Saturday, 29 April 2017

ETFO Kindergarten Conference - April 2017

Two days of amazing learning at the ETFO Early Years Conference: Seeing, Engaging and Empowering our Kindergarten Learners are summed up in this Storify:

Friday, 28 April 2017

Self-regulation and Lying

As a mom, I found it really hard to not respond from my limbic system when my kids would lie.  I think it was the value that I attached to truthfulness made lying an especially frustrating and stressful behaviour for me to deal with.  So the idea of lying as a stress behaviour and not misbehaviour was challenging for me. Viewing lying as a maladaptive coping strategy helps me to reframe this behaviour though soft eyes instead of judgemental eyes.  
Lying can start of as misbehaviour but when pushed and pushed to tell the truth, people can confabulate as a stress behaviour. I was always puzzled when kids or even teens and adults are caught in a lie and yet they stick to it steadfastly.  I can see where the stress of lying could push some people from misbehaviour to stress behaviour. When we respond limbically to children who lie, it only increases the stress for the child and the adult. Instead we need to reduce the stress in order to bring the child's Prefrontal Cortex back online.
I'm still curious and want to learn more about lying as a maladaptive behaviour and how we can promote children's moral growth and truthfulness.  
Here is a resource you might want to explore if you are interested in this topic:

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Resources for Poetry Month (April)

"Poems are a form of music, and language just happens to be our instrument - language and breath." Terrance Hayes, 2017

So you might ask, "What's the big deal? Why is poetry so important?" Poetry is essential for children because it is 'the best words in the best order.'  The rhythm and rhymes can help children develop a love of language - and a love of reading. Once kids begin flexing their writing muscles, poetry can spark their creativity and let their imaginations soar! 
 J. Patrick Lewis, US Poet Laureate

Poetry can be a powerful tool for writers and readers.  Writers who are reluctant to tackle a larger piece may find a short poem a less intimidating task.  The structure of some poems such as haiku, cinquain, and others provide scaffolds for emerging creative writers.  Reluctant readers may be engaged by the wordplay, rhythm and rhyme of poetry.  Here are some poetry resources you may find helpful for you and your students:

There are lots of amazing lesson plans at  Here are just a few:

Writing Poetry with Rebus and Rhyme Kindergarten to Grade 2
Composing and performing found poetry - K to Grade 2
Today is World Poetry Day Grades 3 - 12
Weaving the Threads - Integrating Poetry Annotation and Web Technology - Grades 6 - 12
Lonely as a Cloud: Using Poetry to understand similes - Grades 4 - 8

Lesson Plans using Interactive Tools
Theme Poems Using the Five Sense - Grades K - 2
Acrostic Poems - a range of lesson plans from K - 12 using an online acrostic poem tool
Diamante Poems - a range of lesson plans from K - 12 using an online diamante poem tool
Haiku Starter - Grades 2 - 5

Scholastic Poetry Resources 

Education World - comprehensive list of Poetry Month resources

Edutopia - another comprehensive list of poetry resources

Poems & Poets at - a searchable database of over 7,000 poems


Research Into Practice: Performing Poetry: Using Drama to Increase the Comprehension of Poetry 

Research Into Practice: Poetry: A Powerful Medium for Literacy and Technology Development

Ten Poems for Teachers 

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Self-Regulation and Schools

Here's a look at a twitter chat with educators about Self-Regulation in Schools, moderated by the MEHRIT Centre. The next one is May 10 at 7:30 - join us at #TMCTalks. EST.:

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Five Misconceptions about Self-Regulation

A short video blog on Five Common Misconceptions about Self-Regulation

5. It's  about stuff - exercise bikes, glitter bottles, etc

4. It's only for kids with formal identification such as ADHD, ADD, ODD

3. It's just for kids

2. We do self-regulation as a whole class

1. It's about controlling your behaviour and your emotions

View the video on youtube at

(Please excuse some of my editing errors - I'll do better next time!)

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Self-Regulation and Mindless Eating

When I was working full-time I would come home from work and, sometimes before I'd even changed my clothes, I would head to the kitchen for something to eat.  I would often just stand in the kitchen and graze - eating crackers from the box, a slice of cheese, cookies, whatever.....  If you had asked me an hour later what I had to eat, I probably wouldn't have been able to tell you.  It was truly mindless eating, and I look back now and realize I was definitely in the lower right box of the Thayer Matrix  - high stress all day at work and then coming home as a single parent to two busy teenagers.  I have no family here in the city so I was pretty much on my own for dealing with any minor or major issues with the kids, the house, the car, etc. Definitely high tension/low energy by 5 pm.
Recently the urge to snack and the mindless eating have been late at night. I had been looking at those cravings through a self-control lens but I decided this afternoon to try to look at them through a self-reg lens.  At first I thought, you can't be/shouldn't be low energy, high tension, you're retired!  But there are still stresses in life, even when you're retired:
  • after six months of working close to home, my husband has been back to travelling all the time for work since early January.  He is usually gone from early Monday morning to late Friday night, and sometimes longer if there are flight delays, etc.  This means I'm in charge of anything that goes wrong with the car, the house, etc unless it can wait till the weekend
  • since I'm retired and hubby's away at work and my kids are both away at university/college, I'm alone a lot more and that's stressful.  I volunteer, and I meet friends for lunch and all of that, but compared to when I was working, I'm still adjusting to the reduction in social contact in retirement
  • being alone at night is more stressful than during the day.  Our house is old and there are weird noises at night!
  • my mom passed away in December 2014 and there is some residual stress from that to deal with
  • my dad is on his own and has some health and mobility issues.  I'm fortunate that my dad also has support from my brothers and sisters-in-law, but there is the stress of making sure he is taken care of - shopping for groceries, cooking meals, running errands, paying bills, and worrying about his mental and physical well-being.  Every time the phone rings and I see his number come up, I hope it's not someone calling to tell me the ambulance is on the way.  It's happened before; it will likely happen again.
  • all the fun physical stresses of menopause - hot flashes, night sweats, slower metabolism, insomnia
  • I submitted the first draft chapter of a book to a publisher who said he'd get back to me in a week.  It's been three weeks.  He must hate it. What was I thinking?
  • studying for my doctorate online through Western.  It's starting to get real, the courses are getting harder, there's so much more writing, I have to defend next spring.  What if I fail?  What was I thinking?
Funny how I am getting better at looking at other people's behaviour with 'soft eyes' but sometimes have a hard time doing that for myself.  I really thought - you're retired, you shouldn't have stressors. I wonder how often people think, 'he's only in kindergarten.  He can't have stress.'  
Anyway this reflection today was very timely since I was beating myself up last night for giving in to my cravings. After eating healthy all day, at about 9 pm I had a glass of red wine and ate a very large Hershey Kiss that I bought as a Christmas stocking stuffer for my husband.  Since he hasn't eaten it by now, I'm hoping he forgot about it.  Change 'son' to 'husband' and this may be my life when he gets home!