#carryCuriosity

“imagine a world…

… where each word,

each thought,

each turn of a page in a book

is the beginning of a bigger idea.”

(Rob Gonsalves)

People often ask where ideas come from. For me, it’s not a single place but a collection of impressions that come together and merge, sometimes forming and becoming visible, while other times dissolving as if never imagined.

The idea for #carryCuriosity started when I was reading Angela Stockman’s ‘Make Writing’ and Lynda Barry’s ‘Syllabus’ at the same time. I flipped back and forth between these two books marveling. I wondered, what would happen if these two books had a baby? A text and tweet later, I was committed to following my initial curiosity with two creative sidekicks, Meghan Morden and Angela Stockman, who had immediately expressed interest in playing along.

So what exactly is #carryCuriosity?

It’s a place to contemplate what makes you curious and make it visible via a composition notebook and a collection of Post-it notes, with room to grow.

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The seed has been thrown to the wind and is now on its collective journey.  It will travel between authors, artists, makers, and curiosity seekers.  Each time the package rests in a place, those near to it will be invited to add pieces of their curiosity and their knowing. With each new person it visits, it will become something new and different. We don’t yet know what it will look like but we believe that it will be a place of collaboration and wondering and a source of inspiration for all who contribute to it.

Curious? We are!

Check out #carryCuriosity on Twitter for glimpses of what happens when curiosity travels and makes itself known and visible.

Interested? Tweet us and we’ll tell you more about how you can join and help this idea grow.

Looking forward to wondering and making with you.

Cheers!

Heather and Meghan

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~Brene Brown, Rising Strong

 

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Messing About: Teachers as Learners

Each Friday afternoon our staff has the luxury of coming together and looking closely at learning.

On this particular Friday, we were gifted with time set aside to shift from acting as teachers to becoming the learner.  We planned to spend some time with unscripted materials exploring or “messing about”, as David Hawkins termed it. It was our first opportunity to formally introduce and develop norms for our newly created K-4 Maker Space.

Our inspiration was the “Rubik’s Cube: A Question waiting to be answered…”  video, challenging us with the idea that the right question needs to be found by the right person, for innovation and creativity to take flight. Using the RIG process (Rapid Idea Generation) my team partner Jaime and I had learned in ShiftLab, we challenged our colleagues to think about what ‘their’ question might be and design a prototype answer using cardboard.

We were blown away by the passion and engagement this simple invitation resulted in.  Within the 15 minutes provided, all of our colleagues identified an authentic problem, collaborated and built a prototype, and ultimately shifted  from knowing the answers to living in a place of the unknown.

Thank you to my colleagues and friends, for taking risks and agreeing to share their learning here:

Grade 2 Team: In response to yogurt covered hands they came up with the question, “How can we more efficiently sort the recyclables The Green Team collects weekly?” Their prototype had slots just the right size and after iterating, they thought about adding an electric reinforcement component such as an Easy Button from Staples.

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Grade 3 Team: “Coming up with a question for our task was hard for our group. At first, we were sharing ideas with one another but none of them seemed interesting enough. We couldn’t narrow it down. Until one of our group members was having a sweet craving and asked for candy from another person in our group. Then came an idea “how about a dispensing machine?” That was it! Our specific question came later: “where is the candy?” Essentially, our purpose was to build a machine that would house our sweet treats in the staffroom.

We all set off to do our work and the energy of the group intensified. Each member set off on their own journey either delegating jobs, gathering the much needed supplies, preparing tape or creating the frame for our dispensing machine. During the building process there were times that the overall vision may have been muddy and there were a few check ins and consensus on the final prototype vision. Our prototype may have been easier as we were essentially re-creating a model that has already been made and we have seen many times. During this process there were opportunities where we faced some hurdles and required the whole group to problem solve and provide input. This task raced by and the group had a sense of urgency as we were timed but because we had to share we wanted to make sure that it was prototype that we would be proud of sharing.”            -Lori Bonanno

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Grade 1 Team: This group of teachers brought a genuine problem directly from their classrooms.  Many of their students are not yet tall enough to reach the soap dispenser in the bathrooms. They created a prototype stool and then thought about how they could make it sturdier by modifying the direction of the interior supports.

