November 1, 2009
FUN TEACHING MOMENT!
I’ve got to hang on to these when I have them, because they can easily and quickly fade into the constant exhaustion of being a teacher.
I had to give exams last week so in order to study for them and prepare for them with my first graders I came up with a really simple game. I had all the questions from the exam, and a couple more to get them thinking, prepared ahead of time. I split the class up into two groups. I asked them what they wanted to be called. The first team picked “Honduras” not very original but sweet how proud of their little country they are. The second team then picked The United States. The kids here in Honduras are always on a soccer kick, no pun intended, and Honduras had just played the US. Anyway, I then asked each team a question. My normal rules for games are no shouting, you must raise your hand, you must be in your seat, and your team will lose points if you are a bad sport. My students raised their hands to answer my questions from the exam and if they got it right they got to draw and X or an O on the big Tic Tac Toe squares I had written on the board. They loved it. Tic tac toe in Spanish is called equis o cero.
Everyone was having a good time and they were answering almost all the questions right until suddenly one team won. I don’t even remember if it was the United States or Honduras that won, but winning and losing is not easy as a first grader. Part of this teaching experience has been learning how young my students really are. Often my expectations are too high and I have to readjust to fit their ability level. Anyway, I learned that next time we play a review game, it will have to be the whole class against the teacher. It seems like a simple good idea now, but until you understand that its hard for first graders to lose do you think of such ideas. I’m eager to try this next time because I think it could encourage some good teamwork also.
I also learned this first quarter that first graders and second graders actually are too young to be able to keep track of papers. This is a problem since Phonics is basically worksheet after worksheet out of a work book. I used to have them hand in the papers I was going to be grading but they either didn’t make it to me after they tore the page out, or they never tore it out, or some alien or puppy at it. Who knows, anyway this past week I have had numerous parents, (of course only the parents whose children are doing well) ask me about the pages. Next quarter I will be collecting the Phonics workbook every Friday and not tearing out any pages of the book. Hopefully the first graders and I will have better luck with this strategy.
You live you learn right? As I write this entry I realize how much I love first graders. They are a great age. They are who they are, they do not change anything about themselves for others to like them. They hardly ever do anything wrong on purpose, and they just make me laugh with some of the things, noises and sentences, that come out of their mouths and brains. I’m eager to see them tomorrow.