Sunday, March 2, 2014

Leadership


If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, and do more and become more, you are a leader.  ~ John Quincy Adams
This quote says a lot about me as a leader. When figuring out what type of leader I am, I discovered I was an Adaptive Supportive.  After learning the attributes of this type of leader, it pretty much described me to a tee.   If there is one thing that I can say I don't like it would be to stand out in a crowd.  So, as a leader this is true for me, too.  Adaptive supportive leaders are just like this because they don't always take on leadership roles, but if encouraged and assisted they will take on some leadership skills.   When I read the characteristics of this leadership style it felt like I was reading about myself.  I am someone who seeks stability, cares for others, is law-abiding, and tries to avoid conflict.  However, as a leader I want to be a role model for my students and colleagues, bring out the best in others, and create and communicate core values.  I am an adaptive supportive!

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Engagement

Engagement is something I always hope I am providing in my lessons and throughout the day in my classroom.  This is something I have been trying to improve and strive for in my classroom by adding movement to learning phonics, writing, and other disciplines. My goal is to have a classroom filled with action-based learning.  This semester I hope to be more attentive to the needs of my students. Whether it be noticing when they need more movement to stay engaged or to be engaged in my data to know exactly what my students need to learn. I need to be more aware so data can drive my instruction. I feel when I know what they need to learn they will be more willing to be engaged in their learning.  I hope I can fulfill this goal this semester of making my classroom more engaging.

Jan./Feb.- Glow and Grow

Glow:  We are in the midst of conferences (after rescheduling two nights of them because of school closings) and I find it exciting to report to parents the progress the students have made.  Before conferences I gathered new data on my students and was glad to see the gains my students made. Earlier my EL students didn't know the difference between numbers and letters and now all them know almost all of their letters and can write numbers.  I love the fast progress you see in Kindergarten!

Grow: I know my students need to still make progress in their learning but what I was most disappointed about was our DIBELS scores, a letter fluency test. My student's scores were way lower then I expected.  What do you do to improve letter fluency? I also am freaking out about our spring conference.  I am not done with my paper and hoping I have enough information to fill an hour presentation. Creative juices and motivation need to be found soon!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Glow and Grow


There are many things that have been going through my head since the last time I blogged.  I am happy with some of my work but have mixed feelings about some.  Last time I was getting started on my Life books with my students in order to collect data on students and have a better way of meeting the needs of writing with them each day. This process has seemed like it has been slow but it is gradually getting to where I want it to be.  My life books have been a place where I want them to write about something that is going on with their day each day.  I was struggling for a while to know how am I going to collect my data this way but thanks to a conversation with my sister she helped me figure out what could makes this work and be able to have them write about their day.
  My sister had seen a kindergarten teacher use a journal during their rest time and to start the time out they would sit in a circle and go around to say a short sentence of something that happened to them, or was important to them that day.  It could be "It is my birthday." Or "It snowed today!" This has helped their thinking some but not completely. What is a struggle is the ELL students have a hard time thinking of a sentence and it takes awhile to go around the circle.  Also, when they write they are spread around the room in their quiet spots and some are writing, some are talking, and others need my help and I can't get to them all. We have only been doing this for about a week so I guess I have to think, go slow to go fast.
  Also, to gather the research my sister gave me the idea to have them put a smiley face in the corner of their page after they write to make if they used the Alphabet walk to hear the sounds in their writing.  Then I go back and look for the smiley face to tally it on a check list. This part is going well and saves time. Thank goodness for sisters!
  I am hoping this information is what I need to help with my data collection and give my AR validity. This is my worry and I hope I am doing the right thing to write my data analysis and results.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Glow and Grow


Glow:
  My students have been enjoying the movement we have learned to help with learning the alphabet and sounds. I am beginning to notice that the alphabet walk is making a difference with them learning their letters and sounds.  My students were recently assessed on their letters and several students made gigantic gains, including a couple ELL students that surprised me. Also, my students began writing in a journal I call our "Life Book." The students are excited about them and look forward to writing in them.  I wish I would have started with these earlier but now they know the alphabet walk better to help them hear their sounds to write letters in their journal. I see the alphabet walk helping in their writing, too.

Grow:
What I am struggling with is knowing the right kind of checklist to track if they are needing to use the alphabet walk or not and how it should look. Also, I have changed my daily 5 choices to be more like stations so I can meet with a small group of students to guide them with their writing. However, now I don't feel they are getting to write enough, because I will see them only once a week. How can I get them to be writing more? How often do you have your students write a week? And when?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Backwards Design

The backwards design process has been a process that has been a good thing for me in my teaching. This process has kept me in check during a unit to whether I am teaching the concepts the students need to know by the end.  I would say that the first and last stages are the most helpful to me. The last one keeps the standards in mind that I want the students to meet.  The first keeps me in check to know the ultimate concept I want them to know.  This process has helped me keep my focus on the learning instead of focusing on the "cutesy" things that can be added to a kindergarten lesson. I am thankful to this process for keeping me on check.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Abstract

In my research my question is: How does movement improve writing and phonics skills in the Kindergarten classroom? I came upon this question because I often use movement in my classroom for many different purposes, such as gathering students, brain breaks, or turn and talk during a lesson.  I also teach a diverse range of students from many different cultures, with special needs, low academics, and ELL needs and needed a way to help them be engaged and retain the knowledge. In my research, I discover that movement benefits the brain, affects their knowledge by creating more long-term memory, and the environment in the classroom. The area I saw the most need to retain knowledge was in their phonics and writing skills.  During my research, I discovered that phonics and writing is learned best when done through meaningful activities which includes oral phonemic awareness activities and encouraging this during their writing each day.  With these results in my research, I have been using the Alphabet Walk, from The Phonics Dance to create more movement with phonics skills. Also, I am implementing our new district Benchmark writing curriculum in my classroom to encourage and teach writing skills.  Now my question is, how am I going to know that movement is improving their skills? Therefore I am doing the following in my classroom. I am collecting writing samples before they use movement and then after they have been using movement for awhile. Also, I using their upper and lowercase standard based assessments and DIBELS scores, a letter fluency test, to know if the movement and phonics teaching effects their knowledge.  The last way I intend to know if the movement improves their phonics and writing skills, is to have a check list to check if their are using the Alphabet Walk actions or not to help them write, blend words, or recognize the letters.  By using movement in the classroom and the knowledge I gained from my research, I predict a positive result to my student's phonics and writing skills improving.