Friday, October 10, 2014

New Blogging Challenge: Your story, as a reader...

Hi Friends!

We all have stories. As educators, we tend to focus on the stories of our classrooms and students, and of ourselves as teachers. But we all have stories that go before, beyond, and above the school stories. These unique stories help connect us as people. Share YOUR story with us this October, as part of Connected Educator Month!

A new assignment every Friday. Blog it, then tweet it with the #Kinderblog14 #ce14 and #Kinderchat hashtags. You can also post the link in the comments, here, or on the #kinderchat facebook page.

This week's assignment:

The story of you, as a reader. Who are you, as a reader? When and how did you learn to read? Did you love it right away? Did you have to learn to love it? Do you still  NOT love it? What is the story of your story with stories?

We can't wait to read it!

Friday, October 3, 2014

New Blogging Challenge: The Stories We Share

Hello, friends!

As part of our involvement with Connected Educator Month, we are excited to host a blogging challenge right here, for the month of October. Like all of our challenges, it is easy to join, and you can participate to whatever degree you want: write ALL the posts, or pick and choose the ones that float your boat and/or fit your schedule!

Here's the scoop:

We all have stories. As educators, we tend to focus on the stories of our classrooms and students, and of ourselves as teachers. But we all have stories that go before, beyond, and above the school stories. These unique stories help connect us as people. Share YOUR story with us this October!

Every Friday, we will post a new story for you to share. Your job: write the story on your blog, then tweet the link using the #kinderblog14 and #ce14 hashtags. You're also welcome to post the link to your post in the comments RIGHT HERE, or on our Facebook page. If you are not a blogger, you can follow those hashtags, and participate by commenting on the posts other people write.

Ready?! GOOD, because the first topic has been burning a hole in my keyboard for WEEKS!

Tell us YOUR story. Who are you when you’re not “Teacher”?  If you had to describe yourself and your life WITHOUT talking about your job, what would you say?

Yeah, I know, it's a tough one. You can do it! We believe in you.

Now, get blogging!

Smiles and Sunshine;

Friday, August 15, 2014

Help Wanted! That's right, #kinderchat is hiring!

... yup, that is right. The time has come once again for us to hang out the "help wanted" sign, because:


For the 2014-15 school year, we are recruiting chat moderators, and (NEW THIS YEAR) official kinderchat pinners!. The compensation is beyond price (this is a fancy way of saying that we have no money with which to pay you), and includes:

  •  Involvement with something fresh and exciting
  •  Input into our ideas and projects, 
  • Practice with tech tools that may be new to you
  • Stronger connections to the entire #kinderchat network. 
  • Opportunities to grow your own PLN
  • The FUN of being "behind the scenes" at #kinderchat 
  • Depending on how progressive your administrators and/or school district are, your involvement could possibly count as PD hours. 
Ready to learn more?

(We have tweaked the topics and categories a little for next year, so even if you have moderated in the past, it is worth a look at the job description!)

The #kinderchat chat moderator job description is RIGHT HERE.
The #kinderchat official pinner job description is RIGHT HERE. (There are multiple pinner positions available, so don't be shy!)

Ready to dive right in and apply?

The #kinderchat  job application (we use the same application for all positions) is right here.

Looking forward to adding some friends to the backstage party!

Amy & Heidi

We're Moving!

Hello Friends!
We are officially moving to our new site over at! 
Please visit us there!
Thank you!

Monday, August 4, 2014

#Kinderblog14, week 5: Arts & Entertainment

Holy crippity-crap, it is Sunday, isn't it? And that means you folks are waiting for another challenge.

Ok, here goes:

Arts and Entertainment:

When you spend all day in a room with young children, there is no avoiding the moments where it is all you can do not to bust out laughing.

What are the parts of this job that make you laugh the hardest (or work the hardest to KEEP from laughing)? Share examples if you want -- we all have our stories that should go in a book some day!