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The Grade 4 Team: This group of teachers brought their personal love of math to the challenge.  They wanted to create a representation to explore authentic examples of patterns.  Their prototype included a clock and a pendulum to express how time is a pattern.

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As you can see, a lot can be accomplished when given 15 minutes to play, create, and think with your hands!

We invite other professional learning communities to try a similar challenge and share your learning. Or, join myself and my team partner Jaime Hatchette at Innovate West to join in the fun during our “Permission to Play” session.

Once you get a taste of purposeful play, you’ll never go back!!!

 

Thinking with our hands…

In Kindergarten we know we learn best through play and co-constructed learning! After participating in the pilot year of ShiftLab at Telus Spark, we were given an opportunity to extend creative play by creating a K-4 Maker Space in our Learning Commons.

With the global #cardboardchallenge warming up in September, we decided this would be a great entry point.  Cardboard is readily available, free, and creating with cardboard would help us develop important fine motor skills we had already identified our Kindergarten students needed to learn and practice.

We began by participating in International Dot Day.  We read aloud “The Dot” by Peter Reynolds and invited students to create their own cardboard dot to make their individual mark to be included in our Maker Space.  Drawing a closed circle and using scissors to cut cardboard proved to be a challenge for many of our 4 to 6 year old students.  We learned to persevere and that sometimes our learning would be hard but we needed to keep trying!

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Each student added their constructed dot to our collaborative free standing sculpture by cutting a slit along one side. It was tricky to cut a slit just the right size and required some rethinking, feedback, and patience to keep trying. The same was true about balancing the dot. The idea of how to balance a structure was important to consider before each student chose where they would attempt to add their piece. Often the sculpture collapsed and we had to restart the installation process! Through this activity our students learned the power of working collaboratively and how when we work as a team, we are all better!

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After reflecting on how challenging cutting cardboard with scissors was for our Kindergarten students, we decided to take a step back and think about the skills they would need to create with cardboard.  We brainstormed everything we thought we could do with cardboard with our students and then experimented.  Rolling, ripping, punching holes and joining pieces of cardboard became a loud exploration of how to use our hand muscles and partners, to manipulate cardboard to do what we wanted.

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Our next planned step is to introduce the design thinking process to our Kindergarten students and the #cardboardchallenge to the rest of our school.  Our Kindergarten Teaching Team is excited to present to our colleagues this week and can not wait to see where more voices will lead our Maker Space vision and roll out!

Are you participating in the #cardboardchallenge or designing a school Makerspace? We would love to hear how you are using creative play in your environment!  How are you inviting your students to “think with their hands”? Which invitations to play have been successful for you?

Where the Wild Things are…

When we decided as a family to tour Vancouver Island and ditch our trailer for a tent, most of our family and friends smirked and responded with a “good luck!” or “WHY would you do that?”.  I have to admit that their apprehension did trigger some of my own worries.  We had not tented since having kids and I wasn’t sure if my memories of the ‘good old days’ would live up to the same experience with three children. 

It turns out tenting our way across Vancouver Island was not like I remembered; it was BETTER.

As we fell out of the van for our first family hike, my daughter slapped away the insects and decided she’d rather stay in the vehicle.  My eldest son was more interested in taking selfies to post on Instagram.  And, my youngest was so entranced by the first log he saw it was hard to get him to walk at all. It was at that moment I knew why this family trip was SO important.  My kids had lost touch with nature.  They were so used to being inside and running here and there with frantic sports schedules, they NEEDED this trip!

On our way home Rob Ridley’s post asked a question which I thought was a great opportunity to reflect on our summer adventure:

“Go ahead, ask your kids – what do they feel every kid should experience outdoors by a certain age? Let me know!”

