Let’s Talk about Talking

Notes from the Classroom
A view from the author's classroom.

A view from the author’s classroom.

At my school, we have found that by working on oral language confidence, we can help lower-elementary students build up their reading and writing skills. When students are comfortable speaking in front of others, they start to feel more comfortable trying new things or taking risks to build reading and writing skills.

Below are some ways I have incorporated oral language skills into my classroom.

Student of the Week

Each week, one student is chosen to be student of the week. Students have to bring in a poster board decorated with pictures of themselves, family, things they like, and so forth. They present it to the class and talk about each picture.

That week they also bring in a toy and read a book to the class. After each activity, the other students are encouraged to ask questions of the student or share connections.

These activities give the presenters an opportunity to build oral language and presentation skills, in a fun, non-threatening way, since they know a lot about the topic and they choose what they are sharing. It also helps the audience learn to ask questions and practice sharing in front of a group.

Writers Workshop

At the beginning of the year, “writing” lessons focus on oral stories with picture illustrations. The students learn about stories’ components, without focusing on the stressful act of writing. When they have a more solid foundation of letter writing and sound skills, we move into the act of writing.

Most my writing lessons still start with students’ orally telling a friend what they are going to write about–before going off to work. This helps the students completely formulate the thought they want to write about.

Flipgrid

An app, Flipgrid, allows students to record videos about "how to" writing.

An app, Flipgrid, allows students to record videos about “how to” writing.

Another idea I recently tried, inspired by an app discussed in this blog post, was to have students present one of our writing assignments using Flipgrid.

My latest writing unit was on “How To” writing. I had the students choose something they wanted to teach someone to do. Then they drew an illustration of each step. Using the illustrations, they each created a video in Flipgrid.

My students were so proud of themselves and loved doing it. And though we could use some video-skills practice, we’ll get there! I am excited to find what other lessons will easily lend themselves to using the app, and I know my kinders are too.

Work Activity Time–AKA Free Choice

I briefly touched on the power of play in a post last year. Play is such an important part of the day, not only because of the creativity that students are allowed to demonstrate, but because of the conversations, problem solving, and pretending they engage in.

In February our school participated for the second time in Global School Play Day (mark your calendars for the fourth annual event, on February 8, 2018). This is a day dedicated globally to promoting the positive aspects of play. On this day, our upper elementary teachers shared how students that never speak out in class were really getting into the games they brought in. The student groups mixed together and brought out shared interests, as they had conversations while playing a game. This was a site to see! Students became more comfortable with their classmates, and in turn more comfortable speaking out in classroom discussions.

Bringing It Home

This year I have been sending home a “choice board” to parents instead of “homework.” It has things on it like, “Write thank you notes for holiday gifts,” “Jump up and down counting by 10s,” and “Read a nonfiction book.” I also added things like, “Go for a walk and talk about the signs of winter you see,” or “Talk about the different animals you see and what you know about them.”

All together, these activities build students’ speaking skills. And in doing so, they help lay the important foundations for students’ reading and writing skills. To get students talking–it’s something we as teachers should keep talking about.

image1Tricia Ziegler (Twitter: @axf96; blog: http://kindergartentreasures.blogspot.com) is a kindergarten teacher at Loon Lake Elementary, in the Walled Lake School District. She is a part of the Walled Lake iCouncil (Instructional Council) team and is part of starting a coding club at her school this year. She is in her eleventh year of teaching, with nine in kindergarten and two in Second Grade. Prior to that she taught in the Walled Lake Great Start Readiness Program, which is a state-funded preschool program for at-risk students. Tricia attended Michigan State University for her undergraduate degree and specialization in Early Childhood. She then attended Wayne State University for her Master’s in Teacher Education.

Get Back Up Again

Notes from the Classroom

cant yetFor the past two years, Loon Lake Elementary, where I teach, has really been trying to elicit a growth mindset in our students. We remind them we can always get better at something, and we need to work hard and not give up. We have been focusing on this in cross-grade-level monthly meetings, called Teams, as well as in individual classrooms.

Having a growth mindset carries over into all aspects of the classroom. Knowing that, here are a few of the growth mindset tools my kids have been exploring this year.

The Power of “Yet”

The word yet is a little easier for my kindergarten students to understand than the phrase growth mindset. When my students say they cannot do something, we always add on the word yet. We then talk about what we can do to get better. This really hits home with them.