Because, let's be honest: it really DOES resemble a circus, some days!

Remember to tweet your post using the #kinderblog14 hashtag, and to post the link in the comments here, and/or on our Facebook page.

Smiles & Sunshine;

Monday, July 28, 2014

#Kinderblog, Week 4: The Personals

Hello my friends!

I know I am a day late with this one. I am on vacation in the middle of nowhere (which is also the middle of EVERYTHING that matters. It's beautiful here.) and both my time and my internet access are a little sparse. Have no fear, though, I am ready to challenge you today!

For the 4th week of this challenge, you once again have 2 choices:

1.) Write about a relationship (either personal or professional) that challenges you, or is maybe difficult for you. What makes it hard? What are the ways that it makes you grow? Is it worth the difficult-ness? Why do you think that relationship came into your life? What are you learning from it?

2.) Write a personals ad for the perfect classroom assistant or partner teacher for YOU. What are the skills and qualities that balance out your strengths and weaknesses? What are the areas of knowledge that are less strong for you, and that would be important in a partner-in-crime for you? What are some of your quirks that someone else might need to be patient with?

As always, tweet your responses with the #kinderblog14 hashtag, post a link in the comments, and/or share it on our Facebook page.

I can't wait to read about you!

Smiles & Sunshine from paradise

Monday, July 21, 2014

#Kinderblog, Week 3: Homes and Gardens

Well, hello, friends!

I know I am just under the wire on this one, but it is still Sunday in my part of the world, so I feel like I'm ok.

Last week's challenge was... very challenging for many of you, and I wanted to give big shiny gold stars to those of you who found the courage to express disagreement. I really think this is one of the hardest things for teachers to do, but also the most important for all of us as professionals. If you opted out last week, I completely understand, but I also hope that, maybe, it planted a seed of courage in you, and that maybe somewhere down the line, you will find a way to meet the spirit of the challenge in your own way.

This week's challenge is a lot less scary, and even includes TWO possible ways to participate:

Option 1: What is the process you follow for setting up your classroom? What are your priorities, your values, your beliefs, about classroom setup, decor, and organization? (Feel free to share photos! We love photos!)

Option 2: How do you feel about where you live? This could be your house, your neighbourhood, your city, region, even your country. What do you love about it? What do you hate? What would you change if you could? Again, we love pictures!

Ready, set, go!

As always, remember to tweet your response using the #kinderblog14 hashtag, and to link to it in the comments here, or on Facebook.

I can't wait to read about the places you love.


Sunday, July 13, 2014

#Kinderblog14, Week 2: Letters to the Editor

Hello again, friends! I know it is already Monday in some parts of the world, but it's still Sunday in my beautiful Mountain Time Zone, so I AM NOT LATE YET!

I loved loved loved reading your responses to the Week #1 challenge, so much so that I sort of want to just make you all finish ANOTHER draft post, just to see what we are all hesitant and unsure about. I sometimes feel like the bravest thing we do, as bloggers, is hit "publish" and wait for the response.

HOWEVER, I imagine you all would like a new challenge, so here it is. (Please note that this will still required you to Be Brave). This is a new sort of challenge (almost like a field trip!) and it has 2 parts:

1: ANYWHERE ON THE GREAT WIDE INTERWEBZ: Find an article or blog post that you do not agree with, and post your response in the comments of that article/post. Obviously, do this in a way that is respectful, professional, and kind, but BE CLEAR about your points of disagreement and the reasons for them.

2: On your OWN blog, share a link to the article, a brief summary of it, and tell us WHY it pressed your buttons. Is it just plain WRONG? It is misleading? Is it misinformed, or not adequately informed? Is it striking a nerve for you personally because of a specific situation or experience?

Yeah. I know. I am totally pushing you to air some of your dirty laundry. It feels good. Trust me.

When you're all done, tweet the link with the #kinderblog tag, share it in the comments below, and/or on our Facebook page.

