Sara Bateman

  • Hi Dana,

    This blog post has inspired me! Just as you said happens to you, I’ve found myself holed up in the kindergarten bubble too often. I prioritize getting the classroom stuff done during my prep times and continuously put off my peer observations. However, after reading about the ideas you gained from your peer observations, I’m feeling…[Read more]

  • Hey Melinda,
    I would love to see a picture of the Discussion Map you made! I’ve never done one of those before.
    Thanks for all the helpful links. I really like this quote from on of the articles :
    “Reading and writing float on a sea of talk”.
    It provides powerful imagery for understanding the importance of talk.

  • My professional inquiry group is looking into how the environment plays a role in language acquisition. Every time we meet and discuss the role of the environment, I can’t help but think of the Reggio Emilia […]

    • Hey Sara!

      I really enjoyed reading your post…and I think a lot of that is because I so clearly picture your actual classroom when you’re writing this. I admire how you set up your classroom so that it’s so engaging for students but is also such an inviting, stimulating space…you manage it with your calm demeanour! I think you embody what Reggio Emilio strived to communicate and your students are so lucky to be a part of a class whose teacher is so dedicated to making their space so tailored to their interests. You give them the ultimate learning environment! 🙂

      Remember at the beginning of the year, we looked at those photos of teacher spaces in a classroom? I imagine that some people can misinterpret what a ‘personal’ touch might be when talking environments…I bet some of them would argue that their elaborate “teacher space/desk/office/whatever” is how they reflect their values in the room…what do you think?

      “Can older grades be influenced by the Reggio Emilia philosophy, even though it’s typically only seem in early childhood classrooms? If so, what would that look like?”

      Good question…I think a lot do really consider the environment and others totally don’t. I bet you could have a great conversation with Helen about this – her environment is very different from ours but her logic behind it is also compelling/true to her. I definitely encourage you to check out some of the other learning spaces in school with walk-through opportunities! I’ll totally use this lens when I’m doing walk-throughs, so thank you!

    • Sara – you raise some thoughtful questions at the end of your post, and I shared many of Melinda’s thoughts on them.

      You have done so much to reflect the values you write about in the learning environment for your students. It really is a special place, one which is beautiful, restful, yet stimulating and certainly acts as what Kath Murdoch would describe as the “third teacher”.

      Your post made me wonder how we can foster and instil these qualities and values in other classrooms across Elementary. I don’t think any Reggio-inspired school ever posts photos of their environment online, but there is such a school in Bangkok that is K-6 and is absolutely beautiful…you should try and see it before you these shores for Europe!

  • Hi Dana,
    I really enjoyed this blog post!
    The “pink means girly” section of the article resonated with me a lot. I find it so interesting that every year I teach, I have to confront this misconception with my students. The thing that shocks me each year, is that so many kindergarteners hold this belief, regardless of their cultural background.…[Read more]

  • One afternoon last week, we were sitting in a circle reading a poem about shapes to celebrate Poem in your Pocket day for Book Week. One student mentioned that she could say the word square in Korean and she […]

    • Sara – I loved your closing reflection here on how you can incorporate more mother tongue into a Kindergarten classroom where not everyone is (yet) literate and cannot necessarily read the print in their own or another language. Sometimes it really is the simply things that make a difference and connect students across cultures and thus language is not a divider but a connector.

  • That was an interesting read Brittany! Thanks for sharing. I particularly liked the charts that explained how teachers could respond to student dialogue based on the varying levels of English the student has. I noticed that a lot of the examples showed teachers repeating key phrases that the students said and expanding on them, and then following…[Read more]

  • Hi Simon,
    First of all, that poem is beautiful! I really enjoyed reading that.
    I love how you scaffolded this activity with the template and then extended his learning by having him translate his poem. It would be interesting to see what his parents think of the poem (and the google translation) and whether the Japanese translation was able to…[Read more]

  • Hi Dana,
    I love that students were able to confidently translate their learning for their parents. It would be a challenge for them, because I’m sure they aren’t used to using the academic language at home in their mother tongue – just as their parents aren’t used to using academic language in English.
    Spotlight is a great way to gain insight…[Read more]

  • I can always count on you to post a video that will make me cry!
    Thanks for that thoughtful post Melinda. I think this is a great example of growth mindset! It’s a good reminder that nothing is impossible and that every child is capable of learning.

