This year I am the luckiest teacher in the world. I get to teach at the best school ever – International School of Morocco, with some of the best, most creative, teachers ever. Each time I walk into someone else’s classroom, I get inspired and we just seem to spiral great teaching ideas off of each other. It’s a wonderful place to teach, and since we are all collaborating, it’s a wonderful place for our kids to learn – a teacher’s dream, right? I have tried and tried to convince the other teachers to create blogs of their own to spotlight and share some of their amazing ideas, but everyone is super busy. Instead, they have each agreed to let me spotlight some of their ideas right here on Raki’s Rad Resources. So, each Friday night, I will be posting an ISM Spotlight.
This week, we are spotlighting Jen Kadiri, our Pre-K teacher. Jen teaches the 3 year old class. She also has spear headed the nursery rhyme project at ISM. Since the majority of our students are not growing up in English speaking households, Mrs. Kadiri realized that this means they are not growing up with those common rhymes and stories, which influence so much of our common English culture. For this reason, she set us up with a nursery rhyme each week and we decided as a school to make it a school wide effort to use the nursery rhyme to explore rhyming, vocabulary, fluency and to build a common culture for our students.
Each morning, before entering the building, our students line up outside. At that time, the entire school - from K3 to 4th grade - finds a steady beat, and we recite the rhyme together. During the day, as we transition from lunch to recess, recess to snack etc., we recite our rhyme. On Monday, we’re shaky, with mainly the teachers reciting. By Wednesday, most of the kids have memorized the words, but the teachers are still reciting. By Friday, the teachers generally don’t have to say anything because the kids are reciting loud and proud (although we still do, simply out of habit). Here is what one of our kindergarteners sounded like last Friday:
In addition to simply memorizing the rhyme, each class works with the rhyme in a way that is appropriate to their grade level. Mrs. Kadiri’s students (the 3 year old class) color pictures of the rhyme characters, order the events with picture cards, create crafts of the rhyme, and pick out the rhyming words. The Kindergarten class picks out rhyming, word family and decodable words, works on some simple vocabulary, finds sight words that they know in a written version, and creates pictures of the rhyme. With the “big kids” – Grades 1 – 4, we are have a weekly poetry sheet. Each day, the kids have a reading comprehension or fluency task to do on their poetry sheet, having to do with the weekly rhyme. On Monday, we increase fluency by reading the rhyme 4 times. On Tuesday, we pick out vocabulary words that are challenging or interesting and find the definition. On Wednesday, we visualize and draw a picture of the rhyme. On Thursday, we make two text connections with the rhyme. On Friday, we come up with three question that we had while reading the rhyme. Feel free to grab this sheet from Google Docs if you want to use it in your class.
How does your school utilize nursery rhymes?
Come back next Friday to find out what the other ISM teachers are up to.