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Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Day after a Tragedy

As parents, we know how we want to discuss and meet the needs of our own children at home after a tragedy. However, we are not with our children every hour of every day and we need to prepare them for all they will encounter. As I considered this, I realized that families may have a lot of questions about how their child's teacher will handle such a tragic event in school. Here is my response to families and how I will care for their children this week.

Hello families,

I have spent the weekend wondering how our day will start Monday morning. As I do that, I realize that families may wonder how such a horrible topic may be handled in the classroom. I wanted to completely shield my own children (Annabel and Gus) from this topic, but I realize that this is unrealistic. So, I spent some time this morning preparing them for what they might hear at school. Now I need to think about your children and my role in their lives. 

My plan when a tragic event occurs and is highly publicized is to play off the feelings of my kids. If they enter the room discussing the topic, that means there is no chance of being able to shield them from something that is inappropriate for their age. Thus, ignoring the issue is not a healthy option. Also, if nothing is mentioned by the children themselves, that doesn't mean it is not on their minds. I will ask indirect, open-ended questions to find the children's level of exposure (what did you do this weekend, anything interesting happen, did you see anything on tv). I feel that my role is to find what the children need from me, wether it is to answer questions truthfully or just reassure them that they are safe at school. Intimate details of the events will not be discussed, as I don't think that will help. 

In short, I will be there tomorrow to shield your child from topics that are not appropriate for their developmental age (to the best of my ability), answer any questions I can with truth (within reason), but mostly reassure them that they are safe and protected at school by adults that care very much for them. 

If you have anything to add (such as feelings your child is having, how much they know about the events, advice for me, etc), PLEASE respond. The more information I have, the better I will be able to care for your children tomorrow. 

Thanks so much for reading, and I am looking forward to a wonderful week full of fun and learning with your children. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Share it Maybe Music Video

The kindergarten classes are in charge of introducing the topic of being kind to our school this month. Each month we have a character trait presentation. We chose to create a music video for being kind. The children were able to choose scenarios as well as help with the lyrics and recording. The product is a fun video that features the children being kind to others. Enjoy!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Exploring Matter: A Great Unit of Study in K!

We explored matter this week. We first learned the terminology of solid, liquid, and gas. We then had a blast experimenting with different forms of matter. Some matters react, some matters mix, some matters do not.

The excitement during the experiments is so high, that I wanted something we could use later to reflect and get into more in-depth discussions. I created a video of the experiments for the learners so they could reflect and review. Not to mention, get excited all over again when things 'explode'!

Head over to our class blog and check it out:

iPad App Organization in K-1

Our school has implemented a 1-to-1 iPad initiative this school year. My kindergarten learners have benefited from anytime, anyplace learning this school year as a result of this initiative. It is fabulous!

I wanted the iPad applications to be organized so that learners could navigate on their iPad during guided reading and guided math. As I try to give learners more ownership of their education, I want to provide them with the skills necessary to choose an application that meets their needs. This means I needed to organize the iPad applications.

I wanted apps organized by skill. If learners need to choose an application that helps them practice sounds, they need to be able to find the different application choices. With more than 100 apps on our iPads, not filing the apps isn't an option. Many of our learners are unable to read, thus using numbers to label the files seemed to be necessary. So, we numbered each folder as well as gave it a label.

This system has proved to be very effective. I place several skill apps within each folder and allow the learner to choose an application that meets their needs. We discuss apps being too easy or hard for their needs. We also conference to be sure they are making good app choices during practice times. They are taking control of their learning as well as finding apps that are fun and worthwhile.

Skill applications are a wonderful resource, however my favorite folder is '18 create'. The creation apps such as My Story, Animator, Show Me, and PuppetPals are great tools that allow for creativity and learner choice. I would keep those over any of the other skill apps any day!