Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pre-K Student Achievement Best Practices

A Post on Student Achievement Best Practices

By Jane Papenberg, Pre-K Teacher

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A pre-K teacher discusses student achievement best practices in her Title I school.
image courtesy of wpslincoln.org
I am a pre-k teacher in a Title I school.  The school is Westport Academy Elementary, Baltimore, MD I have learned that even at this tender age many children feel beaten down and not smart. To overcome this I work hard to build a climate for these children to feel safe, risk-taking is welcome and "I can do anything," attitude.  We practice, and practice until we get it. We cannot say the words, "I can't" in our classroom.

To accomplish the "I can"  feeling, during the first month of school,  I bake cookies and my para and I write the word can't, on the cookie in icing, for each child.  We read a motivating book about accomplishment, we discuss and practice, I can activities and then we eat the cookie that says "I can't." If the child chooses to eat the cookie the child cannot say the words: I can't,  ever again.  It is reinforced every time someone says the words.

The thing I learned by this activity is that the children take it literally and seriously.  If a new child joins the class, if  another student hears the words, "I can't," the new student is quickly reprimanded by his or her peers.  The student will be told, "You have to try to get help and you have to practice to get it right." I have done this activity 2 years in a row and will continue to, every year.  Never too old to eat a cookie and remember practice is how we get better at whatever is worth accomplishing.

The children leave my classroom confident in their own ability no matter what happens outside of the classroom. The child has a life long skill and knowledge about how to achieve their own dreams and goals.

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