Tuesday, December 7, 2010
Monday, November 22, 2010
I feel so blessed to have the opportunity to be in Mrs. Lacey's class this semester. She was a true inspiration and a perfect example of how to welcome families and the community in to her classroom. I cannot think of anything that I would change about my time in her class this semester!! (And I would not say that about my past fields.. ;) )
Friday, November 12, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Friday, October 15, 2010
As we know, the Kindergarten teachers at SES work on their lesson plans as a grade level team. Although I have only seen the math and writing lessons, I am impressed with their ability to keep them different and enjoyable for the students. As I was reading about Lemov's "J-Factor", I thought about this. It is easy to incorporate joy in to the lessons you teach if they are not repetitive. There is always a great mix of group lessons, games, activities, craft projects, and one on one lessons for the differentiated math groups. Another part of the J-Factor is Us (and them). There is a great sense of belonging at SES. The KB classroom community is a close knit group where and they are often reminded that they are to work together and have common goals. The school as a whole is another community they belong to. When I walk with the class out to the busses in the afternoon, it is great to see the children and teachers greet one another by name, even across grade levels. I love seeing this sense of community!
Sunday, October 10, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
After the group lesson, they split in to small groups and I led the group on the SB with a game called Fishin Mission (which kindergartners looovee). It was nice to break down into groups of 3-5. Since the groups rotate through the centers, this gave me a chance to fine tune (work is still to be done trust me!) my direction giving skills. I found myself thinking back to a class discussion that "behave" does not describe a behavior. You have to explain your expectations clearly or you leave room for behavior issues. By the last group, I had figured out how to explain the game, the rules for behavior, and how to incorporate actual learning. Often times, I feel like when left alone to play a game in center, students are not learning anything. Although they enjoy it, they need someone there to monitor what is being done otherwise its just waste of (school) time. For example, in Fishin Mission, you are given a number of fish to drag into the net. As you progress through the game and move to higher levels, you have to not only drag a certain number of fish, but also a certain color. When you are successful at your task a message pops up saying "Great Job!", "Fantastic!"... "Way to go" etc and you are on to the next turn. Ok sounds fun? Educational? If I wasn't there, they would have just dragged fish into the net as fast as they could until the message popped up, paying no attention to what they were doing. I know I sound like a mean old teacher and I don't mean to come across like that. I am just saying what I observed. I am all for kids having fun and enjoying their school day... but you guys know what I mean!
Another Lemov technique I noticed being used in my classroom is 100 percent. Mrs. Lacey and Mrs. White have explained to Lindsay and I how much they worked on procedures the first couple weeks of school. Any visitor to this classroom can tell how hard these two teachers worked. The book explains how important it is to not compromise on your rules. Mrs. L and Mrs. W do not give anyone a break when it comes to being silent, lining up, being respectful, sitting in their square safely, etc. They take the time and energy to make SURE that every child is ready to learn. I respect this about them and think it is not only great for the culture of this class, but great for the future of the KB students as they progress in their school career. The language they have adopted from the 7 habits seems to be highly effective ;). All they have to say is are you being proactive? Are you making positive decisions? etc.
At the end of the day as they moved in to writing, I was able to witness Mrs. Lacey in her "element" as she puts it. While working on an example of their writing assignment, the class worked together to spell out the words in the sentence "I like blue cupcakes". They used several techniques that later Mrs. Lacey explained were from the Rode to the Code system of learning phonological awareness. She sent me home with an extra book full of explanations and lesson plans. I am curious if either of you girls have ever used this technique and what you think of it?? I welcome your feedback!!
As always, I am looking forward to another week at SES and I hope you both had great weeks!
Friday, September 24, 2010
Thursday I started by walking the kids from lunch to recess. Since Lindsay was teaching that day, she and Mrs. L went to talk for a few minutes so it gave me a chance to catch up with the assistant teacher Mrs. White, who in my opinion is great! Mrs. L agrees with me that she should be a lead teacher. She taught in an LD classroom of mixed ages (preK-5th grade) the last couple years and I think that she has brought a lot of great techniques and patience into the Kindergarten classroom. At recess that day, several of the students were KISSING each other! Ha! I couldn't help but laugh. Of course, at this age, it was the girls chasing the boys. I thought Mrs. White handled the situation so well. She had each child involved come speak to her individually. Not once did she say the word "kissing" but was still able to make her point very clear. She asked the students "whats going on" to which most said "nothing", but she proceeded with asking them if she needed to bring the school policy book out and reshow them the rules. She also reminded them that this was their warning and if it continued, a call home was the next step. Every single one nodded their head no no no and promised "it" would stop. Problem solved! Without even having to discuss the details. She said its the same as having teenagers. I guess some things never change!
After coming inside, Lindsay took over and taught her lesson on counting from 1-5 before we broke up into small math groups. Mrs. L said she often tweaks the math lesson plans to accommodate what her students need to be working on. The group I worked with was folding a piece of paper into 4 sections. In each section they were to put 0-5 stickers and then label how many they had put. I think the students enjoyed this center because it involved a craft project, but many were getting frustrated with the stickers. They were really hard to peel off, even for me! Many were not able to work as fast because it was taking longer to peel the stickers off, even when I was able to help them. Other than that, I think that it was an appropriate and engaging activity and suitable for their level. I really enjoyed center time that day!