I asked my family what they thought and here are their thoughts after touring Vancouver Island for three weeks:

Jackson (12 years old):

“I think kids should climb really big rocks. They should skip and chuck rocks in different places too.  I think going to places you have never been is important.  Kids should try new things WITHOUT adults. I liked being able to sea kayak in my own kayak and be far away from the group.”

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Kaylee (9 years old):

“I liked feeling the different kinds of sand.  It was different at each beach.  The ocean sand is different than our beach sand.  I thought kayaking was good because I could relax and get close to nature to see new things.  Every kid should have a chance to climb to the top of a mountain, set up a tent, and eat a s’more they made over the campfire!”

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Luke – 2 years old

While Luke does talk a lot, he wasn’t able to answer this with his words.  So as a family we thought about what we noticed, and let his actions summarize his feelings:

  • Kids should be able to jump in every puddle they see. 
  • Dig big holes.  
  • Build and smash sand castles.
  • Climb up things and jump down, again and again and again.
  • Flip over rocks to see what’s underneath.
  • Learn to watch, not squish, living things. (Thank you to the Banana and Licorice slugs of British Columbia for their patience with this last experiential lesson!)

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At the end of our trip my daughter was the one who said camping was a ‘must do’ for ALL kids; YES!  My son let his phone die and didn’t bother recharging. And, well the two year old is still hard to take on a walk but I was the one who learned that sitting still in a place might be more important than the walk sometimes.  It’s amazing what nature will bring to you when you sink in and just let it surround you!

I could not be happier we took this chance.  Was I afraid; yes.  Did I think we might fail?  YES!  But we didn’t.  I guess that is my biggest takeaway:  We can always say “No but…” when new ideas or opportunities come our way.  But if we have the courage to say “What if…” and take the leap, THAT is when MAGIC happens!

What have you been thinking about trying in your life?  Maybe it’s time to take that leap of faith….

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Twitter is a tool, not an outcome!

Can 4, 5, and 6 year old children model positive digital citizenship? You bet they can!  Our Kindergarten students are proving that they understand social media and how important it is to responsibly use technology as a tool to make our learning visible and connect with others.  As one of the first CBE Kindergarten classes to use Twitter, we hope to share the lessons we have learned and invite more learners to join us on our journey!

This is our first year using Twitter as a pathway for making our thinking visible.  Here are some examples of how we use Twitter as a tool to support our learning.  You can click on smaller photos to enlarge them.

Learning outcomes within our daily play are made visible for all to see.

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Students identify and reflect on their ‘best work’ to share with their family members.

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We connect with experts to help us answer our questions and extend our learning.

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Twitter helps us stay connected with our learning community, even when we are not at school!

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Questions our followers ask, lead us to learn and think about things in different ways.

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Through Twitter we are learning how to be responsible digital citizens. 

  • Teachers manage and maintain the account, after permission to use Twitter is granted from school administration.
  • We choose ‘strong’ passwords and change them regularly.
  • Our Kindergarten Twitter account has no identifying location or school name to protect student’s identities.
  • We talk daily with students about ensuring no faces are in our tweets; we show the students how to crop/blur/paste a digital sticker on faces to protect our identity.
  • We do not post any student names; we use initials or student ‘identity hashtags’ to signal the author(s).
  • We discuss the content of our tweets daily.  We ask students to consider: Why is this important? What is your message? What is the purpose of your tweet?

While some of our ideas can be shared using 140 characters or a simple picture, sometimes we need to use other apps with Twitter to make our thinking visible.  We use different creation/capture apps on our iPads to compose our tweets.  Click on the following apps to see examples from our @wander4wonder1 Twitter feed:

PicCollage / Audioboo+Skitch / Vine

If you are interested in learning more about Twitter Cybraryman is a great place to start!

