The topic of Week 4 of the #dcsdblogs challenge was Tips and Tricks. It was meant to be written April 23-29 and here I am on May 6th. Happy Derby Day!
Honestly, I’m not sure I have a lot of tips or any tricks but I’ve been thinking about expectations. I vaguely remember a Lower School divisional meeting in the fall where I confirmed that Kindergarten Declamation would be on May 9th, largely because it had been the year before. And I wrote down in my plan book that we would have 3 weeks after Spring Break to finalize everything. At that moment, when I felt completely overwhelmed by everything at school, everything at Holm Construction and everything at home, that seemed like the right amount of preparation.
Then April rolled around and as you know, that’s the month before May. The students had been working on the Lucy Caulkins Persuasive Writing bend. They had come up with some ways they, as writers, could make the world a better place. Their first drafts were by far the best writing they’d done. Longer sentences, lots of inventive spelling, even more using resources around the room. All of their writing related to their topic and they really cared about their issue. So it was an easy decision to include this writing into Declamation.
They edited, rewrote and illustrated their writing and have practiced reading it out loud countless times. They are getting more fluent and some of their stage voices are impressive!
We’ve been singing every day as part of Morning Meeting and I’ve been impressed with how quickly they learn the words through a combination of repetition, tempo and enjoyment! Since we were celebrating Earth Day, I found a great Jane Yolen poem and the kids learned it quickly. They drew and painted their own interpretations of the earth and made some awesome paper plate faces. I mounted these on paint sticks and they are perfect props!
Lastly, we’re reviving our version of I’m a Bucket Filler because there’s never a bad time to remember to be a bucket filler. They remember all the movements from when they performed at Thanksgiving
Despite my not understanding exactly what Declamation means for kindergarteners, I am beyond proud of what they have already accomplished. They are rising to the high standards I may have naively placed before them and they are going to wow the audience on Tuesday. So my #dcsdblogs tip for Week 4 is Believe in your students and Maintain your high expectations, even when doubt creeps in. They’ll amaze you. And hopefully themselves!