Tuesday, August 30, 2016

#TeacherFriends Twitter Chat: Ignite Your S.H.I.N.E. with LaVonna Roth

Tuesday: Time to gather with your #TeacherFriends. 
We're gearing up to begin a very inspirational Twitter chat! 

We are thrilled to welcome LaVonna Roth to our spotlight 
as our #GuestEduCelebrity! 

LaVonna will be sharing her insight on the topic: 
which is her trademarked insight into becoming your very best. 

Learn more by visiting her website
LaVonna is encouraging participation by offering 
two gifts...... 
One participant will receive their grade level version of "Lessons to Engage All Learners."

LaVonna is also offering one lucky participant one of her special bracelets. 

We have an 'open-book' chat and encourage folks to plan ahead. 
Here is the outline of our questions for tonight. 

Most of us use Tweetdeck to follow the conversation. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

#TeacherFriends Twitter Chat "Why Words Matter" with Big Word Club!


Did you mark your calendar? 
August can throw a wrench into your schedule. 
So I'm here to remind you....... 
your  PLN {Professional Learning Network} is just a couple clicks away! 

Every Tuesday night at 9PM Eastern Standard we gather to support each other. 

In the process we work hard to learn a few things in the process. 

Tonight's focus is going to be ALL about Vocabulary! 
Our special guest spotlight will be shining on: 

Big Word Club! 

Shane will be in the spotlight sharing the backstory of Big Word Club! 
Plus three lucky participants will win a year's subscription! 

At #TeacherFriends we have an 'open-book' chat. 
We like to share the questions ahead of time..... 
that helps newbies stay up with the conversation. 
You're welcome to search your blog and share articles that you've written on this subject. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

#TeacherFriends Twitter Chat on a Growth Mindset in Education

What a terrific topic!!! 


Come join us in just a few minutes to join your peers from around the country and around the world. 
Your tribe awaits your arrival. 

We have the equivalent of an open-book chat. 
Here is the outline for the evening. 

Tonight one lucky participant is going to receive a year's subscription to ESGI software for their classroom. We are so grateful for their continued support of our ongoing chat. You couldn't ask for a better corporate supporter! 

If you're new to Twitter, feel free to arrive 'early' for our EarlyBird portion of the evening, where it is easier to support newbies. We will gather for EarlyBirds at 8:30 PM EST. 

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Student Choice/Student Voice! Alternative Seating + Makers: Empowerment

Every parent and every grandparent wants what is best for their children. Every teacher and every principal wants what is best for their students. Our toddlers of today will be leaving their college classrooms somewhere around the year 2036. How are we preparing them for that brave new world? 

Think how the improvements in technology have changed our world and our days in the last twenty years. What can we anticipate in the coming twenty years? Listen to the world news at any given hour and it is exceedingly clear that our Planet Earth is in dire need of help. We simply must prepare today's students to contribute to the answers so desperately needed.

What does tomorrow bring? Where do we begin? How do we get started? 

We take a step in the right direction. We do what we know is right on behalf of the children we serve. We get bolder. We take action. We advocate. We close our doors and do the right thing. We let them play. We strengthen their collaboration skills. 

We build classrooms for THIS century. We strengthen their inherent gifts. We begin.

The photo above on the left arrived via email late last week. It makes me happy on so many levels. A father reading to his child. A father reading MY book to his child. A father reading MY book to his child sitting on a toddler wobble seat at home. SHAZAM! {And of course there is great delight and a hat-tip to the loving mama, behind the scenes who is taking the photo and sends it to me. Thanks Joy. It is very nearly the second birthday of Gus our wobble-model pictured above. Yes. He is tall for his age. He is seated on the 10" Wobble.} 

I want to be UTTERLY transparent with this article. Our family distributes the WobbleSeat at our website: Wobbleseat.com. Your purchasing #AlternativeSeating through our site supports our extended family. We are exceedingly grateful when you purchase through us. We make a profit with every sale. We want to do our very best to get you the best price and the best size wobble for your setting.

Having spent ten years in the previous century, working with young children with special needs, the first time that I saw these cheery bright, moving stools I was in awe. As soon as I sat myself down and started to rock I was ecstatic! This is THE answer for many of the 'sensory-children' that I had come to know and admire back in the day. 

After a quick conversation with the manufacturer, we took our first sample home and my husband Allen built our website. It is Allen that manages the entire effort at WobbleSeat. He is the one that will process your school's Purchase Order. He is the one that can arrange free shipping on two dozen wobbles. He is the one that can give you a quantity discount. Dial area code 614 and talk to my husband Allen on his cell phone at 598-5532. 

***Call him before the end of August to receive our Back-to-School SPECIAL on orders of six or more. Mention this article in your conversation and let him work wonders for you!  

We had our website up for about a year before we got much traction. Then sweet Mary at "Sharing Kindergarten" got on board and shared her appreciation for our Wobbles in this article on her blog and suddenly the clouds parted and the phone began to ring. Thank you Mary. 