To ‘see’ how Kindergarten teachers across North America are using the apps mentioned above in their classrooms, here are some links to get you started:

PicCollage – Tracy Pickard

Audioboo – Jaime Hatchette and Heather Mckay (hosted on Steve Clark’s blog)

Skitch – Matt Gomez

Vine – Laurel Fynes

As we continue to use social media tools such as Twitter to learn and connect, we are teaching our Kindergarten students to create positive digital footprints.  We would love to hear about how you use technology as a tool and teach digital citizenship in your context! Let’s build our learning tool kits together…

How Do I Look Closely and Make It Visible?

This year we are using the idea of “Looking Closely” to inspire our work in Kindergarten.  We are posting our learning in a couple of different places for different audiences.

We post daily on our classroom Wonder Blog for parents to participate in our learning, and as a way to make our thinking visible.  We began looking closely at “What do we treasure?” and are excited to construct further inquires with the students as the year progresses.

Inspired by Frank Serafini’s Looking Closely book series, I created a collaborative “Looking Closely” blog to share the wonder and excitement of learning on a global scale.  It has been an amazing experience to connect and collaborate with educators and students worldwide.  I blog about how the project is unfolding in our classroom on our Collaborative Looking Closely Blog.

Some people have asked why I take the time to blog.  I am finding that blogging has become my tool for reflection.  It is the window through which I make my own thinking visible.  When blogging I have to critically look at my student’s learning and my own teaching practice, to better understand and move our learning forward. Each time I sit down to write I discover more “aha’s” and uncover new ideas to play with. It is a journey and sometimes (often) I make mistakes, but in the end, I am certain it helps me to be a better educator who continues to grow and LOVE what I do!

The Coll-APP-orative: Connecting and Collaborating Through Apps

With this post, I hope to share with you the power of my PLN (Professional Learning Network)!  It began with Sergio Pascucci (@sergepascucci) inviting a group of educators to choose an app to review and share.  Since it was early in the school year, I wasn’t yet sure what our kindergarten students would gravitate towards, but I did know that I wanted to highlight how an iPad can support learning in creative and powerful ways.

When I first started using iPads in my kindergarten class I relied on drill/practice apps.  As I become more comfortable using technology as a tool for learning, and in teaching through an inquiry and play-based approach, I have changed the types of apps I load onto my class iPads.  No longer are the iPads a set station with particular apps “assigned” for students to complete a sequence of learning activities.  Instead, iPads are learning tools students use as one of their many languages to share their learning and understandings.

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This year we are using the lens of “Looking Closely” to deepen our learning.  I knew that if we were to integrate Book Creator as an authentic choice, we needed to find a way to show students how it would help them “Look Closely”.  As with any learning experience there are phases of learning. Below is my journey using Book Creator with half-day Kindergarten students.

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App:  Book Creator

Cost: The free version allows you to create one book. The paid version allows you create unlimited books. There is special pricing available for schools.

Features:  The Book Creator app allows you to choose from 3 book formats (landscape, portrait, square).  You can easily insert and customize book pages i.e. insert text, use pen feature to add pictures/writing, add photos/videos from your camera roll or take within the app, and insert sounds (which can be hidden as magic buttons or displayed as sound icons). Books can be shared by email, printing a hard copy, sending it to iTunes,  or opening it in iBooks.

Possibilities: As a newbie I know I am just touching the surface but here is how we have used or plan to use Book Creator:

