July 2, 2022
This past week I spent my second year at Sawyerville Summer Learning Camp in Greensboro, Alabama. What a difference a year makes! Last year after the first day, I was exhausted and overwhelmed. This year I was energized and excited to come and spend two weeks teaching math to students who had just completed kindergarten.
In my preparations to serve at Sawyerville for two weeks this year, I went to the Dollar Tree or several of them in Huntsville to purchase supplies for my classroom. I spent $150 in the Dollar Tree on Whitesburg alone. Dry erase markers, mini solo cups, plastic bowls, muffin tins, small tongs, puzzles, bingo dot markers, playdough, Sorry, Chutes and Ladders, Guess Who, and Candyland, pipe cleaners, pom poms red, blue, and white plastic jewels, coloring books, storage baskets, reusable bags, red, blue, and green plastic ware, plastic baggies, and so much more. I wanted my room to have all kinds of things to improve their math skills and to have things to play with. Sunday arrived and my education adventure began with my three-hour trek to Greensboro. Arriving at the school at about four in the afternoon, I drug in all my supplies like I was moving in to start a school year not a two-week summer program.
As luck would have it, the rising first grade class only had four kiddos in SSL this year. I was happy to have an abundance of stuff for them to use to learn math. The first day I gave them some basic activities to see what they already knew. I also had notes from the two teachers that had been there the first two weeks. This information was helpful, but I wanted to shake things up a bit in Ms. Fowler's math class these last two weeks.
Reflecting on my first week I have many more insights into teaching and learning that I hope to bring to my professional development sessions this year. I can’t wait to see what next week brings!
PS Pack playdough and crayons for training teachers this Back to School season.
What I Learned at SSL This Week
· Everyone likes to count even if he is not very good at it.
· Touching things to count them makes the connection between concrete and abstract.
· Having a variety of activities and materials helps people learn.
· Being prepared makes the hour of math teaching go by much faster.
· Enrichment in the afternoons should not be a repeat of the same things the kids did in the morning.
· It is difficult to teach someone how to do a puzzle if they have never seen one or felt puzzle pieces.
· Playing with playdough makes everyone happy—kids and adults.
· Coloring books are fun especially when there are a variety of ones to choose from—Mandalorian, Spiderman, Toy Story, and Minnie and Daisy.
· You can guess what age a kid is by checking out their permanent teeth.
Kids Say the Darndest Things—Quotes from Week 1
· You mean you bought all this stuff for us?
· You gonna play with us?
· You like to color, too?
· Oh yeah I can skip count 2s, 5s, and 10s.
· Oooh how you write English like that?
· I love Go Noodle. Let’s dance some more.
· I can have as many stickers as I want to make this collage?
· It’s hard to take turns because I am just so excited to play a game.
· I love cutting out hearts and stars from playdough. It’s the best!
Finally an acrostic poem celebrating all the learning we did last week.
Listen to what kids say
Engage kids with a welcoming learning space
Ask kids what they like and what they like to do
Relate to kids’ ideas, joys, and struggles.
Notice how the kids think.
Imagine a different way to do things.
Narrate the learning process. Tell a story.
Give kids lots of love and positive reinforcement.
Jump into all kinds of learning experiences
Overwhelm the kids with fun things to do.
Youngsters learn from all kinds of activities.