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Saturday, July 2, 2016

School's Out Blog Hop

Whoot! Whoot! It is SUMMER and that's reason to celebrate so I've joined up with some lovely blogging ladies for the


I'm sharing all sorts of stuff– some choice books, my summer bucket list, a limited time freebie on TPT, and the chance to win a $100 TPT gift card! Here we go!


I added a half dozen new books to my constant pile from which I'm always reading. I'm going to share two of them that I'm most excited about.

First of all, I should probably share what is going on with me right now. I LOVE five year olds. I am a kid person and think kids of all ages are neat, but the year kids are five is my favorite year of childhood, I think. So many things are happening in those growing brains and because they are quite verbal while still being pretty egocentric, you get great glimpses into what they are thinking.

Kindergarten is the logical place for me, right? Yes... and no. I don't need to tell anyone reading this post that there are some things happening in kindergarten that from a child development perspective are less than ideal. So, I have stepped up to the bat to teach a Young 5s class next year at our school. It is not a given that it is going to happen at this point and the final decision as to it's existence will come about in the last days before school starts– it's all about the numbers, isn't it? I have my fingers, toes, arms, eyes, tongue (tongue?) and every other crossable body part crossed in hopes that it will happen. I'll be blogging about it in the future so for now I just share that whether I have a kindergarten or Y5 class next year, I have a strong desire to provide deeper and more meaningful hands-on exploration and play opportunities for my students. Simply put, that is where all learning begins. I strive each year to keep the hands-on imaginative piece front and center to learning- no matter if the learning is math, science, reading, or writing. With all the curriculum we have to teach it is a struggle, and I know a lot of other kindergarten teachers struggle, too.

In my search to keep focused on play, and to keep the learning fresh, the most recent addition to my reading pile is Loose Parts: Inspiring Play in Young Children written by Lisa Daly and Miriam Beloglovsky.



I am a hoarder collector by nature. I have dozens if not hundreds of wine corks, marker caps, woody pinecones, buttons, bandanas, etc, etc. And I do use them with my students. However, when I saw this book, I knew uses for my treasures would expand tenfold.

The book is divided by parts and chapters: Senses– Color, Texture, Sound; Creativity–Art, Design, Symbolic Play; Action– Movement, Transporting, Connecting/Disconnecting;  and Inquiry– Construction, Investigation, Correlation. Good, eh? The book is simply gorgeous with hundreds of photos that are pure eye candy to this teacher. And the book forward includes special thanks to Bev Bos. I am not a teacher who fell off the apple cart yesterday... in other words I have many years of experience in teaching young kids and I am proud to say one of the earliest influences over my thinking came from Bev Bos. Don't know of Bev? Just google to find her books, her songs, her thought provoking and boundary pushing ideas about kids. Bev passed away this year just a few months ago, which means she is truly legendary, and anybody who teaches young children must get to know her words and her work.

Another little swarm of topics buzzing around in my brain include maker spaces, STEAM (STEM with arts added in), and early foundations for writing. I was happy to stumble upon Make Writing by Angela Stockman.



The subtitle says it all– 5 Teaching Strategies That Turn Writer's Workshop Into a Maker Space. This book has a broader audience than Loose Parts in that it is written with students of all ages in mind. I hope to glean new ideas and ways of thinking about writing from this read.

Any of you out there wanna do a book study with either of these two books? We'll figure out how to do it no matter where you live in this wide world. Just throw me an email and we'll see what we can cook up. I'll probably be blogging about some of the concepts that strike me strongest over the summer, so if you are too shy to email me– geesh– just keep coming back for my little monologues... but I sure wish you'd join me :)


Okay, I am least excited about this part of the post. It's not because I have anything against summer bucket lists– I think they are a good way to organize the summer. Let's just suffice it to say that I have to move classrooms AGAIN. I had to a mere five years ago. I went from THE kindergarten classroom in the building, as designated on the school blueprints, with wonderful space and storage, to a total space of about half the size. And the room I'm moving to now is another twenty percent smaller with very poor storage. My family lost the garage with the first move, I had to haul so much equipment and materials home. At the moment two rooms in the house are crowded with more stuff awaiting it's fate– to be carted off to the Salvation Army or lugged back to school if a miracle happens and I create a niche for it. Deciding what to keep and not keep is also complicated by not knowing with certainly that I'll be teaching Young 5s. 

