Sunday, 11 December 2011

Paper Chains. Connecting Kids.

I am a kinder teacher that thinks glitter is evil.  In a playful, not for me kinda way.  I am also a kindergarten teacher who thinks the same of Paper Chains.  You know them. Strips of paper mucked together with too much or too little tape, staples, or the dreaded glue sticks that are dollar store designed to come unstuck after a time lapse of anywhere from 2 hours to 2 days.  
I am thrilled this year to have two amazing K teachers to share my school with. One of whom managed to have her kinders build gorgeous, stayed stuck, patterned paper chains to celebrate 24 days till Christmas.  Hmmm.  Maybe we could muster 10?  
Then a couple of my  weeds attach theirs together. And of course, more join in.  “AHHHHH It is SOOOOO big.  It it TOOOOOO heavy!!” as they drag it around the room.  
“I wonder,” says I.  “Could it reach . . .  the office?”  And we smile.  
Over two days, teams build. Individuals set up work crews. Fine motor fingers pinch and glue. Bossy, Bold and ToldYouSo figure it out. Songs of triumph and pride are sung. Dances are danced around the growing pile. 
We hang the first chain in the Primary hallway. Hmmm - only half way there. . .
Some bigkids are looking.  
“How many?”  a grade 3er asks.   
“Well.  If this is ten, how many do you think?”  
I leave some stickies on the hall wall for guesses.  
Meanwhile, a kinder wonders, “It is  A LOT of chains.  Like maybe ahunfrendthree a thousand?” So we build and count  and make 10s and build 100.  And hang it and OHHHHHH look,  we make it!
And we smile. 
Bigkids are MORE curious.  So we make signs.  We set up a guess board. We make cookies for the kid that guesses the closest.  We say, “If this is 100, how many do you think?”  

And they do. Think. Estimate. Plan. Argue. Prove. Rethink. Record.

And the kinders look at the bigkids, who are looking at them. "Cool chain," says a bigkid. "You guys rock."  And we smile. 
I guess now I like paper chains.  But never glitter : )   

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Finger Knitting to Self Regulation to Cultural Chaos

We are going to start finger knitting in Kindergarten soon.  I thought it was a great way to practice fine motor skills. Tactile, beautiful, creative as well.    I was wrong.  It is apparently a commentary on all that is wrong with our Culture : ) Bear with me. 

Finger knitting is also an opportunity for me to help children self regulate, apparently something great learners need. Brain guys say that self regulation comes from repeated, rhythmic, soothing actions like chanting, drumming, rocking, knitting, weaving.  Engaging the brain stem and all that stuff.  
Sounds like your house any given day right?  Sounds like the kind of stuff we do all the time in our Culture. Peaceful, rhythmic, repeated, time consuming stuff.   
We get into these trends of what is important for kids to be globally successful. To be successful 21st century learners.   What if what is stopping us is our own Culture? What is it to be Culturally successful?  Gross overstatement alert here, but many world Cultures are self regulated and sustainable. Why in our Culture do we have to “teach” self regulation instead of it being embedded?

So. Finger knitting : )   Your brain cannot find the path to quiet reflection, to self regulation,  without having been there first, on its own terms.   We ask kids to be quiet and listen. We tell kids to reflect now, please.  Have you ever seen a group of people knitting? Quilting?  Conversation, reflection, a lull in conversation that is golden.   Or someone working at a loom, a puzzle, weaving, or kneading bread.  What we lightly refer to as hobbies, or schedule into a busy day as Me Time, or dismiss in another Culture as backward,  are an essential chunk of what helps children to cope with a Culture that might be stripping us of that. 
Technology allows us to visit other Cultures, to explore and reflect and compare. It allows us to share our Culture through stories and images and voices. It even creates some of that Culture. 
As long as we value and explore the rhythmic, repetitive chant that is a Culture at its quietist. At its most reflective.  At its most powerful. 

