Category Archives: Classroom Update

Teacher Work Days

We know how it goes, you see “No School – Teacher Work Day” on the calendar and you think, “Aaaack!  Gotta find care for my kids!”  It can be stressful, and they can make for long days for your family and us as well.  So what really goes on during teacher work days?  We thought we’d give you a behind the scenes look and what we do and why.

Every year we are required by the State of Colorado to complete 15 hours of professional development (PD) training.  This is something our licensing inspectors check every year during our inspections, and they are getting pickier and picker about it.  15 hours is not a small chunk of extra time to squeeze in the school year, and finding meaningful PD opportunities can be challenging.   We could meet this requirement though a variety of trainings such as online courses, early childhood conventions, evening continuing ed classes or talks, or outside specialists.  We could complete these hours during our free time, after hours, or on weekends – and some schools require this of their staff.

For a number of reasons we choose to hold three Teacher Work Days a year to fulfill our PD requirement.  Our staff is the heart of our school – and we feel that in order to be able to teach and guide as a team it is imperative that we learn and grow as a team.  Working at school without the children affords us the time to connect as a staff, slow down, reflect, and grow.  This is the time where new ideas are born, and old ways are challenged, and new insights about the children and their learning are uncovered.  And just as everything we do for the children in our classroom has purpose and meaning behind it, the same holds true for our own learning.  We feel it is important to bring in relevant, meaningful and inspiring specialists to help us grow.  It most certainly aids our development as professionals.

In  past years we have refined and re-ignited our Montessori craft with the help of P. Donohue Shortridge.  We learned how to better support the needs of children who are struggling with sensory, speech, focus, or physical development issues.  This year we decided to focus on learning about Brain Gym – how moving with intention leads optimal learning.  We’ve implemented this in our classroom and are seeing some amazing things happen!  Ask your children about brain buttons, or belly breathing!

During teacher work days we also have time to make some new materials for our classroom.  Here are a few we made that the children are already enjoying!

These are some simple addition cards and manipulatives.

This is fraction cutting.

These are emotion cards.

For us Teacher work days are busy and long.  And for you they may cause stress or break the routine.  Our hope is that in the end, all we are learning and doing is trickling down to all the little ones we care for, and if that is happening then we think it is a win for everyone.

 

 

 

Come See the Magic

We describe it as magic, because what else do you call something that seems unbelievable?  40 young children in a classroom that is all their own, happily engaged, socializing with peers, concentrating on work, making decisions, following directions, practicing, and learning.  Don’t you want to come see?  Beginning November 1st, we invite you to come observe.  Please, slow down, carve out some time from you busy day; sit in our chair and see what we see, hear what we hear, and feel what we feel.  Our guess is you’ll want to come back for more.

Teach Less and Observe Much

When you are ready, please give us a call to schedule your observation – we’ll be sure to put it in pen on our calendar.

So What Really Happens During Teacher Work Day?

No school for the kids, but the teachers report for duty.  What really happens during our teacher work days?  We thought we’d give you a little inside look.

Eight hours seems like barely enough time to crack the seal on all we need to get done.  We have professional development hours that we have to meet to maintain our certification through the state, we have works that we want to make, and things at school that need improving and fixing.  Last Friday we accomplished quite a bit!  Take a look!

We listened to a really wonderful book “Boys and Girls Learn Differently!” by Michael Gurian.  This book talks about the physical and chemical differences in the brains of boys and girls, how it impacts their behaviors, and more importantly their learning.  It’s a wonderful read (or listen) that would be beneficial to any parent.  We felt validated by the things we offer in our classroom for every child but were also inspired with new ideas.

We made this new dice art work, and Ms. Suzi presented it to the children today!  The children roll the dice, paint the lines they rolled, then color as they wish.

diceart

We made this new block building work.  The children choose a picture and try to recreate what they see.

blocks

We made this new Bead Stair Paper.  The children count the bead bars, color them according to the Bead Stair, then write the corresponding numeral.

beadstair

We made two of these “ball globes” in preparation for our introduction of the maps to the children.

blueearth

We painted parking spaces for our bikes and scooters so the children can more easily put things where they belong.

parking

We stained our playhouse so that it will stay nice through the winter…. hopefully.

playhouse-2

We also spent a large part of the afternoon preparing for upcoming conferences, but you will get to hear more about that later…