Before lunch on Wednesday two weeks ago we took a walk outside to look for signs of winter (there weren't many left!). We used our senses to see, hear, smell and feel signs of winter and then compared them to the signs of fall we had seen. Although the children were willing to eat some snow/ ice to taste winter Mrs. Farber and I assured them it wasn't necessary. I consider myself lucky to be reminded by the children on a daily basis how much joy there is in little things. They were all so thrilled to look at snow and describe how cold it was, to stomp on the ice and think about whether it was soft or hard, to run their hands over the ice and snow and to stand still for a minute to listen to what winter smells and sounds like. They were enthusiastic to be outside and breathing the cool air into their lungs and looking to see if it made clouds as we breathed it out. The next time you're outside, just for a second, appreciate some signs of winter and capture a bit of the pleasure we felt just being outdoors last week.
When I looked for a picture of the Valentine cards I remember giving when I was in elementary school I had to use the search term "vintage". Boy am I dating myself! Every card was printed on sturdy thin cardboard and no two were the same. They all had to be cut out by hand and one had to be very selective who received which card lest the message conveyed something unintentional. I remember spending hours cutting, choosing the perfect beneficiary, and laboriously printing names the night before Valentine's Day. No fancy stickers, toys, lollipops or candies involved, just homemade chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles to share with the class.
For most of Team Awesome this will be their first experience with Valentine's Day and cards and the children will only have a vague idea what its all about. We will be doing some activities like crafts with hearts throughout the week but of course will go all-out on Friday. Goodies to share with the class are most welcome and fruits and veggies always go over well with the children. Please make sure the 'From' part on Valentine cards are filled in before coming to class as we will not have time on Friday to do that. Please leave off the name beside 'To' as it makes the cards easier to hand out. We have 20 children in our class this year. Have your child bring them in a bag and then put the whole bag in the Home Box or on my desk so they don't get lost/ crunched- we will hand them out after lunch. I will try (for purely selfish reasons) to dissuade the children from eating the candies that are attached to many cards and encourage them to eat them at home. Happy Valentine's Day!
It was too good to be true. You knew. I knew. We all knew. When I put my winter boots back in the downstairs closet until next year, it really was with the best of intentions though. I had been tripping over them for a week and was sure to hurt myself if I didn't move them. But there was that teeny tiny voice in my brain telling me to just set them aside because it was far too early in the winter for there not to be more snow coming. The thought was so distasteful I pushed it away and refused to acknowledge it. Totally ignored it. I tried to will the weather into cooperating with my wishes, and I'm sure some of yours' too. All of which combined to make me very irritated on Monday evening when I had to stomp back downstairs to bring up my winter boots. I am hoping to make the reverse trip once again very shortly, but with a lighter step. After all- the groundhog predicted spring was on its way and we know we can count on him.
Am I the only one that finds Groundhog Day bizarre? According to folklore, if it is cloudy when a groundhog emerges from its burrow on this day, then spring will come early; if it is sunny, the groundhog will supposedly see its shadow and retreat back into its burrow, and the winter weather will continue for six more weeks. Really?! Not only that but a Canadian study for 13 cities in the past 30 to 40 years found that the weather patterns predicted on Groundhog Day were only 37% accurate over that time period—a value not significant compared to the 33% that could occur by chance. When I asked Team Awesome if a groundhog could really predict the coming (or not) of spring they all agreed that it could not- spring would come when it was ready. But it was fun learning about groundhogs and their 5 minutes in the spotlight every year on February 2.
I know that many people believe that primary students often do nothing but play all day. Especially in Kindergarten. And while it is true that we have some time set aside every day to have unstructured play time- where the children decide which activities they will engage in and how that will look- sometimes I have to actively fight to keep that time unstructured as the demands and expectations of what we should be doing instead increases. On top of that, the time allotted to courses like art, music, and physical education is being whittled away to make more room for reading, math, and traditionally 'heavier' courses, so kids in general are spending less time moving, less time being creative, and more time preparing for tests. Play has been gradually taken away from children and replaced with structured activities, academic work, and digital experiences to the point where they hardly ever “play” at all. As this trend has continued, there has been a rise in childhood anxiety, childhood suicide, and a growing number of kids who simply don’t know how to play.
Three California educators—Eric Saibel, Scott Bedley, and Tim Bedley— along with a group of other educators, launched Global School Play Day, a full day in February set aside to just let students play. All day long. No screens, no structure, no adult interference. Now in its sixth year, Global School Play Day has spread across the world. Although one day out of the year isn’t nearly enough, they are hoping that the day will inspire schools to build more time for unstructured play into every school day. And so some of the BEST classes will be participating for some part, if not all, of the play day on Wednesday, Feb. 5. Our students need play and all the rich learning that comes from play in their lives, even if for just one day.
Mrs. Bowden &