Why Wobble? Why Alternative Seating? Why Student Choice?
 "Flexible seating gives students a choice in what kind of learning space works best for them and helps them to work in partnerships, communicate effectively and engage in critical thinking more frequently. Students can sit where they want, work where they want, learn where they want!" 
           From the article: Flexible Seating All the Rage at Salem Elementary

***By far the most COMPREHENSIVE article that I was able to find on the web is this one at the blog, "Flexible Seating." 

There are literally dozens and dozens of health citations from additional articles at such places as the Mayo Clinic to the New York Times and it includes articles from some of your favorite bloggers as well. By all means open that tab for your later thesis support to your administration. 

What does choice seating look like in the early childhood classroom setting?

Behold Shelley's kindergarten classroom in Nebraska. The girls in the foreground are on WobbleSeats and as you look closely you'll also see 'scoop chairs' that are found at many Aldi stores and some local Walmarts. Look again and you will see a traditional table with legs extended for a center for 'standing students.' 
Look again and you see students happily engaged in their work!   

"Comfortable classrooms—physically and psychologically— promote a sense of well-being, keep minds focused, and limit distractions.
Comfort is not always a quantifiable phenomenon. But we know that when people are uncomfortable, they are distracted. Temperature, lighting, and furnishings all play a role in a person being comfortable. Psychological comfort is also important. Environments that are intimidating or uninviting will influence the depth of learning that can take place." 
***Go to the original article at HermanMiller.com for exhaustive insight including the following graph. 

Learning studio benefits

It is the hashtag and the movement of #AlternativeSeating that is exciting to me as an old elementary Art teacher. I have LONG been a proponent of collaboration, cooperation and movement within the classroom setting. Yes. It may get noisy at times. Yes. You need to have great classroom management. Yes. The students will respond positively. 

We are all together too sedentary in our lives and in our classrooms. We must MOVE! We must get up and get the blood flowing. We must get oxygen to our brains. We need to MOVE! We need flexibility and we need choice! 

In this article at "WeAreTeachers"
"How can we Increase Attention Spans? Less Time Sitting Still!"
 there is a plea for common sense things like RECESS for children. 
According to their research only 60% of children have daily recess mandated. 

How do I get my principal on board?
Start with this article at Legacy Elementary Lions, written by the principal. He starts by sharing this graphic of the impact that physical activity has on the brain.
 He shares his thoughts on where he is leading his school, his teachers and his students: to embrace wellness and Legacy/Life Habits. 

Isn't it fitting that a great principal has an outstanding teacher known to many in the cyber-sphere? Kayla Delzer is one of his teachers and here's her article as to 
"Why the 21st Century Classrooms May Remind You of Starbucks."  

Kayla points to Erin Klein as an inspiration. 
With the release of the new book with Erin's contributions, 
"Redesigning Learning Spaces" 
she says on her blog, Kleinspiration:
"It is time for the desks to lose and the children to win."

Kayla quotes Erin that she too, wants to avoid the "cemetery effect." 

Do you LUV her hashtag in the tweet: 

That is a classroom that I would like for my WonderPeeps! 

Design a Collaborative Learning Space

"We’re really looking at how we support kids working collaboratively," Fisher says. "And we can't do it if we're isolated in rows and every kid is an island."
                                             This quote is from the article,

   "Flexible Classrooms: Providing the Learning       Environment That Kids Need"

This comprehensive article at Lucky Little Learners is a gold-mine for all of the answers to those FAQ in your teacher's heart. 
  • How do you introduce flexible seating?
  • Did you have any challenges with students sitting next to their friends? 
  • Do your students argue over seating choices?
  • How do you introduce this to the parents?
  • What do you do when there is a sub? 
  • How do you manage testing? 
Angie has expertly spelled out all of these questions and so many more that she has received. She then gives thorough answers to all of these concerns and many, many more. This is why we read blogs. So that we can learn from one another and optimize our own learning curves. 

***Go to Mrs. Emnett's Class blog to see the pdf of the letter that she sent home to parents to get them on board and to help explain why she was removing traditional desks from her classroom. 

Our Wobble Seats are one more tool in your toolbox, for your newly designed classroom that supports student choice and student collaboration. Removing some of your desks allows for joyous floor space for sprawled collaborations as seen in Mr. Greg's Smorgasbord class. 

Having a whole crate of clipboards opens up the possibility of 'portable desks' that move all around the room! 
Children can cozy up in all manner of styles and stations..... 
taking their learning out into the hall or onto the playground with ease. 

photo of: Clipboards for "Write Around the Room" Activities (stored in create)

Here's an HOUR long conversation recorded between Mr. Greg and Kayla as they talk about what flexible seating looks like in their own classrooms. Greg has removed all of the tables and desks from his classroom and has had that set-up for the last three years. Kayla teaches second grade and has a variety of choices available. 
[There are some tech glitches in the broadcast -- so just be patient.] 

Read here to see what Sylvia at "Learning with Mrs. Parker" has to say about incorporating just one Wobble Seat into her classroom and the difference that it made to her WiggleWorm. 

The very first person to ever purchase a Wobble Seat from us is a pediatric Occupational Therapist. 
Read her ringing endorsement for more insight. 

