Submitted by Nikki Febinger, Rio Vista, Texas

Idea posted October 14, 2014

A little bit of background on my kindergarten schedule: I have kindergarten first, at 8:45 a.m., for 35 minutes. By the time they get to me, they're still in shock from Mommy leaving them and from being in a classroom where the sights are overwhelming. After all of that, then they're lined up and brought to me. Yikes.

I have a circle of duct tape spots (RAINBOW duct tape is the bomb!) on the floor, and I sing a little song that goes, "Walkin' round the circle, walkin' round the circle, walkin' round the circle 'til you find your spot."

m-s s-s l-s (rest) l-d1 d1-d1 r1-d1 (rest) m-s s-s l-s s-m r s s

"Walkin' round the circle, walkin' round the circle, walkin' round the circle 'til you find your spot."

(same pitches until ...................................................................... m r d

We look around at the room. "All the pretty colors! What do you see? Yes, I see that... and that... and that... But boys and girls, it is very important that we leave everything where it is, so that we can find it when we need it. That is one of our rules, RESPECT THE SCHOOL. Can you say that with me? Good! RESPECT OUR SCHOOL means only touch when the teacher lets you touch."

Half of them are still crying, so I sing "Twinkle, Twinkle" with hand motions. Many of them brighten right up, because they know this song. Then I go right into "Itsy Bitsy Spider" with hand motions. Ah! Success! Most of them have stopped crying!

"Stand up, boys and girls. See your rainbow spot? That is YOUR spot. Can you stay on your spot? Look behind you; there's a bottle of bubbles! Can you open that bottle and get out the magic bubble wand? Good. Now, blow a BIG BIG BIG bubble. Bigger... bigger... bigger... Wow, that's so big you can stand inside it! Get in your bubble carefully -- make sure you stay on your rainbow spot! Okay. Now we're going to paint the inside of your bubble."

Use your hands to paint the top, the sides, the back, and don't forget under your feet! Now that your bubble is painted, let's do some movement. But be sure not to touch anyone else's bubble, because what happens to bubbles when they touch each other? That's right, they pop! You worked so hard to paint your bubble that I would not want to see it pop. This is called, 'YOUR OWN SPACE.'"

Then do things like wiggly arms: "Don't pop anyone else's bubble! Stay in YOUR OWN SPACE!" Wiggly head, marching on their spot. Can you move just your elbows? Your fingers? Your mouth?

"Very good, boys and girls. Now can you sit back down? Let's take our bubble in our hands and make it smaller... smaller... smaller... even smaller, until you can fit it inside your magic wand. Now put it back in the bottle. Great! Now, whenever I say, 'MOVE IN YOUR OWN SPACE,' you will know what I mean."

Then read them a story (Pete the Cat works well) or sing simple songs like "Wheels On The Bus," "B-I-N-G-O," or "Old MacDonald." By this time, very few are crying, and they are totally in love with you. Finish with "Twinkle, Twinkle" to calm them down. Leave a few minutes to show them how to line up! Mine walk around the circle following me until I lead them to the door.

Drop them off at P.E., and get the next class, of whom half are crying and the other half want a drink and need to go to the bathroom, and do it all over again!

Day One, Kindergarten = Mission complete!