Number 10: Sniff the Whiff
Before digging in the brewing of a messy potion, we did this smelling game with ease. Blindfolded ,students had to sniff among a number of items in order to identify what the little witches have prepared for play. This activity made the top 10 because I remember it clearly how exciting and engaged each child was. It gave room for not only sensory enhancement but several opportunities for predictions, assessing own work and ample concentration.
Number 9: Spider Coding
So this year's Halloween was very different. Usually we set up trick or treats for the whole school and make it another fun filled event but this scholastic year we had some restrictions to abide with. This did not mean we didn't push through in making this day a memorable one in-fact it still made sense with the theme we were in. Tackling the SPIDERS theme was a first for me but so was unplugged coding treasure hunts. Adding a dose of giggles, mysteries and ample of leg work was as much fun as trick or treating and this is why it deserves a place on the chart,
Number 8: The Archimedes Screw
No doubt in my mind that our project S.T.E.A.M-tastic along with our eTwinning partners was a successful one and without a shadow of a doubt this activity was one of the many favorites in our class. A simple water play, project based learning activity, which I as an educator also learnt with my students on the physics about this gadget, It was one of those S.T.E.A.M related activities that remained a memorable one for the whole concept behind it but also as one of the most effective too.
Number 7: Shadow Puppets
Covid-19 school lock downs were not always gloomy. As a team of educators, guardians and students, virtual learning adventures were intriguing and some activities could not come unnoticed, such as the shadow puppet story telling one. After a LIVE video call lesson, students created their own shadow boxes and the powerful storytellers took us all to a world filled with imaginative creatures, events and stories.
Number 6: Granny Adoption
This heartfelt activity was working so well before the pandemic and it broke all of our hearts when the monthly visits had to stop so abruptly. The bond that started to grow between the younger and older generations was so touching in ever way. The second visit was the best one by far because both students and grannies were excited to see each-other and chit chat, hug and play together. It was one of the most memorable experiences throughout this scholastic year because it showed how kind hearted and full of love the human kind can be when innocence prevails
Number 5: S.T.E.A.M-Day
The closest we had to an open day this scholastic year, was that of our S.T.E.A.M-day. Using our eTwinning platform, we embarked on a mission to build a car/sleigh for Santa Claus. This mission was only possible with the right helpful hands of students and their guardians. Getting creative, hand on and above all brainstorming was so much enriching. The parental involvement is always an asset in our classroom and the link below shows a glimpse of why it is so.
Number 4: Oh Granny!
Dressing up is a must have in our class and we do it so often. This was one of those dressing up moments that instilled a smile on everyone's faces including my own. Undoubtedly these young grannies knew how to handle each other very well and their acting skills were so on point that a photo session was truly a must to capture a memory of this sort.
Number 3: Boogers
Who ever would have told us that this activity came in at the right time of the year, right before the whole pandemic spread widely? A simple activity to teach students personal hygiene through play was by far the most effective messy play activity I have ever prepared and unknowingly it was the most important one of this scholastic year. From the nasty boogers on the tuff trays to the individual cleaning stations on the reels, students made this opportunity a highlight during our topic and these skills were built upon throughout the remaining of the year.
Number 2: Playful Witches
Watching these little ones run around the yard, with lots of spunk, laughter and wide imagination could not have been missed from making the top ten and it surely deserved it's rightful place as number 2. From handmade props to endless play, these munchkins were not giving up on spells, broom flying and a handful of adventures. Every sprint was attached to a giggle and every jump was combined with a spell. What more could one ask for to brighten up a dull day?
Number 1: The Snow down after the Showdown
It was last day of our school Christmas concert, and every educator can vouch that it is usually the most tiring day of the whole first term. Not because of the actual day itself, but simple because of the build up to make it a successful one. Usually everyone is drained, exhausted and needless to say tiered. We on the other hand had a SNOW DOWN and it was EPIC making it's well deserved place at my Number 1 spot. If you are wondering YES most probably you could still find a polystyrene ball hiding somewhere in the cupboards, toys or behind a cupboard till this present day, but hey...it was MEGA WORTH IT!
Although the above 10 made it to my list, I can assure everyone that the fun was endless and that this scholastic year deserved a much bigger standing ovation than any other year. It was a shook up to the education system as much as it was to the health institutes and whilst I am looking very forward to the next scholastic year, I am still in mourning of the missed out celebrations that we could have had in making this Kinder 2 experience an even greater one before transitioning to the Primary years. Luckily enough for my students, the team at our school is very dedicated to the core, so I'm positive that they would move on into bigger and better days as they grow!
Should you wish to have another glimpse of our extraordinary year, I invite you to also watch the video below to see for yourself many more activities which commenced throughout this scholastic year.
Let me get one thing straight before all of this, I am totally 100%+++ against favoritism especially in a classroom environment, be that of a virtual one and also a physical one! I for one remember first hand how painful it was to me as a child so I totally hate seeing it still being around in certain cases. The spark for me writing all this, started when I felt (as a parent and as an educator) being pressured into falling in a trap, a trap which only the human mind can test your sensibility and above moral values.
My educators point of view!
Help me understand the reasoning behind anyone's favorite student? Can someone please enlighten me or put into perspective, what makes this student become such a favorite that you are blindsided by the other students potentials, strengths and achievements? I have never in my 6 years, felt any strong bond with just ONE particular student that I can recall saying "YES S/HE is/was my favorite!". Every child brings something to the group, some leave a mark different than others but in no way are they considered as a "favorite" in my eyes. I can't even make up my mind on my so called favorite dish, colour, animal etc... yet alone can I ever distinguish what makes that perfect student that becomes all of a sudden my favorite! Aren't all students your favorite? Aren't all students troublesome in some way? Aren't all students innocent and naive? Aren't all the students kind, genuine, thoughtful and funny? It blows my mind (and frankly gets me totally upset), when I hear individuals talking about just one particular students' achievements constantly to a point that it becomes a brag whilst forgetting all about the others. Highlighting one student out of a class is damaging in many forms & ways. YES you have days which you lean more towards a student or two but that is not favoritism unless it is done deliberately and constantly.
Why am I against favoritism? I am an educator, I should be able to find enough strengths in ALL of my students. I, as an educator, should be the one who promotes these strengths and make them embrace them more, by adapting my lessons, activities and above all praise every little effort made. Achievements are not measured by the concrete results you have in your hand. Your students strength is not measured by a mark, a grade or a picture perfect colouring, craft, song or power point. YES let's praise the latter but lest not forget about the hidden talents each student possesses. Why should we only see what our eyes want to show us? Why can't we as educators look deeper and see what actually matters most?
That student, that wets himself all the time, may have more than just wet pants. Look past this milestone to embrace the bigger and better one. That student, may be the most creative young one or be the most sportive out of all the bunch. That students, who pushes, tugs and hits, may have more than just communication issues. That student has potential to be a leader, be able to hold the next best conversation or even better be able to hold a substantially & consistent debate. That student, who is always a chatter box, may have so much to say that all s/he needs is someone to listen. That student might offer creative writings, become a storyteller or best of all motivate & inspire others. On the other hand the student which you might have put in your perfect bubble, might actually need more the just praise, glory and above all your constant attention. The latter student might have hidden insecurities, lacking social skills or even worst becomes a bullying target. We do not know what the students future may hold, however we as educators need to help them believe in themselves, each and every one of them.,,,, Not just ONE of them. Seriously I can go on and on about this, but deep down we all know that being biased is the worst case scenario inside a classroom environment.