Ok... go!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

#KInderblog14, Week 1: The Headlines

Yes, that is right, it's time, for the VERY FIRST blogging challenge of the summer. I hope you are ready!  Here it goes:

Write the post that has been in your head (or your drafts folder) for a while now. You know the one. The one you write while you drive to work, or while you are in the shower. What is the question, or issue, or opinion, or emotions, you have been chewing on for a while now? Alternatively, what is the post that you have started a million times, picked away at, edited and re-edited, and almost trashed?  Did you read an article or a Facebook post that provoked a reaction, and that you can't stop thinking about? THIS IS YOUR CHANCE.

Be Brave. Write it.

Don't forget: once your post is done, share the link in the comments below, and/or in the comments on our Facebook page, and tweet the link using the #kinderblog14 hashtag.

If you need a refresher on how the challenge works, you can find it here.

Oh, and we totally have a theme for this year's challenge, but we're going to see if you can figure it out on your own...

Now: get blogging!

And happy summer!


Extra, Extra, Read All About it: Summer Blogging Challenge is ON!

And, we're off! It is time, my friends, to get this summer blogging challenge off the ground. Here is how it works:

The most important thing to mention seems to be that EVERYONE is welcome to participate in this challenge. Most of us work with young children in some capacity, but that is not a requirement to join us. You can be a teacher of another level, an admin, a parent, a nanny, a student, a trash collector. All that is required is an interest in writing and sharing ideas. Feel free to tweak the challenges to suit your situation - we are flexible and inclusive!

Ok, here is the rest:

1. Every Sunday for 6 weeks, a new challenge will be posted right here, as well as on the Kinderchat Facebook page. We'll tweet it out, too, using the #kinderchat and the #kinderblog14 hashtags.

2. Complete the challenge, and:
    •  Tweet the link to your response, using #kinderblog14 as the hashtag.
    • Share a link to your response in the comments on the challenge post.
    • Share a link to your response in the comments on our Facebook page.

3. If you don't have a blog, YOU CAN STILL PLAY! Here are some options:
    • Start a blog! This is a great and very non-scary way to get started with blogging. Both Wordpress and Blogger are quick and easy to set up, and you are off to the races. 
    • Create a google doc and share the link to that for each challenge.
    • Write your response as a post to our Facebook page.
    • If you can (or want to try) responding to a challenge with photos or a series of photos, use the #kinderblog14 hashtag on Instagram.
4. THIS PART IS IMPORTANT: Participate in the discussion!
    •  Follow the #kinderblog14 hashtag on twitter.
    • Read other people's posts.
    • COMMENT on other posts. (This is important, bloggers love comments. It's like having your glitter-covered clip moved to purple so you get to pick a coupon to exchange a sticker redeemable for treasure from the prize box. #snark.)
    • Comment on Facebook.
    • Follow new friends.
The challenge is meant to be fun and low-pressure, soooo:
    • You can start anytime.
    • You can skip a week if you are on vacation, the challenge doesn't float your boat, or you just plan forget.
    • You can pick and choose the challenges that interest you.
    • You can complete the challenges in any order, and go back later to finish challenges you skipped.
That's it for now. Stay tuned RIGHT HERE later today for the first challenge. In the meantime, start your blog, set up your twitter account, follow the hashtag, and start thinking about writing. 

And if you REALLY can't wait: write us a teaser post. Topic: everything we need to know about you, in 200 words or less.

We'll be back....

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Book Review: Moving Smart Now "A Moving Child Is a Learning Child"

One of the most inspiring voices I’ve encountered in the world of Young Children is the team of Moving Smart Now!, comprised of Gill Connell and Cheryl McCarthy. Together they have written a must-have movement guide for anyone working or living with a young child. “A Moving Child is A Learning Child” takes parent, student, caregiver and teacher through the steps of “How the Body Teaches the Brain to Think”.

