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May 13, 2009

Open Choice Time


This year we were lucky to have two sections of School Readiness in our building.  One of the best parts of this was the ability to work cooperatively with the other class and teacher.  During our last weeks of school, we decided that once a week we would allow our students to play together during choice time. 


This was a great opportunity to practice playing with new friends, respecting another classroom and teacher, and most of all, it gave our students a higher level of responsibility.  I was impressed!  These days went very well.  Socially, our students were using the skills we have been working on throughout the year.  I heard people introducing themselves, asking friends to play and using their words to solve problems. 


One of the boys in my class has been removed from his classmates throughout this year.  He is one of the older students in my class and is more advanced academically.  I have been working with him one on one and in small groups to help challenge him.  It wasn’t until he meet two boys in my colleague’s class that he wanted to participate socially with his peers at school!  It has been rewarding to watch him strike up conversation, play cooperatively and enjoy himself at school. 


He has thanked me many times for letting him go to the other class.  He said, “I have the best friends in the whole world.”  However, most of the time he follows that with a more somber, “and I won’t see them ever again.” 


This comment made me think about the fact that I really have no control over who is in my class.  Hopefully, we will continue these community-building activities so our students can find someone they connect with and use the social skills we teach and model everyday.  Practicing and participating in this social and emotional development in the key to not only kindergarten readiness but a lifetime of great communities.



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