“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.









O is for Oracy « Carol Read’s ABC of Teaching Children.

I found this to be an wonderful blog that is much more thought provoking than its name implies.  Carol Read was nominated for the “Most Fascinating Blog of 2012” and its easy to see why when you read her posts.  Take some time with each post and reflect on how it might relate to your practices

“ Each second we live is a new and unique moment of the universe, a moment that will never be again. And what do we teach our children? We teach them that two and two make four, and that Paris is the capital of France. When will we also teach them what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all the years that have passed, there has never been another child like you. Your legs, your arms, your clever fingers, the way you move. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, A Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. And when you grow up, can you then harm another who is, like you, a marvel? You must work, we must all work, to make the world worthy of its children.” Pablo Casals

What do you say to the children you encounter?  What if we all made an effort this coming school year to make sure that marvel, clever, intelligent, caring, loving, and worthy are part of our daily encounters with young children…

“Teachers can’t afford to be afraid of opening a can of worms.  It is true that we need to choose words very, very carefully.  But it is possible to address children’s burning concerns in a way that makes room for all the children’s experiences.” (From Use Your Words by Carol Garhart Mooney)  

Have you ever changed the topic so you didn’t have to address divorce, incarceration, death, job loss, or new baby?

Teachers can begin by asking questions like: “Why do you think so?”  “What do you know about that?”  Teachers can also frame different views of the situation for all the children by giving information. For example, saying something like, “Sometimes dogs get sick or hurt.  Sometimes, old dogs die. We miss them when they are gone.  It’s ok to talk about them. Does anyone else know of a pet that died?”

“My dog, Cooper when he died and went to live with Uncle Mike.”

Remember children will make meaning out of what they experience with or without our help.  Isn’t it better to help them if we can?

It is said that when talking to a person the information that we receive can be broken down as:

  • 10% from what the person actually says
  • 40% from the tone and speed of voice
  • 50% is from their body language.

Have you ever had a child hold your head in their hands as they talk with you?  It is certainly a strategy I have observed that communicates:  I’m interested. I’m available to listen. You can slow down, I’m here. What have you observed about the ways in which children communicate?

Game Changers: New Ways to Teach Our Kids | Aspen Ideas Festival.

Speaker John Hunter shares his thoughts on “the next big thing” in education.  It may not be what you think… watch the video share your thoughts with someone- a coworker, a friend, a spouse, a blogger….