We completed a sheet (posted above) about something they cannot do–yet–and what they could do to practice and get better. This elicited some great discussions about, for example, how they might not be able to read a certain book, but that they can read some things. And if they keep working on reading strategies, they will get there.

Class Dojo also has some wonderful videos that open up a great dialogue about having a growth versus fixed mindset. One in particular is about the character Mojo, who wants to give up at school because he isn’t “good” at it. The video chronicles how Mojo’s friends help him learn that in school you can’t give up when you don’t succeed the first, second, or third time.

STEM Lessons

A favorite lesson by all has been “Save Fred.” Fred is a gummy worm whose boat (a small plastic cup) has capsized with his lifejacket (a gummy lifesaver) stuck underneath it. The students are not allowed to use hands but are provided several paperclips to save Fred by getting his lifejacket on.

This lesson really drove home the importance of persevering. Students were extremely frustrated they couldn’t use hands and that the gummy worm was larger than the hole in the lifesaver. They had to keep trying. They also had to learn to work together and communicate ideas well.

We also tried the “Marshmallow Tower” challenge, where they were given twenty spaghetti noodles, one yard of masking tape, one yard of string, scissors, and one large marshmallow. Student groups were asked to create the tallest tower to support the marshmallow at the top of the tower within a time limit of eighteen minutes. This was even more challenging than saving Fred. But we noticed that, with encouragement, students did not give up. However, they were extremely frustrated when towers fell repeatedly.

We decided to bring home the point that while you need to try again, you may need to change up your approach. We also wanted to encourage all group members to participate. So we revisited this same lesson, with the addition of straws and pipe cleaners. We started off discussing what students noticed had or hadn’t worked the first time around. We also talked about how to include everyone. Then we showed students the new materials and challenged them again. They were very excited about the addition of the new materials and came up with creative towers and new ideas. Additionally, they stopped to plan first and gain ideas from all group members, instead of one person trying to take charge.

Lessons from Theatre

rapunzel

The script. Click the image to open a larger version in a new window.

My kindergartners, along with our Second Grade Buddy Class, worked on a growth mindset Reader’s Theatre about Rapunzel, created by Whimsy Workshop. The storyline is about how the Prince comes to save Rapunzel, but when he says let down your hair, Rapunzel has just cut it off. The play reveals how they don’t give up, and that they try other ideas to save Rapunzel. The students loved performing for others, as well as the followup STEM challenge of creating a way to save Rapunzel. This further brought home the point that even if you don’t create something that works the first time, you should tweak it and try again.

Try Everything

I know that this isn’t something we can do all of the time. But if we encourage students to have a growth mindset and keep trying, they’ll be more likely to succeed and enjoy school. If students aren’t succeeding and want to give up, that is when we really need to bring them back to having a growth mindset.

Finally, remind them it’s OK to fail! A wonderful book I recently read and highly recommend, Rosie Revere Engineer, by Andrea Beaty, has a great line: The only true failure can come if you quit. Now more than ever we need to bring that home to our students!

image1Tricia Ziegler (Twitter: @axf96; blog: http://kindergartentreasures.blogspot.com/) is a kindergarten teacher at Loon Lake Elementary, in the Walled Lake School District. She is a part of the Walled Lake iCouncil (Instructional Council) team and is part of starting a coding club at her school this year. She is in her eleventh year of teaching, with nine in kindergarten and two in Second Grade. Prior to that she taught in the Walled Lake Great Start Readiness Program, which is a state-funded preschool program for at-risk students. Tricia attended Michigan State University for her undergraduate degree and specialization in Early Childhood. She then attended Wayne State University for her Master’s in Teacher Education.

Finding the Details

Notes from the Classroom

image2This year as a kindergarten team, we had to decide on a Professional Learning Community goal to enhance our instruction. We decided that we’d like to work on having students elaborate in their writing and illustrations, and include feelings in both.

Here is part of what we’re doing.

In the Beginning

In kindergarten we start off our writing instruction by telling oral stories. This is the perfect time to model the adding of details and feelings to one’s story.

We start off by saying, “I bought a toy,” and see if the students find this to be an interesting story. Of course they always want to know more! When it’s the students’ turn to share stories, we ask questions to elicit more details and to see how they’re feeling.

After a few days of oral storytelling with emotional details, we model a detailed illustration of the event discussed. We also phase in the lessons on labeling (i.e., names, label the items in the pic, feelings, etc.).

