Category Archives: hope

Being A Teacher…

On my way to work this morning I was thinking a lot about my day with my students and the activities we would be involved in and why they were important.  So as our day evolved I started thinking about the opportunities I had to highlight the kindness, empathy and care that my students displayed and explored.  This also reminded me of why I am a teacher and yes, it is a privilege and an honor….

We have been exploring worms.  These fascinating creatures helped us think about individuality and how important it is to value all worms because they are like people one of my students reminded me today.  “We are all different too and have different ideas.” “We can all learn from each other even if we don’t like what we hear.”  “Mrs. D. we need to be kind to all the worms.”

We were also able to use Twitter to connect and ask a worm specialist a question about worms.  It is okay not to have all the answers and ask for help and ideas from others.

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We are all living things and regardless of who we are, what we look like, what we believe or where we come from, we need to be kind.

During partner reading time one of my students noticed sight words in a story, but then shared that peanut butter and jelly are now friends even though they are different.  I asked;” What do you think about that?”

As my student shared; “Mrs. D. you are silly you have to be nice to everyone even if they are different.”

A few of my students were using Kiddle to search for forest photos to help them get a sense of what is in a forest in Vermont.  They were so excited to share their text to world connection.  They told me… “Mrs. D. we collaborated and we made a connection.”  I asked what it was. They shared;” We all looked really hard and noticed that a photo in a book was also on Kiddle.” I asked; “Why is this important?” One of my students said; “Because it is helping us with our learning.”

Today as we explored coding one of my students wondered about “how to” get a Bee Bot to create a circle.  So we explored his idea….  This is what teachers do that matters so deeply. We question  and support the ideas that our students have and what they are curious about..
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So today I choose to share globally why I teach because it matters and teachers matter.  We are some of the most important people in a child’s life.  We care, listen, encourage and offer hope continually, no matter the circumstances.  These are some of the reasons why I teach.

As a teacher I have the ability to inspire and support all my students and their families.

As a teacher I am able to connect and engage families with what we are exploring and how.  This is a wonderful way to invite parents to participate and learn alongside their child.

As a teacher I am able to offer hope and encouragement that never ends.  This matters for all my students.  I want them to know they matter and I will be cheering for all of them as they grow.

As a teacher I am able to learn new things alongside my students.  This offers me an opportunity to model new learning and the challenges and excitement that will appear.

As a teacher I make mistakes, but this helps me think deeply and learn more about what I was trying to understand.

I am able to model “how to” connect globally and why this matters.

Today I want to say thank you to all the teachers because you all matter.  We have one of the hardest jobs in the world, but one of the best because we get to make a difference everyday.    Our enthusiasm and excitement for our work is contagious and makes a difference.  Cheers to you all!

 

 

The Privilege of Being A Teacher

 

I am grateful for being a teacher because….

Being a teacher is a privilege and a honor.  Teaching is about offering hope all day long and being available to encourage, create and design learning opportunities that have an impact.  I also feel it is about creating a learning culture that is open to the world where all learners can connect, take risks, share their voice and have friends.

Today I am thinking about my own path and reflecting on an amazing year of growth. I have much to be grateful for.  As a teacher I have the ability to help promote empathy, patience, risk taking, acceptance and collaboration. These are ideas that I think are important to think about as I weave a multitude of learning opportunities throughout the day.

So for today…..

I hope…

to inspire ideas through inquiry and passion.

to learn more about “how to” create opportunities globally for my students.  Culture is rich everywhere and I want to find ways to connect and celebrate what the world has to offer.

to be a part of solution based problem solving opportunities where I am able to share my #edvoice in hopes of making education better.

to collaborate with others around making a difference.

to learn alongside my amazing PLN which hopefully will just keep on growing.

to have my thinking challenged through opportunities that present themselves.

to explore nature often with my students.  Nature is full of patterns, fresh air and authentic opportunities to learn about the natural world.

to be able to continue to mentor others who are interested in becoming a teacher.  Teaching is an art and through our ideas we have opportunities to “paint” and “weave” all day.

 

I will….

create and design meaningful learning opportunities alongside my students because this is the heart of my work, where I have and can make an impact.

model and practice daily “how to” have conversations using a variety of tools that will help my students connect, reflect and ask questions.

listen with an open mind and value perspective.  This is vital for all of us to be able to collaborate globally to make a difference to solve world problems.

bring a smile and gratitude daily to build confidence and trust inside/outside of Kindergarten.  Through our ability to accept each other, we develop patience and experience the value of kindness.

show gratitude for former and present families that I have the privilege of knowing who give their time, energy, enthusiasm and support in endless ways.

be transparent in my thinking and use a variety of digital tools to create bridges globally to help solve world problems to make a difference.

pursue new ideas and revisit previous ideas through a different perspective.

make mistakes and experience them as learning opportunities, opportunities for me to grow and have my perspective enhanced.

