Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sunday, October 9, 2011

#kinderchat word clouds

Wordle: #Kinderchat Play Wiki Wiki ResourcesWordle

Wordle: #Kinderchat Technology Wiki WordleWiki Technology Resources Wordle

Wordle: Kinderchat  #Kinderchat Blog Wordle

Word frequencies from twapperkeeper archives

1st  9pm  add  app  blog  book  brick  chat  check  child  class  days  est  family fb  free  fun  hello  help  idea  join  kid  learn  link  look  love  math  monday night  ok  page  play  post  re  read  ready  share  start  talk  teach  tell  time topic  try  using  week  word  world  yes  
Overall tone: very positive

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Kindergarten Around the World 2011-12!

Update: More info on Kindergarten Around the World can be found here, on our shiny new blog!
It seems it is time to find an online home for details of this, my own pet #kinderchat project! 

Kindergarten Around the World has recently generated lots of interest, and lots of questions, so I am hoping the project description below, will answer most of your questions about participating. Please note that the 2011-12 project is currently full for English-speaking classes in Canada and the US. I am still accepting sign-ups from French-speaking classes from any country (Canadian classes may need to be matched with classes in other regions of Canada), and English-speaking classes outside of Canada and the US. I may be able to accommodate other languages, as well. 

To help increase the diversity of the project, I need help spreading the word to overseas schools! Please pass this link on to any international teachers who may be interested.

Kindergarten Around The World 2011-12

Kindergarten Around the World is a twitter-based virtual exchange project, allowing young students to experience and explore life in another country by building a relationship with a class of similarly-aged children. It was piloted using 8 classes in 2010-11, and may potentially include over 100 classes this year.

The project is based out of Calgary French and International School ( located in Calgary, Canada. The coordinator (me!) is Amy Murray (@happycampergirl). The Toronto Star recently wrote an article about the project, which can be found here:

Most participating classes have students between the ages of 4 and 6; however, other age groups can participate if they are open to being matched with younger students.

Information for participating classes

Each participating class be assigned a partner class at from another country. Partner classes must:

  • Have regular internet access.
  • Have (or be willing to create) a Twitter account for their class.
  • Be willing to check their twitter account at least 3 times a week, answering questions, and asking questions of their own.


By developing a relationship with a kindergarten class in another part of the world, participating students will:
  • Compare and contrast their own daily lives with those of other  students around the world.
  • See themselves as part of a larger, international community of Kindergarten-aged children
  • Develop an awareness of and appreciation for other cultures
  • Reflect on their own school lives and daily experiences.
  • Explore the use of technology as a tool to communicate and build relationships.

Premise and general outline:

  • Each class will create a fictional student who is a member of their partner class.
  • Using a variety of media, students will create a story (or series of stories) featuring this character going through daily life in the country and school of their partner class.
  • Using Twitter to ask and answer questions, classes will gather information about their partner class and country, to create stories that accurately reflect life in that country and region.

The project will be directed by students’ ideas and interests, so activities may vary from one partnership to another. Possible activities:

  • Virtual tours of classrooms using digital video.
  • Skype conversations between classrooms.
  • Student journals regarding the experiences of their fictional character.
  • Completing a special craft that is also being done by their partner class.
  • Learning and playing a game that is popular in their partner class.
  • Making and eating a snack that is typical in their partner country.
  • Celebrating a special holiday that is significant to their partner class
  • Creating a collective storybook (or multiple books) about the adventures of their character.
  • Learning a song or poem that is part of their partner class’s daily routines.
  • Graphing daily temperature and weather at home and in partner class's location.
  • Exploring websites related to partner schools and countries.

Culminating Project
Classes are encouraged to create an electronic story or presentation about their fictional student, in a format that can easily be shared with their partner class. Possible tools include,,, and This presentation will integrate everything students have learned about their partner classroom and country.

Here is an example of a project from last year:

General Timeline
Teachers can expect to receive contact information for their partner class some time in October 2011, and are welcome to start tweeting with their partners at any time after that. The intention this year is to officially kick-off the project in November with an exchange (via snail mail) of cards or drawings. Schools who celebrate or acknowledge winter holidays such as Christmas are welcome to exchange greeting cards. Schools who do not celebrate these holidays are welcome to exchange drawings or introductory notes. Each teacher partnership can agree on a format that is appropriate for their students.

