Educating Young Students From The Inside Out

Educating Preschool students from the "Inside Out"
Showing posts with label reading. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reading. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Friday is my deadline for the book giveaway.

Almost 100 of you have seen this blog post and free giveaway since Monday. But unfortunately I can't enter you unless you comment and send me your information?  We have two days remaining.

 Here is a review by the publisher below.


From the Publisher

* A parents' and teachers' guide to developing children's concentration, self-discipline, and compassion, as well as heartfelt qualities like openness and enthusiasm. * Includes more than 90 techniques and exercises drawn from the author's experiences as a teacher and director of the Living Wisdom School, a nonprofit elementary school that emphasizes nonsectarian spiritual principles and practical skills for living. * Recommends books, music, games, and other resources to help grown-ups nurture calm and compassionate kids.

About the Author

Susan Usha Dermond has spent the last 18 years of her 30-year career in education in alternative schools, including 12 years as a teacher at the original Living Wisdom School in Nevada City, California. She is now the director of the Beaverton, Oregon, Living Wisdom School, and also a columnist for modern

Many Blessings,

Sunday, November 13, 2011

First Give-away on "Inside Out"

It is an exciting moment on this blog. Thank you for your emails, verbal comments and expressions of love that you have given me since starting this blog in August.

Susan Usha Dermond has offered our first give-away . Susan Usha Dermond will be sending out a copy of her book; Calm and Compassionate Children. I wrote a book review on this blog in September.

I will be giving the book away this Friday, November 18th. So please comment below and you may be the winner from a random drawing for this deeply inspirational book. I look forward to your comments.

 Many Blessings and thank you, Chandi

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Living in harmony with the animals on the earth

The past two weeks our class has easily transitioned to our next unit: "The Animal Kingdom." My Preschool and Kindergarten classes just loves animals. In fact, many young children love animals. This is one of the easiest steps for teaching young children compassion while opening their own hearts to the world all around them. 
The next few blogs will contain the projects that we completed.

To begin the unit I wanted to combine three stories and tell them over and over throughout the next few weeks. I wanted to try some of the techniques from a one of my favorite blogs by: Sally Haughey from: Fairy Dust Teaching. She has written many excellent entries on storytelling.  Specifically here today, the entry on: The power of table top puppets and retelling a story.

I choose the story: The Great Kapock Tree, by Lynne Cherry.  Here is the story read aloud.

The children heard me tell the story with puppets and then we all practiced again and again. For many, this was the first time that they ever had the opportunity to act out or retell a story.  I also want to work with the principals on building strong hands on literacy.

The children acting out different animal parts in the story. These children are listening to sounds on one of our rainforest Cd's and making the sounds of the animals in the story.
 Individually acting out the story

Well, we arent quite yet ready to make a video of our stories, but we have had alot of fun retelling the story in many creative ways.

Monday, September 12, 2011

"A little bit if heaven"

Come gather round,
With a friend on the left,
And a friend on the right,
Come gather round

This week’s story is a natural sequel to the story by Patrick McDonnell reviewed last week. I found this the same day as the previous story. I am hoping that you were able to read the first story to your child, or in your classroom setting.

This week’s story is Just Like Heaven, also about our two little friends, Mooch and Earl.

 One misty morning the fog had crept around Mooch's favorite tree. When he awoke, he didn't quite know where he was.  He looked left, and saw nothing. He looked right, and saw nothing. Everything that was familiar to him was covered in a dim fog. He wondered where he was—could it be heaven?  I must be in heaven, he thought, and that is where his journey in this tale begins.


About two weeks ago, I was reading this book to a group of children from the ages of 6 to 11. We were in a glorious setting in a forest glen, sitting above a ravine of Maple, Pine and Douglas Fir trees.  Each child was able to sit on a small tree stump and look over the panoramic view in this little haven of peace. As I read the story, it was easy to focus the children. This setting embodied the bit of heaven that is all around us at any moment or at any given time. How often we forget that there is beauty in the trees whispering, the flowers dancing, and the birds singing. In this natural setting I reminded the children that we can appreciate our friends, homes, families and even in the small disturbances in our lives. All of these lessons reflect to us, like a mirror, where our energy lies.

To return to the story, the most captivating page is when Mooch comes across a fierce dog tied to a chain. The dog lets out a big “BARK." Now, under normal conditions, Mooch would have gone all fuzzy with fear and run away. But this is not a normal day, since he may be in heaven.  Mooch asks himself, "Here and now, what should I do?"  Then he opens his arms and says......
Sorry, I don't want to give the story away. You’ll have to read it.  But I will give you this hint:  The children are so full of love for the story, they can't refrain from turning to the partner next to them and acting out exactly what Mooch does in the story.
It has never failed me yet.

Children’s senses are heightened when they are in an outdoor setting. This is the perfect book for taking outside; nature will expand your young listeners’ awareness to comprehend its deeper meaning. It’s perfect on a foggy morning, but any kind of morning, or any time of day, will do.

