A Place to Connect Teachers and Support Children

Archive for January 8, 2011

Teaching Emails 1: Observation

Sit back and think of a time when someone acknowledge your hard work, how did that make you feel?  Close your eyes and put yourself in that position.  You worked so hard on a presentation for a meeting or for a class and after presenting you received the grade you wanted, inspired one person in the group, or conveyed the message perfectly.  It’s a great feeling isn’t it?!  Then, to top of this great feeling that you have someone acknowledges your work!  They understand how hard you have worked. 
 
This above feeling that I am talking about is a scenario we can create for children.  When we help children feel like this, like us they want to try again, work harder, and succeed.  We need to help create this feeling for every child in your classroom.  Now, this is a task that will not happen overnight but it can happen!  Our job as a teacher is to motivate every single child.  This upcoming week, find one child to touch base with, begin to create a bond with them.  As you create this bond and begin thoroughly observing them add tracking statements so that the child understands you acknowledge their work.  During these observations, feel free to take notes!  You will then be able to use this for future reference!
 
As your getting to know this child (or on a deeper level), try these techniques:
  • find out their favorite thing to do in the classroom
  • what motivates them
  • what makes them excited
  • track their behaviors/movements (more or less depending on age)
  • begin to engage in this activity with them daily or ask them about it if unable to engage

When I tried this I found out on a deeper level more about a child who had been in my classroom about four months and has a strong relationship with my assistant.  I knew he enjoyed working in block center but he truly enjoys combing blocks and family living.  He is motivated by gross motor movements and acting out roles of various jobs/people/animals.  He gets excited when he works hard on something for many minutes and is able to accomplish the task (he worked repeatedly on creating a boat and when pieces fell over became frustrated.  I encouraged him verbally and he was able to do it after several tries!).  I plan on continuing creating this boat next week.

For more information about the Teaching Emails, please read the post: Welcome!

-AIH

“When a person feels encouraged, he can face the impossible and overcome incredible adversity.”  John Maxwell

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Teaching Email 2

My classroom is currently knee-deep in our bakery project!  This past week, my assistant planned and implemented the process of baking Gingerbread cookies.  With the Children’s Campus, each of our staff members is required to fulfill one to two personal goals.  My assistant’s goals over the past few years have been to further her own knowledge on child development, lesson planning, and project work!  Kudos to her lesson plan, execution, and what her and the children learned, it was phenomenal!  She started the week by having the children sketch and predict what the ingredients (which were laid out on the table) would create.  On Tuesday, the children followed the recipe to create the cookies.  On Wednesday, the children rolled out the dough and used cookie cutters to make various designs.  The children started to share that they would like to share the cookies–so we followed the children’s lead and made another batch so we could share more!  On Thursday, the children created another batch and on Friday they cut out shapes and baked.  The children who baked both days began to feel more confident in the skills they gained Tuesday and started to use those skills by themselves on Thursday! In the afternoon on Friday, the children counted and added cookies in a bag to share with their families.  This is only one week in our project!  We have learned so much and the children’s interest is still driving this project! 
 
Often times, I hear others ask the question, “How do you combine the learning objectives from your curriculum in your project work?”  In the above scenario, I have laid out only a few of the many objectives:
  • use strengthen and control to perform simple fine motor tasks
  • show interest in quantity and number
  • participating in measuring activities
  • persists in play for six to nine minutes
  • make comparisons among objects that have been observed
  • represents ideas through pictures, dictations, and play

As you enter the classroom this week, begin to observe the patterns of your children.  Look to see what they are interested in and begin to start a small project.  If you need help along the way, let me know!  I’d be willing to help.  If you already do project work in your classroom please reply all and share your experiences.

 
 
 

For more information about the Teaching Emails, please read the post: Welcome!

 

-AIH

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