Monday, September 22, 2008

Monday's Must Reads

~Nancy at Teacher in a Strange Land advocates FOR recess, though others want to increase academic time for students by reducing or taking it away (you know how I feel, recess isn't a reward, it's a REQUIREMENT!)

~Blogwalker shares a link to Childnet International resources available in the U.K., promoting knowledge over fear when teaching students how to use the web responsibly. From their intro:
"Digital citizenship isn’t just about recognising and dealing with online hazards. It’s about building safe spaces and communities, understanding how to manage personal information, and about being internet savvy - using your online presence to grow and shape your world in a safe, creative way, and inspiring others to do the same.”

I've worked for some school districts who would benefit from shifting the fear paradigm from which they operate to a more constructive and productive one in regard to online resources and their use.

~Jim Horn at Schools Matter reminds us all, no matter our voting affiliation, that the most significant educational reform that can take place is ENDING POVERTY.

~My students just finished taking this district's required assessments (beginning of the year, but they'll take it again at the end of the year to "document their growth and progress"). I was glad to read Jennifer's post at Inside Pre-K discussing a more holistic approach to authentic/accurate assessment for our youngest students. I keep anecdotal records, work samples, and assess both informally and formally, and I ask my students themselves what they feel they've learned, have more interest in, or find confusing. How students "perform" with me year 'round is a much more reliable indicator on whether or not they're ready for the first grade than is their performance twice a year clicking and dragging words, photos, or the cursor on a computer screen.

~Finally, parents of wiggly, fidgety students (who are perhaps experiencing difficulties in school) may find Open Education's blog post "Improving Academic Achievement - Executive Function Could Hold the Secret" VERY informative and helpful. Frankly, so would many teachers! Executive function is defined as a “set of cognitive abilities that control and regulate other abilities and behaviors.” Executive function is necessary for GOAL-DIRECTED BEHAVIOR. further notes: Executive functions “include the ability to initiate and stop actions, to monitor and change behavior as needed, and to plan future behavior when faced with novel tasks and situations.” Therefore, “executive functions allow us to anticipate outcomes and adapt to changing situations” while providing us the specific “ability to form concepts and think abstractly.”

Children must develop the skill to resist distraction before they can stay on task and focused.


Here's the next book on my reading list...


  1. Hi, Michaele.

    Thanks for the shout-out. The Center for Public Education's report is a must-read for anyone interested in what's happening to recess; it's full of interesting data and takes a pretty optimistic stance, considering the statistics.

    When schools go from 180 minutes of recess/week to 140 minutes, the CPE report decides that they had recess minutes to spare, as only 8 minutes/day were cut. Anyone who thinks that 8 minutes of recess doesn't matter, in the big picture, hasn't taught kindergarten.

    Thanks for reading.


  2. I love your idea for me, Birds of color.ummm, I need the book you listed, but change it for me to "learn to write" lol. Laurie

  3. I only got a chance to briefly look at this post, but I definitely agree with you on the whole recess thing. At my school, they are trying now to keep KINDERGARTENERS in from recess. Right now I am in second grade (student teaching) and I can't even imagine them going without recess, let alone shildren who are two years younger. Clearly, people coming up with these ideas are not in the classroom! Kids need their recess...agreed! :)


As always, thank you for your comments, tips, suggestions and questions!