Monday, August 23, 2010

Phew! The First Day Down...

Today was my first day of school with kids -- wow -- what a whirlwind. Right now my head is reeling from learning new routines, watching kids and LEARNING A LOT about them, and finding a new pace after being relaxed all summer.

I learned so much today -- just by being a careful observer. Have you done that with your own child without them knowing? It tells you volumes about them.

With twenty in the classroom it is a little more difficult, but here's what I picked up...

Attention spans (length, depth)
Need for positive reinforcement
Novice Readers
Readers with great survival skills
Developing Readers
Kids who need guidance
Kids who need to channel their energy
Kids who want to please
Independent kids

I worked with two today specifically ~ one who didn't stick with a book, and one who didn't stick in the seat.

I noticed both were lack of direction oriented issues. Neither knew what to actually look for, or how to go about making a selection. Not that they couldn't "pick" a book -- they weren't able to choose a book that HELD THEIR INTEREST.

I will go over deeper lessons in how to choose a book in the next few weeks for the whole class, but I knew I had to get to these two TODAY.

I began by having a conversation with them about topics that were outside of reading (or so they thought). I found out things they enjoyed, things they did for fun, and actually asked them things they didn't care for too. It wasn't easy. They actually had a hard time verbalizing it. So I spent more time and asked questions a different way. I asked them if there was one thing they could do for their birthday, what would it be, who would it be with, and what kinds of things they would include in their day. Why? Because birthdays are special, and they would do things that are important and the most fun for them.

Then I went to the bins -- "You know what? This author writes books that relate to you..." "This one too..." What about this?" I gave 3-4 choices. We talked about them, read a bit, and then WE SET A GOAL AND A TIME TO TOUCH BASE AGAIN. I gave each one about twenty pages to read and told them to get to that point no matter what, and then come see me so we could talk again.

Did it work? Well, one of them wanted to take the book out to recess, the other sat in the seat longer than with the other I consider it a success.

Will I have to do it again? I am almost sure of it. But have I planted the seeds? Yup.

Think about your child. If they are constantly switching in and out of may be an interest thing, or a stamina thing. I think I took a two pronged approach today. See which, or if both, work for you.

Can't wait until tomorrow!

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