Just as you convince young readers they are readers, you also need to convince them they are a community of authors and illustrators. Constant praise and access to writing outlets is key.

Mentor Texts

Mentor texts also show students how authors and illustrators include details to make the story more interesting. When feelings are shown, readers can better relate to and understand the story.

Additionally, mentor texts lend themselves well to lessons on writing what are often referred to as small moments. These are moments that have happened to the students, which they would be able to write about in detail. Young authors often express they have nothing to write about; sometimes they just need a little inspiration, and mentor texts can help with that too!

Below are just a few of my personal favorites. I would love to hear a few of your favorite mentor texts in the comments below; I am always looking to expand my library!

  • Hug. This is a great example of something young authors could emulate, in order elaborate their feelings.
  • cover_gramandgrandpaBear’s Loose Tooth and Bear Feels Scared (really the entire Bear series). One way to use these texts is to inspire a story about when students may have lost their first tooth, or about a time they were nervous and had someone help them.
  • Llama Llama books. These books include wonderful descriptive words and the easy flow of the text is fun for children to hear. The descriptive words alone are a great thing to point out for students to add to writing. The storylines are also relatable and a great jumping point when working on details.

Cross-Grade-Level Writing

Something new I’d like to try with my kindergarteners this year is set writing time with our second grade buddy class. Our intention is that writing together will build the skill level of the students as well as the confidence of the second graders. This thought is in its infancy stage and I will hopefully be able to post more about it later in the year.

For now, my coworker and I would like to have the students work together on a book about a character who has struggled to learn and/or do something. They will create a fictional character or write about themselves. We will have lessons built around the details of characters’ feelings, both when they struggle and succeed. The students will work to reflect this in the illustrations and the words.

We will have them share these with each other and other classrooms when completed. The power of an authentic audience is also motivating when writing!

In The End

At the end of the year I know my classroom will be full of amazing authors and illustrators. I know this because I believe in them and because of the growth they’ve already shown in three short months. Most started at the beginning of the year with the creation of what I refer to as sun people–a circle with arms and hands sprouting from it, with a smile inside and no words.

Now they are drawing multiple people with bodies that are separate from their heads, details in the scene, and labels with the picture. Some are adding a descriptive sentence or more about what is going on. I am elated and know they will keep going because they are motivated and believe in themselves too!

image1Tricia Ziegler (Twitter: @axf96; blog: http://kindergartentreasures.blogspot.com/) is a kindergarten teacher at Loon Lake Elementary, in the Walled Lake School District. She is a part of the Walled Lake iCouncil (Instructional Council) team and is part of starting a coding club at her school this year. She is in her eleventh year of teaching, with nine in kindergarten and two in Second Grade. Prior to that she taught in the Walled Lake Great Start Readiness Program, which is a state-funded preschool program for at-risk students. Tricia attended Michigan State University for her undergraduate degree and specialization in Early Childhood. She then attended Wayne State University for her Master’s in Teacher Education.

Summer (Reading) Lovin’

Notes from the Classroom

tayrdgtentMy daughter, Taylor, just started her first grade year. She left kindergarten at grade level in reading, and at the end of the year, she was just starting to believe in herself as a reader.

But throughout the summer, Taylor showed no gains in reading, even though she’s surrounded by two parents who are teachers and who value reading, and a sister who values reading and offers lots (and lots!) of encouragement. Taylor offered eye rolls when met with reminders of using strategies or reading the picture; I’m sure to see more in the teenage years too! She stuck with easy books and passed off other books to the rest of us.

This was hard for me. Teaching students to read is–as I point out to my children–what I do. They have both expressed that they have no interest in my wearing my teaching hat at home. They want me in the Mom role. So I have to be subtle.

Which got me thinking about those households that don’t have teachers in them, or parents who don’t have the drive to spend each evening reading. We as teachers can’t change what happens at home. We can encourage and remind till we are blue in the face, but it doesn’t always work. The summer slide seems to be inevitable, until every school becomes year round.

The first week of school solidified this thought for me. Students need the learning environment all the time, and not just September to June. In her first week, Taylor came home, picked up a Mo Willems book, and started reading it. I tried not to let my chin hit the floor, but couldn’t stop the excitement I felt. She was reading, without even being asked to. And it was a brand new title for her!

