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Saturday, May 5, 2012

Lesson Observation in Ecuador

            My teacher is excellent with her lessons. She really proves that less is more. When working with kindergarten children, long, multi-step lessons can be a bit overwhelming. Because of this, my CT has chosen to use mini-lessons with her students. These lessons last about twenty minutes and often involve a mixture of instruction and a whole group game. Her lessons seem so relaxed and the children all seem so engaged. She has them sit in the circle time area while delivering them. One challenge that she faces is having to teach the English language while teaching academic content simultaneously. She plans carefully to fit in both language and content in a way that seems natural rather than forced upon the students.
            During one of my days in the classroom, I observed two of her lessons. The first lesson was about rhyming words. This is a difficult concept for many English Language Learners because they are still gaining phonemic awareness in their second language. My CT made up a story about a monkey’s birthday party. She made flash cards with pictures on them. The pictures were of food and animals/ insects. First, she went over the vocabulary with the students, card by card. Then she began the story. She would say, “The next person to come to the birthday party was the bee. What did the bee bring?” and the children would have to sort through the food cards until they found a rhyming card, such as “tea”. The kids loved this game and really got practice with rhyming as they would say the animal name and then name other foods to try to find a rhyme. This taught the content of rhyming and the vocabulary of the animals and food simultaneously. Most importantly, the children had fun and were so engaged!
            The next lesson I observed was a math lesson. The class was working on math vocabulary such as more than, less than, equal to, etc. The teacher went over some vocabulary words and then the students played a game. Two at a time, two students would come into the center of the circle. Both were given a straw and with the straw, they needed to suck up as many paper stethoscopes as possible and put them into a box without dropping them. (They used stethoscopes because it is one of their vocabulary words, as they are doing a career unit). They had thirty seconds to complete the task. After the thirty seconds was up, the class counted the stethoscopes in each box together, practicing the numbers in English. Then they would discuss who had more, who had less, or if the amounts were equal. Once again, the children were so engaged and had so much fun, all while learning important vocabulary and content. I really would like to start using mini-lessons with fun activities incorporated within them in my P3!


  1. Madison,

    I really enjoyed reading about these lessons in your class! To be honest, the teaching style and class sounded similar to a lesson we would see in our classes in Boston, except that all of these children are English Language Learners as opposed to only maybe a handful in our classes.

    The importance of the children being engaged is such a good one to write about as it should not be understated! I liked the strategies your CT used to engage the children in the rhyming words and in the stethoscope activity (who knew that would be on vocab list for 5 year olds learning English!). I feel like I have heard about how subjects can be taught together and how using a topic to incorporate multiple subjects is good, and it is always cool to hear about/see when a teacher does this smoothly, how she was guiding the activity with the stethoscopes and then incorporated reviewing the numbers in English as well.

  2. I was surprised about stethoscope being on the vocabulary list as well! "Syringe" was on there too believe it or not. Interestingly, the children are able to recall these advanced words. They struggle a bit with the pronunciation, but when the teacher was reading a story about doctors and held up a picture of a syringe, one little boy was able to recall the word from the vocabulary lesson. It is incredible what kindergarteners can learn when they are given effective instruction!


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