Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives #PotLuck – Childhood and Summer, Then and Now by Jennie Fitzkee


Welcome to the series  Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Pre-school teacher of over 30 years, Jennie Fitzkee, has been a welcome guest here many times but this time, Jennie has let me loose in her archives… this will be fun.  In this post Jennie compares childhood and summer.. then and now.

Childhood and Summer, Then and Now

On summer evenings my greatest pleasure is sitting on the porch and reading. My porch has soft lighting and wood everywhere; bare wood and rough wood. The ceiling is the roughest wood of all, and my husband wants to paint it. Oh, no! That would be a travesty. I knew it would, but I didn’t know why… until I sat out on the porch this week.

I heard thunderstorms in the distance. I stopped reading to listen and just be in the moment. I was transported back to my childhood at summer camp, Camp Dekanawida in Salt Rock, WV. This was overnight camp. There were no day camps or sports camps. Camp was, well… real camp. We slept in a cabin, learned swimming and archery, sang songs every morning and evening. I remember the nighttime counselor hunt, the bonfires, and the hikes. To this day, I can still sing the camp song. Every word.

It’s been sixty years. Seems like yesterday.

My porch and all the rough wood, along with the thunderstorms, brought me back to my childhood and to summer camp. That’s why I didn’t want to paint or change the wood. It was a link to my best memories and to what shaped me as a child, and as an adult.

I love music. Today I sing with gusto, and pull children into songs from patriotic to fun. I introduce them to opera, and classical music. We sing,”Old MacDonald” in Italian. I am constantly humming and bringing music to children. I know this all started with Morning Sing at Camp Dekanawida.

I love stories; telling stories and reading aloud began at camp in the cabin, and around the campfire. No, it did not begin at home. Summer camp was full of stories. There was nothing else but each other and the big, wide world. So, stories and talking, and getting along were important. Ghost stories were scary, yet fun.

I learned to be brave. I mastered a jackknife dive. I went into the woods at night. I pitched a tent.

In the words of the classic book, Charlotte’s Web, “…where there would be no parents to guard them or guide them.” We had each other.

Fast forward to today at my school’s summer camp. Jackson is in my group. He is now seven (a big guy). Years ago he was in my preschool class and the champion of my chapter reading. It is wonderful to connect with a child again! We haven’t missed a beat.

   

So what happened here? We sat outside to talk and laugh. Then we fooled around inside. Bunny ears on the photo were perfect. Camp and the great outdoors will do that. I am giving Jackson and my other campers a small taste of camp in my childhood. Summer and camp brings all the important things to life: laughing and being silly, and discovering the wonders of the great outdoors.

It’s the best. I learned that sixty years ago.

©Jennie Fitzkee

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

Blog: https://jenniefitzkee.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennie.fitzkee
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jlfatgcs

My thanks to Jennie for permitting me to share this post from her archives and there will be another one next Thursday..

Posts from Your Archives – Parenting – Raising Readers – The Little Engine That Could and the Olympics by D. Metzke


Welcome to more posts from YOUR archives rather than mine. An opportunity to share blog posts from your early days of blogging or that you feel you would like to share with a new audience.. Mine. You can find details at the end of the post.

Today the first blog post by Deana Metzke in August 2016, just after the Olympics. It was not until she was enjoying bedtime reading with her young son that she realised how much he had absorbed from the games.

Parenting · Raising Readers

The Little Engine That Could and the Olympics?

Like many households, we’ve spent a decent amount of time watching the Olympics this past week. Both of my children have learned a lot about different sporting events, recognize and root for specific athletes, and they definitely can recognize the American flag. So tonight, when my son chose the classic book The Little Engine That Could to read, the last thing I expected was a connection to the Olympics. As he often does, my son and I spend a lot of time looking at the illustrations, including the end papers and inside cover.

Tonight, as he pointed to the different trains in the picture, he determined that one was gold, one was silver, and one looked bronze….really? I mean, I realize that we had just finished watching the Olympics before we started getting ready for bed, but I didn’t see this connection coming.

(But…if you really look at the trains, I guess they do look gold, silver, and bronze. This boy surprises me often.)

Once I started reading, he decided a couple of the trains didn’t look so silver and bronze up close, but that didn’t take away from the story. We’ve read this story multiple times before, so he knows the storyline, and his focus was more on the toys in the trains, and which ones he would choose if he had a choice. I always imagined that he would get excited and proud when the little train made it over the hill, but that’s not his focus.

At any rate, my takeaway tonight is…sometimes you don’t know where the connections are going to come from, but it’s still evidence that they are thinking and learning while you’re reading.

(Shout out to Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library, who sent my son the book when we first enrolled a couple years ago. If you have a child between the ages of 0-5, and you haven’t looked into this program, I strongly suggest that you do so.)

About Deanna Metzke

I am a 30-something wife, mom of two, and book lover who is trying her best to raise children who will enjoy reading long after I’m gone. During the day, I am also a Literacy Coach at an elementary school, which strengthens my drive (or adds to my stress) to have my own children be book lovers.

Connect to Deana on her blog and social media.

Blog: https://raisingreaderssite.wordpress.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DMetzke

My thanks to Deanna for sharing her first blog post and there will be more to follow in the next three weeks. I hope that you will head over and follow her blog. Thanks Sally

If you would like to share some of your archive posts from when you began blogging, then please send up to four links to sally.cronin@moyhill.com

Posts from your Archives – This Was a Great Day by Jennie Fitzkee


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)

©JennieFitzkee

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

Blog: https://jenniefitzkee.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jennie.fitzkee

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 sally.cronin@moyhill.com.  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.