The Eagle is Flying for the Last Time

Growing is Showing

We grow in almost every way imaginable. While yes, we do grow in many physical ways, we also grow internally. Our abilities, strengths, knowledge, mindsets, skills, and approaches grow and our goal is to let that growth show! We are not the same people we were last year, last month, or even last week. We are constantly evolving and growing for the better. This blog for me has been a documentation of my growth in so many areas. Not to toot my own horn (but toot toot) from my first post until now I have seen so much growth in my own personal content I have put out on this site. I have learned from both others and myself on how to create the most authentic and purposeful content. If you have been following along I hope you can celebrate my personal triumphs through this blog with me.

My Triumphs

The area in which I think I had the biggest growth spurt so to say was in the area of research. In my second post, Smell the flowers…blow out the candles I discussed the importance of mindfulness and breathing in the classroom. While I had the observations to back up my post, my research was academically speaking lacking (personally speaking sucky). I cited only one research article and wrote about one (very short) paragraph about the studies findings. While I titled the section “What The Experts Say” I really only had one expert to back up what I was saying. Flash forward to my most recent post, I further investigated the idea of mindfulness in the classroom by taking a look at the benefits of yoga in the classroom. Up until this point, I had gained much more exposure to various blog posts, resources, and most importantly feedback. I took these ingredients and cooked up a whole new blog post with a flavorful taste of good wholesome research! In my most recent blog post, I spent the time finding good research and lots of it. I found a way to make my research a good portion of my post without losing my own personal voice. I was able to provide information backed from three amazing resources that helped back up what I was saying.

My research would never have came to fruition if it wasn’t for my observations and questions. I am happy where my level of observations and questions were at the beginning of this project. That being said however, I am even happier with where they are now. While I believe that my observation skills remained consistent throughout the length of this projects, the questions I asked began to accumulate. The observations that generated the most questions was Inquiry in the Rounds. Observing eight rounds of students through our activity allowed my team and myself to generate so many beautiful questions from not only a teachers perspective but also from a students perspective. Observations are great but only when they are paired with questions, research and reflection! That is a statement I will carry with me for a very long time (until my memory gives out).

The most amazing thing about this project was that I was able to present all of this (my observations, questions, research, and reflections) through the unique platform of blog posts. I chose this platform because I enjoy writing, and I feel like I can clearly express my thoughts with my own voice through writing (check out my first experience expressing my voice in my introduction post). This platform allowed me to express my voice and add various other platforms of media into it (youtube videos, personally created videos, and images).

Presenting my information in a blog post style allowed me to incorporate writing, internet, videos, photographs, and hyperlinks.

Hypothetically Speaking

If I would have to do this project again there are some things I would do differently. The main thing I would do differently is my research, like I said before it wasn’t until nearly the end of the project that I truly engulfed myself in finding good wholesome research.

I would also have liked to take more pictures in the field that I could have incorporated into my posts. Another thing I wish I would have done in the field is to interview my cooperating teacher to include in my posts about breathing and yoga. This would have been such a unique and enriching element to add to both of those posts. Hearing fist hand from an educator who implements these practices into her classroom would have provided even more grounding. I wish I would have even done this in a video or podcast format to insert into my blog.

Long Anticipated Moment

One day I will be a teacher, in my own room, with my own students, creating my own learning experiences. When that day comes, I know that I will be implementing many of the things I have talked about in these blog posts.

The content discussed in these posts are all practices and ideas I want to bring in to my classroom. From the yoga and deep breathing to experimentation and questioning. These are all key practices that can be seamlessly implemented into core curriculum and daily schedules that provide long lists of benefits.

