Saturday, September 27, 2014

Lovable in Kindergarten

September has become "love bug season" here in rural North Florida.  These harmless, fragile insects (scientifically referred to as Plecia nearctica) are found everywhere...including windshields and playgrounds.  As with any insect, our Kinders have been fascinated by them.  They chase them, call out for them, and delight when a pair (or four) lands on them for a short while.  When the love bug invasion first appeared the kids were a little frightened, naturally, so me and my co-teachers  explained that these insects are very gentle, do not sting, and are happiest when they have a partner with them.  Our explanations seem to work, and soon the kids were seeking the bugs out instead of running from them.

Yesterday one of my students scurried up to my classroom intern, Miss Jones, and gleefully exclaimed as she showed her a pair of love bugs who had landed on her shirt, "Look Miss Jones...I'm lovable!"  I think our recent love bug invasion could not have been more timely at the beginning of the school year, when we are learning what it means to love...and how to be lovable.  I think we will all be a little sad when our gentle visiting insects migrate on.  Perhaps they will visit another playground and help to teach little learners what being lovable is all about.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Abracadabra....Kagan Magic!

Last week I had the privilege of attending a week-long Kagan Cooperating Learning Institute.  I say it was a privilege because it was an all expense paid opportunity for myself and 9 colleagues from our local school district. I had heard about the program for years, and had tucked it away on my mental wish list.  When the opportunity came, I jumped right on it!

The quality of the training was top-notch...probably some of the best that I have experienced in my teaching career.  Our facilitator was just amazing.  She was a former teacher, administrator, and college-level instructor.  She was honest, funny, energetic, and extremely knowledgeable.  She kept us moving all week long and inspired us connect with each other in positive and meaningful ways, all the while modeling Kagan ideals, strategies and structures.

It was definitely an eye-opening game-changer for my group and totally turned our ideas of cooperative learning upside down by providing research based management tools and strategies that can be easily implemented in our classrooms, regardless of grade-level or content area.

Best of all it just "made sense."  And in an era of constant change in assessments, standards, curriculum, and fly-by-night educational trends that are "guaranteed" to work, it was refreshing and comforting to experience something that just might be the magic that I'm looking for in my classroom.

I've got my magic Kagan wand polished and ready to go on August 18 and I can't wait!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Back to the Land of Blog

Once upon a time there was a Kindergarten teacher from a little town called Crawfordville.  She loved to blog.  She blogged in the daytime and she blogged at night.  She blogged about dreams of things to come, stories of dreams that came and went, and other stuff.

After some time passed, this teacher became a little tired of blogging.  It was like she just ran out of the energy to blog.  It was unfortunate because this teacher still had plenty to share...dreams of things to come, stories of dreams that came and went, and other stuff.

One day years later, she happened upon her old blog.  It was strictly out of curiosity.  She simply wanted to find out if her blog was still there.  With a click of a key (and one eye open and one eye shut), she got her answer.  It was there.  Just like she left it all those years ago.  Now what was she to do?

She began to read her old posts and something magical happened.  The more she read, the more she smiled.  The more she smiled, the more excited she became.  And then an an answer magically came to her.....BLOG!

She realized in that moment that she still had plenty to share....dreams of things to come, stories of dreams that came and went, and other stuff.  LOTS of other stuff.

And so her adventure in the Land of Blog began again.....