In an introduction paragraph of the writing domain of the Texas Pre-Kindergarten Guidelines it states, "as young children understand that marks convey meaning (what they think, they can say; and what they say, they can write), it is important to model that writing is not simply about a product.” This statement closely parallels the practices I have shared in previous posts on storytelling and drawing...

Often when we think about drawing in the classroom, it is valued as a way of expressing oneself. We tend to shy away from doing direct instruction focused on the crafts of drawing as not to interfere with the “creative self,” but it may be time for change. In the book, Talking, Drawing, Writing: Lessons for Our Youngest Writers, by Martha Horn and Mary Ellen Giacobbe, drawing is valued the same as a w...

By now, educators are greeting fresh smiling faces, basking in the beauty of their newly decorated classrooms, and remembering just how amazing it is to work side by side with children each and every day. As we begin to get to know our new young students and plan our lessons we must ask ourselves, “What can these students do beginning from the very first day of school?” Donald Graves, a dedicated educ...

As I struggled to think of what to write about for this blog post, I thought about what it must be like for children when we tell them to write a story. I felt a lot like Ralph from the picture book, Ralph Tells a Story, written by Abby Hanlon. Ralph’s teacher tells him that stories are everywhere but every day at writing time he searches high and low and can never find a story to write. It wasn’t unt...

During a session I presented on positive guidance, participants were asked to write down words that described life in the world we live in today. The responses described life to be complex, distracting, fast-moving, and stressful. The conclusion was drawn that if this is the way the world is for us now, it will only be more so for our children. As educators and as parents, we do not want our children...

Trillions of neural connections are formed in the early years of life which develop the foundation for future learning. Like the assembly of a home, the brain is built from the bottom up. The difference is that houses are eventually completed, but the brain is under constant construction. Executive Function skills are developed through this construction of neural connections. Executive Function allows...

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Training Spotlight

1st-3rd grade educators worked together to learn engaging ways to develop number sense. Students will develop fact fluency while playing games that use their number sense strategies. By learning their facts in this way, students are not merely memorizing, but rather learning to work with numbers flexibly.  “Low achievers are often low achievers not because they know less but because they don’t use numbers flexibly – they have been set on the wrong path, often from an early age, of trying to memorize methods instead of interacting with numbers flexibly.” Jo Boaler,  Stanford University, 2009

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April 8, 2019

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