When I read this story to my class, we ended our time together by taking the love of beauty aroused in us and using it to do a creative visualization from Sharing Nature with Children  called "Expanded Mediation Circle."  This can be done with children ages 6-adult.

This story, read against the backdrop of nature, provides a perfect way to tap into the appreciation, love and harmony expressed in the joy of spirit in and around us.

Many blessings, until next week.
Joyful reading, friends. .......

Monday, August 29, 2011

The gift of your presence

 Its our weekly story time!  

"Come gather round,
With a friend on the left and friend on the right, 
          Come gather round"
About two years ago I was walking in our local library looking for a new book about love and kindness, that I could select for the children in my Kindergarten class. I usually have an inner guidance and prayer before I go into the library to guide and help me select the perfect book for  teaching a certain "quality" to the children. 
On this particular day, a book literally fell onto my foot. I picked it up without giving it much attention and placed it back on the shelf. It was not the type of book that I would usually select. The cover wasn't that appealing ,expansive with color or intriguing.  Its cover actually had more of  a "cartoon" feel to the it. At the Living Wisdom School we shy away from any theatrical productions, videos and television.
Well, it fell on my foot again. Now, I am somewhat perturbed at this point. I took a moment to look again at the cover. The drawings by Patrick McDonnell looked somewhat familiar. So it intrigued me enough to slow down and sit with the book.
The title of the book: The Gift of Nothing  
This story is about Mooch a friendly little cat who wants to give his friend Earl a gift. This delightful story is around the love and friendship between friends. How often we spend hours trying to find just the perfect birthday gift for a loved one and we are discouraged about what we have chosen. But what should you do when your friend has everything? This is a tale about Mooch searching for the gift of nothing.  This book is for all ages.  I love to read this for our afternoon story or it is a sweet story for the bedtime ritual. You might be able to get away with reading it twice, since you will fall in love with it.
This is surely one book that you will want to give away, but purchase one for your child's shelf as well. 
Patrick McDonnell has quite a nice series of short children's stories. 
I encourage you to take a peak at the library you never know what enticing stories might fall on your foot. 

Joyful reading friends until next Friday.....

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Once upon a time in a land far, far, away.....

 One main focus of this blog is to mention some favorite books I have found over the years.  I’ll write each Friday about the spiritual gems contained in them.

Often  I have been asked by educators and parents how to teach spiritual truths to young children. My background has brought a rich love of books, treasures and memories.  I find that reading is an easy place to begin to awaken the enthusiasm in a young child.  Reading to our children, students and grandchildren is a timeless experience.  Through reading we can explore and create imaginary worlds, and experience within the deepest part of ourselves that which creates an inner world of deep meaning, love and truth.

When working with children's literature there, are many ways to deeply look at the contents of a story.  I love large formatted picture books, but with our culture turning into more visual stimulus for children , I now lean towards not always showing the pictures, but weaning the children into closing their eyes and imagining what the story might look like. This can happen even at the early age of four. I also want to build children’s comprehension and hands on the literacy, an approach used today in alternative education.

The next stage after reading a story would be to act out the story through puppet shows, felt pieces or with a child’s whole being. These timeless stories have the children ask again and again for the opportunity to re-enact them in class.

Today's book review is Pinduli,  by Janell Cannon.

Janell Cannon  is famous for her illustrations. Her very familiar, award-winning book Stellaluna  has sold over 500,000 copies. It was on the bestseller list for more than two years.

Pindulu takes place in Africa savanna and is about a little hyena and his mother. An expression of love is shown throughout the story, as Pindulu’s mother assures her how beautiful she is. However, Pindulu finds out early that the animals in the savanna have a different view of her big ears, fuzzy mane, and wiggly stripes.  Through a chain of events, Pindulu finds that she just wants to hide and return home to the safety of her mother. She decides to cover her fur with pale dust.  On her way home the animals think she's an evil spirit, or a ghost who's come for revenge. This is my favorite part of the story: Pinduli convinces all the animals to make up for their harsh lashings.   The story reveals many spiritual truths about choosing your words carefully, friendship, anger and talking harshly to others.

I love this book, and have used it in many settings from kindergarten to sixth grade. As an educator, I will select this story if I need reinforcement to drive home lessons about circumstances that may have happened on the playground or the classroom.  I like to make up games to enhance the spiritual points in the story. This is also one of my favorite stories about teaching children the law of magnetism and the secrets of friendship. Loyalty, kindness, acceptance, and appreciation of others are all high ideals we want to instill in our children.  This story can help in that endeavor.

I have had the wonderful opportunity for the past 17 years to work with Eastwest Bookshop of Seattle, a spiritual, independent bookshop that is able to order books, make suggestions, and serve as a guiding light in selecting high quality spiritual books for children and families.  We are very fortunate to have such a quality store that is in tune with the principles of our Living Wisdom School. Eastwest Bookshop of Seattle will order any book that you might need in a timely fashion and offer you the opportunity to browse through books in their family section. It has a warm, nurturing environment that will welcome you home to the magnetism of spirit, beauty and truth.

Happy reading, friends…until next Friday.