 

offer invitations to learn alongside others who are learning how to learn for themselves.  This is where I can encourage, question and reflect.

celebrate and recognize others for their ideas and work.  Together we all have the ability to be brilliant and make a difference.

Looking forward to another year of connecting, collaboration, inspiration and growth.  Thanks to all of you who are a part of my journey.  I hope you all are able to dance, sing and laugh often….

I am grateful…..

What Lucia Taught Me….

The iPad is really an amazing digital tool with so much flexibility.  I have noticed how easy it is to navigate and also how this tool enhances my students learning. This digital tool has become part of my classroom culture as a way to enrich, connect and collaborate relationships and learning.

I have been asked lately how I got started using the iPad.  So today I share my story because it is an example of what can happen when we watch, listen and share. iPads, tablets, any device has the potential to bring people together to communicate, share and explore the world.  I am #grateful for Lucia, a former student, who taught  me about the value of having a voice and being able to share it.

I have the pleasure of working in a wonderful school district that supports innovation and creativity. My school district provides teachers and students with many types of digital tools and professional opportunities that stretch our thinking.  Our school also has amazing technology educators as well as IT people who work tirelessly to ensure that our tools are working and ready, as well as provide updates about new things happening and opportunities for students and teachers to collaborate inside/outside of our buildings. 

Every spring near the end of Kindergarten our preschool teachers offer their students opportunities to visit their kindergarten classroom for the fall.  This is a wonderful way for me and the students to begin to say hello and explore the classroom with each other as well as the present students.

So Lucia arrived.  She is an amazing young lady.  She came with a smile, confidence and sat right down on the floor near a group of her students with her iPad. Right away I was struck at how many of the children started talking to her.  They asked her for the code so they could unlock her iPad.  Lucia was not able to speak, but used sounds and gestures with her hands.  The students immediately began looking at her with amazing eye contact, speaking to her and waiting for her to answer and show them what was next.

The iPad was new to me.  I did not have one, hadn’t used one before and already Lucia, was demonstrating alongside her new friends how this digital tool was going to open up opportunities in regards to learning.  Remember this was brand new for me and I was also going to get some professional support because our school was also going to purchase iPads as well.  My learning started, my eyes were opened, my mind was racing with ideas about the possibilities that might be possible because of this digital tool.

Thinking back on my first introduction to an iPad I think about how naturally the other children were drawn to Lucia and how she immediately felt comfortable showing and using her iPad with them.  Right away the children started taking turns speaking to Lucia, listening and watching her as she responded using sounds, her iPad and gestures to answer.

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What a wonderful surprise! iPads really make a difference in student learning and engagement.  This has been so exciting and a great learning opportunity for me and my students.  This is a digital tool that is making a difference and yes, Kindergarten children are finding lots of ways to use these tools as well as discovering lots of a ha’s about how this tool can help them to reflect and create learning experiences.

On the 1st day of Kindergarten I begin by introducing this interactive tool to my class.  We talk about being safe, kind and responsible as well as how it might help us with our learning.  The children immediately start exploring with the iPads and instantly began figuring out how they work.  We explore the basic features of the iPad.  Then I explore how to use the video, camera and take a screenshot.  I begin with these 3 features because this is where I want to model and show how this digital tool can be used to capture the what and why we are exploring. I continue to be really impressed with how quickly the children adapt to this tool and of course the excitement is wonderful.  The touch screen really makes it easy for the children to type and access.  The children begin touching the screen and the exploration begins of how this digital tool will enrich our learning.

As an educator I often think about all of the things I want and need to do during the course of a school day.  It can be a bit overwhelming…  So when presented with a tool that might make learning more accessible and engaging, I find myself beginning to see how many opportunities I have to make connections within my lessons as well as help children to become more engaged and invested in their own learning.

In the photograph you see a child creating a post on an iPad on her kidblog.  Lucia helps by showing her where to go to next. swlm

As a class we spent time from the beginning of school talking about blogging, what it is, why do it and how it helps us with our learning. The children understand that when they blog, they need a title and thoughts that we call sentences.  In the beginning I use lots of books to help demonstrate this point.  I find that the more explicit you can be with children and the more tangible, concrete connections and comparisons you can make, the easier it is for children to grasp and begin to use technological tools.  The beauty of this example is that this child knows 1 way to use the iPad in a meaningful, safe way.  She is motivated to blog and share her ideas with others.                                     

As an educator I find myself trying to create and design meaningful learning opportunities for and alongside the children and families I work with.  Digital tools are amazing and their impact on student learning and engagement are endless. For me the iPads have enhanced everything that I do.  I can’t help but love them!

