I teach Kindergarten in a suburban area in Western Washington. Our community is located in an area that has seen extreme population growth within the last few years which has created a community of people from diverse backgrounds, and makes our our classroom rich with cultures, languages, and experiences.
My students are kind, funny, and enthusiastic to be at school, and their excitement to learn keeps me striving to create highly engaging activities.
My Kindergartners love to talk and interact with each other, so much of my teaching is centered on small group and partner activities that allow the kids to practice academic skills while also building their social and emotional skills. As their teacher, my goal is to create an environment that will instill a love of learning throughout their lives.
Students come to Kindergarten with a wide variety of skills and experience with reading. For some, my classroom is their first experience with school and they know only a few letters or sounds. Other students may have experience with reading, but in languages other than English, and some students begin Kindergarten knowing how to read stories with ease. In order to meet the needs of this wide range of learners, it is most effective for me to work with them in small groups so I can target the specific reading skills that they need to acquire.
The activities and resources in this project will allow me to design instruction time in which I can have multiple small groups of students working on the essential skills for reading comprehension that they need most.
For example, while I work with a group of students on building vocabulary, one group of students can practice phonics skills by using the Digraphs and Blends Learning Locks, another group can listen to a classic Dr. Seuss book on CD in order to build reading fluency, and another group can practice Phonological Awareness with the Rhyming Sounds Puzzles. This level of differentiation will allow me to meet the needs of such a diverse group of learners in a time efficient manner. Additionally, these activities and tools require very little preparation on my part, which will allow me to focus more time and energy on my students instead of preparing small group activities.
My students are enthusiastic and motivated to learn. They are filled with pride as they master new concerns and skills. With a love of learning, and excitement for reading, the only things my students are missing are the tools to become lifelong readers which this project will provide.
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