While Lindsay was teaching a group lesson in her center, Mrs. Lacey was pulling children aside one at a time to work on related tasks. I have noticed she really takes the time and effort to spend one on one time with a few children each day which I think is so crucial. As we talked about in class, it is not easy to get to know your students on an individual basis. Each week, there is a Lacey Bug of the week. This student fills out an information sheet with their favorite color, favorite food, favorite hobbies, and who their family includes. They also send in pictures of their friends and family and get the spot light on the bulletin board. Along with being recognized, they get special opportunities such as line leader. This is a good way to get to know a little bit about students home life, not only for the teachers but also for the other classmates.
Last week I blogged about the Cold Call technique. In KB, they also use a similar technique that I like and that Lindsay used in her lesson. It works when there is a series of questions that need to be answered, one after the other. The teacher calls on one student to come up to the front and answer and then that student is allowed to pick a friend to answer the next one. The students really enjoy it and surprisingly, everyone seems to get a chance!
At the end of the day as the students were working on their writing, Mrs. Lacey stopped the class to share one student's realization. He was asking how to write the word "yard" and realized that the "ar" in yard is the same sound in the word "car", which he knew how to spell already. He was able to sound out the y and the d in yard to spell it correctly. I think it is a great idea to stop and share with the class something like this. I love seeing kids this age have such exciting realizations!
Friday, September 17, 2010
There seems to be a version of No Opt Out technique. During time on the rug, there are many chances for the students to be called on. When someone gives the wrong or not completely wrong answer, nothing negative is said. Someone else is called, but I have noticed that the child that gave the wrong answer is always called on again dealing with the same subject. I think this i a great way to incorporate a technique like this in to an early childhood class. While using it how it is explained in the Lemov book might work for older classes, it may be a little harsh and/or embarrassing for the Kindergartners.
Yesterday began with us meeting the class at lunch and then recess. It is great to have recess at the beginning of our visit because it gives us a chance to catch up with the teacher. She explained to us that they had been having an "off" week, but I didn't see to notice! The students seem to love her and are always wanting to come sit with her and talk to her. She has a great way of interacting with them but also encouraging them to enjoy their time outside. After letting them sit with her and tell them what they want to, she says I will count to 3, then you can blow me a kiss and then run off to play. It works every time.
Last week after writing, Mrs. Lacey mentioned that she ran out of time and was not able to show an example like she usually does. This week, she was able to do this. On the SMART Board, she wrote her name, the date, drew a picture, and finished with a sentence. As she was writing her sentence "I see butterflies in my yard." she asked for help sounding the words out and spelling. Often when teachers model, they do it quickly and with no help from the classroom. I think its great to work together and remind them of the processes and skills they know, but have not used since the morning. This can be referred to as Technique 14 Board=Paper. As the children began their own writing, they modeled writing their name and date as shown. Mrs. Lacey also encourages them as they illustrate and write to add details. As she reminded them, she returned to the board to add details to her own example and the children did as well.
The one thing I have noticed in my classroom that I am curious about is the absence of any dramatic play. There seems to be no time in the schedule or area for it in the class. Some of the other classrooms I have peeked in have incredible set ups for it. I plan on asking my teacher if this is part of their day when we are not there or not. I am interested to see what she says! I am looking forward to going back next week!
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
What a great day at Summerville Elementary! I am so excited to be in Mrs. Lacey’s classroom this semester. She is a fantastic teacher with decades of teaching experience. I have a lot to learn from her. She is very open to having Lindsay and me in her classroom each week and her passion for teaching is contagious. I was extremely impressed with our smoothly the class was run, especially visiting on the third week of school. All of the children in the class knew the procedures, which Mrs. L informed us that she focused on the first few days of school before introducing any content.
The main part of the afternoon was spent in math centers. I really like how there were short math stations, all dealing with the same topic of sorting. The children rotated every 15 minutes or so, keeping their interest. It was a great setup for Lindsay and me to interact. They also did a writing activity. Mrs. L shared a book with the class that had no words, only illustration and they “read” the book as a class. She gave them instructions for their writing journals: they were to illustrate a story about their choice and they would add words another day. Then she gave them “talk time” to talk with their neighbor about what they would illustrate about. She set the timer for two minutes. This worked really well for the class.
I can honestly say that almost no one misbehaved on Thursday. It was impressive! At the end of the day when the assistant was handing out backpacks, one little girl did say something disrespectful. I really admired how the situation was dealt with by the assistant. You can tell that Mrs. L and her assistant have a great working relationship and respect for one another. Mrs. W continued handing out the backpacks and a few minutes after she was done, she calmly asked the child that had been disrespectful to come with her behind the cubbies. She bent down to her level, was out of view from the class, and did it after the other students had already forgotten. She had a caring and gentle way of explaining that what she had done was disrespectful. I thought this was a great way of dealing with it, avoiding embarrassment and unnecessary attention.
I noticed a few of Lemov’s techniques being used at SES. First, the entire school uses the Post It technique. Along with all of the artwork or student work displayed for visitors is the objective that goes along with it. As I continue with my visits, I plan on taking note how often it is displayed in the classroom for the students as well. The teachers in the kindergarten classes work together to create their lesson plans each week, with each teacher focusing on a particular subject. Our teacher let us see the previous weeks lesson plans and they all use the Double Plan technique. Not only does the LP include what the teacher’s responsibilities are for the lesson, but also what the students will be doing and how they will be assessed.