As an educator you do not need gifts, likes, comments or compliments from students or guardians to make you feel fulfilled about the successful outcomes of your students. What you need is to step back and reflect upon each child. Mount these reflections into possibilities rather than assessing the failures & faults. Have you ever thought it out? No? Well think about it now... Materials are not the way to assess students accomplishments. A one size fits all matter is not the way forward in bringing out the best of students. Have a look at the current situation. Digest a bit the work that is being done and sent back. Reflect on the feedback you have been given and reflect also on the feedback that you didn't get in return. There are a mixture of probabilities to why a student is sending you feedback which may seem mediocre, blunt or simply not sending none at all. There might be further reasons, to why one student is doing over and above than what you asked for, whilst then there are those who you worry because they have done nil. One can't simply justify the students capabilities on solely what the guardians sent back and you could never hold these circumstances as a way to favorite one student more than other.
Just like us educators, some guardians have never stopped working or simply might not have the right amount of time to do it. There are students who come from families with numerous siblings whilst you have those who have just one. You have guardians who have lost their jobs and their only source of income, whilst you have those who simply still have it all and can splurge on lavish resources without thinking about conserving some for the next day. How can one solely all of a sudden justify which guardian deserves recognition and which one doesn't? or even worst how can one justify the feeling of having a favorite student based only on the amount of work that has been sent? Is it because they are making your life easier? Because while your day may be blossoming with pride and your head is filling up with more ideas because of that sole feedback from that ONE student, remember that one of your other students may be struggling with simply getting through the day.
There is no such thing as that one is better than this one . Every individual is trying hard in their own way. Instead of diverting our focus on the guardians, we should stay on track and focus on the students. Let's not plan for that guardian who has it all plain sailing but let us also think of the ones who currently have it going rough too. Plan for the children and not for the social media, compliments and your ego. Keep in mind that whatever you do, your primary intent is to progress your students development, whilst aiding the guardians to help you accomplish your aim. It should be a support system and not simply giving up on them simply because we are afar.
Everyone prefers the easy way out and it would be all pearls and rubies if everything ran so smooth and tranquil, however we all know that life is more than just that. Let us not get all wrapped up in the shenanigans of who is doing this thing bad, better and best, because frankly somehow everyone is doing it GOOD and BAD (including myself). Instead of comparing students and their guardians, why not celebrate them with every inch of success you have knowledge of. Share your practice, aid, guide and most importantly remember that this is all new to us all. Everyone is worth being your "FAVORITE" and not just one!
What does it include?
This ebook is very versatile as it includes ample activities which although they have been related to themes, each activity could easily be adapted for several other projects. The book consists of problem solving situations & various aims in which is the basic starting point of each S.T.E.A.M related activity. It is then followed by list of materials needed to carry out task at hand and a simple 3 step implementation process of how to execute the activity. This ebook is filled with numerous photos and links to allow readers engage visually. This book also has a feature button which let's students hear the activities through the "Read to Me" button.
How can I access the ebook?
A few days before all the commotion, alot were skeptical about switching to online sources, knowing little how much these digital experiences would unfold useful later on. Luckily from my end, my students, guardians and myself were somewhat prepared because we have already established an effective means on how to communicate together virtually. Our transition might have been smoother but not necessarily easier! Although we had a strong virtual connection none of us were prepared for actually teaching and learning online. Stressful days deemed to be the hardest, especially when you try and ensure that all students are being reached out equally and that they all are responding to what is going on.
Nevertheless it is still heart breaking waking up daily knowing that it's going to be another day without their physical presence. I miss their stories, giggles and laughter, their warm hugs and cheeky grins. Those little hands and creative minds are imprinted in me for ever! Missing those stories that make you cringe, smile and surprised. I would trade my PJ's in a heartbeat just to be able to get everything back to the way it was. I don't need my empty office, my laptop or my camera to make me feel fulfilled. I'd rather have messy hand-prints all over my jeans, glittery hair-do's and bruised thighs from all those table bumps. I want to sit back in a small chair, read aloud stories to a present audience. I wish to roll around in the playroom and eat with the munchkins who are interested in what I have for lunch daily. I want to be greedy and YES be physically & socially with everyone again.
Walking out of my classroom was surreal! It was happening! It was NOW! However I was never prepared for it to go down this way. I was not prepared for the heart breaks, the constant concerns, anxiety and worry. While I knew that the situation was escalating, nothing could have prepared me for the constant thoughts whether I could ever have the chance to meet my class again. Looking back at the beginning of the scholastic year I had a plan....we had a plan!
After 3 years teaching Kinder 1 classes, I was excited to embark on a Kinder 2 adventure. I did it before and was eager to re-live the Kinder 2 exciting moments! Planned ahead for our transition days to show my kindy's that Year 1 is as awesome as Kinder. We were all looking forward about the exciting graduation experience while bidding off to kindergarten life. Above all a mega big farewell through a mega messy and watery day was planned for all of us but now......who knows! All these big plans we had in the beginning have now a big question mark! Will we have the best ending experience to start a new chapter and above all will there be closure for it all? It feels like this Kinder 2 experience has been stolen away from both myself and my students. I did not get that chance to spend enough of it with my munchkins and show them how fun Kinder 2 can be. Luckily I have the privilege of experiencing a unique bond with both guardians and students and this ordeal is making us work closer together. Our boundaries are being tested along with our grit, stamina and above all our positivity.
We can not deny the fact that it is hard from both ends. The guardians have to adapt to the new home schooling scenarios (some also with the possibility of multiple children and different age groups) whilst us educators have to adapt to giving out lessons through a virtual class. Some days are harder than others but keeping activities simple, easy, versatile and adequately makes it rewarding from both ends. Students have been working really hard with their guardians and they are sending in their work through videos, audio, polls and also photos. Their evidence of work brings a smile to my face every time, while it stills give me hope that we can do this together. As much of a heartache it is for me to see them grow before my eyes without being physically present, I am positive that this ordeal has made me appreciate what I do even more. It gives me a sense of reassurance that this profession is what it is with it's ups and downs and that every day is different than the one before! You learn something new everyday, so let us all have a memory to recall when we are all back together.
This is how I last have seen my class! I hope to see it again soon!
Exploring the theme " Witches " was different to the other ones because literally I didn't know what to expect! They knew so much about the theme that I thought I can't beat their knowledge.... until we started exploring it more and more. Ugly, crooked nose, bad influence? Not these little witches of mine! ❤️
Getting into the mood of a ziggity zaggity zoo and a simsalabim, was so easy through potion making, broom flying and dragon snatching. All the room for exploration and endless play made this theme a huge hit! Mixing potions on a daily basis was a highlight, thanks to those messy mixes, snuffling smells and yucky mucky looking contents. Creativity grew in abundance. One day we were making rain potions and the next day we were poofing love spells.
DIY brooms, wands and pointy hats made role-play more meaningful but out of all the props in the room, the broom was the one that struck the most attention. Outdoor flying lessons, whooshing through the obstacles and going into reverse mode was epic. Hear them come up with excuse to why they can't actually fly or hear them say they have travelled across the misty swamps of the big grumpy troll. Imagination is key in creativity and lucky me, these little ones have plenty of both.
Valentines day came along and my little witches filled the whole school with their best magic ever.... The element of a loving surprise. You cou hear their eagerness when setting up the hearts all over the corridors to surprise the primary school students during the second break. Giggle, laughter and a sense of excitement galore. Drrriinnnggg.... Bell rang... Before springing back into class, they hid behind the corridor walls, waiting patiently to see the reaction of the elder students. Whimsical smiles and joyful giggles bloomed that day from both ends of the school corridor. That was truly a powerful spell indeed.
