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.
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!
Bitty City Players offers theater and science enrichment through after-school programs, in-school workshops, and events for ages 1-10 in NYC.
Learn more about the organization and our team here.