Monday, March 26, 2007

Group Reading

Date: 24 March 2007
Children: 9/11 (S and Az absent)
Volunteers: Dh, YJ, K, A & myself

I was suffering from a bout of cold and was sneezing today and hence decided against spreading my germs to the children by the regular story reading session. Instead, we broke up into groups after attendance taking. To make things more interesting, I told the children to "chope" or select their favourite volunteer to see which of the children will flock to which volunteer.

It was interesting to see that the girls went for K and some for A and YJ. At their age of 7-8 the girls preferred female volunteers while the boys were indifferent. After getting the volunteers adn children sorted out into groups, I took on one of the boys R while Dh took on YZ.

As this was the first time that I taught R on a one-to-one basis. I broke the ice with him by getting him to share about where he stayed, which school he went to and who brought him to kidsREAD class every Saturday.

During story reading sessions, R was mostly quiet as he was very shy. I was initially concerned about whether he could follow the class but this session made me realise that his initial non-participating was more due to shyness than any learning disability. I got him started on one of the books, I realised his reading ability was reasonable for a 7 year old and he could generally understand what I was saying.

Some of the girls who were advanced readers raced through 6-7 books with their volunteers! I did not know whether they were bluffing me when they told me they read so many books but I would not be surprised as some of the girls' reading abilities exceeded their age requirement.

We wrapped up the session with hangman and the children are by now very familiar with the concept of vowels and letters. I realised however that some of them still do not know how to tell time and they could be a topic to explore for the younger children.

It was an interesting session although my efficiency was affected somewhat by the cold bug.

Till the next session on 31 March 2007.

Friday, March 16, 2007

I'm Hungry

Date: 10 March 2007
Volunteers: K, YJ, D and Myself
Class: 10/11 (S absent)

The big books were available this week and I read to the children "I'm Hungry" by Judy Ling. This is an interesting book as it allowed me to interact with the children asking them questions about who knows how to cook food, who helps their mothers in the kitchen and about the types of ingredients were mentioned in the book.

Attendance was reasonable given that the March school holidays had started so most of the children were back with the exception of one of them.

For the volunteer attendance, I was again fortunate to have D, YJ, K and myself to do the group reading session. After that, we had 5 minutes of "Simple Simon" game before ending the lesson.

The more I teach at kidsREAD, the more I will miss the children if I cannot make it for any of the sessions. The cute children in my class really grows on me...hahah...

As the teaching advertisements in MOE proclaim, teaching is about moulding lives.

I hope to be a competent potter. There are so many hidden talents in my class.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Spelling Bee

Date: 3 March 2007
Volunteers: K, YJ, A and Myself
Class: 8/11 (C, J, LM absent)

The first drawer of the rickety old steel cabinet storing our kidsREAD books got stuck and hence I was unable to access the large print Judy Ling books for the group reading.

I started the class with spelling as a warm-up activity as some of the children had not arrived yet at 11.30 a.m. We did team-spelling for a while and then went straight into small group reading of 4 groups each. K took the 2 boys (S, R), A taught HL and Z, YJ taught YZ and A while I took S and J. (Sorry, abbreviations are used for the childrens' names as a safety precaution. We wouldn't want strangers turning up at our centre and looking for specific children. As we all know, the net can be dangerous!)

The books used were part of the 48 books identified by NLB as those recommended to be used in the kidsREAD classes. Some titles included, "If You Give a Pig a Pancake" (Laura Numeroff), "That's What Friends Are For" and so on.

The children are improving a bit. Even I could detect a slight improvement in J as she tries to read more words. I would have to be more deliberate in my group reading allocations as I learnt during the kidsREAD training by NLB later on the day about trying to provide some consistency in the children's kidsREAD volunteer so that the environment is less volatile for them. Children who may not have a stable family environment would benefit for having the same volunteers teaching them most days. This would also help in my getting feedback from the tutors about the children's performance periodically. More about the training in another post.