Friday, April 29, 2011

Mr. Kanamori Part 5

Here is the final clip in this series on a master teacher in Japan, Mr. Kanamori.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mr. Kanamori Part 4

Watch as Mr. Kanamori asks his students to comfort one of their own.

You'll need 7 minutes and maybe half that many tissues.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mr. Kanamori Part 3

Here, watch Mr. Kanamori make a mistake as a teacher.

He recovers well.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Bullying is one of the hot issues in education these days. A master teacher will deal with meanness by going all the way to its source—the very root of the problem: the perpetrator's unresolved hurt.

Watch this video clip as Mr. Toshiro Kanamori takes his class from denial through to acknowledgment of bullying, then on to investigate the roots of the bullying in his class.

So often we find what Mr. Kanamori finds: we've been hurt and we have not grieved. We have not allowed the hurt to wash through us. We haven't received compassion from others for the injuries we've endured. So our injuries fester. And then they flare up to hurt others.

Here, in the eight minutes it takes for this video to unfold, watch as Mr. Kanamori extinguishes the flames of bullying in his class. He creates the conditions for psychological and emotional healing to take place. He's tough, but tender.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Teaching Beyond the Test

The greatest tragedy of educational reforms taking over public schools in America is that they are focussed on trivial goals like increasing reading speed. We are capable of so much more! We need to aim higher than raising test scores on fill-in-the-bubble tests.

Here is a video of a master teacher in Japan, Torshiro Kanamori, who has set for himself a higher goal—the same goal I aspire to—creating happiness.

See for yourself a master teacher at work:


This video runs 10 minutes. It gets better as it goes along. Once you're in it you won't want to be interrupted, so come back later if you need the 10 minutes. I'm just sayin' this so you won't be late for dinner or something.

Get some Kleenex handy. Your cheeks are likely to get wet.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday, April 22, 2011

From Liberty School (a fine neighboring school in Petaluma) we borrowed the idea of having a pancake breakfast in kindergarten on the Friday before Easter Sunday.

After a whole career of egg hunts—some of them in the rain—I was open to trying something new to mark the occasion. Egg hunts can be fun, but they do require kindergarten teachers to establish clear ground-rules to avoid tears and frustration.

This was entirely fun. These days it can be rare to share a weekday breakfast meal together. But that's what we did this morning in kindergarten, and everyone had a good time. Thanks go out to all who helped—Shari, Julie, Sonja, Jason, April,  Natasha, Conan (thinking of you and Melody this weekend!) and Shelley. We were in good, good hands.

Here are some photos:

Bunny cakes

Served with strawberries, raisins, whipped cream,

butter, syrup, and OJ.

Bunnies on the griddle...

Natasha helped serve

Eating together

Ukuleles on the griddle....

Natasha read Cameran's story

P.E. at the end of the day

Next week is video week Monday through Friday. I plan to share some education videos that I think are worth seeing. Tune in.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursday, April 21, 2011: Send 'em to school hungry

Tomorrow will be a first in kindergarten: the room parents are serving a pancake breakfast to the kindergarten. I've heard rumors there may be some creative bunny rabbit pancakes appearing on the griddle. So, please, send 'em to school hungry!

like the note here says....
What a great day! The sun was out and our school is tucked away in such a pretty little corner of the world, especially in spring. At lunch I took a minute and walked down the road a little ways and snapped these three pictures of our school's immediate environment.

Gossage creek on its way to the Russian River

looking southwest

and a little more west. So pretty in spring
The miracles of springtime outside find their way indoors, too.

Bailey provided snack this morning of bagels and cream cheese, carrots and dip. The students ate heartily.

We celebrated her summer birthday and sang Samantha in too, since they share their birthday. Mom provided the yummiest treat: a tasty cookie covered in organic ice cream (was that Mimi's Mud ice cream from Screamin' Mimi's in Sebastopol??). Whatever it was, oh my it just hit the spot.

Two bites and I was looking for my camera!
Mollie demonstrated her mastery of the Soundabet sight words to everyone's delight.

Mollie breezed through them with ease.

Then, later on in the afternoon in KIDS Club, Alexis showed me mastery of the King's cards. Yeah! She worked hard and she did it. I'm so proud of her. I know her nana, mom, dad, and brothers will share in the joy of reaching this milestone.

Alexis invited two friends to do some victory laps on bicycles in celebration. A fine day, a fine way to celebrate the achievement, and some happiness to share with friends from daycare. Ryan and Elena joined us for the fun.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Oops! I didn't prepare the homework for tonight, so everyone has the day off in that department.

Our center using loupes to look closely at nickels is going well. Besides just looking at them, I'm trying to get across the idea that they're each worth five cents so that we can use them to practice counting by fives. It's one of those standards for kindergarten that seems to me to go well over the heads of many of my students, but oh well.