What I will carry with me even more is the components behind the creation of these blog posts. The observations, the research, the questioning, and the reflection that is what I will carry with me the most into my future teaching career. Knowing how and what to observe in a classroom leads to making those beautiful questions which then leads to the task of research which then can impact our teaching and allow us to reflect on what is and is not working. You see, this is all a never ending cycle. The world of education is always evolving and changing, so much so that what you know today will be out of date tomorrow (ok maybe being a little dramatic but you get the point). Constantly observing and asking questions will lead me as an educator to stay current on my research. Knowing how to ask more beautiful questions and how to generate quality research will empower my teaching today, tomorrow, and until the day of retirement.

To Those Who Walk This Path After Me

If I could offer a piece of advice to future students who will be doing this project is to pick a medium that you can best express yourself through. Whether its a blog, a video series, or a podcast the most important thing is to pick a medium that ives you the ability to clearly and thoroughly express yourself. Also don’t be afraid to switch it up, maybe one week you think a blog is the best and the next maybe a podcast will be the best.

The other piece of advice I could give is to make your posts meaningful and intentional. Having intentionality behind your posts creates content that is meaningful. Whatever you observe, question, research, and reflect on should be meaningful to you as a future educator. I think this is the best way to ensure that your content is genuine.

To Those Who Have Been a Resource and a Facilitator

If I could give a piece of advice to my research advisor who facilitated and say this project through, it would be to start this project sooner. While we talked about his project from almost the very beginning of the semester, I wish we could have had more chances to create research based posts. This being a research project I do think that we should have had more posting opportunities to in depth research our topics more, or even focused on one topic for all of our postings.

Another piece of advice I could give is for the practice postings to be worth more quality point values rather than just for completion point values. Speaking for myself a lot of time and hard work went into my postings, and I would have liked to see that correlated to a point value that was worth more than just completion.

To the Rest of You

Thank you for joining me and following along through this project journey! As I continue to work towards my degree and grow in my teaching practices, I will remember this journey as I hope you will too. Signing off for the last time, farewell my friends!


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Tree Pose, Mountain, Namaste

na·ma·ste : a respectful greeting

A respectful greeting, isn’t that how all of us secretly want to be greeted whenwe walk into a room? Can you imagine a day full of respectful greeting each time you enter a room? For the students in myHead Start placement, this is not a dream or a wish, this is their reality. Each morning these little humans are greeted respectfully when they walk through the door. After their morning responsibilities are done (eating breakfast and brushing their pearly whites) they gather on the front carpet to partake in some yoga sequences led by their teacher. 

(Some of the yoga cards displayed on the front board that the students use as references during their morning yoga session)

I’ve watched and partaken in this yoga sequence for about eight weeks now. At first I though “oh how fun, this is cute” and as the weeks have went by my mindset has completely shifted. While yes seeing 17 four year olds in a tree pose is quite cute, it is all the more empowering and fulfilling. To watch a group of four year old move from chattering energy balls to (for the most part) focused yogis moving the a sequence of movements.

While watching the mini morning yoga session happen you can see body and minds beginning to calm down and move the focus to themselves inside the classroom, what are the statistics behind this phenomenon? I wonder what these yoga movements do for these kids not just as students academically, but holistically what does yoga do for young developing children?

Benefits to Being a Child Yogi

It turns out there is an extensive list of benefits for children who participate in yoga. With these benefits becoming more and more well known, many teachers are beginning to incorporate yoga movements and sequences into their daily classroom schedule. Many yoga studios are also introducing specific child yoga classes. These benefits for children range from emotional, mental, academic, and physical assets.

Mentally and emotionally these benefits tie in together.  According to the International Journal of Health, Wellness, & Society “Feeling relaxed, calm, and less stressed were common responses students had when they described how they felt after yoga classes” (Eggleston, 2015). We all know that when we are stressed beyond the point of functionality whether it be from school or home lives we do not function at out prime levels. Young children are the same way, their lives may not be perfect fairytales yet a small session of yoga can relax their minds and bodies. According to an article done by Pediatric Physical Therapy in 2008, “If the mind is relaxed, the muscles in the body will also be relaxed. Stress produces a state of physical and mental tension” (Galantino, Galbavy, & Quinn, 2008).  