The "research" part of the project, where classes use twitter to learn about one another, can follow any timeline that works for both teachers. The 2010-11 pilot project went on for just over a month, which felt like not enough time to adequately explore all the things that caught the children's interest.

Some teachers may choose to make the project their primary "theme" for a set period of time, others may choose to weave it into their existing program. There are no firm rules about how to integrate the project into your classroom -- as long as it is working for you and your partner teacher, you are doing it right!

Please note that the project is currently full for English-speaking classes in Canada and the US. I am still accepting signups from French-speaking classes from any country (Canadian classes may need to be matched with classes in other regions of Canada), and English-speaking classes outside of Canada and the US.

Teachers who would like to participate can fill out the form found here: . Completing the form is understood as a commitment to participation; having a class withdraw creates tremendous disappointment for their partner class. The secret password for the last question of the form is "GLITTER." (If you received a different password in an e-mail from me, please use the password that appears in the e-mail. Different passwords help me keep track of where the signups are coming from!)

Teachers or administrators who would like more information can reach me at

Thanks for helping to spread the word!

Smiles & Sunshine; 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

International Clock Widgets and Whatnots

This is the best one I've seen! Shared by @angelameirs via @Matt_Gomes

Monday, September 5, 2011

Facebook Family Forum

So! The Facebook Family Forum, huh?! :D What have we wandered into here?! The land of Facebook! Tangles and all! But you cannot dispute its wide appeal and usage. We believe this is where our Parents are and where we can begin to create a globaled community of Parents and Professionals engaged in dialogue about the joys and challenges of working with Young Children.

So with all its scars, issues and fears, perceived or real, we are using Facebook to host The Official Kinderchat Family Forum inspired and under the direction of @Matt_Gomez.

1. Why is Mr Gomez using Facebook again this year?
2. What kinds of stuff did Mr Gomez post? I don't want pictures of my kids on Facebook.

3. Multiple Choice :D
    A. Looks good, I'm interested! Sign up here for continued help in creating Class Closed Groups
    B. Am not interested (FB blocked, etc) but would like to engage in FB Family Forum. Use this form:

You can "Like" the Kinderchat blog below and be sure to "Like" Kinderchat on Facebook if you want to join this Project!!

Special Thanks to @Matt_Gomez for pioneering this Project and for leading us in this journey! The only way to learn is to risk, try, fail, flounder and yet this has been a great success. We CAN change the world, even if its one "Like" at a time.

Thanks all for your fun, your willingness to Play and your support for each other every day. We are so lucky to have found one another.

Good Luck to ALL as we begin to start school, get to know our new students and Parents. As always, we hope that Kinderchat makes your job easier, more fun and more connected to the world.


Monday, August 22, 2011

The Play Project

Phew! That was probably the toughest #kinderchat I've been through yet! Usually it's just moderating but this time it was sharing my own idea as well as trying to moderate! Very tough!

So what is the Play Project? Well, bottom line is, it's an invitation to Play with other Kindergarten classes!

So if you'd like to Play, please go here

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Gearing up to go Back to School!

Well, here we go #kinderchat!! I love watching the tweets slowly roll in- who started school today, who is working in their room opening boxes of friendly classroom tools, who is attending meetings, and who is still on vacation at the beach! (me! me!)

This has been an incredible break on my end. Usually I work throughout the summer, with a very short vacation between. This year, I allowed myself the gift of time and enjoyed a long and much needed break from my normal routine! I went to two wonderful conferences. (ISTE Philadelphia and Constructing Modern Knowledge in Manchester, NH) They were each amazing in their own way and expanded my horizons and networking experiences.  I feel very lucky to have been able to attend!

This summer has provided such a wonderful time of reflection for me as I hope it has been for everyone! What a gift to start fresh and new every year!

We have worked hard over the summer to launch a few new features for the year! Check out the sparkly new #kinderchat directory and Projects page!

All the best to each of you as your tweet finally rolls in "first day of school tomorrow!" all the way through to "I made it!" in June! Three cheers for a happy, fun and successful school year!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Blog Challenge: Question the Fifth!

