Friday, August 13, 2010

creating a place to learn

My undergraduate minor was in elementary education, and I feel like teaching is a big part of who I am.  As part of my final semester of undergrad, I was a student teacher in a first grade classroom. After graduation, I was substitute teacher for five months, and despite some of the horror stories you may have heard about the job, I loved it 99% of the time. I used so much of what I learned in my teaching experiences when I worked more recently with kids who needed intervention in speech and language. Needless to say, teaching kids is something I really enjoy.

A family I've babysat for years asked me to tutor their son, Jason, who will be going into the first grade this fall. I worked with him today for the second time, addressing printing skills, reading, and spelling. My parents house is a few doors down from where Jason lives, so I've been taking him to my old bedroom, which is now mostly empty, and working with him there.One of my favorite ways to play as a little girl was to turn my bedroom into a classroom, pretending to be a teacher, so it's interesting that I'm now in my bedroom actually teaching.
Jason stopped at one point, looked at the Barack Obama poster and said, "Wait a minute, who is that guy again....oh wait, I know....Obama!"

While I was student teaching one of my favorite aspects was creating posters and bulletin boards. I love that in an elementary classrooms, the walls are more than just walls, they are plastered with color, learning aids, and inspiration. My bedroom wall in our little classroom area is turning into the same!

We're working on Dolch site words. I add words to this "super fantastic reading words" wall as he is able to read them without any cuing or help.

I realized how much creativity is important in working with kids (and really, clients of any age) during an activity during our session today. Jason does so well at sounding out words that he doesn't know, and really has the consonants and their corresponding sounds down. Those tricky vowels, however, ware an area I saw he could use work on, so I had planned introducing vowels today, and progressing to short and long vowels over the next few weeks. I found a song online where you sang the "Bingo" Song (There was a farmer had a dog...) but instead, you sing about a kid who knows their vowels, and A, E, I, O, U in place of Bingo. I thought it was super cute, and with a classroom full of kids, I think it would have worked. Jason, however, wasn't into it. After a few tries at getting him to sing, I said "don't you like to sing songs?" which prompted him to tell me about a video game scene with the star wars song. So on the spot, we switched from Bingo to star wars, replacing the "dun dun dun dun DUN dun dun dun" (my best attempt at writing out the star wars song haha) with "a e i o U, a e i o U, a e i o U, dun dun dun"
He loved it! I've been struggling a little with how creative and inspired I've felt on this break from school. If honoring my creative self is important to me, and it is, I should feel inspired and creative in my school and work. Working with Jason reminds me about the ways my creativity can come out, and how that benefits me as an SLP and educator, and as a person.


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