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January 13, 2008

"This is the card game where you say it!"

It is good to be back at school after a nice two-week winter break. I have a few new students that will need some time to adjust, but our second semester will hopefully be as great as our first!

This year I am fortunate to have three assistants in my classroom. We have a volunteer and two paid staff members. For perspective, many pre-k teachers have only one assistant, and some teachers have none. Creating a safe and engaging learning environment for 20 four year olds is hard work for two people – for teachers who must go it alone, it is next to impossible!

The kind of learning and interaction that can occur when students are engaged in a small-group setting is amazing. With a lower teacher-to-student ratio, I am able to spend quality time with individuals or small groups. Some meaningful learning happened today with two of my students in just such a setting.

Every day after snack my students have the option of picking a puzzle, book, or literacy activity. One of the most popular literacy activities is a set of lowercase and uppercase matching alphabet cards that were hand-made by my mom when I first started teaching. William chose this activity and invited Scott (an English language learner) and me to sit on the carpet (in a colored square). He then explained that, “This is card game where you say it!” The rest of the game went a little like this:

William: (holding up the first card) “Now you say it!”
Scott: “S for Scott!”
William: “Yes, S…you are soooo right! It is your job to take the card now!”  (William holds up another card.)
Me: “U.”
William: “No that is [an] umbrella!”
Me: “But it starts with U!”
William: (holding up a third card) “What is it?!”
Scott: “J.”
William: “No, silly, that is not J…that is R…..for rabbit.”

This interaction continued until most of the cards were gone. I am continually amazed at how much my students can learn from each other. William was able to help Scott with letter recognition and beginning letter sounds. All of us worked together, had fun taking turns, and practiced our letters!

Comments

Just amazing how much children love to learn. I see this with my niece and nephews all the time, and it continually amazes me. Makes me wonder when I lost that...

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