Teach for America at ChildCareGroup: Gillian

December 12, 2011

Hello! My name is Gillian and I am a Teach for America corps member. I was given the exciting opportunity to teach at ChildCareGroup’s Landauer Child Development Center. Here’s what is going on this week…

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Greetings from Room 3!

November was busy here at Landauer! With Thanksgiving and our exciting thematic unit, “Inside and Outside Me”, we have enjoyed each and every day. Highlights from this month have included a series of science experiments to learn more about our bodies. To start, we explored our five senses. We experimented with a variety of different textures, smells, tastes and sounds to see how we can use our senses to touch, taste, smell, hear and see. Another science experiment taught us about germs. We used green glitter paint to show us how germs can be found anywhere, especially our hands! We also learned the importance of washing our hands to protect us from the germs that make us sick! Our latest science experiment taught us about digestion. We experimented with bread, oil and water in ziploc baggies to see how the stomach breaks down the food. Although we all agreed that it was “nasty”, we learned a great deal about how our bodies work each and every day. Science experiments have become one of our favorite things to do at school!

Although every day seems to have wonderful “ah-ha” moments for the kids, one thing was especially powerful for me this month. It happened during a case management meeting where I was able to share with a mother the great successes that her daughter has had this year. For not having been in preschool, this particular 4-year-old, Kaliah, has become a leader in the class and has inspired other students to do the same. One morning I wanted to try out a new assessment for Kaliah during Circle Time. In order to gauge her readiness to read, I wanted to share with the class new vocabulary words and how we can spell them using our sounds from the alphabet. Question after question, Kaliah was answering (and spelling!) every vocabulary word. Mind you, this young girl has not been in preschool for more than 6 weeks. During the activity, I had to work hard to push back the tears because this little girl has worked so hard the last 6 weeks to show me that she is ready and wanting to read on her own.

I think the greatest lesson that I have learned from these young ones is that we can never underestimate their brilliance. Yes, they may do silly things from time to time, but also work so hard to learn academic and life skills that seem effortless to us as adults. I have found that my students have relished their mastery of our “brain games” and have found great pride in teaching their friends who may not have all the skills just yet. Furthermore, many students are learning two languages at the same time! Talk about hard work! Despite such challenges, my students have completely exceeded my already high expectations as a teacher. Each day brings me great joy to set even higher expectations together as a class and indulge in the wonderful world of learning.

Needless to say, I am infinitely thankful for the opportunity to be a teacher for ChildCareGroup at Landauer. My outstanding co-teacher, Ms. Maria, and my 17 exceptionally bright 3-5 year-olds have become family to me. As a family, we are committed to learning, loving, and laughing as we explore the world around us. I feel incredibly blessed to be part of this family and I know that the best has yet to come!

From all the scholars in Room 3, we wish you very happy holidays!


Teach for America at ChildCareGroup: Emily

November 30, 2011

Hello! My name is Emily and I am a Teach for America corps member. I was given the exciting opportunity to teach at ChildCareGroup’s MLK Center. Here’s what is going on this week…

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From the 4 months I’ve been in the classroom I’ve learned so much it’s hard to condense everything into one short paragraph.

With the start of the new school year, I think the most critical piece of advice I have for new teachers is to practice routines. The kids in my classroom have practiced over and over again (and still practice) how to transition into centers, how to transition into math and literacy activities, how to sit at carpet time, how to brush their teeth, how to sit and interact at the table during lunchtime, etc. The routines, more specifically practicing them, are vital to make a classroom run smoothly (and give children familiarity so that they are able to successfully learn).

When the children finally get into the habit of following routines I feel so proud! One of my goals is to teach kids the importance of independence and when I finally see them able to take charge of routines and transfer the responsibility to them, I know they’ve mastered it!

Emily with students at the ChildCareGroup MLK Child Development Center.


Teach for America at ChildCareGroup: Jessi

November 10, 2011

Hello! My name is Jessi and I am a Teach for America corps member. I was given the exciting opportunity to teach at ChildCareGroup’s Landauer Center. Here’s what is going on this week…

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“At this point the school year feels like a whirlwind of activity and learning, I truly cannot believe it’s already November and Thanksgiving is just around the corner! I guess I should have known, since this week “Jingle Bells” became a favorite song to sing around the lunch tables in Classroom 5 at Landauer! I’m not sure who started singing it, but all week long I’ve been laughing and thinking “silly kids, Christmas isn’t even close” …when actually, it is! This is just one way my 19 adorable pre-k students keep me on track every day.

As a new teacher, I keep myself awake at night wondering how I can make sure the children are all learning and having fun in my classroom, and every once in a while, they reaffirm that all my planning and preparation isn’t in vain.

This week had several high points. One little girl came up to me in the afternoon to show me that she found a lot of exclamation points (a topic we covered earlier that day) in the book she was “reading.” Another day during free time, I stopped to look around and noticed all of my students gravitating toward the carpet. One student was nominated to be “Ms. Jessi”, and they began to recreate our daily activities of songs, calendar, reading, writing stories and acting out our favorite books. These were just two simple ways my students reaffirmed that they are learning. I love it!”

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Jessi with Cindy, her co-teacher, and class at ChildCareGroup’s Landauer Child Development Center.