  • Making Thinking Visible: As part of our Treasure Inquiry, each day a different student brings a hand picked treasure from home as the muse for our critical thinking conversations and writing.  We take photos using our iPads and use PicCollage to create our images.   I preset the page layout in our class book and we insert the PicCollages after the student has presented. Students record their voices sharing what they see, what their treasure makes them think of (analogies), and what they wonder. We plan on finishing our Inquiry in December and will be publishing our book for families to enjoy and share at home, as well as including hard and digital copies in our classroom library.
  • Digital Portfolios:  It was during our experimenting phase that I realized the students were asking us to take a lot of photos of their work during centers.  It seemed a natural progression to hand students the iPad and ask them to take their own photos/videos.  We set up a personal Book Creator book for each student, which we are calling “Kindergarten Learning Stories”, to record what is important to them.  In essence it is a portfolio of the learning that is uncovered during student’s daily play.  The students insert photos/videos of their choosing and add their voice explaining their work.  Afterwards, the teacher(s) add typed text pulling out the curricular components and commenting on the learning observed. Book Creator’s recent update allowing users to draw/write directly onto the pages also enables development of fine motor skills (drawing and printing) to be captured within student learning stories.
  • Connect and Collaborate: As part of our global #LookingClosely collaboration we are beginning the process of creating a collaborative book series inspired by Frank Serafini’s books.  The initial plan is for participating teachers to create 1 to 2 pages about “How do we Learn?” as a way to introduce ourselves to each other. From there we are creating topics and collaborations together.  Interested in joining? I invite you to “Look Closer” and learn more here!

Recommendation: BUY IT!  As you learn how to use the Book Creator app you will have access to phenomenal support through the developers website or their Twitter account.  The potential to create and share books in an easy manner is worth the money. The promise of creating your own classroom library authored by students is too powerful a literacy opportunity to miss!

Now that you have read the ‘Coles Notes’ about Book Creator, why not investigate other creative and innovative ways you can use an iPad?  I invite you to check out the following five fabulous posts from my favorite educators:

NoteLedge review by Sergio Pascucci (@sergepascucci)
Vine review by Laurel Fynes (@KinderFynes)
iAnnotate review by Joanne Babalis (@joanne_babalis)
Soundbrush review by Tina Zita (@tina_zita)
Pic Collage review by Tracy Pickard (@TracyPick)

The Curious Journey of 2 Teachers in K: #HawkinsLearning Edition

I’d like to welcome my fabulous team teacher, Jaime Hatchette, as my co-pilot as we look closely at our learning resulting from our participation in the Canadian Opening of the  “Cultivating the Scientist in Every Child”. We would like to thank Louise Jupp, Diane Kashin, Richland Academy, and Acorn School for opening your hearts and doors, and enabling us to be part of this transformational experience!

ImageIt is difficult to summarize the profound learning we experienced.  We are both very new to our Reggio-Inspired journey, but one thing struck us both.  At the end of Saturday, it was the relationships that left the biggest imprint on us.

Conversing with educators who are passionate, knowledgeable, and love what they do just as much as we do, cemented the understanding that teaching is first and foremost about relationships. Not just between students, but as a connected web of learners who support, challenge, and guide each other on a continuous basis.

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We decided to deconstruct our learning and isolate what spoke to us as being important.  As we begin to make changes in our environment we know that our understandings will continue to shift and grow, but for now, these were our initial impressions from the weekend:

Start by identifying the big ideas. Look closely at the curriculum and pull out the essential understandings.  Create questions to pose and build specific invitations to learn through playing. Overtly explain those big ideas within your documentation to support visible learning. Anyone looking at the invitation or documentation should be able to explain what learning is taking place.

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Repeat and live the mantra “Less is more”.  Set up invitations to play in defined spaces.  Define learning nooks to encourage more purposeful and thoughtful play.  Build up the offered materials in progression.  Add one step at a time to encourage the students to come to know the possibilities in deeper, meaningful, and creative ways.  Rotate and move materials around the classroom (on display and off) to maintain interest and encourage seeing materials in new ways.

Choose documentation artifacts carefully. Not every picture or artifact needs to be openly displayed. Pictures evoke emotion and tell the story best.  Limit text, or display the detailed text beside or behind the images.

It is worth repeating, less is more!

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Honour many voices, represented in many ways.  Use documentation to capture experiences from a 360 degree viewpoint.  Invite the children to participate as authors.  Give them the cameras.  Include their words.  Have them choose the artifacts.  Invite parents, specialists, Artists in Residency, and students from outside the classroom, to share their understandings.

