Monday, April 23, 2007

Kumquats and Seasons

Date: 21 April 2007 (Saturday)
Volunteers: YJ, K, A, myself
Children: 6/10 (4 absent: YZ - school, Az, Z, C)

It's nearing the mid-terms and some of the children were unable to make it for the class. I read the book, "The Golden Kumquat Tree" by Anne Smith to the children and it was a book that I could use to talk about the 4 seasons (spring, summer, autumn, winter) as well as some Lunar New Year festivities. The in-coming coordinator MQ remarked that our children are generally well-behaved. :-) I concur with her view and not only are the children in our class generally very well-behaved and obedient, they are also very cute and photogenic. :-)))

Next Saturday will see us taking a break as the National Library Board is organising a kidsREAD volunteers' appreciation event at Geylang East Library and this would be a chance to meet up with fellow kidsREAD volunteers from other centres and locations. I am glad to have attended this session as I thought it would help me relax and let my mind not worry about the speech contest that was happening later. Fortunately, I managed to place 1st in the Table-Topics Contest and I credit kidsREAD volunteering in helping me improve my vocal variety because reading to children requires one to practice varying one's volume, pitch, speed and enunciation.

Will see the class again on 5 May after the May Day holidays.

k is for kidsREAD. :-)

Monday, April 09, 2007

How to Make Pinatas

Date: 7 April 2007
Volunteers: Dh, A, YJ, K, myself
Children: 7/10 (C, Z, A) S withdraw from the program

The class has become smaller with 10 children now instead of 9. Three of the munchkins were absent Z ("got something on" as she was attending the 12.30 pm mathematics tuition class next door), C (chicken pox) and A (did not turn up). The volunteer-student ratio now is very good with 5 volunteers to 10 children. Almost 2:1. Hmmmm... I should start thinking of doing more small-group work with the volunteers and children. :-)

An NIE trainee was with us (Au) who dropped by to film some of our activities during the class. It was related to her NIE project on kidsREAD though I did not have time to ask how about the details of her research except for her to send us a copy of the video.

The feedback from Au was that the class was well-behaved. That was certainly good to hear. :-) Though one or two of the girls are very outspoken and familiar to the point of being highly opinionated about the stories and how the class was conducted. E.g. if there were no games they would pout and comment negatively about the lack of such "fun" activities. Oh well, you cannot please everyone....hahah..

I read with the class as a big group another Judy Ling book on How to Make Pinatas (they are pronounced as "Pin-yah-ta"). Did not take any pictures of the book but it is also an attractive book which can be combined into a craft lesson if time permits. After that, we had small-group reading again this time with me tutoring J one-to-one. She is still not too consistent in her reading and word recognition but I think I found out what some of the problems were. Her eyes are not focussing on the words in a book in sequence and hence sometimes read words that were totally not related to what was in print. I am getting her to track the words using her fingers and for her eyes to track her fingers to the words. Let's see if this works out next week as I will work with her again.

In the meantime, have a great week one and all and mental note to myself to get a 2IC for older class as I will need to build up the capabilities of our talented and warm-hearted volunteers.

K is for kidsREAD!

The Pine and the Willow

Date: 31 March 2007 (Saturday)

This post is 2 weeks after the event so forgive me for not updating the volunteer and children roll-call.

I used back the old format which was reading with/to the whole class using another of Judy Ling's big print and picture books titled, "The Pine and the Willow." The book was about the fates of two trees, the winding willow vs the straight and prideful pine. It tells the story of how the Pine despite being the better looking tree, suffers the fact that one would expect... To be made into furniture while the crooked willow continue to be left in the forest to provide fun and entertainment for people who came upon it.

The story is good for us to teach children on appreciating one's qualities even if one is not "beautiful/handsome" in the conventional sense. I asked the children for their feedback after the story and only slightly less than half enjoyed it. Ah well! :-)

We broke up into small group reading and I took R and J so that I could monitor their progress. R is okay, he is just mainly share and has a slight speech pronunication issue which I believe can be corrected over time as his tongue and palate develops. J on the other hand needs more individualised coaching but I noted some slight improvements after I realise her eyes jump over the words when reading so I need to train her to use her finger to follow the words and train her eye to look at where the fingers are pointing.

A good session as it went smoothly and the sense of satisfaction from teaching kidsREAD never ceases to amaze me. The other development is Az's elder sister asking me to help her in her picture composition. So now I set aside 1/2 an hour after the 1-hour kidsREAD class to coach Az's sister in english homework.

More in the next post.