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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Two cute little Aprons

It's  Fall Holiday time and after visiting France for a few days I am busy planning for our new unit in Kiga, Harvest/Fall. 

As part of the unit we are setting up a Farmer's Market in our dramatic play corner. 
I decided I wanted to make a couple of kid's aprons for the market workers. I found two old tea towels and got out my sewing machine. 

I started by ironing the towels before folding them in half and cutting the sides away. 

Once it was cut I attached some red trim for the neck strap as well as the apron strings. I used a zigzag stitch on the edges. I didn't worry about binding the edges because these are just for some fun play. 

I cut two pockets from the rest material and ironed them on with some binding tape from Ikea. 

Lastly I stitched them into place with some embroidery thread. 

I'm pleased with how they turned out and I'm sure the kids will love them. 

I'm heading to school tomorrow to set up our little market. I'll post pictures once it is done. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

I'm back

It has been such a long time since I have posted on this blog. I thought about letting it all go for a while but decided that I miss blogging and the feeling of belonging to a community that it gives me. 

Much has changed in my life both personally and professionally. I left my previous position where I was teaching 3rd grade and spent one school year in administration and curriculum planning. What I realized is that my heart and passion lie in the classroom and was so thankful when an opportunity to teach at Lakeside School presented itself. I've been trying to get in to Lakeside for the past four years and it is the best thing that could have happened. I'm teaching Kindergarten now and I absolutely love it. 

Lakeside school is a bilingual school where instruction is 50% English and 50% German. The curriculum is a mix between the Z├╝rich curriculum and an English Speaking World Curriculum. 
There are some big differences in the way Kindergarten is taught in this system and i wasn't convinced at first. I am a convert and believer now and can't wait to share all that I have learned with all of you. 

As I mentioned I've had some changes in my personal life as well. The biggest change is that I had Gastric Bypass Surgery 15 months ago and it has changed my life completely. I have lost 110 lbs and feel incredible. I didn't expect that my weight loss would have much of an impact on my teaching, mainly because I wasn't willing to admit that being overweight had any impact at all. I am amazed how much of a difference it has made. I have so much more energy, I can move easily from one place to the next, I can sit on the floor with the kids, play games and dance with them. I am grateful that I made the decision to have the surgery and that it has been such a positive change for me. 

I look forward to sharing my journey in Kindergarten with all of you!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

What is Science?

It was science week at ISZN and each class took some time to investigate and engage with the scientific process.

We started our inquiry by asking some of the teachers at school what they thought Science is.

After gathering our information we came back to class and mind mapped the answers that the students collected. 

Once we had a working idea of what Science is we moved on to a fun investigation as a class. Miss Nelly came and together we planned and created a bridge made out of popsicle sticks. We divided into four groups with each one responsible for a side or a top/bottom. 


After completing our bridge S.M. suggested that we ask the rest of the student body to take a guess at how much weight our bridge could hold. We will be testing our bridge on Monday. 

 Stay tuned...

Sunday, February 2, 2014

I'm One Lucky Lady

On Friday I had the chance to celebrate my birthday with my kido's and their parents. Although my birthday is December 27th I like to celebrate it in January after all the holiday hustle and bustle has passed. That way I get to party with my kids. Let's face it, who doesn't like an excuse to celebrate together?
I have been truly blessed with amazing parent helpers this year. Including a "Room Mom" that goes above and beyond. Once she heard that I was planning a party for the class she insisted on taking care of all the arrangements. What a great present, right? Well it didn't stop there. I was spoiled, spoiled, spoiled and it was so much fun.
Here are a few pictures of the party and of course a picture of the incredibly beautiful Thomas Sabo bracelet that I got from the parents and kids. Top it off with my absolute favorite flowers in my favorite color and you guessed it...I was in heaven!
I couldn't ask for anything more. Thank you to all my kids and their parents and a special thank you to Maria and Monika. You two really now how to make a girl feel special! [

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Concept Driven Curriculum with Lynn Erickson

I am so excited to tell you about the amazing experience I had yesterday. I had the privilege of attending the Ecolint Educational Conference in Geneva Switzerland.  It was my second year attending and I was so thrilled to go again because this year I would get a chance to hear Lynn Erickson speak.
If you don’t know Dr. Erickson’s work then I encourage you to Google her and read her books. She is a leader in concept-based curriculum and instruction.
Now, let me digress for a minute, I was first introduced to conceptually based teaching while working on my masters degree. In fact, we had to use Understanding by Design to plan all of our lessons. I remember being told that UbD was “backward” planning, that we wanted to start with the intended student outcome and plan our lessons to guide students in that direction. Along the way they would acquire skills and facts and make connections. I started using this design and found it rather difficult to wrap my head around the “big idea”, “understandings” and “essential questions”.

As I started my first year as a pyp teacher I had to get used to the IB unit planner. Similarly to UbD we start with the “Central Idea” and again work towards the skills and knowledge that we want the students to gain (or this is how I understood it should be done). One area that started making more sense to me was the use of key concepts. In the PYP program we have seven concepts that are to be addressed, studied, woven through the six units of inquiry.
These concepts are:

I have used these concepts to try and direct our inquiry into specific topics. I have not, however, used them to really guide my planning process.

So, back to yesterday where I was sitting in my seat eagerly waiting to be transformed. And would you know…I was!

Lynn explained what she calls the structure of knowledge. She uses the following diagram to illustrate just how this structure is formed.

She shared with us the difference between the two dimensional curriculum model which is topic-based and the three dimensional model that is concept-based.

The difference as you can see from the illustration is that in the three dimensional model we add concepts and principles to simple factual content and skills. In a two dimensional model the facts are taught but very superficially. There is not real depth of understanding or analysis of why it is relevant. The facts that are learned are not transferable but rather, are locked in time, place or situation.

The three dimensional model,  on the other hand, is idea-centered. This means that the ideas provide the foundation to understand conceptual and transferable ideas. Through the use of a conceptual lens the students gain an intellectual depth in thinking and understanding.  WOW! Don’t we all want that?

Here are a few other key points that really resonated with me:

1.        Concepts are not an afterthought in planning but are the groundwork that everything else is built upon.

2.         A conceptual lens mustn’t only include one or two concepts but can utilize many related concepts as well.
3.        Teaching with conceptual understanding and teaching for conceptual understanding is possibly more important than making sure a child understands the Central Idea or our units.
4.        It might be a good idea to keep our lines of inquiry hidden from the students and to see where their conceptual lenses take them.
Amazing right? So I will be taking all of this back to the classroom with me and hoping to re-work the next unit I plan to really start with the concepts first.

I guess I really get it or at least starting to get it.
Thanks Lynn!