Just being back in an environment with an expectation of learning and the encouragement of her classroom teacher had flipped the switch for her. 

Year-Round Reading

Since this can-read attitude is a goal for my own kindergarteners, I’ve already started thinking about how to maximize this mindset for them when summer arrives. Yes, I know we’ve just started school, but the thought is fresh in my mind and the problem is a big one!

Here are a few ideas:

  • Have parents send videos of their child reading. The teacher could send a video clip back. This could be done through email, Instagram, a classroom Facebook page, a Google classroom hangout, or even Twitter, depending on parents’ comfort.
  • Start a book club. Send out books, and have a focus (visualizing, predicting, retelling, connecting, etc.) for the students when they read. Parents could respond again through the options listed above. You could also provide a bag of books for the summer, along with a reading list. Remind 101 is a quick, text-message-based tool to send assignment reminders.
  • Meet the previous class at the park or the school playground. Give them that reminder: You are a learner even over the summer!
  • Invite future students to a meet and greet. Get the ball rolling early.
  • Set up a book club at the local library, and have the kids meet you there. The library may even order extra copies of the books.
  • Have the kids do video book reports. These can serve as recommendations to friends, and kids can post using the same channels listed above.
  • Start a book chain mail with your class. Media mail is cheaper. You don’t have to use new books; kids can send out a favorite they would like to share.
  • Meet at a book store. Work with a local book or comic book shop and see if they’ll let you meet there–or donate books to the cause.
  • Trade used books. Have a used book trade a few times over the summer, and stay after to read them under the stars with flashlights.

I’m not sure which I am going to try or what will work best for my class this year. As I get to know my students and parents, I will try to figure out what would work best to keep that learning attitude over the summer.

Also, a lot of these ideas could be done during the school year too! Hopefully you’ll be able to try some of these ideas, or can share some of your own in the comments.

image1Tricia Ziegler (Twitter: @axf96; blog: http://kindergartentreasures.blogspot.com/) is a kindergarten teacher at Loon Lake Elementary, in the Walled Lake School District. She is a part of the Walled Lake iCouncil (Instructional Council) team and is part of starting a coding club at her school this year. She is in her eleventh year of teaching, with nine in kindergarten and two in Second Grade. Prior to that she taught in the Walled Lake Great Start Readiness Program, which is a state-funded preschool program for at-risk students. Tricia attended Michigan State University for her undergraduate degree and specialization in Early Childhood. She then attended Wayne State University for her Master’s in Teacher Education.

Reading and Writing Apps: K-5

Notes from the Classroom Oakland Writing Project

shutterstock_305346137Thanks to a generous grant from the Walled Lake Foundation for Excellence, I was able to get five iPad minis for my classroom. We have been working out the way to best incorporate them into our kindergarten classroom, and we found that they fit in best during our literacy centers, small groups that allow for focused interventions. This way, small groups can use the iPads to enhance skills in an exciting way.

We use the iPads at other times throughout the day as well; literacy centers were just a natural fit. Because the world of educational apps can be a bit overwhelming at first, I hope to help guide you toward some apps we’ve had success with and that my students have enjoyed engaging with in the classroom. Everything below represents my own opinions.

Reading and Writing

With the grant we were also able to obtain a subscription to a service called Raz-Kids, on the website Reading A to Z. This is both a website and an app, and it’s wonderful! You are able to set up logins for each student and assign books at their reading level. At the end of each book, students are asked comprehension questions to earn points. The students are motivated because these points help them create a robot to interact with. Teachers are also able to log in and check students’ progress and comprehension of the texts.

A Tell About This video

A Tell About This video

Another app we just downloaded–and the students are enjoying–is called Tell About This. In this app, students are offered choices of pictures, and then are able to record themselves as they tell a story related to the picture. We first implemented it into the classroom with students taking a picture of the animal diorama they had created for the culmination of our research project. Then they recorded what they learned. They were so excited! (Here’s a link to download a sample of one student’s video.)

A companion to this app is called Write About This. We have not used this in my classroom, but my 2nd Grade daughter enjoys it.

My students’ newest favorite is Vocabulary Spelling City. While it isn’t sight-word practice, it is great practice when working on spelling, helping to motivate students during writing time. To practice, they can play hangman, alphabetize words, and unscramble a word’s letters, among several other choices.