I have swung between rage and despair. Cramped quarters to teach and learn in. So much good stuff that will not be in the hands of my kiddos– wonderful materials that I have purchased with my own money. And now blood, sweat, tears, days of work and more money will go into making the new space work, and creating storage out of nothing. The reasons for this move I cannot discuss here, but let's just say they are "less than convincing." How do you spell disrespect?



So the first to-do on my summer bucket list is simply to create the best possible classroom for five year olds, be it kindergarten or Young 5s, under some rather restrictive new parameters.  In other words, I'm about to attempt magic. 



And second on my very short bucket list is finding time for relaxation. In between the days spent at school may I find the rest and activity that lets me be a person first and a teacher second. I want to start school in September rested and rejuvenated, in spite of the work ahead, and with nothing but a positive, enthusiastic outlook on my new classroom and (hopefully) new program. Stay tuned if you are into imaginative storage ideas and classroom set-ups, because I'll be doing a good bit of problem solving on this score, and I will blog about this new "adventure." As my mother-in-law always said, "Adventure is inconvenience rightly perceived!" She was a very positive lady– her nickname was actually Happy. Here's to new perceptions. 



Now, I mentioned there would be a limited time FREEBIE on my TPT store. Many of you know I am not one of the big TPT bloggers. snort. In fact I don't think I qualify as even a miniscule TPT blogger. Most items in my tiny shop are free. But I do have a packet that K-2 teachers will have fun with and that is my letter writing packet. So although it is usually two dollars, for this short period it is FREE! DH Jonathan did the graphics for it, so it has some good stuff your kids will like to use. And having opportunity to write letters is a great mini-unit for writing in the classroom. Just click on the image below to find it on TPT.


And NOW here is your chance to win a $100 TPT gift certificate! Just click to follow me on Bloglovin' or email– I can check either method. And if you already follow me than put that and QUICK enter! 

School's Out Blog Blowout


Thanks to all my regular followers for stopping by. And to any new readers, I hope you found some interesting stuff and some new bloggers to follow on the hop. I have lots of ideas for summer blog posts– classroom set-up and storage ideas, new shopping finds, reading materials that help tweak teaching practice to be as effective as possible, and even a funny kid story or two. I hope to see you again soon!

Click the image below to take you to Mrs. Spangler in the Middle, the next blogger on the hop! Read, enter, and good luck to you!







11 comments:

  1. That book, Make Writing, has a very interesting title - I like the idea of "making". I might just have to take you up on a book study even though I teach students that are 11 & 12. :)

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    1. I hope to start reading soon. I think it will help diversify instruction and I bet there'd be some among your older kids who would benefit as well. Meet those learners where they are! See you next time. Kathleen

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  2. Oh Kathleen, I do feel for you - space & storage are essential when teaching little ones - they should NOT be sitting at tables for most of the day and they need LOADS of resources they can physically get their hands on. The changing face of education for young children here in the UK has not sat comfortably with me - hence my decision for certain life changes but I truly hope that you will be able to continue in your indomitable style because you are a teacher these children do so need! A wonderful blog post as usual :) Special Teaching at Pempi’s Palace

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    1. Thanks! It's good to know others know why it is important... sometimes I feel the only one. I can do it... I will do it... I'll post pics! Thanks for stopping in! Kathleen

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  3. "Make Writing" looks like an interesting read! I recently facilitated a professional development group (including two kindergarten teachers) who were planning lessons for Writer's Workshop this school year.

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    1. Well, perhaps this book would be of interest to this group. Looks like I gotta read it fast and do a review so we all know more about it. Thanks for stopping by! Kathleen

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  4. Hi Kathleen, you sound like the perfect kinder teacher! My oldest son is starting kinder this fall and as a teacher and mom it's difficult to see and know that kid's needs aren't always honored in school systems. Good luck with your new room, I sure you will work some "magic" this year! :)

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    1. Ha! on the perfectness! Hopefully not Ha! on the magic. Please swing back as we get closer to school time again because I sure will post about it!! Thanks for stopping by, and have a wonderful new adventure as a new elementary mom this fall... it really is GRAND! Kathleen

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  5. I'm also unsettled about what this fall will bring, so I'll cross my fingers for you, too! Love Happy's saying!

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    1. Let summer last f-o-r-e-v-e-r this year :) Thanks for stopping by. Kathleen

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  6. I despise moving classroom more than any other change in education. Our schedule is still up in the air, and two teacher have already left this summer, so who knows what I'll be teaching. I have to get my hands on that writing book though.

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