Classroom rituals and routines are so important in a kindergarten classroom. Five year olds really enjoy a consistent routine and knowing what to expect each day when they walk through the door. I believe that it makes them feel connected.  We have rituals for putting away materials, washing hands with hand sanitizer,  and even for changing centers.

In my classroom, the children love some of our rituals and look forward to them. For example, whenever a child is absent, I call the child at home and the entire class yells " We miss you...and then say the child's name"! One year I almost forgot to make the call to one little girl. We got busy and I didn't realize it until the school day was almost over. We quickly called her and told her we missed her and hoped she would feel better soon. The next morning she walked up to me,handed me her folder and raised one eyebrow as she looked me in the eye and said " I was beginning to think you were going to forget to call yesterday!" She sounded like a little adult. I told her that we had gotten busy but there was no way we would have forgotten her. Then she wrapped her arms around me and gave me a hug. 

Young children look forward to being assigned a weekly job. Most of the time they take it very seriously and are so proud of carrying out whatever responsibility they are assigned. Years ago, when fire restrictions weren't so strict, I used to hang center signs from the ceiling. One year I had a transportation theme and a special chair that the child of the day got to sit in. We called him or her "The Big Wheel" that year and the chair they sat in was "The Big Wheel Chair". That name really stuck and so every year for the past twelve years, I have had a big wheel and a big wheel chair.

Morning meetings are also very important to my students which includes a time of devotion. The children really look forward to each daily reading. After reading a passage one morning about being kind to brothers and sisters, one child teared up. I asked him what was wrong and he responded "I think I hurt God's heart this morning at breakfast. I smacked my sister when she wouldn't give me back my show and tell".

One other ritual that my students really look forward to may cause some of you Moms out there to cringe. I give a birthday spanking. I even have students come back for a few years after they leave kindergarten wanting "another birthday spanking". I invite the Mom or Dad in and I put the child over my knee. While the children count, I spank.......my leg. With each smack, I yell "ouch" to the delight of the children. They are a mass of giggles by the time I finish. Who would have ever thought a child would ask for a spanking?

What rituals do you have in your classroom or home?

30 comments

  1. Shell // March 23, 2010 at 8:31 PM  

    LOL I was just talking to someone about birthday spankings and how we used to get them when we were younger but how it would be child abuse now. Not that *I* think it is, but people are crazy these days.

    You don't happen to be on the coast are you?

  2. Andrea // March 23, 2010 at 8:36 PM  

    Children definitely need routines and do much better when they have them.
    Thank you for your sweet comments on All Gods Creatures! Hope you are able to visit and follow Arise 2 Write, too! I cherish your beautiful comments...straight from the heart. You are such a beautiful spirit.
    Hugs, andrea

  3. Debbie // March 23, 2010 at 8:40 PM  

    I can't get over you calling the student when they are out! How special, and yes you really would have heard it from that little gal had you forgotten!~ The birthday spankings, I love it, my youngests first grade teacher did that, it was great, and the kids get a real kick out of it!~ You are a very special teacher, and I am sure you have touched countless lives of children. I still think about my sons first grade teacher...he struggled that year with reading. She took him under her wing, loved him and supported him and he received so much help all because of her. She is a special teacher, just Like YOU!~

  4. VKT // March 23, 2010 at 8:43 PM  

    Shell,

    I am! And I am older than dirt! Did I teach you one year?

  5. VKT // March 23, 2010 at 8:45 PM  

    Dear Andrea,

    I am a follower of both. Sometimes I forget to read Arise to Write, but I will try to do better.

  6. VKT // March 23, 2010 at 8:47 PM  

    Debbie,

    You are such a sweetie pie! Thank you for your kind words. You are so right. I would have definitely heard it from that child if we had forgotten to call....lol.

    Have a blessed day tomorrow dear lady! I know your Mom is so proud of you!!!

  7. Karen Blados // March 23, 2010 at 9:02 PM  

    I think all of your students are very blessed to have such a kind and caring teacher. Every time I help out in my kids' classrooms, I wonder how the teachers don't run screaming for the hills. It takes a very special kind of person and I'm so grateful there are teachers like you!

  8. Brenda Susan // March 23, 2010 at 9:14 PM  

    Great post & so true! At home my boys loved rituals at that age also. Bedtime became a strange combination of my saying something & their response for so long that what we were saying did not even make sense anymore but the ritual continued! Makes them feel safe I guess.

  9. Debbie(single;complicated) // March 23, 2010 at 9:52 PM  

    you are such a great teacher!!!! I love the birthday call!! those kids will never forget that..or you!

  10. mrs. c // March 23, 2010 at 10:08 PM  

    I agree that consistancy is so important in the classroom! I also gave up my desk so my kids could have more room. Some of my teacher friends ask how I can function without a desk, and I tell them I have a plastic box for all my stuff!
    I see you have all your lesson plans on computer, I have not found a format that I like. What do you use?
    Hubby is grinning from ear to ear with all the praise! Thanks, he and I love to take photos, it's a great thing to do together.

