It’s Important to Reflect!

Hi everyone! Welcome to my new blog post! 

Blog Author- Julia Park

If you are new here, I am Julia Park and I am an Early Childhood Education Major at Millersville University! I am currently a junior and I am in the process of preparing for my future of student teaching. My last post was dedicated to the teachers that have had to transition to online instruction due to the pandemic.

In this post, I will be reflecting on my journey of blogging! This has been my first time creating a blog, and it has been a great learning experience for me! I hope that this post inspires someone to think about starting their own blog or maybe even venture out into other forms of media!


Where it All Began…

I was initially nervous but excited to experiment with different forms of media for my education class. I love expressing my creativity in any way I can, so this experience of blogging has given me the opportunity to express my creativity in a way that I hadn’t really done. I feel that this gave me the freedom to express my thoughts in a structured setting.

Sometimes I had trouble with formatting and had to reach out to my fellow classmates. That is perfectly okay! I had to understand that there are firsts for everything, and those firsts are never perfect. I don’t think my blog will ever be perfect, but it will be a place where I can express myself and share what I am passionate about with others. I think the fact that my blog has the chance to help others is pretty awesome and I am happy with that outcome!


What I Learned!

After reflecting on what my initial thoughts were, I have really taken the time to think about what I’ve learned throughout this blogging process. It has been really fun learning about different ways to relate to certain audiences. With each post, I have had to keep my intentions behind my writing in mind to fully connect with my readers.

I also realized that I can use my other passions to benefit my blog, including my love for arts & crafts and music! I loved talking about those topics in my last blog posts because I feel that others can relate to those passions of mine as well. Overall, I learned that I really like creative writing! It has been so fun to connect with others and write out my thoughts, almost like I’m talking to someone through the computer. I appreciate my audience so much!


Where I Ended Up!

You might be wondering, what’s next? Honestly, I am wondering the same thing! I want to keep writing blogs for sure. I also want to experiment with other media, like making videos or a podcast! I’m really excited that I was able to participate in this type of project because now I have more knowledge of how to reach an audience in other types of media! I will most likely use blogging as a way to document my student teaching experience next year. I want to absorb as much as I can and share what I learn with others! Stay tuned for more educational content in the future!!


Moving Forward…

As I move on to my next chapter in life, I must say that I really appreciate this experience of blogging so much. I was able to provide my own insight and advice on certain topics, which allowed me to find the importance of using my voice to hopefully inspire others. I hope you have enjoyed my blogging process and are willing to see more content from me!

A Soft Place to Land

Provided to YouTube by DMI Soundtracks A Soft Place to Land · Jessie Mueller · Keala Settle · Kimiko Glenn Waitress (Original Broadway Cast Recording) ℗ 2016…

I have decided to leave you all with one of my favorite songs from my favorite musical of all time! “A Soft Place to Land” from Waitress is a dreamy, calming tune, that I think we all need right now during this overwhelming time. I would highly suggest giving it a listen! I promise, you won’t regret it. 

Thank you so much for reading!

I hope you found this post to be helpful or inspiring in any way and that you are able to stay safe and healthy during this time! I appreciate you stopping by!

-Julia 🙂

 

Teachers Need Support Too!

Hi everyone! Welcome back to my blog!

Blog Author- Julia Park

If you are new here, I am Julia Park and I am a junior Early Childhood Education major at Millersville University! In my last post, I discussed ways that parents can spend time with their children during this unexpected time of needing to stay home for everyone’s safety.

In this post, I want to share some tips and tricks for teachers to remain healthy at home while dealing with this transition to online learning. I hope this information helps you in some way to cope with this overwhelming change in our world and eases your mind when teaching your students!


Why Self-Care?

I believe that it is so important to check in with ourselves, mentally and physically, on a daily basis. Self-care is especially important right now with the limitations of seeing friends, family, and the outside world. Most people need those factors to thrive and without them, it can be hard to keep spirits high. It is also important as teachers to make sure we are staying healthy and motivated for our students. Taking care of ourselves will provide our students with a positive influence on how to work through this and can even provide them with extra support that they might need right now.