Thursday, 11 August 2011

The undone classroom

Lots of buzz out there about the undone classroom. Bare walls.  Clean slate.  Children will fill the walls with authentic learning.  Tossing the desk.  I agree, to a degree. I certainly have not had a desk since my first class set a beaver tail and feet on it over 20 years ago.  Had a piano for a while and loved it.   Played the weeds in, set stuff on it.  
Still no desk, but a Kinder room is different.   Ask any #kinderchat teacher. The environment is the third teacher.  Contemplating the set-up, ebb and flow, potential for play, discovery, learning consumes me like no day-planner ever has.  I gut my room over and over through-out the year. Re-imagine it.  Fellow teachers are often confused and unsure as to why I would do that. On purpose. 
My classroom is 
          a mirror, 
a portal, 
a reflection 
a diving board. 
It is haven and harbour.  
It provides calm and chaos. 
It hides treasures and hollers “Look at me!” 
So.  My day-planner remains empty.  That is for my weeds to fill, once I get to know them. 
But my room? A new weed yelped at me in the grocery store the other day. “HEY!!! You get to be in my classroom!!!”  I have to agree.  I get to be.  It had better be ready for her. While her classroom does not boast fancy bulletin boards and borders,  it will be ready.  Waiting, expecting, and as curious about her as she is about it.  Because when a weed walks through my door, it is not me who first holds her attention. It is the room.  Her room. His room. Our room. 

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Blog Challenge 5

Tell us about your greatest classroom disaster. The biggest mess, the lamest lesson, the most snooze-worthy circle time. Hopefully, even if you couldn't laugh about it at the time, you can laugh about it now.
Ok,  back to fun font for this one.  I know I asked for some levity,  but this one is a little tough!  I certainly have had my share of lame, ill conceived lessons whose sheer boredom factor could have me up for child abuse,  but all kind of hazy in detail.  As I have mentioned,  I do tend to misremember things, always for the better.  
While I have mellowed over time,  my early years of teaching were marked with flashes of brilliance, coupled with a complete disregard for consequences.  As a child,  I could always count on an older family member to bail me out, so really I thought that anything was possible,  and at the very least, should be attempted.   
Add to that I am the queen of connected tangents,  and you have my recipe for disaster.  A lesson that was brilliant and engaging. I could not fathom why no one had done it before. If twitter existed,  I probably would have been #lookatme!! all over it.  
I was teaching in a modular school, separate from the main school by the playground, and a million miles.  There were 4 of us out there - kind of our own club.  I was teaching a grade 2/3 combined class, and loving it.  We were looking at Air, Flight, and 3D solids.  We were focused on cause and effect,  and diagramming was (is) a huge part of my world .  And of course I was (and am)  all about kids having first hand experiences.  
Demonstrations? PPHAA!  
Videos??   Naaaaaa
Taking turns?  Rubbish.  
This idea was built for partners.  Built for collaboration, observation, consultation.  
So: Air. Flight. Geometric solids. Cause and effect.  
What if 28 seven and eight year olds determined which geometric solid was most aerodynamic?  What if, with a partner, one blew through a straw, on the face of a solid,  and the other determined where the air was directed? What if we diagrammed the air flow we felt?  
What if the main indicator of success was blowing out the candle flame so carefully positioned on the other side of the solid.  Yes, fellow traveller’s - the lit candle.  Not one candle managed in a class demonstration. Not a video clip of a candle.   14 groups, 14 candles stuck in 14 places with plasticine,  being lit (over and over) by your’s truly.   On purpose.  
We recently wrote a blog challenge about our school parents finding our blog. I hoped that mine would. If they are reading this,  I want you to know that I am older and wiser.  That while I still have flashes of brilliance,  it is rarely accompanied by actual flames.  That this lesson went with out a hitch. That kids were focused and careful, connected and safe the whole time. That I miss, sometimes,  the complete freedom that comes with youth, enthusiasm, and the conviction that anything is possible,  and at the very least, should be attempted.  

