The Past Two (and more) Weeks – School Then and Now, Part 3

In Part 2, I detailed our annual Art Show over the years, with stories of children and major works of art.  I also described how music played a major role in helping children feel inspired to create masterpieces.  The magnitude of the Art Show was crucial, and suddenly it was gone.

Part 3
When school shut down I knew I had to do something.  Right away.  Keeping a connection with children was the most important thing.  And, what was it that children loved, their favorite part of the day?  Reading stories and chapter reading.  I knew if I could still read to children, that would be important.

The first thing I did was to set up a YouTube channel.  I read a picture book every day.  I also picked up where we left off in chapter reading on page 53 of Little House in the Big Woods.  That has been a constant, every day.  I started with books the children like.  The shock of the first few weeks demanded good books, favorite books.  I was nurturing their soul.  Continuing with chapter reading was doing the same thing.

Then, my team and I wanted to move forward and bring in teaching.  How could we continue with art and the Art Show?  I read aloud The Noisy Paint Box, by Barb Rosenstock, the story of Kandinsky.

More than that, I opened the video with stories of Eric Carle and his art (the children love Eric Carle), and how Kandinsky influenced him to become the painter he is today.  After the story, I showed them in the video other styles of art that we had started to learn, and I challenged them to create their own masterpieces.  It is a wonderful video!

We began to post other videos on YouTube- music, yoga, mindfulness, math activities, rhyming, and science.  Every day became a theme for learning.  Gloria began to make visits.  When my co-teacher hosted a scavenger hunt, Gloria wanted to participate, too.

We emailed families and encouraged children to tell us what they were doing at home.  Families sent photos, and we wrote to the children.  There’s nothing better for a child than a note from the teacher.  We were flooded with photos and opportunities to email and connect with children.


When the writing began, we recommended that children keep a journal of their time at home.  They could draw pictures and have their parents write the words.  Better yet, they could try to write some of their own words.  Parents were thrilled, and so were children.

Can you see how the teaching has developed, and learning is taking shape?

We now do Zoom every Friday.  It is fun, and children can see their friends.  We sing and talk, and that is important.  Social skills are a must for preschoolers.  Zoom keeps that essential piece going.

I have to share with you my fun video.  The backstory is that every day, right before chapter reading, I recite the classic children’s book, Goodnight Moon.  Sometimes I change it up and interject children’s names, such as “and a picture of Jimmy jumping over the moon.”  Sometimes I put the story to a beat.  The children love that.  So, I did a Goodnight Moon rap for the children.

We are learning.  We are having fun.  We are all in this together.  Being there for children is #1.  The teaching and learning begin to flow once we are connected.  Thank goodness for our Aqua Room YouTube channel.  Thank goodness for emailing and photos.  Thank goodness for Zoom.  We keep adding and doing what is important, even a simple card in the mail.

Stay well and stay safe, and stay tuned for Part 4, a highlight on chapter reading.



About Jennie

I have been teaching preschool for over thirty-five years. This is my passion. I believe that children have a voice, and that is the catalyst to enhance or even change the learning experience. Emergent curriculum opens young minds. It's the little things that happen in the classroom that are most important and exciting. That's what I write about. I was a live guest on the Kelly Clarkson Show. I am highlighted in the seventh edition of Jim Trelease's million-copy bestselling book, "The Read-Aloud Handbook" because of my reading to children. My class has designed quilts that hang as permanent displays at the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia, the Fisher House at the Boston VA Hospital, and the Massachusetts State House in Boston.
This entry was posted in behavior, Eric Carle, Expressing words and feelings, Giving, Gloria, Inspiration, Mindfulness, picture books, preschool, reading aloud, Teaching young children, The Arts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

82 Responses to The Past Two (and more) Weeks – School Then and Now, Part 3

  1. Ritu says:

    Such a lovely though 🥰

  2. beetleypete says:

    ‘Rapper Jennie’! Priceless. You have to get yourself a Rap name now. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • Jennie says:

      How did my team talk me into this? You should have seen me finding a hat with everyone laughing and shouting. Hilarious! You’re not the first person who has told me I need a rapper name. Hmm… 🙂 Best to you, Pete.

  3. Norah says:

    This is wonderful, Jennie. Many other teachers who are stressing about teaching in these strange times could learn a lot from you.

  4. Opher says:

    That is so fabulous Jennie. You are a one off.

  5. Darlene says:

    I just love the Goodnight Moon rap and have sent it to a few children to enjoy. You are doing such a good job at keeping the learning going. Bless you!!

    • Jennie says:

      It was so much fun to do. You should have seen my team laughing hysterically online, especially helping me pick out a hat. There has to be fun for the children in teaching. Thanks so much, Darlene. 😀

  6. Dan Antion says:

    I love seeing how you’re adapting to the crisis, Jennie. Having a fundamental goal had helped you.

  7. quiall says:

    The children are learning how to make lemonade out of a world full of lemons. Valuable lesson.

  8. beth says:

    wonderful, jennie!

  9. I knew you had some Gansta in you, Jennie. Well done.

  10. petespringerauthor says:

    Yes, yes, yes! It’s all great! One of the things you do better than most educators is to involve your students’ families. I can’t speak for them, but I have to imagine they are especially grateful for you now as you continue to support their children and provide them with stability.

