One Sunflower

a “legacy” student

Most of my students are four years old but I have two out of my 17 that turned three last summer.

One of them is a native Spanish speaking child named Wendy. Wendy enjoys playdough and painting, dressing up, feeding the dolls and doing puzzles.   She plays without talking.   I only hear her giggling on the playground.  She whispers her ideas to Maestra during Circle-time when I ask questions or she has something to share.

But Wendy is not shy or quiet when it comes to creating stories in her journal.  She has been a witness to this form of story telling and writing for two years as her older sister was one of my most prolific students.  Daisy drew pictures  furiously,  filling her journal with people and puppies, bunnies and suns, rain clouds and umbrellas.  Over the course of her participation in  preschool, she learned to come to her journal with a tale to tell, taming her drawings to fit on the page and depict her story accurately.

dad was mowing the lawn and a storm came and got everything wet

Wendy already has stories in her head and fills her pages with figures and details that match her words.  Maestra has no trouble coaxing her writing voice!

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It’s official

I have a birthday coming up after Thanksgiving and it’s one with a 5 in it.  I find the years with 5’s are more significant to me than the one’s with zeros.

I’ve been married 30 years this year.

I’ve been working in early childhood classrooms for as long as I’ve been married, actually longer.

Tonight I attended a meeting of parents who have children enrolled in Head Start programs.   A young woman came in and sat across from me and I started doing the math.  I knew she had been one of my students.

I checked her name tag at the break.

Yup.

Okay, I’m officially an old teacher.

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Weekly Lesson Plan: what’s important right now

I tweaked my lesson plans once again this year. Most of my Head Start colleagues use a prescribed lesson planning form but those of us who work with the school district have had some personal discretion in how we record the work we do each week with our students.

Friday, I attended a training session in Teaching Strategies Gold, the new assessment and data collection system that has replaced Creative Curriculum. It is an amazing program that supports assessing the students online as well as creating portfolios, individual and classroom reports, parent-friendly communiques, as well as activity suggestions for supporting student goals.

It also has a lesson plan component.  The instructor hinted that this might be the required format next year.  So I took a close look and thought about how to blend the strengths of my current plan with this online format.

My current plan follows my daily timeline so a visitor to our classroom or a substitute can easily see what happens from one hour to the next.  It also allows me to fill in the blanks from week to week since most of our day includes the same components.  The Teaching Strategies Gold plan has no timeline, just a list of the components.  The strength of the plan is that it transfers student goals easily from their portfolio onto the form.

I have one bug-a-boo; the online plan requires that I tag the lesson plan with the date as well as a “theme, project, or main idea.”  Hmmmm… I don’t usually plan our work based on weekly themes.

If I asked Leopoldo, he might tell me that the main project for the coming week is to create a ramp system that allows his car to pass through the gate he’s created.

Lila might tell me that we should all be working on painting leaves and printing them on top of our names.

Karen has been working to see how the box lids help her put floor puzzles together.

Saul will probably  tell me that we should learn how to kick a ball across the playground.

I think the tagline on the week’s lesson plan will be: Important Work for-right-now!

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