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Nope. Can’t. Not right now. Thoughts as I read this week's blog challenge. 
Tell the story of one specific child, who walked into your life and changed everything.
In a week of midnight accidents, ambulances, trauma, hospitals, and decisions. In a week of support, sounding board, stress and release. This is something I could let go of. Brain too busy.  Heart too heavy.  
But then I sat, down time, at MacD’s, writing in longhand no less. Cathartic in itself.  Because of that idea of changing everything, and how tiny that can be. 
I also had chosen not to write because I couldn’t focus on “the one” without another “one” creeping in.  I couldn’t write about “the child”, but today, I can write about this child. 
Unknown to me, a little weed from my class saw me go into the same grocery/pharmacy store that she was in. While I was preoccupied with prescriptions and consults, messages of medical jargon, she bided her time, poking down aisles, peeking. When she saw me - a long run, a huge hug, and a made-for-me bracelet fashioned from her pocket of craft bits she always seems to have. Dangling as well, a green grocery bread tag. More hugs, giggles, I miss you’s, a chat with mom, and off she went. 
She left me able to breath. Able to think. Able to continue to do those grown-up things that need to get done. Because now  I look at my pink plastic loop with Betty Boop and a bread tag and I smile. 
No other job on the planet matches mine. Take my work home? Sure. Homesick for work? Yep. Because my work hugs me in a grocery store and changes everything. 

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Hey, It's Me!

Blog Challenge 3

Imagine that a parent of one of your students, stumbling around the internet, happened to land on your blog. Not your class blog with your cute photos of all your munchkins and their amazing brilliant work. Your personal teacher-reflection blog, the one where your intended audience is mostly other teachers. Pretend that parent managed to figure out exactly who you were, and that you were their child's teacher. What would you want that parent to know? What would you say to that parent? Write the letter that you would want that parent to read.

I guess I would say, Hello.  

I take what I do seriously. It is important. It matters.  People are sometimes surprised by the passion and intensity with which I approach the education of young children.  That can irritate me.  Parents appreciate that bit of crazy. Because it is not just about any child.  It is about their child. 

So if a parent found my blog? I would say read on. Read the old posts, read the new posts. The kinders are always so thrilled to see me out of the school.  In real life.  This is no different.  This is me. Thinking out loud.  It can get messy : )  

Friday, 15 July 2011

Blog Challenge 2 Training Pants

Tell us about the teacher preparation you attended. (You don't have to name the school if you don't want to.) Did you love it at the time? Did it prepare you adequately for teaching? How did you feel about it as you were in it? Does it look different now, looking back? Would you change it if you could? What did get out of it? What did you not get that you needed?

I am starting to love writing. Blogging is the first writing I have done.  I have always preferred story telling. But writing expects reflection, invites connection.  Tangents. So.  Thinking back to last week’s topic of being a “teacher”, I have wrestled with my career long reluctance to be called a teacher.  Now I see why.  I was never trained to be a teacher.  I went in blind and young. I went in with a suitcase of life experiences from a childhood of freedom, expectation, imagination, and self reliance, given to me by my parents, my family, and the farm. 

