Saturday, May 15, 2010

Where Did the Year Go?

I can't believe it is almost time to pack up the room! As I reflect back on the year, there are things I am very pleased with and of course, things I wished I'd done differently!
What is it about educators, we are always striving to do it better next time?

One thing I am most pleased with is the fact that my students had very little "busy" work in workbooks and worksheets that was done this year. Mostly, only the few times I had a substitute teacher and I am ashamed to admit it-a little at the end of the year when they have been so restless! According to our grade level benchmarks, my students' calculation skills are equivolent to the children who do mulitple drill sheets each day. I really loved teaching again this year.

For those things I wish I'd done differently:
*new materials-I used my classroom school funds to order materials that I really thought I needed when school started. Unfortunately, by the time they arrived (after January) my students had "outgrown" them. I was very upset but after reading Paula Lillard Polk's book, Montessori in the Classroom, I believe I can glean some multiple purposes from them. She talks about how her students use of the map puzzles, labeling, and map making helped them build and refine their fine motor skills for writing and learn to read through writing. She also disusses how she used materials Maria designed for much younger children for remedial purposes and for those children who are restless or emotionally drained because they "drop" a developmental level. Even though my students are a year older than the ones she discusses in her book, I often have children who are developmentally delayed or who have "missed" developmental experiences and are lacking in fine motor and/or language development.
those biology and anatomy puzzles will have some life in my classroom after all. I plan to demonstrate tracing and labeling in those first few days, so the children can get started using the puzzles right away.

*reading, Montessori in the classroom before this school year had started. I had several people recommend this book. However, in my undergraduate studies I had purchased a book in which she had written or written the forward. I never got "into" the book, so I resisted purchasing this one. What a difference it could have made, if I had read this over the summer! I plan to post a much more indepth discussion of the book in the next few weeks.

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