Third semester report of 2009/2010

It is May (2010) when I write this report. I am aware that since last January I have not done one of the most important things of my work: writing a report for each semester. I will still try to write a report for the third and fourth semester, based on the reports of each lesson, which – fortunately – I did write.

In January and February 2010, I (mostly) worked with the same groups of children as in the first two semesters. In one group, I made a change. One of the children was not interested at all to work with me, he just wanted to come. I discussed this with his teachers and they recognize this behaviour. They think he is pretty ‘lazy’ in the classroom as well. Furthermore, he is very much distracting one of the other children, who is in fact very interested, but cannot work properly because of the distraction. Before Christmas, with help from the teachers I selected another boy, who only came to school in November – so still very young. At the start, part of the activities are relatively difficult for him – when comparing him to the others in his group.

Whenever children are ill, I try to take other children who have already replaced one of the children before. They adapt more easily and are really able to participate.

During this semester, I talked to the mother of one of the children; she was very interested in what I am doing. She was the only one who reacted to a letter inviting the parents to get in touch with me. We had a very interesting conversation.

One of my groups is not ‘working’. The children are all very loud, not able to concentrate because of their interaction. In one of the sessions in this semester, I had only two of the children; that was a great session! The two of them could really work on the subjects I offered them. What a pity the children don't always interact properly.

The subjects I worked on:

  • Repetition of shapes (session 12): I also introduced 3D shapes (ball, pyramid, cube). We had a lot of discussion about these shapes.

  • My game ‘In and about the house’ (after I came back from Latvia): most of the children in my groups did not play this before.

  • Winter: during my stay in Latvia I had decided to work on the element of Time – in every possible way: parts of the day, months, seasons. I have not prepared enough for a real game, but as it is winter right now, there is a lot of snow, making the lessons very applicable.
    I mainly use association: we talk about winter, what is part of winter, and then I show them pictures asking them ‘does this belong to winter?’ and ‘why?’ (or ‘why not?’).

  • Professions: a game including some 60 pictures of different professions

  • Body parts: I point at a specific part of the body, the children name it

  • Description of a picture: I give one of the children a picture and without saying the word the child has to describe what is on the picture. The others have to ‘guess’ what is on the picture. I also played this game with four groups of 5-6 year old children.

  • Letters: the children asked me to work with letters. They ‘assembled’ their own names, and found the first letters of their class mates.

What I learned:

  • During this semester, I discovered – again – that I plan too many things for a session. This is not a real problem: I drop some of the things or save them for the next session. I never try to push the children.

  • The children like to show off what they already know when there are ‘new’ children present. In that case, I let them explain things.

  • To my surprise, the children do not like the ‘In and about the House’ game like they used to when I played the game last year with many groups.

  • In one particular group doesn't like the house-game at all. After half an hour we stop and go back to the normal classroom. ‘Don't we get a sticker?’ – ‘Well I don't think so, have we worked at all?’ – ‘I still want a sticker!’ She makes a fuss, but doesn't get what she wants!

  • I noticed that when I am not really ‘fit’ – tired (after Latvia) or a bit ill – the children take advantage of this and behave in a differently.

  • The Profession game is not an easy game to play. I had already used the game for an older child, and even he (6 years) found it difficult. The game does offer a lot of funny discussion; there are big differences between what the children know.

  • When describing the pictures, some of the children don’t like it when the other children quickly guess what the picture is. When I explain that it also means that they have given a very good explanation and that in fact it is very good when the right word is found, you can almost ‘hear’ them think. Yes, that’s another way of looking at it.

  • Description of the pictures is difficult for children who are not verbally strong (in Dutch?). These children not only find it difficult to describe a picture, but also to understand what the others decribe.

  • Force the children to make a choice individually: I wrote this here after the second semester. I paid more attention to this subject during this semester and it worked fine.

  • Working on a specific subject with one child when the others do something else, works fine.

  • The ‘troublesome’ group remains the same. The girls in this group are very bright, the boys much less. That is probably one of the problems.

The opinion of the children:

  • Some children very much like to work with letters. Others are not ready yet.

  • The children didn’t like the ‘In and about the House’ game as much as in June 2009.

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