to zero. 0"
73. "Hands off the walls.
74. "Do you think you're being a bucket filler or a dipper when you say that?"
75. "What does the fox say!?"
76. "Is someone hurt? Is something on fire? Then it's not an emergency."
77. "You worry about you, not anyone else."

Pins That Changed My Classroom
Because I have learned all things good come from Pinterest
78 - 83

Words I Must Know As a Kindergarten Teacher
Because kindergartners basically speak and write in another language
84. Hors ; Horse
84. "Pasketti" ; Spaghetti
86. "Pinkawishus" : Pinkalicious
86. "Handitizer" : Hand Sanitizer
87. Pupe : Puppy
88. "That thing to cover up ugly spots." : Band-aid

Books to Read and Reread
89 - 92


*There is a newer 4th edition of The First Days of School here but I have this version and love it.

The Best Part of My Job
Because I've learned that kindergarten is amazing
93. DIY is basically part of the job.
94. I get snack each day.
95. There is never a dull moment.
96. I get to hear, "Mrs. Root, I can read now?!"
97. When a kid counts to 100 for the first time.
98. Seeing the "light bulb moments."
99. Their smiles and hugs.
100. The students.


  1. Very sweet post, Kayla! You are making such an impact in those kids' lives!


  2. What a lovely and reflective post! I hope your next 100 days are as inspiring for you! Good luck!!