I love WOW days! They give us a chance to get together as a grade level and watch one of our colleagues teach, and then take a few subjects and discuss them in depth. Today we began with a demonstration lesson of Math Counts by Cheryl Dillard. This addition to Math Investigations gives application to our Math curriculum.
After the demo and debrief we turned our attention to the task of a common form to direct our mid-term conferences with parents. Each teacher shared the form she is currently using and we discussed the pros and cons of each. We discussed what we really need parents to know and take away from these conferences. Next we divided into small groups and charted parent-friendly home activities for Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Comprehension, Fluency, Writing and Math. These are activities that we can suggest to parents when their child is struggling. The compiled lists were taken by Haley Alvarado who volunteered to write the activities in parent friendly language. They will come back to the grade level for edits and revision before they are finalized to be used with parent conferences.
The grade level enjoyed lunch out which is a pleasure but also provides a time for the grade level to get to know each other in a more personal way. With 14 kindergarten teachers, it is always a challenge to really get to know your peers!
After lunch it was time to share our work around the Author Study of Eric Carle. As always, teachers are encouraged to think outside of the box and to do what their students REALLY need. Although everyone is using Eric Carle as the basis for Readers' Workshop, the Timmonte group has decided to make a radical departure and write pattern books during Writers’ Workshop since so many of Eric Carle’s books are “question and answer” and “repeating line” patterns. This work is based on First Grade Writers.
To enhance Readers' Workshop Maria Mallon has really concentrated on ways to retell some of Eric Carle's books using kid-drawn pictures.
Sanchez, the Mackarado intern shared an art project, a mobile that she is using as a way of retelling Carle's delightful books.
Several teachers shared charts of a variety of reading responses taught in mini-lessons and student examples of Readers' Response Notebooks, all around Carle's books.
Teachers shared charts about Eric Carle’s life, attribute charts, etc.
You could see the wheels turning as teachers pushed their peers’ thinking. Hopefully everyone walked away from the day with an added depth to their Author Study.
Finally Team Leader Debbie Harbour shared her organization of an Eric Carle Culmination Day to include the entire Team.
We ended our day thinking about “the power of our dreams.” Before dreams can come true, you have to have dreams. Each teacher was asked to share her professional dreams for the next five years. Teachers shared their dreams to complete Masters degrees and National Board Certification (there are 5 Nationally Board Certified Teachers on this team!) Many talked about their dreams of sharing their work with visitors, beginning teachers and interns. Most still see themselves at Chets Creek in five years in this learning community, some with a short interim to have children or raise families. All in all, my dreams have already come true… I have been given the opportunity to share my time with this group of talented, caring, dynamic teachers… and that's why I believe in the power of the dream…