Many of my students spent the break in day care situations with different school rules than our class. Other students stayed at home or visited family they rarely see. In the life of a young child two weeks is almost the voyage of Odysseus. Many of our school expectations and rules have been forgotten on the long trip.
2. Reconnect with students.
We spent the first couple days just getting used to being around each other again. We listed things that had changed. Talked about experiences and developed student language through informal discussion. These may not be the most obviously productive days of the school year but they form the foundation for the relationship that will lead to success.
3. Go back to square one.
We started off reteaching every daily routine that we had built from day one. I assumed mastery of nothing. This way I was able to provide a more equitable framework for success. It also enabled me to informally assess for student understanding of our classroom culture and expectations.
4. Assess student learning.
This is the time of year in our class when we really buckle down and start developing academics. I have been checking with my students for the last week if they understood concepts of print, rhyming, and engagement with print. Now that I know what they know I can plan.
5. Revise course.
Based on our assessments I have made some key decisions about the nature of the learning in our class. Now that my assessments have shown nearly all of my students are ready for some more academic experiences my assistant and I have started a long term project. Each student will be creating an alphabet book. As the students get used to this routine of knowing what to expect during small group times with my assistant I will be building language activities based on key math words and engaging literacy experiences.
6. Connect with parents.
This week I will be connecting with parents at a Family Literacy Training held at our school. We will teach parents literacy home learning activities. We will also be scheduling home visits for later this month. I have found parents are often relieved to be contacted with news their child is doing just fine. It also helps because they have been recently reminded for two weeks how fun and hard being with kids all day can be.
7. Move forward.