Before mid-term we wore those props once more to run freely in the magical world of mystical creatures. We counted the beasts that crawled through swamps, lakes and rivers. Investigated literacy through slithering snakes and that super dusty broom. Making up silly words during potion making and magic words took creative thinking to a whole other level.
Off the witches stormed to enjoy their colourful Carnival days while the sneaky Dragon lurked inside the classroom deepest areas. Upon our return we found sloppy slimes, mega footprints and a bunch new areas to explore. My little witches were fearless! They hunted down the stolen jewels by travelling barefoot through the sensory paths of the deepest fire dragon layers. Shiny, shimmering dragon eggs lit the room with sparkles while the sticky slime left us wanting for more.
Ending the fun was necessary as although it would have kept going on forever, as an educator I felt the need of a necessary change. Two months of Hocus Pocus was coming to a draining ending and it was deemed to finish the way we did to ensure that the topic left as strong as it started.
What's is next? Well although on lock down we are still being pro-active.... Distance learning is something we already do through Etwinning so this time around we are just using our sources the best way we can! We are making it work... We are making it happen.... We are making magic! ❤️
Click below to play a maths game with my little witches! Dramatic play and being in front of a camera is something they love to do!Click here 👉Maths and Witches Game
Concluding the "nanna" topic was indeed an achievement in itself, as this ever so evolving topic gave room for much more than what we initially anticipated. In my eyes this theme was going to provide us with maybe.... lets say activities for a week or two, however seeing it flourish into a months worth of play, was nothing but surreal to me on how this emergent curriculum opens doors for many more than just the initial course.
- What they know!
It all starts from there. The things they came up with were not even close to what I have imagined. I presumed that webbing this project would be simple...."Nanna has spectacles"... "Little Red Riding hood"...."has Mary".... "has grey hair"..."nannu Joey".......BUT I was very far off! What they actually came up with left me wondering how well I actually know how they think and it was a lesson for me to watch what they came up with....
- She visits the Doctor....goes to hospital....gets sick
- She goes shopping....to the beach
- Nanna's house....sitting room...TV shows
- She cooks for me....eats with me....cooks with me
- She goes to the bank....buys me toys....lots of toys
Sitting there looking at the board I was able to see myself remembering my own childhood memories with my nannas and indeed the child perspective is far off than that of adults. I too remember such fond memories of the adventurous my own nanna bestowed upon my childhood. I too remember the picnics, beaches and endless gifts. It is after this webbing experience I have realized how growing up has made my perspective of life differ and how all the innocence have grew into worries, stigma, labels and stereotyping. It was here when it hit hardest how making memories is key and how much children grow from experiences. Memories are fundamental and it makes everything connect. While planning I stared at the web constantly and looked deeper into what they already knew, whilst thinking to myself that I needed this wake up call more than ever.
- Implementation of our Creative Spaces:
I didn't think that such statements would come up but frankly I'm glad they did! I was able to explore areas further than what I initially had in mind. So we started off with reassembling the classroom settings and the change over was phenomenal because the students input showcased the areas they actually love about Nanna's household. Persisting on granny having a sitting room, we proceeded in creating a fireplace together using blocks, wood and double sided Velcro. The sofa was reconstructed from a mattress, cushions and old but clean car wheels. Granny's library held several books underneath her flat screen TV and other I.T devices. We made sure nanna had ample of pets for company (soft-toys) and countless blankets to keep her warm in winter.
By the time we finished recreating the area we moved over to another section, which in my opinion is the heart in every granny's house (especially if you are a Maltese nanna). The kitchen was the heart of it all and of course it was amended with a stove, sink but above all numerous amount of FOOD varying from plastic, fabric and play dough resources. Most of this area was already a walk through memory lane and I too remembered my days making memories in my Gran's kitchen baking biscuits, pies and her infamous home-made ice-cream.
Of course with all those grandchildren, she has to live close by a grocery store to stock up on her supplies and be ready whenever grandchildren pay her a visit or sleepover. Assembling a sorting tray with coloured food items, a cash register, money and shopping bags was enough....so I thought, until a students remarked that his nanna goes to the bigger supermarket using her car! Revealing such an important point we therefore got our car out of storage and gave nanna's car a permanent parking spot in our classroom so she can go to the supermarket as she pleases.
In the last week or so, we explored health and my mind went haywire trying to find a slot in my class to incorporate a clinic in the limited amount of space I have. Moving away "unnecessary" things (nothing is unnecessary in a kindergarten class), made a very small corner blossom into the doctors clinic in which our granny was able to be investigated by professionals in the making. Cool right?
- Language & Literacy through play
The latter play a very important part throughout these creative play spaces. It is here where the actual learning happens and it is here were the lessons progress into what they are. I can keep the ongoing number and letter activities, following a regime of useless methods that are not being processed in such an early age. I can give out endless working tools and provide them with tedious systems. At the end only a few might process what it was all about. I therefore prefer to use their favorite settings in order to ensure reinforcement to the letters and numbers (which EVERYONE keeps mentioning...ugh), we would be investigating. There are numbers on the cooking station....2 pots, 2 forks, 2 bowls, 2 knives..., money investigation whilst shopping at the market, number recognition whilst using a remote control, colour sorting and much much more! There are letters surrounding the place at eye level, in books, labels, baskets and more. "Can I mix letters with numbers?", one has asked ....of course one can. No rules just learning through play.
- Memories to last a life-time
It is experiences that led children to this interest and it was exactly how we followed through with our daily activities. We were not short of role-plays, dressing ups and definitely not short in cooking activities too. Having a taste of what nanna's remind us of was a pure bliss but I for one believe that the heart of this whole theme was the activity that concluded a new opening. Having young generations not experiencing the same childhood I may have grew up in, is no fault to anyone and it is simply how different generations evolve throughout the years. Having said that I still wanted something more for my 4 year olds. Looking through the windows of my classroom I simply had the answer staring at me this whole time. It was there all along and it was there when it clicked that everyone needed to experience the taste of an even older generation than the one they might have known so far. Grandparents are becoming younger in age and they are still working hard in the community. In my younger days, there were more stay at home grannies therefore I may have had a different upbringing then my students! I wanted to pass on a memory that not everyone might have the privilege of experiencing especially since I have students who have never met their own grandparents (deaths, family feud etc) or simply because they live in different parts of the world & see them less (immigration, work etc). I wanted everyone to have their own NANNA/NANNU!
Soooo....we ADOPTED one of our own! Next to our school we have The Little Sisters of the Poor elderly residential home and it was the best way to conclude this topic. All the activities that went through these last couple of weeks were nothing compared to this one. The purpose of making memories was bestowed with heartfelt joy and it made this activity a purposeful one. There was sheer joy, happiness and countless running! We made our way through long corridors to find 14 grannies who were ready to shower us with love right from the get go. The smiles children brought to the grannies was simply bliss and the closure of this topic wouldn't have been provided any better. BUT...... The adoption doesn't stop with just one visit! This is why this emergent curriculum is so beautiful, because thanks to this we are free now.... more flexible.... so we will re-visit our adopted grannies and treat them with gifts while they hug us over and over again. We are free to knock whenever we please and we are making memories along with the local community.
As I concluded this project with my students, we sat down to identify our favorite events.....
- Making rainbow toast, orange juice, banana split, hot chocolate and other types of yummies.
