As a Kindergarten teacher, I’m ridiculously happy that this winter has been a mild one. Getting dressed for the outside is a long and stressful experience for many students … and I think, as a result of that, for many teachers. Today was a fairly mild day, and most students only had a coat to wear outside. Usually, as is the case during dressing and undressing times, some students are faster than others, and then there’s wait time. We get our students to sit down against the wall. This is for a couple of reasons:
- Standing in a line can be stressful. Many problems happen in line-ups. It’s easier to not lineup until we’re ready to head outside … and then we usually just sing ourselves into a line.
- We share the hallway with another Kindergarten class. If that class is ready to leave before us, we’re not blocking the way. The students can walk by, and then we can follow.
Students love to whisper and/or chat quietly to each other as they wait, and they were doing this today. With less winter gear though, I decided to try a little something different this afternoon. I sat down with the students, and I started by getting students to do what I did. I tapped different parts of my body, and quietly, they followed suit. This was a quiet activity, and it seemed to settle the class. Once everyone seemed calm, I quietly started to sing a rhyming song. Most of our students are still developing their rhyming skills, and music helps. The children helped me with the song and with generating different rhyming words. We only sang for 2-3 minutes, but we quickly got to review some rhymes (which aligns with our primary phonemic awareness goal).
This experience got me thinking: are we under-utilizing our time in the hallways? How could we use this time differently? Yes, we are right next to the office, and yes, we are not the only class in the hallway. I’m not suggesting that we scream through the halls, but the students sang so quietly today, and our songs are helping the students develop their rhyming skills. Would using our hallway time differently impact on student achievement? What would you do?