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Updated: Jun 19, 2020

There's a lot of (important) talk right now about about having a growth mindset and how important it is that we teach our littles and not-so-littles to learn from failure. But, I really think we are missing a HUGE part in this conversation. That missing part?

Mindfulness, Mindfulness, Mindfulness!

Failure stinks. Even for kids.

Imagine this... Your favorite little is building a bridge from sticks when they add the last bit and attempt to drive a car across it, the structure shifts suddenly, sending stick, cars, and their hard work crashing to the ground. The child breaks into tears and kicks the remaining materials. It's absolutely crazy to think that kids, just because they are little, they somehow don't feel the negative emotions that come from failure or making mistakes. To ask littles, overwhelmed with big emotions to tell you right now what they would do differently next time would be crazy. Before they are ready to share reflect and think of what they've learned, they MUST learn self regulation strategies.

This deep breathing exercise is a popular method for little because it only requires the use of your little (or not-so-little) one's hand as a tool. In my second book, Inspiring Innovation and Creativity in Young Learners, we call it turtle breathing to help children remember to do it slowly.

Let's give Turtle Breathing a try, what do you say?

Put up your hand and let the pointer finger on your other hand become your turtle.

Five breaths to a calmer you!

Let's go.


1. Breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth. (Thumb)


2. Breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth. (Pointer)


3. Breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth. (Middle)


4. Breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth. (Ring)


5. Breathe in through your nose, and out through your mouth. (Pinky)


Take five is a popular breathing strategy that works wonderful for littles. I adapted this to become "turtle breathing" and it is included in Inspiring Innovation and Creativity in Young Learners.


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Updated: Jun 19, 2020

Little learners are full of BIG ideas, but don't always have the language to share their thoughts. These five sentence starters, or curiosity catchphrases as I call them in Hands On STEAM explorations, help young learners (and not-so-young learners) share their thinking and move forward as they explore.

Little learners exploring big concepts.

1. This reminds me of...


In this catch phrase children are connecting to schema to help them understand new ideas they are still working to figure out!


2. I notice...


When children say, I notice, they are actually making observations! Making observations is important for noticing patterns and questioning.


3. Oops, I learned...


We all make mistakes as we learn. Sharing the phrase "Oops, I learned..." helps young children begin to understand that mistakes are just an entry point to learning.


4. I think if...


Making an inference is one of the highest levels of thinking. When you hear little learners saying words like "I think if..." or "maybe if..." they are using clues from their observations or things they already know to make inferences.


5. I wonder...


Last, but certainly not least, the most magical of phrases for all little, "I wonder". These small phrase packs a powerful punch. It can guide children to exploring, investigation and discovering! This phrase should be discussed all day, every day.


Updated: Jun 19, 2020


5 Things To Consider about SORTING

Ok... we know all little ones love to sort. It seems like such a natural process that we forget sometimes it is important to expand these experiences to include multiple sorts of the same materials. You may want to consider these ideas next time you see your little ones sorting.


1. It is important that your little ones spend a lot of time with exact match! Yes, exact match involves a lot of observation, conversation and internal language about similarities and differences. You may want to use this phrase when interacting with the children, "Find my match".


2. Next, move on to sorting by only one attribute so that you pull a smaller set away from the whole. You may want to say, "What's my rule".


3. Now you are ready to use one attribute to change a collection into two sets using a yes/no rule so that the entire whole set is sorted. You may want to say, "If you are wearing blue stand here, if you are not wearing blue then stand here".


4. Sorting everyday items like bottle caps can be a much richer experience than "plastic buttons". Items used in everyday life have an infinite amount of variation so the opportunities for similarities and differences are much more open and provide an endless loop for conversation.


5. Sorting natural items such as rocks, leaves, or multiple items from a nature walk can increase the amount of language used to describe the attributes and become a great family activity.



For more information on sorting you may want to go check out this link: https://earlymath.erikson.edu/big-ideas/attributes-can-be-used-to-sort-collections-into-sets-learning-basic-math-isnt-basic/



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