Tuesday, July 27, 2010

World's Fanciest Playground?

I guess this new-fangled playground opened at South Street Seaport (NYC) today.

Listen to this:
The playground has been five years in the making, a result of tons of research in progressive learning theory and child-development research, as well as $7.4 million in financing. In smaller, portable versions, it has been tested and tweaked after trial tours all over the city.
Instead of monkey bars and jungle gyms, there are fountains with canals of cascading water that can be dammed in infinite ways, or transformed into a network of rivers. There is an engaging set of lifts and pulleys. Play is proctored and interaction fostered by a staff of city workers trained as “play associates.”

I'm hoping to go check the playground out as soon as possible- rather, as soon as Q's Aunt Katie, who lives and works in the city, has some time to see us!
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My Blue and Yellow Nursery!

Well, it's not MINE, exactly, but I'd love a nursery like this if I were having a girl. I have posted before about yellow nurseries, so to find a bright one like I was imagining sort of took my breath away.

This is a nursery for a boy since they didn't know what they were having. I love that I could easily (well, sorta easily) just change Q's nursery to look like this since we already have an aqua blue wall in the room. If I don't have any more kids, or a baby girl, I'll just have to make an office for myself that looks like this!

Thanks to Ohdeedoh for the awesome nursery pics.

See my decor tab to see other nurseries I've written about. Really, is anything cuter than a nursery? Gosh, I should probably start thinking about Q's "big boy room" or whatever. I'm dying to get him out of the crib and into a regular bed, but we shall see.

Hmmm that white crib looks so nice. I sort of wish we'd gotten one, but I do think Q's natural crib looks good with our orange and blue theme. I'll try to get a decent pic of it soon.
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Monday, July 26, 2010

Saying Things Once

A couple months ago, I realized I was repeating my requests to my baby at least two times and often three. I know repetition is important for learning, but I was repeating things I knew he understood just because he wasn't doing them right away. (Like, "Go get your sippy cup." I figured he was going to start expecting everything repeated, so I started trying to only say things TWICE. This allowed me to be more patient and wait longer after my first request to see if he was going to complete it, then if not, I'd repeat it again. I tell you, it makes me feel more sane.

("Sit down in the chair!" is a popular request around here. Or at the beach, which is where the photo above was taken, hence the wicker, wood paneling, and cooler.)

I think that if I weren't a teacher, I might not be aware of this. Any teacher will tell you how maddening it is to give a couple directions, then say, "OK, any questions? Great, go ahead and begin!" and then have three kids say, "Wait, what do we do?" Of course, you have to check that you yourself have made directions clear, but if you know you have, then what you have is a case of "I've learned I don't have to listen carefully, because I know you'll do the work for me by repeating it for me personally later."

I noticed this a lot when I came back from my maternity leave. I very quickly taught them I was not going to repeat myself. I often had to explicitly say, "I am not going to repeat myself. I am only saying this once, so listen up." I would see them perk up and focus, which told me that indeed, they hadn't been focused before. (Hey, I understand- sometimes I'd a really bad listener.) After I had their attention, I'd give the directions, keeping it as simple and clear as possible, then ask if there were any questions, then answer the questions, and tell the kids to begin... and there would often be a kid who'd then come up to me and ask what to do. I used my judgment on whether or not the kid needed it repeated. If it was a student who I knew was confused, I'd re-explain. If it was a kid who I knew was just insecure that he or she was doing things right, I'd say, "No, you know what to do." Or I'd say, "Go ask someone at your table," because that way they'd know it was OK to ask for help, but that I wasn't going to re-explain, because I'd just said I wasn't going to re-explain. (You might think I was sending conflicting messages by only repeating it for certain kids, but the students understand that learners are different, and I explain from the very beginning of the year that we all have strengths and weaknesses as learners.)

Anyway, what I'm saying is, it's important to keep track of how you talk to kids. You want to be clear, but you also don't want to be a sucker and do all the work for them.

I also think it's kind of a life lesson: "Oh, you are confused? Well, you better figure it out yourself, whether that means trying to do it to the best of what you remember of the directions, or to ask for help wherever you can." But not from the person who just said, "Do not ask me."

If it looks like the students it stressed or upset, I'll help them- I'm not mean.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, if my kid doesn't do what I want him to do after the second request, I'll say it a different way, then just do it myself, or do it with him- whatever makes the most sense for the situation.
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Montessori Blog

I just discovered a great blog: MariaMontessori.com.

I have been interested in Montessori ever since my friend Laura sent me the Michael Olaf Montessori materials catalogue, which you can easily view online (I'll post link later-Q sleeping on me right now- see photo).

So much of the Montessori ideas make sense: a floor bed, a low shelf for toys, teaching life skills, letting kids choose what to learn, etc. The blog I just found via Mighty Marce is a quick way to learn about some Montessori ideas.

Try as I might to incorporate Montessori ideas into my public school classroom, it's really hard without spending a ton of time thinking about how. Actually, it's pretty Montessori of me to let my students choose their writing topics, and choose their own books, but... much of what I do is NOT Montessori. It's going to take time to research, and I just do not have tons of time for that while working and having a toddler.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone
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Tuesday, July 13, 2010


In a few hours I get to meet my new nephews and I have some funny images of what I could do. My mom made a foam board welcome poster, so one image has me holding the poster and throwing handfuls of confetti in the air when my sister comes out of the international arrivals area. The other image has me crashing through the poster, breaking it in half, and running to her. I will, of course, do neither of those things, because they would scare six month old twins, but I like to imagine stuff.

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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Reminder to Husband

This is what I want for my birthday!!!

I suppose I should check more carefully what it's made of... since I prefer the rubbery grips as opposed to smooth... but c'mon, this is adorable! Click here to read full entry.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I Miss Mississippi!

My sister was plenty ready to leave Mississippi, but seeing my Mississippi mug this morning reminded me that I'm a bit nostalgic for it. It was a relaxing place and I had many great visits there. I loved flying New York--> Memphis--> Tupelo, going from hustle and bustle to a Southern drawl. It was also a way faster trip than California. Plus I got some good posts out of MS... See the Mississippi category to the right!
This is our new K-cup coffee maker, purchased, three years later, with a wedding gift certificate from my coworkers.
Also, I'm doing this post so I can try out my new app: Blogpress for iPhone. So far I really like it and am kicking myself for not getting it earlier.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

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