Our mental and emotional states can significantly impact our academic performance. It is no surprise that the benefits carry over to academic benefits for students. The main connection between yoga and academics is memory. According to the same article from Pediatric Physical Therapy in a study “108 school children aged 10 to 17 years were divided into four groups, each practicing in a different type of yoga breathing. All four groups evidenced improved spatial memory scores by an average of 84%” (Galantino, 2008). In the area of academics, yoga in the classroom specifically can help aide with classroom behavior. According to the same article “Yoga fosters relaxation and breathing in a very active way, enabling children to channel their energy into goal-driven tasks. These findings have implications for learning and classroom behavior” (Galantino, 2008).

Looking at the benefits for the child holistically, there are also benefits in the physical domain for children. According to the Occupational Therapy Helping Children organization “Yoga develops strength, flexibility, bilateral coordination and the ability to ‘cross the midline’ and process sensory information” (2019).  Crossing the midline for a child is a huge developmental gain. Crossing the midline is when you reach move a part of your body to the opposite side of your body (reaching your right arm to your left foot). According to the same organization, “Crossing the midline is an important skill in development of motor and cognitive skills needed for everyday tasks such as writing, dressing and sports such as hitting a ball with a racket in tennis. Yoga involves many poses that require a child to cross the midline of the body therefore helping in the development of this important skill” (2019). While yoga helps children develop this skill, it can also help develop muscle growth that can assist them in the classroom. The Occupational Therapy Helping Children organization also says that “Developing core and postural muscles will help with maintaining an upright posture for tabletop tasks…Strong core and postural muscles are also important for gross motor skills such as running, walking, skipping, playground skills and sport” (2019).


Yes our days can be busy, yes there is a lot to teach, and yes there are standards to meet. There is however a more important need to meet as teachers, which is the holistic wellbeing of our students. Seeing the long list of benefits that yoga can provide to children across many domains should motivate us to find a way to incorporate it into our daily classroom schedule. I can see myself implementing this in my future classroom for maybe a couple minutes out of the day. There is opportunity to allow your students access to the benefits of yoga outside of school too. Perhaps you send home a laminated pack of yoga poses with pictorial and textual descriptions on a binder ring. Have the children flip through the cards and complete a sequence each night as part of their homework. Look for community yoga studios who offer children’s yoga classes. Look for community events which offer free yoga instruction. The possibilities in and outside of the classroom are endless. Why limit the benefits of schooling strictly to academics?

Check out these videos from an amazing yoga YouTube channels geared just for younger children!

Colonel Crockles the Crocodile | A Cosmic Kids Yoga Adventure!

Episode 42 | Colonel Crockles the Crocodile Another kids yoga adventure with Jaime. This time we throw a party for Colonel Crockles – to cheer him up. A story all about being kind to the older members of our communities. Cosmic Kids has been making free yoga adventures and mindfulness videos for kids since 2012.

Trolls | A Cosmic Kids Yoga Adventure!

A yoga adventure based on the movie, Trolls. Join Jaime on an adventure in yoga poses – as we help the Trolls bring happiness to the world! Remember to subscribe!

This video is also a great resource without the extravagant storylines!

Yoga for Kids!

Follow along as Sophia Khan leads a fun and family-friendly introduction to yoga. You’ll get to warm up, practice breathing and poses, and relax into a power down. ——————————————————————————— TELUS STORYHIVE supports compelling, original stories told by filmmakers from BC and Alberta by providing production funding, training and exposure to new audiences.





Eggleston, B. (2015). The Benefits of Yoga for Children in Schools. International Journal of Health, Wellness & Society5(3), 1–7.

