Express Yourself

Bottling up feelings is never a good idea, and today’s children would likely need multiple warehouses filled with gallon upon gallon to store theirs in! There’s no doubt about it, we are living in an increasingly stressful world, which is why it has never been more important to get our students talking about their feelings.

Carving out time for kids to verbally express themselves during the school day not only builds mentally stronger young people and shows that they’re cared about; it also better prepares them to tackle future problems on their own. Studies have even found that after expressing their feelings in a structured & meaningful way, students are then more likely to be interested in and successful with content area learning. 

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Can We Talk?

Have you ever peeked your head into a bright, cheerful preschool classroom and walked away thinking things like ‘They’re just so darn cute!’ or ‘They have such fun, playing all day!’ ?

On one hand, you would be (mostly) accurate … the children are adorable and there definitely is time carved out for play (which, by the way, is children’s work). On the other hand, look (or should I say ‘listen’) a little closer, and you’ll notice that as children are playing house, painting pictures, building blocks, and looking at picture books, they’re also – ideally - engaged in conversations with one another.

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Marching into Reading Month

It’s here! It’s here! No, not spring break, or summer vacation, or my latest Amazon purchase. I’m talking about 'March-Is-Reading-Month’, my favorite month of the school year! Getting kids excited about stories, books, and reading is one of the things I’ve always cherished most about being a teacher. Naturally, the whole country celebrating literacy together throughout the month of March is extra special to me.

All around the world, for hundreds, if not thousands of years, spoken language has been the very foundation of storytelling… of tales passed down from generation to generation. At the heart of every story are the storytellers… the ones who were eyewitnesses to an event, or who possess a life lesson to share, or who have rich imaginations that they’ve woven into an entertaining tale. Over time, those stories often become books, guaranteeing that they’ll be read and reread for decades to come.

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Love (for reading) is in the Air

As a very little girl, I loved books and being read to. I vividly remember checking books out from the local library & from our neighborhood bookmobile, as well as my own vast collection of Little Golden Books. As a preteen I cherished being allowed to stay up an extra half an hour before bed to read my Beverly Cleary books. My friends and I look back and laugh at how cool we thought we were when we graduated to Judy Bloom! It’s no wonder that as an adult I chose to pursue a career in education and language. I cherish my love of books and of reading, yet I understand that for some students, reading can feel like a cringeworthy chore.

Looking for a few ways to instill a love of reading in your students?

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Movement Matters

Close your eyes for a moment and think back to your own elementary school days. No matter what part of the world you are from, no matter what type of school you attended, when you conjure up a memory or two from this time period in your life, you likely see an outdoor playground of some kind. Whether it includes typical playground equipment like a slide or swing set, or just an open field or empty parking lot where jump ropes, soccer balls, or hula hoops were carried to, active movement during the school day has always been universal!

Yet, with time for traditional recess being incrementally shortened and the notion of ‘indoor recess’ (usually meaning puzzles, board games, blocks---great stuff but still sedentary) gaining in popularity, our youngest students are getting less and less intentional time for large motor play.  Not to mention that with our ‘new normal’ it’s pretty likely that your school’s Phys. Ed teacher is down the hall covering a homeroom class, meaning that gym time is cancelled.

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