self portraits

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I have been doing self portraits with my students since the beginning of the school year, and I like to keep each child’s most recent self portrait in an acrylic document holder over their cubbies. I got these amazing acrylic self-standing mirrors through a grant for art supplies, and I started the self-portrait process earlier in the year by having the students trace their reflections directly on the mirrors themselves.

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For our last round of portraits, we talked a lot about what made us the same and different — which I think is so important to do at this age. I love the book Bein’ With You This Way and Todd Parr’s It’s Okay to Be Different. We talked about how all of our skin colors were different, and we matched them to different “people colors” colored pencils. The kids had so much fun drawing their portraits, that I set up a provocation (seen in the first picture) for a couple of days afterwards.

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highlights from book club

My ECE team met tonight for this month’s book club (our book was It’s OK Not to Share by Heather Shumaker). I loved the book — as the title implies, it was very provocative, and it made us reflect on why we do lots of the things that we do as early childhood teachers. 

I read it on my iPad, so I don’t have accurate page numbers (sorry!), but I would love to share with you some of my favorite quotes from the book:

To prepare for the rigors of kindergarten, three- and four-year-olds are increasingly drilled in early reading and math.
This is called “getting ready for kindergarten.” It could also be called “stealing play.”
Too often we think about preparing our kids for school in the same way we think about preparing ourselves for a job. Careful study, good work habits—in fact, years of diligent preparation. We need to take off our adult lenses. A child’s “preparation” for school success looks nothing like ours. A child’s preparation for life and school comes through boisterous play, spontaneous play, running and roughhousing, playing house and playing pirates. Yelling, screaming and crying are part of it. So is first friend-making (and rejection). Taking risks—creative risks, physical risks and social risks. Dressing up and storytelling. Trying out crazy (and messy!) art. Encountering conflict. Sorting it out. Young kids already have a full agenda: play” (from Rule #1: Stealing Play).

‘Every stage of development is complete in itself… The 3-year-old is not an incomplete 5-year-old. The child is not an incomplete adult’ (from Rule #1, attributed to J.C Pearce).

We worry that kids can’t tell the difference between fantasy and reality, but actually we are the ones who mix it up… If you are worried about your child’s play themes, think about cutting down their media exposure… Cut their screen time, not their play. (Rule #16: Give Kids Power)

A guarantee–‘I won’t push you again’–is more meaningful than ‘sorry’ (Rule #23: Kids Don’t Have to Say “Sorry”).

spring break reading list

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Happy spring break (in DC)! My ECE team started a book club a few months ago, and this month’s read is It’s OK Not to Share by Heather Shumaker. I’m only five chapters in, but so far in love. If I’m not enough to convince you, read the book report the Ooey Gooey Lady posted on Facebook.

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Another one of my favorite early childhood resources is The Impact of Early Art Experiences on Literacy Development (buy it used, if you can — especially if you have to save your money for liquid watercolors like me). I found this book at the Eric Carle Museum (their Studio Blog is fabulous), and I love to flip through and be inspired. The authors do a great job of connecting excellent experiences with high-quality literature and standards, so it’s a great book to keep in your classroom when the wolves come knocking.

Do you have any book club recommendations for us? What is your favorite ECE book?