Things I learned during a long weekend out of town:
1) Never leave home without my laptop
2) Twitter is pretty amazing
Just like week I posted about needing something to tweet about. I wanted to get more into it – I just wasn’t sure where to start. Not even an hour after I finished writing, I noticed that #kinderchat was hosting a chat for newbies. I immediately jumped on it and counted down until 9:00 pm.
Let’s just say the chat was awesomely overwhelming — so many unique, talented, experienced voices all coming through at one time. I wanted to take the time to read each one and I wanted to respond as well. I started the chat using Hootsuite. While I found it useful for reading everyone’s tweets and I love how you can have a page for each hashtag – the chatting part was not friendly for me. Someone in the chat tweeted she was using Twubs. I checked it out and liked it immensely for the chat experience.
I was able to chat with kindergarten teachers from all over the country with varied levels of experience. Already, I consider each one to be a part of my Personal Learning Network (PLN). I have been sharing resources, getting advice, and exploring new ideas for the upcoming year. Not to mention, the positive feedback and support… from complete strangers.
You may ask, what does this have to do with literacy? This blog is supposed to be all about it. I’ll tell you this – it has everything to do with literacy. In the past week, I have thought about all sorts of literacy. After the chat, many of us discussed the validity of calendar. Who was doing calendar in K, what did it look like, was it really valuable? All of these are questions I struggled with this year. I, myself, quit doing calendar every single day about half way through the year. I did not see value in it for my students because they were not valuing it. We still sang songs to increase numeric fluency, awareness of time and days of the week, and coin recognition. This article was suggested by @togolightly in regards to calendar: http://mrsasroom.blogspot.com/2012/08/calendar-time-in-pre-k.html?spref=tw
She links her post to this article from the NAEYC: CalendarTime
The issue of homework in Kindergarten was also discussed. Again – this is an issue I struggle with. Currently, we have monthly homework calendars. The choices on the calendar are designed to be extensions of what we are studying in the classroom to build literacy and numeracy. Most nights, I would really love my parents to just read with their children. That is powerful in and of itself. However, we do teach in a culture that expects certain things. I am hoping that homework will not be an expectation from my classroom in the near future.
Here is an article that really made me think about homework: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/03/magazine/03wwln-lede-t.html?_r=2&
One of the ideas I’m most excited about is setting up a Twitter handle for my class this year. Several of my new Tweeps have handles for their classes. Some have a continuous feed going, others choose a Tweeter for the day. I like the idea of choosing one student a day to start. Students have the opportunity to share their favorite part of the day. They learn that their thoughts become words, their words become writing – writing that can be shared with the world. What’s more literate than that?
I’ll leave you with this thought – a video from my mentor Kristi. Are you a lone nut?