- Going to the supermarket with the car and helping the cashier with the checkout.
- Reading in the sitting room with nanna's blankets and clothes.
- Exploring nanna's water problems, plumbing,leakages etc in her "house".
- Walking with canes and creating room for further explorations.
- Helping nanna with her medicine through the letter pox, while she broke her arm and influenza season.
- Adopting a granny each
Looking back at the first time we explored the web, to the final day of it all, I am confident enough to say that we ended this theme just how it started...... through MEMORIES....... and I am so blessed to have been part of this because I was part of something big in the eyes of two very different, yet very common generations.
"Make memories and they will last for a while.....Be part of the memory and it will last a lifetime! "
This project was dedicated to all our grandparents especially the ones we may have lost along the way, especially my very own who I was lucky enough to lose at an older age. Thank you for making me the woman I am today.
While I understand that some of you may not KNOW (AND this may come to a surprise for some), I have a true "Bah humbug" kind of personality when it comes to all this merry cheer and all the jolly Holly! So try to picture my facial expression when back in mid-November my little superstars wanted to explore the man in red, the man who somehow travels the world in 24hrs, the man who eats million of cookies and drinks gallons of milk.... Yes... SANTA CLAUSE! My jaw dropped and I couldn't believe that I had to explore him over and over again but this time at such an early stage. Trying to convince myself, I thought "OK, this might get out of the way before December begins"... But BOY was I so wrong!!!!! (HELPPPPP).....
In all fairness I do understand why they love such a charming character who seems all nice and dandy, especially if you are a 4 year old but me as an educator (and as a mother, wife, daughter... Frankly as a human being), had way more than just enough of the same old ways. Thinking to myself whether to either dwell on my misery or jump along this Santa's sleigh, I decided to approach this not so newly adventure with a stubborn yet reluctant theme. I had no way out of convincing my dears to change such intense feelings about this bearded fella so sigh, I went with the flow. Plunging my bottom down on a cushioned tyre, I lounged back around my students to check out why such interest approached at the early stage of mid-November.
Brainstorming made this little effort of mine become intriguing. The sheer amount of knowledge was the most I ever got out of any student. The selectively muted child, suddenly became hard to keep up with, as stories, ideas and make believe flourished beyond my expectations. "OK... You can do this"...I tried to convince my own self....and yes I did!
Feeling accomplished now that it is all over I still have to admit that I like very little of the whole season especially when December kicks in full gear. During mid-November the topic was well on the way of making me believe in the Christmas magic again but once December came knocking so did the endless days of chaotic moments. Every educator can relate to the never ending rehearsals, the very merry Christmas messy bakes, the Holly jolly Christmas songs and above all those days were you just want to get it over and done with! It is not all that bad indeed, however as I said exploring our theme in the season when it was least expected was way more enjoyable than when it actually came along. True you have more sources to relate with in December but there are way more distractions along the way! Outings, fundraisings, concerts, parties, gift preparations.... the list goes on and on and on.
We had such a blast preparing for this topic in mid-November that ending it was simply a huge HALLELUJAH after the hectic December period. Luckily the flexibility of such a curriculum allows me as an educator to manoeuvre around anything that comes what may but above all it gives me sanity that I am being understood. Not all was bad, hectic and stressful I promise and we have a few of our favourite days I swear, but our most memorable ones have been implemented through November ironically more so than in December. Reason to why? My conclusion is due to the topic not being straight up in anyone's face or agenda.... Back in mid-November the theme of "Father Christmas" was just the right amount of enthusiasm from the students to keep them curious, guessing and above all ready to investigate beyond what their eyes could see. It was the time when there was more than one straight forward answer and it was the time when students had a way more vivid imagination.
There was less glitz and glam around the city, and there was less stimulation around anywhere they go. There was just enough to ignite an interest for further investigations and there was enough fire to keep them engaged with ease. There were not enough shops accumulating red santa hats, so students could create blue, green, pink ones instead. There were not enough references to snow and to what cold actually felt like, so there was room for experiments and predictions.
Why this post you may ask? It is not to rant, brag or something like that but it is actually an eye opener to myself to be invested in more subjects that may look out of the norm and my own comfort. There are no rules on how and when learning progresses, and there surly is no way of stopping curiosity just because "it's how it should be". After all this long episode, my students taught me to reach out more and understand further that imagination has no boundaries. If Santa Clause is what they wish to explore in mid-May, March, July or October, I have learnt to say "so be it", because now I know that it is THEN when curiosity channels into intensive and progressive learning.
A Xmas display made by all kindergarten students of our school at Ħamrun S.S to add a more conjoined collaboration between students alike.
Picture this, first week of a brand new scholastic year and immediately the word "spiders" is overheard like a gazillion times. Imagine whatever and wherever we are/do, spiders is again the main focus of their attention. How did it all started? With a simple bathroom break! A visible spider was lurking in the shadows of our school bathrooms when it caught the eyes of 2 girls. Screaming? Nope! There were giggles and talks which kept other students intrigued and curious, hence why soon the whole class took a look at the spot the spider once peacefully at rest. From there on the interest grew bigger and bigger, meaning we had to dig deeper into a topic which many may find ugh or aħħ but in our case it was more like an ohh!
Abundance Web works varied from the initial Web discussions leading towards other ones more physical, daring and innovative. The beauty of taking apart a topic and use specific ideas to enhance growth is beyond me. Webbing gave us room to grow in
. Pre-writing skills while making Webs with chalk, water colour paint, markers, paint, glitters etc.
. Gross and Fine motor skills developed through movement, creativity, outdoor play, digital literacy and more.
. Letters and Numeracy through games such as treasure hunts, crafts and sensory play.
The list is endless to mention however the adventures were beyond any of us. After exploring spider Webs, fascinating facts about spider food lead us to Code Week in which we unleashed Minibeasts and gained knowledge through unplugged coding games. The food chain was intended to get weirder by the minute but quickly it reverted back to "anything is possible" thanks to the National Geographic Documentary found on YouTube. Even I had a bit of a fair share at gaining knowledge on things I never knew about spiders.
Gobsmacked at all these interesting facts, we moved on to one of the students favourite life cycles of all....the spiders life cycle! Through orbees/waterbeads, cotton wool and imagination, this scientific fact was so intriguing that we decided to make a "take home activity" for students to do during Mid term holidays and surprisingly they all still mention this up till this day.
Of course no one will ever forget our endless Incy Wincy Spider singalongs. Varied in ways such as through messy games, outdoor fun, dress ups, storytelling and our very own favourite Stop Motion Video. This song was on replay everyday (help!).
My personal favourite part of any activities we do is of course our creative spaces which are built with the students and for the students. First time using 2 areas in my small classroom but eventually it worked out well since the 2 spaces catered for similar but yet very different opportunities. One area was aimed for more gross movement, enveloping schemas and above all a spookish look while the other area focused more on S. T. E. A. M education opportunities and the softer ambiance of an Incy Wincy. Both areas were used consistently and students abided by the necessary rules. Some may think that once students are let free they will automatically mess everything up and make all that once was pretty look very gnarly. In reality when you set rules all you have to do is just trust their good intentions and all will follow through eventually.
At the end of it all we concluded that spiders are just like us.... Small and Underestimated
Click the link below to gives you a clearer picture of it all.https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2691198557610186&id=1011067762289949
Having students from different year groups can be a pain and when you have no class support makes it ten times harder to see the bright side at things. You feel that extra pressure was bestowed upon you and that your day has failed before it even begun. You start putting up toys, closing off areas and switch off your good vibes without giving them a chance to even try your methods and abide the new ways.
