Sunday, August 26, 2012

2012 Summer Reflections and What's New:

Well, Howdy-ho #Kinderchat-ters! It's been a long and wonderfully winding summer. I've managed to not think about school as much as humanly possible- even to the point of listening and quoting dramatic poetry to rage against the end of summer. Having this time to let go of the last year's and get ready for the this year's is such an invaluable gift for the mind and spirit.

Don't get me wrong, #Kinderchat was busy this summer! Things kicked off with #ISTE12 in San Diego! There I had the chance to meet up with @mpowers3 @MlleKathleen @teach1tech and @mrsmaley as well as met and made a ton of new friends!

Then we were all off to #EdcampKinder in Glitter-Town, aka Las Vegas, Nevada. You can read all about it here, thanks to the handiwork of @Matt_Gomez making it all official-like on the #edcamp wiki and to all of the teachers who blogged about their experiences! Highlight? Small group time w #Kinderfriend @OoeyGooeyLady

#EdCampKinder set several other tweet-ups into motion. From Vegas, we jet set over to NYC and several of us met up for a really wonderful dinner together. Such an amazing group of educators were gathered around that table! Great laughs were had w @Fr_Immersion98 @tori1074 @MissRalston @alexisvorhaus @ncingiser @hechternacht and @jyc_nyc 


Meanwhile, back at the ranch the high-flying @happycampergirl worked our blogging fingers to the bone :D with the awesome #Kinderblog2012 Challenge! This challenge is such a welcome opportunity for us all to learn more about each other, reflect on our practices and to focus on writing and networking through our blogs. I can't brag this feature up enough to do it justice!

We also enjoyed enthusiastic Olympic updates from @davidweldridge! It was such a treat to have some host country enthusiasm spilling over into the #Kinderchat hashtag. Global connection, good sport and fair play, fun and stories of love and life are never in any way off-topic at #Kinderchat!

So that was some of the Summer fun! And now for the "What's-New's!

1. We are very proud to announce a new structure for our regular chats. So proud, in fact, we made a giant website to help you figure it out so you won't get lost! Before the big reveal, let me just pull out the soapbox real quick....

First off, we are so honored to even be in the position in the first place to have a need to grow and scale more efficiently. I know I can speak for Amy when I say we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into in the summer of 2010 when this whole crazy journey began. As we enter our third year together (THREE YEARS!?) it's time to launch some new features for YOU and about YOU.  
Yes, that's right, #Kinderchat it's ABOUT YOU. It's about working together, being a friend, a community and helping one another. In just two short years, many if not most of us have undergone some degree of transformation right before your very eyes. New blogs, speaking engagements, presenting opportunities, global connections, friendships, networks and projects have come into each one of our lives and changed us both personally and our teaching in some fundamental way. 
So, all that said, it's time for us all to make an investment. Yes, our current currency is the play money in the classroom cash register- we have plenty of that! :D No, this investment is in you. Love is something when you give it away, give it away, give it away, love is something that when you give it away, you end up having more! So:

Yes, this year we will "Follow the Rainbow" structure of chats with teachers specializing in each color subject. More on the Rainbow Topics structure here. This means that instead of Amy and I moderating each topic every week, we will instead "pass the baton" to the next set of moderators. It is all here for you to reference as you need and anytime you see the rainbow, just click it and it will hyper link you to the site. 
We are so excited about the scale and uniqueness of this new feature and we are in awe of the pool of teachers available out there! A HUGE Thanks to all who offered their expertise, time and energy for this exciting new venture! We are so looking forward to your amplified voices, your choices of topics and your general wonderful-ness as you represent the community of #Kinderchat.

2. We are adding a second chat time so David Weldridge over in England doesn't have to wake up at 2AM anymore.  

We will start small and wo Rainbow moderators to see if we can find more Early Childhood peeps in this normally sleeping-during-Kinderchat time zone. Am both excited and nervous to launch this second time and to have the opportunity to connect with a new batch of educators!
The second #Kinderchat will be Mondays at 3:30 New York time, which is 8:30PM London time. The Time Buddy is here.
Well, there's more to come, but that's enough for today's mega-post! :D

Good Luck to all who are ready to begin the new year! Here's hoping summer has refreshed and readied you for what's to come.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

#Kinderblog2012: A new challenge!

Hello friends!

First of all, a huge thanks to everyone who has participated (and is still participating in) the #kinderblog2012 summer blogging challenge. I know I still have a few questions to answer over on my own blog (did you SEE my new blog? I migrated from blogger, and it was kind of a pain-in-the-place-where-the-sun-don't-shine to get it all moved and working, but Holy Jazzy Journals, Batman, do I EVER like the new setup. Head on over and visit if you haven't already!), and I don't want anyone else to feel pressured or rushed about finishing, either.

THAT SAID: It seems like lots of you would like to continue the challenge throughout the school year, and I think that is a scrumptious idea. I would love to hang out and write with you all, all the time. AND, in a happy stroke of serendipity, earlier today, I was hanging out over at AskMoxie. (If you don't read Moxie already, you should, even if you are not a parent. It is truly one of my favourite sites for general thoughts and reflections about kids and families, and the community over there is lovely.) There is quite a stream of comments about what parents worry about as the start of a new school year approaches. If you read through the comments, you will see that I chimed in with the fact that every August, I start to worry about WHAT IF I HAVE FORGOTTEN HOW TO TEACH??

So, that inspired me to do an impromptu mid-week assignment for you all: what are the secrets you wish parents knew at the start of a new school year? What things might help parents feel better about their child entering your classroom in a few days or weeks?

Don't forget to tweet your responses using #kinderblog (I'm thinking we should drop the '2012', since it looks like we will go on indefinitely), and to link to your response here in the comments. Also, I'll probably add a comment over at AskMoxie, to let parents know we are doing this - it's good to build bridges, especially at this time of year.

Ok, let those typing fingers fly!

Smiles and Sunshine;

Friday, August 3, 2012

#Kinderblog2012: Question numero six!

Ok, folks, I think* this is our final assignment for this summer, so let's go out with a bang.

If we're honest, we all have days when, for any number of reasons (lack of sleep, family issues, minor illness, idiopathic crankiness...) we are just not at our best. There are days when, in any other line of work, we would probably call in sick, but we don't because we know the impact of our absence is so great. What are your survival tips and tricks to get yourself and your students through those days in one piece? Special supplies to keep on hand? Treats that get you through? Lifesaving lessons or activities? 

This month, thousands of brand new teachers will enter their first classrooms and face their very first class of students (some of them within just a few days.)  Share the tricks you wish someone had told you (or maybe the tricks you are grateful someone shared!).

Please post a link to your response in the comments here, and don't forget to tweet it out using the #kinderblog2012 hashtag.

*I said "I think" because, if any of you are interested in continuing the challenge, I would be happy to do so. Anyone want to keep going? Should we change to monthly assignments for the school year? Or twice-monthly?

Lots of love, and if you are headed back to your classroom this week - good luck!