Monday, July 21, 2014

#Kinderblog, Week 3: Homes and Gardens

Well, hello, friends!

I know I am just under the wire on this one, but it is still Sunday in my part of the world, so I feel like I'm ok.

Last week's challenge was... very challenging for many of you, and I wanted to give big shiny gold stars to those of you who found the courage to express disagreement. I really think this is one of the hardest things for teachers to do, but also the most important for all of us as professionals. If you opted out last week, I completely understand, but I also hope that, maybe, it planted a seed of courage in you, and that maybe somewhere down the line, you will find a way to meet the spirit of the challenge in your own way.

This week's challenge is a lot less scary, and even includes TWO possible ways to participate:

Option 1: What is the process you follow for setting up your classroom? What are your priorities, your values, your beliefs, about classroom setup, decor, and organization? (Feel free to share photos! We love photos!)

Option 2: How do you feel about where you live? This could be your house, your neighbourhood, your city, region, even your country. What do you love about it? What do you hate? What would you change if you could? Again, we love pictures!



Ready, set, go!

As always, remember to tweet your response using the #kinderblog14 hashtag, and to link to it in the comments here, or on Facebook.

I can't wait to read about the places you love.

Amy

Sunday, July 13, 2014

#Kinderblog14, Week 2: Letters to the Editor

Hello again, friends! I know it is already Monday in some parts of the world, but it's still Sunday in my beautiful Mountain Time Zone, so I AM NOT LATE YET!

I loved loved loved reading your responses to the Week #1 challenge, so much so that I sort of want to just make you all finish ANOTHER draft post, just to see what we are all hesitant and unsure about. I sometimes feel like the bravest thing we do, as bloggers, is hit "publish" and wait for the response.

HOWEVER, I imagine you all would like a new challenge, so here it is. (Please note that this will still required you to Be Brave). This is a new sort of challenge (almost like a field trip!) and it has 2 parts:

1: ANYWHERE ON THE GREAT WIDE INTERWEBZ: Find an article or blog post that you do not agree with, and post your response in the comments of that article/post. Obviously, do this in a way that is respectful, professional, and kind, but BE CLEAR about your points of disagreement and the reasons for them.

2: On your OWN blog, share a link to the article, a brief summary of it, and tell us WHY it pressed your buttons. Is it just plain WRONG? It is misleading? Is it misinformed, or not adequately informed? Is it striking a nerve for you personally because of a specific situation or experience?

Yeah. I know. I am totally pushing you to air some of your dirty laundry. It feels good. Trust me.

When you're all done, tweet the link with the #kinderblog tag, share it in the comments below, and/or on our Facebook page.

Ok... go!


Sunday, July 6, 2014

#KInderblog14, Week 1: The Headlines

Yes, that is right, it's time, for the VERY FIRST blogging challenge of the summer. I hope you are ready!  Here it goes:

Write the post that has been in your head (or your drafts folder) for a while now. You know the one. The one you write while you drive to work, or while you are in the shower. What is the question, or issue, or opinion, or emotions, you have been chewing on for a while now? Alternatively, what is the post that you have started a million times, picked away at, edited and re-edited, and almost trashed?  Did you read an article or a Facebook post that provoked a reaction, and that you can't stop thinking about? THIS IS YOUR CHANCE.

Be Brave. Write it.

Don't forget: once your post is done, share the link in the comments below, and/or in the comments on our Facebook page, and tweet the link using the #kinderblog14 hashtag.

If you need a refresher on how the challenge works, you can find it here.

Oh, and we totally have a theme for this year's challenge, but we're going to see if you can figure it out on your own...



Now: get blogging!

And happy summer!

xo
Amy


Extra, Extra, Read All About it: Summer Blogging Challenge is ON!

And, we're off! It is time, my friends, to get this summer blogging challenge off the ground. Here is how it works:

The most important thing to mention seems to be that EVERYONE is welcome to participate in this challenge. Most of us work with young children in some capacity, but that is not a requirement to join us. You can be a teacher of another level, an admin, a parent, a nanny, a student, a trash collector. All that is required is an interest in writing and sharing ideas. Feel free to tweak the challenges to suit your situation - we are flexible and inclusive!

Ok, here is the rest:

1. Every Sunday for 6 weeks, a new challenge will be posted right here, as well as on the Kinderchat Facebook page. We'll tweet it out, too, using the #kinderchat and the #kinderblog14 hashtags.

2. Complete the challenge, and:
    •  Tweet the link to your response, using #kinderblog14 as the hashtag.
    • Share a link to your response in the comments on the challenge post.
    • Share a link to your response in the comments on our Facebook page.

3. If you don't have a blog, YOU CAN STILL PLAY! Here are some options:
    • Start a blog! This is a great and very non-scary way to get started with blogging. Both Wordpress and Blogger are quick and easy to set up, and you are off to the races. 
    • Create a google doc and share the link to that for each challenge.
    • Write your response as a post to our Facebook page.
    • If you can (or want to try) responding to a challenge with photos or a series of photos, use the #kinderblog14 hashtag on Instagram.
4. THIS PART IS IMPORTANT: Participate in the discussion!
    •  Follow the #kinderblog14 hashtag on twitter.
    • Read other people's posts.
    • COMMENT on other posts. (This is important, bloggers love comments. It's like having your glitter-covered clip moved to purple so you get to pick a coupon to exchange a sticker redeemable for treasure from the prize box. #snark.)
    • Comment on Facebook.
    • Follow new friends.
The challenge is meant to be fun and low-pressure, soooo:
    • You can start anytime.
    • You can skip a week if you are on vacation, the challenge doesn't float your boat, or you just plan forget.
    • You can pick and choose the challenges that interest you.
    • You can complete the challenges in any order, and go back later to finish challenges you skipped.
That's it for now. Stay tuned RIGHT HERE later today for the first challenge. In the meantime, start your blog, set up your twitter account, follow the hashtag, and start thinking about writing. 