So back to yesterday, yes it was one of those days just different because I was accompanied with the extra class supporter (Ms. Amanda Chappell you are God sent) and a handful of students from 2 (not 1) absent educator. Still I got a mixture of wild emotions of fear, anger, anxiety, panic, empathy, thoughtfulness, care, love and that of being supportive and helpful too. Having a semi planned day for a Friday was ideal but things happen and we adjusted sort of quickly.
So what happened that made me blog about it all? Don't we all get through the day when you are added up with more students than those of your "own"? Nothing new right?..... Correct however yesterday's incident learning took a toll on me and made me look of this very common scenario differently. Scrapping all my plans and going with the flow made me love the "extra" students as my very "own" quicker than I expected. Starting the day was not easy but it ended up very rewarding. I went back to the roots to why such things happen in my life and I love learning something new everyday. From cries, tears and uncertainty, I managed to make these "extra" students of mine feel loved, secure and cared for. I listened and followed their ways. I mentored and walked through with them.
Integration was celebrated through diversity of ages, mastery skills and above all through smiles and joy. Democratic participation was flawless and active learning was still on point. Adjusting my day was beneficial for all stakeholders including me in the whole thing! Yes tears were shed and tantrums were obvious but understanding it all was enough to settle down along the way.
Let us not fear the "extra" students and celebrate them more as "ours" once they are in our care. Give them tools that make their days brighter because unknowingly their day started off harder than ours. Smile, play, adjust and include them in everything you do. Appreciate the fact that they have been blessed in your care for a reason.... to make you feel proud of what you do through their thank yous, their actions, words and above all giggles and perseverance. YES it is a true bummer that you have to go through it (some more than others) but..... how would you feel if in your absence "your" students would be treated differently than others, felt unwanted, stressed and without the same support you provide them with?
NO my LIFE IN KINDY is not always roses and butterflies. I get days when I am a mess and I get days that end up with me feeling lost. I get the odd pees, poops, tantrums, arguments, fights and odd looking stares. I get those days when one or more student is so off that ends up disrupting our whole day. I get moments when rolling eyes, pouty faces and snarling looks occur. I get days when I hold my pee so long that it hurts my bladder and I definitely get those days when I feel so helplessly ill. I have moments when I literally forget to eat and drink or simply find it a waste of time! I do get days when my activities are not executed as I hoped for and I do get my days when I simply stare in awe of it all.
I laugh about it after it all ends, I reflect and look back on what I could have done better over and over again (most of the time I reflect on my way home in the car, while waiting for my son at one of his extra curricular activities and surprisingly enough also on the loo or while taking a bath.....literally when I am not surrounded by anyone haha).
Why am I posting this in the beginning of a new scholastic year? Because I have been asked numerous times how I end up with PERFECT scenarios and students year after year. Laughing such statements off with a cheeky smile I always reply that hell NO it's not always what it seems. Putting it out there for everyone to see, I too get my share days of stress, panic and tension. The last two years alone I had a particular term/months in which I felt total burnout. I had situations which were out of my control and I had million of reasons to cry and weep. Instead of battling all this alone I sought for HELP. I researched about different methods on how to keep myself sane and adequate enough to wake up in the morning with a smile on my face. My reason about not posting about my negatives so often is because I am a strong believer of positive attributes. Keeping my emotions versatile is another way on how I cope with my rough days. I go through so many emotions in one day (sometimes even in 1 hour), that channeling back to my inner happiness has become easier by time because I worked on myself throughout the years.
Therefore once again let me say it loud and proud....YES I have plenty of "BAD" days and I am OK with it. Of course children are going to pee, poop, vomit, fight, argue, conflict, have tantrums, scream, run around, get bored, challenge you, answer back, get out of their spots, lack attention and drive you up the walls at times, but remember that that is what ALL children go through. There is no such thing as "THE PERFECT CHILD MOLD" because every child has his/her own best and not so great qualities. Take a moment and reflect... Right now....Just think of a flaw ALL of your students have, now wait......think of three strengths that ALL your students have! Everyone is PERFECT in their own special way. Just like adults, children have emotions, thoughts and expressions but unlike adults they are in your care to help them transition all these into words, attitudes, actions, behavior through TIME.
How do I do it? What works for me is not necessarily what may work for you and YOU shouldn't feel any pressure of doing what anyone else does, as long as you are doing it in the right mind for the best of your students.
On the other hand my favorite strategy of it all is "Less is More". Let me get this straight YES I have days when my voice is raised higher than the norm because everyone has a breaking point! At the end however when that happens it is usually done intrinsically due to my own panic of either seeing a child hurting own-self or others. My temper is easily controlled and I don't get off at the lightest things in life. Instead I just WAIT. Everyone hates waiting so I make do with WAIT. For example: If we are walking in a line and this line becomes uncontrollably aggravating, I stop and WAIT! Telling my students in a calmly matter that unless we walk properly I am not moving. No matter how late I am for dismissal, activity, outings..... I stay put and WAIT. If the classroom is becoming to rowdy, uncontrollable and way out of hand, we calm down by WAITING. I won't start an activity unless there is calmness in the room and if it takes my students a timer to calm down so be it. We sit in front of the timer and channel calmness before moving on to another activity. I don't care about timing and whether I would conclude the activity in the way I planned it out, but calming my students before starting one is key. So again we WAIT! I stick to my word and most importantly stay committed to what I do and say.
It has become a pattern of patience, tolerance and above all tough love however it is done purely with LOVE and good intentions. No one is alone and in a classroom full of little ones remember to always stay positive! We are there to nurture their joys, laughter and happiness! If we keep dwelling on the odd days of stress we would never get to the point of that sigh of relief.
Tantrums occur in my classroom too! Some are violent and need more attention. Just breathe, relax and comfort both child and yourself. Seek help and remember you are never alone!
While I'm trying my best to keep positive, the strain is real! I am a picky one.. I know. Easily unsatisfied with all that is already up, I moved the furniture like 5 times already. This must go there... After a day or two I change it up again. AGGHH... Annoying myself is becoming a constant pain but I know it would all settle in once all papers are sorted, furniture is set, rubbish is done and all toys are in place.
One thing I am proud of is that I'm keeping true to my commitments and I removed my desk along with those annoying corners which I never found a good use for. About my teaching desk.... Well it is technically still there however now it is hosting the computing section. Yes students will be sitting/standing where once was my desk but now that I have no use for it, it has become a great space to use I.T gadgets on. Easy at their disposal and efficient to use and store.
My favourite new space is the CREATORS area. A place with soooo many different types of writing materials varying from fabrics, coloured paper, construction papers, charts, tracing papers, textured papers, whiteboards, easles, chalkboards, diaries, calanders... You name it it's there. This is the place were paint meets brushes from all corners of the ironmongery store and where glitter is sprinkled like never before. Glues, markers, crayons, scissors, bits and bobs... The place were you can create anything you dream of and everything your fingers explore. I know... Very inconventional but soooo worth the mess of it all!
The role play area is still looking a dump because as of yet I haven't found anything I am happy with. I'm settling in for a type of ice-cream shed just to have enough materials to observe students on what they pick up on. Costumes, props, fake foodies and ample space to engage. This is one of those spaces that is still raw in that mixed up head of mine but it is eventually going to end up superb once blends in together perfectly. For now I must do with what I must do! Keeping it bare... (ugh.. Pain)... But I think it's for the best.. Maybe.. I dunno... Aaahhh!!! YES convinced... It is only for NOW and it is inviting enough for play.
