Sunday, August 29, 2010

I'm So Glad I Asked

Assuming is not always good, especially with little children.  So many times we assume that we understand what they need or want or are trying to say....but more times than not, we don't know until we ask.   Every time I take the extra minute and ask why? or inquire a little more with my kindergarteners I am pleasantly surprised.  So many times kindergarteners seem to say things that are completely unrelated or off topic.  But if you ask a few questions, they will explain how they reached that point.

Most recently in math, we have been working on attributes and sorting.  After some whole group discussion and work I sent the kids to their tables to work with manipulatives and sort.  They could decide on the attribute they would use to sort.  As I walked around the room, I could see who obviously got it and who obviously did not.  As I stopped to work with those who were confused and made my way around I encountered a student who is very bright and very "with it" but appeared to be making long lines of random colored cubes.  There were 2 different colors in one line and several different colors in the other lines.  I stopped and knelt down and said, "Tell me how you are sorting and the attribute you chose."  She responded, "I am sorting kinds of colors.  These are the dark colors, these are the medium colors and these are the light colors."  I smiled and was so impressed, and was so glad I asked.

Sorting kinds of colors-light colors, medium colors, dark colors
I was also able to learn more about another student.  He was making stacks of colored unifix cubes.  I could have assumed that he was sorting by colors, marked it in my notes and moved on.  But I am so glad that I didn't.  I asked him to tell me about his work and he said, "I was going to sort these colors but then I decided to make small buildings and tall buildings and then sort the buildings and the attribute is how tall they are."  Wow!  I love hearing all of their thinking and reasoning.   So, once again, I'm so glad I asked!

sorting tall buildings and short buildings
Such amazing kids and I'm looking forward to a year of endless possibilities!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Top 10 Best Things About Teaching Kindergarten

1.  Where else can you go to work and be told that you are beautiful and loved at least 5 times a day?
2.  Whenever you dance, 5 year old think you are cool!
3.  A band-aid or bag of ice solves most ailments.
4.  There are always laughs.....a million a day last year, a student across the hall walked in to the room one morning and exclaimed, "Okay, who was in my dream last night!!?"
5.  Five year olds still believe they can do anything you believe they can.
6.  It's easy to think you're a comedian when your audience is 5.
7.  The world through the eyes of a 5 year old is an full of wonder and awe.
8.  I doubt many people work with a room full of people who consider it a prize to get to sit by you.   I do!
9.  Children are resilient and forgiving and loving and are peace-makers by nature.
10. I have a great excuse to sing silly songs, read great books and go to recess EVERY day!

I could go on and on.  I work at an awesome school with fabulous parental support, surrounded by loving, dedicated teachers.  I'm blessed to begin another year doing what I love!  Everyone should be so lucky!  Happy new school year to all of the kids and teachers out there who will soon begin a new year of learning!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Wish they all had a start like this....

At only 7 months, she is listening to stories and turning the pages of the board books.  The best part is that when you finish a book and close it, she cries (without tears) in protest and stops immediately when you begin another book.  This is music to my teacher heart!   Between the 3 adults here Saturday night, she was read about 15-20 books (many repeated several times with which she was thrilled) and she expressed this dislike for the end of reading time and contentedness when reading resumed each time.  It was incredible!

I wish all parents understood how important early literacy is.  This sweet baby girl is my niece, Alex.  She is very fortunate to have wonderful, loving, educated parents who have been reading to her since before she was born.   Along with loving parents and an aunt that is a kindergarten teacher and absolutely head over heels in love with her -Alex is covered when it comes to enjoying books.   All children deserve this start!  Early reading not only is a comfortable, bonding time with young children, but it also advances cognitive development.  It helps a child to develop language, vocabulary and concepts of print.  The kids that have these early experiences begin school with everything they need to learn to read.  And, as a kindergarten teacher, you can quickly tell who has been read to and who has not.