After missing a last week, today I was back working with the first graders. These are lovely sweet children. But as I said before, they are not as advanced as students we've had before. The pencils are held wrong; many don't know their letters/sounds or numbers; many tune out all directions. We have some big time work ahead of us this year.
I worked with them on math. They were to color in blocks to show an equation. For example, they were to color 4 blocks red, then 2 blocks green. And the equation would be 4 + 2 = 6. Then you switched the addends and had 2 + 4 = 6. Well, that was our dream. We had 3+3 = 6, 4+3=9 and it was downhill from there. Some became so wrapped up in coloring that the equations never were filled in.
One thing I do with the children is listen to them read. Good, bad, indifferent readers, all children need the chance to read to an adult. They like to have the one on one attention. This went better than the math did.
My favorite thing to do with the children is to read a story to them. Ms. H picks the storybook to go with the time of year, units they are doing, or just plain fun reads. Today I read Apples to Oregon by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by Nancy Carpenter. (I would link Carpenter, but I can't find a good website for her.) This story is based on fact, and is funny. A pioneer family brings fruit tree seedlings to Oregon, we have all the trials and tribulations of keeping the plants alive. I do all the voices and explain words they might not understand (prairie schooner, Gravenstein).
This volunteer job is very tiring physcially. Lots of bending over very short desks, lots of walking from student to student, even sitting in the very low chairs is a challenge at my age. But I do it and I love it. First Graders are the best.