I was woefully unprepared to teach actual children.  My major was Shakespeare,  and my minor was Urban Geography.  Education focused courses were in my last year only.  The science guy taught us how to fold paper to easily cut out letters for bulletin boards. Our language lady was reported to be excellent, but that year she was writing a book. The class was run by us - groups of 4 students took on what felt like a random topic and presented it.  We had to take a media course. Nope - longer ago than that.  I was taught how to run a mimeo,  filmstrip projector, opaque projector, and the dreaded Film projector.  Gimme an “oh ya Baby” if you can still hear the thwoop thwoop of the film end,  or smell the burning of improperly fed film . . .  The math sessions were gold. I inhaled her way of thinking, her approach, her philosophy, but I only appreciated a tiny bit of her at the time, in the moment.  
Thank heaven for the student teaching program at this university. My first teacher was a Grade 4 sweetie who wore his heart on his sleeve, and was a Town Crier (in full costume) on his weekends. He was accessible, caring, firm, and adored by those kids. And me.  He read the BFG out loud, and read to himself during the daily school reading time, wagging a finger at anyone who interrupted something as important as reading. I was only in his room for half a day a week, half the year.  What a treat. He taught me more in a quick aside on the way to the gym than any university course ever had. 
And then I got to do my first 8 week practicum. Miss Swann. Grade One. It was her first year teaching.  She was told when she was hired that she would be a Cooperating Teacher.  That 16 weeks would be given over to Student Teachers.  She was brilliant. Quiet, serene, she looked into a child’s face, and they believed in her. Trusted in her. Like Santa and the Tooth Fairy.  Regardless of the swirl of responsibility and chaos that had to be a part of her life, she put the kids, then me, first.  My first on-my-own-evaluated-by-a-bigwig lesson started beautifully,  and then workers came and began removing the massive windows that filled one wall of the classroom. From the back of the room she at me like she looked at her children. She smiled, shrugged, and raised one eye brow (I am not making this up!) She leaned in and her whole body said “What will you do?”  with utter confidence that I would figure it out.  I have no memory of what I did. It is on some University form somewhere.  Doesn’t matter. Someone believed that I could, so I did. 
My final practicum had it’s own hard lessons. Grade 5. All the stereotypes - inner school,  19 boys, 5 girls, disengaged teacher who introduced me the first day and left the room.  I tend to “misremember” things.  I know I went into high gear. I know we did tonnes of hands on, build it, create it, model it stuff,  and I found myself in it.  I know that I heard Barbara Coloroso speak, and adopted her say it-mean it mannerism, combined with what I had learned from Miss Swann. I know I looked like a 12 year old and bought “teacher” clothes. I know my cooperating teacher liked what I did,  but could only stay for evaluations because he found noise distressing.  I know that I got reprimanded for not spending enough time in the staffroom : )  I know that I learned a lot.  

Teachers trained me, not the university. Good or bad. Teachers continue to train me.  It always comes down to the relationship an adult has with children.  Always. The trust that children, reluctantly or willingly, place into your hands.  Santa and the Tooth fairy.  And Miss Swann.  And me.  
And you. 

Friday, 8 July 2011

Blog Challenge

When Amy thunk this up,  I was excited!  Once a week writing?  Never done it. Reflection matters. Mostly just to your own self,  but it matters. So Blog Challenge Begins!