“Children aren’t born with body awareness.” Such a simple statement packs a punch once you really think about the complexity of development a baby undergoes while growing into a healthy and happy young boy or girl. Reading this book not only increased my sense of wonder about how children learn and grow, but deepened my understanding of how critical movement is to learning and the brain. 

“Gill’s Notebook” provides anecdotes and real life stories from Gill Connell’s 30+ years experience in Early Childhood Education. The book includes “Family Moves”, printable diagrams and handouts for families, as well as “Motorvators”, quick, easy games to promote movement in the classroom or to help transition a toddler from home to the next activity. Handouts explaining to parents exactly WHY and HOW freeplay helps their child grow are invaluable to any teacher or caregiver.

The book contains clear, attractive scientific diagrams and language to show how movement is the basis for all learning in young children. Does your daughter keep saying, “Again, Daddy! Again?” There’s a reason! And it’s all grounded in science, movement and learning.

Gill and Cheryl have created a “Kinetic Scale” that breaks down how the “Senses, Balance, Intuition, Power, Coordination and Control” are the key components to the development of language. “A Moving Child is A Learning Child” talks about how roughhousing is a form of Tai Chi for children and looking at a book upside down is the kid equivalent to an adults practice of yoga! Brilliant!

Movement is an area that often gets overlooked and ignored among the thousands of tomes on early reading and writing, yet movement is the basis for reading and writing. How refreshing it is to see exactly how the child is always doing the work of learning naturally. “A Moving Child is A Learning Child” interprets the child’s developmental movements and translates them into their correlating larger skill sets on the path to language, reading, writing and being a healthy, social child.

Cheryl and Gill take us “beyond gross and fine motor skills” and force us to take a hard look at the learning that goes on in the “whole body”. Included in the book are what to look for in high quality playgrounds and how crawling through tunnels and spinning helps the child develop later writing skills. As the adults creating the environments for children to learn in, we must be aware of what high quality learning spaces and opportunities look like for the young child and exactly how they translate to learning.

With more and more emphasis being placed on “academic achievement” for even the youngest of students and children, I cannot underscore the importance of this book enough. Policy makers, administration and the public, along with those who learn and teach alongside young children each day, need a constant reminder that the wiggles and spins and yells are all a part of the natural path to learning. Parents and caregivers can all benefit from becoming more in tune and aware of the vast and expressive non verbal world of the young child.

“A Moving Child is A Learning Child” helps us all see the child in the light of their most powerful voice, their movement! It’s a brilliant read with beautiful photographs, diagrams and layout, and it couldn’t have been written by two more knowledgeable and kind people who clearly delight in the world of children. Gill Connell and Cheryl McCarthy have created an essential resource for movement and the joy of learning. I highly recommend you get Moving Smart Now! and head right over to read this book!


Thursday, January 16, 2014

#Kinderblog, Day 14: Wordless Wednesday

I know, I am barely in under the wire on this one, but it is still the 14th in my timezone, so I am calling it fair.

It's Wednesday, which means you have no words to write!

Post a photo of the view from your window. Any window.

Fun, right?

Can't wait to see your view!

Sweet dreams, friends.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

#Kinderblog, Day 14: A goal for the week

Yikes, can you even believe I have posted on time, TWO DAYS IN A ROW?

Yeah, me neither.

Ok, for today, please complete the following sentence:

"I want to _____ with my class this week."

That's all. Easy, right?

Can't wait to read what you are all up to!


Monday, January 13, 2014

#kinderblog, Day 13: Monday lists

Look! It's me! Writing a prompt post ON TIME! (Not only on time, but EARLY, because it is actually Sunday night right now, and I am going to schedule this for the morning.) I WIN THE INTERWEBZ.

Ok, here's a nice, quick, easy post for a Monday:à

List 5 songs that make you sing. Or dance. Or both.

(Bonus points if you include sound or video.)

That's all.