I know. I KNOW. I am late posting this, AND I am 19 gadzillion weeks behind in my own posts. It is summer-frinking-time, is all I have to say about that.

With no further ado, here is this week's question, by special request:

Tell us about your greatest classroom disaster. The biggest mess, the lamest lesson, the most snooze-worthy circle time. Hopefully, even if you couldn't laugh about it at the time, you can laugh about it now.

Ok, go.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Blog Challenge: Question the Fourth!

Hellllooooo Kinderbloggers!

Okay, last week we talked about parents, so this week, let's talk about kids. No. Let's talk about ONE kid.

Tell the story of one specific child, who walked into your life and changed everything.

We've all had that kid, at least once.

I know I don't really need to say this, especially after last week's post, but please, remember, to tell the story in a way that respects that child, their dignity, their privacy.

That's all.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Blog Challenge: Question the Third!

I know, I KNOW. I have not yet finished my own response to the 2nd question, and here I am, posting the 3rd. What can I say, this is apparently a perk of being in charge of this here little challenge. Plus also, the second question is hard! And long! WHO PICKED IT, is what I would really like to know...

(Oh, right. It was me.)

Moving right along, I thought we would move away from Memory Lane for a while, and toward The Land of Imagination.

Imagine that a parent of one of your students, stumbling around the internet, happened to land on your blog. Not your class blog with your cute photos of all your munchkins and their amazing brilliant work. Your personal teacher-reflection blog, the one where your intended audience is mostly other teachers. Pretend that parent managed to figure out exactly who you were, and that you were their child's teacher. What would you want that parent to know? What would you say to that parent? Write the letter that you would want that parent to read.

Ready? Set? Go.


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Blog Challenge: Question the Second!

Wow, if you haven't checked out people's answers to the first blog question, you really need to. (Go to twitter and search for #kinderblog. You'll find links to stories of Becoming A Teacher.) I know I was the last one to post (unless Heidi pulls something together between now and midnight...), and to tell the truth, it was partly because I was enjoying taking so many little jogs down the alleys of my memory.

And since we're all down memory lane anyway, our second question will take us even further (and if you didn't get to answer the first question, no problem. Jump in right now, the water is fine!):

Tell us about the teacher preparation you attended. (You don't have to name the school if you don't want to.) Did you love it at the time? Did it prepare you adequately for teaching? How did you feel about it as you were in it? Does it look different now, looking back? Would you change it if you could? What did get out of it? What did you not get that you needed?

As always, when you're done, tweet the link with the #kinderblog tag, so we can all find each other.

Happy writing!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Blog Challenge: Question the first!

And, it's on: The Great Kinderblog Summer Blogging Challenge begins... now!

Tell us the story of the first group of children for whom you were "Teacher." Maybe it was at a school, but maybe it wasn't. Maybe it was a childcare centre, or a daycamp, or a swimming pool or a dance studio or a hockey rink.  Maybe it was in your own home, or their home. Who were they? Who were you? What did it FEEL like? Maybe it was amazing. Maybe it was terrible. Either way, there is a story there. Tell it.

Don't forget: when your story is done, tweet the link using #kinderblog, so we can find you! 


P.S. I know I PROBABLY don't need to remind you of this, but...  remember that, for most of us, our blogs are public. The possibility exists that, at any time, your boss, your colleagues, your students or their parents, could stumble upon what you write. Please be mindful at all times of privacy and safety, for both you and your (past, present, future) students.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

#kinderblog Blogging Challenge!

Okay, folks, based on the responses from Twitter, it seems there are at least a few of us who are up for a kinderchat blogging challenge. Yay! Confession: the origin of this idea may have been a little self-serving, because I really really want to write more this summer, and isn't it always easier to stay motivated with an exercise buddy or two or three or four? Furthermore, let's make no mistake here: writing IS an exercise. The more you do it, the easier it is. Like our students, we become better writers by writing. So, let's write!

