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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in self-esteem

Posted by on in Early Childhood

The topic for my last Art, Music and Movement for Young Children class was Emergent Curriculum. I showed a video from Eastern Connecticut State University’s Center for Early Childhood Education showcasing a project on balls. You can watch it here. Emergent Curriculum is a way of teaching through student interests. Suppose a group of toddlers becomes enthralled with the worms on the playground. Teachers will observe the children, take notes, and document which child is especially interested in which aspect of the topic. Pulling books from their library about worms, giving the children magnifiers to spread out and invade the privacy of the playground worms, teachers provide materials and experiences that enable a deep study that accommodates individual learners. In the video’s ball project, the children dissected, compared, and created art with balls. Destroying and creating balls, they learned about physical and dynamic properties of their favorite toy. This project was emergent, because it emerged from a genuine interest from the children.

We also discussed thematic units. These are based on broad subjects, usually about traditional preschool themes such as seasons, community helpers, space, and the ocean. Very young children are often interested in these topics, but with a lock-step approach, teachers pay less attention to individuals who might not be as enamored. When I do a professional development presentation on engaging curriculum, I tell teachers that behavior is better when everyone is engaged. With thematic units, some children are engaged and others aren’t. (Perhaps that is why behavior guidance is such a popular topic on the professional development circuit!) Suppose the theme is farms. Teachers might read about farm animals to the whole group (with the anti-farm contingent touching their neighbors and looking out the window—“behavior problems”). They sing Old MacDonald, color pictures of the traditional 19th and early 20th century farms, and, if they’re lucky, take a field trip to an authentic farm dedicated to school field trips.

What provoked this newest screed of mine is an anecdote from one of my students. She said that her thematic unit is the earth, and that they have to teach the names of the continents. Can you imagine a two and a half year old child who has no abstract thinking, being taught about continents? My class of savvy students turned to ask this young woman: “How do you assess these children? Do they ‘get’ it?” “No, she answered, “but we take a picture of each child pointing to a globe, and send the picture to parents to show that they are learning about continents.” There was a collective groan from the class.

All of this trickery (“Can you say Asia?”) convinces parents that their children are on a fast track to Harvard. Child care has evolved into “school”, as in “What did you do in school today?” Calling child care school is part of the scam. Play, and emergent learning, in these programs, are secondary to elementary school style teaching and learning. As I’ve written before, children play with materials as well as ideas. Play is creative and a part of a child’s authentic learning and thinking. It blows my mind that, against all known best practice, a center is quizzing twos on geography.

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Posted by on in General

not-as-good2.jpg

Why would an educator make a statement like this?

Especially one who proclaims to be positive and has even written a post or two on the subject.

Because I am tired of beating myself up and watching others do the same. We are causing ourselves too much stress by basing our self-worth on best moments. And we are doing the same to our students. And we must stop!

Our goal should be to create highlight reels.

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

sad child

Living in a neglectful home can have devastating effects on a child. The way he is treated, responded to, or ignored provides a strong undercurrent of messages that become part of his identity. He will lack self-confidence, self-esteem, and a basic understanding of himself.

What this child has learned will follow him throughout his life, affecting his relationships with others, his ability to make good choices, and even his capacity to function on a day to day basis.

Furthermore, if he has children of his own, there is a good chance they will be treated as he was, because it is all he knows.

These are the things he has learned so well from those who he expected would love him:

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Posted by on in Movement and Play

Champions in school, champions at life. Respect.

Thank you to our Sensei, master teacher for teaching us never-ending, continual improvement. “Kai Zen!”

Karate classes, taught by Sensei, extraordinary meshing of kids and Instructor.

Listen to the children with me, powering up their spirits with the sound of “Kiai”, sounds like kee-eye. Here we go! Outfits on, belts tied, spirits soaring.

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Posted by on in Social Emotional Learning

good-enough.jpg

She was running late as it was, so there was no way that Jordan was going to be able to do her hair the way she had planned. As it was, there was barely enough time for her to throw her outfit in the dryer to try and get the wrinkles out. Why did Picture Day have to be today?

Quickly, she pulled her hair up in a bun with the first hair tie she could find. It wasn’t the look she had planned on. But at this point, with ten minutes left before she had to be at the bus stop. It would be good enough.

When she got to school it was obvious that most of the girls in her class has spent the entire morning getting ready for their pictures. Jordan wondered if staying up an hour past her bedtime was really worth it. Her mother had made her flash cards to help her study for the math test. But going through them had taken longer than she had thought. At least she would be ready for the test.

She couldn’t believe it! When she stepped into the classroom she noticed that each one of them had an Ipad on their desk. They would be taking the test on the computer today. She could see the excitement on her classmates’ faces. They each had one at home. She didn’t. Maybe this was why they didn’t seem worried about the test.

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