    • Jennie says:

      I’m so glad you liked this, Pete. Thank you! Yes, parents are grateful and supportive. It still surprises me how much they they need to learn, and how much they appreciate my advice and support.

  11. frenchc1955 says:

    Jennie, this is wonderful!

  12. Wonderful as always, Jennie! ❤

  13. shoes says:

    Very nice rap! I can tell you may have read that book a time or two!

  14. Jennie the teacher is kept busier than usual while self-isolating and reaching out to her students on a daily basis…me thinks she’s going a bit daffy, too! Rapping helps release that daffyness in the name of teaching…I love it.
    (hugs, hugs, hugs)

  15. I loved your rap! Now, that’s a Goodnight, Moon. I just watched The Noisy Paint Box because I was curious about Kandinsky. Now, I want to try to paint a masterpiece!

    • Jennie says:

      Reading “The Noisy Paint Box” is one of my favorite videos. I’m glad I stopped to tell some storm the children. Thank you for watching! I will never forget learning about Eric Carle’s life history at one of his museum exhibits. His art teacher during WWII in Germany risked his life to show Carle “forbidden art”- Matisse, Picasso, Kandinsky, and a few others. I was so struck by that. Heroic war stories are wonderful, and so is art. So, when the book came out, I had a strong connection. Plus, the book is really good.

      The rap was so much fun! You should have seen me online with my fellow teachers trying to find a hat. Hilarious! 😀

  16. jilldennison says:

    Hey Jennie! You are such a special teacher … I’ve told you before how very much I admire all you do for your students. I just wanted to let you know that I am featuring you as one of my ‘good people’ in tomorrow’s a.m. post, with a link back to this post. Thanks again for all the wonderful things you do!

  17. I just LOVE this!!! Can I play too??? (chuckles) Now this is what I call being creative!!! You make my heart smile, and that is a good thing!

  18. Pingback: Good People Doing Good Things — Little Things | Filosofa's Word

  19. Brilliant Jennie and love the journal idea as well as the great videos… The children will all remember this time and those being entertained and taught by you will do so positively, and I am sure their parents are very grateful for the ideas..I have pressed for tomorrow..hugs ♥

    • Jennie says:

      Thanks so much for your support and understanding of this huge shift in teaching. Yes, I think they will remember this time, hopefully with many smiles. You are the best, Sally! ❤️

  20. Jim Borden says:

    thank you for your wonderful dedication to your students – shared this with my wife who is also a preschool teacher!

  21. Elizabeth says:

    Ah. Now I see why you are so busy. You can disregard the question I posed about why you were. I can’t believe how much more adventurous you have gotten in these activities. You may never return to any semblance of a former stage fright self.

  22. Pingback: The Past Two (and more) Weeks – School Then and Now, Part 3 | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

  23. Fantastic, Jenny! The rap too. :-)) You are with heart and soul a teacher. Nothing can stop you!;-) Thank you! Michael

  24. dgkaye says:

    You’re a star Jennie! I hope Ellen show finds you on Youtube ❤

  25. I have watched a few of your YouTube videos, Jennie, very nice idea indeed. It is a shame for children to be in this situation, I think it is the worst for them.

    • Jennie says:

      Thank you, Robbie. The YouTube videos have been very successful. The children love them, and they can watch any time and as often as they want. Yes, this situation is the worst for them. So sad!

  26. srbottch says:

    Jennie, Jennie, Jennie, what can I say? You’re keeping the learning going, and, amazingly, you’re keeping it to a beat. Fantastic!

  27. Jennie the Rapper! Your talent knows no bounds!😁

  28. You really went the extra mile here and had a good time doing it. Your students are the luckiest on the planet. I can tell you what you are doing is not happening in many other places. You are as caring a teacher as they come.

  29. dweezer19 says:

    How truly wonderful! This will mean everything to your students. I had several teachers over the years who literally saved my emotional well being with their attentive caring for my learning and really connected with me. My youngest son had one teacher in Kindergarten who turned him from being fidgety to focused simply by encouraging him in the direction of his most beloved interest. Too many ‘educators’ and not enough teachers makes school an often dismal place. You rock, Jennie!

    • Jennie says:

      Well said, Cheryl! There are too many ‘educators’ and not enough teachers. When teachers connect with children, learning happens. So does joy. Many thanks!

      • dweezer19 says:

        PS I sent her flowers when he graduated to Jr. High with my thanks. Because of her he became an avid reader and now he is writing. She made a deal with him. If he would sit for the things he needed to do, she let him go the other teachers during break to read to them.. he was way ahead of his age for reading. I get choked up just thinking about Mrs.Grimes. Her name was Stephanie Grimes. She told me that she had become so discouraged in recent years that she was thinking of quitting. Then the flowers came. 😀.

      • Jennie says:

        Oh my goodness! What a wonderful story about an exceptional teacher. Look at what your flowers did for her! Thank you so much, Cheryl!! 😍

  30. dweezer19 says:

    Those who serve humanity need to know how much of a difference they make even in one life.🤗

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