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Learning is collaborative.  It is a relationship between many people – students, staff, parents, and community members.  It is a relationship between learners and their environment.  Share your learning focus with others so that they can become part of it and learn from it in their own context.  Create collaborative learning communities i.e. Innovation Week, buddies, pods of learners coming together to work on common interests or topics i.e. “GetOutside Day”, “We Day”, ect.  Allow the time for students to mess about and develop their relationship with the materials. Create opportunities to develop professional networks i.e. professional book studies, cross-grade PLCs, sharing of practice at staff meeting i.e. “What’s in your literacy toolbox?”.

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As educators, we need to be learners ourselves. Play, wonder, explore, investigate, research, and question right alongside the students, as partners in the learning.  The journey IS the learning!  Take part in learning. Experience it!  Connect with learning networks i.e. School Board Learning Networks, Twitter (professional and classroom accounts). Follow blogs that enlighten i.e. Looking Closely, Laurel Fynes, Joanne Babalis, Sergio Pascucci, Diane Kashin/Louise Jupp , Janice Noavakowski. Find what your are passionate about, and play with it!

We know that we have only scratched the surface in our learning from this experience.  By taking the time to unpack our learning and collaboratively plan, based on our shared experiences and reflections, Jaime and I are excited about the learning that is already unfolding.  We look forward to continuing the many conversations we started with friends at the conference, as well as learning more about how to cultivate curiosity in our classrooms.  Please let us know if you have any questions or comments!

Thank you for taking the time to join us on our learning journey!

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What did I learn and what will I do about it?

When I look back at the flurry of information and dialogue from the “When Vulnerable Readers Thrive” Summit 3, I am excited, overwhelmed, and hopeful. I was startled by the research that we are in fact proving to get worse at teaching our most vulnerable readers. I keep thinking back to what Dr. Harry Jenzen shared in his opening remarks: “Knowledge only becomes powerful when combined with action.” So here I am, sifting through my #vulnerablereaders impressions, with the purpose of creating an action plan. Hearing Richard Allington and Miriam Trehearne speak about what we NEED to do, no excuses allowed, has reminded me of the privilege and responsibility I have as a teacher.  I hope that by taking the time to reflect as I write this post, and being more intentional in my own literacy planning, I will contribute to improving the learning of our most vulnerable learners.

Here is what I gleaned as important and what I intend to do about it:

 Increase the intentional and explicit teaching of essential Literacy skills: fluent letter recognition, concepts of print, phonological awareness, oral language, comprehension, and writing. 

  • I plan on bringing up these six areas with my PLC during our weekly discussions to discuss what we are currently doing, how it is working, and considering what we need to do differently.

 Extend conversations with students.

  • Taking even an extra 10 seconds to really listen and connect with each student matters.  Look at the student, be interested in what they have to say, and take the time to build oral language through these authentic learning opportunities.  We are all busy.  We all have so much to juggle.  But really, it is the STUDENTS WHO MATTER MOST and we need to keep this in the forefront of our minds ALWAYS.
  • I plan on intentionally touching base with my quieter students.  How can I engage them in conversations more often?  Just thinking about this will hopefully lead to increased opportunities.

 Increase meaningful print displayed on walls. Display meaningful print at all stages of writing. 

  • Scribbles, pictures, lists, and student names are all expressions of ideas and are a form of communication.  My walls are intentionally bare right now, but with my students I plan on adding to this starting today!  It will be their work and their decisions that will create the walls of our space.

Use screening tools as one way to inform instructional decisions. 

  • I am committed to the promise of “Every Child, Every Day” in my classroom.  I aim to personalize instruction for each student I have the privilege to teach.  One way I plan on doing this is by analyzing our EYE-TA data that we are collecting as a Kindergarten teaching team. From there we will be able to determine what types of lessons (personalized / group / whole class) best meet each student’s needs. This way I can plan to spend more time with my most vulnerable learners, as I strive for equity not equality, in my teaching time.

