Thursday, December 27, 2012

#Kinderchat Joins #NaBloPoMo (or: so you want to be a blogger...)

Helloooooo, Friends!

Merry Happy Chrismahanukwanzakah to one and all. Whatever you celebrate(d), I hope it is/was happy and full of peace and magic and delicious treats.

Based on the response I got on The Twitterz and The Facebook, it looks like several of you would be interested in helping #Kinderchat participate in BlogHer's NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month). The rules of participation are simple: we need to post a blog post every day for 31 days. To do this, we need your help. Here is how it will work:

If you would like to contribute, please complete the form embedded below. Once you have signed up, you will receive a link to a spreadsheet where you can choose the date for your post.  If you sign up to contribute, your post is due to us, via e-mail or Twitter DM, or Facebook Message, no later than 3 days before your date of publication. This will give us time to proofread and format things. So, if you sign up for the January 15th post, please get it to us by January 12th. You are more than welcome to submit your post more than 3 days in advance. In fact, we would love that! 

Preliminary guidelines for posts:
  • There is no length requirement. You post can be as wordy (or not) as you like.
  • The topic matter is wide open, as long as it is in some way related to the care and education of young children. 
  • As much as possible, it is a good idea to include a picture, video, or image of some kind. This helps make the post "pinnable" and more Facebook friendly.
  • Whatever images or video you use, please make sure you are using them legally and with permission. can help you find images that can be used without violating copyright.
  • Your signup to be a contributor is understood as permission for us to use your content, images, and video, on this site only, for the purposes of this project only.
  • You are welcome to cross-post on your own blog. 
  • We will give full attribution for your posts, and will include (at minimum): a link to your twitter account and/or your blog. If you would like us to include additional attributions, please share that information when you submit your post.
  • Posts can be submitted as Word attachments via e-mail (kinderchat123(at)gmail(dot)com); by Twitter DM to a linked google doc, or by Facebook message at the Kinderchat Page (message should include a link to a google doc). 
Ok, ready to go? Sign up here to get started! Within 2 days of signing up, you will receive an e-mail confirming the instructions for submission.

Happy New Year, friends! We can't wait to read you!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Great #Kinderchat Holiday Party of 2012

Hello friends!

You know what's coming up next on #kinderchat, don't you? That's right, its...


And you are all invited! (Seriously. You are ALL invited. Even if you don't teach kindergarten, or you have never come to #kinderchat, or you have always wanted to come but were shy, or you have only lurked, or you have no clue what #kinderchat is but you just want to come to a party. YOU ARE ALL INVITED.)

The party will take place at our usual #Kinderchat day and time (next Monday, December 3rd, 9pm EST, 8pm CST, 7pm MST, 6pm PST, insert your own timezone here), on the Twitterz as always. 

And, boy, do we have some fun activities planned for you!
(Note that all activities are completely optional, and at no point will you be required to participate in any merry-making that exceeds your comfort zone. THIS IS A SAFE SPACE. Introverts, you're welcome.)

Pick and choose any or all of the following:

Holiday Sweater Parade: For the time of the chat (or the whole festive season, if you are into that sort of thing), change your twitter avatar to an image of the best holiday sweater you can find.

Festive Drink Recipe Swap: Mix up your favourite holiday beverage (alcoholic, caffeinated, all of the above, or none of the above) to enjoy during the chat. Come prepared with a twitter-friendly recipe, or a link to a full-length recipe.

White Elephant Gift Exchange: THIS IS THE ONE WE ARE MOST EXCITED ABOUT. Here are the rules:
  1. Go out on the interwebz and find the best, most cheezy, tacky, over-the-top-ridiculous teacher-themed gift you can. Think apples and chalk and crayons and gingham and aprons and candles and coffee mugs, all rolled into one. The more useless, the better. Alternatively, take a picture of an ACTUAL teacher gift you have seen or received. The best part of a virtual gift exchange: THERE IS NO PRICE LIMIT.
  2. That said, BE NICE about what you pick. Try to find links that go to the actual store or manufacturer, or somewhere fairly anonymous, and not to the personal blog or pinterest board of someone who legitimately thinks teachers love crayon wreaths. Example: Macy's will not have hurt feelings if you tweet a link to sparkly apple earrings, but the mommyblogger who lives down your block might get her feelings hurt if we mock her chalkboard coaster set. KINDERCHAT IS THE NICEST CHAT ON THE INTERWEBZ, and we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings.
  3. Once you have found something, come back here to this very page and fill out the form below, giving your twitter handle and a link to your gift.
  4. On the night of the chat, we will reveal your gift, and the lucky recipient. You will also receive a gift from another kinderchatter. That's right, no one will know who is GETTING the gift they choose until the gift is "given" during the chat on Monday. FUN, RIGHT?!?
Ok, ready? GO!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Play Projects Sign-Ups 2012-2013

Hi Everyone!
Sign-ups for the Play Projects are now up! If you'd like to join a project, please fill out the form below. What are the Play Projects you say?