  11. Alicia // March 23, 2010 at 10:22 PM  

    I think it's so cute when kids sound grown up. That's an adorable story.

    I also love your birthday "spankings". On birthdays, I always hold the child, wearing their birthday crown, on my lap (the only time allll year) while we sing "Happy Birthday."

  12. Heather // March 23, 2010 at 11:25 PM  

    That is SO sweet about calling the kids when they are absent! I bet the kids just LOVE that and I bet the parents do too! My son is in kindergarten and if his teacher/class did that I would just melt :) Of course he hasn't been absent at all this school year, so it would save you a phone call! LOL

    I've been really lucky in the fact that my boys have had AWESOME teachers and when we moved down here we researched the schools for HOURS before making a decision where to move, and I'm SO glad we did. We love their school and again the teachers are wonderful. I have so much respect and love for teachers.

  13. Heather // March 23, 2010 at 11:27 PM  

    Oh and I LOVE the birthday spankings! I told my kindergartener on his birthday in January that I was going to tell his teacher to give him 6 spankings since it was his birthday. He came home that day and said "I didn't get any spankings, but they did sing to me!" Their school doesn't allow cupcakes or anything either :( I was so upset that I couldn't send cupcakes on his birthday.

  14. Choices // March 24, 2010 at 8:53 AM  

    Routine and ritual are very important in the teaching of children. I can always tell when I go into a classroom to substitute and I can tell the classrooms that have all that in place. It shows that the teacher has esatablished all that. I also knew that when I had my own classroom, it help with classroom management.
    Thank you so much for sharing all your wisdom.
    Have a wonderful day!

  15. Anne // March 24, 2010 at 10:21 AM  

    My daughter is a very routine oriented girl, and her teacher is very much the same way...you're right, they feel connected and they know what to expect. When they have a sub, the kids feel great about themselves when they can tell the teacher when and how they do things in the classroom.

    I love routines, myself. I'd forget so much if I didn't have them!

    Love the spankings story! That's hilarious!

  16. Theresa Milstein // March 24, 2010 at 10:44 AM  

    I'm in an out of kindergarten classrooms enough to know that the more stable the environment - expectations and routine - the more the children thrive. Your room sounds like such a place.

    I LOVE that you call children who stay home from school. How special.

    The birthday spanking is too funny!

  17. Maggie May // March 24, 2010 at 11:15 AM  

    Yes..... five year olds do love rituals and good routine. It helps them to feel secure.
    My five year old granddaughter, Millie, can't wait to be back at school in the holidays because we are all a bit unstructured and she missed the way school is run..

    Nuts in May

  18. Brenda // March 24, 2010 at 6:48 PM  

    Your students are very lucky!

  19. VKT // March 24, 2010 at 7:30 PM  

    Karen,

    What a sweetheart you are! Thanks so much for you comments. I have had parent volunteers come in and say "How do you stand the noise?" to which I reply "What noise?" Seriously, I don't notice it.

  20. VKT // March 24, 2010 at 7:31 PM  

    I agree Brenda Susan! I do think it makes them feel safe. Thanks so much for your comment!

  21. VKT // March 24, 2010 at 7:32 PM  

    Thanks Debbie,

    It isn't actually a birthday call. We call them whenever they are out sick. Then, we "spank" them for their birthday...lol

  22. VKT // March 24, 2010 at 7:34 PM  

    Mrs. C,

    If you give me your email address, I will be happy to email some lesson plans to you. I used Microsoft word. I am happy to share my lesson plans or newsletters...just let me know!

  23. VKT // March 24, 2010 at 7:35 PM  

    Thanks for sharing Alicia. I do the same thing while we sing Happy Birthday...then....the dreaded spanking! Hurts me anyway...lol

  24. VKT // March 24, 2010 at 7:37 PM  

    Wow! No cupcakes eh? I wonder why? I know some children have allergies but we send out a letter specifying what ingredients kids are allergic too and the parents make sure not to send in something that any child would have a reaction to. i.e. peanuts

  25. VKT // March 24, 2010 at 7:38 PM  

    Thanks so much for your comment Anne! I hope you had a very blessed day my blogging buddy!

  26. VKT // March 24, 2010 at 7:39 PM  

    Thanks for sharing Anne! I am glad you liked the birhtday spanking story!

  27. VKT // March 24, 2010 at 7:40 PM  

    Theresa,

    The kids truly do look forward to the call and the parents always tell us that it makes them want to hurry back. Thanks for your comment my blogging friend.

  28. VKT // March 24, 2010 at 7:42 PM  

    I am so glad Millie is having a great year. I taught the sweetest little Millie one year....absolutely precious. I bet your grandchild is too!

  29. VKT // March 24, 2010 at 7:42 PM  

    Thanks so much for your comment Brenda! I feel pretty lucky myself.

  30. RosieP // March 25, 2010 at 7:53 AM  

    I love reading your stories.

    Hugs RosieP x