Another new space is the Engineering section. Again no structure, no rules, no boundaries. Keeping this one neat and tidy until it gets mushed up and running perfectly. What's in it? Pipes, connectors, bottle caps, marbles, loose wood, rocks, buttons, flat markers, more wood, screws, bolts, fabric pieces... Can't remember what else but yeah, those nonesense rubbish is now sorted and ready for play.
I know you might be asking about my toys, my books, my circle time, my math, my literature.... Let's say it is there but it is no longer MINE. There is enough maths going on in the provided spaces, enough literacy and language development through each area. There is enough room to communicate and express feelings, enough room for discussions and talks.
I may be finding it harder than I anticipated because I am putting my effort in making it seem selflessly. My energy is exhausted by the thought of making it pleasing enough for my little ones. It is causing me unnecessary confusion and doubt. I feel ready physically but emotionally I know my classroom is lacking from a touch of this and that. But then I sit back and reflect why I'm setting up.... For whom it is for & for what it is to be used! I don't need to feel guilty for not having a Pinterest look class or the latest furniture. I don't need to feel gloom for not having the latest and most flashy new things. I reflect and think some more..... after all the years of stressing myself about where to put this this and that, now I am FREE to set up how I feel like. I am free to set up how is NECESSARY and most of all according to my Own CIRCUMSTANCES.
We all go through these stages of confusing, dissatisfaction, gloom, unhappiness, doubts and stress..... But as you can see we also go through the joys of feeling freedom, having a voice, be ready for exploration, test ourselves and most importantly question our purpose. My days are not different than yours. And it is in no way picture perfect but like any other days I think positively and make it happen.
Yes I am now happy.... yes I am now pleased. YES I will stop stressing and YES THIS YEAR is going to be as special and as unique. Cheers to change, where last year's better is now a BEST and where last year's doubt is NOW REASSURING. We can do this bigger, better and beyond anyone's expectations!
Setting up my classroom for the scholastic year 2019 /2020
Constant arguments with some educators to why I keep defending this curriculum and not agreeing to stick with the previous one, has emerged ever since the said curriculum was introduced in our local education system. I for example was skeptic of the change too, but little did I know that what I was already doing in class was somewhat the same approach but even better. No!!!!! I do not defend it because it's what I was already doing previously, however I defend this curriculum because it is the RIGHT change to move forward in education. I have nothing to lose by defending this curriculum, however I may have a wider chance to gain more wonderful experiences from it all. Anyone new to the emergent curriculum is rightly so scared, opposing, fearful and maybe a bit judgmental on the whole concept of it all, but who wouldn't be when such a big change is occurring imminently.
Back to why I am front line in defending this curriculum.... How can you not defend this approach when it gives both educators and students alike to roam in a world of laughter, joy and endless play? Ever since I started using the emergent curriculum properly, I have noticed that I am happier, more creative and most of all FLEXIBLE in anything related to my work. As an educator I can now progress my students imaginations, wishes and interests. I can move boundaries and break stereotypes with powerful reflective conclusions. Shamelessly I admit I found the transition from one curriculum to another easier because I have a positive attitude to what I do. YES I am very vocal and not afraid to withstand with what I say and do, but rightly so I do it in the best interests of my students. That is why I challenge anyone who question to why this curriculum is so important in the early years.
Some my argue it is more stressful because you need to plan more activities, keep resources updated, expect the unexpected....but in reality if any educator reflects on their yearly dos and donts, you would be surprised to how less of work it actually entails. Lets try it out together! Write a column, title one section with Pros and another one with Cons. If you truly are ready for change you would realize that realistically there are more Pros than Cons. Why? Because we all think ahead to bring out the best in our students but we needed a real wake up call to help us realize that stepping back is eventually the best way to bring out what is truly best in them.
Plan less and be present more, isn't that why we wanted to teach in the first place? We didn't sign up to pile ourselves with paperwork and we certainly didn't go in this venture to moan and grumble. We entered this profession to make a difference and unless we as educators step back and listen to our students, we will not be able to make any change at all. YES I am with you, we may be a minority and sometimes not taken seriously when we speak up about the necessary needs we actually require when handling tender ages, but what is the use of crying & complains unless everyone is ready to change. Maybe I myself have a strong willed persona however like many I would argue, fight and defend in what I believe is right. The emergent curriculum is currently my hot topic in any argument that arises and believe me I have several people asking me why I do speak up about it so openly.
Unlike what some may think, NO I do not do it to make others look bad or simply as we say in Maltese "ghax inhobb nidher!" I have been criticized, verbally abused and as of course trolled over the internet on several occasions just because I stand my ground and sustain my beliefs in how important this change in curriculum is. I know not everyone might like this post but yet again it may be an eye opener to some too. After all it is perfectly fine to agree about the fact that we disagree! Let's look at the bright side and remember why we enjoy doing what we do. The emergent curriculum gives us room to explore beyond the obvious....isn't that another beautiful day to wake up too everyday?
Classroom struggles I have many and what is your struggle may not necessary be mine indeed, yet again my struggles are only understood by myself and no one elses.....and so is yours. Now imagine this! You have a curriculum in which for once, it gives you room to build up those struggles or work around them. Mostly it is a route to improve goals throughout the year in the best possible. Threats we have many and every school differs, but with the emergent curriculum we can all eventually make them look flawless. It is a curriculum that allows us educators to listen more to the cry of children who are born curious learners but somehow may have been diverted in exploring their limits. A curriculum which helps me expand my own knowledge and provide me with wisdom along the way. Forgetting about those fancy elaborated activities and making simple tasks on the spot are by far the most rewarding of all. Isn't that a good enough explanation to why I keep defending this curriculum to withstand and progress? Sleepless nights I still get many but now they are related to excitement more than stress. Who cares if I didn't conclude task a,b,c,d,e...... who cares if I didn't reach my target by the end of the day! The most important thing is that with this curriculum I am now more present and therefore I am prepared to think on the spot, provide as needed and most importantly move forward from the known to the unknown.
Good Luck everyone for a bright new scholastic year which is approaching fast now. Remember that with all the change that is happening in the system, by far you are making the biggest change of all in the lives of your new students!
Unlike last year, this year I feel more prepared and more confident about what I have beforehand. I may still not know exactly my place, my grade and my definite school but this won't really change how I feel about the upcoming scholastic year ahead. Soon we would be recieving that most awaited email of whether you stay in your current school or if you have been deployed to a new one. Daunting and frustrating to pass such torture year after year but rewarding at the end when you finally feel at peace with your own career, position and a new year ahead.
With a new head of school and a possible shuffle, I am even more determined to make my next chapter as great as my previous ones. I have always been myself and allowed myself to listen, discuss and grow. Having nothing planned ahead makes my head lighter and my mind more at ease. I am well prepared for anything come what may, and I feel secure enough with what I do thanks to positive thoughts.
Throughout my summer I have come across so many inspirational people who taught me what life is really about in the eyes of a kindergartener. It is a mixture of my students happiness with that of my very own. I am happy and ready to face any changes, I have enough grit and fiest in me to keep me fighting for what I truly believe in, be that here, there or anywhere else. I am ready to set back in a classroom full of its own challenging beauties. Sure in kindergarten anything is possible but in its own true sense... ANYTHING is possible so why plan ahead for something that I may be not producing well enough in the eyes of the true stakeholders?
