Tuesday! After being here for one week, we were finally getting to do what we had came here to do. Yesterday we met the children in hopes of creating some rapport. For some of us that was an indicator of what to expect for today when we began to roll out our lesson plans. Back in the US, the CAD ( Child Adolescent Development) department has been making a strong push to implement learning stories in the ECE (Early Childhood Education) centers. The idea is to take teacher's observations and personal relationships with the children into account when tracking a student's development and progress. Most ECE teachers are requires to fill out DRDPs (Desired Results Development Profile) which is an assessment tool for teachers to reflect on the learning, development, and progress of all children. Learning stories are different because they allow teachers to include their emotions and do not strip away the individual teacher's perspective of the child. In honor of what I practice with my students back home, I would like to share my first day letter to the children from myself. This letter is similar to the learning story model. I hope you enjoy!
Dear class of 2-03,
I was so excited to meet everyone today. I admit I was nervous, because I had forgotten how to pronounce everyone's name, and I wanted to make a really good impression. I thought about how I could make sure my lesson plan would keep everyone engaged. This was tricky because I did not know you well enough to determine this beforehand. As soon as I stepped into the room, everyone greeted me with smiles, waves, and big hellos. I felt so invited. I grabbed your attention so easily when we sang out opening song. Everyone learned it so fast, I was honestly impressed. We san our good morning song and I reminded everyone what my name and Angie's name were. When I picked up my book and started reading, I noticed how quiet and respectful everyone was being. You were all ready to listen. I wondered how much you would like the story if it was being read in English and translated in mandarin for a period of 15 minutes. I did not want to lose anyone's attention! I was proud to see everyone's curious faces scan the pictures as I read, and saw the understanding displayed when you made the connection before the translation was given. We discussed the story and the meaning behind music and how music means different things for everyone. We had a small discussion with the help of our translator and how music makes us do different things. For example, one classmate shared how he likes to dance while listening to music, while another likes to draw. From that discussion I challenged everyone to play a game. Everyone eagerly stood up to join. The goal of the game was to copy my sounds and dance moves as I added to the chain of events. I was everyone's determination as I began. It was hard to confuse anyone and we had a laugh on rare occasions that someone messed up. Seeing how well everyone could follow directions and how closely you could pay attention, I introduced the final activity known as Musical Masterpiece. I was curious to see how you all would respond to my music selection. When I explained the concept of the activity, I really did not know if everyone understood what we were doing or if everyone was nodding their head because they were just ready to color. Regardless I was confident you would catch on. The first song was from Frozen, "Let It Go". That was a success! Everyone knew the song and began coloring away. I was pictures of snowflakes and pictures of Else herself being drawn on your papers. I called out to the class to share colors and to stay as quiet as possible so everyone could hear the music. Not one did I have to remind you all to keep the noise level down or to share. I saw some of you even standing up and going to other tables to trade colors and quietly returning to your drawings. There were noticeable differences in your drawings when I played Star Wars "Imperial March", Frozen's "Do You Want To Build a Snowman", and "Rock a Bye Baby". I was really excited at how well this activity translated for everyone. I noticed even your primary teachers were smiling at your work. Finally finished with our hours and we took a class picture. Everyone was eager to hold up their interpretations of the music played. We discussed how different everyone's art looked and how this translates over to how different everyone feels all the time. I was so proud of the amount of work and effort everyone put into their drawings. I wanted to keep them, but I knew they would serve as a better reminder of our time together if you were able to display them in your classroom. We learning one more song, the "Thank You", song. I appreciate the time that was given to me out of your school day to share these activities with you all. My goal is to encourage you all to pay closer attention to our differences and how they make us unique. I wish time would go slower so that we could spend more time together, but I'm very excited for everyone to experience all the lesson plans that were developed just for you. I hope you extend the same respect and eagerness to my peers as you have to me. With that, I want to say learn a lot and have fun!
Your friend and teacher,