  • Short answer: Networked play among Early Childhood classrooms 
  • Long answer: click here

Saturday, September 8, 2012

#Kinderblog challenge: How do you start the day in your classroom?

Well, hi, friends! Who else is just beginning to claw themselves out of the swampy depths of the first week of school? (In other words, please tell me I am not along in being on the couch in my pjs long before 9pm on a Friday night...)

I've been promising a new #kinderblog challenge for some time now, and I appreciate your patience with me. (Although, come on, really? You would have had the time, focus, and energy necessary to blog this past week even if I HAD posted a challenge?). So, without further ado, here is the first official #kinderblog question of this school term:

How do your students start their day in your room? What is the routine they follow once they walk in the door? More importantly,WHY is this your routine? How did you choose it, develop it, refine it? What is the goal and purpose behind why your students do what they do? What do YOU do as the day begins? 

Ok, go!

Don't forget to tweet your response using the #kinderblog tag, and to link to your response here in the comments.

Happy weekend, friends. I have no doubt that it is well-deserved.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

2012 Summer Reflections and What's New:

Well, Howdy-ho #Kinderchat-ters! It's been a long and wonderfully winding summer. I've managed to not think about school as much as humanly possible- even to the point of listening and quoting dramatic poetry to rage against the end of summer. Having this time to let go of the last year's and get ready for the this year's is such an invaluable gift for the mind and spirit.

Don't get me wrong, #Kinderchat was busy this summer! Things kicked off with #ISTE12 in San Diego! There I had the chance to meet up with @mpowers3 @MlleKathleen @teach1tech and @mrsmaley as well as met and made a ton of new friends!

Then we were all off to #EdcampKinder in Glitter-Town, aka Las Vegas, Nevada. You can read all about it here, thanks to the handiwork of @Matt_Gomez making it all official-like on the #edcamp wiki and to all of the teachers who blogged about their experiences! Highlight? Small group time w #Kinderfriend @OoeyGooeyLady

#EdCampKinder set several other tweet-ups into motion. From Vegas, we jet set over to NYC and several of us met up for a really wonderful dinner together. Such an amazing group of educators were gathered around that table! Great laughs were had w @Fr_Immersion98 @tori1074 @MissRalston @alexisvorhaus @ncingiser @hechternacht and @jyc_nyc 


Meanwhile, back at the ranch the high-flying @happycampergirl worked our blogging fingers to the bone :D with the awesome #Kinderblog2012 Challenge! This challenge is such a welcome opportunity for us all to learn more about each other, reflect on our practices and to focus on writing and networking through our blogs. I can't brag this feature up enough to do it justice!

We also enjoyed enthusiastic Olympic updates from @davidweldridge! It was such a treat to have some host country enthusiasm spilling over into the #Kinderchat hashtag. Global connection, good sport and fair play, fun and stories of love and life are never in any way off-topic at #Kinderchat!

So that was some of the Summer fun! And now for the "What's-New's!

1. We are very proud to announce a new structure for our regular chats. So proud, in fact, we made a giant website to help you figure it out so you won't get lost! Before the big reveal, let me just pull out the soapbox real quick....

First off, we are so honored to even be in the position in the first place to have a need to grow and scale more efficiently. I know I can speak for Amy when I say we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into in the summer of 2010 when this whole crazy journey began. As we enter our third year together (THREE YEARS!?) it's time to launch some new features for YOU and about YOU.  
Yes, that's right, #Kinderchat it's ABOUT YOU. It's about working together, being a friend, a community and helping one another. In just two short years, many if not most of us have undergone some degree of transformation right before your very eyes. New blogs, speaking engagements, presenting opportunities, global connections, friendships, networks and projects have come into each one of our lives and changed us both personally and our teaching in some fundamental way. 
So, all that said, it's time for us all to make an investment. Yes, our current currency is the play money in the classroom cash register- we have plenty of that! :D No, this investment is in you. Love is something when you give it away, give it away, give it away, love is something that when you give it away, you end up having more! So:

Yes, this year we will "Follow the Rainbow" structure of chats with teachers specializing in each color subject. More on the Rainbow Topics structure here. This means that instead of Amy and I moderating each topic every week, we will instead "pass the baton" to the next set of moderators. It is all here for you to reference as you need and anytime you see the rainbow, just click it and it will hyper link you to the site. 
We are so excited about the scale and uniqueness of this new feature and we are in awe of the pool of teachers available out there! A HUGE Thanks to all who offered their expertise, time and energy for this exciting new venture! We are so looking forward to your amplified voices, your choices of topics and your general wonderful-ness as you represent the community of #Kinderchat.

