Friday, May 16, 2014

Five for Friday May16

I am linking up with Kacey from Doodlebugs Teaching for another fun Five for Friday linky.
Thank you for hosting, Kacey. I find myself thinking of my favorite five all week long.

Last weekend we had a wonderful time at my daughter Emily's graduation from Niagara University. The weather was gorgeous, and so was the ceremony.  We had a great time with friends at a party afterward, too.  We only had two tickets (because it was inside), so only Jeff and I went up to the graduation.  We are going to have a family celebration here for everyone. You would have thought we might have had SOMEONE take a picture of the three of us, wouldn't you?!

Since it is that time of  year when USUALLY I have found frog and toad eggs in the pond, I wanted to share my Frog and Toad Prezi with you if you would like it, and maybe are watching some eggs in your classroom.
I keep hearing frogs and toads, but haven't seen any eggs yet.  My Prezi is free this week if you would like it. It includes a simple biography of Arnold Lobel (author of the famous, fabulous Frog and Toad books), links to an interview with his daughter who continued on with his work as an author herself, some videos of his stories, and some online games.  I also included some pictures that I like to use to compare frogs and toads and their eggs.  Have fun!

We grew some lollipops using our imaginations! The book The Gumdrop Tree is a great way to remind the children to never lose their wonderful imaginations. Here is my post about that book and some other fun ideas.

This time of year, I always have my dandelion activities ready to go for the perfect moment.  It really isn't something you can plan down to the day- you just have to do it!  I love spur the moment fun with the kids. They remember that, too. We had a great time. We read books, wrote about our dandelion wishes, did a little dandelion math, and decided that dandelions are actually quite pretty flowers.  So it was a successful day.  I posted about it HERE.

My number 5 is a huge bit of a rant.  I feel like it is partly on behalf of  Friedrich Froebel, because he would be so sad to see what has become of his idea of a "child's garden."  Kindergarten was to be based around playing, singing, practical activities, and social interaction as part of the transition from home to school. 
Friedrich Froebel and Kindergarten. Brandy Agerbeck's Graphic Facilitation Work
Yesterday I took a professional development class with our school's  occupational therapist.  She's wonderful and does a great job with the children.  She was sharing activities to do with children in the classroom to help with OT issues.  She has five times as many students to service in our school with the incoming Kindergarten class than she had this year.

I don't see how anyone can be surprised.  People wonder why there is such an increase in needs for OT and PT, and drugs for ADD and ADHD.  How can we wonder this?  Which one of us could sit do anything for a solid hour everyday at our age now without a break?  Of course children get active and distracted.

As teachers, we know that we are supposed to take into account what is developmentally best for the children we teach. We need to be able to do that, not feel guilty doing it, and be strong enough to defend that we are doing what is best for children. But how sad that we have to defend it, and that it isn't obvious. These precious, inquisitive, questioning creatures  crave hands-on experiences and movement, as the best part of their learning. Kindergarteners are so capable and so willing and eager to learn.  They amaze me. But somehow the word "developmental" has become outdated and ignored.

How sad that good teachers know what they need to do, so they shut the door and do what is right for children by giving them time to be children, like it's wrong or frivolous.  Luckily, my Principal knows and appreciates the whole child, encourages brain breaks, and realizes the benefit of movement and experiences for children. Many of these children aren't getting experiences at home with exploration and play like they used to, either.

I honestly feel like we are on this path of "flipped classrooms"even for young children,  where children will be learning on iPads or whatever devices they have at home, and school will have to be where they learn to socialize, be healthy, exercise, be polite, practice manners, and have hands-on opportunities for learning. One reason cited for so many OT referrals is the overload of technology at such a young age.  Some children don't know how to climb jungle gyms,  jump rope, or play tag.

Technology is amazing. It is a valuable tool for teaching. But it's only one part.
Our country's quest to be compared to other countries with high test scores is scary.  Those children are often not well-balanced, happy children, but well trained test takers, who from a young age are afraid to do anything but succeed academically.  It makes me sad when test scores are a driving factor. My children are beautiful readers and writers.  They try so hard for me because they know that I am so proud of each of their accomplishments- just like I'm sure your students are.  Still, I feel this pressure that I am not spending enough minutes reading, or writing, or adding, or subtracting, or something.  If I feel the pressure, you can bet the kids do, too.

Lots of times I  write these posts like a journal, mostly to remind MYSELF that I am not crazy to let the children be children. Moments like this remind me that letting them be little is a pretty wonderful thing.

Thanks for listening.  
Have a beautiful weekend!


  1. Hi Carolyn,

    You have echoed my thoughts exactly in your number 5! I might print your words and display them in my office to remind me (in a more eloquent way than my thoughts express) why I love to teach little ones. How horrible that we should even think about disguising play experiences in our weekly timetables... how important for us to remember that our kidlets deserve the opportunity to learn in a way that is developmentally appropriate for them.

    Your blog is one of my favourites because you are such an advocate for children being children. :)

    Love, Laughter and Learning in Prep!

  2. Glad to see other teachers still let kids be kids.

  3. Well said!!! I love your blog and agree. We need to let them explore and discover and question!!!

  4. Your daughter is beautiful! I also highly value play and will be moving back to kindergarten next year. You are not alone in feeling s.h.o.c.k.e.d. that kids don't know how to do basic movements (climb jungle gym, etc). I think another important piece is to inform and involve parents.

  5. So beautifully said Carolyn! I'm so happy for those kids in your class - they are LUCKY!
    Whimsy Workshop Teaching


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