Friday, May 27, 2011

I Am Pleased

My son's first year of school has been nothing but positive! I am so pleased with our public schooling choice and experience. He went from knowing his letters and sounds to reading at roughly a 2nd grade reading level. He has a bette handle on phonics than I do! When I ask him math questions I see his brain making problem-solving decisions. There is meaning behind the numbers and calculations; I love that. The variety of art and science and social studies that he's been exposed is really phenomenal. I guess that is what you get when you get an expert teacher...something districts should work hard and retaining.

I've been going into his room every Wednesday afternoon since September. Let me give you a glimpse into a typical afternoon:

The kids move fluidly from station to station, choosing what order they accomplish the tasks in. There is no arguing or confusion. Each child makes it to each learning station, but they feel the power to chose the order. Love this. The class is so accepting and encouraging to others. The teacher has created a positive, learning environment, teaching class behaviors and establishing clear, consistent boundaries.

At the yellow table kids were working at writing in their writing journals. I still think its impressive that this teacher gets kinders to write. Writing is not an easy skill. I love reading their entries and seeing them sound out words and put thoughts on paper.

At the blue table, my table, we were comparing and contrasting pill bugs and sow bugs, Isopods. This was a great activity to teach kids to notice details and sort and identify characteristics, and of course, expand their vocabulary.

At the round table kids were reading to their teacher and she was checking the books that are in their book bags, checking for appropriate reading levels and progress etc.

Another group of children were reading on the floor of the classroom to each other and to themselves.

The last station was "Buying the Farm." This is a very fun project that my child is very excited about. It involves math and money. I wonder if it is a version of Farmville? On Wednesday they were buying their green grass acreage and their farm houses. Then they had accounting sheets that they were gluing paper money on to representing the cost of the items they concrete and developmentally appropriate. On the board were lists of all the things you need to run a farm, so I know they will be adding more to their farms as they go. Kids were spread through the room gluing their farm pieces on to their large, white papers.

All that was going on in an hour and half. That's a lot of creative learning and thinking for a room full of 27 six-year-olds, right?

This is just one of many terrific afternoons my son has spent in school this year. His days have been filled with literature, song, P.E., recess, lunch, library, computer class, assemblies...what a day of rich learning that is so age appropriate!

We are ready for summer, for a change of pace. But his first year has been a foundation for success for future school years to come. I look forward to 1st grade.


jpierce said...

Sounds like a great school and a great teacher. When I hear words like choice, consistent boundaries, focus on content, I remember my teaching days with fondness. So glad for you and your son.

Heather said...

We love Mrs. H too. I am there thursday afternoons, so it looks a lot different. It is getting kids caught up and free choice time. Next year will be good, I am hopeful but a bit concerned.

Rebekah said...

Heather, I always wonder what the other days and times look like, but I know it is similar. I am a fan of free choice time. Yes, each year is different. I'm glad we've had such a great first year and I hope next year continues to be good. If it isn't....oh my, I won't be very happy will I?

Anonymous said...

So glad his first year went well. Sounds like he's doing great and his teacher is, too. And yay for summer!!!