Final Thoughts


The EDUC-8853-Influences Family Culture Society course at Walden University has helped me to become a better scholar in many ways. One way would be it has enabled me to take a look at my own work, as well as the work of others on my same level and evaluate my own strengths and weaknesses. It has helped me to get more comfortable with not only locating, but also at using the relevant research I find in effective ways. It has also helped me to refine my skills in APA and writing in general using research, all which will help me along the way in my Doctoral study. More specifically this class has made me take a good look at myself and the way that I view others, the way I view myself, and the way I view situations of others. It has helped me to be more conscious of jumping to conclusions and making judgments when I am not in a place to do so. In learning this about myself, this course has helped me to view the way I teach and will forever change the way I teach and deal with children in general as a practitioner. I will try to always keep this feeling of being conscious about the instinct we have to do that, even when we are in our practitioner role. This class has also helped me to remind myself just how important a child’s family and whole world are in their journey of education. I have realized how big of a resource getting to know and understand a child’s world is. I have recently been hired as an adjunct instructor, and I know I will be referring back to this class on a regular basis, as well as sharing all of the great information with my students.

Sue, A Wisconsin Kindergarten Teacher on Common Core: “I am sickened by the expectations I was forced to have of my 5 year old CHILDREN.”


THIS is something I am currently struggling with in my own professional journey…..It saddens me and I find it almost humerous the expectations they have for 4 and 5 year olds these days? I find it very difficult to work in an environment that doesn’t have the same belief system and ways that you follow!

Teachers' Letters to Bill Gates

Dear Bill and Melinda ~

A Wisconsin public school kindergarten teacher named Sue commented on our recent blog: Is Common Core making kindergarten too hard for 5 year old children?

Sue, like many other teachers, is ready to quit.  We hope she will stay and fight with us.

Teachers Letters to Bill Gates - Sue, Wisconsin Kindergarten

Here’s how Common Core has impacted her and her children this year:

“As a Wisconsin Kindergarten teacher who just completed a school year under the Common Core ELAINE and Math Standards, I am sickened by the expectations I was forced to have of my 5 year old CHILDREN. My stomach was turning everyday as I cried tears in my head when I needed to deliver 70+ minutes of sit down reading instruction and 60 minutes of workbook math instruction everyday. Free time and time for socializing was out. Even formal scheduled snack time, no science or social studies in the name of a…

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Does Standardized Testing Create Standardized Creativity?


I think this type of thing needs to be seriously analyzed…….teaching for a test takes creativity and imagination away from children…..both crucial characteristics to have!


The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 was an important landmark in the education of American children.  With strong intentions of academic support for all children, including those with disabilities, and a higher level of accountability for our schools and teachers, it was a motivated and positive approach to securing the future of our young learners.  However, it has led to significant questions regarding what educational milestones are most valuable and how their acquisition and application can best be assessed.

The primary focus of our standardized testing, which begins as early as Pre-K, is often math and reading.  We can all agree that these are core learning requirements for our society, but are they all we need to focus on teaching our next generation?  Children develop in multiple domains, including social, emotional, physical, and cognitive (your math and science development headquarters).  Without emotional regulation and a complex cultural understanding…

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My Inspirations and Favorites!!!


Get Ready for Mud Day 2013!

International Mud Day 2013 is right around the corner! Join others around the globe in a day of splashing, rolling, squishing, sliding, making mud pies, and more! It’s time to plan and spread the word about how you will celebrate. The Nature Action Collaborative for Children offers a number of resources for planning your Mud Day, including photos of previous Mud Days, articles, books about mud, and logos to use in your newsletters or websites.
And remember, following Mud Day, please come back to share your stories and photos!
Get Ready for Mud Day 2013!

I think these are both great websites and facebook sites that support the way I think early childhood should be. The national mud day is just that, a day where all children should be able to play in mud, just like we did as children. Also the facebook site is a site that supports letting children PLAY as a fundamental and educational experience. I think playing is such an important thing that most children don’t get to do anymore? Some kids actually don’t know how to play or use their imagination? This is a crucial part of early childhood and I feel eliminating it can be detrimental to childrens’ development!

My Inspirations and Favorites!!!



Why Suppress Humor?
May 15, 2013
Although human subtlety makes a variety of inventions by different means to the same end, it will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple, or more direct than does nature, because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.
-Leonardo DaVinci

In his article “Laughter and Humor — Not Just Kids Stuff” in the Beginnings Professional Development Workshop on Humor, John Morreall made this observation:

“Humor is an integral part of young children’s play, as it is of human play generally. When children are feeling secure and happy with other children, or with adults, laughter is the most natural sound. According to a factoid that has circulated for years, preschoolers laugh 200-300 times a day, while adults laugh only 15-20 times a day. I’ve never found a reliable source for those numbers, but I do know that schools — from kindergartens to graduate and professional programs — ­systematically suppress laughter. In school, the child with musical ability may be sent to the music room, and the one with artistic skill may go to the art room, but the child with the good sense of humor is sent to the ­principal’s office.

“One thing that gets suppressed by schools along with humor and laughter is emotional range. Most young ­children have at least a dozen faces, but many adults limp through life with two or three faces — or worse, just that all-purpose Professional Cool face. Knowing when and how to engage in humor, is part of emotional intelligence.”

I chose this article because it is so important in early childhood, but I think it is frowned upon with many teachers and schools, which is really sad to me!?!?!? To me laughter is like a medicine for not only children, but adults aswell. I totally think it should be viewed as something that is essential in every early childhood program!? If children as well as adults aren’t laughing on a daily basis, then something is seriously wrong! just like the article talks about, when children are comfortable laughter is the most natural sound they make, and every day children should be involved in learning in an environment they are truly comfortable and HAPPY in! When the children are happy, the adults will also be happy and vice versa!