Students need access to LOTS of free books. 

  • Good thing my team teacher and I happen to hoard books!  I plan on bringing more of my books from home into the classroom.  But more importantly, I plan on taking the students to our school library and have them choose what books to bring into our classroom library. I will also invite the students to organize the books in a way that makes sense to them.

Ensure literacy props are at EVERY play centre.

  • As a teaching team we look at our centres on a regular basis to evaluate what would make the learning context richer.  I’m not sure I have done a great job of modeling how we could use the literacy props i.e. clipboards, chart paper, books, computers, at each centre.  I plan on adding some model lessons to showcase the possibilities based on examples I have seen some students do.  My favourite example so far has been the student who answered the phone in the house centre, went to the computer and pretended to key in information, recorded ideas (through scribbles) on the clipboard, and reported to me they had successfully booked me 4 dentist appointments for my family.  This is literacy in play!
  • At our staff meeting today one of my colleagues, Rhonda Gjosund, brought up the idea of sharing and creating literacy prop toolkits.  I look forward to learning more from my colleagues and building our tool collections together.

Explicitly teach sight words. 

  • Miriam Trehearne reminded me of the key words Kindergarten should learn to read and write. She calls them “pop up words”.  At the point of need (i.e. writing) or when we come across them (i.e. within a book) we will write them on a cue card and add them to our interactive word wall.

Read two to three books aloud daily.

  • Okay, I WANT to do this but just can’t figure out how to find the time in half-day Kindergarten.  So realistically, I will commit to one quality read aloud, highlighting 3-5 words, to increase vocabulary knowledge daily.
  • We will tweet the book cover and selected vocabulary words to our parents, in order to spark discussion at home.

As you can see, this conference brought a lot of literacy ideas into my planning!  Some were old, some were new, but I think all of the practical ideas will help me ensure all of my students have quality literacy opportunities surrounding them, every day!

Fear of Dreams?

When #kinderblog13 challenged us to share our dreams and fears I was dismissive. I felt pretty happy with where I was and didn’t spend much time consciously thinking further.

But then I began to wonder, why didn’t I have any fears or dreams to share?

Was it weird that nothing came to my mind? So then I was worried, not a lot, but a little nagging feeling that followed me around… for a whole month.

I learned sometimes thoughts stew and simmer creating a concoction you might not expect. My last weekend before school, I read two books. “The Fifth Element” a YA novel, kept bringing the question of what defines humanity to my consciousness. What are we in our core? The second book “The Life List” was a light easy read but brought forward the idea of a “life list” penned by your sky’s the limit teenage self.

So tonight on my last 2013 summer night, my dreams stumble over my fears and are about to make themselves very publicly known! It’s scary to write them down, but really, my fear of trying is all I have to lose.

My Dream BIG List:

1. I want to write a book. I often dream in stories. They become as detailed and familiar as old friends. I want to place one of those stories on paper. Publishing is optional because it’s more for me to confront my fear “Do I really have THAT in me?” than write it for others to read.

2. I’d like to play and learn more with art. I want to learn how to use oil paints to express my favourite colours, lines and shapes. I want to capture moments of humanity with a camera. I want to create an image that makes you feel.

3. I want to run well enough to be proud of myself. Right now that’s pretty much making it to the treadmill, but I think there’s more in me. Could be a distance/time goal or maybe more of a feeling ‘I trained for that and I owned it!’ (in my own Penguin way).

4. I want to kiss my family good night. Every night. All of them. Making a point to appreciate them as the biggest rocks in my life, even if it doesn’t always project that way.

And finally…

5. I want to be brave. I want to continue to try new things that are scary and hard. This seems to get harder as I get older, but even if I take the dive once a year it will remind me of how often great risks in our hearts offer our biggest rewards in life.

So there are my dreams, what are yours?

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