This week’s Teacher Tuesday is by kindergarten teacher, Erin Webber. She is in her tenth year teaching kindergarten in the Charlotte Mecklenburg School system.
As a kindergarten teacher it is important to observe all students and catch those at risk for falling behind early. I try to stay proactive and help students early on who aren’t able to stay with the pace of the class. I was introduced to Fundanoodle® last year. I began using it in the middle of the school year as supplement to the curriculum I was already using. I was excited to start using it at the beginning of this school year. All of the children were excited to have Max & Alphie® in the classroom. We quickly learned Max & Alphie’s vocabulary and were zipping, zooming and buzzing through writing each letter in the alphabet.
As we moved forward I had a group of children who weren’t quite getting the concept of letters, letter sounds and putting the sounds together to form words. I realized I would need to implement a Response to Intervention (RtI) for a couple of them. Response to Intervention (RtI) is now the intervention process used in schools across the country. The definition according to Wikipedia is:
In education, response to intervention (commonly abbreviated RTI or RtI) is a method of academic intervention used in the United States to provide early, systematic assistance to children who are having difficulty learning. RtI seeks to prevent academic failure through early intervention, frequent progress measurement, and increasingly intensive research-based instructional interventions for children who continue to have difficulty. It is believed that students who do not show a response to effective interventions are likely (or, more likely than students who respond) to have biologically based learning disabilities and to be in need of special education
RtI for me is a documentation of interventions I use to help a child who maybe struggling get back on grade level. I found that Fundanoodle® had several items that were perfect for these couple of students who needed an extra push. The Muscle Mover cards were ideal for one child who needed to be active. I could pull out the first letter of the word I needed to focus on, the child would do the action of the letter and then be able to give me the letter sound and recognize simple cvc (consonant vowel consonant) words beginning in that letter.
I also use the” I Can Pound” activity board. It is just right for those kids who need to use their hands while learning. In small groups or one on one, we use the pounding board to have students recognize letters then write simple words that begin with that letter next to the letter. I also created my own pounding pages using sight words. I have noticed in more than just my kids using RtI methods an increase in sight word recognition. The children also remain on task for longer, thus increasing the rate of learning.
For my students who need to build things, I use the “I Can Build Letters!” I ask the student to build a letter on the magnetic dry-erase board. Once they build it, we use a dry erase pen to write words around that letter. Sometimes the letters are the first letter while other times it is the middle or end letter. For my tactile learners, this is less frustrating than having to write words over and over using paper and pencil.
Overall, I have noticed an increase in letter recognition and number of sight words known. The legibility of my students handwriting has also improved. When assessing my students knowledge I notice them using the Max and Alphie® vocabulary to write letters or the actions for letters from the Muscle Mover cards.