Kindergarten Update

September 1st, 2006

I’ve survived the first week. And the kids all survived as well. The days were all challenging, but when I got home from work everyday and Kevin would ask how my day was my answer always was the same, “It wasn’t as bad as yesterday.” I have an EA (education assistant) in my room all day and she’s extremely helpful. She was a teacher in Kenya before she moved to the States but for some reason she’s unable to get her license here (long story) but it makes her an excellent help in the classroom. She’s also fluent in both Somali and English which makes her a HUGE help with the kids who either can’t speak English or like to pretend they can’t speak English. And now that she found out that Lexi is 7 months and her daughter is only 5 days older than Lexi, she feels we have a lot in common and has started chatting with me on a less professional level, so we are getting to be friends, and we work well together. I love being able to work with someone that I can get along with.

The mini lessons I have been doing this week have been going fairly well. The kids have been rotating through different areas of the room to expore the toys, they are bouncing-off-the-walls excited for the fish and hamster to move into the classroom (two empty cages with the promise of pets is worse than waiting for Christmas), they are doing a great job practing to use different school supplies, pencils, crayons, paper, and scissors have all been a success. We have talked about their “hopes and dreams” (goals for what they want to learn in kindergarten) and they all came up with great answers.

In case you are curious here’s what they said:
Sumeiya wants to learn her ABC’s
Hafsa wants to learn to share
Hanad wants to learn to play with cars (really I think he just wants me to let him play with the cars as soon as possible)
Ahmed wants to learn to share with friends
Sahal wants to write his numbers
Mohamed wants to draw his mom and dad
Zuhaib wants to learn to use markers
Sahur wants to learn to use markers
Keinan wants to learn to read
Sadik wants to learn to write his name
Abdirashid wants to learn English
Sagal wants to learn to read
Abdirahman wants to learn to write his name
Mariama wants to learn to play and share
Khalid wants to learn to share

I was really surprised at their answers. I figured that there would be lots of answers that didn’t make sense or were unobtainable goals (like wanting to learn to fly or something) but the kids came up with these answers all on their own. My plan is to put their goals on paper bricks and then every time they meet a goal (or just learn something new) they can move the brick so they all start stacking up and we can see how big we can build our wall by the end of the school year.

There are still a few key rules that they need to learn. Like raising their hand and waiting to be called on, volume control – their voices have 2 levels Loud or not talking. That’s it. There is no in between. And not pushing in line, while siting next to another person, walking past someone, on the playground, on the bus…they are a pretty reactive group so if anyone even looks at them the wrong way they’re gonna get shoved.

But it’s only been one week. Overall, I think it’s going to be a pretty good year.

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