Help me do it for myself.

Montessori in a Dene Kindergarten – Montessori in a Dene Grade One Classroom

A Good Afternoon!

Posted by mrsmelva on 21/03/2009

We had a very good afternoon yesterday. It was still very teacher directed, but overall it went quite well. We started with colouring sheets which we had also started with the day before. Now, I rarely use colouring sheets so the students found these to be a treat, and I needed something for everyone to do while the stragglers arrived and got their stuff put away. The part that they really liked yesterday was that I had set out their literacy center books and they had put their pages from Thursday in them the day before, including partially finished pictures. They were actually very excited to get the opportunity to finish the pictures and then to start a new one. I had a selection of pictures for them to choose from. Some chose to repeat the same picture, and some chose a different one. They were much more willing to stop colouring at clean up time when they realized that the pictures woul be in their books for another day. I did this activity with both classes, as I needed the morning class to be ready for the next directed lesson also. The next lesson was making a rainbow by cutting circles from squares in the correct colour sequence. I had cut all the squares, but rather than preparing the trays for the children, I set the squares out at the front of the room, in sequence for the children to place on their trays. I knew that it would take longer, but wanted to work on patience and waiting in line  without pushing. I was also working on paying attention to the directions the first time. I carefully demonstrated the procedure and then had the children start the work. I monitored the line carefully, with a few reminders about waiting patiently and they did it well. (we did have a slightly smaller class, as a few kids were away). We monitored closely while they worked but did not help. When kids asked what to do I reminded them that I had already shown them what to do and that they needed to think in their brain and figure it out. They either did that or checked with a friend. The only intervention we (myself and the tutor) made was to point out if they messed up the sequence, by asking them to check it and fix it, but we did not tell the children how to fix it, and a mini lesson given by the tutor to a special needs boy and a girl who arrived late, they needed a review of how to cut circles by snipping corners off the squares. Out of 42 children, there were only 4 out of sequence rainbows that needed fixing. Following rainbow making  the kids went out for recess and then went sliding for gym. They had a wonderful time sliding and came in bubbling over with descriptions of going over the high jump. In the morning they went back to jobs and I had time for a reading group. Snack was open and they consumed 3.5 litres of juice! In the afternoon there wasn’t enough time for this, and they have only been having group snack for awhile since we had “issues” at the snack table. I prepared snack while they were outside, but decided that I would have them walk in groups to pour their own juice at the snack table and walk back to the circle with their juice. I want to reinforce appropriate snack behaviour and procedures so that eventually we can have the snack table open again. We passed out napkins and snacks and only two kids started eating right away. We are working on the social skill of waiting until everyone is served before eating, and on waiting in general, since this group is even more egocentric than most 5/6 year olds. Then I called a group at a time to come pour their juice and return to the circle. They all did this successfully. We had one overpour spill at the table, but no other spills at all. Not bad for 3 litres of juice! They did well at lining up with their garbage and empty cups and coming to the kitchen to toss the trash and put the cups in the dishwasher. The only glitch was some running when they returned to the circle (the tutor had gone to take the special needs students to the van). It was 3:20 on a Friday, so I guess I can accept that, although I did give them a reminder that it wasn’t safe and they settled somewhat, so I returned to dishwasher supervision. I think with this group the mistake I made was giving them too much independence without enough reinforcement of procedures. They are less mature than the morning group, and less able to wait or work without adult attention, so I need to address those issues and move more slowly. The catch is that while they are less mature, they are bright kids and I need to couple their need for structure and direction with their need for intellectual challenge and with my need to work with small groups on reading and other skills. Once I get the testing for report cards done I will be introducing some more challenging works (slowly and methodically) and will try again to have them working while the tutor and I work with smaller groups. I am going to ask (wish me luck) if I can have an extra adult for a few afternoons while we re-establish those routines. That will only work somewhat, as it will be the student support worker, and she can be called away at any time, but even if she is available a bit it will help to have someone provide reminders of the routines and procedures while we are busy with small groups. I think that I may need to set up some sort of visual schedule for this class so that they know when their turn will be to be in a small group,  haven’t done this before and haven’t had a need to, but since this group seems to need a lot of attention from adults, perhaps knowing when they will have their turn will help them be more independent and respectful of others’ turns. We shall see.


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