Teach Me Kindergarten is another go-to app. This app, which covers multiple subjects, is in quiz form. Students earn coins as they correctly answer questions, and they are able to use these coins to buy virtual prizes like a fish tank and accessories. As the students start to show mastery, the questions start to become harder automatically. You can also choose a level at which your students start.

Lakeshore also has several learning apps. We have been using Sound Sorting and Phonics Tic Tac Toe. The students like the instant feedback when they get answers correct, as well as the ability to try again.

Coding

A new way that students are learning to write is through coding. This is a whole new language, one I can admit I don’t quite have a handle on, but I am trying. We are only using the iPad apps for coding, but all these apps have desktop applications too.

Currently my students are in love with an app called The Foos. With The Foos, they are learning to code by creating their own games. My students love creating levels for their friends to play.

Tynker and Scratch Jr. are also coding and programming apps my class (and daughters!) are enjoying. With Tynker, kids learn to code different characters to complete missions. With Scratch Jr., students are able to code a character to move around and entertain them. Kids can also change the background and animate things like letters.

Successes

While I can lay no claim to being a technology or iPad expert, I will say I have enjoyed having them in my classroom. The students enjoy learning while having fun, and the technologies give them another outlet to show what they can do. I am excited to spend the summer checking out new ways to use them; my daughters will get to be my guinea pigs.

image1Tricia Ziegler (Twitter: @axf96; blog: http://kindergartentreasures.blogspot.com/) is a kindergarten teacher at Loon Lake Elementary, in the Walled Lake School District. She is a part of the Walled Lake iCouncil (Instructional Council) team. She recently won a technology grant from the Walled Lake Foundation for Excellence. She is in her tenth year of teaching, with eight in kindergarten and two in Second Grade. Prior to that she taught in the Walled Lake Great Start Readiness Program, which is a state-funded preschool program for at-risk students. Tricia attended Michigan State University for her undergraduate degree and specialization in Early Childhood. She then attended Wayne State University for her Master’s in Teacher Education.

Power of Play

Notes from the Classroom

1Back in January an article came out that had the teachers in my building thinking, We’ve been saying that forever and finally someone is acting on it! The article was titled Turns Out Monkey Bars And Kickball Might Be Good For The Brain, by Christopher Connely.

The article focuses on Eagle Mountain Elementary School, in Fort Worth, Texas. The school has started a project where the kindergarten- and first-grade school day is modeled after that of a Finnish school day, where students have recess more often: four times a day, for 15 minutes each time. What a dream!

The Texas project was designed by Debbie Rhea, a kinesiologist from Texas Christian University. Rhea had visited Finland, which scores in the top or near the top in international education rankings, to see the differences in their education system, compared to the U.S.’s. She realized the largest difference was that the students had more recess.

The teachers at Eagle Mountain, using this Finnish model, are noticing that students are focusing more and are happier. And even with the extra breaks, teachers aren’t having trouble fitting in the entire curriculum. In fact, halfway through the year they were ahead of schedule.

How We’re Creating Extra Recess

Feeling more empowered by this article, several teachers at Loon Lake Elementary, including myself, started implementing regular breaks into their day. “Brain Breaks,” or just a break in the curriculum action, are something we had been doing for a while but hadn’t made as regular or well known.

When you have been conditioned to believe that you never have enough time to get through all of the curriculum, even small changes feel wrong. But our breaks are often as simple as a dance break, usually from Go Noodle, a yoga break from Cosmic Kids Yoga, playtime, or yes, even extra recess when timing allows.

We are trying to work in structured and unstructured breaks to reap the most benefits. The teachers in my building, like those at Eagle Mountain, have seen that after these breaks the students come back more focused and ready to go. We are also noticing that the gross and fine motor skills of these students are improving.

Beyond Kindergarten

3I am fortunate that in my district, when we started the all-day, every-day kindergarten program in 2008, the district stressed the importance of play in the classroom. I am also fortunate that my building principal supports this. We have free-choice play in my classroom every day; this is something that never changes and I hope never will.

I wish the importance of play extended beyond the kindergarten year, though. We as teachers know it is important, but is often pushed aside, with the implication that it isn’t as important, even though it enhances gross and fine motor skills. Play even helps children with their communication and problem solving skills.

Bob Murray, an Ohio State University pediatrician, is quoted in the article above as saying: “If you want a child to be attentive and stay on task, and also if you want them to encode the information you’re giving them in their memory, you’ve got to give them regular breaks.” So yes, play also helps with the learning process itself.

