"I work with a kindergartner who is very far behind, even much farther than the other students I work with in his class. He is still working on saying the alphabet, writing his name, etc. He also has some trouble with behavior and attention. At first, I was pulling out a group of kindergartners together but he would act out a lot during this time and wouldn't get much done, despite my best efforts. His behavior was also distracting the other students. The teacher and I talked and decided to split the time so that I could work with this student individually. He has never had individualized time before, and instantly I could tell a difference. I discovered right away what a huge problem was - his gears are moving, but not in the more linear thought process like other students and the typical lesson plan. With time just with him I have the freedom to work at his pace and in the order of his thinking. He notices things in the book or worksheet that I wouldn't even think to talk about, and he is constantly moving around, wanting to write letters or words on my whiteboard or point things out on the alphabet chart. I'm glad to provide the space for him to do this, whereas in the classroom he couldn't wander to where his brain takes him all the time. My favorite thing about switching from working with him in a group to individually has been his excitement to learn. In a group and in the classroom he did not seem like this at all. However, after everything he answers or every letter he writes he yells "I did it!!!" Every day I can really see his excitement and learning and I feel like our time together is making a difference. I'm also glad that I noticed this change early in the school year because he is an important reminder for me to put myself in my students' shoes and teach to where they are and how they learn best."
"In our October meeting, Meaghan taught us how to make and facilitate a math game called Kaboom! For my version, I chose to use multiplication facts. I knew my kids needed the practice, but I expected them to hate every second of the game because it was multiplying. I couldn't have been more wrong. The first day I introduced the game, the kids didn't want to stop playing. It was the first time I really saw them enjoy math and working with each other. Since then, I'm asked every day if we can play the game and it has become a great motivator in getting work done so they have time to play. On top of it, I'm watching some kid’s multiplication skills improve significantly, memorizing or finding quicker techniques to come to an answer. The game really changed the dynamic of each of my groups and I don't think I would have the same relationship with my kids if I hadn't brought it in. I'm thankful for Meaghan's help and I'm really proud of all my students' growth."
"I was struggling with a group of five students where three students consistently did not get along and taunted each other. Some of these behaviors occurred outside of our reading group, however, the students are affected by this in group and react by calling each other names. It escalated to the point where the kids where going back and forth and I decided that I needed to find a method to intervene. The next day I had each student write something positive about a particular student and rotated the student we were writing about each day. The student we wrote about would then have the statements to take home. The first day some of the students were resistant to writing and some did not want to read their positive statement they wrote aloud. After the third day, all of the students were beaming and volunteered to read their statement. Throughout the rest of the reading group session, they were cooperative, kind, and the mood had changed."
"The other day I took a couple of students out for tutoring, as usual. It wasn't until we got to my station and sat down that one of my kids tells me it's her birthday. "Well, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!" I exclaimed. She's by far my quietest student, incredibly soft-spoken, but doesn't seem to mind me being loud. I was so excited for her birthday I tried to think fast about what activities I could pull out to make the day special; I settled on reading a book called "Old Bear's Surprise Painting" to them, and promised we could even do a MadLib if we had enough time, but before any of that could happen I wanted them to do the lesson. So we got to work on the day's tutoring lesson, a fun with phonics activity worksheet on combination sounds. I was hoping we could get through it quickly to get to the fun birthday stuff, and wow... I was amazed by how fast they did the worksheet, I felt so proud because both of the students have already shown progress, this was a nice confirmation that they are really learning. When we read the book, I told them I would be reading out loud and might be going kind of fast to tell the story fluently, but I told them they could still read along. I was so impressed by how well they kept up and even flubbing some words, I was really happy with the fluency I was seeing. The last thing was the aforementioned MadLib, as promised. A fun way to review nouns, verbs, adjectives, and other word types, the MadLib had them laughing out loud and was a great way to end the tutoring session. An impromptu reading party for a student's birthday, what could be better?"