February 3, 2010

Going Above and Beyond the Classroom: Questions and Ideas I Have

As you may or may not already know, I am by profession an early childhood educator for disadvantaged children. I have been working with children since 2003 and have been a licensed teacher since 2005. I find my job challenging (and tiring!), but also incredibly rewarding. I love working with pre-kindergarteners the best and have been teaching them since 2005. It is a fascinating age group where they are still eager to learn but can also better communicate their thoughts, feelings, and ideas than when they were younger.

As much as I love what I do, I am becoming increasingly interested in going above and beyond what I am already doing in the classroom, especially in the areas of social development and literacy enrichment. I am not sure how I want to do this but I have some ideas.

  • One, as I said one time before, I want to review more children's books on this blog. I have done one so far and I want to do more. I could even review books I use in my classroom and talk about skills children can learn from them. Books can be so much more than enjoyment for children! Although enjoyment in reading is always the first step.
  • Two, I think I would like to do a sort of roundup of literacy and educational resources and articles once a month to help families, educators, and librarians.
  • Three, while reading Jen Robinson's amazing Growing Bookworms newsletter (it is awesome) I found out about a public charity called Literacy Bridge whose mission is "to empower children and adults with tools for knowledge sharing and literacy learning, as an effective means towards advancing education, health, economic development, democracy, and human rights." They have developed a Talking Book with the goal of making knowledge more accessible to people who cannot read and are in extreme poverty around the globe. These Talking Books give information in topics like health, education, and agriculture to help people break the cycle of poverty. It is also being used in schools to help teach children how to read. I would love to get involved volunteering with this program somehow and have written in to ask what I can do to help. You can learn all about the Talking Book and Literacy Bridge at these links, which includes a demonstration video and information on how to volunteer or donate.

So, that's what has been on my mind for a while now. Those are ideas I have so far. Not sure what to do with the social/emotional development aspect. What do ya'll think? Any other comments or ideas you have are also welcome.

Oh, and I could use a very cool graphic for the children's/kidlit reviews and discussions and links. If you would like to make one for me, you would be the coolest person in my book. Just ask Pam, who made my blog header and blog button. I now pimp her out (haha. just kidding. sort of.)


  1. Thanks for telling us about Talking Books/Literacy Bridge. I will definitely look into it further.

    I will try to think of ideas on enriching social-emotional development. Are there particular social-emotional skills you want to focus on?

    You sound like an amazing teacher. Your students and their families are blessed!

  2. What a wonderful profession you are in! My son and I just started our first Early Childhood Family Education class today!
    I work with children in crisis at a shelter part-time. I've also worked with children and women at a counseling center AND a daycare and as a nanny. Kids are one of my passions as well...helping them that is and making them grow and be safe and feel supported!

    I would love to read your children's book reviews and any other news or ideas you come up with!

  3. Thanks so much for your kind feedback about my newsletter, Rebecca. I send those out all the time, and rarely know if anyone actually finds the information useful. I'm so glad that you were able to find out Literacy Bridge. It does seem like a very cool organization!

    I, for one, would certainly be interested if you started rounding up literacy and educational resource articles. I'll stay tuned. Good luck with figuring out what else you'd like to do here on the blog! It sounds like you're doing wonderful things in the classroom already.

  4. Stephanie- First of all, thanks for saying I must be an amazing teacher because that will never get old, hahaha! Second, the kids I work with daily come from homes that, in general, do not have good role models for appropriate social behavior or emotional responses. Anything from conflict resolution to positive reinforcement of good behaviors to boosting self-esteem is on my agenda. Thanks for asking!

    Michelle- I love that you work in a crisis shelter and that kids are a passion of yours! I love finding other people who dedicate part of their lives to the benefit of children (whether it is working with them directly or indirectly). I hope you and your son benefit from the new class you're taking!

    Jen- It makes me very delighted that you would be interested in anything I had to say on the subject! You have such wonderful newsletters and a wonderful blog! Thank you for everything you do for children and for those of us who take care of them and do our best for them. You rock! :)

  5. It sounds like we work in similar situations, although the kids I teach are a little bit older. (Grades K-3)

    In my undergrad I did a whole Kindergarten unit on Feelings and Emotions with TONS of children's books included. I'm not sure if I could track it down, but I can look and share the resources with you if I find it. It has everything from the ISBN numbers to a short review of the book. It probably includes 25-30 books if I remember correctly, all aimed at teaching kids about emotions and feelings and how to properly handle them.

    Let me think what other resources I may have. I have my undergrad in Elementary Ed and my Masters in Special Ed, so I'm sure I have more stuff as well in my files.

  6. Here is a good sight worth looking at if you are interested. My college, UW-Madison, has an excellent children's book library called the Cooperative Children's Book Center with TONS of resources you can look into online. http://www.education.wisc.edu/ccbc/

  7. I would love to read more reviews for children's books, especially combined with the reactions of the kids to whom you read them!

  8. This is an interesting topic for me, as I'm kind of on the other end of the learning spectrum, high school/college. I know some about those early years with literacy, but would love to learn more. Cool post!

  9. Thanks for sharing about all of this Rebecca. I recently got involved with a literacy organization in my city. I'm currently training to be a tutor. I think it's awesome to get involved with volunteering or donating to an organization where you feel passionate about the cause.

  10. I'm with Jill - I would be interested in not just the reviews but the effect of the books on your students, etc.

    Are you familiar with this blog? http://thebookchook.blogspot.com/

    She is an amazing resource for literacy and learning.

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  12. I believe that what inspires the heart and imagination of a child is the most important thing to consider. I have so many books I purchased for my son and he never wants me to read them to him. I'm getting ready to donate them to a local charity. I love your blog btw.

    Also, have you ever heard of Barefoot Books? I am a distributor/ambassador for the company and I love, love, love what I do. If you would like more info feel free to email me at info@lovingbarefootbooks.com or visit SITE.

    I really enjoy your blog. Have a wonderful day.

  13. Here's lame-o me chiming in a month late on this conversation! I have a bit of information you may not know about me . . . I'm a trained counselor, particularly for schools and have done a multitude of social-emotional activities with children in a variety of ages!! I can give you ideas for books, activities, groups, etc. In fact, I did my Master's research on conflict resolution!! Seriously, holler at me if you want or need anything!! This is one of my passions!! I just happen to work with the older ones now at the university level, but still have a special place for the younger kids!!

    And, I see you have discovered The Book Chook! That is one of my favorite kid lit sites (along with Jen's)!!! She gives some great ideas in her Literacy Lavas too!!


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