About

Hello, Mr. P.?  It’s Kindergarten calling.

After 13 years of teaching, I never expected Kindergarten to come knocking on my door.  But in 2010, I was offered the opportunity.  My initial reaction was:  “Me?…Really?!?” Although I had taught most grades at the elementary level, I wasn’t sure if I was ready to take on this new challenge.  First of all, I have a horrible singing voice!  Then I wondered if I would be able to relate to kids as young as three years old.  If I’ve learned anything throughout my teaching career, it’s that change is fundamental to learning.  My career has been full of change, so I jumped in and haven’t regretted a single moment of my decision.

A little more about my background:  I’ve had the opportunity to teach elementary grades in several diverse schools.  For a few years, I was an Elementary Curriculum and Instructional Resource Teacher.  I supported and worked with a number of schools and wonderful educators in my district.  It wasn’t long before I wanted to work with kids again, so, I decided to return to the classroom.  Here I am, back in the thick of things and loving every minute!

Shortly after I started teaching Kindergarten, I began to think about a blog.  I was so amazed and inspired by the children and I wanted to document and share those moments and learnings.

Crayons, Wands and Building Blocks is meant to record the journey of play-based learning as it unfolds with my 3, 4, and 5 year olds.  I’m very interested in emergent curriculum and the Reggio Emilia approach.  This is an exciting time in Ontario as we progress with full-day Kindergarten and play-based learning.  What a privilege it is to help lay the foundations of learning for our youngest students!

For me, this blog is not only a record of the journey, it’s also an opportunity to connect and share ideas.

A special welcome to my co-teachers, the parents of these amazing kids.  I hope you enjoy your visit!

Sergio Pascucci

35 thoughts on “About

  1. I think this is a wonderful idea and hope that you have just started a trend. You are our children’s eyes and ears during the day and to be able to pop in and view what they are doing is incredible! Keep up the GREAT work!

    • Thanks so much Kierna! “Adventures” at times, seems to be an understatement. But that’s the beauty of this age group. Sometimes I think I’ve learned more about teaching in these past two years than I have in my entire career — I say that with love! We have so much to learn from these little ones. Everyday is awesome!

  2. This is a great kinder blog- I am very interested in inquiry learning. I was wondering if you would be able to share your Smartboard file for the popcorn words?

  3. Hi Serge,
    Love your blog! I have been sharing it with colleagues since Amanda showed it to me. I’m heading back to the classroom too – to a Full Day K in Brampton! Maybe we’ll get to see each other this year! I hope all is well!
    Pam (your old teaching partner!)

    • Thanks Pam! It’s great that you’re heading back too. It’s such an exciting place to be! Good luck! Hope to see you soon.

  4. I just saw your “tire gardens” and loved them! I am a teacher in FDK for the first time. We approached our admin. about doing the same project. We were told flat out no as tires violate health and safety regulations. Did you have to jump through any “special hoops” to get this approved?

    • It was pretty easy for us. We explained what we wanted to do and got the okay. Is there anyway you can involve parents and the community to possibly build something you can plant in? Good luck! I’d love to know if you end up doing something.

  5. Hi Sergio,

    I am a part of a kindergarten team here at our school in North Bay, Ontario. We are big fans of your blog and follow you online. This year, we are working on a Teacher Learning and Leadership Program (TLLP) project that has been funded through the Ministry of Education. We are researching documentation as tool for making the learning of our students visible to both students and parents as well as the school community. As part of our research, we are visiting classrooms that modelling the Reggio Emilia approach to student learning and inquiry. We would LOVE to make the trip to visit your classroom and learn from you. I am teaching a SK/Grade One this year, and I am especially excited to connect with another Grade One teacher about inquiry and the Reggio Approach. We understand that you are very busy-like all teachers, but we were wondering if you be able to accommodate a visit from the three of us in the next month or so (before the big snow arrives!)? Please let us know what you think. My email address is tiffany.vanmeer@nearnorthschools.ca

    Thanks!

  6. Hi Sergio!
    I am a kindergarten teacher in NWT, I am loving your blog and am finding it very inspiring!
    I was wondering how you coach your students to include so much writing as they inquire and investigate. I have a very tough time encouraging and integrating writing into their discoveries…. Is there anything in particular you do at the beginning of the year to get that ball rolling? Any advice?
    Thanks!
    -Jenny

    • Hi Jenny,

      I have always integrated writing with their discoveries. It began with having the children represent their learning. This doesn’t have to be through written form, but as they learn to write, they begin to add words to their representations. In Grade 1, we talked about all of us being “researchers”. As such, the students record their observations, theories, problems, etc. Based on what I notice from their writing, that also guides my writing instruction. The book, A Place for Wonder is a wonderful resource that incorporates writing nonfiction with children’s curiosities.

