Thursday, September 5, 2013

"I CAN" Week in Preschool.

"In Preschool, I CAN...."
Traditionally for the first week of preschool I plan an "All About Me" week, but this first week of school I did something a little different. I planned an "I CAN" week.  Using some ideas I found on one of my favorite blogs,, I decided to spend my first week at a new school with new students focusing on all the things that they CAN do in preschool. The concept allowed me to implement some expectations for them, while also laying basic ground rules for the classroom without focusing on all the things that the kids CAN'T do.

Each day during our morning meeting we began filling  our "I CAN" can with all the things that we can do in preschool written on Popsicle sticks. I asked each child to tell me one thing that they can do in  preschool and then my co-teacher would write it on a Popsicle stick and then allow the child to put the stick in the can. Now, we have a can full of all the things we 'CAN' do in preschool. When I catch a child doing something they shouldn't be doing I grab the can and ask them if what they are doing is something we 'CAN' do in preschool. When they say no, I have them pull out a Popsicle stick and I read what is written on stick to them and then encourage them to do that activity instead of what they were doing. Its brings the focus back to what the kids CAN do in preschool instead of what they can't.
Continuing to draw on the "I Can" analogy, my co-teacher and I collected a bunch of cans in many different shapes and sizes and put them in all the centers. We used cans to build in the block area, we used cans in our water table, and we even used cans to paint with. Using cans in each center area allowed us to introduce the centers to the children and help them learn all the things they can do in each area.

Here are some activities that my preschoolers did during "I Can" week...

"I Can Paint!" We used cans of many different sizes and rolled them paint and made cool looking pictures. Some of my students rolled the cans on the paper, and some children used the cans as stamps and made circles on their paper.

Along with cans, we also learned that we CAN paint with other obscure objects such as cotton balls attached to clothes pin. This exploration allowed the children to work on color recognition and sorting skills. It was also a really great way to strengthen fine motor skills.  Best of all, the kids LOVED it. It was new and different and therefore interesting.

There are many ways to promote the concept of CAN in a classroom and the important lesson to be learned here is that children need to know what they CAN do instead of what they can't do. One of my favorite quotes is from Scott Noyes, "Say Yes when you can and No when you have to!"  This concept of focusing on what children CAN do has changed my entire way of classroom management. And when they are doing or want to do something they CAN'T do, I try to remember to give them a clear and simple reason as to why they can't. Then I'm sure to follow up with an idea of something they can do instead. This idea leads to the ultimate goal I have for my students and that is SUCCESS! I want my students to feel successful while they are in my classroom, and if I'm lucky and am doing my job well enough they will feel successful when they leave my classroom.

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