2. We are adding a second chat time so David Weldridge over in England doesn't have to wake up at 2AM anymore.  

We will start small and wo Rainbow moderators to see if we can find more Early Childhood peeps in this normally sleeping-during-Kinderchat time zone. Am both excited and nervous to launch this second time and to have the opportunity to connect with a new batch of educators!
The second #Kinderchat will be Mondays at 3:30 New York time, which is 8:30PM London time. The Time Buddy is here.
Well, there's more to come, but that's enough for today's mega-post! :D

Good Luck to all who are ready to begin the new year! Here's hoping summer has refreshed and readied you for what's to come.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

#Kinderblog2012: A new challenge!

Hello friends!

First of all, a huge thanks to everyone who has participated (and is still participating in) the #kinderblog2012 summer blogging challenge. I know I still have a few questions to answer over on my own blog (did you SEE my new blog? I migrated from blogger, and it was kind of a pain-in-the-place-where-the-sun-don't-shine to get it all moved and working, but Holy Jazzy Journals, Batman, do I EVER like the new setup. Head on over and visit if you haven't already!), and I don't want anyone else to feel pressured or rushed about finishing, either.

THAT SAID: It seems like lots of you would like to continue the challenge throughout the school year, and I think that is a scrumptious idea. I would love to hang out and write with you all, all the time. AND, in a happy stroke of serendipity, earlier today, I was hanging out over at AskMoxie. (If you don't read Moxie already, you should, even if you are not a parent. It is truly one of my favourite sites for general thoughts and reflections about kids and families, and the community over there is lovely.) There is quite a stream of comments about what parents worry about as the start of a new school year approaches. If you read through the comments, you will see that I chimed in with the fact that every August, I start to worry about WHAT IF I HAVE FORGOTTEN HOW TO TEACH??

So, that inspired me to do an impromptu mid-week assignment for you all: what are the secrets you wish parents knew at the start of a new school year? What things might help parents feel better about their child entering your classroom in a few days or weeks?

Don't forget to tweet your responses using #kinderblog (I'm thinking we should drop the '2012', since it looks like we will go on indefinitely), and to link to your response here in the comments. Also, I'll probably add a comment over at AskMoxie, to let parents know we are doing this - it's good to build bridges, especially at this time of year.

Ok, let those typing fingers fly!

Smiles and Sunshine;

Friday, August 3, 2012

#Kinderblog2012: Question numero six!

Ok, folks, I think* this is our final assignment for this summer, so let's go out with a bang.

If we're honest, we all have days when, for any number of reasons (lack of sleep, family issues, minor illness, idiopathic crankiness...) we are just not at our best. There are days when, in any other line of work, we would probably call in sick, but we don't because we know the impact of our absence is so great. What are your survival tips and tricks to get yourself and your students through those days in one piece? Special supplies to keep on hand? Treats that get you through? Lifesaving lessons or activities? 

This month, thousands of brand new teachers will enter their first classrooms and face their very first class of students (some of them within just a few days.)  Share the tricks you wish someone had told you (or maybe the tricks you are grateful someone shared!).

Please post a link to your response in the comments here, and don't forget to tweet it out using the #kinderblog2012 hashtag.

*I said "I think" because, if any of you are interested in continuing the challenge, I would be happy to do so. Anyone want to keep going? Should we change to monthly assignments for the school year? Or twice-monthly?

Lots of love, and if you are headed back to your classroom this week - good luck!


Friday, July 27, 2012

#Kinderblog2012: Question numero cinq!

Hello friends! I love that you are all still with me, and that more people are slowly joining this challenge.

I thought it was time for a change of pace this week, so here's a little something different, and his week's "question" is actually a photo blogging assignment:

Choose 5 objects from around your home (NOT your classroom!) that tell us something about you: as a teacher or as a person. Take pictures of the objects and post them with captions. The real challenge here: the captions should be no longer than a regular tweet-- that is, 140 characters.

Fun, right?! Don't forget to post a link to your response here in the comments. Now, go get your cameras and get going!

Smiles and sunshine;

Monday, July 23, 2012

#Kinderchat is hiring!!!

Ok, if we HAD a "Help Wanted" sign, imagine it was hanging right here, because #kinderchat is hiring! This amazing community has grown so much in just 2 short years, and the fact is: it's time to grow.  So many of you know so much more than we do, about so many things, and it seems a little silly to NOT be taking advantage of all the genius of our community.

