creating bonds

IMG_2099 (1)Another school year is on the horizon and after a lengthy hiatus, I’m excited to be blogging again! September brings not only a new year, but also the opportunity to collaborate in the opening of a new school! This year, I’m thrilled to be co-teaching Grade 1 with Liz Ugolini. We’ve known each other for years and have engaged in several conversations about play, inquiry, and creativity. We are looking forward to supporting each other as we continue to reflect on our practice and moving our own thinking forward. As we enjoy our final weeks of summer, we are beginning to think about welcoming our new friends.

Years ago, I read Regie Routman’s Reading Essentials. A message that has stayed with me is the importance of bonding with kids. As I re-read the quote, it also reinforced the importance of authentic learning and the fact that we teach children, not curriculum.

Reading EssentialsCurriculum and standards must first connect with the lives and spirits of our children if we’re to have any lasting success. Unless we reach into our students’ hearts, we have no entry into their minds. Through drill and memorization, we can get students to complete assignments and pass tests. But there is a price to pay for such short-term accomplishment. We will never inspire our students to learn for their own sake and to love coming to school. Bonding with our students is the “human essential,” the intimately personal connection that is the core of responsive, excellent teaching.

I’ve watched this TED Talk by the late Rita Pierson many times. I always find inspiration in it. If you haven’t had the pleasure, take a couple of minutes to listen to “Every Kid Needs a Champion” where she explains that “Kids don’t learn from people they don’t like.”

Rita Pierson

In the past, both Liz and I sent our students postcards to welcome them to school. As a first step in our process of bonding with our children and their families, we decided to create our own postcard complete with a hand-written message that we will send out soon. postcard2 2015 For those of you who have started a new year, I hope it has begun with joy and excitement. For those of us who are preparing to welcome a new group of children, I wish you and your students many adventures filled with possibilities!