Are you in the middle of a heat wave too? It's really hot here! Thank goodness for our house having central air, though it doesn't quite reach to the upstairs..
Just had to stop by and share the giggle
that I had this morning. I am finalizing all the paperwork to do my
Master's "practicum" in my classroom this fall. My advisor emailed me,
asking if I would be able to meet the requirement of doing 2 hours worth
of reading/language arts instruction in my classroom daily, since I
teach kindergarten. It was all I could do not to respond to her with a
"LOL" or "You have GOT to be kidding me!".
well aware of why people can't believe kindergarten is academic to the
level it is. When we (meaning people over the age of 20 or so) were in
kindergarten, there was a much stronger focus on the social and
emotional development of students than on the academic development.
Students only came for half a day, and spent their time on songs and
fingerplays, listening to stories (which do all build language and
literacy skills!), had playtime, nap, and snack. I've heard it from
parents many times, and my own fuzzy memories of kindergarten reinforce
this. As anyone working in early childhood today knows, though,
kindergarten is the "new first grade" (and it sometimes feels like
second grade!). We spend the vast majority of our day in academic
pursuits. Do we, as teachers, try to teach those academics is
developmentally appropriate ways? Oh, my goodness, yes! But are we
required to hit a level of academics teachers 20 years ago would never
have imagined? Again, oh, my goodness, YES. The level of academics today
even exceeds that which I taught when I first began in kindergarten
about 10 years ago.
I often marvel that students I
passed on to first grade, confident of their skills and abilities in my
first few years of teaching, would be students I am significantly
concerned about in today's kindergarten (I know, though, that they have
grown into successful students!). However, as my administrator
likes to say, yes, we are expecting more of our students, but we have
also found, in the majority of cases, that they are READY for more. So,
while we challenge students more than ever before, we have also found
that, in many cases, maybe we weren't expecting enough before. I feel
like I am walking a tightrope everyday, balancing the academics that are
expecting a lot of my students, with meeting their developmental needs.
It's a very fine line, and it means we need to be very aware of our
students needs and abilities, their instructional levels, and that level
where they are too frustrated to learn. The hard part at any grade, but
especially at kindergarten, where so many students arrive with diverse
learning backgrounds, After kindergarten, they all have some sort of
common ground to work from, even if they aren't all at the same skill
level for that background.
At any rate...I
spend a large percentage of my day involved in literacy instruction.
Reading, writing, speaking, listening...it really is the heart of
kindergarten academics. When you add in the current expectations (via
Common Core, which is in flux here in Michigan) for content area reading
and writing to be happening as well, the question really should be,
"Are there two hours worth of your day where you are not working on
language arts skills?". I really don't believe there are. Thanks
for giving my rant a bit of your time. I will try to be back soon with
something more light-hearted...maybe a summary of my recent splurges at
Target's Dollar Spot...they've had turquoise teacher "stuff" this
year...and my room is turquoise, black, and white...so you just may be
able to imagine my lack of self-control! Stay cool and come back soon!