Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Gym Surprise

We were planning what to do the other day. Mrs. Cindy read an activity in our curriculum guide: Set up a gym. I thought about our kids and what I "knew" in general. I announced, "We can do that if we want. But I'm not sure they are going to be engaged for long."

We put out some hand weights, a jump rope, a stretching thing, some exercise circles, and a couple of beanbags (for balancing). I made a tape line for balancing, too. We spread a towel "mat" on the floor and added a gym sign.


The kids that came in first immediately began to lift the hand weights. They showed their muscles. They lifted weights up and down and did a few curls, too.


When I pointed out the tape line, they walked along with it, with weights and without them.


They investigated the other items, too. Kids would move into and out of this area all morning.


Then a boy used the tape line and made his own obstacle course. As he and his friend walked through the course, they kept modifying it and experimenting with it.


This activity was an unqualified success. I thought of a couple of other items that could be added next time we try this. They loved it.


Kids continue to surprise me and teach me. Mostly they teach me not to assume I know anything about what will happen when kids have a chance to explore...anything.


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.