Happy Monday, friends. May the force be with you.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

#Kinderblog Ketchup

(Ketchup... Catch-up... Get it? Never mind.)

Ok, folks, I am going to fly through the prompts that will get us all caught up to today, and then TOMORROW I AM GOING TO SCHEDULE THE PROMPTS FOR ALL OF NEXT WEEK. Because, clearly, I am unable to find a way to write 4 or 5 sentences every day. I BLAME THE PUPPY.

So, on Day 8: Wordless Wednesday! Post a photo of your favourite thing about your classroom, school, or office.

Day 9:  Walk us all through your before-school morning routine.

Day 10: TGIF! If you won the lottery, what would you do?

Day 11: Complete this sentence: "I get choked up every time I tell the story of _____"

And Day 12 (which is tomorrow, but let's just get it out of the day): Describe your very favourite article of clothing.

THERE. The ketchup/catch-up is done. Share your links in the comments so I can read your stuff.

And thanks for being patient with me.

Happy weekend, friends.


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

#kinderchat post-a-day, Days 6 & 7: A twofer

You guys. Believe me, the irony of missing a prompt during a post-a-day challenge is NOT LOST ON ME.

I don't even know what happened yesterday. I went back to school, and came home and went to #kinderchat, and then went to bed, and then woke up at 3 am in a panic that I hadn't posted the prompt, and by then... IT WAS TODAY.

I am pathetic, I know.

So, here are 2 prompts for the price of one:

Day 6 (That would be yesterday): Monday lists: 5 things in your backpack/briefcase/purse/tote bag.

Day 7 (That would be today): Complete this sentence: Before the end of the school year, I want to ____ with my class.

Ok, that is all. I will NOT FORGET TOMORROW'S PROMPT. 


Sunday, January 5, 2014

#kinderblog post-a-day, Day 5: When would you be?

Happy Sunday, friends. (Although, I know, it is bittersweet because most of us are headed back to school tomorrow and holidays are, alas, over...)

Today's prompt is kind of a fun one:

If you could live in any historical era, WHEN would you live?

Ancient Rome? The Renaissance? Roaring 20s? The Eighties? Last week?

Fun, right?

Ok, go!

And good luck tomorrow.

(And if you are one of the folks who already knows you have a snow day tomorrow, I am sorry, but I cannot talk to you right now...)


#Kinderblog Post-a -day, Day 4: When I grow up...

Crap, friends, it is already Day 5 in some time zones, and I am just now getting the day 4 prompt up... WHY DO YOU PEOPLE PUT UP WITH ME?!

Ok, quick and dirty so this post is not delayed any further:

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Make the story as long or as short as you want -- feel free to tell us ALL the iterations of your dream occupations.

I can't wait to read (and this is one post that I can't wait to WRITE, too!)

Sweet dreams from the land of ice and snow;


Friday, January 3, 2014

#kinderblog post-a-day, Day 3: TGIF - the best thing about 2013...

I know I am a little late today, but it is still January 3rd, and you still have time to get this post up today. It's an easy (and fun!) one, I promise!

Share the very best thing(s) about 2013!

There, see? Easy peasy!

Share your post in the comments, here or on Facebook, and don't forget to tweet it out!

Happy Friday, friends!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

#kinderblog post-a-day, Day 2: A resolution

Thanks to all of you who posted such awesome, interesting, and thought-provoking photos and videos yesterday - I have LOVED reading your posts!

Today's post does require words (well, I guess that if you can do it without words, more power to you...):

Share ONE resolution you are making for 2014. Just one. You can make more if you want, of course, but this is the ONE thing we will follow up on, every 2 weeks, for the length of this challenge. Make it something do-able, something meaningful, something REAL, maybe even... something fun!

Remember to share the link in the comments here, and to tweet it out using the #kinderblog and #kinderchat hashtags.

Who knows, if some of us have the same resolutions, a few more hashtags could be born, as we support one another!

Ok, friends, start resolving!