I am #grateful for Lucia and how she introduced me to what was possible with the iPad.  She has courage, perseverance and amazing ideas.  She taught me to always have hope, to be brave and that technology gives us all a voice.

In Kindergarten, Writers Are Making The World A Better Place For Everyone!

This past week in Kindergarten I began a new writing theme, persuasive writing. In Kindergarten this is a very fun and engaging theme because children get to write about real things that matter to them.  As I began to introduce this new idea with my students I used a phrase from Lucy Calkins Unit of Study Books;“Writers Write To Make The World Better.” This was a great way to begin to explore “how to” write persuasively.  Prior to this theme of study we explored how to writing so my students were already familiar with thinking about what features we might need to have when writing a persuasive piece. unnamed-1After we had time to think by ourselves(private reasoning time), then we turned and talked with each other.  These 2 steps are important for young writers because they need to be able to have conversations face to face to help them understand their idea and also reflect on what others have to share. Then we were ready to share our ideas in a large group.  We came up with 3 important key ideas.    One of my students shared that he thought being able to write a persuasive piece was about convincing somebody to do something and like your idea! Yes!  This was a great way for us to begin our first attempt to write our own pieces.  Many of my students choose to write about real world problems, I was so amazed at what they had to say.  Here are some of their ideas; ‘I want people to stop shooting animals”, ‘I want people to stop running away from bad people who want to hurt them”, “I want people to pick up garbage”, “I want people to start caring about the Earth.” Right away I noticed many things, the language that was being used, the sophistication of some of their concerns as well as the empathy everyone had.

unnamedAfter we began to write, many of my students noticed that a lot of our ideas started with 2 words, “I want”. So this became our story starter for our pieces. Twitter is also available for us throughout the day to share with others as well.  Just by “tweeting” our ideas we connect and make connections with others.  Many of our Kindergarten friends on Twitter are exploring similar themes.  This is another rich way we can share and have conversations in a global way in regards to learning. This week to continue our theme I am thinking of inviting my students to convince others about why they would make a great friend.  I think this will be a nice way to honor the ideas of Martin Luther King and also a great way for us to experience another way we can have hope and celebrate friendship. Many of my students were very interested in writing pieces about animals and how they need to be saved because they might get extinct!  As we shared and explored our thinking and reasoning behind these animals, many of my students wanted actual photographs to see.  So we used Google to help us!  My students have learned these tips when we use Google to search for information to help us with what we are learning.

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Google Tips:

1. Ask your teacher or an adult to help you!
2. Go to Safari on the iPad.
3. Type in photos of (name of your animal)
I am finding so many creative and wonderful ways to use digital tools to enhance and engage learning inside and outside of Kindergarten.  Just by using Google we are experiencing ‘how to” to search in a safe way in regards to our learning.  Experiences like this will only help my students and their families learn “how to” use digital tools in responsible ways.
I have many opportunities as an educator to make learning fun, interactive and meaningful.  Just by writing a persuasive piece, we came up with many ways to share our work and use digital tools to connect and inspire our thinking.

A New Year Full of Hope

Today begins a new year, a new start, new opportunities and possibilities for the future. I have been thinking a lot about the importance of being resilient and having hope.  I am looking forward to all of the new learning that awaits and is going to happen through my willingness to be transparent, share and ask questions.

I think about the importance of how we all need to have hope, hope for our students and the world.  Through our daily interactions with parents and students my message will be clear, a message of hope.  So when a student has challenges, I will be persistent and vigilant in the belief that their is hope, hope to learn and grow through a variety of authentic and meaningful learning experiences that support my students ideas and interests.  I feel that when we are successful, we develop confidence and the ability to believe in ourselves.

This can be contagious in Kindergarten!  This is where passion develops and an excitement to take risks and try new things that interest us appears. Having hope and being hopeful offers parents an opportunity to be engaged and gives them opportunities to engage in their child’s gifts.  We all need hope and someone to believe in us and our potential and ability to be brilliant at what we choose to do, our passions and interests.

Being a Kindergarten teacher is really a wonderful gift and privilege that I am grateful for. The culture of Kindergarten is full of hope and potential.  My students have many opportunities throughout the day to have conversations around what they are discovering, playing with and learning through their authentic hands on experiences.  My students engage in phrases like;”You can do it!, Nice job, Let me help you!” These are the kinds of conversations that give us, our students and the families we work with hope, hope to be successful.

A new year, a new year of discovery, inspiration and new learning awaits.  I look forward to what is discovered by students and others that I connect and engage with.  Here is to a brand new year!  I am not wasting a minute of it!  Cheers!

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