By Kevin Gilmore, National Afterschool Association Next Generation 2017 Award Nominee
I started in afterschool as a participant in Big Brothers, Big Sisters when I was in middle school. By the time I was in high school, I was a co-lead in a K-5th grade after school program in a local church. I’ve always had a passion for working with young people. My first paid job was providing childcare for children in my neighborhood. Eventually, my passion for working with youth combined with my passion for culinary arts. I began teaching nutrition classes to the children in the program. When I was in college, I had the opportunity to serve as a youth leader for students in 4th-7th grades at a local church. We led the youth in arts, crafts, recreation and devotions.
After college, I felt a call on my life to move from Toledo, OH to Columbus, OH where I worked at the YMCA Summer Program. I began volunteering at Vineyard Columbus in the café – serving as the leader for the youth café volunteers. I gained employment with the café where one of my favorite times of the year was working with the summer program staff and their youth. I was offered a position with the Community Center’s after school and summer programs where I have led children in grades K-12 over the past four and a half years. I was asked to direct the high school program and have served in this position since 2015. Continue reading →
A Literacy Night is a great way to show how integrating literacy through physical activity is simple and can improve reading and writing abilities. You can work with classroom teachers, the PTO, and the community to put this event together. Here are a few physical activity ideas to include in the event to support your school’s efforts.
This company called the Alphabet Workout has a number of free and affordable activities that focus on teaching phonics and letters to young children struggling to learn this topic. One great activity to get exercise and improve the basics of reading at the same time is yoga. In this activity, a set of cards with letters on them correspond to different yoga poses. Each card has a picture of a child doing the pose on the front along with a short story about the pose on the back of the card for the teacher to read. Older students can read the story themselves as well as do the poses independently. Learn more about the benefits and how to incorporate yoga into your classroom. Continue reading →
Building strong literacy and language skills is so important. They are what forms the basis for learning in all subjects. With effective instruction and literacy development in early childhood education classrooms, teachers and educators can have a substantial impact on these skills.
With many schools and districts focused on increasing literacy skills right now, we turned to our friends at Steps To Literacy to help us gather the best support tools to help you. Steps to Literacy specializes in curating customized classroom libraries based on reading levels, genres, topics and specific students’ needs. The expertise they have developed from providing thousands of teachers with literacy solutions has led them to develop some exclusive support materials for the classroom. Back in July, S&S brought on a handful of our favorites. We are excited to take a closer look at them below and share with you how you can use them in your classroom. Continue reading →
In this wonderful story about words and reading, a little yellow bird teaches a dog named Rocket the alphabet. Soon he discovers the joy of using letters to make words and reading stories all by himself!
Recommended Ages: Grades 1 – 2
Gather the class on the rug to introduce How Rocket Learned to Read. As a whole class do a picture walk of the story. The teacher can model how to do a picture walk or students can volunteer to say what they notice about the pictures.
During the picture walk, introduce new vocabulary such as marvel and captivated. Write the new words on chart paper.
After the picture walk, read the story to the class.
If you have an extra 15 minutes you can accomplish three things in your classroom:
Calm yourself and your students
Engage them in a story
Become more physically fit
You can accomplish all of this through Storytelling Yoga. It combines two popular yet age old activities; storytelling and yoga. The benefits of both activities alone are incredible, but when combined, you will likely engage more students than you normally would using only one of the two. This appeals to visual learners, audio learners and kinesthetic learners. Continue reading →