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Showing posts from December, 2011

Little Words

In a recent post, Stacey at Two Writing Teachers, wrote about choosing one word to live by during the coming year and challenged her readers to consider one word for themselves, as well. Go to to read her post and to add a comment. I wrote that my little word for the coming year was presence even though I had also been thinking about health as my little word. Then, this afternoon as I was thinking about what my Slice of Life would be for today I started rethinking my little word and presence somehow morphed into no. I know that sounds very negative - little words should be positive, shouldn't they? But then I thought about it some more and for me no is positive and fits in with presence and even health. Can you have two or more little words to live the year by? In any case, I have decided to choose no as my little word for the coming year to remind me that I don't need to say yes to everything nor do I want to. In fact, I need to learn how to say no m…

The KISS Principle

I know all about the KISS Principle. I know that it's best to keep things simple at first so that you can go deeper later on. I know that kids need time to play around with ideas long enough to figure things out on their own. I know all of this and yet... I forget or I plod ahead without thinking. So, yesterday and today I ran an experiment of sorts. I decided to go slow in math. I decided to talk through an activity carefully with the kids. I then asked them to repeat the instructions before I sent them off to work. I also started asking them a simple question: what materials are you going to need to do your work? What I'm finding out is that more children are being successful with their learning and are completing more of their work than before. It was a small change that has given huge results. Stay tuned. I plan to keep blogging about this in the future.

Brain Dump

Over the years I have observed that the Monday morning transition from home to school can be difficult for some children. Heck, it is difficult for me, too! I find I need a few minutes to myself after the children have come in to clear my head and make space for being back at school. This is true no matter how early I come in to school on any given Monday. It isn't only that we're in a different physical space than the one we've been in all weekend but it's also about the different expectations at school and at home. As much as I strive to make my classroom a place where students make choices and decisions about how they're going to work, what they're going to do, and where they can sit, it is still a space restricted by boundaries and regulations and, let's face it, four walls. Recently, the concept of "brain dump" surfaced from two unlikely places - a spiritual advisor and Stacey at TwoWritingTeachers http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.c…