Tell us the story of the first group of children for whom you were "Teacher." Maybe it was at a school, but maybe it wasn't. Maybe it was a childcare centre, or a daycamp, or a swimming pool or a dance studio or a hockey rink.  Maybe it was in your own home, or their home. Who were they? Who were you? What did it FEEL like? Maybe it was amazing. Maybe it was terrible. Either way, there is a story there. Tell it.
I roll the children, classes, schools, situations thru my head and wonder,  have I ever been the “teacher” . . . really?  I am big on “moments.” Those times that define you and chart your course.  But I do not have a “teaching” moment.
Decades ago, I was a horrible babysitter.  Disengaged, routined, hohummity. One would not have pegged me as a teacher in training. 
During University summers, I ran the 5 to 12 yr old day camp in my home town - focused, committed, “fun” but again, disengaged.  Too busy, too committed to the next moment to watch kids enjoy that moment. 
My first teaching job was unique and wonderful, frightening and freeing.  A fly-in reserve in Manitoba.  I think of those kids so often.  I was given beaver feet and tail in a plastic bag my first day with the Grade 4’s. The tail was so heavy, solid, unlike anything I had ever seen.  Like teaching can be.  But unyielding,  as my teaching was.   Certainly,  I taught at children rather than to them and yet, they taught me to look at them - Craig, Amy, Wade, John. Years later I can name that entire class, see them in my mind’s eye. 
When I moved to the grade 2 class, meeting curriculum challenges was low on the list. Letting Terrence sleep in the big chair dressed in his favourite dressup reindeer costume after spending the night sleeping in a truck seemed more important than curriculum outcome 1.2.5.  I told him a story as his eyes drooped closed, and he taught me the power of dressups in a difficult world.
Moving thru settings, schools, wrestling with philosophies and pedagogy, the kids never change. 
Allison,  when asked to create a math problem about santa peered thru  translucent pattern blocks and said matter-of -fact “What if he doesn’t come? That’s a problem. ” She taught me to look deeper and think harder. 
Goeffry, who saw math as we dream kids could now.  Intuitive, reflective, connected, beyond me.  I said “show me what you know” and he taught me how to leap - eyes wide open - into the unknown. 
Jacob, a grade seven student who taught me that small moments add up and matter. 
These moments, these aha-slam-into-you moments, happen over and over, year after year.   Ryan and Natasha, Nicole. Reid.  Caleb and Mike - figuring it out for themselves.  The fierce look of pride and triumph that flashes across a child’s face.   None of them feel like teaching moments.  They feel like learning.  My learning.  So.  
Now what? Re-reading this at a reasonable hour after a decent nights sleep,  I realize that I once again took a tangent. No one asked me for that moment when I felt like a teacher - just that first experience. The queen of tangents would like to say it is all connected. That every class feels like a first class. I would like to believe that in all that learning, perhaps there was some teaching going on. But really, who am I 
kidding : ) I have had the privilege of being schooled by amazing children for many years,  and I hope no one comes calling for back pay! 

Monday, 25 April 2011

Storyboards: The Power of Props*

(*There are photos of kid's stuff this time - you can skip my blah blah and jump to paragraph 4 : )

So.  I started a blog with no real plan. I do want to ramp things up next year,  when I have full day Kinder and more time (haha). I guess I wanted to see if I would actually stick to it.  
I see two sides to blogs. 
Reflective.  Yep, doing that. And man, has it focused my thinking during a very fuzzy time for me. 
Celebratory. That #iamburstingtoshowyouwhattheydidtoday! 
I want parents to see the process, not just the scrapbook of stuff. We do student-led conferences, portfolios, newsletters, emails,  parent visits, videos,  but parents miss moments.  Moments that matter. The mess and play and discovery that teachers so want kids to be able to share with the people important to them - their families.  In as “real time” as possible.  I am kinda limited because of privacy concerns right now, but I am working on it. 
So.  A huge thanks to twitterfriends who post these amazing moments. Who inspire others to post the same. This post inspiration comes from a link to storyboards - my very favorite kindergarten thing! Please let me know about your inspired,  made from stuff around the room,  masterpieces! 
We work on storyboards all year - creating props for favourite stories to encourage retelling, reinventing, blending stories into our own. We use a Flip for a center called “Make a Movie” so that we can record our masterpieces.  Right now, we are building a story board for Frog Belly Rat Bone A brilliant story of treasure, specks, friends, thieves, teamwork, and the power of good old mother earth. 

Before the specks . . . 
After the specks . . . 

Individual Story Boards

We have quite a few now, but these are the go to favourites - There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow  creating a class story board

GO AWAY BIG GREEN MONSTER  with removable parts 

And a beginning to end of year fav story based on a book, but i didn’t have the props, so i changed it story board The Snake and the Frogs, based on  Mouse Count

If you made it this far, I feel that upon reflection, my celebratory post seems a little  LOOK AT ME rather than look at my little weeds . . . .  Maybe blogging is triangular, or better still,  and irregular polygon - many sided : )

Friday, 22 April 2011

Boys will be boys.

