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Posted by on in Early Childhood

 preschool

"Let's start at the very beginning. It's a very good place to start. When we read we begin with A B C...."

Who knew I'd love teaching littles? Not me, that's for sure. 

Preschool KWLW: Here's my learning update, month seven of my what was I thinking in year forty six? Who else in their right mind would start over, at the very beginning. Like how to hold a pencil, how to handle a book with love and repair ripped pages. I think I'm doing pretty well with the goals of the literacy grant, but I'm not working in sequential order like I usually do. I feel so out of sync, then all of a sudden, voila! the pieces come together.

Show and Tell and Circle Time offer time to structure, hold a class meeting for a couple minutes, sing, stretch and say our affirmations. Growth Mindset oozing from every pore of all of us. I lead Circle two days a week. I set and Close and bring puppets, props, a costume, tell stories, you know where I'm going here. Family learning.

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Posted by on in Teaching Strategies

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I love this quote by David Geurin, a Missouri high school principal. Check out David's blog for more progressive and game changing teaching and leading ideas.

Here's another quote I love and wholeheartedly agree with.

"Our job as teachers is not to "prepare" kids for something; our job is to help kids learn to prepare themselves for anything." - A.J. Juliani

What I take away from David and A.J.'s words is that the future is uncertain. The jobs of today will not exist tomorrow, but individuals who will possess the skills to learn anything, be able to reflect, creatively problem solve, take risks, stay persistent, and bring innovative solutions to the marketplace, will indeed be successful, regardless of what the future brings.

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Posted by on in Literacy

Little people learning land: A world of wonder

It's one thing to read and write about literacy, it's another to breathe it. The last time I had a crazy notion in my head I ended up teaching with teachers in over 500 K-12 classrooms. At this stage, it's unfathomable I would dive headfirst into the murky waters of preschool. It's so rewarding but extremely demanding. Good thing I got my little on.

I was blessed to join a staff of two teacher/directors. Their five star preschool qualified for one of the coveted special new grants for early literacy; that's where I come in. Tonight I'm writing from head and heart, sharing highights of my first week in little people learning land. I hope it inspires you, brings a smile, validates what you are doing, maybe a couple tears of joy tossed into the recipe.

Ready to teach- starting year 46

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Posted by on in General

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Back to school anxieties are common and often not addressed. In part I, I spoke about how these anxieties need to be aired and shared so that children’s day to day learning would not be affected.  As many adults do not know how to share their anxiety and fears, children certainly have neither the skills to identify these feelings nor the language and communication abilities to express what is shutting them down. This shut down interferes with their listening and processing skills, and the ability to stay focused. The fears absorb them mentally and emotionally and therefore they will lose substantial incoming information, especially new information. There are ways to help children address their anxieties and manage them. When children learn how to recognize and understand their emotions and feelings, they are able to manage them feeling safer and are more resilient.

My back to school anxieties had to do with the new teacher but more so would I face the same teasing and bullying that happened the year before. Summer had given me a respite for I attended day camp and found a sense of belonging there with my counselors and other children like me. I was lucky to have some physical abilities and so shone in areas that brought me attention and success.

I didn’t sleep for almost a week before school began. In my early years, I couldn’t identify those fears nor understand the hurt and pain I had endured. The thought of telling my parents was unthinkable. There were no discussions about feelings ever. But there was always the hope of a new year and perhaps this one would be different. Day one ended that hope. As I got older, my hope was barely there but my personality always had a way to look on the bright side.

What would have helped me deal with the anxiety and the fears? What skills didn’t I have to be able to understand these feelings and be able to manage them and at least if I couldn’t communicate to my parents about them, I would have the ability to soothe these fears and anxieties and understand more about who I really was and not who my peers projected on me. Those thoughts of fat, ugly and stupid haunted me for years. Thirty years ago at the age of 36. I started exploring self-awareness but it took me to the age of 60 to really understand what skills I was lacking that would truly offer me a different way of being in the world. I discovered that not being emotionally intelligent hampered my ability to manage emotions and stay present. According to Psychology Today, Emotional Intelligence or its shorthand EQ (the emotional version of IQ), is the “ability to identify and manage your own emotions and the emotions of others.” As a child, I didn’t have the necessary skills to calm anxieties, redirect thoughts and persist despite frustration.

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Posted by on in Teaching with Rigor

In late July, I had the opportunity to participate in the AASA digital consortium summer meet up. The consortium visited two superb districts (Leyden High School District 212 and Deerfield Public School District 109) as well as one Titan in its own class (the Chicago office of Google). 

The symposium started with an overview of the Leyden school district. A diverse, blue collar town, Leyden has a little bit of everything to offer. What was most impressive was the fact that Leyden truly understood the necessity to prepare young adults to be adults in the workforce.  Not that they weren't preparing for college prep too, but it's always fantastic to see what schools are doing for the student going into the workforce. 

Tours like this always start with "the nickel tour" (tour of the building),  which was immaculate. The building itself was over 70 years old, but you would never think it. I later found out that the entire maintenance team are non-outsourced employees, which we all know leads to high quality work and investment in work. When I say immaculate, I could have eaten my lunch off of the floor.

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