February 2013

“So much “writing” time in school is spent learning the mechanics of writing: penmanship, spelling, punctuation, and grammar. Often, these skills are emphasized over developing written self-expression. The how of writing takes precedence over the what; words-on-paper skills matter more than what a child has to say. Schools push kids to write at six and seven because written communication helps teachers track the progress of twenty to thirty students. Learning to write is hard, perhaps one of the most challenging tasks a young person will undertake.”

If we wait until children have the physical ability to write- won’t we miss fantastic stories of young children?  Why do we focus so much on the “how of writing?”    A great resource for educators of young children is the work of Matt Glover.  Check out Engaging Young Writers and let me know what you think. I was fortunate to be with Matt on a study tour to Reggio Emilia, Italy to see how the preschools and elementary schools view “Literacy.”  His approach to engaging young writers, in my opinion, has a place in a Reggio Inspired Program.058                        how do kids REALLY learn to write, 2.0.





“Kids love to announce that they’re not good at something. They usually do it just after they try something new and challenging, and they say it with finality, as if issuing a verdict.

I’m not good at math!” or, “I’m not good at volleyball.”

At that moment, our normal parental/teacher/coach instinct is to fix the situation. To boost the kid up by saying something persuasive like, “Oh yes you are!” Which never works, because it puts the kid in the position of actively defending their ineptitude. It’s a lose-lose.

So here’s another idea: ignore the instinct to fix things. Don’t try to persuade. Instead, simply add the word “yet.”

This is an interesting blog on the word “yet”.   Not only should we use this word with children, we should use it with our coworkers and ourselves.  As I write this I am reminder that  I’m not good at blogging….wait, let’s change that… I’m not good at blogging, yet!  Yes, that feels so much better!  It gives me hope, encouragement, and permission to take time to get better!IMG_00490


The Most Powerful 3-Letter Word a Parent or Teacher Can Use « The Talent Code.


In this article the author sites a cognitive approach called double-loop learning. In this mode you  question every aspect of your approach, including  methodology, biases and deeply held assumptions. This more psychologically nuanced self-examination requires that you honestly challenge your beliefs and summon the courage to act on that information, which may lead to fresh ways of thinking about your lives and your goals.

If you apply this to your teaching- question what you do- your approach, methods, bias, and assumptions- what happens?  Do you feel as unsettled as I do?  Do you find it exciting, challenging, and a strategy to work in new ways with children?  I know I have.  It’s hard to apply this to even small things in the classroom.  For example, what if instead of instructing the children to make a person with a heart shaped head for Valentine’s Day you sat down and talked with them about love.  If you spent time, listening to their thoughts about what love.  Asking them: How do you feel love?  Where does love live?  How do you show that you love someone?  Does everyone show love the same way?  Do you always love ? It seems to me that by questioning the approach to something like Valentine’s Day it leads to a deeper understanding and expression of love.  Don’t stop there, begin by questioning your approach to the daily life in the classroom.  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Secret Ingredient for Success – NYTimes.com


The Not So Common Core Standards: Potential Implications and Meaning For Us All.

A powerful blog asking all of us to think, question, reflect, and act…Do you work in the public school system?  What do you think about this?  I feel very fortunate that I work in a preschool which gives me the freedom to work in new ways with young children.  Most preschools at this time are private schools which allow those of us who work in them to be free from “core standards” and all the testing that is associated with them. In which ways can we advocate for a different kind of education for young children?