Galantino, M. L., Galbavy, R., & Quinn, L. (2008). Therapeutic Effects of Yoga for Children: A Systematic Review of the Literature. PEDIATRIC PHYSICAL THERAPY, (1), 66. Retrieved from

Yoga and Occupational Therapy. (2019, April 6). Retrieved from

Big Hit or Big Bust

Pat on the Back

There were many highlights during our day at Eshleman Elementary, I think the number one highlight was just being able to spend that time with all the amazing First Graders. So many of the children seemed extremely engaged and interested during the ten minutes we had with each group. Another highlight would be the overall success that our project had, all of our trials were consistent and each one worked just as well as the last. A huge highlight was the brain break at the middle of the rounds, we got to take some time to dance and have fun with all the students. We also enjoyed being able to spend some time asking the students about the overall experience after all the rounds were complete. We had a lot of great feedback from the teachers there along with the students on our Elephant Toothpaste, which is an overall highlight as well. Being complimented by many of the teachers at Eshleman Elementary was a lasting highlight that will stick with us, especially the comment “you will make great teachers.”

Taking Pride

We were extremely proud of the overall turn out of the event, each group had an awesome activity to engage the students and the event ran very smooth. We also were very proud of our group as a team, we all worked extremely well together, taking turns on who would say what and all having our time talking to the kids. All three of us contributed equally, whether it was with materials or  effort during each round with the kids. Another very proud moment for us was when a lot of the children commented on our project as one of their favorites, it feels good to hear positive feedback and know that your hard work was accounted for.

Think Quick

The amazing thing about Inquiry in the Rounds is that we got to do our experiment with the students eight times. This gave us seven chances to improve our experiment station for the students. We were forced to quickly reflect, think on the spot, and come up with modifications. One modification that we made was that we learned to slow down and take our time for the experiment so that we could fill the entire ten minutes.  Another modification we made was the way in which we engaged students, we modified by introducing the students to the activity explaining that they themselves were scientists. We had them put on their imaginary scientist safety goggles and gloves, and referred to them as scientist (child’s name). We also modified how we explained the science behind the reaction. We first presented the science information as matter of factly but by the end modified to presenting the science by explaining that this is top secret information from the elephant toothpaste factory. All of these modifications led to our last two rounds being our best rounds. The modifications increased students engagement, learning, and enjoyment.

Hmmmm, I Wonder….

There were some questions that emerged from our time at Eshleman that could influence the way we could recreate this experiment for the future. 

Questions for students:

  1. What would happen if we didn’t include one of the ingredients in the experiment? Would it still work the same?
  2. What made the mixture bubble up and come out of the bottle?
  3. Is this what you thought was going to happen?
  4. Can you explain what just happened?

Questions for teachers:

  1. How can I ensure every student has an equal role in the experiment?
  2. How can I ensure the students understood the lesson and it’s purpose? 
  3. How can we rapidly adjust our lessons in the moment in the classroom?


If you missed our last blog post check out the experiment we conducted at Inquiry in the Rounds:

Elephant toothpaste

Uploaded by Felicia Swift on 2019-10-29.

Elephant Toothpaste…No Cavities Here

What do you think will happen when we mix all of this “stuff” together?

This is the question we will ask to the rounds of students when they first arrive at our station. All of the materials needed for this experiment (Liquid dish soap, instant yeast, warm water, food coloring, 30 volume hydrogen peroxide, an empty water bottle, and an aluminum tray) will be on display for the students to see when they first arrive. We will let students visually analyze the materials and ask for clarification on what is what before we pose our question. This brief inquiry session will encourage students to think about what they know about each item, and what might possibly happen when we put them all together.

How the heck does this work?

What causes the massive explosion of “toothpaste” large enough for an elephants mouth according to the Imagination Station in Toledo is simply that “The yeast contains an enzyme called Catalase that breaks down hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) into oxygen gas and water. The oxygen gas gets trapped by the soap, and you get a large foamy solution that squirts out of the top of the bottle!” Click here to go to their website to see a live demonstration on a much larger scale, read the material list, and get a scientific explanation. Here is a video of us performing this experiment with everyday objects you can get from your local stores, and what we will be performing at the inquiry rounds.

