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Kindergarten Kraze

December 21, 2012

kindergarten kraze

By Fidgi Simeon, Corps Member Proudly Serving on the Entergy team at Samuel J. Green Charter School

Buggers, “accidents”, naptime, are some of the things that come to mind when I tell people that I am serving in a  Kindergarten classroom. “Oh you must have a lot of patience,” they say. I think it’s funny that they say that because all of these are minor concerns to the daily challenges that take place in the Xavier 2 kindergarten homeroom. Working for Kindergarten, I have learned that this is a special time in a student’s life to embark on a journey towards becoming a scholar. Students learn how to read, learn, write, memorize, socialize with their peers, and follow directions. Kindergarten maps out the rest of their eight years towards fundamental learning.

As a tier two and tier one interventionist, I am set with goals each trimester to lead my students towards mastery. This far into the year, I have learned about and administered exams such as the Developing Skills Checklist, Fountas & Pinnell benchmarks, DiBels, and FirstLine interim exams.  These data points are essential in helping all of my scholars achieve the Samuel J Green Charter School mission —  preparing 100% of students for college, careers, and a successful life.

The real challenge with my grade is getting the students off to the right track to meet this lofty goal.  Through frequent conversations with my teacher, I have learned that the key to achieving the mission is to get students to have a strong “leaving level.” Students that start with a level of AA will complete the year with a projected level of F, which is 1.5 years above grade levels. Aiming towards these goals on a daily basis, I take two and a half hours out of the day to work with small groups to master phonics, spelling and word study.

To be honest, I would have never thought that I could be on my way towards reaching these inconceivable goals. Prior to the school year, students took an entrance exam and only 6 students in the class had reached grade level. During the first trimester, I had to be trained in SRA and get the hang of the scripted intervention model and master a strong delivery for my students. In the meantime I saw students struggle to memorize alphabets, recognize sounds, rhyme words and, for some, write their first names legibly, even after months of repetition.   Seeing little progress during the first semester was very discouraging at first. I began to doubt myself, my abilities, my lack of credentials and past experience in the educational field.

Now that it is the second trimester though, students have scored an average of 80% in English Language Arts. With our accomplishments showing, my team sees that there is more work that needs to be done.  For example, as each day goes by, my teacher and I are hoping that the students will see the transformation of letters and sounds turning into words, and then eventually these words will create stories for them that share ideas, and facts.  I take it one day at a time, and it is a joy to see the small steps that the little ones make.  Now that I am halfway into my City Year, I am getting into the groove of service, and feel that I am definitely helping my students on the way to meeting the Green mission.

 

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