I've been wrestling a little, trying to come up with a brilliant format for this whole thing.  It's easy to fall down the rabbit hole of creating a badge for our blogs! And linking to one another! And are blog rings still a thing? How do we make one? And then (thank goodness) my summer brain spoke up and said "Dude. It's summer. Keep it simple." (My summer brain is somehow slow and wise at the same time.) I also want this to be accessible for people who are new to blogging (maybe this will even inspire some of you to START blogging?!..)  So, simple it is.  Here's the scoop:

  • The challenge will last for 6 weeks, beginning this week. 
  • Every Wednesday, I will post a new question or topic. I'll probably tweet it, too, so make sure you are following me (@happycampergirl) as well as the kinderchat account (@kinderchat123).
  • Ideally, we will all do all the questions, but if you miss a week, or a topic doesn't inspire you, or you want to join partway along, no worries. If you join late, you can start at the first question, or just jump into the middle. (See? Simple.)
  • When your post is ready, tweet the link and tell us! Wait, we should have a hashtag...  
  • When your post is ready, tweet the link and tell us, using the #kinderblog hashtag.
  • When you read someone else's post, COMMENT on it. Seriously, getting a comment on a blog is like getting a gold star on a math test. 
So, if you're in, let me know in the comments. Include the link to your blog, and I will be sure to add you  to the blogroll on this page. (That list over there to the right? That's the blogroll.) If you have topic suggestions, add those to your comment, too. Ideally, our topics will be reflective and thought-provoking, with a balance of fun and serious.

Come on, blog with us! All the cool kids are doing it!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Summer Break

Hi Everyone!
Heidi here! Enjoying Day 3 of Summer Break from school! As a group, we are either exhausted from the flurry of the end of the school year or already recovering and relaxing on a boat at the lake!

Reflection is a critical process of learning. Our brains and bodies need times of dormancy in order to grow and sprout up to our next level of learning. For this reason, #kinderchat will be on break through the remainder of June and July. We will resume formal moderated chats on Monday August 1st at 9PM EST.

Summer is such the gift of time to spend with family and friends. We cherish this downtime and consider it a vital part of teaching and learning. Many of our best chats come from open topic times, where people freely discuss whatever is on their mind. Please join us in free form chatting and sharing stories and fun throughout the summer and keep each other posted on conferences and your summer work!

As for #kinderchat, here's what's happening on the summer projects list:

-follow and participate in conference hashtags
-collaboratively develop a playful "Core Curriculum" #kinderchat curriculum
-work on class accounts and connectivity
-work the way of the wiki
-learn and incorporate new technology
-formalize and continue networking strategies
-prepare for @naeyc Orlando 2011, baby!
-seek opportunities, scholarships, grant money, sponsors

Ok! Hopefully summertime will be enough time to accomplish even half of this and still have some fun!
All the best for a happy, healthy and fantastic summer!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Reflection on Testing

Hello Everyone! Still up and feeling lively after tonight's chat on Formal Testing Practices! Wonderful to have so many voices weigh in on this controversial subject! We had special guests! experts! a testing company! and voices from Indonesia, UK, Honduras, Canada, Australia and the US all talking testing and young children. Very exciting!

First a formal Thank You to those who made a special effort to join us tonight:
We knew it would be a hotbed topic tonight, so I made sure to have some additional backup on my end by heading over to my parents homestead and visiting my Dad, a 30+ year educational testing consultant. I must say it was really interesting moderating, listening to my father roam on about testing AND follow the conversation! I guess I am still fired up from all the juggling!

While many oppose standardized testing with young children, it's important to remember its not the test but what you do with the results that hinges its evil-ness factor. Testing companies will tell you these tests are not designed for the purpose of evaluating teachers. It's the politics of the results that corrupts this basic assessment practice.

Personally, I cheer that I no longer have to manually assess if Sue, Taneisha, Johnny, Sara, Paul, Patrice, Jackson, Joey, Kendra, Sam, Bob, Kaley, Ava, Olivia, Daeqwan, Mark, Josie, Rachel, Kenneth and John can all rote count to 100, identify a set of simple shapes and the lower and upper case letters. Certainly when their parents come in for conferencing, that is information I want to share with them. I appreciate that I can outsource that entire process.

But I am not being evaluated as a professional based on the success or failure of my 5 year old student's performance on a letter identification test. Therefore, we have no long hours of test prep, no narrowing of the curriculum to drive up my results, no fatigue. Its fun. Its a computer game we play.

