Saturday, December 6, 2014


So it’s the beginning of trimester 2, and I don’t know where to start!  The kids in my class are so amazingly smart at this point, that it’s blowing my mind!  They are meeting end-of-the-year expectations left and right.  The most difficult part, recently, has been trying to keep up with where they are going to be.  For example, when your kiddos are flying through sight words, you have to be prepared for the next level.  So making/preparing things for them to be able to reach their new goals has been time-consuming, but amazing all the same!  Who would have ever thought that by December, I would be needing to work on fluency phrases with my kindergartners?!  I don’t care who you are...that’s exciting!  Here's a super cute video of one of my adorable kiddos teaching a little girl how to count by 5's. I caught the tail end of their "lesson," but it was so stinkin' cute...I just have to share!
What’s even more exciting, is that the kids aren't just making academic gains; they are becoming independent in every aspect.  In kindergarten.  At age 5.  Let that sink in.  All the teachers who may be reading this know of the recess struggle this time of year.  It takes the kiddos 15 minutes to put on their snow gear.  You’re ready to pull your hair out because 20 voices are yelling for you to help with mittens, zippers, and good Lord, those snow pants!!  By the time they go outside, they get about 5 minutes to run around before the recess bell rings to come back in and you’re ready for a tall drink!  Well, I don’t want to brag….but I’m the honest one, so I will :)  The very first day we went to put on all the winter gear, I was prepared for the typical whining….but I did nothing.  Nothing.  I literally stood there and watched as every one of my children put on all their own stuff, got ready, and lined up to go outside.  WHAT?!  Well that either had to be a miracle from the big man himself, or it was a fluke.  The next day….same thing!  And it’s not just my class!  Tiff and Alli were both standing in the hallway with their kiddos and we all looked at each other and though, “What is happening?!”  Our only conclusion we can come to, is that the kids are becoming independent in every aspect of their lives.  They are independent learners, and as a result, it is evident in everything they do.  
I recently had a conversation with one of my favorite moms in my class.  She is going to college, has two kiddos, both of which attend our school.  She said something to me about a month ago that really made me happy/thrilled/amazed.  At conferences, we had talked about personalized learning and how it has changed my instruction.  She was like most parents and listened quietly, nodded her head, then left.  She texted me a few days later and said that she’s been thinking about personalized learning.  She thought about how awesome it is for her boys...but more importantly, it’s made her think about the way she learns.  What?!!?  How amazing!  So, the way we teach kindergarten is causing her to think about the best way to learn for college...OMG!  That’s amazing!    
I can’t tell you enough times….personalized learning is the BEST way to teach.  I will never, ever, ever go back to the old “sit and get” way of teaching.  It’s a ton of work in the beginning (literally), but sooooooooooooo worth it.  So, my challenge to you is this:  What is one thing that you can change this month?  It doesn’t have to be huge, or life altering.  Just one thing that moves your kids in the direction of taking responsibility for their learning.  I guarantee you will see a change.  In the words of Nike, Just Do It!