23 August 2015

Are you a teacher shamer?

Disclaimer: It's about to get a little real. And I'm not trying to be rude, these are just my opinions.


I love teachers.  I love that we share ideas, thoughts and products with each other. I love that each day we wake up and spend time with other people's children and love them like they were our own.  I love that teachers are willing to try new ideas and stand up for what they think is right for their students.
I love teachers.

I don't love teacher shaming.

What is teacher shaming exactly?

Teacher shaming happens when a teacher expresses his or her idea as if it is the only idea suitable for the classroom.  As if no other ideas are worth mentioning or entertaining.
Here are some examples:

Curious teacher: I'm thinking of using a behavior chart in my classroom this year.

Teacher shamer:  Behavior charts shame children and should never be used in a classroom.

Thought provoking teacher:  I know many teachers who use behavior charts and many who do not. Why do you want to use one this year and how do you plan on enforcing it in your classroom?

Curious teacher:  I just finished decorating my room and I love it! There's so many colors, my kids are sure to love it.

Teacher shamer: Too much decor and color distracts students from learning. Keeping a room clean and simple is the best way to decorate.

Thought provoking teacher:  Your room looks great! Have you thought about the learning styles of your students and any learning accommodations you may need to make?

Those are just a few examples.  The point is, what you do as a teacher in your classroom is awesome. You're awesome. And sharing your ideas and opinions with other teachers is awesome too...but pushing your viewpoint as the only or "right" view is a little rude... it discourages other teachers from sharing their own ideas and can make new teachers feel like there is only one way to do something or one way to teach.

Don't we teach our students that the best way to learn something is to try?  Why wouldn't we encourage that in our colleagues?  By trying new ideas, teachers begin to figure out what really works for them and their students.  They develop a sense of their teacher self and isn't that exactly what we want to foster in each other?

When we want to know about the practices of another teacher we should ask "curious questions".  Curious questions help others to talk out their thinking and analyze the choices they've made.  Telling a teacher that what she or he is doing is not the "right" way, doesn't foster thinking, but stunts it.
We should practice lifting up one another, instead of looking down on each other.

01 August 2015

Kindergarten Pacing Guide {with tips for using it!}

Hi Y'all!

One of my top ten must haves is a Kindergarten pacing guide.
I can't live without one.
Although I don't mind going off the beaten path every now and again...
I still need a plan.
I need to know where I'm going and the best way to get there.

Over the past nine years, I've used different versions of guides that I've found from different sources.
There are a number of very helpful bloggers who post their own guides to share with other teachers.
I've taken a little from here, a little from there, a little bit of best practices, and thrown in a lot of what I want.

Over three years ago, I posted a pacing guide I created.  It is editable so if certain parts don't work for you or your school...you can change it!
It is one of my most pinned, shared and liked posts on Pinterest.  You can find it here.

But this summer, a few of my colleagues and I got together to work on a plan to purposefully integrate play into our kindergarten curriculum.
We spent four days establishing enduring understanding and key student skills for the entire school year.
It was a great experience! And I am so excited to see what my kiddos will do.
I promise to blog about this new endeavor later in the school year...

But for now, I'd like to share with you the pacing guide I created for this school year.

Do you teach Kindergarten? Are you wondering how to pace the year out so you can get everything covered? Then you're going to love this FREE Kindergarten pacing guide! Let an experienced Kinder teacher share how she uses a pacing guide & explain how you can make it work for your classroom or homeschool students! You'll love the columns for theme, letter of the week, sight words, read aloud, computation focus for the week, math, integrated play, and science and social studies. Get it now!!

Like I mentioned...

I NEED a Kindergarten pacing guide.

I like to have plenty of time to gather materials, do some research, and talk to other teachers about my lesson before I teach it.
I know...you can't plan for everything...but I need to have a general sense of what I am/should be doing.
A Kindergarten pacing guide helps keep me focus and gives me motivation to try new things.

Our school uses Fundations to teach phonics.  We focus on a few letters per week and a number of sight words at one time.  I love this pacing guide because with one quick glance I know exactly what's coming.  I can prepare my word wall cards and any crafts or poems I may want to integrate into teaching the letters.

We also use Lucy Calkins as a way to teach Writer's Workshop.  Our kinder team worked on developing a sequence for teaching the different genres.  I've tried to highlight that in the pacing guide.

The section labeled, "Purposeful Play Curriculum" is the section where I sequenced our grade level's work on play integration.  At first glance, it might not make sense to those who don't work at our school, but you can see our attempts to integrate science and social studies standards into specific themed units.  

Our school ends the year with a huge event called, "Davis Town."  All of kindergarten turns into a small town and the different classrooms become business.  We want to use this event as an opportunity to build purposeful play based experiences into the skills students will need to run their business for Davis Town.  Again, I will be sure to post about our work on play integration over the upcoming year.

If you are interested in utilizing this pacing guide for your own classroom, 

Take a look at this guide and find which elements can be used for you in your classroom.  If anything, it can be a helpful timeline of events.  I've even included some great read aloud ideas for you! 

Unfortunately, this version is  not editable and I won't be able to make any changes to it.  

I hope that you can get great use out of this Kindergarten pacing guide!
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