It's funny to me that we have had chat after chat on so many diverse topics, but nothing like the word "test" gets a bee in people's bonnet. It's not the test, but what you do with it. Are you grading and evaluating students on your science test? How is that different than a testing company or a policy maker politicizing the results? High school and Middle school teachers use their own tests to create camps and blocks of children based on their performance on a single evaluation of "the material" all the time.

Maybe that won't be a popular statement, but try to pry the gradebook from many a teachers hand and you will see what I mean! How is it kindergarten teachers evaluate children each day without grades, grade books or in some cases, like our friends in Canada or the UK, no standardized testing for 5 year olds?

Testing isn't teaching- its just one form of assessment. One form of 100 other forms we Kindergarten teachers use each day. One form that slowly morphs and molds into the only form for some uninformed. Anytime you take a one-dimensional look at multi-dimensional people and a three dimensional learning process, there are bound to be problems.

Thanks to all who came out tonight! Thanks for your professionalism, your sharing, your community and your work each day teaching the earth's children.

Amy Archived the chat here and here! It was a double! Be sure to check it out for more tidbits than I can ever include in here! Will have to re read over a few times myself!

Thanks for keeping it real.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Testing the testing waters

So. Monday (April 25). The topic is Formal Testing and Assessment in Kindergarten. If you do a quick search of the hashtag, you will see: there is quite a bit of buzz about this topic. People are coming who do not usually join us when we discuss glue management (If you don't know why we would need to discuss that, you clearly have not taught kindergarten for long enough). Some of those "people" are companies who CREATE standardized tests. Some of them are schools who believe in those tests. Some of them are teacher advocates who berate the tests. Most are teachers who use the tests against their own better judgement, because they have little choice. Surely you can see the potential for mudslinging and finger-pointing, just as clearly as I can.

Before I go on, I think I need to air some bias: I am a Canadian. I attended Canadian schools. I now teach in a Canadian school. We do not have, use, accept, believe in, standardized testing as it is used in the US. The thought of kindergarten students being subjected to this kind of testing makes me ill. I think it has no business in a classroom. Related: I think BUSINESS has no business in a kindergarten classroom. Hmm, now that I think about it, that last sentence nicely sums up the reasons that the thought of Monday's chat is already kind of giving me a stomachache: it seems so very difficult to discuss testing without it turning into a discussion of The American Education System and Everything That is Wrong With It and How It is Everyone's and No One's Fault, All at the Same Time. Believe me, I definitely have some opinions about all of those things, but the entire debate is so huge, so complicated, and so deeply personal for so many people that it often overwhelms me. I am fairly certain I am not alone in my overwhelmed-ness.

So, in preparation for the upcoming chat, please let me clarify: Our topic for Monday is NOT educational reform. It is NOT a debate on the relative merits and flaws of charter/public/private schools. It is NOT a discussion of No Child Left Behind, or of Race to the Top. We will not discuss whether Bill Gates is or should be a relevant figure in the efforts to "fix" America's schools. We will not discuss the definition of "good teacher" vs "bad teacher," nor we will discuss unions, merit pay or the value of seniority. If you want to request a #kinderchat about any of those things, we will consider it, but this Monday, we have only 1 hour, so let's make it a good one.

Our chat is, and remains, a community primarily composed of teachers, teaching kindergarten, all over the world. We welcome and embrace non-teachers, whether you are administrators, non-profit groups, specialists, authors, artists, parents, student-teachers, or private enterprise. However, our priority in all of our topics is to address the experience of teaching kindergarten. That said, our conversation for Monday will use the following definition:

Standardized testing refers to the administration of externally-created (i.e. not by teacher or school district), norm-referenced, tests or assessments that are given to all students in your grade level.