I know what you're thinking: "But really, what does it pay?" Let's get that out of the way right now: we don't have any money to throw at you. You will get the same compensation we get: involvement with something fresh and exciting, input into our ideas and projects, practice with tech tools that may be new to you, and stronger connections to the entire #kinderchat network. Plus, you get to hang out more with us and the rest of the #kinderhood. Being a part of "behind the scenes at #kinderchat" is FUN, we promise. On a more serious note, these tasks could also be added to your professional growth plans/reports, and may possibly count as PD hours, depending on how your district or school feels about these things.

The first open positions are for chat moderators, with other positions to come in the next few weeks.

If you want to know more about being a moderator, click here for the job description.

If you already know us well enough to just dive right in, click here for the application.

Looking forward to adding some friends to the backstage party!

Amy & Heidi

Thursday, July 19, 2012

#Kinderblog2012: Question numero quatre!

Ok, before I start this, can I just say how impressed I am with the calibre of last week's entries?
Seriously, friends. You all are awesome, and this makes me suspect that you also allow your students to demonstrate their learning in a way that is interesting and engaging for them, and that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Please continue with the creative entries - it is adding a whole other layer to this blogging challenge!

On to this week's question. It is pretty short and sweet, but I have worded it 2 different ways, so feel free to choose whichever one resonates more with you:

Version 1: If you had not become a teacher, what other field or line of work would you have pursued?
Version 2: If you had to quit teaching tomorrow, what would you do instead?

As always, feel free to adapt as necessary to fit your actual position, BUT (and I usually don't put constraints on your answers, but I feel like this is necessary, here): think BEYOND the field of teaching. Saying "if I didn't teach kindergarten, I would teach preschool" is NOT pursuing another field or line of work.

As always, please tweet your post as well as posting a link here in the comments.

Ok..... GO.

Smiles and sunshine;

Friday, July 13, 2012

#KInderblog2012: Question numero trois!

Ok, now that we are all back from #edcampkinder, it's time to get back to blogging, isn't it? (Sidebar: #edcampkinder was a 3-day face-to-face meet up in Las Vegas, attended by 10 amazing #kinderchat teachers. It was nothing but awesome. (Also, the hottest day in Vegas in FIVE YEARS occurred while we were all there. Coincidence?) We are already working on a similar plan of some sort for next year, and YOU SHOULD ALL COME, TOO. Finally, a shout-out to the great folks at SDE and I Teach K, who welcomed us so warmly and shared space so generously. End of sidebar.) And yes, you say that correctly, I just put parentheses inside parentheses. Where's my cookie?

BACK TO BLOGGING!!! Here is this week's question:

Tell us about your pet peeves. Do it however you want: write a list of 50 things that drive you crazy, or an essay about just one thing, or story combining several things, or write a song, or some limericks, or an epic poem. A photo essay! A slideshow! Video journalism! Stand up comedy! The sky is the limit, just tell us what grinds your teeth as a teacher (or an administrator, or a program director, or in whatever capacity you are joining this challenge.) (Yeah, parentheses again. I think I need an intervention.) Be careful: your blog is public, and you never know who is reading. Be positive and professional, but tell the truth. You can do it.

I believe in you.

And also, pretty please with sugar on top: please remember to post the link to your answer in the comments for this post. Thank you. You are all wonderful and adorable and I love you.

Smiles and sunshine from The Canada;

Saturday, July 7, 2012

#Kinderblog2012: Question numero deux!

Ok, folks, here it is. Thanks for being patient with me while I was off playing. Yesterday started with a parade, ended with fireworks, with all sorts of fun and deliciousness  in between - a perfect day, but truly without a single moment to share the next #kinderblog2012 assignment. Without any further ado:

Tell us about one (or two, or a few) of the classrooms you have had over the years. Not the kids, the ROOMS. What have you  loved? What have you hated? How did you FEEL in the space? What did you DO with the space that, looking back, seems ridiculous? Or brilliant? We all spend so much time in our classrooms, we really do develop a relationship with the physical space. Tell us about that (those) relationship(s).

Also, a reminder: when your post is done, please post a link in the comments here, as well as tweeting it out using the #kinderblog2012 hashtag. We are desperately trying to get a sense of how many people are participating, and having everything rounded up in one place helps a lot.

Thank you so much to everyone who has contributed so far, and if you're just joining us: come on in, the water is fiiiiine!

Smiles and Sunshine;

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A special #kinderblog request

Wow, I am so overwhelmed by the response to the blogging challenge; have we ever grown since this time last year! You guys are all amazing, and it is so nice to get a peek inside your classrooms and minds, and get to know you in more than 140 characters.

Heidi and I were chatting the other night about how cool this challenge is, and how much we are loving reading everyone's reflections, and we have a favour to ask:  to help us keep track of everyone, and to give us an idea of how many people are participating, can you take a moment to post a link to your response in the comments for each week's assignment? I know some of you have already done this for the first question, and if the rest of you could go back and do so, we would really appreciate it. This way, if anyone joins the challenge midway through, there is also an easy way for them to catch up with everyone.  It might also help drive a little more traffic to your blogs, and that is NEVER a bad thing!

