Saturday, January 24, 2015

Inspiration from the Blogosphere - Thought-Provoking Edition

Computer (Brick by Brick)
One reason I enjoy following blogs and related Facebook pages is that I run across links that I may not have otherwise encountered. And, often, those links will give me something new or different to think about. Or they will challenge me to examine some of my own ideas in a different light.

This week, I encountered several links that caused me to think or dive a little deeper on various topics.

Should we teach kindergartners to read? (Catching Readers Before They Fall) - This post was a response to a news report about teaching reading. This made me think again and affirm that engaging kindergartners in play and exploration can be the most effective teaching. And that all literacy activities should engage kids at their current developmental level.  

Study Finds that Reading to All Ages Grooms Them to Read on Their Own (New York Times) - This article focuses on reading aloud - to kids of all ages. Reading aloud can help kids develop a habit for independent leisure reading. We often acknowledge the importance of reading aloud to younger kids; but reading to older kids is beneficial, too. This reminded me of our 2013 book study about reading aloud.

Science Says Your Classroom Needs More Dance Parties (Teacher Pop) - I knew that movement could be a valuable part of the classroom. But this post makes me think that I need to be including more movement breaks than I had before (in the elementary classroom). And that in a younger classroom, movement - especially purposeful movement - can meet all kinds of needs.

Five Ways to Let a Little More Risk into Your Child's Day (Washington Post) - I think it's important to give kids opportunities to try things that may seem a little "dangerous." This article encourages risk-taking and helps parents (and teachers) know how to interject a little more risk into each day.

Off-Road Reading (Education Rethink) - John Spencer advocates allowing more choice in students' reading. Maybe offering more choice and less rigid reading experiences could help kids develop more enjoyment in reading (especially in informational text). 

Hmm - I seem to be thinking a lot about reading at the moment. Maybe my university class in literacy is influencing my reactions.

Gift Wrapping (Brick by Brick)

ICYMI - I posted on the Pre-K and K Sharing collaborative blog this week, too. Hopefully that post will provoke some thoughts for someone.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Too Much Talking?

A couple of weeks ago, I had an unusual experience in our church kindergarten class. It was quiet.

Only four kids were there that day - our four quietest kids. They worked and played the entire time.

But it was quiet. Not much talking, except for me and Mrs. Cindy. We would ask questions or make comments about what we saw happening. The kids would respond - with a nod or a soft reply.

But it was quiet. Sometimes the girls would quietly discuss what they were cooking as they worked in the kitchen. When the comments were soft and beyond my hearing...unless I moved into the kitchen myself.

So I began to do a lot of watching and a lot less talking. I didn't move into the kitchen to eavesdrop but instead stayed back and watched their play.

I watched a boy construct an elaborate structure in the blocks. He would modify the structure and try various things to get what he wanted. A couple of times, I made a comment or asked a question. But mostly I watched.

It was quiet in the classroom. But that doesn't mean it was boring or unproductive or non-engaging.

I've worked in early childhood classrooms for a while. I've seen and heard a lot of things. I expect and tolerate noise. But quiet was a new experience. Usually quiet signals danger or concern.

But this time quiet just meant thinking and working were happening.

And I learned that I don't need to talk too much.