Monday, June 25, 2012

Best Practice Applies To All Ages





Come join the Tuesday Slice of Life, Hosted Weekly by Stacey and Ruth at their blog, Two Writing Teachers.  Enjoy everyone’s posts as they offer a small slice of their lives.



        Usually, every other Saturday to Sunday, I get the pleasure of a visit from my Granddaughter Ingrid, whom you’ve read about in other posts.  She was three in April.

        Ingrid and I do lots of things when she visits and I’ve written about some of them, and lately, because of all the reading aloud, looking at books together, being in pre-school all year, Ingrid has become interested in writing.  She can recognize all of her letters, and write some of them, mostly those with straight lines.  Her father teaches her lots of songs that are real, and they listen to music together, things like The Sound of Music. Her mother makes up little rhyming songs for her about everything. I have added more books to Ingrid’s experience, but mostly I think my addition to her literacy is that we’ve looked at things and noticed details about them.  



        I’d like to think that helps to make her a good observer of the intricacies of letters.  Now, she has a book that she is filling with scribbles, which she says are her stories.  I sit with my notebook sometimes when we have returned from an outing, and she gets her spiral out, selects her favorite writing utensil, and fills pages, then sometimes sings to me, or reads, mostly silly stories that have words in them that fit her knowledge of stories.  They are Once Upon a Time, and mostly animal names-piggy, wolf, sheep, PIGEON.  And she sneaks in “poopy” now and then, mostly because her parents tell her she shouldn’t say that word, so she tries it out on me.  My middle school students did the same thing only they didn’t use the word “poopy”. 
A story about the balls. 
To apply to all ages, in every way we can think of for our students:
          Ingrid has had numerous opportunities to experiment with language, oral and written, including books.
            She has spent time practicing using words, in conversations and songs and telling her own stories.
            Many experiences in different places and out of doors have added to her ability to name things, learn new details, and begin to form opinions about what she feels about those things.  Are they exciting, scary, slimy, tickly, risky, fun, or even uninteresting?  The evaluation of things experienced and the acceptance of that opinion add to the feeling of power over one’s world. 

            Ingrid is definitely on her way to becoming a successful reader and writer.  I enjoy watching the changes she makes every time we spend time together.  And, the same thing happens when I spend time with students of other ages:  They too are journeying to improve their literate lives.  They are given opportunities to experiment (choice in what to read and write), time to practice (in and out of class), and experiences to evaluate (school or non-school related).     

49 comments:

  1. I love picturing you and Ingrid - off on an adventure and then home to write about it. Thanks for sharing, what a lucky little girl.

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  2. What a wonderful set of memories and skills you are building with Ingrid. I love your reflection on your impact to her literacy - noticing. I also giggled at her slipping in the word poopy. So like a 3 year old (or teenager).

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    1. It is one of the important skills I believe, to pay attention to the details, everywhere! So much to think about bringing to our students. Thanks Dana.

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  3. I really love that she uses PIGEON...go Mo! And pigeon and poopy really do go together:) I look forward to hearing about Ingrid and love that she has a grandma that notices the details and shares them! xo nanc PS I'm going to see my girl Sammie in 2 weeks in Costa Rica...she will be teaching me too. I hope to get some new stories to treasure.

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    1. There is something about Mo Willems that catches children's attention in a thoroughly silly way, & maybe the books then give them permission to be silly. I hope you have a wonderful time with Sammie!

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  4. What a wonderful photograph...I just love the way Ingrid is bent over her book of scribblestories, crayon firmly in hand - she already knows about writer's notebooks! The journey to improve our literate lives is such a rich process - given the time the encouragement, the understanding of process. Thanks for giving me so much to think about on this summer morning!

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    1. There are many details to cover, aren't there, Tara. It's such a complex map with paths going every which way, crossing, going parallel, etc. Thank you!

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  5. What a great treasure trove of memories you are giving Ingrid. I believe that's what grandma's and grandpa's are for...to take the little ones on those "wonder walks" and give them time to discover new things. And letting her write with you afterwards is awesome! I think this grandma will have to buy some little notebooks for the grandkids when they come to visit over the 4th!

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    1. As she's in the mood, we have lots of fun with writing, & as you know, then we're quickly on to other things. Have fun Deb!

