Monday, August 25, 2008

kindergarten buddies

It was revealed in our school improvement plan survey at the end of the school year that teachers wanted staff development to improve their math instruction. We want our math instruction to be as comfortable a fit as our literacy instruction. When requests like this come in (ground up) our administrators and specialists listen... and respond. As a result our math resource teachers helped organize us and twenty-four teachers formed a focus group to improve our math teaching skills and knowledge. Books were bought. Time was creatively carved so we could have an hour during the work day six times a year to collaborate and discuss the bones of "numeracy." Half our group is working on primary conceptual development and the other half is working on multiplication and division.

How do we do it? One week the primary numeracy group meets and sends their little guys to an upper grade class which is part of the multiplication/division group. We "buddy" the students for 1/2 hour at the end of the school day and dismiss them from this class while their teacher spends that 1/2 hour and 1/2 hour after school dismisses to learn. On another week we swap... older students go to the younger students. Brilliant.Last week our class had our first swap. We partnered a kindergarten student with a third grader. They each drew a portrait of their buddy. Third graders interviewed each kindergarten student and shared what they discovered. Later they swapped portraits. It was a very fast 30 minutes!
Things seen and heard:
K boy: I have flames on my shirt.
3rd boy: Uh, I know. They're cool.
K boy: I have flames and words on my shirt.
3rd boy: I know. I was just about to put the flames here.
K boy: Uh huh...don't forget the words.
3rd boy: Shaking head, eyes looking sideways at his buddy, smiling with no teeth showing.K girl: This is you on a sidewalk.
3rd girl: What am I doing?
K girl: Walking to school. You're going to be late.
3rd girl: That really looks like my outfit today.
K girl: I know. Did you hear me say you're going to be late.

A good time was had by all.

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