The first thing I noticed when I walked into Leanne's K class, was this quote on the wall. This is such an important message and one that needs to be in more classes.
Some of the students in Leanne's class arrive before the bell and are welcomed in and invited to start either looking at books or doing puzzles. The school has an open door policy and on the day I was there, a parent arrived at 9:00 because their child was going to lead calendar. Those parents were welcomed into the class and I thought it was wonderful that they were there to witness that special moment in their child's day. Being the special helper for the day was obviously something very important to her (and her parents).
After calendar, the students moved onto to reading. Like many Kindergarten classes, they were focusing on a letter of the week. One thing that I have always struggled with is sharing (the educational version of show and tell) and tying it into the letter of the week. For the past 3 years, I have assigned kids 1 day during the week to bring in an object. There are many challenges with that - the biggest one being by Friday, all the "good" items have already been shared. I LOVE the way Ms. Commons has solved this problem and I will be incorporating into my class next year. EVERYONE bring items on Monday and they make a chart of all the items brought in.
The teachers began the lesson modeling some of the "characters" that they were going to use in their story. This serves as the pre planning stage for writing a story. This is an important stage for all writers to go through before they actually write the story; they need a plan! The students came up with the characters and the items that the character would use in the story and then they helped to label them. Once this was modeled, some students then orally told the version of the story in their head.
The final thing that I am going to borrow from Ms. Commons is her 10 frame math booklet that she was working on with her class. Having number sense, especially with the number 10 is a key skill for early learners. While I have taught this concept for many years, I loved the way that she and her class did it. They had to show each combination to make 10 three ways - with a 10 frame, in a picture and as an equation.
My day at Tait was a wonderful one and I left feeling inspired to try new things in my class. That is what is so wonderful about professional development, especially when it involves visiting others, it inspires us to better our practice as teachers! We all have wonderful things that we do in our classrooms that seem so ordinary and have become our standard practice, but when someone else can come in and be inspired, its powerful! Thank you Leanne for allowing me into your class and inspiring me! My students are benefiting from it!