Adults are just outdated children.
It’s afternoon in kindergarten, Kindergarten is squirrelly this afternoon. We’ve gone too many days without sunshine, and we’ve had too much rain. Kids are working on a word sort on their devices. Their brains are on task, even though their bodies are in constant motion. Someone dances from foot to foot at the counter. Another rolls from his back to his belly. A girl hangs upside down in her chair, her device precariously balanced against a table leg. Another child is under a beanbag. Once they finish their word sorts, they are to record a video of themselves reading the words they’ve sorted and then upload the video to their class stream.
I’m part of an observation with several instructional coaches. One participant leans over and says, “The kindergarten teachers I work with say five-year-olds can’t upload video.”
Five-year-olds have good hearing.
The one under the beanbag pops out like a rabbit out of a hole. “Oh! We’ve known how to upload video forever. Teachers can’t know everyone’s learning unless you upload your video.”
We must have looked stunned, because she continued. “We know how. Should I teach you?”
We took her up on her offer. She went through the steps and showed us how to upload her video to the class site. “It’s something even old people can do,” she said as she finished her demonstration.
In that moment, it became obvious that humans at any age are capable of passing judgments that just aren’t true. Let’s make sure in our interactions that we don’t jump to conclusions about what students can or can’t do.
This week we consider the needs and skills of the youngest learners in our schools. Plus more as always—enjoy!
Lead Contributor, Choice Literacy
Ruth Ayres is the director of the Lead Learners Consortium in northern Indiana. She blogs at Ruth Ayres Writes and is the coauthor of Day by Day and many other books, all available through Stenhouse Publishers.
Kelly Petrin meditates on the importance of trust and patience when looking for ways to connect with our youngest learners who are new to school and literacy workshops.
Katie DiCesare considers how different texts at the primary level can support student understanding of standards for opinion and argumentative writing.
Pernille Ripp shares her surveys for getting to know students and families early in the year.
Last chance to enroll in two courses to help you get organized for the new school year. Gradual Release of the Classroom Library with Bitsy Parks will help classroom teachers design minilessons and strategies for introducing students to the classroom library over time. Getting Organized for Literacy Coaching with Ruth Ayres will help new and veteran coaches design thoughtful coaching programs. If you’re a Choice Literacy member, you’ll receive 20-40% discounts off the course fees.
New members-only content is added each week to the Choice Literacy website. If you’re not yet a member, click here to explore membership options.
Shari Frost remembers how she inadvertently stifled the creativity of one of her most enthusiastic first-grade writers. Her story has important lessons for all of us about the importance of voice and choice for learners of all ages.
Do you have young readers and writers in your class who constantly talk to themselves? Stella Villalba helps a teacher decode the value of this self-talk for first grader Kayla, using it as a springboard for more learning.
In this week’s video, Max Brand demonstrates basic drawing strategies early in the year, and then has his kindergartners attempt similar pictures. He explains how the exercise builds basic skills both in literacy and hand/eye coordination.
In an encore video, Mandy Robek finds kindergartner Mikey is lost in knowing how to use his time well during reading workshop. Her conference moves him from deflated to inspired.
Lead Literacy now has a new home as the Leaders Lounge at Choice Literacy. We’ll be posting the new content updates here in the Leaders Lounge section of the Big Fresh newsletter.
Moving a classroom library from levels to themes and authors is challenging and rewarding. Tara Barnett and Kate Mills share how they take teachers step by step through the process of reorganizing or “unleveling” their classroom libraries.
Tammy Mulligan uses another kindergartner’s writing as a mentor text for teaching young children how to use spaces in their writing in this demonstration small group.
Melanie Meehan meets with kindergarten teacher Hayley to examine student work and talk about how to help young learners who are still in transition from home to school environments.
While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.
That’s all for this week!