We have entered our second half of the year and life is wonderful. I so enjoy teaching this time of year! It’s been exciting to watch the students arrive in the morning, filled with enthusiasm for learning and being together. They are truly good friends and co-learners.
As you know, we have several different ages in our classroom, and many different levels of learning. From pre-k students who are working on counting, to our second and third graders who are doing multiplication and division; it is a wonder to see the growth in mathematical thinking. It feels so natural in an enviroment that fosters inquiry and research. The symbols and systems fall into place as the children work and play. Reading and writing are on track for each of the age levels. In fact it’s moving very fast. A few of our little learners know more then they let on. They are still working on confidence, and being “Ok”, with risk taking. Between preschool and kindergarten there is a cognitive growth spurt that can create a natural “pause” in development. Children become aware that there is more to the world and strengthen their relationship with ”systems and codes”. They listen from the sidelines and learn from their peers, make new connections and move forward. I have noted, that even the most hesitant of our students is beginning to shout out answers! Hooray for them!
As some are figuring out letter coding, sounds, and chunks, others have magically cracked the reading code.
The older grades continue to push themselves forward. They are working on compositions, books, and tricky (math) story problems. It can be hard at times to keep up, yet I know from experience, that it is not so much my job to keep up, but rather to keep track, to listen and have faith in the child. Leaps and bounds, mixed with baby steps.
Teacher Ally has been doing a fantastic job of balancing the different learning levels and styles. Checking in with each child and guiding them forward. I really love working with her and sharing our knowledge of the children. I am also incredibly grateful for your support in the classroom and outside of our program. “It takes a village”, for sure.
We all learn soooo differently, with multiple intelligences. We learn with our full senses, yet there are ways unique ways as individuals that we process information and sort it through.
“According to Dr. Howard Garner’s theory of Multiple Intelligences human beings have nine different kinds of intelligence that reflect different ways of interacting with the world. Each person has a unique combination, or profile. Although we each have all nine intelligences, no two individuals have them in the same exact configuration — similar to our fingerprints.” PBS, Educational Resources http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/education/ed_mi_overview.html
Today, Maria Lang, Tyler’s mother, was introducing the younger students to their handwriting sheets. I popped over and noted that one of our little girls was having trouble with the letter A. It looked a bit more like an H, straight up and down. The visualization was tricky. Start at the top and go down at an angle. So after thinking about it and talking with her, I asked her to stand up so we could use our bodies. Together we did a series of Jumping Jacks. Legs together, legs apart. She then went back and looked at her A, and noted that the A’s legs were close together. She quickly was able to rewrite the letter in the correct position. Clearly using a kinetic form of communication was the trick! The pride of accomplishment shined through her eyes and smile as she looked back up at me.
How a teacher approaches a concept, or a subject, is simply an introduction to a process, a fact, or an idea. Where it goes from there is in the hands of the learner. A great teacher listens with their eyes, ears, and heart to what is needed next. In a one-room schoolhouse enviroment like this, the learning isn’t standardized for a reason. Each child is treated as a unique and gifted learner, perfect as they are. With each moment, each hour, and each day the children move themselves forward. This process can be frustrating for the parents standing by; as they note one child is writing full sentences while another still drawing only pictures. Rest assured each and everyone in the program is excelling in many, many ways, the most important of course is the children’s joy in learning.
So as we move forward, through winter and into spring, so will our students, growing and thinking each and everyday! Sometimes I wish there was magic camera in the room that could capture the moments, and send them out as they happen. But alas just like our lives, it happens so quickly we hardly know what just went by.
Over the next couple of months the children will be working on several studies. Together, Ally, the children, and I will share our projects through documentation and notes home. I invite you to add to the dialogue when you parent help. Please add to our reflections via notes, photos or emails you send in after the fact. We will check in with each of you individually over the next four weeks, (either in person or by phone), to answer questions and share insights on how your child is progressing.
Please feel free to call me anytime just to check in. I am an old school “phone call” communicator. My number is 503 729 9350. I know as a parent I really appreciated the openness of my children’s teachers as they shared and supported my family over the years. I hope I can be that to you as well.
Thank you all for blessing us with your children. It is a gift!