Friday, February 7, 2014

5 Challenges from Kindergarteners to all Educators

I did walk-throughs in my kindergarten classrooms last month. All I can say is wow!!! Kids are capable of so much, if we remove the barriers of our own biases. Today's post is in honor of my kindergarten teachers and their awesome students. The strengths that they pull out of kids are a testimony of what every educator must do for all kids.

As I reflect on my own experience, I sometimes stopped student potential simply because of my own biases of what I thought students were capable of.  We all do that from time to time.  We allow our own experiences and failures from teaching kids to limit our expectations for all students.  So here is a little challenge for all of us when we begin to doubt what all students can do.  The kindergartners at our school are doing amazing things, and that is because of the limitless expectations of our teachers.

If kindergartners can...

Write nonstop for 25 minutes using their sight words and letter sound knowledge, then all students have the potential and stamina to concentrate as they create meaningful examples of their learning. 

Present their writing to the class, then any student can stand in front of an audience and share their knowledge and their learning with others. 

Receive constructive feedback from their peers about their writing, then any student can be confident displaying their work for other students to critique. 

Read their writing to their peers, all students can be expected to read and write at high levels every day in every class. 

Help one another make their writing better, then all students can collaborate on their work in an effort to make it better and to learn from one another. 

You can virtually teach everything a kid needs in kindergarten. Sure, content will get more complex over the years, but the idea is this. Kindergartners come with little educational experience. Aside from PK (which does an amazing job preparing kids for Kindergarten), we assume they can do very little. The sad thing is that we believe this mess. Kindergartners come to school with tons of knowledge and absorb everything we throw at them. All kids in grades PK-12 are the same. They come with immense potential, and our job is simple:  create a motivational environment full of wonder and amazement so that kids will demand of themselves to not only meet but exceed their potential. We must challenge and applaud kids when they take risks, share their failures and celebrate their successes with their peers.  We must constantly promote a thirst for new knowledge, and we must model being passionate about learning and life. After all, passion is what kindergartners have when they start school. Our job is to make sure they never lose that passion throughout not only their education but their life. 


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