Tips to a Kindergarten Teacher, From a Kindergarten Teacher

As soon as I saw Mary's Tips to a Kindergarten Teacher, From a Kindergarten Teacher linky party, I just knew I had to join!!  I was also super excited to find other kindergarten teacher blogs and read what their tips were.  Thanks Mary for hosting this great linky party!!
This past year was my 10th year teaching kindergarten!  I taught second grade for one year and have been in kindergarten ever since!  One of my favorite parts about teaching kindergarten is the growth they make.  It is always so amazing to see.  Here are 4 tips about teaching kindergarten that I have learned over the years.  
#1 - Model, model, model and set clear expectations!
I put modeling and expectations in the same tip because they are so similar to me.  When you model for your students you are showing them what you expect.  Modeling and clear expectations are especially important at the beginning of the year.  Some of your new kindergarten friends might be coming to school for the first time.  You will need to model sitting in a chair, pushing in your chair, walking to the carpet, walking to the line, holding a pencil, raising your hand, sharing and using manipulatives...the list goes on and on.  Modeling will help your kindergarten friends clearly understand what the expectations are.  Trust me...setting up clear expectations from day 1 is so important and helps your school year be more successful!
#2 - Use music, dance, and have fun! 
I catch my students singing their favorite "pop" songs all of the time.  If they can memorize those songs, just think of the impact music has when it is a song that teaches a concept!  Dr. Jean is someone who does just that.  We love Dr. Jean in my classroom!  She has the best songs that also help young children learn.  Some of our favorites are: Days of the Week, Macarena Months, Five Little Monkeys, The Numeral Song, Rise and Shine, Hello Neighbor, and Tooty Ta!  We also love GoNoodle!  I typically use GoNoodle as a Brain Break after lunch.  It works so well to get them ready for reading.  Just remember to have FUN!  They are 5 and 6 and are KIDS!  Make school a fun and enjoyable learning environment for your students. 
#3 - Have engaging lessons with hands-on materials!
Make sure your lessons are engaging!  This will make your kiddos so much more excited about their learning.  It will also make for a memorable lesson.  Also, make sure you have hands-on materials for your students.  Kids need to have tangible objects to help them make meaning.  One of my students' favorite lessons this year was subtraction bowling.  They were engaged in this lesson and they had hands-on materials.  And...they were LEARNING!!!
#4 - Kindness Matters! 
Teach your students that kindness matters!  I always remind my students to think about how they would want to be treated.  Going back to #1, model how to work in a group and be kind to their friends.  I tell my students that it is easier to be a kind friend.  Also, make sure your students see you being kind to other staff members in the school.  It really helps if your students hear how adults socialize and speak to one another in a kind manner. 
If you are new to kindergarten or currently teaching kindergarten, I hope these tips could help you!  I can't wait to check out the other kindergarten bloggers!!  If you are still in school this week, have a great week with your students! 
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