Comments for Investigating Choice Time: Inquiry, Exploration, and Play http://investigatingchoicetime.com by: Renée Dinnerstein Sat, 25 Oct 2014 11:55:22 +0000 hourly 1 Comment on Down the Rabbit Hole? by Renee http://investigatingchoicetime.com/2014/10/down-the-rabbit-hole/#comment-120953 Sat, 25 Oct 2014 11:55:22 +0000 http://investigatingchoicetime.com/?p=1364#comment-120953 I totally agree with you Janine. It’s so frustrating because people NOT in education feel that I’m presenting a sour grapes view. Maybe I should have written my post differently, pointing out the positive AND negative aspects of the op ed piece rather than just venting about Shael.

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Comment on Down the Rabbit Hole? by Janine Sopp http://investigatingchoicetime.com/2014/10/down-the-rabbit-hole/#comment-120937 Sat, 25 Oct 2014 05:18:13 +0000 http://investigatingchoicetime.com/?p=1364#comment-120937 Renee,
You are not alone in that icky feeling you have in your gut. Those of us (parents and teachers) who have watched Suransky in action during the Bloomberg administration still don’t trust him. When Bank Street accepted him, we all rolled our eyes and realized it would be downhill for this progressive institution. Their upcoming event, Making Excellent Teachers, is co-hosted by Teach For America. This point made in the op ed: Over the past three years, the New York City Department of Education developed a framework to support the core behavioral elements that drive college and career readiness. Many of them — persistence, planning, the ability to communicate and the capacity to collaborate — have their roots in early childhood, I find even troublesome. If these “core” elements that drive college and career readiness are in “his” version of early childhood, I don’t believe we are thinking of education in the same way…especially because most of the early childhood teachers I hear from say the core curriculum is developmentally inappropriate and at least one, if not two or three grade levels ahead, for our most delicate learners. Play means play, not college or career ready…

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Comment on Down the Rabbit Hole? by reality seeker http://investigatingchoicetime.com/2014/10/down-the-rabbit-hole/#comment-120936 Sat, 25 Oct 2014 02:48:22 +0000 http://investigatingchoicetime.com/?p=1364#comment-120936 Yes, Renee, you got this one right! I have taught Pre-K for 13 years and Kindergarten for going on 3 years, during the sea-change of educational policy in early childhood curriculum. The NY Times op-ed on play is disingenuous, and in fact now reads like an plug for Bank Street College, since the author cited the seminars for 4000 Pre-K teachers there this past summer. He wants to be sure to jump on that bandwagon himself, and I don’t trust him one bit. I especially don’t trust his understanding of the purpose of play in development, considering play exists and promotes brain development in all species of mammals, with biological imperatives.

Indeed, a copy of the op-ed was in my mailbox at school today. I am already hearing how I can “teach math, social studies and science through play” in activities that I would hardly describe as falling under the category of actual genuine play. Play is self-directed activity with a rich variety of materials. Block play, for example, does not have to turn into some kind of counting game or specific building project with written components. It flows naturally, children constantly act on their own individual ideas and constantly make decisions, living in the moment and experiencing mindful activity.

My favorite story about someone trying and failing at orchestrating block play was when a Teacher’s College staff developer came and told us how to make the children demonstrate an understanding of literacy setting in their block play by making the houses in the story Caps for Sale with the blocks. Caps for Sale is a wonderful tale, and I read it every year, but the houses in the illustrations are just about all the same. I laugh again just remembering how the children obliged her for a minute, finding red blocks for the roofs, and then told her they didn’t want to do that any more and they had other plans for a subway and a canal or two, that made more sense to them. I just remember the look of disbelief and pity they had for the poor grown up who had to rely on a book for her ideas of what to do in blocks.
Thanks for pointing out the inconsistencies, Renee!

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Comment on Down the Rabbit Hole? by Joan Kramer http://investigatingchoicetime.com/2014/10/down-the-rabbit-hole/#comment-120935 Sat, 25 Oct 2014 02:47:15 +0000 http://investigatingchoicetime.com/?p=1364#comment-120935 I only can ask – why is this even in this piece? What does play have to do with grit?? Play can offer many lessons for children in their development. But he concentrates on grit. He says:
“Play has long-lasting benefits. What is referred to as self-regulation in preschool becomes resiliency in high school. The University of Pennsylvania psychologist Angela Duckworth has found that this trait, which she famously calls grit, can make or break students, especially low-income students. Over the past three years, the New York City Department of Education developed a framework to support the core behavioral elements that drive college and career readiness. Many of them — persistence, planning, the ability to communicate and the capacity to collaborate — have their roots in early childhood.