And if you REALLY can't wait: write us a teaser post. Topic: everything we need to know about you, in 200 words or less.

We'll be back....


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Book Review: Moving Smart Now "A Moving Child Is a Learning Child"

One of the most inspiring voices I’ve encountered in the world of Young Children is the team of Moving Smart Now!, comprised of Gill Connell and Cheryl McCarthy. Together they have written a must-have movement guide for anyone working or living with a young child. “A Moving Child is A Learning Child” takes parent, student, caregiver and teacher through the steps of “How the Body Teaches the Brain to Think”.

“Children aren’t born with body awareness.” Such a simple statement packs a punch once you really think about the complexity of development a baby undergoes while growing into a healthy and happy young boy or girl. Reading this book not only increased my sense of wonder about how children learn and grow, but deepened my understanding of how critical movement is to learning and the brain. 

“Gill’s Notebook” provides anecdotes and real life stories from Gill Connell’s 30+ years experience in Early Childhood Education. The book includes “Family Moves”, printable diagrams and handouts for families, as well as “Motorvators”, quick, easy games to promote movement in the classroom or to help transition a toddler from home to the next activity. Handouts explaining to parents exactly WHY and HOW freeplay helps their child grow are invaluable to any teacher or caregiver.

The book contains clear, attractive scientific diagrams and language to show how movement is the basis for all learning in young children. Does your daughter keep saying, “Again, Daddy! Again?” There’s a reason! And it’s all grounded in science, movement and learning.

Gill and Cheryl have created a “Kinetic Scale” that breaks down how the “Senses, Balance, Intuition, Power, Coordination and Control” are the key components to the development of language. “A Moving Child is A Learning Child” talks about how roughhousing is a form of Tai Chi for children and looking at a book upside down is the kid equivalent to an adults practice of yoga! Brilliant!

Movement is an area that often gets overlooked and ignored among the thousands of tomes on early reading and writing, yet movement is the basis for reading and writing. How refreshing it is to see exactly how the child is always doing the work of learning naturally. “A Moving Child is A Learning Child” interprets the child’s developmental movements and translates them into their correlating larger skill sets on the path to language, reading, writing and being a healthy, social child.

Cheryl and Gill take us “beyond gross and fine motor skills” and force us to take a hard look at the learning that goes on in the “whole body”. Included in the book are what to look for in high quality playgrounds and how crawling through tunnels and spinning helps the child develop later writing skills. As the adults creating the environments for children to learn in, we must be aware of what high quality learning spaces and opportunities look like for the young child and exactly how they translate to learning.

With more and more emphasis being placed on “academic achievement” for even the youngest of students and children, I cannot underscore the importance of this book enough. Policy makers, administration and the public, along with those who learn and teach alongside young children each day, need a constant reminder that the wiggles and spins and yells are all a part of the natural path to learning. Parents and caregivers can all benefit from becoming more in tune and aware of the vast and expressive non verbal world of the young child.

“A Moving Child is A Learning Child” helps us all see the child in the light of their most powerful voice, their movement! It’s a brilliant read with beautiful photographs, diagrams and layout, and it couldn’t have been written by two more knowledgeable and kind people who clearly delight in the world of children. Gill Connell and Cheryl McCarthy have created an essential resource for movement and the joy of learning. I highly recommend you get Moving Smart Now! and head right over to read this book!

-HEchternacht

Thursday, January 16, 2014

#Kinderblog, Day 14: Wordless Wednesday

I know, I am barely in under the wire on this one, but it is still the 14th in my timezone, so I am calling it fair.

It's Wednesday, which means you have no words to write!

Post a photo of the view from your window. Any window.

Fun, right?

Can't wait to see your view!

Sweet dreams, friends.
xo
Amy

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

#Kinderblog, Day 14: A goal for the week

Yikes, can you even believe I have posted on time, TWO DAYS IN A ROW?

Yeah, me neither.

Ok, for today, please complete the following sentence:

"I want to _____ with my class this week."

That's all. Easy, right?

Can't wait to read what you are all up to!

xo
Amy

Monday, January 13, 2014

#kinderblog, Day 13: Monday lists

Look! It's me! Writing a prompt post ON TIME! (Not only on time, but EARLY, because it is actually Sunday night right now, and I am going to schedule this for the morning.) I WIN THE INTERWEBZ.

Ok, here's a nice, quick, easy post for a Monday:à

List 5 songs that make you sing. Or dance. Or both.

(Bonus points if you include sound or video.)

That's all.

Happy Monday, friends. May the force be with you.
xo
Amy

Sunday, January 12, 2014

#Kinderblog Ketchup

(Ketchup... Catch-up... Get it? Never mind.)

Ok, folks, I am going to fly through the prompts that will get us all caught up to today, and then TOMORROW I AM GOING TO SCHEDULE THE PROMPTS FOR ALL OF NEXT WEEK. Because, clearly, I am unable to find a way to write 4 or 5 sentences every day. I BLAME THE PUPPY.

So, on Day 8: Wordless Wednesday! Post a photo of your favourite thing about your classroom, school, or office.

Day 9:  Walk us all through your before-school morning routine.

Day 10: TGIF! If you won the lottery, what would you do?

Day 11: Complete this sentence: "I get choked up every time I tell the story of _____"

And Day 12 (which is tomorrow, but let's just get it out of the day): Describe your very favourite article of clothing.

THERE. The ketchup/catch-up is done. Share your links in the comments so I can read your stuff.

And thanks for being patient with me.

Happy weekend, friends.

xo
Amy