Cliche, but on my mind often.  #Kinderchat topic a few weeks ago evolved into this discussion about boys and rough housing.   Boys and guns.  And continues to come up through figuring out violence in kinder writing. Weeds in the Kindergarten. #kinderchat is buzzing right now with ideas. 
But the niggling thought comes back to me - Why Not? Ever read the original version of Red Riding Hood? Russel Hoban’s book Monsters? Watched Bugs Bunny for the zillienth time and still laugh out loud?  
Kids are surrounded by more violence than ever before.  And not cartoon violence, or storybook violence. Visual screen violence that research indicates affects the brain the same way that real violence does. 
Kids live with violence in their homes, on their streets.  Shouldn’t we give them the opportunity to explore, discuss, dispute, refute, re-evaluate, re-educate? That is what we do.  That is the basis of learning. We know kindergarten is not all butterflies and sharing. It is messy, and mean. We get mad. Mistakes are made and feelings are hurt. Not everything gets fixed right away.  
I don’t know.  I wish I did. I know I want boys to be boys. Snails and puppy-dog tails. (Tangent - were those tails CUT OFF??!!)  Anyway. 
More questions than answers. But a growing thought that a bit of this and that with discussion and acceptance and exploration can go a long way for a little weed.  To make sense of this dichotomy of violence in a little weed's world. 
But I might be wrong.  It happens.  

Sunday, 17 April 2011

“They are acting like kindergarteners”

Heavy sigh.  It is election time in the great white north,  and this comment has come up more than once to describe our political culture - yelling, stomping, tantrums, a refusal to listen, bullying, fingers in the ears blah blah blah. 

I am a patient woman, but if ANYONE refers to this type of behavior as “kindergarten” again, I will lose it all over them.  
You WISH our governments acted like kinders. 
You WISH our corporations acted like kinders. 
You WISH our adults acted like kinders. 
Kinders are curious and openminded.
KInders learn from mistakes, and unexpected consequences, and failure.
Kinders watch, and listen, and reflect, and try again.
Ever seen a kinder negotiate for a prized toy? 
Ever seen a kinder bounce back from disappointment and frustration? 
Ever seen a kinder look at another and say “I can help you with that”
Ever seen an idea bounce from one kinder brain to another and another to create greatness?  
Without the argument that “My brilliance is shinier and better than yours! “ 
I have. Kinder teachers know. We are there, modeling, coaching, engaging, expecting, celebrating.  
Maybe we need kindergarten kids and their teachers in parliaments and board rooms. Not elected or as CEOs, good heaven’s no.  As facilitators, mentors, reminders.  That what we teach our youngest should matter. It should be reflected in the society that they are RIGHT NOW looking up to.  Time for you to stop acting like adults, and start acting like KIndergarteners . 

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Tickles or Bonks

Special thanks to @Mr_Fines, @lamhrainbow , @ryflinn@Matt_Gomez Daddy Ducks one and all.
I recently attended a conference with a keynote from Dr Newfeld. The twitter version of it is #kidswilllearniftheyformanattatchmenttoyou.  That is what children are hardwired to do. Follow their Mother Duck, because they trust, believe, accept, care, respect.  Hardwired to balk at following some random duck just cause they were told to.  That all the pedagogy, and technology, and time matters for naught if kids are not attached to you.  That for some kids that means physical contact.  Hmmm. 
Years ago, when I first started all this that we called “school”, this ability to form a connection with the kids in my care came very naturally - hugs, hands, head pats, were a regular part of the day. I did stop wearing skirts though. Kinders have a weird affection for ankles encased in pantihose!  As I taught older children, the level of connection didn’t change, just the way we showed it. Tickles, Bonks, or a Wink on the way out the door was a great favourite - most picked getting bonked with a long wrapping paper roll, and nothing is as much fun as trying to wink. 
A combination of settings and circumstances have slowly discouraged me from being that type of Mother Duck. I have over the years slowly stepped back from the deep and often demonstrative world that is connecting and caring for children.  I have heard myself say “Hugs are for at home sweetie - can I have a handshake?” Political correctness, and all that. There are, of course, more professional and less personal ways to show kids they matter. I know, I still have managed to connect with kid anyway. 
Except for three little ducklings in my care this year.  Of course, handshakes are not enough. They push past the hand and into a hug. They tug my hand and twirl into a better hug. They know. They know it matters. They know I have missed it.  They know it makes me better. 
So. I am leaping back in. Quack! Quack! Tickles, bonks, hugs, hands, winks - bring it on.  Because connection brings caring, and caring brings respect, and when a duckling looks at you with care and respect, you can help them do anything.  

