A new semester!

Posted: September 15, 2010 in Uncategorized

I have been slacking off with my blog writing, but I do plan to get back into updating this site more frequently. I spent the last two weeks of August in Hawaii with my boyfriend. We stayed with his sister, her husband, and their 4-year-old and 7-year-old son. I was able to learn a little about the Hawaii public education system, and I got the chance to work with both boys on their homework assignments. The 4-year-old (who is in all-dayย  pre-K at the elementary school) brought home worksheets with letters and sight words. His worksheets were dedicated to specific words, such as “two,” “my,” and “that.” After practicing tracing the word, then writing the word without tracing dots, he was required to write the word in an original sentence. Four-year-olds can’t write original sentences, so he would say a sentence with the new sight word, and then an adult would write the sentence, leaving a blank space for him to fill in the word “my.”

I’m not really a fan of those repetitious worksheets. I understand that young children need a lot of practice with writing letters and words so that they receive plenty of orthographic practice, but I feel like the assignments could be switched up a bit. A lot of kids begin to dislike school at a very young age, and I think part of the reason is that there is too much structure. To me, tracing letters, then writing letters, then cutting letters and pasting them onto the sheet, then writing the word in a complete sentence gets to be too predictable. I believe that some consistency is good though, especially when you’re four. Then the four-year-old builds up the confidence to say, I know this drill. I know exactly what to do without even reading the directions (which is great since four-year-olds say things like, “I can’t even read!”).

I spend hours and hours creating my own lesson plans, my own vocabulary study sheets, etc. for my students. I wouldn’t feel right just copying a bunch of worksheets from a book for them. I like to give my assignments a modern twist and add pictures into my Power Points from sites like Fail Blog to help my students understand concepts. By personalizing my plans, I feel like I am really reaching out to the students and attempting to connect with them on a more intimate level. Sure it’s time consuming, but thus is the life ofย  an educator.

So I’m teaching four sections of developmental reading this semester and taking two graduate classes. If things fall into place as I would like them to, I’ll be finished with my master’s degree by the end of the summer! If things don’t quite work out that ideally, then I’ll be finished with my master’s by the end of next fall. Then I can decide whether or not to pursue a doctorate!

By the way, enrollment where I teach is up 10% from last fall. The enrollment surge was even featured by WJZ.

Students Flock to Community Colleges in Balt Co.

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