  7. I am interested in your blog and very much interested in classroom-based play. In fact, I am a PhD student developing my research topic on classroom-based play. If play is effective in pre-k and K, how effective can play be in early elementary classrooms? If it is, then are teachers using play? Why or why not?

    Your about me page says you teach K. Correct? Do you know of any links of classrooms or any teachers in 1st-2nd grade who are using play-based learning environments?

    Thank you for any help you can offer,
    Brenna

    • Hi Brenna,

      I am currently teaching Grade 1 and trying to incorporate much of the play-based philosophy. There is a growing number of elementary teachers who are embracing teaching through inquiry. A good place to start might be Twitter as teachers are forming their PLNs. My Twitter handle is @sergepascucci and my Grade 1 class is @pascucci1s. From there, you can find other educators in the early grades who are doing the same.

  8. Hi Sergio
    I have the opportunity of visiting Bishop Strachan School in Toronto for their summer symposium but I have been following your blog and would prefer to visit you. I have had teaching friends who did the symposium last year and shared their experience with me. Like you, I have also taught the first 3 years of ELKP and have been doing grade 1 this year but in the Niagara Board. I am so impressed with how you get your students to research and become so engaged in activities, while ensuring they are connected to the curriculum. If it is at all possible to do a day or half day visit, please contact me at tracey.orlando@dsbn.org

    • Thanks Tracey. I have a attended a few sessions at Bishop Strachan and they are wonderful. I’m sure you will come away with many inspirations! In the meantime, feel free to connect with me on Twitter or email. It’s always great to connect with other educators!

  9. Hey Mr P, I’m a relatively new teacher (ok I’m heading into my 6 year) and this fall will be my 2nd year in grade 1. Before that I always taught junior grades and felt pretty confident with my ability to engage the kids in inquiry at that level. I did an OK job last year… I’m excited to pretty much read your blog from start to finish for inspiration for this fall. One thing I found a bit difficult last year is that I teach French Immersion so it was hard to get started with inquiry earlier on in the year. Anyways thanks so much for sharing your class, learning, and adventures!

    Mme Amanda

    • Thanks for visiting and commenting Amanda. In my experience I always find that teaching the second year in the same grade always allows for consolidation of what we learned the first year, and further extends our learning in the second. I’m excited to see what the next school year brings. All the best to you as you begin year 2!

  10. Hi Serge
    I was informed by a mutual friend at Floradale about your blog. I am looking forward to reading about your classroom.
    Sandy

  11. Hi Sergio,
    Stumbled across your blog through the TCDSB’s “Being Responsive Educators” Shutterfly account. I was given the SK/1 role after 3 years of being a Vice Principal with my board. I’ve been teaching since 1998, and mistakenly thought that I belonged in admin. Thank heavens I was given this great opportunity. It’s been a huge adjustment going from VP to pre-primary, but I think I finally hit my stride heading into the last 5 days before Christmas holidays. I think I finally gained insight and courage when I stopped looking at what the JK/SK and grade 1 classes were doing, and narrowed my focus to only the children in front of me. I am not a FDK educator, nor am I a grade 1 teacher. The SK/1 is a unique hybrid all its own.
    I like the title of our account – “Being Responsive Educators”. That pretty much sums it up – for inquiry, play, investigation, and guiding the young readers & thinkers in our midst.
    This is way more important work than ordering construction paper & completing progressive discipline reports!
    Erika Power

    • Thank you for sharing your insights Erika. I really admire your decision to go back to the classroom. We know it’s not easy work, but the rewards are great. It really does come down to the children in front of us. I find the leadership in the classroom to be a dance between the students and ourselves. We learn from each other and continue to be responsive to each other. All the best to you and your students!

  12. Wow! I’m in my 2nd year of teaching and am teaching FDK this year. I stumbled onto your blog from Pinterest and I am so inspired! I’ve been trying to take on a more Reggio Emilia approach while embracing an inquiry based learning environment but I’ve been overwhelmed to take the ‘leap’. Your blog has given me so many ideas and an authentic look at what play based learning should look like in Ontario classrooms. THANK YOU for sharing!

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