Sleep Well, Stay Healthy!

The first piece of advice I have for hardworking teachers is to keep up with positive sleeping habits! Getting enough sleep, which should be about 7- 8 hours a night, can go a long way. Some benefits of sleep include improved concentration and productivity during the day, a stronger immune function, and increased energy that will help with both physical and mental aspects of life. Click the picture of the adorable sleeping pup for information on how to improve your sleeping habits!


Take Time for Yourself!

During this time, you may begin to feel hopeless, lonely, or overwhelmed by all the uncertainties of the future. Those feelings are all valid because of what we are going through. With those thoughts in mind, it is crucial to do activities that will make you happy. These activities can include watching your favorite movie, arts and crafts, having a random dance party, staying connected to your friends and family, listening to music, or whatever you love to do! You are working so hard right now to be the best you can be for your students, but it is perfectly normal to take some time for yourself to feel better and healthy during this pandemic. 

“It is so important to take time for yourself and find clarity. The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself.”Diane Von Furstenberg, Fashion Designer 


Inhale, Exhale

Another tip I have for anyone struggling with anxiety while staying at home is participating in breathing exercises. I remember being in my high school theatre class, and my teacher would always have us do this one breathing exercise. We would close our eyes, inhale for six seconds, and then exhale for six seconds. This would go one for a little while, allowing our heartbeats to slow down and our body to relax.  She would also tell us to picture any happy place we could think of as we closed our eyes. I would feel much calmer after those exercises and was ready to conquer whatever acting activities were coming my way! Since those days, I will always be a huge believer in breathing exercises. Some exercises include deep breathing or even just sitting outside to get some fresh air! Don’t forget to take the time to breathe and remember that we will get through this difficult time.


Music Brings Us Together

One more piece of advice that I would like to share is to listen to music. This seems very simple and self-explanatory, but music is so much more than a melody and lyrics. Music has gotten me through so much, and I know it can help others too. Finding songs with uplifting messages can make a huge difference in your mood. I have decided to include two videos of songs that have really helped me during this questionable time.

Bridge Over Troubled Water (Chromatic Expansion Virtual Acappella Group)

“When you need a friend I’m sailing right behind. Like a bridge over troubled water, I will ease your mind” (Simon and Garfunkel). This song symbolizes so mu…

Kacey Musgraves – Rainbow (Live from Late Night with Seth Meyers)

Kacey Musgraves performing “Rainbow” live from Late Night with Seth Meyers. Listen to the new album, Golden Hour, here: http://strm.to/GoldenHourYD Sign up t…

The first video is Millersville’s Chromatic Expansion, which is an A Cappella group, singing their rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” This song means a lot to me because this was our senior song in my high school choir. The other video I have included is “Rainbow,” performed by Kacey Musgraves. This song is all about staying positive during difficult times. Both of these songs provide me with support and comfort, which is so helpful right now. I hope they make you happy as well and I also hope that you are inspired to find your own style of music to listen to!


“Everything is alright now…”- Kacey Musgraves

As Kacey Musgraves so wonderfully reminds us, “there’s always been a rainbow hanging over” our heads. It will all be alright eventually, and for now we are all doing our best! To the hard workers out there: this is not the time to be super hard on yourselves! Keep pushing through this and striving to be the best you can be for your students. I believe in you. 

Thank you so much for reading!

I hope you found this post to be helpful in any way and are able to stay safe and healthy during this time! I appreciate you stopping by!

-Julia 🙂

Time to Get Creative!

Coping with Quarantine!

Welcome back to my blog! If you are new here, I am Julia Park and I am a junior Early Childhood Education major at Millersville University! I first want to start off by saying that although it is a scary time right now, we can get through this together. I hope you are all finding ways to stay positive and busy during this unexpected time.

With that being said, I understand that there are a lot of parents feeling overwhelmed with the sudden stop of work and school. It can be difficult to keep your little one(s) active, especially since there are limitations as to what we can currently do. This post is to provide some fun activities for you to do with your young one(s) while at home! Most of the crafts involve household items so that you don’t have to stress about leaving home to buy new supplies.

