Since I got used to having people in my room while I’m teaching ALL of the time (well, that’s what it feels like anyway…) I’ve actually started to enjoy part of it. The on-site Reading First person has been spending some time with me and we have been working on some of the strategies that involve more of the class than things like just calling on one kid at a time for a response. We used Kagan Cooperative Learning Structures at my last school, but a lot of the stuff they were focusing on at the time was hard to bring down to the kindergarten level. Three that are working with my kids as they get used to them are: Choral response, Action Response (like thumbs up or thumbs down) and Partner response (think, pair, share). In Partner response you can do it different ways to engage both learners, A tells B, B tells A, A and B tell each other, and the beauty is that you can then ask A to tell you what B said. If they don’t know whose response you are going to ask for, they both have to be ready. The idea is to get many more kids engaged rather than just the one you call on. Something else I’m doing better is picking up the pace. On the phonemic awareness and phonics parts of the lesson, if they don’t know it, I just tell them and move on. For example today they were having a hard time identifying the rhymes in some text. Rather than spend a lot of time trying to get someone to give me the correct response, I deliberately emphasized the rhyming words, then if they didn’t get it quickly, I just told them and moved on. I’m also doing more chorale response activities, like having them repeat the two rhyming words several times.
This isn’t a big deal in the sense that I’m giving them the answers, because all of the phonemic awareness stuff and phonics stuff spirals in our reading program. Sooner or later they will get it. I really noticed this last year towards the end of the year when we got into consonant blends, digraphs, double vowels, and silent e words. At first, they weren’t getting a lot of it, but the more they did it, the more of them started to get it. But they had to work with the things for a certain amount of time before it clicked.
Anyway, I decided that I’m going to video myself a number of times so that I can see what it looks like. Oh joy.