Saturday, January 1, 2011

Reflections- December

As I look to planning activities for a new month, I must take time to reflect. Reflection is a very important step in the teaching process. We should not keep trudging along without taking time to stop, look-up and think about what worked, what did not and where we need to go from here.

Let's start on a positive note- What Worked...
This month's Sensory Box was quite a success! Funny how sometimes things just click. It was most likely because of a number of activities and repeated practice but I want to believe it is from this month's Sensory Box. Jacob loved using the round boxes to scoop the split peas and pour them out. He also liked using the spoons to fill in the boxes. I have seen considerable improvement in Jacob's hand-eye coordination when he is eating. I cannot help but think it is from the time he spends scooping in the Sensory Box! This proved to be a huge success but it also tells me it is time to move on to a new skill. He has mastered the skill and although he finds great pleasure playing this way, for Structured Play time we must focus on a new skill. He will have opportunity to practice this skill when he is playing in the sandbox with sand and at bath time with water in the tub. 
Playing with puzzles is a basic activity that I have included as part of our Structured Play time since we began in September. Puzzles are a great way to practice more than just hand-eye coordination skills. They help foster cognitive and logistical skills. Jake seemed confused by the concept of puzzle play. Each day I spent time modeling the skill for him and he would just run off with a piece and drop it somewhere else. Finally this month he was able to start to understand. He can put the pieces in the general location, not in the exact spot necessarily. 
Beyond this accomplishment Jake has also FINALLY started making animal noises. When we practice the puzzles, read books, play with toys I always say the sound an animal makes. Besides a dog bark he has not made a sound, but this month he has started making every animal sound! This tells me a few things, first- he is soaking it all up! Just because he does not respond verbally does not mean he is not learning! We get caught up looking for outward signs that what we are doing is working but sometimes they just are not evident. That does not mean it is not happening! Next, it tells me he is becoming developmentally ready for speech. Making animal noises is one of the first steps in forming words. I am quite excited about the prospect of some more sophisticated vocabulary! :) 

Ok, now for the areas in which need improvement...
Our Story Boards have not been too successful. The way I am using the Story Board is already modified from its intended purpose. I look at it more as an activity to get him ready for future activities. Jacob shows no interest in the Story Board. I want to put more effort forth in this area and facilitate interest and excitement in this activity. 
When we tried beading this month it did not go quite as planned. I purchased larger beads and we will try for more success next month.

I also want to have more plans ready. We do not always get to every activity but I would like more options for days when one or another activity just is not feasible. 

Take some time to reflect on your Structured Play time!

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