Wednesday, May 17, 2017

What's In a Name?



Knowing names and using names are key to developing a strong classroom community. Also, since a child's name is the most important word to him, names are key teaching tools for literacy, math, and more.

(See my related post on EdWords blog: Foundation for Social-Emotional Learning)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Some Posts About Play

In recent weeks as I've been reading in the blogosphere, I've read a few things that have really excited me, made me think or rethink, or just made me happy about play and learning. Here are a few things that I want to share about play and learning.


Open Ended Baking (Play Counts)
"As with all open-ended opportunities in my program, open-ended baking involves no adult expectations or direction. The children are given the freedom of time, task, technique and most importantly, TRUST."
I love the story in this post. I love the way that Denita expands her philosophy into a new area and I love how this activity becomes so empowering for the children. Now I want to do this with a group of kids. Kids + materials + time + freedom = tasty learning!


"Doing something earlier doesn’t make it better. Doing something better makes it better."
Amanda tells about some conversations she had with Rae Pica and other professionals regarding writing and literacy. Often best practice is overshadowed by what happens in the classroom (or what is sometimes demanded in the classroom.) We need to think about kids and what we are doing with (to?) them. Play builds other skills that we may not easily see.



"Virtual Pre-K puts the focus of early learning on one thing – academic learning. It ignores the incredible and critical broad range of needs young children have to be truly ready to enter kindergarten."
I had not heard of virtual pre-k until I read Deborah's post. She does a great job covering some concerns about this approach to help kids be "ready for kindergarten." It's seems that decision-makers make the mistake that Rae Pica has identified before - thinking of children as brains/heads only. Just building academic skills isn't really preparing kids for kindergarten. (And, in fact, those skills are probably of secondary importance than others.)


"over time I was finally persuaded that there were some people, at least, who wanted to see an actual book."
Teacher Tom has written a book. If it's anything like his blog, it will be a book that inspires, challenges, pushes, and advocates ideas about play and teaching children. I cannot wait to read it and tell others about it. 



"Using an activity that encourages different ideas allows children to create in their own unique ways."
This is a post I wrote for Pre-K Pages. I wanted to include it because it shows how play encourages kids to explore in different ways. I love to see kids explore. They will try some different ways of using the materials. They will continue to explore as long as the activity encourages them to think or until they feel like they have gained all they can from an activity. 


Anything Is a Possibility
"Children are creative. They see everything as a possible resource for what they are doing."
Children see beyond the defined use of materials. I love how the boy incorporated a basket/bin as a part of his structure. I am challenged to see beyond my own definitions of what to do and how to do it. I am challenged to see beyond my own limited understanding about children.


What have you read recently?