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  6. This is amazing! I love that picture of her working away in her notebook. This is exactly what kids should be doing- experiencing life and experimenting with words. Not drilling their letters (I read an article online recently about someone taking their three year old for "tutoring" - sigh).

    I love the addition of the "poopy" in there. Too cute!

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    1. Really did they have a tutor? I guess everyone needs to do what they think is best. And maybe there's a good reason, but experiences count for a lot with me. Thanks Maria.

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  7. I love the image of you and Ingrid with your writer's notebooks! What a marvelous gift for Ingrid, you and she, writing together. I know you are thoroughly enjoying your time with her. Thank you for echoing what I feel in my bones - three year olds can do!

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    1. I have enjoyed your posts so much Maureen. The look at early literacy is illuminating to me, & yes, they can do so much. Thanks!

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  8. I wish all little ones could live the experiences Ingrid has. Who knows one day we may be reading a best seller from her. Love this glimpse of literacy at home.

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    1. And the ideas apply, as I said, everywhere, Elsie. You probably see that so much in your school visits. Thank you!

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  9. I love the picture. I so wish more parents/grandparents would put writing utensils and books in their child's hands instead of game controls. And how sweet is it that her daddy makes up songs with her!Precious picture, precious times with grandma.
    Tammy

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    1. I taught 1st grade a long while ago, Tammy, & this was before children regularly went to kindergarten. So often students had not held a pencil before school. I had a lot of pre-teaching to do before the other stuff began. Now you all have to find ways to do this instead of gaming, etc.. Thanks.

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  10. What a lucky little girl! I love that you focus on noticing things with Ingrid. I think that is the piece that I so often overlook as a parent. I know that it is important and I take the time in the classroom but I find myself getting into a hurry at home. It's always wrapping up one thing to move onto another and the noticing gets left behind most often. I need to work on that! I think Ingrid is off to a great start and it's because of all the special people in her life! Ralph Fletcher said (at All Write), "writers find the interesting things in their ordinary lives." It sounds like Ingrid is lucky to have help enjoying the interesting things in her life! Enjoy her!

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    1. Thanks Robin, Fletcher is so right. I've found that my children & now my grandchildren find ways to play with all sorts of items, using their wonderful imaginations. Noticing things, like the inside of flowers, is something I do naturally, & so I show Ingrid, as I showed my grandson when he was young. Fun times!

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  11. I like how you all together help Ingrid to become a reader and a writer. Giving her multiple opportunities to explore and experiment with words and world helps to build a strong foundation. I hope that her teachers in the future will also allow the choice, the time, and the experiences to support her growth.

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    1. Me too, Terje, me too. I'm not sure she will be attending the school where I work, but there is a new experiential school opening soon near where she lives, & hopefully they will embrace these values. Thanks!

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  12. It is just a joy to peek in on the literacy experiences you and Ingrid share together. It is an integrated and natural part of daily life. Learning at its best. This is how we learn and my wish is this richness would be seen in all classrooms. A lovely reminder.

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    1. I hope so too. Thinking about our classrooms is what sparked my interest in writing about Ingrid & what is happening to her. Thanks.

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  13. So joyful to have this glimpse of treasured moments and the deep insights that come out of them. Oh, that all children had such richness to surround them...to encourage them

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    1. More programs are appearing to help parents realize how important it is, like the one where pediatricians are giving books at each well visit. It's encouraging to hear of those who are helping. Thanks!

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  14. I love this post because Ingrid in just a few months older than my son :). We're doing many of the same things --- even the sneaky 'poopy' talk! I know little R will be excited to go to preschool this year, as he loves the several experiences he's had in that environment. The letter ID games we do in the tub each night say he's ready!!!

    Hope you're having a super summer,
    b

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    1. Hi! Nice to hear from you, since March, maybe? I see that you are having fun too doing the same things, getting your son ready for what's next. It's a joy, & thanks for reading!

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  15. Whenever we visit Michelle (or as they are visiting us now), I can see where she is using all of her teaching/literacy skills & training when interacting with the girls. I have found that they have made me so much more aware of things that surround us even tho they are only two. They are definitely going to be readers and I'm sure they will follow Momma's writing habits before long. Thanks for sharing a moment in your life with Ingrid.