Mrs. Tisdall, a first grade teacher at my school, was excited to share a story about an extra recess with her students. Her students came running up excitedly with some white pebbles. They were in a debate about what they were: “Are they insect eggs?” “Are they rocks?” “What kind of insect could have laid them?”

The questions and debate kept going. Mrs. Tisdall just stood back and listened. She didn’t have to intervene; through the power of play and exploration, the students were teaching themselves. Then they ran off and started searching for more signs of insects.

I hope that people continue to research and share the importance of play and not just at the lower-elementary level. An even bigger hope is that educators themselves continue to recognize the importance of breaks and play, and give it a shot.

image1Tricia Ziegler (Twitter: @axf96; blog: http://kindergartentreasures.blogspot.com/) is a kindergarten teacher at Loon Lake Elementary, in the Walled Lake School District. She is a part of the Walled Lake iCouncil (Instructional Council) team. She recently won a technology grant from the Walled Lake Foundation for Excellence. She is in her tenth year of teaching, with eight in kindergarten and two in Second Grade. Prior to that she taught in the Walled Lake Great Start Readiness Program, which is a state-funded preschool program for at-risk students. Tricia attended Michigan State University for her undergraduate degree and specialization in Early Childhood. She then attended Wayne State University for her Master’s in Teacher Education.

The Importance of Reading at Home

Notes from the Classroom

shutterstock_221592391I am fortunate that both of my daughters absolutely love reading. They look at not having time to read as a punishment, one that’s equivalent to losing their favorite toy.

Maybe this is because my husband and I are both educators, and we’ve been reading to them since I found out I was pregnant. But we also do more with books than just read in a monotone voice.

I believe it is important to teach these habits to parents with young children. This can help build the connection between learning at school and at home, a connection that’s desperately needed. It can also make learning more interesting for students.

Setting Higher Expectations

I created a blog for my kindergarten classroom that is updated biweekly. This blog explains what we are doing in the classroom, and includes details on what we are reading. It also describes the stamina we are building as students read to themselves.

Parents are always amazed that my goal for kindergarten is that students read to themselves for 20 minutes or more. (Yes, this takes a while, since we usually start the year with a whopping two minutes!) Most parents can’t believe their child can sit that long and read.

But setting ambitious goals is not enough. I believe that, in addition, we need to explain to parents how we teach reading.

We want students to ask questions of themselves while reading. We also want them to predict what is going to happen next, and to make a connection to themselves or another book they have read.

We teach these skills in the classroom. But we also must encourage parents to do the same at home.

A Few Strategies that Help

How can we ensure that reading instruction continues at home?

One tool I have used is a reading strategy bookmark. In guided-reading book bags, which come home two times a week, we include this bookmark. This bookmark explains in simple detail the strategies we use to teach reading. It also has a page of questions parents can ask while reading with their child, like:

  • What do you think the author is trying to teach us?
  • What was your favorite part?
  • Can you find the word _____?
  • Tell me what happened at the beginning, middle, or end of the story.

shutterstock_158942981This kind of reading can be used during the daily bedtime routine. This makes the books more fun and interesting, and helps students retain more information about their books. Such a routine can also become a time the child looks at with fond memories, a quality time with his or her family.

There’s another conversation to have with parents, and it can be awkward. That is, emphasizing the importance of their reading, too, so their child can see them taking pleasure in it.

We know children learn by watching. When they see parents only playing phone games or video games, checking emails, or staring at the television, this becomes the norm. On the other hand, if children see their parents enjoying a good book, we can more easily expect that child to read at home. Homework also becomes less of a battle.

We as educators know the importance of reading. But while we establish the importance of reading in our classroom, we need to remember that parents can help us further the importance of reading at home.

image1Tricia Ziegler (Twitter: @axf96; blog: http://kindergartentreasures.blogspot.com/) is a kindergarten teacher at Loon Lake Elementary, in the Walled Lake School District. She recently became part of the Walled Lake Teacher Leader Fellowship. She is in her tenth year of teaching, with eight in kindergarten and two in Second Grade. Prior to that she taught in the Walled Lake Great Start Readiness Program, which is a state-funded preschool program for at-risk students. Tricia attended Michigan State University for her undergraduate degree and specialization in Early Childhood. She then attended Wayne State University for her Master’s in Teacher Education.