Little ones love literacy.
Music is magic!
Have you ever heard a preschool teacher or occupational therapist refer to "crossing the midline," and wondered what that was?
In this blog I talk about what it is, why it is important, and how it relates to literacy.
I also sing some original songs that will help encourage this developmental benchmark.
If you wonder if your child or one you teach is having difficulty crossing the midline, please talk to your pediatritian or occupational therapist.
Whether you are a teacher or a parent/ caregiver, we all want to set our children up for a peaceful school year. Making class rules or house rules together helps everyone know what the expectaions are. And when we include our children in the making of rules, this gives them a feeling of empowerment and a greater sense of buy-in.
In Responsive Classroom trainings, I learned a great way to include children in rule-making. After collecting rule suggestions from children, encourage them to make postitive rules about what we want to see, instead of rules about what we do not want. Then rules can be sorted into three buckets: our things, each other, and ourselves. Use the language your children use to make these rules. For example, the rules in one class were, "Use lovely treatment with our things. Use lovely treatment with each other. Use lovely treatment with yourself." What was the one over-arching rule? "Use lovely treatment."
In my original song, "Be Peaceful," the rules are,...
Name Songs are important. Not only do they help children feel welcome and included, but they teach that words and letters have meaning.
In this blog I demonstrate how to use name songs for word study, modeled writing, interactive writing, and independent writing.
Here are the name songs in this blog:
P.S. This blog first aired in the Early Childhood Global Mastermind Group. Huge thanks to Atul, Mar., and the gang.
Encouragement is having high, but attainable expectations, celebrating every success, and showing compassion in the face of failure.
In How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and Listen So Kids Will Talk, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish write, “Let us realize that, along with food, shelter, and clothing, we have another obligation to our children, and that is to affirm their ‘rightness.’ The whole world will tell them what’s wrong with them—loud and often. Our job is to let our children know what’s right about them.” (p.191) (I love this book. Their book, Siblings Without Rivalry is also excellent.) The world can be a discouraging place. Our homes don’t have to be. We can choose to encourage our children.
Let’s focus on progress, not perfection. Focus on the wins, employing a strength model vs. a deficit model.
Recognize your child as a reader. (Check out this blog: https://www.singintoreading.com/blog/recognizing-readers)
Today is World Poetry Day!
Poetry is all about using words to evoke emotion.
Poetry is about using beautiful language.
I often talk about the importance of reading books to children daily. It is important to expose our children to poetry as well. There are many wonderful poetry books for children. My favorite is "Honey, I Love," by Eloise Greenfield.
Not only do we read poetry to our children, but we also encourage them to write it. Children are natural poets. The world, seen through a child's eyes, is poetry. The words a child uses are often poetry.
Collect your child's words. When your child says something poetic, save it. Say, "That is beautiful language." Write it down and hang onto these precious words.
As a classroom teacher, I had a poster on the wall that was titled, "Beautiful Language." When students said something beautiful, I wrote it down, hung it on the bulletin, and read it aloud to the class.
Here is one of my favorites... When my oldest (now 15) was 4, he referred to the...
Holidays can be a crazy time. There is so much to do and just not enough time to get it all done.
Let's face it, holidays don't always feel like a Hallmark show. Holidays can be stressful - especially with children.
I invite you to join me in deliberately stopping to breathe whenever you feel stressed.
No matter how much we have to do, we always have time to breathe.
Wishing you PEACEFUL holidays filled with love, joy, and music!
We just finished celebrating Independence Day.
This holiday is all about FREEDOM.
What does freedom mean to you?
For me, freedom is not necessarily doing everything we want to, all the time.
(Let’s face it, nobody gets to do everything we want all the time. We all do the dishes and the laundry - even when we don’t want to.)
For me, freedom is all about having CHOICES.
I value choice and freedom.
That’s why as a teacher, and also as a parent, I offer choices whenever possible.
I give my students a sense of ownership over our classes, and I give my kids a sense of autonomy over their own lives.
'Cause I'm Free
by Risa Cohen
I’ll do what I want to do
And I’ll say what I want to say
And I’ll be what I want to be
‘Cause I’m free
I’ll do what is good for you
And I’ll say what is good for us
And I’ll be what is good for me
‘Cause I’m free
I’m kind! I am kind to you.
Shared Reading is an important component of any balanced literacy curriculum. Shared Reading happens in the classroom when a teacher uses a bigbook or a chart with large print to read not to the class, but with the class. All members of the class "share" the reading. Shared reading mimics the laptime experience a child gets at home with a parent. Songs make terrific shared reading texts. In a classroom, songs can be printed in large print on chart paper. At home, songs can be written or printed on regular sized paper.
Over the course of a week, reading the same shared reading text daily, you may go through progressive lessons. The first day, you might do modeled reading. The next day you might leave out the last (rhyming or predictable) word of a line, allowing the child to read that word. This technique is called oral cloze. The next day, you might act out the song, or move to it. Then you might do choral reading, with everyone reading together like a chorus. For a...
What is Balanced Literacy? Balanced Literacy is a reading curriculum that includes Read Aloud, Modeled Writing, Independent Writing, Independent Reading, Shared Reading, Interactive Writing, Guided Reading, Phonics and Word Study.
I learned about Balanced Literacy at The Reading and Writing Project (TRWP) at Teachers College, Columbia University. What I do differently at Sing into Reading is that I use songs as our texts.
At Bank Street College, I learned the developmental-interaction approach, or "The Bank Street Approach." This progressive approach to education is a whole-child approach that places as much value on a child's social and emotional development as on a child's academic development. At Sing into Reading, we value SEL (social emotional learning).
One of the hallmarks of the developmental-interaction approach is the child-centered social studies curriculum. We start our social studies curriculum with the center: the self. A child moves through the curriculum in ever-widening arcs of experience, progressing through a family study, a community study, national studies, international studies, and then astronomy. Just as Maria Montessori talks about "sensitive periods" - periods of time when a child is easily able to learn certain concepts, the developmental-interaction approach recognizes that a child is self-centered, and that their interest in the outside world expands over...