An Ode to the Old School, and the enduring awesomeness of the Clunky Overhead Projector
BUT (you knew there was a “but” coming)... the neurological hard-wiring of the human brain has not evolved at the same rate as our technology. Its place in a classroom with children under 10 is, in my opinion, questionable. Technology is far more prevalent and sophisticated than it was 50 or 100 years ago, but the cognitive learning process of the 2017 kid remains essentially the same as 1967 kid or the 1917 kid.
So today, we look backwards to go forwards! We bring some 1917 and 1967 technology back into the classroom…
This week Google celebrates its 19th birthday, and the every-day-is-National-Something-Day calendar notes that it’s National Ancestor Day. So the eternal (and eternally divisive) question of using technology as a teacher, in a way that our early education predecessors could not, floats to the top of my mind.
This week: tech anxiety in planning. Next week: tech in the classroom.
“I don’t know how anyone taught preschool before Pinterest and Amazon and Google!” Every time I say this (and it’s…not entirely infrequent), I feel torn: lucky to have so many resources available, but also…kinda embarrassed.
Ack! What if questioning #teacherlife before Pinterest implies that I’m just lazy, or worse, unimaginative? Ack! Do fewer trips to the library mean I’m not living up to our foreteachers? (is foreteachers even a word?! It is now.) Ack! Am I letting someone else come up with ideas for me! Is my teacher brain shriveling?!
Hurricanes and earthquakes and destroying countries and terrorism and more hurricanes... Yipes! Today we're offering a few ideas for helping kids handle some of those fears.
Talk of destruction and suffering are all around us, and inescapably all around our children. It's scary! Add to that all the things that might be lurking in the dark or under our beds - any time we cannot see something, or do not understand how it works or why it happens, or find ourselves in a new situation we cannot predict, we may feel fear or anxiety - at any age.
Use Dramatic Play
We like to use dramatic play to help children cope with fears that are unlikely to occur (what if aliens attack?), and talking and games to handle fears that are more in the sphere of possibility (what if a hurricane comes to get us?)
We act out what might happen, with a silly or happy twist.
One of our favorite books to introduce this particular dramatic play activity is Ed Emberly's Go Away Big Green Monster. Monsters aren't so scary when you think of them as a collection of silly pieces instead of one big creature.
We like to have kids draw something they are fearful of, and then we work together as a group to figure out a way we could make that fear feel less scary.
Happy Wednesday! Today is International Positive Thinking Day! So today’s resource focuses on Positive Thinking and the Growth Mindset.
If you’re not yet familiar with the Growth Mindset, it’s a way of thinking - backed up by scientific research - to develop perseverance and resilience in the face of difficulty, and it opens up doors to new successful and quantifiable strategies for teachers and parents, in fact for anyone who is with a child when that child encounters something difficult.
It's back to school time, and that means any day now it will be... Fire Drill Time 😱
I don’t know about you, but every year I dread subjecting my preschoolers to the blaring alarms and bright flashing lights. I know that it’s important for their safety, but it can be scary and overwhelming for a little person.
One year my co-teacher and I felt that it would be helpful to create a fun, upbeat fire drill song, and we noticed that the students LOVED its sing-songy playful tune and were actually excited for fire drills!
The children enjoyed both singing the words and then silently mouthing the words to practice being quiet for the drill.
Click Below to learn the best Fire Drill Song for preschoolers!
CLICK HERE to request the FREE printable PDF of the fire safety poster pictured! (8.5'x11', no watermark) (we're still working on our email automation, but we'll get you the printable PDF file very promptly!)
Happy Wednesday again! Caroline here with our go-to books as a basis for lessons full of creative play. Many of these are deservedly well-loved classics. They are my favorites because each one is so rich with possibility, in different ways for different age groups. At this point, I can't pass up an opportunity to explore with these books and I ONLY read them out loud to kids when I know we will have time to create our own imaginary worlds right afterwards 😍
They work well in small settings too, if you’re looking for some fun parent-child or family time activity.
A great book for those very young and/or just beginning to grasp the concept of cooperative intentional dramatic play, use it as a jumping off point for a conversation about pretending, giving each child the opportunity to demonstrate for the class how to pretend that he/she is something else, or inviting the children as a group to pretend they are something - show me how a horse runs! Don’t forget to shake your horse tail!
Pardon the 80s-tastic graphic, but Heart to Heart really is one of my favorite community-building activities for my class! It can be used for almost any age group and takes no more than twenty minutes. It works particularly well during a meeting time when students can communicate directly with each other, using kind and complimentary words.
I recommend setting a time in your schedule to do this once a week. I usually end with this activity every Friday. We think it's a beautiful way to start the weekend.
Happy Wednesday! Danielle here. This is a list of my top five Material Must-Haves in any early childhood classroom. These materials make my life so much easier and ultimately save my class and school money.
Note: we do not receive any commission for these recommendations, they’re just products we love, and links to places we found them at a good value.
Reusable Dry Erase Pockets
These are the best! Forget having to laminate EVERYTHING your students use, just slip a sheet of paper in one of these and they’re ready to go. Organize them by student or by topic, just slide the new sheets in front of the old (or use double-sided). Sturdier than a sheet protector, more portable and versatile than a dry-erase board.
In addition to student use, I like to pin them up (with the grommet at the top) to use for erasable class signs like "There are __ days until Thanksgiving!" I also use them in place of a folder sometimes, to store sheets or activity-prep materials together, easily see what's inside, and label it without using up a post-it every time I change the contents. Also sold (sometimes more cheaply) as shop tickets.
We are a little early for our scheduled Wednesday post, but as a special thank you to you, our first blog readers, we wanted to provide this fun free classroom decoration!
The children are coming! The children are coming! (back to school)
Are you ready, teachers?
We bet you are, because you're awesome.
But just for good measure, here's a classic from our back-to-school print-and-go resources trove.
Today: Student Photo Frames in two themes, owls & flowers.
Use these (free!) printables on a wall, on the classroom door, in the hall, wherever you need. Students can draw their own faces into the circles, or you can snap a photo of each kid, print, cut out the face, and glue the faces in the circles.
Wise Little Owls
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