I don’t want them designing early childhood education anywhere. So sad about Bank Street.

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Comment on An Inquiry-Based Classroom by Renee http://investigatingchoicetime.com/2014/10/an-inquiry-based-classroom/#comment-120874 Thu, 23 Oct 2014 18:08:36 +0000 http://investigatingchoicetime.com/?p=1352#comment-120874 Thank you Shawna. I’m really looking forward to meeting you at NCTE. Perhaps we can have some time to talk about inquiry and project-based learning.
Renee

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Comment on An Inquiry-Based Classroom by Shawna Coppola http://investigatingchoicetime.com/2014/10/an-inquiry-based-classroom/#comment-120868 Thu, 23 Oct 2014 13:22:54 +0000 http://investigatingchoicetime.com/?p=1352#comment-120868 Renee, I really appreciate this post as well as your struggle with how to define inquiry. At my school, we are struggling to incorporate inquiry-based learning into students’ (and teachers’!) daily lives, and as difficult as it can be to shift the thinking that has existed among many educators for so long, I SO believe it is worth it–both for us, as educators, as well as for our students. One of the road blocks we are coming up against in our K-6 school is the misconception that “inquiry” = “independent research,” most often in the form of internet research. It is difficult to get some educators to see beyond that notion. I value the challenge and the struggle, though, and understand that such a paradigm shift is enormous. When I feel discouraged, it is work like yours that inspires and re-motivates me. I am so looking forward to hearing more about your work at NCTE.

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Comment on The Journey by Joan Kramer http://investigatingchoicetime.com/2014/10/the-journey/#comment-120719 Sun, 19 Oct 2014 18:35:34 +0000 http://investigatingchoicetime.com/?p=1362#comment-120719 This is a wonderful entry Renee! I wish I had known you back then. I know I gave up teaching elementary school because I thought I wasn’t good enough, couldn’t get students to listen to me, couldn’t muster the necessary energy. There were lots of reasons. Looking back on it now – and as you say, “Except for a lucky few, many of us don’t naturally know just what to do. We learn and we learn and we learn.” perhaps I might’ve continued if I’d had more support. Don’t know. I was a mighty innocent and naive 21 year-old when I was offered a wonderful job in Richmond, Calif. And although I wanted to stay in Northern California, I didn’t want to be a disservice to those students who were truly needing an excellent teacher. Still, I do think some of us are just not made for teaching. Thanks again for sharing this process!!

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Comment on The Journey by Renee http://investigatingchoicetime.com/2014/10/the-journey/#comment-120718 Sun, 19 Oct 2014 18:14:22 +0000 http://investigatingchoicetime.com/?p=1362#comment-120718 Yes Nancy, our mentors are so important. In my blog entry I actually forgot so many people who helped me to learn more about teaching – all of the teachers that I worked with during my 4 1/2 years at the Beth Elohim Early Childhood Center, Adele Schroeter, my 4th grade reading and inquiry buddy, Barbara Taragan for every idea and thought that she shared with me, Paola and Cecilia, Simone’s wonderful teachers in Rome, and of course all of the teachers that I have the honor to work with in my new role as consultant.

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Comment on The Journey by Nancy Workman http://investigatingchoicetime.com/2014/10/the-journey/#comment-120717 Sun, 19 Oct 2014 17:39:32 +0000 http://investigatingchoicetime.com/?p=1362#comment-120717 Beautiful to read! Teaching is at once so humbling and ego-boosting sometimes. When I used to teach, I tended to end the day either thinking the profession was not for me, or that I was a born teacher (seldom anything in between)!

I was fortunate enough to learn with a gifted head teacher. On the first day that he was absent and I was in charge, I naively attempted to have second graders continue to argue with one another during a class discussion on the rug, with predictably ensuring mayhem. When the head teacher returned and I told him about it, he said, “well, you’ve gotten that experiment out of the way.” We’re all lucky to have mentors who understand the importance of process!

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Comment on The Journey by Renee http://investigatingchoicetime.com/2014/10/the-journey/#comment-120715 Sun, 19 Oct 2014 15:30:38 +0000 http://investigatingchoicetime.com/?p=1362#comment-120715 Simone, I am so touched by your response. I also feel like, hopefully, I’ve influenced you as you keep stretching yourself in new, challenging directions!

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