Elephant toothpaste

Uploaded by Felicia Swift on 2019-10-29.

Why would we show this to first graders?

Ummm….BECAUSE IT’S AWESOME!!!! Seriously though this is such a cool experiment to do as an adult let alone as a young student. This shows students just how amazing water can be when added with other components or altered in its state. It shows the endless possibilities and wonders of water and science. It will leave them yearning for more experiments and answers to so many questions that have filled their little minds that will help guide them in their future learning. According to the Journal of Chemical Education, “few students see new information as pieces to be incorporated into an ever-growing body of knowledge that they possess.”



Elephant toothpaste. (n.d.). Retrieved October 29, 2019, from

Eldridge, D. (2015). Using elephant’s toothpaste as an engaging and flexible curriculum alignment project. Journal of Chemical Education



Smell the flowers…blow out the candles

Join me on the carpet

After the eggs have been eaten, the milk has been drunk, and the teeth have been brushed the school day begins. The lead teacher signifies the day is beginning by standing on the front carpet while playing relaxing quiet music. The children join her at the carpet as she beings to do simple yoga movements. As she progresses through the movements more and more children make their way to the carpet until the entire class is engulfed in tree poses, touching their toes, rolling their neck, ,mountain poses, and channeling their inner yogi.

After the teacher is done leading the yoga movements she takes a seat in her chair as the children sit on the carpet. She grabs a Hoberman Sphere ( aka that really fun toy you had as a kid that gets big then shrinks back down) and begins a breathing exercise. As the ball gets larger the students smell the flowers (deep inhale), and it condenses back down they blow out the candles (deep exhale). The students will typically be led through about 4 deep breaths with this technique, before she moves on to beginning name recognition and center time.

Hoberman Sphere Breathing

Take a deep breath with a hoberman sphere for kids

Are we just smelling flowers and blowing out candles, or can it be something more?

While doing the yoga poses alongside 17 three and four year olds and sitting criss cross applesauce on the carpet smelling flowers and blowing out candles (yes I actually was saying that in my head as I was doing that) I found myself relaxing and my mind beginning to clear for the day ahead.

I noticed how almost all of the children after the mindful activities were sitting on the carpet attentively and a sense of calmness and readiness filled the room. This left me speechless (and still does every time I see it). The idea of setting students up with strategies on how to calm their bodies, prepare for the day, and bring self awareness (whether it be consciously of unconsciously) all contributing to academic and personal success intrigued me. Can these small practices done each day do more for students than just calming their body?

What The Experts Say

After digging around in research (by digging I mean frantically typing away in online databases) I found out that my suspicions were right!

In a “2008 U.S analysis of roughly 300 studies involving more than 300,000 students in elementary and middle school found that students who received social and emotional course (including mindful breathing exercises) scored 11 to 17 percentage points higher on achievement tests than peers who did not take part in any courses” (Cloutier, 2011).

Through doing these mindfulness activities each day students were able to better manage stress, time, and quality of sleep which all contributed to the rise in academic success over time (Cloutier, 2011).

Where do we go from here?

Step 1: Buy the Hoberman Sphere ASAP and keep it in a storage box until I get my very own classroom

Amazon: $13.45

Step 2: Buy yoga cards to also keep in a storage box until I get my very own classroom

Amazon: $15.95

Step 3: Anxiously wait until I get my very own classroom!

In all seriousness the first step I take from this initial observation and research is to implement both the yoga movements and breathing exercises into my morning meetings. Even if the results just showed that this benefits students socio emotional skills, it would still be something I want to implement in my classroom. In todays day and age of doing doing doing all day long, it is the least we can do to supply our students with strategies to calm their minds and bodies.


I do still want to dig for more research on more ways to implement mindfulness into the classroom. I would also like to find more information on the benefits of these activities for students with specific disabilities. Stay tuned!