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    1. Hi Judy! We've heard about your visit & what a wonderful time you have had. I had twin girl cousins & they were special to all our family. I'm sure that Michelle is doing those same things that all us teachers do with the kids, just naturally bring out the literacy background stuff for our children (& grandchildren). Thanks for responding!

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  16. What a sweet moment to capture in your writing today! Love it!

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    1. Thanks Michelle. I expect you know exactly what I mean!

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  17. Linda, I love the way you often connect your everyday experiences to teaching! Ingrid's process in her literacy development is truly so similar to the process that students of all ages need, as you said. I loved your paragraph about experiencing different things and forming opinions ("exciting, scary, slimy...") the most, because I think sometimes people forget that HAVING experiences to draw on when reading and writing is just as important as practicing the reading and writing themselves. I could also feel your love for her throughout your description of her activities.

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    1. Thanks Jennifer for noticing that experiences & forming opinions count so much. You are so right, just as important. And I do make the connections all the time. Guess I've taught so long that it's an ingrained habit.

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  18. There is such voice in this slice! It is clear you are passionate about all things Ingrid and all things literacy. You have extensive experience with books, writing, children (especially middle school students) that comes across in your writing. I think that is why my thinking is stretched each time I read your words. Now you have me wondering what experiences I can provide at school to fill some of these gaps in literacy exploration experiences in my students' lives. Always good stuff from you, Linda!

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    1. Thanks Christy. I think I would say 'me too' whenever I read what you write. That's why I'm excited to start this reading we're doing. It'll be fun, + great learning. Thank you!

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  19. Ok, sorry, let's try this again,
    I am loving your post-it really makes me smile...It is so precious to see a child's literacy development taking hold...I laughed out loud at the "poopy" comment! Potty talk never seems to stop-my son is 7 going on 8 and now Captain Underpants and Super Diaper Baby are on the list of favorites...potty talk a plenty in those! I have to admit though, they are really funny! Dave Pilkey has a great sense of humor! Anyway, thank you for the endearing post, and just like most here, I appreciate that you are taking such time and giving her great experiences to enhance her literacy journey!

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    1. Yes, I know that the potty talk goes on. Even in middle school, it rather leans toward more sexy talk, but still mention of bathroom stuff gets giggles. I imagine you have lots of giggles with a 7, almost 8 year old in the house. Thanks Amy!

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  20. I too enjoyed the piece about letting her try put those "forbidden" words!

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    1. Thanks Juliann. Always interesting to hear what's next!

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  21. I love that Ingrid has a book that she is filing with scribbles, her stories. It reminds me to dig out my writer's notebook to record my stories. Ingrid is a lucky girl to have such encouragement from Mom, Dad, and Grandma. I love your line that refers to students of all ages as they journey "to improve their literate lives". It reminds me to work on my own journey this summer.

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    1. It sounds like a great goal to work on the notebook this summer, Ramona. I do it every chance I can, & it's kind of relaxing actually, not so fast paced as the computer. Thanks for stopping by.

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  22. These are fun times indeed, times to connect, notice and teach Ingrid through your wisdom and experience with nature and life. What a lovely snippet you shared of your rich time with her, lots of memories being made Linda.

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    1. Thanks Betsy. You are so right about the good times & to capture these is also important to me. I'm glad I'm doing it.

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  23. Linda, in documenting these precious moments with Ingrid you provide me with connections to my grandchildren and their growth as literate beings. These are invaluable insights and wonderful memories. You have captured some treasure here...

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    1. Thanks for the kind response, Alan. Exciting to hear you'll make your own sweet connections because I what I wrote. As I wrote earlier, I think because of my teaching, I am always making connections with my personal life & learning, how it works because of what we do.

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  24. How wonderful that Ingrid sees it as a natural response to write about the world she sees and the thoughts she has. You are setting a great example by providing the materials and the encouragement. This works for our students too - thanks for making that connection. What precious times - enjoy!

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    1. Thanks for understanding that connection too. And, it's a pleasure to do all the sorts of things I do with her, that I do at school too.

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  25. This is truly a beautiful post, Linda. I love how your pride as a grandmother and your refined skill and experience as an educator shine through in your writing. Ingrid also sounds like an old soul, there would be lots to write, as she would soon discover. I love kids, especially when they are as young as Ingrid - there is such refreshing candor, wit, and truth in them. :)

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Having a conversation is a good thing!