Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Connecting with Kids

Last night was the second of two nights I set up to casually "catch up" with my students from last year. I have always written a letter to my students over the summer but this year I decided to invite them to "run into me" at the library on one of two Monday nights in July. My purpose was to keep connected with my students. I wanted to hear about their adventures and their lives (first grade teachers do hear it all). I wanted, of course, to hear about their summer reading and writing plans and be a resource for those who might be stuck with what to read. After thinking it through and sending the letters, I started to second guess myself. Was this too much? I didn't want families to feel pressured or to come across over doing things. I would just have to wait and see...

Fortunately, both Mondays were a success. I feel like the 5 families who dropped by appreciated the meeting time. Here is a general sense of what I felt the meeting times provided:

1. Time to reconnect and share summer stories. Not only did I get a chance to hang with the kids but I think the moms enjoyed it too (me too moms)!

2. Time to get some summer homework accomplished (this summer we(Chapman Elementary) are inviting the kids to bring in a picture of themselves reading for the first weeks of school...what a great way to begin talking about reader identity...great idea Franki).

3. Time to talk to my students about what they are reading, listen to what have been their favorite reads and finally...REMIND KIDS THAT THERE IS NO NEED TO RUSH INTO JUST CHAPTER BOOK READING.

This is all I have time for today but I am thinking about how important it is to be able for our primary kids to PICTURE READ even if they can already read words in the text. More about my observations of a student able to read Henry and Mudge but not yet really picture reading! Any thoughts? What is picture reading to you?


Sarah Amick said...

What a wonderful idea to meet them at the library. Do you notify them at the end of the school year or do you send them reminders through the summer?
The picture book thing? I am not sure? Why do they want to move to chapter books so suddenly?

Jen Barney said...

WOW! What a great idea... I send my new students cards telling them how excited I am to meet them, but I love meeting with my old treasures to connect!!!! Thanks for sharing.

katied said...

I sent a letter near the end of June to all my old students at home. I invited them to "bump into me" on two specific evenings in July. I was tickled when some showed up!

On chapter books, I am thinking that it seems like the next logical step for us as teachers and parents...chapter books...they are longer, seem more challenging in terms of level, and they make kids feel like "better/older/grown-up" readers when really they need the supports of picture books. There are picture books that are just as long and even more difficult than some chapter books.
I just think we rush into books without pictures when as readers(especially primary readers) kids use pictures for not only print strategies (reading text) but also comprehension strategies(predicting, inferring,etc.).
I say to my youngest son..."can you stay 4 forever?" because I want him to enjoy every bit of being a kid and I want my readers (especially 1st/2nd) to enjoy every picture book out there!
Thanks for responding and I hope this makes some kind of sense.Katie

Mary Lee said...

Love the "bump into me" at the library! Snagged that one for next summer!

LiteracyTeacher said...

What a super idea. I love the run into me thing and will try it next summer!

LiteracyTeacher said...

You've been tagged for a Teacher Meme at http://mentortexts.blogspot.com/2007/07/teaching-meme.html.


Mary Lee said...

We tagged you, too, so GET BUSY!