Ok, new question comes up tomorrow - get your thinking caps warmed up.

Smiles and sunshine;

Friday, June 29, 2012

#Kinderblog2012: Question numero un!

Ok, so it's not quite as "bright and early" as I intended this post to go up, but... it's summer. 'Nuff said.

To get this challenge rolling, let's start with a question that is probably percolating in most of our brains right now, anyway:

What did you learn this past (or, for our southern hemisphere friends, what ARE you learning this current) school year that you couldn't have learned any other year, from any other students or colleagues or administrators or parents? What lessons did this particular year, this particular setting, these particular children bring into your life?

Remember to tweet the link to your response, using the #kinderblog2012 hashtag. You are welcome to post the link in the comments here, too.

Ready, set.....      GO!

Smiles & Sunshine;

Thursday, June 28, 2012

It's ON! Welcome to #Kinderblog2012!

Hello folks!
Amy here, blogging live from The Canada where it is FINALLY summer time. Even the most die-hard of school districts will be done for the year within 24 hours, and now that we all have gobs of time on our hands, it is time for the return of...


You didn't even KNOW you should be excited about this, did you?

The first #kinderchat summer blog challenge happened last year, and it was super-fun to read everyone's stories and get to know one another beyond 140 characters. It may have even inspired some folks to start blogs, and that can only be good news. We keep it simple and casual and low-commitment (it is SUMMER, after all), and encourage you to participate as much as you can. It is open to EVERYONE: kindergarten teachers, other-grade-level-teachers, administrators, student-teachers, you name it. If you are willing to play, we are happy to have you! Details:

  • The challenge will last for 6 weeks, beginning this week. 
  • Every Friday, 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, using the #kinderblog2012 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.

The first question will be up bright and early tomorrow morning, so get those typing fingers ready!

Smiles and sunshine;

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Reflections on #Kinderchat: Year Two

Heidi here! Time to share some reflections on the second full year of school for #Kinderchat:

In the words of @Matt_Gomez, "Well Hello Kinder-friend!" I'll tell you there's not much more that brings you a wide smile than a friendly Texan greeting like that!

I've been asked a few times lately- "What all does #Kinderchat DO? What is it?" Well, it's a complicated question, actually! The simple answer is right there in that big Texan greeting.

First and foremost, #Kinderchat is a community of Early Childhood Educators. Our goals have been clearly stated from the beginning. I believe we have been true to those goals and I know it is specifically the fostering of community that has led to the innovative global neighborhood in which #Kinderchat now lives.

As we wrap up on our second school year and we each begin our time to reflect and refresh, I'll share what we did this year:

Weekly Chats:

  • The homebase of #Kinderchat, the ongoing dialogue serves as opportunity for those in Early Childhood Education to talk about their craft, meet and greet other educators from all over the place, including researchers and those at the forefront of education. 
  • Opportunities to moderate chats, share and grow your expertise with other educators, trade tools, laugh, play. 
  • We welcomed FAB-U-LOUS guests including:
Community Connections
  • The "invisible" pieces are all of the classroom connections that take place among the #Kinderchat Network of teachers and students. Projects that have been created, launched and fostered through the Network include:
  • Finishing up its second year, @happycampergirl's "KAW" or "Kindergarten Around the World" connects one classroom with another. Interactions between classrooms most often take place on twitter, and develop through other venues, including a beautifully engineered Skype call between @MauiMickey's classroom in BC, Canada and @tashacowdy's classroom in Japan. The deep and lasting friendships between the classrooms are amazing to watch grow throughout the year.
  • Coming off a fantastically wild ride, @hechternacht's The Play Project united classrooms and teachers in the spirit of open ended exploration, tinkering, discovery, failure and success to learn the trials and errors of designing and launching projects. These included:
  • SkypePlay: designed and created by Mardelle Sauerborn aka @learningmurd. A fabulous success, this project skyrocketed to the top of the #Kindercharts :D and inspired "plug-in projects" of bean sprout measuring and the famous "Eggsperiment" designed by Sarah Jane aka @soltauheller
  • Google Maps and Voicethread : Nikki Cingiser designed and created a maps project using photos to begin creating a children's World Atlas and worked to create a large scale project using Voicethread as a collaborative tool among classrooms.  
  • Twitter: most of the classroom teachers on #Kinderchat maintain a class twitter account which results in multiple daily or weekly spontaneous discussions. Ben Sheridan had all the classrooms on twitter playing new games through the movies his class made explaining the directions to various games.  
  • Real Time Exchange and G+: My own two projects failed to launch full scale! :( With all that was being juggled among the teachers and classrooms, it just felt too overwhelming to introduce either one on a large scale. After a year of learning and yearning, I am excited to have another chance again next year.    
Symbaloo Centers: A hero to overwhelmed teachers everywhere, @Matt_Gomez's Symbaloo webmixes of games, stories, phonics and math practice made it easy for all #Kinderchat classrooms to log on and have instant and easy access to hundreds of games. 
Professional Development 
Ha! The dreaded word appears! :D Although I think anyone engaged in any or all of these projects or chats would say they grew this year as an educator. I know I did!