  • Knowing that Peace One Day was coming up, I started preparing my students by introducing the concept of Peace. I first asked them: “What is peace?”

    Student 1 – “Those small green things you […]

    • Hi Sara,
      I think how you started was fine as you then had a clear picture of where you students were at with their thinking . You then carefully scaffolded the students so they were able to make more meaningful connections.

      I love their watercolour paintings of peace and explanations.

      Thanks for sharing.

    • Interesting, cheers! I guess it is well worth checking for understanding of concepts, as often we might assume that students are familiar with a concept, whereas they may different ‘meanings’ in mind. Certainly worth checking with my IB students.

      • Agreed Edwin, all too often we oversee how difficult concepts can be and expect too much of our language learners. This may be true of using technology too. We set tasks asking students to blog, create iMovies, use Prezie (or other such software) but do we also teach them how to use these tools, or just expect them to know.

    • I agree that it was useful to know what the students’ already know about peace, then you were able to activate their prior knowledge through reading and watching the video clip. I love how the watercolors turned out and it shows the students’ connections and understanding of peace! 🙂

    • Well done for preparing your students for the Peace Day. I expect it helped them to gain better understanding of what the peace day was all about. You have inspired me to reflect further with my class, on the purpose of the day and further action we can take to ensure peace in our lives.

  • Sara Bateman changed their profile picture 1 year, 4 months ago

  • Hi Carina,

    I really like the ways in which you started celebrating each other’s diversity and cultures! I’ve always struggled to find a way to do this in kindergarten, when student’s are not reading and writing (my thinking was very narrow and I assumed the best way to integrate different cultures was through books and environmental print).…[Read more]

  • At the beginning of the year, students come into Kindergarten with varying writing abilities. Some can write words, some can write a few letters, and some are just working on building up their fine motor skills by […]

    • It sounds like you are already doing a lot to differentiate Sara. You mentioned you scribe for some of your students – one thing that you could do to extend these students is to cut up their sentences and get them to remake them. You can have the original sentence there for them to refer to as a scaffold. You may only cut it up into two parts to start and as they get better cut it up into more parts e.g. I am playing with my dad. Cut into two parts – I am playing / with my dad. Revisiting the same sentence – You could give them the same sentence with a word missing – I __ playing with my dad and they write in the missing word or cut the sentence into two parts but leave one word out and they have remake and write in the missing word e.g. I am playing/ ____ / my dad.

  • Hi Andrew,
    I like how you explained how you integrate learning into play. It’s great how excited the students were about building their names out of letter blocks.
    One of my favourite things to observe if students helping other students. I think it’s a really interesting way to see if they are absorbing everything that we teach – I often hear…[Read more]

  • Hi Rachelle,

    I love your honesty about being hesitant to join twitter. I experienced the same thing! I joined twitter years ago, but only really started becoming comfortable with it last year. I still find it somewhat overwhelming trying to sift through all of the information to find what’s useful to me. I
    I love that you started an account…[Read more]

  • Thanks for sharing that article Melinda! I’ve always worried that I don’t differentiate enough for parents and that they must feel so overwhelmed receiving all of their child’s school communications in English.
    I often think that we communicate often with parents (which I think is good), but on the flipside, it must be overwhelming for parents…[Read more]

  • In kindergarten, teaching language is par for the course. Our students come in to us beginning to access written language and continuing to navigate the complexities of oral language.  We are accustomed to us […]

    • Hi Sara, Thanks for writing this post and your blog looks great! One of the blog ideas I thought of when creating SPELTAC was that upper-elementary and secondary teachers could visit KG to see how a natural environment is created where language is scaffolded and used in context. Consider yourself a language acquisition expert! It would be so exciting to team up with a teacher from secondary and to draw up a list of things from your class he/she could apply!

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