My Inspirations and Favorites!!!



Poverty as a Childhood Disease
May 21, 2013
It is impossible for a man to begin to learn what he thinks he knows.
-Epictetus (Discourses)

Beginnings Workshop in the May/June 2013 issue of Exchange includes four articles addressing the impact of poverty on children. The seriousness of this issue was highlighted by a recent New York Times article “(Poverty as a Childhood Disease)” in which Perri Klass observed…

“Poverty damages children’s dispositions and blunts their brains…. Poverty in this country is now likely to define many children’s life trajectories in the harshest terms: poor academic achievement, high dropout rates, and health problems from obesity and diabetes to heart disease, substance abuse, and mental illness.

“Recently, there has been a lot of focus on the idea of toxic stress, in which a young child’s body and brain may be damaged by too much exposure to so-called stress hormones, like cortisol and norepinephrine. When this level of stress is experienced at an early age, and without sufficient protection, it may actually reset the neurological and hormonal systems, permanently affecting children’s brains and even, we are learning, their genes.

“Toxic stress is the heavy hand of early poverty, scripting a child’s life not in the Horatio Alger scenario of determination and drive, but in the patterns of disappointment and deprivation that shape a life of limitations.”

Contributed by Kirsten Haugen


Exchange Magazines Back Issues – 50% off!

Celebrating over 30 years, Exchange magazine is a bimonthly publication focused on the administration of programs for young children. Our goal is to support center administrators with workable strategies, practical advice, and down-to-earth ideas for dealing with the serious responsibilities and demands they face each day.

ExchangeEveryDay is a free service of Exchange Magazine. View this article online at

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I listed this article because poverty is one of the worldwide problems or issues that were discussed throughout this course. I think it is so interesting that they actually refer to poverty as a childhood disease that is a worldwide epidemic!? That is such a great way to look at it, because I believe it definitely is that big of a problem. It is something that is worldwide and can NOT be ignored anymore!

My Inspirations and Favorites!!!



Powerful Interactions with Teachers
May 28, 2013
As knowledge increases, wonder deepens.
-Charles Morgan
“Find the strength in the teacher, document it, and show it so she can see it, own it, and use it with greater intention.” This is the advice of Amy Dombro, Judy Jablon, and Charlotte Stetson, authors of the popular Powerful Interactions: How to Connect with Children to Extend Their Learning, in their Exchange (May/June 2013) article, “Using Powerful Interactions with Colleagues to Promote Powerful Interactions with Children.” They contend…

“The more people attend to the positive dimensions of the present moment, the more positive will be their intentions for future moments…. Video clips and photos are a mirror you can use to help teachers see moments in their own teaching when they are successful. By ‘successful’ we mean times when teachers connect easily with ­children, use more language, and elicit more learning from children. ‘I notice…’ statements call attention to these moments. When you describe what you see, you help the teacher become more aware of what she is doing and why it works, so she can use it with greater intention.”


Powerful Interactions: How to Connect with Children to Extend Their Learning

A teacher interacts with the children all day long, building the warm and responsive relationships in which young children learn best. But interactions in which teachers intentionally promote learning can be few and far between, with a “Powerful Interaction” only lasting a few minutes. In those few minutes, however, the teacher tunes out any distractions, tunes into the child, and then presents a learning experience tailored to that child at that moment. This book will guide you through the three steps of a “Powerful Interaction” in a series of self-guided lessons enlivened with tips, hints, invitations to reflect, and vignettes.

I chose this article in an online journal I recieve every day because it is inspirational to me, as well as talks about how powerful we are as teachers and the interactions we have with students can literally change a lif!!!

Using Integrating Teaching Units


Every day when I am teaching, I notice so many of my students at different times seem withdrawn or not engaged with the lessons. At my school we teach with a pre-created curriculum that is layed out before us for the entire year. This bothers me to a certain extent for the simple fact that we don’t even know our children at the beginning of the year. If we don’t know our students yet, we don’t know what they are interested in, we don’t know their prior knowledge, or any background information on them. If we don’t know this information about our children, it is very hard to know what they will connect with, what will be above them, or what they will have any engagement in. I feel like children need to be connected with a lesson, and without any prior knowledge in the subject or any interest in it, they will have a very hard time becoming connected or engaged in the subject matter. If we can design our lessons around the individuals we are teaching, based on their particular interests and their prior knowledge, they will naturally become engaged and learn so much more. This article on integrating teaching units describes all of the benefits and wide aray of things you can teach and cover by simply building lessons around an individual group’s interests and prior knowledge. Do you use a prior created curriculum or are you allowed to use this sort of lesson building in your classrooms? How do you feel about this kind of approach?

Special Events: Grocery Store


Apology!!! I just Noticed when reading your comments, that Exchange Every Day didn’t transfer over when I posted this article for some reason? This was an article from them that I thought was really a great idea which is why I put it was precious at the bottom of the article. Sorry about the confusion everyone!

Special Events: Grocery Store

Posted on April 5, 2013

Every spring, we convert half of the gym into a creative play “Grocery Store”. We collect non-parishable food items, household items and personal hygiene items and display them to resemble a grocery store. Items are donated by YLP families, staff and area grocers. Students lend us their toy shopping carts and cash registers. The children love “shopping” and “working” in our store–selecting items, checking out, etc–all the while reinforcing important math, reading and social concepts. At the end of the store, all contributed food is donated to the Oregon Food Bank. We are proud to say that over the last several years we have been able to donate upwards of 450 pounds of food annually to Oregon families in need

I think this is a PRECIOUS and great idea for pre-k students to actually apply what they learn and know. As pre-k teachers we are used to turning our rooms and centers into the theme of the week, but this is a fantastic way to get the whole school involved for a great cause, and to let children apply what they know in a real world situation!