With that as backdrop, let's frame our discussion around these questions: 
  • Do you/are you required to administer standardized tests in your kindergarten program?
  • Which tests do you use, or have you used? (Please remember when dropping acronyms that our chat is an international group, and it is helpful to provide links or full titles, at least the first time you mention a test.) What is the best/worst test you ever administered?
  • What curriculum areas/developmental domains do those tests address? Do you feel those tests provide meaningful feedback to you as a teacher on children's skills and progress?
  • What is the testing experience like for the students? 
  • Do you feel the tests themselves are developmentally appropriate? Is it possible to do standardized testing in a group situation in a developmentally appropriate way?
  • Does the presence of testing affect what/how you teach?
I want to be clear: I am not opposed to our chats including opinions (Lord knows, I myself would not be safe or welcome in a place where opinions were not allowed!), and I think there is value in providing a forum for a variety of viewpoints. As we approach this complicated topic, which is so closely linked to  some pretty inflammatory issues, let us remember some things I wrote as the lead-up to our last potentially controversial topic:
  1. No teacher, school, board, district, city, or country, is handling these issues perfectly.
  2. Everyone participating has a genuine desire to improve their own practice and policy.
  3. Everyone participating is willing to answer questions regarding their classroom practices and policies.
  4. Everyone participating is doing their very best to ask questions in an open and respectful manner.
  5. In spite of the limitations of 140-character text communication, the default "tone of voice" in the chat is warm, curious, genuine, and respectful.
We are, according to many, "the nicest chat on Twitter." Let's prove them right.


Monday, April 11, 2011

To blog or not to blog

Well, it has been a while since I posted any commentary to go with the archive, hasn't it? But how could I resist the opportunity to be all meta, and blog about tweeting about blogging? Did you REALLY think I would let THAT pass me by?

Anyway, tonight's chat was as enjoyable, engaging, and uplifting as always. I love love love when newcomers comment on how we are the nicest chat on all of Twitter. I love that we (both collectively and individually) are developing digital reputations as good citizens and kind, helpful, human beings. Tonight's topic included some discussion of parental concerns regarding classroom blogs. I think there is still a significant amount of fear out there about The Big Bad Internet. Who better to help put those fears to rest than a group of kindergarten (and kindergarten-at-heart) teachers?

Nicely done, folks.

Here is the archive, read all about it.


P.S. The answer to the title question is, clearly: TO BLOG!

Monday, March 21, 2011

*New Feature*

Hi Everyone!
Heidi here! Just a reminder that there is no formal #kinderchat tonight! I think we've all earned a week off for *Spring Break* 2011 to recharge. I know Amy will be cocktailing around the hashtag tonight introducing her colleague to the wild world of twitter we all love.

While having formal topic rotations to hang our hats on provides an important focus, so too is "playtime" and unstructured time. That said, we are introducing our newest feature


If you haven't yet noticed, topics are colour coordinated by the rainbow
Red: Reflection and Assessment
Orange: Work
Yellow: Classroom Life
Green: PLAY
Blue: Special Topic TBD
Indigo: Professional Life
Violet: Technology

and now....drum roll please!

basically a no-topic, cocktail, informal time to chat! We'd like to extend an invite to companies and products to participate- great time to run a special! So join us for our prequel tonight!

The first POT O' GOLD is scheduled for April 18!

See! You can find the end of the rainbow! Right here on #kinderchat!

Here we are #kinderchatters! :D Our own little mascots! *Toot! Toot!*

These guys hatched out from one of the first few #kinderchats

The stream went something like this:
@hechternacht doing rhyming today. Tip for new teachers: never rhyme w duck

@Mr_Fines today we talked about dinosaur poop.

@happycampergirl phoque! Rhymes w duck. It means seal in French- we have to send a note home.

Soon after that the ducks were tooting, the seals were clapping and we were ALL rhyming with duck. (((clap))) (((clap)))

Big Thanks to Tony Squindo for bringing this concept to life for #kinderchat

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Personal Sensitivities and the Constant Critique

Well, hello out there! Heidi here! My goal was to have a blog post after every #kinderchat meeting of the minds yet it has been about a month since I last spoke in more than 140 characters!

The last few discussions have brought two important points up among our little community and it's time to talk about them. Granted, they were not brought up by regular weekly participants.

I believe this can be summed up in two parts:
1. The Constant Critic
2. Personal Sensitivities

As teachers, we all deal with both of these issues on a daily, ongoing basis. And believe me, it gets exhausting. Working with children on a daily basis on top of adult requirements for what they deem as proper practice certainly wears one down in both temperment and tolerance.

