I recently invited you to share some of your posts from your archives. It is a way of giving your earlier or favourite posts a chance to be read by a different audience. Mine. Details of how you can participate is at the end of the post.
Jennie Fitzkee has been a pre-school teacher for over thirty years, I have reblogged several of her posts because they demonstrate how a dedicated and passionate teacher can ignite imagination and a passion for books and music in the very young. This was Jennie’s very first blog post and a sample of her entertaining and informative articles on A Teacher’s Reflections: Thirty Years of Wonder
This Was a Great Day by Jennie Fitzkee
Romana, Geography, Milly, and ‘Blind Travel’
“The Story of Learning, and a Great Day in the Aqua Room”
The best learning often takes place at unexpected times. As teachers, we have to recognize the moments when children are curious or excited, and turn those moments into a learning opportunity. Today, those moments seemed to multiply. It was wonderful.
It all started with Milly the quilter. She was visiting today to finalize helping children select fabrics for our quilt. Romana wanted to tell Milly that she was going to Romania, so we opened our big book atlas and found Romania. This was an in-depth discussion with everyone. We looked at how far Romania is from France (we studied France last year). We didn’t know that Romania is on the Black Sea (did you know that?).
Of course we used the atlas to see where Massachusetts is, and how far it is from Romania. Then, we found England and Brazil, because Doctor Dolittle (our current chapter reading book) is from England and is sailing to Spider Monkey Island, off the coast of Brazil.
Whoa! Is your head spinning? Yes, this is what happened, and this is how young children learn. This was not in the plans, but we certainly embraced it.
It gets better! Toward the end of rest time, children who are awake get a book or a nap toy. Today teachers watched that full group of children use the big book atlas, together. No child picked an individual book or a toy. Collectively, they wanted to find Brazil, Romania, Massachusetts, and Spider Monkey Island. When the lights were on, they wanted to play Doctor Dolittle’s “Blind Travel”. That means closing your eyes, opening an atlas, circling a pencil three times, and then putting it down on a location.
We played “Blind Travel” for twenty minutes. Your children traveled to Europe, South America, Kansas, Missouri, and Texas. Those were just the locations with a teacher. Romana and Milly and Doctor Dolittle gave your children a powerful lesson in geography, yet all learning is interconnected. Today, chapter reading, an atlas, Romana and Milly helped to inspire learning.
(The Aqua Room is my classroom at Groton Community School)
About Jennie Fitzkee
I have been teaching preschool for over thirty years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It’s the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That’s what I write about.
I am highlighted in the the new edition of Jim Trelease’s bestselling book, “The Read-Aloud Handbook” because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at both the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, and the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital.
Connect to Jennie
My thanks to Jenny for sharing the first of four posts with us today and look out for more next Sunday.
If you would like to give some of your posts from the past a little TLC then dust them off and send four links to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If this is your first time on Smorgasbord then please include your links to social media. If you like the experience then we can always look at sharing more.
Look forward to hearing from you. Thanks Sally.