There was keen interest in drawing the loupes using a very simple shaded pencil technique. Look here you can see what today's group did:

These drawings were made as Table 3 was making "Egg in a Hole" a recipe that filled the classroom with yummy breakfasty aroma. After centers we adjourn to the mat to read books together. I took a photo so you can see what that looks like:

Somehow we managed to get everything done today. It kept me so busy that I didn't remember to pick up my camera for the rest of the day. But in there we did our math routines, 5th grade buddies, snack, dance, story, handwriting, music with Andrew, "No-Waste" Lunch, and Tribes. We decided not to venture out into the "rain" for gardening (other tribes did) in favor of indoor games, Four Corners and Musical Chairs.

A good day.

.... and no homework.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

First of all, before I forget, tomorrow is "Green Lunch Day" at Dunham in honor of Earth Day. It probably would be helpful to call it, "No-Waste Lunch Day" because it has nothing to do with what color your lunch may be. So please try to pack a lunch where nothing needs to go into the garbage can when it's time to clean up.

Kids brought a couple of sweet stories from home to share. Zander brought Noodle & Lou:

Alexis brought Bunny My Honey:

Today we put the STAR testing schedule behind us and the day went much more smoothly. Alexis invited Rielly to play with her as we sang the song of her choice, Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star. Boy, the class sounded great!

There was a moment of sweet compassion towards the middle of the day.

Mrs. Campbell had the kindergarten play "Gold Rush" out on the field. There was a lot of running and dodging. Even though the sky was overcast and the breeze cool, the kids came back to class with pink faces from all the exercise.

Dan nailed the Soundabet Queen's Cards.

Elsa did, too.

It's good to be back to our routines.

Please remember: No-Waste Lunch tomorrow.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday, April 15, 2011

Not such a taxing day, well, at least not in kindergarten.

We began the day with a lesson on the phonogram OW which can sound like "OU" or "OA" depending on the word it's in. Here's the sheet I used to teach that.

Click to come closer...

Later in the day Cameran showed her proficiency on the Soundabet sight words....

And a bit later than that Makayla did the same.

We all shared in their triumph because that meant we'd have 20 minutes of free time at the end of the week to play, write, draw, create and just "be" together.

Here's Gavin working on a new Lego creation of his own (there's that OW again!) design.

I know some of you are planning to come to Sebastopol to the Apple Blossom Parade tomorrow morning. Be sure to hail me from the sidelines as I walk by so I can shake your hand. We'll be with the Mayor and City Council entry near the front of the parade.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Testing Week almost over...

Here's a picture of one of the best number scrolls done yesterday.


Testing week is almost over. We will get back to our usual routines next week. This change in routines is surprisingly difficult for a class of kindergartners, especially the students whose social/emotional/psychological resilience is low. Today we had a substitute for Mrs. Everson, so the need for structure was high.

We did okay. There was one rough moment when a student had a meltdown, but I guess that's how it is these days. Meltdowns happen in kindergarten as they do in nuclear power plants.....

There were at least three high points of the day as well.

Mark came for his art lesson. He wisely abandoned a challenging art lesson in favor of a group drawing experience. Here you can see the kids at work on a shelf paper drawing.

And here a bit of the same drawing on display in the room.

Hannah mastered the Soundabet Boy words:

And Jackson mastered the Queen's lowercase cards.

Three homers and one out.

If this were baseball we'd be batting .750 today.

Not even Lou Gehrig could match that average for very long.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ryan's day today. He brought a Dr. Seuss story about sleep that I had never seen before. We read most of it.

In between centers today... during centers time the students wrote (or tried to write) all the numbers from 1 to 110 in counting sequence. Many of them did complete the task, but for some it was more than could be accomplished in the time we had.

The homework tonight is another of the Highlighter puzzles. Have fun with it, and if you prefer to work in pencil that's A-OK with me. Pencil takes more time, but at least mistakes can easily be removed with an eraser.

At the very end of the day Lilly showed her ability to quickly read all the Soundabet cue words.

King, Queen, Boy

Rieley did it, too!

We'll try to work in some extra bike time tomorrow as a reward.

Again, if you don't have other plans for Saturday, come on up to the parade in Sebastopol. It starts at 10:00 Saturday morning. I will be in the parade near the front of the line up.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tuesday, April 12, Rieley's Day

Rieley was the person of the day today. He brought a book to share and a snack of carrots, bagels with cream cheese and peanut butter, and a fresh fruit salad. Yum!

This being testing week we're blasting through the handwriting book. It's been good to work a little more now that we're beginning to understand what letters and writing are for.

Four milestones were passed today:

Ivan got his King's cards done.

Rebecca read all the Soundabet boy cards before the timer

As did Elena before her....

And Alyssa before that.

Rieley's book was about a Firefighting dog named Edward.

Firetrucks do more than respond to emergencies. As you can see in this picture, they also go on parade.

If you want some free fun this weekend, come to Sebastopol to see the Apple Blossom Parade. It goes down Main Street and begins at 10:00 AM. Get there about 30 minutes ahead of that time for better seating. You'll see high school marching bands, dogs, firetrucks, and, with the Sebastopol City Council, Mr. Gurney in the parade. Be sure to shout out from the crowd till I see you.