Cloutier, S. E. (2011). Mindful Breathing in the Classroom to Increase Academic Scores. Teaching Innovation Projects1(1). Retrieved from

Hoberman breathing sphere. (2018). Retrieved from

(n.d.). Retrieved October 10, 2019, from

gu·ru (gooroo) an influential teacher or popular expert

My Gurus

Who reassures and stretches me as an early childhood educator?

Being a first generation college student in my family, growing up my parents always let me know that the possibilities for my future were endless but attainable. They always stressed the importance of education and making a life for yourself by absorbing all the knowledge the world has to give us. 

Like most young kids I knew what I wanted to be from a very young age, but to your surprise it wasn’t a teacher. It was a nurse! I was a nurse for halloween, I went to career exploration camps that toured hospitals, I even bought medical book from yard sales. So why am I sitting here as an education major you may ask? Simple… during one of those career exploration camps we toured the trauma bay after a gunshot victim had just been treated (I mean blood every where…lots of blood). Lets just say I hit floor quicker than the time it took me to realize nursing wasn’t the career for me.

My parents though, all through my tween and teenage years (yikes) they said “Felicia, what about teaching? You love teaching swim lessons, and you’re so good with them. It makes you happy we can see it!”

While my parents aren’t teachers or even closely linked to any career in the education field, they are the ones who reassure me that I will be a great educator. They can give me outside perspectives I would have never received.  They stretch my views and teaching styles as outsiders with the perspective of at one time parents of a young child. They constantly support me through the long nights spent typing away at assignments, and they believed in me when I simply taught swim lessons for the joy of seeing young kids master the doggy paddle.

What pedagogies are shaping my path?

Seeing many different teaching pedagogies through my professors and cooperative teachers, I have found what I believe will be the steadfast foundation to my teaching pedagogy.

That foundation is: Universal Design for Learning (UDL)

Getting the Right Size: UDL

Using a shoe store analogy, this short video by OCALI provides an overview of Universal Design for Learning.

Understanding that all students are vastly diverse, learn differently, and express their knowledge differently is the the logic behind UDL. Allowing for ALL students to receive content and show their knowledge is the foundation to my pedagogy.

Who is teaching me about the “Why” and the “How” in the field of early childhood?

The why of teaching is to me the emotional aspect of teaching. The why is the reason teachers come back day after day and year after year despite low wages, scarce resources, and the constant presence of standardized testing.

The why is taught to me by the kiddos I meet in my placement classrooms, the kiddos I work with at my job as an assistant preschool teacher, and the young children in my family. The kids, the students, and our future leaders are the “why” in the field of early childhood education. They are the reason we do what we do and learn what we do. They deserve the best education we can possibly provide while feeling like they are the most cared for individuals to ever walk through those classroom doors.

The “how” is how do we provide them that best education possible? How do we make them feel cared for, important, and empowered? That all comes from the content we learn in our courses here at Millersville. That knowledge comes from our professors, who them personally have years of first hand experience. This “how” also comes from our co-ops who give us real world experiences.

Who speaks the truth to me & shares new insight?

Believe it or not (actually you probably do) I receive a lot of great insight, ideas, information, and resources from fellow teachers across America via YouTube and Instagram! It’s interesting to see different school systems and teaching styles throughout the United States. Seeing these teachers and their teaching styles, lesson plans, activities, classroom management, and classroom set up helps generate a lot of ideas and creativity!

Check out some of my favorite teacher Instagram and YouTube accounts below:





National Center on Universal Design for Learning. (2015, March 31). Retrieved from


Hello friends! Whether you have stumbled across this blog or you’re also along for the ride in this project, I’d like to say welcome! My name is Felicia Swift, I am a senior Early Childhood Education major at Millersville University. The purpose of this blog is to inform ya’ll of my research and where it leads me in teaching practices. If you want to follow along and see what lies ahead, go ahead and sit criss cross apple sauce (teacher pun) for more posts to come!