You may have noticed that I haven’t sent out a newsletter or done any posting on my blog for quite some time—a year to be exact! My excuse is I have been really, really busy—not in a bad way because a lot of amazing things have been happening.
So what has been filling up my hours, days, weeks and months?
Last year (school year) I was given the opportunity to teach the I Create What I Believe! (ICWIB) program to the teaching staff at four Head Start schools in Northern California. Since I wanted the teachers to have a deep enough knowledge of the science behind the program and the activities that they could adapt the activities to meet the specific needs of their students in a short amount of time, I needed to approach the training in a comprehensive manner.
To accomplish this I went through my usual steps: creating a unique lesson plan, organizing materials, constructing handouts for quick reference for the teachers, and taught the class. In addition I also filmed each class so I could review the footage and analyze what had transpired and what hadn’t been addressed— thus providing me with the opportunity to then weave that information into the next class. Working in this organic manner also allowed me to incorporate the teachers’ feedback, remember minute details in round table discussions, and use that information to help the teachers use the ICWIB program to problem-solve their current classroom challenges quickly and effortlessly.
Even though this approach was all consuming at times, I love teaching in this manner because everyone is the teacher and every situation is a “teaching moment”. For example: There were times when I would show up for class with my lesson plan, class handouts and a plan of action but in the first five minutes of class one of the teachers would present a current classroom challenge and want to know how to adapt the ICWIB program to address that specific problem.
I can remember standing in front of the class, taking a long deep breath, and asking myself if I was going to stick with my previous agenda or completely change course. Each time I would choose to change course. Then I would show them how to look at the science of what was happening and how to choose an appropriate activity so the child could learn to resolve the imbalance by him or herself. Then sometimes, quite magically, the material I had planned to teach would be addressed, but in a completely different way than I had anticipated.
In the process of teaching these gifted teachers the preschool version of the ICWIB program, I saw a need for a new product—ICWIB preschool cards. These cards would serve as a reference guide for preschool teachers and/or parents when they were unsure of which activity to use in a given situation. So in between teaching, and coaching the teachers through the process of implementing the program into their classroom, I also have been developing the ICWIB preschool cards. They will be available late October as part of the new ICWIB Preschool kit. For more information: http://icreatewhatibelieve.com/preschool.html
Then after spending lots of hours working with these wonderful teachers and even more hours reviewing the footage of the classes, a brilliant colleague of mine—Cindy Summers, and I began the grueling process of creating a video so these teachers could share with you their experience of learning the program and how it changed their classroom. I hope you enjoy it! Click here to see video: http://icreatewhatibelieve.com/inaction.html)
So what is coming up on the horizon? MAEYC (Marin County Association for the Education of Young Children) is sponsoring an ICWIB workshop in San Rafael, CA on October 19th, 2013 entitled: Using Art to Teach Self-Regulation and Increase Resiliency. For more information: http://icreatewhatibelieve.com/whatsnew/
I look forward to sharing some of the ICWIB ‘behind the scene’ stories with you and seeing you at upcoming events.