Guest Post by: Jessica Kaufman, Pre-K Tutor at Amidon Bowen Elementary School
Monday morning I arrive at school and wait to greet the students. As I meet them on the playground I am overjoyed. I hear a group of three-year-olds scream “Ms. Coffee!!!” as they run towards me. We’re still working on pronouncing Ms. Kaufman, so I’ll take what I can get.
Once inside the classroom the students eat breakfast and wander over to me for Sign In, an intervention that allows children to practice letter name/sound recognition and writing. The kids love to learn the letters in their names as well as their friends’ names. “E is for Edward!!” the class squeals. Sign In happens every day after breakfast and allows me to view their progress on an individualized basis.
After opening group and a large group read-aloud we move on to the tier 1 small group intervention. We learn important words from our story and practice our skills at Rapid Automatic Naming, an intervention that increases students’ vocabulary under the guise of an exciting game. That is the beauty of Pre-K, students learn through play. Everything we do is fun!
Now it is time to go to centers where students are encouraged to use their imaginations to create real-world scenarios. This week our classroom’s theme is grocery store and students can choose to work in the deli, bakery or at the cash register to name a few.
Check out these bakers hard at work!!
Center time is a great chance for Reading Corps tutors to engage in Strive for 5 conversations. Strive for 5 conversations call for tutors to ask at least five open-ended questions to allow students to expand on their ideas, thoughts and feelings. All answers are great answers and are met with praise and affirmations. In Pre-K there are countless opportunities to employ interventions, creating an optimal environment for fun, yet meaningful, learning.
After center time we head out to recess where we run wild. There is truly nothing more therapeutic than running around with a group of three-year-olds (except, perhaps, an actual therapist). After recess we come back inside for lunch, another opportunity for Strive for 5. Not only do these conversations build early literacy skills, they also create meaningful relationships between students and tutors.
As lunch wraps up, the class begins to wind down for relaxation time. This is when I am able to tackle the tier 2 and 3 interventions. During this time I pull small groups of students who need an extra boost to be in the “Green” (on grade-level) by spring. We are currently working on picture naming skills so I employ the Repeated Read Aloud intervention, which exposes students to new images and vocabulary.
After nap we head to our special for the day, art, library, PE or music. The walk from the classroom to specials is the perfect time to sneak in transition songs about rhyming or alliteration. The kids love to sing (screech) along as we walk through the halls. After specials we head back to the classroom for a quick “science eyes” where we use our special magnifying glasses to observe and investigate the world around us.
Look at these scientists taking notes on their pumpkins!
At the end of the day we head out for another recess and run around some more. It’s a long day for students and tutors alike, but we all gain so much from our time at school.