Saturday, September 5, 2015

Back To School And Feeling [mostly] Good

There's always a big mix of emotions during the first week of school after summer break: excitement, anticipation, exhaustion, sadness (the summer is gone), happiness at being reunited with friends...and that's just the TEACHER! Ha.

A handful of summer birthdays means there are no more 2 year olds in my class when everyone returned. Man did they all grow! I love watching not only their physical development, but also their emotions, character, and interests grow and expand. If anything, this week, I was surprised by the ease with which they managed all the above emotions, and the fleeting nature of conflict and negative emotions after being home with family for 6 weeks!

I'll admit that the source of most of my negative emotions came from not having enough time to complete all the fabulous daily activities in the Mother Goose Time teacher planning guide. So many ideas, so little time! Hopefully getting back into a full day/full week routine next week will allow us to fit in some of the things we missed.

So far one of my favorite things about about the MGT curriculum is the ability to weave in authentic writing practice. One of the areas of early children educations I am personally super passionate about is early literacy. I am a lover of reading and writing, and I want to instill that in my students in developmentally appropriate ways that are meaningful to them!

First semester I used a self-designed daily "sign-in" sheet for name writing practice. By the end of the semester, all 11 students were able to identify their own name on the sheet. But, it does beg the question: could they really identify it, or did they just memorize the placement on the page where they wrote every day? The name plates provided on Day 1 gave me a much clearer picture on this. I may find myself fading out the daily sign-in sheet because there are so many other ways to measure progress in writing with MGT.

Writing and identifying their names was a source of a wide range of feelings this week. I had a newly-turned-3-year-old write her name (on the unity chain from A Bundle of Sticks - Day 2) without any teacher supervision for the first time. She was so proud! (as was I) With my 4's and 5's I have slowly been transitioning from all caps to title case writing (following the Hand Writing Without Tears process) and I'm starting to see this more in their independent writing.

I displayed the name cards on the wall in the dramatic play area in a "graph" formation. All week they kept going back to it and talking about whose name was at the top, bottom, counting the animals, and spelling their own names with a sense of great accomplishment. Several students even noticed sadly that one name (a student who moved away over summer break) was not displayed. 

All in all, it was it was a good first week back, with mostly happy lions (and mice, and foxes...Oh, my!)

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