Tuesday, April 13, 2010


Spring break is over and I am back to volunteering at school. The week after a vacation is usually rough. Children forget every rule and most of what you teach them very quickly. I was pleasantly surprised by how good the children were today.

Usually we have one or two parents volunteering with me the first half of the morning. Not today. It was just me working. I tackled the idiot work parents do: assembling homework packets, stapling together graded papers, tearing out math papers. Most of that I did while the children were at recess. I am very good and very quick at idiot work.

I worked on reading skills with several children. Today one of the main things was to test them on the Dolch List. Every child has a copy of these sight words at home. Every time they go through these sight words with us, we write down the words they miss. Today was exciting. Every child I worked with knew the words he/she missed last time. They kept the knowledge in spite of a vacation. YAY! ( I may not use this word again. I just learned it is slang for cocaine. Why do people keep ruining good words?)

Ms. H was being observed (this is one way teachers are job evaluated) today by her principal. He told me he felt ridiculous having to observe her. He thinks she is one of the best teachers he has ever seen. I feel the same way. He also talked to the children and got feedback from them.

While the principal was there the children had to write a 7 sentence story about an insect. Now that sounds easy. NOT. This was a very difficult assignment. First they had to cut a paper on the lines into 8 strips. These strips had a line to write on. Then they lined up the strips with the line on the bottom, and I stapled them together. Now we are ready to write.

The first strip was a title page. Each strip after that had to begin On Sunday, On Monday, On Tuesday etc. One child wrote about the invisible millipede. Another wrote about the funny joke telling spider. This is where the trouble began. No capital letters for ON or the days of the weeks. But capital letters for other words. They didn't put ON Monday. Some put Then the spider . . . Some wrote On Sunday ever strip. We kept telling them to follow the "pattern". Some got it the first time, some not.

Everyone finished this project and did fairly well. Some had to do it twice to get it correct. One little girl finished up everthing before others did the first page. Children learn and work at differnt speeds. And that is why I am there. To help the ones that have to play catch up.

Oh, and for the hugs. As I was leaving today a fourth grader came up and gave me a big hug. Life is good.

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