August 2017…I just sat down with my wonderful and superhuman kindergarten team to look at classes and divide up the kiddos to form what will be my class for the next two years…YES, That right…TWO years. Two years of blood, sweat and tears will be invested in this class to achieve what I refer to as a small miracle to get children to read, write, communicate, teach social skills, mange their bodies, love learning, eat with good manners, teach them how to tie their own shoes… and the list goes on. Believe me when I say, kindergarten teachers are SUPERHUMAN and they do perform MIRACLES.
These small miracles are not possible without engaging parents in this thing we call education. So, why not let the parents in on our little secret? This little secret that teachers hold so close to our hearts. The WHY behind our teaching.
Being a looping kindergarten teacher (the explanation for the 2 years), I use the required family conferences in the first three days of school to explain the WHY behind the teaching. I do this by having them observe the entry level assessment that I use throughout the year. After the assessment, I spend time talking about what I saw were strengths and talk about some deficits that I will be working on throughout the year.
A typical kindergarten conference…
Teacher- “Welcome to our classroom”
Parent- “Thank you”
Teacher- “Today we are going to have a chance to get to know each other and it will give me an opportunity to get to know your child’s strengths. I will be asking your student some questions about letters and numbers today and invite you to watch. Please do not give your student the answers or make any noises when he or she gets it right or wrong.”
Parent- “Sam knows his ABC’s and can count to 100”
Teacher- “Great! Lets get started”
Teacher – “Ok Sam, when I point to a letter, you say its name and sound it makes. I will give you an example, this is the letter “A” and it makes the sound…Are you ready Sam? I point at the letter A.”
Sam ” A B C D E”
Sam begins reciting the ABC’s
After the initial assessment, I ask parents what they saw as a strength and some areas that the Sam needs to work on. Inevitably the parents pick up on the deficit of reciting the alphabet and isolating the letter and sounds almost immediately. With this shared experience of assessing Sam together, the parents now can become a partner of teaching because they can see the WHY behind the assessment.
Please share if you have had similar experiences
I believe that the foundation of all learning begins in the home and all students are "OUR" students.Not yours, not mine but OURS.