Thursday, April 16, 2009

becoming an aggressive learner

for the past few months i've been doing curriculum based measurement (CBM) with my kindergarten kiddos. to be honest the only reason i started doing it was because of a grad school assignment, but slowly i got hooked as i watched the kids become invested in their own learning.

CBM really is just measuring a child's learning everyday but giving them the same probe and charting their growth. so every morning my friends and i sit down one on one and i show them 10 flashcards of whatever i've decided they need to work on. i record how well they do and then we play a quick game to help them work on a word or two they didn't get correct. the whole thing takes about five minutes per kid. they've slowly begun to really get into it and pay attention to how many they get right each day.

today i sat down with a little one to go over his words. yesterday he'd gotten all 10 correct so i had a graph to give him showing him his progress. we talked about how when we started with this set of words he could only read six of them, but now he can read all 10. he was beaming. then we settled in to work on some words he has trouble with and he suddenly stopped me and said, "wait a minute, i need to write this down" and he got up, got paper and a pencil and wrote down the words he was struggling with. he took notes. in kindergarten.
he read them to me, pointing to each one to be sure he was right.
then he did it again. "i need to practice" he said.

i just about fell out of my seat. my jaw hung open and i stared at him awhile, wondering where my former student had gone. the one who just guessed random words, scribbled on his papers, and found ways to avoid work. slowly over the course of the year he's turned from a passive learner into an active, engaged, and even aggressive learner.

in getting up to get that paper he took control of his own learning. he knew he wanted to learn the difference between the words 'it' and 'at' and he must have figured out that he learns by writing them down.

i took him to sign the principal's proudboard (a board in the office we can take kids to sign if they do a great job with something- it's up to teacher discretion what they get to sign it for). he was beaming, of course, but the best part was how he showed my principal his graph and said, "look what i learned" and then showed her the words he'd written down and read them to her. he's not proud of himself for being smart- he's proud of himself for his hard work and that it paid off.

i was beaming myself as i lead him out of the office. this is a child whose never been to the office for anything good- he's diagnosed with an emotional disability AND a learning disability and is in his second round of kindergarten. and there he was, trying his heart out. i could dance on the clouds.


Your Teacher said...

Reading this made my eyes water up! You go girl.

jo said...

looks to me like you found a way to change his mindset! awesome!!!

Christel said...