For the Love of Kindergarten Part 2

Standard

Bravery

Mr. B’s class is precious! It’s been so much fun modeling lessons in his room!! It’s like being a grandparent. I go in and everyone is glad to see me. Students run up to give me hugs or tell me they like my lipstick. A lesson is modeled in front of rapt attention (as only “grandparents” can earn), then I wave goodbye, with a promise to come back soon.

Having experienced fourth grade in his student teaching, Mr. B was a little wide-eyed when we first met. However, armed with his adorable puppet Tad Pole and the star status of being the only male teacher at our K center, he soon became a hit; not only with his students, but with me, too. After our first meetings, I convinced him to do away with the pre-made, one-per-day journal pages and switch to spiral notebooks. The first act of bravery. We decided we would unveil this brave change when I came in to teach my first model lesson. The air was tingling with excitement. We had added cute stickers to the notebooks and gave each child their precious gift. Our goal was to build writing stamina, so that Mr. B could meet with individual or small groups of students. His concern was that this would not be possible, since there were so many hands up for how to spell words during writing time.

I began with writing behaviors. First, we write. Then, we draw. I read Night of the Veggie Monsters and modeled writing about the veggie I found distasteful. I talked about how many details we could add about the dreaded vegetable and how it made me feel. Right before asking them to write, I told them they must be brave, because, today, they could not raise their hands during journal time. Shocked faces met my gaze. I told them they must be brave enough to spell wonderful words by using the strategies they had learned in kindergarten. 

The second act of bravery. Only two hands went up that day during journal time, which quickly lowered when I reminded them how brave they were. As they wrote about the foods they despised, I was amazed at the wonderful words they were trying to spell themselves. Mr. B was amazed at how many individual students he was able to work with as the others went to work. What fun! What excitement! What confidence! What writers!

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