Today I started my second round of assessments for Fast Track Phonics which required the use of my lovely TV and educational DVD's. I really hate putting the kids in front of a video, but if I need to assess, it's hard to have them doing stations or playing because that makes for a lot of interruptions and a less than quiet room. I was able to get a good amount of assessing done, just in time for my first batch of conferences tomorrow. We are going on our first field trip to a pumpkin patch about 40 minutes away. I am not quite sure why we have to go that far on the bus when there are patches closer to the school, but I guess it's quite a fun place with a boat ride and other fun features. I have a lot of parent volunteers which is great! Each parent will only have 2 kids and I don't have to have a group, so I can be free to take pictures and circulate to make sure everything is going okay. It should be an interesting day given that my PM class has to come in the morning and all of my kiddos will have a longer than normal day. Fortunately most of the parents are taking their kids home/picking them up at 12:45 when we get back so I will only have about 12 for the remainder of the day. Also, fortunately many of those kiddos are ones that I need to spend some time assessing so that works out well. All the kids except for one turned in their permission slips and despite calls home, verbal reminders, and extra permission slips sent home, I have yet to receive one for this child. The rule is that no permission slip means no field trip, but I would be so sad if this little boy could not come (because I feel that his parent is being irresponsible and not him). I sent him home today with a permission slip safety pinned to his shirt because he doesn't bring a backpack on most days. Hopefully the message will be received at home and he will be pumpkin picking with us tomorrow!
My doctoral courses are sparking lots of ideas relating to instruction/activities that are culturally appropriate. One of the activities we do each week is one page that goes into the children's alphabet books. These are crafty type activities where each child makes the same thing. We are always rushed to get it done and I feel like the end products are less than stellar since many kids have to leave in the middle for ELD. I have been toying with the idea of just sending home the page and having families create their own (kind of like what they did for their personal alphabet). They could choose something meaningful that starts with each letter so that their alphabet book at the end of the year would really be meaningful to them. I could see that concept going one of two ways. I would hope that the pages would be creative and show time and effort, yet I worry that for some kiddos, especially those who don't have access to school materials at home, it would turn into them just not making the book.
I had a really great turnout for the personal alphabets, yet if I really examined which kids returned theirs, it was mostly the white kids. I am really trying to think of activities that sparks interest for my culturally diverse students as well. It is so hard to infuse creative ideas when I am so crunched for time. I hate to just send things home for families to do, but maybe that is a great way to get families more involved? Thoughts?