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Saturday, April 6, 2013

Give Attention and Specific Praise

One of the most powerful things I see in my work coaching teachers of young children, is how when a teacher learns to give specific praise to students, their students feel so noticed.  We all appreciate praise, but when we give specific praise to children, it really does make them feel amazing.  The difficult thing is to make our praise specific.  Saying, "Wow, you were so careful with your paintbrush!  You made a thin blue line here and a green curve here!"makes a child feel very noticed and proud of her work.  But saying, "Great job, you're a wonderful artist!" can make a child think--"Well, I kind of had a messy spot over there, and I'm not always a great artist."
in Flanna's classroom checking out her science journal

sorting living versus nonliving things
I tried to remember that when Robi and I visited Flannery's school early Thursday morning for her "Celebration of Learning" for their kindergarten spring learning expedition "Everything is Connected."  They learned about rocks and soil, plants & life cycles, and living/nonliving things.  The kindergarteners performed several songs related to their expedition, then took us on a hallway tour and showed off their science journals and classroom displays.  They were planning to tour the garden with us, but the rain nixed that.  I tried to give her specific praise, and not just to say, "That's great!" to everything I saw, which was my instinct, because everything really was great!

Anyway, it was a wonderful little program, and the children all seemed to be so proud of their learning!  I think expeditionary learning has been a great fit for Flannery, and I'm glad that learning has been fun for her in her kindergarten class.  I think that one benefit of having little gatherings and assemblies and "learning celebrations" is that it creates time and space for our children to feel noticed and to have attention focused on the work and learning they are doing.  Kudos to Flanna's school for understanding that!

 living versus nonliving things collages 

Flanna's daffodil 

Mealworms -  kindergarten studied compost and worms

Flanna's soil sample from winter break -- Hers was from Orlando

Flanna's rabbit on display on the art bulletin board of "living things"
What were you proud of as a child?

Appreciate the Art Around You

I think this one is my favorite.
At Nana's house for Easter, I was struck by how much art she has created in her life.   She is a great painter.  Here are a few of her paintings.  It brings me such joy to notice the beautiful things around me--both in nature and man-made.  I think Nana notices these things, too, and it's so amazing how she can capture them in her artwork.

What artists do you love?  

Share & Create Family Traditions: Easter 2013

my cute family
We have been so lucky to be able to have a tradition each Easter that includes extended family.  Some years, we are able to see folks on both sides of our family, but this year was so busy that we only got to see Robi's extended family.  We spent time with Robi's mom's side of the family on Saturday, and then with his dad's side of the family Sunday.  I hope Flanna will have lasting memories of Easter egg hunts and playing on the piano at her great grandmother "Nana"'s house each year, and silly playful times with her Mema and cousin Molly!

Grammie and baby Abe

cousins, cousins everywhere

cousins on a fence

playing the piano at Nana's house

cute cousins hanging out together

Aunt Nat Nat reading with Sarah Kate

Sharon with her only grand-daughter (lots of boys around here!)

Andrew, Sharon, & SK

Great-grandmother "Nana" and SK

The Sledges

Abe's first Easter!

Sweet as sweet can be.
getting ready to hunt eggs at Grammie & Poppa's house

showing her first missing tooth - in her Easter dress from my mom

Such a cute Easter outfit!

hunting eggs at Grammie & Poppa's


Flannery loves Abe so much!

Did you grow up with lots of cousins around?   I hope that Flanna will always be close with all of her sweet cousins.  

Share & Create Family Traditions

One of the traditions I most enjoy sharing with Flannery is making her birthday cake each year.  She is a great baking helper.  This year, we made a cake for Grammie Daisy's birthday, and Flannery helped me decorate it.  She practiced making a daisy flower on paper plates until she was ready to try it out on the cake, and it turned out really cute!

Happy birthday to Grammie!

I wrote the name, outlined the flower afterward, and made the grass below, but Flanna did the rest!

happy sisters

make a wish!  

What are your favorite birthday traditions?

Soccer with the Fam

Last weekend, my dad and Flanna's Uncle Chris and Aunt Anne came to see Flannery play her soccer game.  It was a beautiful day, and we even went downtown for lunch after the game.  It's so nice to get to spend time with our wonderful family.  I'm so grateful for the kind and thoughtful people Flanna gets to grow up around.

Granddad with Flanna -- Flannery is showing off her missing tooth - first one ever!

Flannery with her sweet friend Kendal

Cousin Abe rooting for Flanna's team

Aunt Anne and baby Abe

smart parents brought shade for the babe

Flanna with her baby cousin-- he liked those pigtails!

Granddad and Flannery downtown

What brings your family together?  I didn't realize how social soccer games are, but it's been wonderful seeing friends and family during each game!