We have reached the point in the year when I begin to test the letters in the alphabet. While most don’t have all the letters at this point they should at least have some. I had one little boy who was NOT interested in the least in learning his letters and could care less about it either. I had been in contact with his mom and even though she had the flash cards and had been trying he did not care. She told me he would rather build than learn letters. When I hung up the phone the next person to I saw was our IA/PAA teacher. I asked him if he had any scraps of wood that he could donate. He said he did and I had an idea. I talked to mom and told her my plan. I would pay my little guy with wood pieces for ever letter he could learn. She agreed and later that day our shop teacher sent a student with a bucket of wood scrap. My little guy who as yet had no idea of what I was planning took one look at the wood and had to check over every piece.
At that point I told him that I would pay him wood for each letter he knew. We immediately practised the letters and I paid him three “wood” for the three he knew. I also gave him three nails (which he had to count as well – he could only count to three at this point). And I sent him home.
Later that night I got a Facebook message from his mom. He had made mom practise three times so he could get more wood the next day. He came back to school the next day and he knew 7!!!! He bugged me from the moment he came in the door until I had 10 minutes to practise that he “had to do his wood”. Each day we have practised he knows more letters and when I pay him a “wood” I write the letter (upper and lower case) on the wood. When we are done, he takes the wood to the office and reads them to the secretary and whoever else will listen. When he is done he will go to the shop teacher and tell him that “he will need more wood ’cause he knows lots of letters!” Many of the kids in the school know what he is doing as he is excited to tell them and I have found him in the hall on the floor with an older student, reading his “wood” to them.
It is things like this that make me happy to be a teacher.
PS- I have another little girl that is also having trouble with her letters and I am paying her in fabric scraps because she loves to sew.
Submitted by Robyn Hunter
Inside recesses have been killing us here and the Kindergarten class on Friday was driving me crazy. I had to do something. I took sticky notes and wrote the letters of the alphabet one per note and stuck them up around our K-12 school I made the handy toilet paper binoculars for each of the kids. While I was making them the kids interest was piqued to say the least. I told them that the secretary needed us to be Letter Detectives.We had to find all the letters in the alphabet in order. They immediately starting singing the alphabet song under their breath and they were off. We walked VERY quickly (cause no one else can know that Kindergarten gets to have fun) up and down the school halls. We couldn’t take a letter off the wall until it was time (in order) to take it off. As they got through the alphabet they began to remember where the remaining letters were and would run walk quickly to the next letter. When we were done we went to the office and read the letters in order to our secretary who told the kids why she uses letters in order (phone book, filing, etc.). Later that day I added the numbers to 25 and the secretary called down to ask them to be Number Detectives. They were off once again and the kids in the school helped them when they got confused. At the end of the day I had some moms who came early and the kids asked if they could show the moms the same game with the lower case letters. It was a great way to get the kids up and moving on an otherwise dreary day.
Submitted by Robyn Hunter
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On Monday, January 17, 2011, Dr. Debbie Pushor, Professor at the University of Saskatchewan, participated in a webcast for Parents as Partners on OurSchool.ca. During the webcast, Dr. Pushor talked about the lack of pre-service and inservice classes that teach teacher how to build relationships with parents. Dr. Pushor calls this needed instruction the “curriculum of parents”.
Dr. Pushor also differentiated between parent involvement and parent engagement. Engagement represents a different kind of relationship than involvement does. When families are engaged, they are coming together as equal partners. In involvement, the teacher is the one in charge, and is controlling the relationship.