I have thus far thoroughly enjoyed teaching the younger grades. Their (sometimes uncontrollable) enthusiasm to learn really melts my heart!
A new theme I am trying to develop with the students is learning to set goals or ourselves then make a plan to reach the goal and follow through. Some students are doing really well with it so far! I think more need some additional follow-up on my part to motivate them to do the follow-through. Particularly in 2nd grade we have discussed assessing ourselves to see what we can do, then setting a reachable goal. We discussed what a goal that is too big looks like, as well as one that is too easy. For homework we have also set goals for ourselves and made a plan for how to reach the goal. This theme has been especially useful in our number unit, as all the students have different strengths not only manipulating numbers, but also in recalling the vocabulary from past years — and can work somewhat independently to reach the overall goal of counting to 100 (or perhaps beyond).
One other conversation that we are having somewhat frequently is that of transitioning from becoming a listener to a leader when we count as a group. I have explained that listening when we no longer know the next number is a good middle step, and can help us get back in the game. For example, perhaps I have only forgotten one number, such as 40, but when I hear that number, I can jump back in at 41 and keep going until 49. However, we want to make sure we do not get stuck in the listening zone. Eventually we want to attack the weaknesses we noticed in the group counting so that we can become more and more of a leader. I believe this will continue to be relevant as we transition into our next units in this month.
As 1st and 2nd grade parents have noticed, or will notice, with the current assignment, is that I’m offering as bonus only, so as to not put undue stress on any family, the opportunity for students to leave me a voicemail at work. Since our voicemail system records the voicemail as an audio file and sends it to our email, I can check the voicemail from my laptop or my phone, and can even save the voice file to save for comparison to later submissions. This is a great way for me to get some individual assessment without wasting all of our precious class minutes, and the students so far seem to be finding it quite fun! Might I say that they are also totally, utterly ADORABLE. I love hearing them learn how to leave a voicemail, almost forgetting to tell me their names, and not knowing what to do before hanging up the phone. It puts a smile on my face to hear from each one of my students! If your child has left one voicemail, that doesn’t mean they can’t improve their vocabulary knowledge and leave me another one later to show me how much they’ve learned! If you would like a copy of the instructions, simply call 412-967-2400, press 1 when prompted, and then enter my voicemail box number: 4055 followed by the # sign. Please remind your child to say
As for what’s coming up this month…
Kindergarten — we are learning to count higher and higher each week. By the end of the semester, we will be counting up to 100 as a group. We will also be learning colors and shapes in the near future.
1st Grade – We are finishing up our number unit and then beginning colors, followed by pets. I like to mesh units frequently, so the students will learn to describe their pets using numbers and colors, as well as use a few different verbs such as Tengo (I have), Me gusta (I like), and Quiero (I want). They can also add “no” before any one to say the opposite. Example: No tengo un perro = I don’t have a dog.
2nd Grade – We will begin our fruit & vegetable unit, which will take us through the end of the year pretty much. Along the way we will review our likes (Me gusta/ No me gusta), use colors to describe, and eventually discuss some verbs to help us create some simple fruit & veggie recipes.
That’s all I have for you at this moment. As always, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Srta. Jessica Taylor