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May 06, 2009

Six Weeks

Six weeks.  It could feel like an eternity, but I'm pretty sure it's going to fly by before I even realize it.  I only have six more weeks, less than 30 school days, to make sure that each of my students meets our classroom goals, as well as their individual goals, before the end of the year.  Only six more weeks to prepare my students for four-year-old pre-k.
Looking back to the beginning of the year, I am truly impressed by the progress that my students have made.  They have learned their letters and numbers, how to make predictions and how to rhyme.  Several of my students are emerging readers, and nearly all of them can write their name.  This progress is tremendous, but our work is not done.  I have reviewed my written notes about my students -- both for formal skills (e.g. identifying letter names and sounds) and informal skills (e.g. engaging is sustained play with peers) -- and developed individualized action plans for each of them for the remainder of the year.  Here is an excerpt from Jose's plan:
Identify the letters in his name
Centers (prioritized on Tuesdays)
  • Work with letter tiles and magnetic letters (with teacher or more advanced peer)
  • Play game where teacher writes letters on board and Jose identifies them
  • Put foam letters on floor -- jump on letters and call out the letter name
  • Find letters from his name in books
  • Dig for letters in the sand table
  • Find letters from his name on alphabet charts
Small Group
  • Letter BINGO with the letters in his name
  • Sequence and identify the letters in his name
  • Hand-over-hand write letters in shaving cream and identify them
Whole Group / Transitions
  • Show letters for dismissal ("If you have this letter in your name go get your coat.")
  • Identify letters in name during shared writing activities
  • "Marching Around the Alphabet" song by Hap Palmer
  • Graphs -- "Do you have a [letter] in your name?"

I have inserted each of these activities into my monthly unit plans and daily lesson plans, for May, and will repeat this process in June.  Because Jose is one of only two of my students who cannot identify the letters in his name, I am making a concerted effort to work with him on this skill throughout the rest of the year.  I continually take notes about Jose's progress so that I can reflect on his learning and adjust my plans if necessary.  I am confident that with additional support at home and these exercises in school, Jose will meet his goals by the end of the year! 


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