This is the first card I’ve got posted above my meeting area blackboard. Here’s what I do to help the children meet these goals:
- Copy/print own name: The children are expected to sign in every day. Some of them could write their names already, but others had no idea at all. I showed them that they can scribble or do pretend writing, and a few of them are still relying on that method. Others have started to write the first letter of their names to stand for the whole name. When they are ready, I show them how to write the next letter, and so on. By the end of the year they will all be able to write their first names. For the kids who already could, I show them how to write their names with only the first letter capitalized, instead of writing it in all caps. When they are ready, I might even teach them how to write their last names. Note: sometimes I don’t have to do anything. Their parents and older siblings learn that they are expected to write their names, and teach them how to do it at home.
- Be able to listen to a story: This one seems easy, but I have a few students who really aren’t listening. One little girl doesn’t understand (native English speaker, but with some developmental delays) so she plasters a polite grin on her face and then tunes out. Some of them don’t listen because they don’t speak English. We have story time daily, and sometimes twice a day. My Americorps member and my assistant read to children one-on-one sometimes, particularly with the kids who aren’t being read to at home. I try to make story time alive and exciting by only choosing really good books to read — and by throwing in lots of Mo Willems!
- Answer questions about a story: This week I finally started to do my weekly “special story” — a repeated interactive readaloud. Only some of the kids can answer my questions about the story — others raise their hands and then offer an answer to a question I didn’t ask. (“What do you think the signmaker was thinking when he came back to town and the people chased him into the woods?” J: “He run away.”) My hope is that with a repeated interactive readaloud every week, we will learn how to think about stories, talk about them, and learn how to answer more abstract questions.
- Learn uppercase letters/learn lowercase letters/learn letter sounds: This is a part of our daily routine, as I have mentioned here before.
Tomorrow: our next set of goals.