Posts Tagged ‘kindergarten’

Everything I Know About Teaching I learned in Kindergarten

May 21, 2008

I started teaching 4 years ago as a second career. In four years my education has been fortified with the help of 5 and 6 year olds! Here are just a few of the axioms they have impressed upon me over the years:

Good things come in small packages.

Listen to the still small voice.

They know more than you think!

They are capable of great things.

The lion may need help from the mouse.

Laughter is the best medicine.

The power of prayer is indispensable.

Everyone has something special to offer.

I will be moving to Grade 3 in August to start the next school year. I wonder what I will learn from my 3rd graders? I can’t wait to find out!

new small voices vodcast on podomatic

April 14, 2008

I just completed editing and posting episode 31 of small voices.  This is my third annual play based on a piece of childrens’ literature.  A friend and coworker of mine, Heidi Holcomb, soon to be EdS in EdTech loaned me a containing examples of literature illustrating the butterfly effect.  I wondered how readily my students would make the connection between the cats in our story and the safety of the island. They listened intently to the tale.  I told the initially to listen carefully to see if they could solve the problem on the island. They each wanted to be the one to find the answer! Stories can be excellent teachers when students assume a role/purpose within the context of the a book.

My role was to ask questions and to help the students take ownership of the play. I call it a play but in reality it would take months to be able to produce this kind of thing sequentially and before an audience. Videotaping is the answer.  It enables the teacher to reduce each the play to scenes or even parts when filming. With 18 enthusiastic kindergarteners, the rule is divide and conquer!  Parental help is key as is a mind reading assistant.  I had both!  See for yourself. The editing is so so but I think you’ll agree, the movie is a living lesson for these children.

I found this lesson plan today based on the book I used.  Some of you may find this helpful in creating your own plans.

YOU are your child’s best teacher.

March 9, 2008
  Question posted in recent forum I frequent:

Child Reading SaundraG flickrI heard that up until about 20 years ago, you could buy from the Broerderbond in South Africa a child development pack for the first 6 years of you’re child’s life so that they can read, write a bit, etc… by the time they go to school (as well as exposing other parts of the brain to development).

Does anyone know if there is anything good around like that today? I suppose there may be more than one company competing with that sort of thing. Does anyone know who the market leader is?

 
My response:

Do you really think sitting your child in front of a computer is the best way to go? I teach kindergarten and my experience has been that children gravitate to reading and writing when they are developmentally ready. This happens between 4-7 years of age. My own children love to read. (They are older teens.) I attribute this in part to my good friend Pam who insisted I start reading to my kids from the day they were born. I took her advice and my children began to associate reading and listening with the pleasure of bonding with their parents and caregivers.

I read to my children until they were 12 and they no longer had time. We all missed the togetherness. Visits to the library and bookstore were frequent. Gifts of books were common and interest in books praised. And yes, they also read independently! The read aloud experience is invaluable. If there had been http://www.starfall.com when my children were small I would have exposed them to it, but never require them to do it.

My kindergarten students enjoy the program and the students who entered as readers tell me they learned to read from http://www.starfall.com which is a free phonics based reading program. I also know from meeting their parents that education is an intrinsic family value and they have exposed their children to countless classics in children’s literature. I can guarantee for FREE that if you take the time to read to your child and elicit their responses to reading by asking them to predict, identify common words and engage them in the illustrations they will love to read and learn to read more easily and more naturally from intrinsic motivation.

You are your child’s best teacher. aunty raffi by kim hotep flickrModel enthusiasm for reading and the power of the written word. Don’t completely outsource this very important role in the early years. By the way, I am very high tech in the classroom and do lots of great things with my students using technology to extend literacy skills so I am not opposed to a little software extension or intervention.

Short Post

February 12, 2008

Several weeks ago during center time I discovered my kindergarten students had access to Youtube.  They were searching for Disney movies, cartoons and apparently a recently posted video of someone’s brother. At first I was simply shocked that our school firewall didn’t catch this since it keeps me from even accessing BubbleShare or any other file sharing site. I informed the students calmly that Youtube is not permitted in school and that they should only use it at home when they are sitting with their parents who can help guide them to make good choices. I got a lot of “why, my parents let me use it at home?” I haven’t taken a poll just yet but I have a hunch that they may not be exaggerating the extent of the freedom they have online in the home.

So I ask you.  How do you feel about free exploration of the internet by children of all ages?  Would you encourage your child to search for funny movies on Youtube?  I need a little perspective and I’m afraid that since my own children are in their late teens, I can’t fully understand the point of you of the young parent. Maybe some of you can help me in this regard.