If you have been a reader of my blog you know that I implemented an ABC’s Personal Kanban first in the fall of 2009. However due to circumstances beyond my control (I took a leave of absence due to a family member’s illness) that first try was not seen through the whole year. When I came back into the classroom in the fall of 2010, I knew I wanted to make changes to our original board and implement it again to see through the whole year with my students. And see it through we did. It was a huge success!
This year I took a position within my school that moved me into a new classroom with younger students where I implemented more Personal Kanbans with my new 3-year old students that also became very successful. I was very excited to find out last week that 4 of the Personal Kanbans I have implemented in these two classrooms over the past two years will be included in the curriculum again for next year. This is so exciting because not only will the students benefit but the teachers will as well. I have learned just as much as the students have from implementing these and watching them evolve, it has helped us all to become better educators.
I was thrilled when I found out at the end of last year that the Personal Kanbans I implemented in the 4-5 year old classroom would become a part of the curriculum for the next year. Now that I was no longer in that classroom, I was asked to work closely with the teachers in that room, to help them set it up and continue to monitor and have retrospective meetings throughout the year to track the progress.
We knew we didn’t want to change anything about the set-up of our board, so we kept it basically the same as last year.
This year we took the kaizen moments we had from last year’s Personal Kanban and implemented them right off the bat at the beginning of the students alphabet learning journey.
- We did not put their names on the task cards. Last year we did and then discovered some of the students wanted to write their names in themselves as they were learning to write the letters. So this year from the start of the use of the Personal kanban we did not put their names. This resulted in the students learning to write their name even earlier in the school year.
- Last year the parents were very involved and this proved to be the case again this year. In fact when there were holidays that pushed the ‘normal’ letter learning day off by a day, the parents were asking the teachers if they should make letter task cards up for their children, instead of waiting for them to be sent home from our teachers.
- From the beginning, there was no student apprehension this year. The students were very excited for their first try at ‘homework’ – taking their card home and working on their letters for the next day of class.
- Last year one thing we learned from our retrospect meetings is that if we doubled the amount of example letters we wrote on the task cards the students would then double their amount of letters they practiced. So by the middle of the alphabet this year the teachers doubled the amount of examples on the cards and once again the students followed suit by writing more letters on their cards.
- Last year we also were thrilled when we got to the last four letters of the alphabet on our ABC’s Personal Kanban that the students were not only writing their first names but a few were adding their last names. That was the first year we had ever experienced that. This year the trend not only continued but it showed up even earlier on several student letter task cards. This is a big improvement over last year.
- Last year after implementing the ABC’s Personal Kanban we began to notice during our free playtime at the beginning of each class the students were utilizing the blackboard on a daily basis to practice writing their letters. We knew they were eager for more. So this year the teachers planned on bringing out more alphabet related materials during playtime, we were interested to see if this would be embraced by the students this year. We started to focus on doing this on our letter learning days, and it was so well received that it morphed into being done on each day during free playtime. The whiteboards (one pictured above with a student practicing writing his letters) were a HUGE hit with all the students this year.
Were there as many kaizen moments with the ABC’s Personal Kanban this year as there was last year? I would say no. However there were still kaizen moments throughout the year which will once again help us to evolve the board again for next year to be even better, to help the students become more effective and efficient in their learning of the alphabet. We will take the lessons we’ve learned this year and apply them to the board we set up for next year. One theme from our students that proved true once again this year is that they all want to shine, they all want to do great work, and they all want to share their success with each other. This ABC’s Personal Kanban has proven once again this year to be an excellent catalyst in helping our students to thrive in our pre-k classroom.
Next Post coming up this Wednesday: How my family is using Personal Kanban to help my Dad recover from major surgery.
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Want to know more on Personal Kanban? Visit the Personal Kanban website. I highly recommend purchasing the book: Personal Kanban Mapping Work / Navigating Life by Jim Benson and Tonianne DeMaria Barry.