My class is not just about me... It is about them too. Did I plan activities for the first week? Kind of a yes and a no.... I want to build my classroom with my students. I want them to have a say in where their books will be, in the placements of their belongings, in their seating areas, in whether we should use this or that.... Then I sit back, think, reflect and ask myself, "Is it worth doing all of this in the first week, month, term? Is it worth having a class with bare walls, bare tables, spaces and corners?". It all sounds pretty perfect and what is ideal in my head however unless I know where I stand, where I am and what I need to do next, this is what I will be relying on.... Them!
I will be changing up some of my usual "dos" and I'm not afraid to say that I would be still keeping some of my favourite "DOS" too. Every class is different, every year is diverse, every student is unique! While I can't help myself with having a bare classroom to welcome my little new ones, I will keep it minimal as much as possible..... Yes I know it would be hard, tempting and I may have a tingling feeling in my ten tiny fingers but I am determined to stay back as much as I possibly can. (oh this is going to be fun to see me fail or conquer haha).
Off with the nonsense charts... gone, gone, gone....No more stand alone maths corner... finished, poof bye.... No more freestanding literacy area... Asta la vista, cheerios, so long.... Circle time area? No thanks.... Nature table? Longggg gone!!!! Instead of filling my classroom with corners that are picture perfect and dust collectors, I am ready to fill my classroom with whatever my students want to learn about. Sure enough you all know me by now and know that although these corners, sections and tables will be long gone, they would still be part of our classroom FUN. It doesn't need a table, area or corner for my students to appreciate nature, express their feelings, learn numbers and practice their alphabet. It takes motivation, inquisition, curiosity and confidence. It takes pride, a driven mindset and a whole lot of a sense of belonging.
That is why this year I am stepping back from my fancy dancy corners, pretty decor and all that adults think would work for kiddos. Instead I will be focusing more on space to play around with. More areas to move, climb, show and inspect. Enough corners to inspire and be inspired. So if you are trying to imagine how I would be setting up my classroom soon... picture this.... It would be having enough furniture to host learning opportunities, enough tables to use however we please, enough space to showcase our ideas and most of all a classroom full of opportunities more so then clutter, clutter and clutter.
Before Summer ends there is only one thing educators strive for in achieving before the start of yet another prospective scholastic year..... relaxation... right? Actually this might be most of the worlds' perspective, however in reality before school starts there is a huge "TO DO" list which doesn't cover any curriculum but it has equal importance.
Here is how I break down my PRE-SCHOOL before I head back in a new scholastic year:
P- Preparation: From those file organizers, to those toy cleansing routines, there is never enough time to prepare you for what your next scholastic year will behold, however getting yourself ready for flexibility is key in the educational field.
R- Resources: Always on the lookout! Either spending money at charity shops or surfing the net for the latest bargains, there is never enough excuses to look around for resources. YES there is no such thing as ENOUGH in my vocabulary when it comes for this sort!
E- Energy: Soaking up some sunshine might not be the case of laziness... on the contrary it is a necessity. Loading on Vitamin D while I can and I'm not ashamed about it. Hibernation season starts in September for anyone in the educational industry so reviving your mind ,body and soul is key before school starts.
S- Search: On going changes keep you on the lookout for any latest news. Blogs, posts, emails, updates, news.... I hawk the web on a daily basis in search of new ideas, new standards, new announcements and most of all new experiences which may benefit or hinder my new year ahead.
C- Closure: An educator hardly forgets any of his/her ex-students yet alone the ones that you have just spent your last year with. Before a new year starts and meeting my new bunch, I find closure in what happened throughout my latest experience. I reflect, move forward and close a chapter in order to re-write a new one. Hard, difficult but it is mostly rewarding.
H- Help: There is never enough HELP going around. From handymen, cleaners, parents, mums, dads, in-laws, husbands, wives, siblings, friends.... Getting ready for a new year brings with it new ideas therefore the more working hands on deck the better outcome for your dreams to come tangible goals.
O- Objectives: Revising my own objectives as an educator is essential. Why do I do this work? What are my goals for the year ahead? How will I grow as an individual? Where is this year going to take me?..... Setting personal targets as an individual is never wrong, especially since throughout the year we tend to focus alot more on what is best for our students and in the long run we sometimes forget about our own self.
O- Ownership: It is not wrong for us to have ownership of all the things we did, do and about to still do in our career. It is OK to say "I" did that.... "I" do that... "I" will do that. Preparing myself for such ownership is essential in order not to be taken for granted, whilst still continue to share my own practice, ideas and thoughts. Collaboration starts with me too, so it's OK for me to have my OWN flaws and perks and own up to any of them.
L- Learn: Everyone tells me ,"it seems easy for you" but only a few know how much learning it takes for one to make it seem so. I learn from my mistakes and improve upon them. I have no shame in naming a few. I too have my moments especially when a year is coming to a certain stressful peak. So before my next adventure I learn how to control my emotions, my temper, my attitude and my behavior. I learn from my mistakes and move on instead of dwelling on the past and sticking with negativity. It's a learning process and every year is different.
YES my PRE-SCHOOL principles are different from those of my students, however I strongly believe that they are as important as any 3 year olds.
As soon as I stop doing what I do, I feel lost and unhappy. I get stuck in my own thoughts and in my own little world with no where else to explore. I become gloom and dull. I start moaning and groaning which then understandably leads to family arguments. YES I do get those days that I just want to lay in my bed and practically not move at all.... You know that type that I just reach for my pillow and snore until the next day, however I can't see myself doing it for more than just a day!
That is why I keep myself occupied and unless there is paint, colours or mischief involved, I won't be relaxed! How I keep myself occupied when my work is OUT for summer? Simple... I find WORK in summer too. Whilst some may like cocktails by the beaches, I enjoy paint brushes and glitters. Do I mind it all? Not really because I still get wet....soaking wet and doing what I love doing most keeps me happily occupied. This also keeps me going and process my thoughts into actions rather than dwelling on any negative thoughts.
My ideas are shared with others and my little world blossoms further. Being around people secures my sanity and flourish it with creativity. Stressful at times but that's me! I share my summer days with beautiful souls who just like me enjoy what we do. My million thoughts are shared amongst others and my thousand ideas process through my little fingertips. I may not get a suntan but I really don't want it! In my summer I get the opportunity to fool around and be ME! I see students of all ages being non other than kids. I test my limits and highlights with children from ages two up till eleven. I get pampered with endless love from staff members, guardians and FOOD! I get a sense of belonging in an environment that allows me to attribute my skills in varies ways. I may not have a class to look after for yet another summer, but I sure keep myself busy in and out of the "office". My favorite time of summer is when I'm at work and I can't see myself doing anything better. I get the chance to grow further and observe what others do.
Bring on the chaotic heatwaves as we are prepared to shower them with a whole lot of splish and a million more splash! May your Summer be what you WANT it to be because it will be over before you know it!
Here is a glimpse of what my Summer looked like and can't wait to share with you what else we are about to achieve this time! Click the link to take you an a little tour /gallery/summer-school-2018/
Number 10: Cancer Awareness "BEAT IT"
A simple yet effective activity to participate during "Breast Cancer Awareness" month. Putting on those boxing gloves and painting our walls pink was a way not only to learn all about the colour PINK but to also show our loved ones to get themselves screened. Young ones were still capable of understanding the struggles of such an illness especially since they found it hard to beat up a strong wall. It was one of those activities that had an abstract message but lucky me, my students were able to understand what it was all about.