  • New for me this year: maintained a successful and regularly updated class blog, moved all of my classroom content and files online, made movies documenting learning and created a new "STEM Center" in my classroom.  
  • Please share your personal reflections on the comments options below or join us for tomorrow's #Kinderchat to share! 

In addition to our own Professional Development, we also helped mentor students going through their University courses in Education, the teachers of #Kinderchat gave talks and presented their work to colleagues both within their districts and Internationally.

One of the huge highlights of the year was our mention in Forbes! (Yes, still excited!) :D We continue to grow our global connections and launched new venues including our newest, the Blog directory on Pinterest, the emerging, Me tube? No! YOUtube page, a presence on G+ and The Facebook Family Forum (yes! that was only back in September!) all while maintaining an ever- growing Library Wiki of Resources. (Did I mention also TAUGHT KINDERGARTEN?)

A Fab Four of us met up in Orlando in November at NAEYC and threw out a power pack of tweets, supporting and cheering for presenters and tweeting their talks @Mr_Fines @kassiaowedekind @bluskyz @katiedavisburps @ooeygooeylady and so many others! It changes a presentation to have your support team there and I think we accomplished that tremendously, dominating the hashtag for this National event.

Now we are off again, this time 10+ of us heading out to the lights of Las Vegas for #edcampKinder "Dessert in the Desert". I know it will be hot and our ice cream will melt and get sticky, but expect plenty of fireworks and fun and mostly the opportunity to sit down, talk in person, laugh, chat, reflect and continue to plan, learn and grow from each other.

Hold onto you hats! #Kinderchat is just getting started. Who knows what reflections we will have this time next year!

Lots of Love, Rest and Well Wishes for Summer,

Monday, June 11, 2012

Welcome RAFFI

Wow! Who knew we'd be rounding out the year with RAFFI! Its truly beyond our wildest dreams to ever have such an amazing person as our honored guest! There simply can be no better fireworks ending to a fabulous #Kinderchat school year than RAFFI!

More than a super awesome children's singer, "Raffi’s pioneering commitment to honouring his young fans changed the way we came to view music made for children", Raffi has now dedicated his life and work to his organization, The Centre for Child Honouring. His book makes a plea to honour children, families and the earth and lays out a plan on How to Turn This World Around.

Respectful Love
Caring Community
Conscious Parenting
Emotional Intelligence
Safe Environments
Ethical Commerce

Here is his most recent TED talk outlining the Child Honouring vision

Ok, if you are not already on the ceiling with me, here are some of Raffi's motivational songs to help PUMP YOU UP!

"On Hockey Days" highlights good sportsmanship (did we mention Raffi is from The Canada? :D)

And for the twitterverse, "Tweet Me Right" on the role twitter played in the uprising in his native Egypt.

Truly we can't gush enough about this amazing, amazing man of Peace, Song and Leadership. Those of us who work with Young Children know the joy, honesty, warmth and love shared by children each day. Now it's our job as grown-ups to put the same amount of joy, honesty, warmth and love into the world and work to make it a better place.

Leaders of the World continuously look to Raffi to remind them of the seeds of innocence they once sprouted from. From his bio:

Once called “the most popular children’s singer in the English-speaking world” (Washington Post) and “Canada’s all time children’s champion” (Toronto Star), Raffi is a recipient of the Order of Canada and the United Nations’ Earth Achievement Award. 
He has received three honorary degrees: Dr. of Music from the University of Victoria, Dr. of Letters from the University of British Columbia, and Dr. of Letters from Wilfrid Laurier University. He is associated with many NGOs, including the Council of Human Development, the Darwin Project Council, the Center for Partnership Studies, the Center for Children’s Health and the Environment, and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. He is a member of the Club of Budapest.

You can make sure to keep all this goodness in your heart and feet by making sure you have a RAFFI CD or an itune in your music collection. Proceeds help support and advance the @childhonouring vision.

Raffi, the #Kinderchat can never fully express how honored we are to have you with us tonight and be assured you can count on our friendship.

Lets do this, people! Join us tonight, June 11, 2012 at 9PM EST to help us honor this great man! We need U!

