Summer school ended yesterday, but I haven't had a chance before to post about it....so here goes!
I was prepared to have 15 students---10 who were 5 or 6 years old and 5 that were 3 to 4 years old. Well, the most I had at any one time was 7 students! And they were 3 to 5 years old. Therefore, I had to revamp my plans....I lowered my academic expectations and worked more on social skills and small/gross motor skills.
I still did my ocean unit, but I focused more on being able to identifying the animal or plant and not memorizing facts about it. With a small group, I was able to take them into the teachers' small office and look the animals up on the computer. By doing this, my students were about to see several pictures of each animal and even videos of walruses wrestling with each other! Those were things that I hadn't planned on showing them and couldn't have shown them as well with a large group of students.
My small class was also able to ride bikes at recess. We had one trike at school and my assistant brought her daughter's 3 bikes. So on days when we only had 3 or 4 kids they got to practice their bike-riding skills. This was very useful for two students in particular. One little boy didn't know how to pedal (he's 3 1/2 and developmentally delayed). And a 4 year old girl had trouble balancing even with a trike. They enjoyed it and improved their motor skills as well.
Another thing that we got to do with a small group was walk to the park near the Ohio River. I had permission from each student's parents to go on "walking field trips". Our little playground (used to be a parking lot) has no equipment other than 2 basketball goals and a funnel ball so going to the park was a real treat. The park has a slide, swings (even 2 for the little guys), monkey bars and teeter-totters not to mention grass to run in and a view of the river. They LOVED it! They played together better down there than anywhere else. Plus, they got to see boats and barges. We saw three barges and three boats in one day! It was a new experience to some of them.
Our local field trips included the library, the post office, the animal shelter and the fire station. I'm glad we got to go to each of them, but the animal shelter and the fire station were my favorites (and the kids' too I think).
The trip to the animal shelter was an adventure! We went to the park right after lunch because it's about 1/4 of the way to the shelter. I had a wagon so the kids could take turns riding, plus we could put our donations in it instead of carrying them. Too bad I forgot to take a picture of what we donated! Anyway the shelter was quite a walk, but we had an air conditioned building waiting for us......or so I thought. We arrive at 12:50 for our 1:00 tour...but the doors are locked and there's a sign saying they'll be back between 1:00 and 2:00! So, hoping they'd be there soon, we go back to a grassy patch behind the shelter to sit in the shade. I call the school's custodian (thank God for cell phones!) to bring us some drinks. We start rolling the ball back and for (we were going to donate it to the dogs). We get drinks and FINALLY Tiffany shows up to give us a tour! It's a no kill shelter I learn....GREAT! Tiffany shows us around. They have a kitchen, a room to bathe the animals, seperate rooms for male and female cats, the kitten room. Then we see where all the dogs are kept. It's a very nice faciility. She lets the kids pet two kittens and a puppy. The puppy was a black and white lab/golden retriever mix. Tiffany told us that he needed a name and that we could name him. The kids voted to name him "Snickers". We didn't make it back to school until 30 minutes before dismissal, but it was fun.
Yesterday for our last day, we went to the fire station. One man who works there has a son in my class. I was just as interested as the kids! I didn't know all the tools they used such as the tool to poke a hole in your roof. It was really neat! The kids got the opportunity to try to pick up a bag of the fireproof gear they wear. I could barely pick it up! I don't see how they can move with it on! The firemen let the kids spray one of the hoses. The summer school math class (1st - 5th graders) went to so I got pics of my nieces with it. Before we left each student got a plastic fire hat, a plastic bag w/ fire prevention tips and a bag of cotton candy.
We ended our summer school with a special guest----Spiderman! My preacher's son Daniel is 24 and has Down Syndrome. I'm good friends with his mom, Mary. She works for the same school district and was my assistant for part of the month. She mention the other day that Daniel has costumes of Batman, Spiderman, etc. And she said he'd dress up for the last day if that was okay with me. I said sure because the boys all love Spiderman. They had a ball! Each of them got a picture taken with him....all except the three year old...he was scared! Poor little guy loves Spiderman, but seeing him in person was too much.
All in all, I'm really pleased with how the month went. I had fun, but I'm glad for the next month off!