Tuesday, November 9, 2010

All day with KB!

This week, Lindsay and I decided to go spend the entire (well almost! we got there about 8:30) with Mrs. Lacey's class. Our cooperating teacher used to be the Reading Recovery teacher and she prides herself in her ability to teach phonics and reading so... of course we wanted to see her in action. In the block that we are usually there, she teaches math and writing. We got there during differentiated instruction and settled now to watch Mrs. L teach 5-6 students at a time that were all on about the same level. As I have said before in this blog, it is so interesting to see the various learning levels in a classroom of 20 something kindergartners. DI time was a great example of how you really have to work hard to bring everyone up to speed. Some groups were having difficulty with simple sounds, while the most advanced group was able to play a speed game where Mrs. L flashed a card with a word and the student had to recall it. This group was able to go through the stack of words with little trouble and with great speed. I loved the "whisper phones" that she gave each student. They read the book into their phone and it gave Mrs. L an opportunity to go around to each student and work independently with them. Another observation I had was how much more attentive the students are at this hour! Wow! What a nice change. I asked Mrs. L about her choice to do DI first and then phonics, followed by calender time right before lunch. She explained to me that at first it was just a way she had to adjust the schedule to fit in grade level, but that it ended up being a great change. At first I thought it was a little odd to do calender in the middle of the day, but once she explained this to me it did make sense. After they go to lunch and recess, they finish up calender if necessary and then go immediately in to math which makes sense since the calender time is full of numbers, patterns, etc. Also, since calender time tends to be a bit repetitive, it may be beneficial to use the time when they are most attentive for phonics, reading, etc.
That afternoon I was able to witness a perfect example of family involvement in the classroom! Each student in KB has a "bug jar" that they work to fill up by good behavior. Mrs. L and her assistant will reward their students for various behaviors by putting a bug in their jar. When a student fills up their bug jar, they get to put a big bug in the class bug jar. Last week, they finally filled up the class jar! One student's mother came in to give the class a party for this accomplishment! It worked out perfect because they were not able to go outside for recess on this particular day because of the weather - ah! The mother led the class in a game of musical bugs (chairs) and they got candy as they got "out". Then she led them in an activity of making spiders out of crackers, pb, chinese noodles, and M&M's. It was really neat to see the class being rewarded and having fun. They were very respectful to the mother and followed her directions. I know that you won't always have parents that are willing or able to come spend an hour in the middle of the day with your class but how nice when you do!


  1. Hey Jennie,
    I thought that it was really interesting how you wrote about the "whisper phones" that the students used. I think this is a great way for the teacher to observe the students as they read. I also agree that it is amazing to see how many different levels of learning that a class is in. Some students are definitely more advanced than others. I think that ti is so important for teachers to work extra hard to help students who may be behind to catch up with the rest of the students.

  2. Jennie- I think its really interesting about what you wrote about regarding calendar. I taught y hour lesson in the morning I was shocked by how much more attentive and better behaved the students were. My teacher has also mentioned that students are pretty burnt out by the last few hours of the day. also, teacher calendar right before or after math makes so much sense! This is something I might try in my classroom next year.