No 9: Role Play in the Witch's House
Why was this role play area a memorable one? Because it was our first one and this is where my students learnt about our classroom boundaries, classroom rules and started building relationships. Here they had their first conversations, their first disappointments and their first responsibilities. This role-play area set the ground straight when it comes to fair play, sharing concepts and most of all respect towards each other. YES it got closed off within the first few days of use however it was the starting point of having a responsible class. Discipline and consistency helped in framing my class and it was the starting point of a happy year. Halloween is always a hit in my class but providing such ample play opportunities in one corner was a step forward to more explorations which I lacked in such an interesting topic prior to this year.
No 8: Christmas Sensory Walk
How do you explain the feeling of Christmas? Well this was a sensory walk which allowed students to actually FEEL various emotions and textures on what one can find during the Christmas season. Stepping on soft bubble wrappers, crunchy recycling bags, prickly tinsils, slippery water beads, shiny glitters, rugged carpets, ticklish hamper paper and smooth brown papers made us feel various emotions that allowed us to put our feelings into perspectives a bit easier. This would be a repeat in my books should the occasion arise again.
I read several benefits of how YOGA can be a calming activity for a child body, mind and soul so this year I had to try it out. Luckily my class was not apprehensive and they were capable of having such mindful sessions which allowed them to focus well in tasks or even calm down during harder situations. Easy posing and a little stretching was just the right recipe for making these short sessions effective. Bottoms up, chin down, breathing exercises.... if you are like me and never done YOGA in your life, I suggest to look through You TUBE and there are several of helpful tips which you can follow through with your class and in any setting you prefer.
No 6: Baby's First Haircut
I do give my students several opportunities to enhance their scissoring skills but this was one of our favorite because apart form just cutting away the hair, students had to use other tools to be creative. Hair pins, rubber bands, hair dryers ... you name it and it was definitely there. Free play such as this one has been sought for in numerous play opportunities and this one marks my 6th favorite due to how much time students spent snipping and creating with passion and ease.
No 5: Unplugged Coding: Superhero Play
Capes on and we were OFF to SAVE the WORLD through PLAY! Our Open day theme was all about that! Playing and saving the world! This was possible with unplugged coding games such as moving from one end to another, jumping on one pictures to another, crawling, spinning etc etc. It was a physical and mental game in which students from all over school enjoyed playing and not just us in kinder.
No 4: Outdoor Play through E-twinning
Everyone knows I am no stranger to the E-Twinning platform but this particular E-twinning collaboration was new to me. I partnered up with a local educator who was slightly new to E-Twinning and together we grew experiences from our classrooms and met also outdoors. Usually through E-twinning I have only managed to send mail by post, communicate via Live Video calls etc however never did i have the opportunity to have a project in which two classes could actually MEET UP! After months of communicating and collaborating together online, we managed to meet up and this is exactly why such activity was a memorable one. It was new for me and new for them but having spent so much time together online, it was a smooth transition and a smooth activity.
NO 3: Baby Bumps
Spontaneous Mathematics lesson through the eyes and observations of little wanderers. Early January was indeed a whirl winding moment because of the baby boom we had going on in our little class. From early pregnancies up till full blown ones, I had guardians boosting new life from every corner and of course this was noticed by my little observers. Hence why students dressed up as pregnant ladies and started comparing their baby bumps. It was in that heat of the moment when I just dropped down everything and allowed more room for predicting through estimations.
No 2: Walking on furniture.
I have always had a thing for flexible learning, Why sitting down should be enforced from such a tender age when we are actually supposed to be enforcing movement and physical growth? Isn't movement the best way to learn about boundaries, risk taking and above all keeping active citizens in balance with a healthy life? While I understand that such activities are not for the faint of heart I still believe that it is always FUN to endure physical play in various methods.
No 1: Messy Day
Let me remind everyone how AWESOME his day was! After consulting with our guardians students came to school in clothes of which they could get extra MESSY in! Then behold the masterpieces! Student were given loads of cardboard papers to paint in BLUE! How were they about to do all this? It was up to them because all we provided them with was paint, tools and cardboard. This has to be my top number 1 because not only was it memorable for them but it was also memorable for us educators and parents too.
I know there were so many more new ones but narrowing down to my top 10 I can conclude that this past scholastic year was indeed full of new opportunities for both my students and my own! YES there were wayyyyy LOADS more never done before activities but these last 10 show a variety of way on how learning is done in my little class of fun!
To check out more fun ideas do not forget to click on the gallery and check out some of the many adventures we endured so far!
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End of term 2... WOW can't believe its already here! One more term to go and surly the next one would be the shortest and the most difficult one of all. I have moments in my career where I want to give up,just walk out and never return, but I promise you this is just a minor percentage of it all. Most of my time as an educator is a positive one, but the greatest satisfactions is when students start showing fruitful moments that you never thought of seeing back in October.
I couldn't hold back the excitement I had for my little ones back in our Open Day. Kinder 1's usually sob religiously according to onlookers, but little do they know that these little ones have been prepped up for such a big event that it may still be overwhelming for some. Surprisingly they didn't cry but instead they were ready to conquer the world through play and that was satisfactory to me! Watching them beam out of the door, one by one for their intro was heartwarming. Their smiles, fire in their eyes and enriched innocence gave me pride to just watch how far they have grown.
I can't strain enough how much I believe in showcasing the students strengths and work in everything that you do. This was visible during our hands on and physical activity were the students themselves guided their respective grown ups on what to do, how to do it and what is next in line. Giving them a sense of leadership and being in charge of the day is exactly the type of attention they required to make this day a fun one. Their giggles were the best showcased piece of work. No other drawings, collages and colorings could ever beat the way they moved flowingly on that day. It was their day and they co-ordinated it. They owned every little detail, from their D.I.Y costumes, to their big abstract World puzzle.
What did we educators do then? Well we filtered their thoughts prior to the event and made them somewhat cohesive to what they were looking for. Other than that one could actually see that there was a sense of ownership in everything present on the day.
"My puzzle, my story, my costume, my super power.... We did it,... our hands, our paint, our games, our dance...."
Seeing them proud of their own accomplishments is the best gift anyone could ever give me and hearing their guardians loud and proud announcing to their children "WELL DONE I am PROUD of YOU" is by far the cherry on top of the cake on such an eventful day.
Now it's long gone, dusted, over and done with! A sigh of relief and an actual Hallelujah to some. In my case it is just another stepping stone for yet another prospective big thing. I enjoy being challenged but this particular one had a bitter sweet ending for me and whilst I can't reveal anything for now I can only say that next year would be different in every sense of way.
In the end I am still proud of US all!
Yes I have goals and targets to reach, but nothing can be compared to having a classroom full of bright little curios stars. I may have made a bold move when I ditched my research prior to any activity, however the risk was WELL made. New little stars popped in February, shaking up the classroom dynamics! All my plans were thrown out of the window quicker than the storm that hit last weekend. Was I worried & scared? In the beginning YES ( I ain't going to lie), but allowing myself to step away from all the commotion in my head and leaning more towards heartfelt decisions made our journey to the "STARS" an even brighter one.
Top 10 of my 2019/2020 whirl-winding scholastic year!
11 Jul, 2020
There can never be "ONE"
28 May, 2020
S.T.E.A.M-tastic eBook. A resourceful activity book for students, educators and guardians
20 May, 2020
The Shut Down that gave everyone the Shake Down
26 Mar, 2020
14 Mar, 2020
From one Generation to another.
8 Feb, 2020
The sweet and unwanted CHAOS of the all jolly HoHoHo!
24 Dec, 2019
Jhonny u Pawlu