Our first case is the Case of the Constant Critic. This is someone I have faced may times. (Not this exact person, mind you, rather the type.) This person is generally appointed an expert through academia, attitude or job description. They are interested in influencing teachers through training. They have very clear ideas as to what should and should not be going in the classroom. They eagerly await a slip of a sentence to provide that crucial "teachable moment" to colleagues currently practicing the craft of teaching. They never seem to understand why teachers or colleagues are "resistant".

They will read that paragraph and incorrectly interpret that I do not value reflection of my professional practice.

I am reminded of the time I was evaluated by someone on my performance of a scripted curriculum. Her evaluation mentioned that my "mini-lesson" ran 12 minutes when it should only be 10 minutes.

I'm only going to say this:
If you are constantly looking for faults, you will surely find them.

Indeed, The United States is setting itself up for just that in our current climate of teaching. Personally, I cannot express how much the Canadian teachers and experts in kinderchat have influenced my thinking, practice and respect for their approach of education and the profession of teaching. I look to them as leaders in the field of teaching young children and want to specifically mention the wonderful sharing of teaching practice coming from Canada.

Kinderchat is not here to evaluate your growth or learning in teaching. We firmly believe that by sharing we will help each other grow and learn. We are a relaxed and happy group, full of jokes, stories and reflections. We grant each other professional expertise.

Interesting to note, that this particular critiquer was either unable or unwilling to share his own resources and contributed nothing to the roundtable other than his opinions of the quality of our sharing resources and practice on the topic. Yes, critiques go two ways.

Who you are and how you conduct yourself within our community matters.

Secondly, the personal sensitivities and bias issue. I opened the chat last night with a request to keep Japan in your prayers or pray for Japan, something to that effect. btw I am not religious, but I felt that the extreme situation of a country facing nuclear meltdown warranted a call for prayers. I was quickly accused of being insensitive to atheists.

I will only say this:
If you spend your time waiting to be offended and excluded, you surely will be.

It is our goal to be a place of refuge and support for Kindergarten and Professionals working in the field of Early Childhood Education. If you spend your time tearing down systems of support, you are not helping our community and are interrupting productive conversations. This doesn't mean that we don't appreciate "tough questions" or a good old fashioned debate, but rather we are actively involved in our practice every day, we are human and we are all working very hard both offline and on to create wonderful learning environments for children all over the world.

Please think deeply about all of this before you participate as it is core to the beliefs of kinderchat.

Thank you,

Monday, March 14, 2011

Archive to Classroom Life Topic: Field Trips, March 7

Just so you all know, I am hanging my head in shame that it has taken me an entire WEEK to post this...  All I can say in my own defense is that it is report card time up in here, and I know you all know what a time-suck THAT is.

So, here it is.  As you may remember, we had some moments that were borderline confrontational. Alas, the instigator of those moments deleted all of his #kinderchat tweets before I created the archive. Lesson learned: from this point forward, archives will be created promptly, 30 minutes after the chat ends. I also promise to make an effort to POST said archives in a far more timely fashion.

Coming up in less than an hour: PLAY: The Great Outdoors.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Archive to Curriculum Areas Topic: Gross Motor Development, Feb 28

Sorry for the delay on this one folks. WhatTheHashTag, our usual archive service, appears to be out of order indefinitely, so I tried something new. As it turns out, makes even more beautifuller (hmmm, perhaps I have been reading a little too much Junie B Jones...) archives! I love love love the rainbow at the top, and that everyone's twitter avatars appear in the document.

Go ahead, admire how beautiful you all are! Click here for the archive!

Oh, and on behalf of my stir-crazy, cabin-fever-riddled children, THANK YOU to everyone who contributed such amazing, creative, and FUN ideas for incorporating more gross motor activity into my classroom routines. Thanks to all of you, my students will not only survive this interminable cold snap, they might just thrive...


Monday, February 21, 2011

Archive to Reflection topic: Social Justice and Cultural Sensitivity, Feb 21

Wow, can I just take a minute and say how impressed I am with the kinderchatters? Judging by tonight's conversation, most of us did our homework, including the "recommended readings". We are truly a bunch of kinder-geeks. I even threw in a test question -- did any of you spot it?! Thanks to all of you for being such a crew of dedicated professionals. It seems we are winning over new fans every week.

Here is the archive for those who missed (and were missed).

Happy week-off to the lucky ones, happy Tuesday to the rest!