Teaching Talia

Tuesday Reflections

Posted on: May 1, 2007

I think today, as a whole was one of my best days.Today we did letterland as a whole class. This worked MUCH better then doing it in the rotations. I set aside a whole hour to do it in, not including packing up time, and they used it all.

We went through it at the beginning and brainstormed words and read the story which wasn’t so good this week, but that doesn’t matter. I wasn’t sure if his name had been changed. Even though I have the sheet I forgot to check in the morning. I just used the name given- Hairy Hat Man, and that worked fine.

Their brainstorming is getting better, but they really need to be reminded to check if it has the ‘h’ sound at the start, before they give their word. Most of the time the kids are able to tell each other what letter it really starts with, which is good.

Some kids are a bit slow to get it all together- Mattie and James aren’t the quickest, but their work gets done in the end. Ben is always lightning fast, and a couple of others were fast today as well- I asked them to cut out another, different thing from the magazine, because H is an easy one- there’s lots of heads and hair in them!

After the official letterland I handed out a sheet with lots of words on it. They had to circle the words that had H in them. I was really a but unsure how they’d go with this, but I think they coped really well. Some people got it better then others, but most people could recognise a H and circle that. The problem was that some people just circled the H, and not the word, and therefore circled words that had a H IN then, not that started with a H.

They seemed to really enjoy this activity, so I might consider doing letterland separate again in the future and to do something like that after again. Recognising what letters look like is all part of early reading (which I am learning more about) and so it’s beneficial for them.

Rotations I thought went well today. I had exactly an hour, because of library, and so they were only short rotations. I tried to use a few different smarts and get them using different parts of their brains for each activity. I had planned to do up some smart pizza ‘slices’ and display them at each activity so that they could see what smart they were being, but ran out of time last night because I went to work. :-(

Each activity, bar the mothers day card, fitted in really well time wise. The children seemed to like the ‘jump shape’ activity, so I might do that again some time. There was a collision between Malakie and Ben, but it was all looked after. I took observational notes during the rotations and they’re available on the next page.

Library time went reasonable well. It is always chaotic trying to teach the preppies computer things, but they do it surprisingly well. I was surprised at the range of ability, though I suppose I shouldn’t be. In my previous experience computer knowledge is always like that, no matter what age group you’re with. It’s really interesting to bring down to as basic as writing your name, and it was almost a little frustration to have to work with kids who had no idea what ‘a’ was. I know that it’s hard with the capital letters on the keyboard, but they will have to learn that. I knew that that would happen though and so I did compensate for it during letterland by showing them the capital H and the little h.

Tahlia was really good at typing her name, and so I taught her how to hold down the shift key to do a capital letter. I considered teaching them caps lock, letter, caps lock, but decided against it. It’s not that hard to hold down the shift key, and they have two hands, so that’s not an issue- hand span wise. It’s easier to learn that was, it saves you learning something new again when you’re in an older grade. And Tahlia got it right and was fine doing capitals, so I’m not worried. The problem is that now I have to stay consistent, if I start telling them that there are two ways they will get confused and that won’t be good.

Malakie is a smart boy (and incredibly naughty). He listened to what I told Tahlia, and then copied me. I shook my head in amazement when I saw what he’d done, and congratulated him. Jenny and I spoke afterwards about maybe doing some extension things for him. I had the though of him maybe going into the Chris’ class so that he could do some prep/1 stuff. That might seem like I’m trying to get him out of my class though. :-P

After lunch I we finished off the mothers day cards. That went well- some kids went over board with the glitter (as you have to expect some will), but it went well. The cards were nifty I thought, and I will use the idea up in kids church this weekend as well.

We also did a clean up after lunch which always seems to need to be done.

There was an incident in the playground that Linda told Jenny and I about. I wasn’t sure what happened and asked Jenny if she would like to talk to them about it. She said it would be good for me to have a go at it, so I did. I was a little scared when she said that, and lost my mind for a few seconds trying to think what I would do. Jen suggested I ask the kids what happened, so I did.

I think that the process that I went through with them was okay. I know that when I was doing that I was excluding the majority of the class from participating in the conversation, but they could listen. I did try to include them a bit more by asking what we could do as a class to help them make better choices next time. This worked well with people suggesting other games and things. I also tried to build up a sense of friendship in our class and caring by asking who would allow one of these boys to play with them if they wanted to make a good choice about their play. Everyone said they would let them play with them, so that finished it off well.

I really need to think of a new way to get the children’s attention, because I am sick of clapping my hands all the time. I am reading through some behaviour management strategies and trying to implement them. One I remembered from my primary school days was that when the teacher put their hand up everyone else in the class had to put their hand up and shut their mouths. Over the last few days last week and this week I’ve been teaching them that. Today I felt like it worked really well- other days they’ve forgotten to do it etc. It seems to work well, and I don’t have to yell, a good thing because I am loosing my voice a little bit! Another one I tried yesterday and today is getting them to put their hands on their head when they are finsihed and ready to learnt the next thing. They’re getting there, but still need to work on this a bit.

I FINALLY remembered to say ‘Good afternoon’ before dismissing them today. I have remembered the last few days, but forgot all of the first week and half of the second week. I am slowly learning!!

So today was a good day. I felt a bit more on top of it, and more in control. I also felt like I was more able to do things on the spot as well, which is good.


1 Response to "Tuesday Reflections"

Wow, I’m really glad you feel like you’re in control. That was a really interesting read from an outsider point of view. I think that it would be an even better read for parents.

Maybe on your 10 week prac you could send a letter home introducing yourself etc. and mention that you have this blog that you right reflections in that they might be able to read.

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Just finished my Graduate Certificate in Cross Disciplinary Art and Design with UNSW.




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