Let’s Get Crafty!

For the rest of this post, I will be including pictures, lists of materials needed, and directions for all the crafts I have compiled. I found inspiration for the crafts online and will provide links for those throughout this post. I crafted all of these items to gain an understanding of what the process would be like for each product, and it was so fun making everything! I can only imagine how fun it would be to make these items with children. I hope this helps inspire some creativity in the home and can put some smiles on your faces during this overwhelming time!

Tissue Box Monsters!

All you need for this craft is:

  • Empty tissue boxes
  • Paint (and paintbrushes) or colored construction paper
  • White paper
  • Pencil or marker
  • Scissors
  • Glue or tape
  • Buttons, pompoms, or other items that can be used for eyes & decorations on the monsters

I was so happy to see how these little guys turned out! The first step of this craft is to find an empty tissue box. To turn it into a funky monster, you can now paint the box with any color you want! If you don’t have paint, you can also glue colored construction paper on the sides of the box. The next step is to draw pointy teeth on white paper and cut them out for the opening of the box. To create the face of the monster, you can now glue the teeth and eyes on the box. The eyes can be buttons, googly eyes, paper, or whatever you have that is accessible for this project! The last step is to decorate the monster by gluing on pompoms or any items you want to use! Now you and your young one(s) have a fun monster friend!!

Toilet Paper Roll Binoculars!

For this craft, you will need:

  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Paint (and paintbrushes) or colored construction paper
  • Glue or tape
  • Stickers, buttons, or anything you can use to decorate the binoculars
  • Ribbon, fabric, string, or anything you can use to make a strap out of

These binoculars were so fun to make! The first step is to find two empty toilet paper rolls. You can then use paint or glue colored construction paper on the rolls to add some color! The next step is to glue both rolls together down the side to make the shape of the binoculars. After that, you can decorate the binoculars with stickers, buttons, or anything that you have available! The last step is to use ribbon or some kind of fabric to glue onto the sides of the binoculars to create a strap. Your child/children can now explore (most likely indoors, unless it is in close distance to your home) with their new binoculars!! Have fun!

Rainbow Clothespin Craft!

This craft calls for the materials of:

  • White paper
  • Glue
  • Pencil or marker
  • Scissors
  • Cotton balls (or other items to decorate the clouds)
  • Clothespins
  • Paint (or markers if paint is unavailable)

I think that these rainbow clouds are so cute! The first step for this activity is to draw a cloud and cut it out. The next step is to glue on cotton balls or other items that you want on your cloud! To create the rainbow, you will need clothespins and a variety of paint colors. In this step, you will be painting the clothespins to match the rainbow! If you don’t have paint, you can also color the clothespins with markers! The final step is to put the clothespins on the bottom of the cloud to create your very own rainbow. I hope this will brighten up you and your child/children’s day!!

Paper Bag Puppets!

The materials you will need for this craft include:

  • Brown paper bags
  • Colored construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue or tape
  • Markers

I had such a blast making these adorable animal puppets! As soon as I saw these online, I knew I had to make them. The first step for this project is to grab a brown paper bag for the body of the puppet. Then, you can draw the facial features (and other body parts if wanted) of whatever animal you and your young one(s) desire on construction paper. You can also use markers to draw on the smile, nose, or any other details you want to include! The last step is to cut the face out and to glue the pieces on to create your paper bag creature! Enjoy your new friend (or friends if you decide to create more than one)!!

Owl Toilet Paper Rolls!

This will need:

  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Colored construction paper
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Paint or markers to use on white paper if construction paper isn’t available

These little owls have to be one of my favorite crafts I’ve done yet! The first step is to find an empty toilet paper roll to decorate. The next step is to use colored construction paper, paint, or markers to color the body of the owl. To create the pointed features of the owl’s head, you must glue or tape the center down onto the other side of the roll. That part might be a little more difficult, so you might have to provide extra assistance for your little one(s). The following step involves using construction paper (or printer paper that you can color with markers or paint) to create the eyes, feathers, beak, and feet. Once you glue that all in place, you will have an owl! I hope this owl brings you and your child/children as much joy as it brought me.

