December 2012

Audio/Video: Teachers | Aspen Ideas Festival.

Interesting video addresses younger children and older.  Can Character be Taught?  What are your thoughts on this?  One of the panelists states that the younger you begin the better. What role do educators of very young child play in character development? What role does language, teacher’s language, play in this development?  Do we use this language on a daily basis?  If not, what strategies could you develop to support this growth?




I found this great blog at Kodokids- let me know what you think…

Mark Lepper, a professor at Stanford University, researched the effects of both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation on children’s play and developed the following theory:

“As Lepper noted, the British philosopher John Locke first observed in 1693 in Some Thoughts on Education that in teaching a child, care must be taken that learning never be made a business to him. “I’ve always had the fancy that learning might be made a play and a recreation to children, they might be brought to a desire to be taught if only learning were proposed to them as a thing of delight and recreation,” Locke wrote. Teachers — and parents — often unwittingly turn play into work, the source of a further unintended effect on intrinsic motivation. The longer children are in school, the less they seemed to be intrinsically motivated. Certainly, trappings such as grades and test scores become more important as children progress in school, but overall, such extrinsic motivation or rewards, stay fairly level. So, the final direction Lepper’s research took was a look into how to turn work into play and led to what he calls “The Five C’s.”

The first “C” for turning work into play is challenge. There is a lot of evidence that children — as well as the the rest of us — will seek out challenges, that if you give children tasks of different levels of difficulty, they’ll look for one of intermediate difficulty — the one where they’re not certain they’re going to succeed, but it’s not impossible. They think they can improve and learn and become better.

It’s fun.

For the next “C,” remember children search for competence, evidence that they’ve accomplished something at a high level, or that they’ve improved. And they like to feel that they are personally responsible for their success, that it wasn’t just luck or the ease of the task. Only when the task is challenging do they begin to feel competence when they succeed, when they feel like effort, skill and ability entered into the success.

The third “C” is that people of all ages like to be in control. They like to feel like they’re in charge, that they’re determining their own fates. This is a particularly American or Western European concept.

The fourth “C” is curiosity. We often seek out things because we’re curious, because they’re mysterious and complex, things we sort of understand but not quite. The incongruity makes us want to learn more. Good teachers are adept at bringing out this sense of wonderment.

And finally, the fifth “C” is context, which refers to the fact that we often get great pleasure from engrossing ourselves in imaginary environments — listening to stories, reading books, going to movies, watching TV, playing video games. It’s not clear in the literature, Lepper says, precisely what the rewards are of identifying with characters, but it’s clearly a very powerful effect”.

For me, this article was another great reminder of why we choose to do what we do everyday, the way we do it: through play and inspiration and imagination, motivated by the joy of watching our children learn and be delighted all at the same time.

The 5 C’s.

Recess in schools: Research shows it benefits children. – Slate Magazine.








Do you have recess in your school?  How do you feel it benefits children?  What do we know about movement and the connection to cognitive learning.We know how important it is! At our school we are taking time to research what recess looks like: how children play together, what they are learning as they play, ways we can support them with materials, and how the environment acts as a third teacher.  We have given our selves a year to gather information and document to make the learning visible.  It’s a research that has great implications for our work.

What do you think?

For the Sake of Student Learning: Putting Our Voices Aside | Edutopia.

I really enjoyed this blog and even if it is about middle school, I think it is relevant  for those of us working with young children.  If we stop giving “the answer” and ask instead, “What do you think?” we support deep thinking by very young children!  Now, please tell  me…what do you think about this article?

What do you say to young children who may have seen something scary like the tragedy in Connecticut on TV? I don’t know the correct answer to that.  I’m still trying to make sense of a senseless act.  BUT maybe the words of Fred Rogers could help us to support young children as they are confronted by confusing and scary images. 

‎”When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’ “

Let’s look for those who are helping- together!









Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.

Mother Teresa









embracing Introversion: Ways to Stimulate Reserved Students in the Classroom | Edutopia

What are your thoughts?  As a child, I was certainly introverted.  As an adult, I have changed in many ways but in my heart I am still introverted even if at times I appear otherwise.  I really like the idea of excepting and celebrating the differences we have.  That’s what makes us interesting!  Who would want to live in a world where we were all alike?

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