Friday, 8 April 2011

Pencil Cases

I am privileged to teach 34 little ones everyday.  Still a half day program,  so it is hectic and fast paced.  16 in the morning, 18 in the afternoon. You develop this dark desire to be organized so that you can find the treasured time to slow down every once in a while.  

So. I go through stages with the little one supplies - we share everything, to keep it simple. Table tins at the beginning of the year,  tool tins for two as we go along. Finally,  in the last three months, pencil cases.  The kids go through our class store,  and collect what they think they might need - scissors, pencils, science colors, artists crayons, glue to stick stuff together.  Of course an eraser.  We don’t use erasers in kinder.  Not until now. Not until we get a pencil case.  
After all that sharing, the pull and pleasure that a pencil case of your very own brings is palpable for some. One little one asked another why pencil cases? Her friend replied “Well, duh! You can’t go to grade one without a pencil case!” 

Because a pencil case is like a driver’s license.  A rite of passage to the big kids world. Even with all the wonder of technology that I find miraculous, and a 5 year old finds mundane, this is still true. 
So.  In this new-to-me world of social media that would be more aptly named learning media, I want to make sure my little ones pack a pencil case of the things they might need - communication, collaboration, reflection, connection, curiosity,  an eraser, and glue to stick stuff together. 

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Spoken Word

Social Media is a catch 22 thing.  
The PLN is extraordinary.  I live in a small town,  and this connects me like nothing before.  
On the flip side, I am a talker.  Insanely committed to the spoken word.  Inflection, tone, nuance. 
I lack the ability to “speak” online. Lots of people can. Inflection, tone, nuance. 
So. What I write,  and what I mean are sometimes at odds. 
So. If I am ever unclear in 140 characters, here are trillion to explain it.
I believe in exaggerating
I believe in kindergarten
I believe that the child who has confidence will rock this world
I believe it is my pleasure to give them that
I believe I am preparing kids for life, not school
I believe that is crazy talk - 
I believe that I should be prepared for them, not the other way around
I believe play, exploration, curiosity
I believe in high hopes, failure, and persistence
I believe in experiences before expectations
I believe learning is subtle, explosive, silent, screaming, sneaky
I believe we grow better scattered with others than planted in rows
I believe listening to a child is easier than listening to a grownup
I believe in tangents
I believe in a good tea party with really tiny teacups
I believe I will change my mind, probably soon
I believe I will change direction, probably soon
I believe I can live with that
I believe this is narcissistic and longwinded
I believe that’s me! 
I believe in weeds. I once was one. 
I believe I still am. 

Saturday, 26 March 2011


More to blogging than I thought. In addition to brilliant things around me,  I had to do things like choose a name.  It stopped me really. Thought of the great blogs I read. Miss Night Mutters  ? Look At My Happy Rainbow? flyontheclassroomwall  Kinderchat? Mrs anybodies everything . . .

I love the happyrainbow sprouts reference. KinderGarden.  Again, brilliant.  My  Kinders visit my garden every year.  It is a sorry excuse for a garden. Tiny, with a greenhouse built by me and my t'other  out of old windows. Seriously, fewer than 100 square feet growing space and a short growing period.

Kinda like kindergarten.

But kinders bring magic to the garden. They believe. Stuff grows.

So we give 'em the soil, seeds, a soak, sun, smiles, support.   But we don't pull the weeds. A kinder was adamant about that. "What if you're wrong?" she argued.  So we give the weeds their space.

I teach kinder because it feels like the best place - where weeds are welcome, tended, allowed to thrive. They might grow into anything. So much possibility.  Brilliant.