Four DIY Craft Ideas for Families!

I hope this video inspires you to create something new at home during this difficult time of social distancing and quarantining!! Lots of love 💗 (I do not ow…

This video includes short tutorials of how I made each item. The only item that is not included in this video is the toilet paper owl because I did not film the process for that one. I hope this video helps in some way!

Staying Positive

I really hope you have enjoyed reading through this post and have felt some inspiration to create new items of your own with your loved ones! It is so important that we come together during this time and I feel that activities like these provide great bonding opportunities for families. My goal for this post is to provide others with a way to stay positive with activities that mostly involve household items to make creating items simpler in times like these. Keep your head up and remember that we will get through this together! You are all doing great!

Thank you so much for reading!

-Julia 🙂

References:

Brown Paper Bag Crafts You Have to Make! (2017, August 28). Retrieved from https://thecottagemarket.com/brown-paper-bag-crafts-make/

LaScala, M. (2020, March 24). These Creative Activities Will Keep Kids Occupied for Hours. Retrieved from https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/home/craft-ideas/how-to/g1389/diy-kids-activities/

Miriam. (2014, March 8). Little Owls. Retrieved from https://iliketobecreative.wordpress.com/category/crafting/paper/

Paper bag crafts for kids. (2014, December 20). Retrieved from http://www.preschoolactivities.us/paper-bag-crafts-for-kids/

These Paper Roll Owls are So Adorable. (2017, May 2). Retrieved from http://www.amazinginteriordesign.com/paper-roll-owls-adorable/

TP Roll Binoculars with Poppy Cat. (2014, June 2). Retrieved from https://www.redtedart.com/tp-roll-binoculars-poppy-cat/

Yarn Wrapped Cloud and Rainbow Craft. (2016, September 6). Retrieved from https://iheartcraftythings.com/yarn-wrapped-cloud-and-rainbow-craft.html

 

Music and Movement in the Classroom

What are the benefits of incorporating music and movement into the classroom?

“Music is wonderful.”

On my first day of field placement surrounded by wide-eyed, curiosity-filled children, my co-op transitions the children into the music and movement time of the day. I smile at her as she begins to dance and sing along to the video she put on for her students. GoNoodle is a common program she uses, so the video was similar to the one I have included down below. As she sings and dances, she looks at me and says, “It is amazing what music can do. Music is the only reason these children learned patterns. Music is wonderful.” I immediately felt so connected to this statement and to my co-op because I now understood that my passion for music can truly benefit my future students. Since that first day, I have been taking note of her use of music and movement in her daily routine so that I can explore this important topic even further.

Milkshake – Koo Koo Kanga Roo | GoNoodle

What’s better than brunch? Brunch with Koo Koo! Create a free account on GoNoodle.com now and find hundreds of ways to move! — http://goo.gl/3h3tKp Have you…

Music and Movement to Improve Transitions

As I continued to observe in my field placement, I noticed that music is often used to alleviate the stress that can occur during transitions. Transitions can be tough for students because changing from one activity to another might be frustrating or confusing. I think playing a fun or soothing song is a great way to calm students down during this time. My co-op typically uses the same songs for certain transitions, such as the clean-up song when center time is over or a morning song for transitioning to the carpet for morning meeting. I think creating this routine for children is important so that they can feel some sort of consistency even while they are transitioning from one area to another. Transitions are a serious struggle for many teachers and students, so I strongly advocate the use of music and movement to lower stress levels during transitions.

Other Benefits

Music and movement is an extremely beneficial brain break for students. It allows the students to have a moment to recharge after a long day of learning and develop their gross motor skills. When I observed their designated time for music and movement, the children were able to dance as wildly as they wanted to so that they could get their jitters out to focus on their learning for the remainder of the day. After this time of dancing and fun, they were able to continue their learning with less issues of focusing on their work.

Movement can also allow students to express their emotions and learn about their own boundaries between their peers in a safe space. The music that supports the movement can influence the children’s emotions and moods as well, depending on the tone and pace of the songs. Children can practice regulating emotions while still having fun with their dancing and singing along. With certain videos used for movement activities, children can even increase their skills of following the directions and imitating movements. These are just a few benefits of many to support the use of music and movement in the classroom!

