Using The Daily 5 in Pre-K

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For the coming school year, Pre-K classrooms in Tennessee are going to be evaluated using a new model for certification.  This model includes more intentional teaching of literacy skills, such as “writing around the room” and “reading to self or others” than in previous years.  When I began the Pre-K program in my school system in 2005, writing and paper work were a big “no-no” and I defended my use of pencil and paper when teaching my students to write their name.  I was a Kindergarten teacher in my previous life 🙂 and I knew the importance of being able to write their first name on a paper so I stuck to my guns and kept on writing.  NOW we have (as we always do in education) swung all the way to the other side of the spectrum with teaching children not only to write, but to incorporate the skills of holding a clipboard and pencil, moving about the room orderly, and searching for words to write and share with the class.  We also were not to “teach letters” and I didn’t dare think about teaching children to read!  Don’t get me wrong, I am excited about making some changes in my classroom with these new guidelines, but I am not sure how is the best way to incorporate these measures for at-risk 4 year olds.  I have spent A LOT of time on Pinterest and googling the topic, but still I am having trouble moving forward with a plan that I believe best meets the needs of my students.  So I am looking for advice on what works in your classroom or doesn’t work as the case may be.  How did you set up your classroom?  your work stations?  What do you require from your students during the Daily 5 time?  Do you have Teacher time and what skills do you focus on teaching?  Any help will be appreciated, after all, teachers are the best at sharing their ideas and helping each other figure it out!

How do I make family engagement fun?

MC900331546During the eight years that I have spent in Pre-K, I have seen a marked decline in the level of parental interaction in everything from parent meetings to visiting the classroom.  In the beginning, the state of Tennessee allowed us to make parent-meetings, conferences, and school attendance,  a mandatory requirement for enrollment in our program.  Like many other things that the government handles, the requirements have been watered down to the point that we cannot require anything of the parents today.  I am very committed to providing a level playing field for all students to enter Kindergarten, but I feel that we have lost an essential part of the process.  Forcing parents to attend meetings and participate in conferences were not ideal measures, but we did see the results of that engagement.  I have become so frustrated by the lack of interest that parents show in their child’s first year of school and I want to explore new and creative ways to involve families and help them understand how important they are to their child’s education.

In researching blogs on parent engagement, there are ideas that range from simple communication to putting on a major event.  The Connecticut Education Association has appealed to their Legislature to introduce a bill giving parents 20 hours of earned time in order to participate in their child’s school. “The participation of parents in all activities of the school community sends a strong message to children that school is important and part of the family culture,” said Cohen. “The more parents are involved in their children’s education, the higher the children’s academic achievement.”  For more information on this great proposal, go to http://blogcea.org/2013/03/05/parental-engagement-key/

I also came across a blog that mentioned a book that I have ordered called Do Parents Know They Matter? Raising achievement through parental engagementWritten by, Alma Harris, Kirstie Andrew-Power, and Janet Goodall.  I believe that it will provide new ideas and resources to promote parent engagement in my classroom.  If you would like to read the blog, here is the address.

http://alyshiamarli.wordpress.com/2013/02/28/attention-parents-do-you-know-you-matter-when-it-comes-to-your-childs-academic-success/

My hope is that if I can be successful in my room, then I can share my ideas with my peers and together we can change the climate of parental inaction on a larger scale.  One blogger pointed out that when you get families more engaged in their child’s education, it not only benefits them but that benefit is magnified many times over in the community.

I would love to hear your input and ideas for my passion!

What is the first instance of parent involvement/communication in August for you?

How do you deal with the “eager beavers” that are always in your room?

How do you approach parents that have shown hostility towards you?

What roles do parents play in your center/school?

What methods do you use to communicate with parents?

How do you feel about using social media to communicate with parents?

Is your administration open to new and creative ideas to get parents involved in your school?