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

#kinderblog Post a day, Day 1: Wordless Wednesday

Hello friends!

Welcome to the #kinderchat January Post-A-Day challenge.

Your first assignment does NOT EVEN REQUIRE YOU TO WRITE WORDS.

Post a photo (or a few photos), or a video, that represents your 2013.

Then, of course, post a link in the comments here, or on our Facebook page, and tweet it out using the #kinderblog tag.

That's all - easy peasy!

Happy first day of 2014, friends. We are SO EXCITED about this journey with all of you!

Introducing the 2014 January Post-A-Day Blog Challenge...

Happy New Year's Eve, #Kinderchat!

2013 was a great year for us, and we started it with a blogging challenge - every day for the month of January, we featured a new blog post written by one of you! It was such fun to see the huge range of ideas and formats that came from all of you. Go ahead and check them all out if you want, we'll wait...

You're back? Awesome.

We want to start 2014 off with a similar bang, but in a way that allows EACH of you to join the party, every day. "Blog more often" seems to be a pretty common New Year's resolution, and we are here to help! To that end, we have prepped 31 blogging prompts, one for each day of the month of January, and our challenge to all of you is to join us. 

Here's how it works:

  1. Let us know in the comments of this post that you would like to participate.
  2. Each day in January, we will post a blogging prompt here, on the twitterz, and on the #kinderchat facebook page. (The complete list of prompts is also posted below, for those who like to get a jump on things.)
  3. Write your post (they are EASY, we promise, and some of them DO NOT EVEN REQUIRE WORDS, just pictures!).
  4. In the comments for that day's prompt (either here or on Facebook, share the link to your post.
  5. If you are on the twitterz, tweet the link using the #kinderblog hashtag.
  6. READ other people's posts and comment! Make new friends!  Talk to a stranger! You can do it!
So you have a better idea what you are getting into, here are the prompts:

  1. Wordless Wednesday: A photo to represent 2013
  2. One resolution for 2014
  3. TGIF: The very best thing about 2013 was....
  4. When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  5. If you could live in any historical era, WHEN would you live?
  6. Monday lists: 5 things in your backpack/briefcase/purse/tote bag.
  7. Before the end of the school year, I want to ____ with my class.
  8. Wordless Wednesday: A photo of your favourite thing about your school/classroom/office.
  9. Share your before school/work morning routine.
  10. TGIF: If I won the lottery...
  11. I get choked up every time I read or tell the story of….
  12. Describe your very favourite article of clothing.
  13. Monday lists: 5 songs that make you dance. Or sing. Or both.
  14. This week, I want to _____ with my class.
  15. Wordless Wednesday: The view from your window. Any window.
  16. Progress report: how is your resolution going?
  17. TGIF: If I ran a school...
  18. I'm in love with _____ right now.
  19. If you could live in any place in the world, WHERE would you live?
  20. Monday lists: 5 things you eat or drink every (or nearly every) day.
  21. This week, I want to _____ with my class.
  22. Wordless Wednesday: A photo of your desk/work area.
  23. Share your go-to, easy-peasy, default favourite dinner recipe.
  24. TGIF: My favourite colleague and why I love working together.
  25. Pet peeves: let them all out!
  26. Describe something (or a few things) that you are VERY good at.
  27. Monday lists: Your top 5 favourite children's books.
  28. This week I want to ______ with my class.
  29. Wordless Wednesday: Kids' lockers/cubbies, the aftermath.
  30. Progress report: how is that resolution coming along?
  31. TGIF: Party it up! Celebrate on your blog in your own way: a song, decorations, poems, videos, yummy treats, whatever says "party" to you!
Now, comment so that we know we are not alone in this insanity. Like all #kinderchat challenges, we are very forgiving. If you miss a day, just start with the latest prompt and go from there. 

And, from the bottom of our hearts:

Happy, Happy New Year. We love you all more than you will ever know!

Amy & Heidi