How to Implement Music and Movement

Teachers are becoming more and more focused on sticking to their curriculum and preparing for standardized tests, struggling to find time to incorporate music and movement for their students. They also fear that these types of activities can get out of control. Although following the standards and a certain curriculum is very important, educators must remember that students will need a brain break between learning. The standards support this as a necessity as well, which is something important to note. It is crucial that educators have an intentional mindset as they incorporate music and movement activities into their schedule so that they do it with a purpose. I think by having this set time for these activities will help the teacher and students stick their schedule to prevent time being wasted for other daily events.

Have Fun!

On a final note, one of the most important factors of incorporating music and movement in a daily routine is to just have fun with it! If the children see a teacher letting loose while dancing and singing, they will feel much more comfortable in that learning environment. I have had to learn that it does not matter if you feel embarrassed in front of the children because they will LOVE you as long as you are enthusiastic and excited to sing and dance with them! I have such a passion for music, and now with my experiences in field, a passion for movement as well. I cannot wait to bring this passion into my future classroom, and I hope that you feel encouraged to try these types of activities in your classroom as well!

 

Thank you so much for reading!

-Julia 🙂

 

References:

Furmanek, D. donnafurmanek@yahoo. co. (2014). Classroom Choreography. YC: Young Children69(4), 80–85.

My Educational Gurus!

Hi again!

I am so excited to be discussing one of my favorite topics today, my very own educational gurus! As I study the best techniques for becoming a teacher, I have many people that I look up to for guidance through this journey. My second grade teacher is definitely a role model for me. She is one of the reasons why I decided to become an educator. I had the opportunity to work with her during my senior year of high school and I learned so much from her. She taught me one of the most important lessons I still use to this day, which is to always start each day with a new slate. Everyone will have bad days once in a while, but it is crucial to hit the reset button to have a more clear mind when teaching.

While attending a variety of education classes at Millersville, I have been able to discover more people to look up to in the world of education. One person’s pedagogy that I have been able to connect with most is that of Maria Montessori’s. Her teaching style was very child-driven, providing an age-appropriate environment for her students to engage in. She felt that children should have the freedom to play, individually or collaboratively, and explore independently to reach their full potentials. I love this approach because giving children this freedom allows them to fully explore their own abilities and creativity. Play and creativity are proven to support the development of children, so I always lean towards any approach that uses these two in the classroom. I also love to keep in mind Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. I think it is so important to make sure students’ basic needs are met so that they can actually focus on their learning.

My professors are doing an amazing job at providing answers to the why and how in the field of early childhood education. Before coming to college, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. There are so many different aspects to early childhood education that I’m still diving into. Having the support of my professors is monumental because I am able to ask them questions whenever any arise. My co-op, and my previous co-ops, are also teaching me so much about being an educator. I appreciate their willingness to open up their classrooms to us. I learn from them just by observing and working with the children in their rooms.

Everyone combined in my previous statements, with the addition of my peers, speaks the truth and shares new insights with me. The theorist I chose is very well known with her research and methods. My style of teaching will be heavily influenced by her pedagogy. My professors and co-ops have so much experience that their insights involve stories and advice that they have acquired throughout their careers. I know to trust these insights because they are genuinely trying to help us become the best teachers we can be. I mentioned my peers because having class discussions has also taught me a lot. The insights of my peers provides a variety of perspectives on teaching strategies that inspire my own pedagogy. I love hearing the thoughts of my peers.

I am inspired by many different people involved in the world of education. I look forward to hopefully being someone that inspires others as well!

Thanks so much for reading!

-Julia 🙂

Hi everyone!

Hello!

I am Julia Park and I am in my junior year as an Early Childhood Education major at Millersville University. I have created this blog to keep track of my experiences this semester. We go out to our field placements this Tuesday and I am so excited!

While using this blog, I plan to share my own experiences, techniques or ideas I learn, and reflections I have on my teaching skills. Stay tuned for more updates about my time out in the field!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

– Julia

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