THEN: When I first started teaching, we did a lot of worksheets that came with our reading and math programs. They were VERY boring! Students weren't near as engaged as when I let them do actual hands-on centers, but unfortunately these worksheets or boring whole group lessons were a major part of our day.
NOW: Thankfully things have changed, so we now do alot more small group work and students get more center time. We have now learned that it's important to have more engaging activities for students and let students learn from each other by working in groups. I created my Physical Phonics Word Work activities to give students a chance to work on phonics skills in a fun active way. This student is stomping out the number of sounds he hears in a word.
One of my favorite activities that I've made are my Fluency & Fitness sets. These are a fun way to work on literacy and math skills, yet students are able to get out of their seats while learning. It's also a way to incorporate technology which we know if very important now. Teachers love using these for learning time, transitions, brain breaks, and even indoor recess.
Here's a sneak peek of Fluency & Fitness.
THEN: Speaking of using technology, look at how my old listening center used to be. Those headphones were HUGE and uncomfortable. I'm glad technology has come a long way so students can use iPods and iPads to listen to books now.
NOW: Most schools are incorporating technology now and providing laptops or iPads for students to help them learn better.
THEN: As I was going through old files for this post, I found this old Kindergarten assessment. These were the skills we used to test students on for the year. That was back when we let kids be kids more and not put SO much pressure on them!
NOW: Now Kindergarten students don't just have to be reading, but reading at a level D by the end of the year at our school. I know many students are able to meet these high expectations we set for them, but I do wish we incorporated play more and were able to do more developmentally appropriate activities.