Wednesday, February 22, 2012
I've been trying to get my kinders to write sentences for a while -- most can manage one or two -- rarely more. But I was happy today to finally see them get excited about writing. I've been teaching them about labeling their pictures for a couple weeks -- and after the brief snowfall yesterday, I pulled out a snowman picture I'd been saving for this very occasion. We carefully labeled it -- scarf, carrot nose, hat, eyes, etc. Today I asked them to use the labels to write "How to Build a Snowman." And wow! They really got into it! When the first child asked for a second sheet of paper, it really inspired the rest of the class. Soon I was giving a second, third, and even a couple asked for a fourth page!! Now, I know they write BIG letters -- but it almost became this wonderful competition to see who could write the longest story. And considering that most couldn't even write their name just 100 days ago, this is pretty incredible. The stories weren't great -- "First poot on the eyes, thin poot on the carrot nose. It is orange," But I was almost doing the dance of joy as I was stapling 4 pages together. I love these "breakthrough" days when they start to "get it". Even the struggling little one tried really hard -- even though he just wrote a string of letters, he filled the page, and that is progress.
On the downside, one kid used the scissors today to cut a big hole in his shirt. Guess I still have work to do...
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
This was the 100th day of school -- the day was full of fun activities like making 100 bead necklaces, 100th day hats, 100th day glasses, 100 link paper chains, and writing numbers to 100 and "When I have $100, I will.... In the midst of all the craziness, my principal came in to do my observation. I was just starting to read one of my favorites, "The Wolf's Chicken Stew," and the kids were already pretty excited by the whole celebration, so their enthusiasm for the story was even higher than usual. I always ask lots of questions when I read, trying to elicit some of the higher order thinking skills -- but never knowing what kind of answers I will get. This was a very good day, though -- they were really on the ball. I asked "What happened at the beginning of the story?" One little boy said "The wolf went fishing." Now, there was nothing in the story about fishing, so I was a little doubtful about that answer, but then I noticed that there were fish bones on the wolf's dinner table in the first illustration. So I said,"How did you know he went fishing?" And another boy said, "I could infer from the picture." GREAT ANSWER! Then I asked if they could make a connection to another book, and hands went up everywhere. Lots of good answers, but the best was "Little Red Riding Hood because both the wolves were trying to trick someone." I keep a bucket of little plastic soldiers, firemen and policemen from the Dollar Tree on my desk to give to kids who use the "make a connection" strategy, because soldiers, firemen, and policemen use strategies in their jobs. They really rack their little brains to think up connections to books we have already read, and I am often amazed at their ideas. Anyway, my principal was impressed by the responses, and so was I -- sharing a good story is my favorite part of the day, especially when the kids get so excited about books and reading.
The other good part of the day? I got to leave at noon to go to a great workshop and leave all the craziness of the rest of the day to the capable hands of my assistant, my student teacher, and a great sub. The workshop was excellent -- I finally understand RTI a lot better, and I am eager to get back tomorrow to start applying what I learned. I LOVE MY JOB!!