Monday, January 13, 2014


Last week I was invited to the Central Islip Early Childhood Center to do teacher training and concerts for the children and families. WOW! Did we rock and roll! I thought 50-100 people would show up for the family concert, but there were hundreds and hundreds!  Some clever person thought to give the children “free tickets” that they turned into necklaces and wore home. It takes a loving parent to bring their child out on a cold winter night to sing. 

I felt loved with the children’s crowns and the shirt a teacher made!

Don’t you love this bulletin board for reinforcing sight words. “Read, read, read, as fast as you can. You can do it, yes you can!”

Jack Seabury, the music teacher, attended one of my training sessions and he had a super idea to develop listening skills, sequence skills, and music appreciation. Let the children make puppets (we used envelopes cut in half) for the characters in “Peter and the Wolf.” As they listen to the opera, they hold up their puppet when they recognize their animal’s sound.

Veronica Greenfield taught me a new rhyme to do on children’s backs.  
         Looking for the treasure (Walk index and middle finger in circle.)
         X marks the spot. (Make an X.)
         Tickle up, trickle down, (Fingers wiggle up and down.)
         Tickle up, trickle down,
         Tickle up, trickle down.
         Give a dot – give a dot. (Make a dot with index finger.)
         Give a dash – give a dash. (Make a horizontal line.)
         And a big question mark. (Draw ?)
         Blow…and chill! (Blow on neck.)

Veronica also shared a quiet game her students enjoyed while waiting in line. One person draws and the next person receives. (The receiver tries to determine what shape, letter, numeral, etc. was written on their back.) Then they switch places.

Diane Ravitch (author of THE DEATH AND LIFE OF THE GREAT AMERICAN SCHOOL SYSTEM) wrote a blog several months ago after she visited Long Island.

What I said to the leaders was: Boycott the tests, and let your teachers revise the Common Core standards. The K-2 standards are developmentally inappropriate. K-2 teachers should revise them so that children of that tender age have plenty of time to learn through play, imaginative activities, and social interaction. The standards for 3-12 should be reviewed and revised by teachers to make sure that they are cognitively appropriate.

I said that if one district boycotted the tests, it might be subject to sanctions. But if many districts boycotted the tests, the State Education Department would back down. This is a democracy. A state agency cannot impose its will on the public, without regard to the consequences.

Hooray for Diane Ravitch! She’s on our side!!!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Common Core State Standards are not the monster. Implementation and testing are the concerns of teachers who work with young children every day. We realize they only have one childhood and we want them to enjoy learning and school. Quit telling us what to do and empower us, support us, trust us, and let us TEACH our children!

Note! Bill Cosby said, “Elders always speak their minds. You would, too, if you knew you only had another 15 to 20 years to live!” I guess Diane Ravitch and I are both elders so we can speak all we want!