Are you wondering just how 'Wobblie' these Wobble Seats are? Do you want to get a glimpse of what they would look like in the classroom setting? Are you wondering how your young students would stay seated on a stool designed to move? Take a look at this two minute video to have further insight into how your peers are using these Wobbles in their setting. 

Before you get rid of ALL of your desks, it is wise to read this article at "Bonnie Kathryn Teaching" to get her input on keeping 'some' of your desks and what that might look like in your room. 

Make a stop at the blog, Fun in Fourth to see in this article how a balance of choices have been reached in Angela's classroom. She describes in length how she has maximized the minimal space she has available in her small room.  

The reality is that there is NO one-size-fits-all answer
when it comes to #AlternativeSeating. 
There are different sized rooms, different sized students, different sized budgets. 
Check out the several options available to the students at 
"Literacy Loves Company." 

Here's another blog article to check out: this one is at Elementary Chalkboard. 

Or watch this video below to see how Adam brought SLEDS into his classroom as an alternative. Sometimes it's easier to watch and listen.... plus you get to see the tour of his room!  

Alternative seating is NOT brand spanking new for the back-to-school 2016 season. Kim Adsit is a fellow grandma and she has been on a lengthy journey in the classroom. She has been all about 'flexible seating' for a long time. Read her reflections on her blog, Kinder Gals. 

Behold I give you Kaci Hoffer as a kindergarten student in an antique bathtub and Kaci-the-Kindergarten-Teacher in her own classroom in said bathtub. Kaci has shared her insight in this article at her blog, "Mrs. Hoffer's Spot." [She discusses issues of the management of classroom supplies.]
***I LUV to take photographs during my Author/Illustrator School visits to share here. These are a couple of other bathtubs from my earlier trips coast to coast. 

photo of: Bathtub Reading Center in Kindergarten Room via RainbowsWithinReach Reading RoundUP

Having cozy little curl-up corners where one can be surrounded by beloved books and yet have some personal boundaries? #Priceless! 

photo of: Kindergarten Antique Bathtub Reading Center via RainbowWithinReach

I leave you with some additional visual food for thought. 
Here are some other glimpses from my author/illustrator travels of little inviting learning corners, think of them as edu-vignettes to jump start your imagination.

Classroom Details (Classroom Decor RoundUP at RainbowsWithinReach)

Classroom Detail (Classroom Decor RoundUP at RainbowsWithinReach)

Classroom Details (Classroom Decor RoundUP at RainbowsWithinReach)

Classroom Details (Classroom Decor RoundUP at RainbowsWithinReach)

Classroom SetUP for Reading Area (Classroom Decor RoundUP at RainbowsWithinReach)

Kindergarten Classroom Organization of Centers (Classroom Decor RoundUP at RainbowsWithinReach)

Classroom Decor Details (RoundUP of Class Decor at RainbowsWithinReach)

photo of: Canopy Reading Center in Kindergarten via Reading Corner RoundUP at RainbowsWithinReach

Reading Center with BOLD Graphics (Classroom Decor RoundUP at RainbowWithinReach)

Classroom with "WILD" Theme (Classroom Decor RoundUP at RainbowsWithinReach)

Classroom Decor Details (Decor RoundUP at RainbowsWithinReach)

photo of: Public Library Reading Corner via Reading Center RoundUP at RainbowsWithinReach

photo of: Reading Center RoundUP via RainbowsWithinReach

photo of: School Bus Reading Center in Preschool via Reading Corner RoundUP at RainbowsWithinReach

photo of: RoundUP at RainbowsWIthinReachReading Corner in the Home at Childhood 101: via Reading Corner RoundUP at RainbowsWithinReach

Even the introduction of ONE 'novel' chair -- 
for the student of the day, is a beginning.

Visit a thrift store, get some paint. Have fun. 
It is a beginning.  

photo of: Author's Chair in Kindergarten Classroom (Reading Center RoundUP via RainbowsWithinReach)

photo of: Author's Throne in Kindergarten Classroom (Reading Center RoundUP via RainbowsWithinReach)

photo of: Reading Center in the Classroom (Reading Center RoundUP via RainbowsWithinReach)

photo of: Quilted Author's Chair in the Kindergarten Classroom via RainbowsWithinReach Reading Center RoundUP

photo of: Children's Author Chair with Elephant Ears via RainbowsWithinReach

Our efforts at WobbleSeat.com have afforded me the opportunity to help underwrite some of my Author/Illustrator School visits! We have also been able to give away some Wobbles to participants at our weekly Twitter Chat on Tuesday nights at the hashtag #TeacherFriends. 

Most recently the philanthropic arm at WobbleSeat.com was able to underwrite the commission of an arrangement to a TeacherTribute poem that I had written earlier. I have now turned the poem into a song and the song into a little iMovie. While it is PERFECT for an End-of-Year screen show, it works now as we head back into the classroom and we 'begin with the end in mind.' 

Would you be kind enough to pin from this article? 
It will help lead others to move toward alternatives, flexibility and open classrooms in support of children's growth. 

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!
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