With Much Love,
The #Kinderchat

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Over the Moon and Under the Stars

Heidi here! Just a quick note to tell everyone how excited we are about the article in FORBES! Over the MOON excited!!

Everyone in #Kinderchat has been working so hard! To be an Early Childhood Educator is automatically hard work and then on top of that members of the community of #Kinderchat blog, tweet, create projects, engage in (at least weekly if not daily!) Professional Development all while working to integrate some of the most cutting edge collaboration into their curriculums the world (!) has ever seen! Talk about juggling! And they make it all look easy!

Along w #1stchat and #2ndchat, #Kinderchat was also mentioned in EducationWeek and a post from The Asia Society. #Kinderchat is proud to have inspired the grade level chats and proud to continue to build a community of Early Childhood Educators throughout the world.

Building community was and is our primary goal. When Amy and I started out this adventure in the summer of 2010, we focused on creating a "place" where teachers could be free to share failures, successes, trials and all of the authentic challenges that come with working with Young Children. I don't think either one of us dreamed we'd end up in Forbes magazine or, of equal excitement, tweet with the real RAFFI!

While we value reading and math and subject matter, as a teacher I cannot tell you what a relief it is to not constantly be barraged with "reading" and "math" and to instead focus on our craft as a whole and community and meaningful interaction as a value. The relationships between outstanding educators actively engaged in the process of teaching and learning is incredibly motivating, energizing and infinitely entertaining.

#Kinderchat must specifically Thank: all the teachers who are working or worked with their partner in Amy's Kindergarten Around the World project, Matt Gomez for his incredible Symballo and the Famous Family Facebook, Mr Fines for his songs and wonder, and of course the dynamic and brave Play Project peeps: Mardelle Sauerborn for her stunning #skypeplay project, Patty Johnson for her awesome Google docs, Mr Ben Sheridan for his "Stuck in the Mud" instructions and mad cap movies that teach children 'round the world how to play games and have fun, Nikki Cingiser for creating amazing Voicethreads and beginning work on a Children's Google World Atlas, Gail Poulin for the postcards that just keep on comin', Michelle Heibert for always giving a friendly smile and happy greeting and Our Miss Binney, Erin Rocklewitz and her 28 Kinders. But mostly to each one of YOU KinderSTARS who share your genuine stories, smiles, laughter, fears and knowledge each day.

I am proud to call the #Kinderchat my colleagues. I am proud of the amazing work we are doing together. I am proud of the zeal, zest, exhaustion, frustration and love each one of us feels and pours into our daily work.

With Love and Gratitude,

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Yell it from the rooftops!

Hello, friends!

Amy here, asking your help with a surprise! #kinderblog assignment. An old friend of mine is working on a project, and is looking for teachers' responses to the following question:

As a teacher, what do you WISH parents knew? 

You can respond in 2 possible ways:
  1. Blog your answer, and share the link in the comments here. You can also tweet the link using the #kinderblog hashtag. 
  2. Contribute your answer anonymously to the shared google document found here
Your answer can be as serious, silly, sincere, or sarcastic as you choose. Regardless of how you choose to answer, please include your location (this can be as general as state/province and country), the level or subject you teach, and the kind of school setting (i.e. public, private, charter, etc.) Please spread the word and the link to all the great teachers you know - participation is open to all teachers at all grade levels.

The answers will contribute to a workshop being developed to help parents help teachers - can you think of any better possible cause?

Now, get writing, and don't forget to share a link to your response in the comments!

Smiles and Sunshine;

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Keeping up with the Joneses

Boy, can you ever tell when it is a long weekend, and Heidi and I have too much time on our hands! After a flurry (ok, a blizzard) of frantic DM-ing, we have finally caught up with all the cool kids:

#Kinderchat is (finally) on Pinterest!!!

Next step: we would love nothing more than to feature your blog on our boards. The #Kinderchat Pinterest boards will be hand-curated, geographically organized collection of the best of the best of Early Childhood Education (and ECE relevant) blogs out there. The blogs we "pin":

  • Are written and maintained by real live teachers, for the purpose of communication, collaboration, and community-building (in other words, we don't pin blogs whose primary purpose is (or appears to be) financial or material gain).
  • Reflect current best practices in pedagogy and early childhood education.
  • Are kept current, with regular additions of new content.
  • Are respectful of students', parents' and colleagues' dignity and privacy.
To find blogs like these, we need your help! If you would like your blog pinned to our boards, please take a moment to fill out the form at the link below, requesting that we visit your blog and consider it for pinning. Even if you are not on Pinterest yourself, having your blog pinned will share it with thousands of potential new readers; we are happy to pin the blogs of #kinderchat teachers who are not on Pinterest (yet!). In fact, we will even send you an invitation when you complete the form requesting a pin (assuming we have an invitation available for you!)

Pinterest has some unique terms of service. All responsibility of copyright remains with you. We strongly recommend you visit the Pinterest terms of service. You can find them here.

Ready to be pinned? CLICK HERE to tell us all about you!

Looking forward to pinning with you!

Friday, February 17, 2012

So You Want To Tweet in Kindergarten

Congratulations to @MauiMickey on a fabulous presentation today! And so #kinderchat-ty community wonderful to have live tweet support from @namesescapeme Check it out! DM  to check out her blog!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Effect of Family Income on Learning in Early Childhood

Hi Everyone,
Well, if you told me two years ago I would be blog posting on the topic of Socio-Economic Status in relation to Early Childhood education to Kindergarten teachers the world over, I would have said you were crazy! But well, here I am and so here goes:

First off, I have to say one of the very best things I love about #Kinderchat is the opportunity for mixture between the educational community: teachers, consultants, government agencies, writers, specialists, speakers. Pots of rich and poor, religious and not religious, US, Canadian, SAmerican; all those working with children the world over mix and mingle to get glimpses of what its like to walk in another classroom.

Being in the moment of this post it all feels so big and so important, and yet so extremely humbling when you think of how much love, effort, knowledge, patience, care, tears, laughter and fun goes into the life and work of an Early Childhood educator each and every day. Truly, these are some of the world's most talented teachers and can never be hailed enough IMHO.

So here is this mixing pot of little miracles that happens each day in classrooms around the world, this culture of Kindergarten filled with snowflakes and decomposing food buckets, 100 days of school celebrations, stories and shapes and play and fighting and reading and writing and the teachers who balance it all.

Some of our students come into Kindergarten reading on a 3rd grade level, some come to us not knowing the alphabet. Some come to us fresh from their summer house on the beach, others come homeless and hungry.

The current idea among US policymakers is that this teacher - this mix master of reading, play mathematics, sparkly shiny things, social studies, frustration, joy and science- can, on a grand scale and if done with perfect precision, vault those pocked with poverty out from under the burden of not knowing where the next just jelly sandwich will come from and into six figure beachfront property.

Can buckets of strong Kindergarten teachers pull Haitian children up to the levels of those on the Upper East Side of Manhattan?

Phew! If this is the new lot in our lives, we are going to need some help! Are teachers who are expected to pull children out of poverty enjoying small 1:7? 1:10? 1:15? teacher to student ratios? Computers and art? Music, a foreign language, ample recesses and playtime in the classroom? Extra planning time with colleagues and support staff during the rich curricular day of the low income school?

As strong a teacher I feel I am, I'm not sure where to begin to pull homeless Charlotte up to the level of beachfront summer house Charlotte and with 1/8 of the tools, 1/4 the support and 3xs the tiredness, all while being micro measured on my performance to insure precision.

Beachfront Charlotte may not know her alphabet, but she has a warm bed, healthcare and a predictable meal schedule. That alone is enough to make a large difference in a small child's life. It's horribly wrong so many young children die each year from lack of those three small, yet incredibly monumental factors.

No matter which group of young children you work with or for, we are really looking forward to hearing everyone's voice on this topic tonight. We encourage everyone to continue to add their resources to our resources wiki as we continue to work together in tandem for the children entrusted to us each day!


Sunday, January 29, 2012

Even though sometimes we DO tweet about bellybutton lint...

Wow, it has been a while since I posted here! Like many #kinderchatters, my boss (possibly tired of my constant chorus of "I found/learned about\read it on Twitter!" asked me to offer a presentation to my colleagues about how and why teachers should be on Twitter.  Being a visual sort of girl, a prezi seemed the logical way to go, so here, for your viewing pleasure:

It's More than Just Bellybutton Lint: Teacher PD in 140 Characters at a Time:  
(I highly recommend viewing it full-screen, if you can.)


Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Years Traditions

January, February, March, A-pr~il, May! June, July, August, September, October, November, December, Party! Party! Par-tee!

Love the convo on #Kinderchat re New Years Traditions! Do you eat black-eyed peas? Lentils? Bang pots at midnight led by the darkest haired child? Share yours here!

#Kinderchat in Orlando

L-->R @Mr_Fines @Matt_Gomez @hechternacht @happycampergirl
(photo c/o @Matt_Gomez)

@Matt_Gomez posted his Top Fav photos of '11 and #11 this gang made it in! I love this photo! (and #7 his kids w Chewbacca :D) And after @happycampergirl wishing for a #Kinderchat 2012 get together I am hopeful we can make this happen this year! 

Happy New Year to each one of you and many blessings, energy, learning and love to you in 
Two oh One too! 

How many Kindergarten teachers can fit on a surfboard?