I know it doesn’t need to be stated, but I’ll say it anyway: I LOVE SUMMER! It’s a time where I can reflect on the school year, get some reading done (that doesn’t happen to be essays written by 11th graders), and spend some quality time with my family. My oldest daughter, Mae, is two and a half, and I am really enjoying watching her learn life. Recently, she has been going crazy for the ABCs, so I had an idea that we could find items around the house that represent each letter of the alphabet. Since it’s summer vacation, this was an awesome learning experience to take some time and create something together.
Making this video was an awesome experience because I was able to ask my daughter questions about what she thought each item started with (ex: “Mae, what does Ice Cream start with?” “What sound does a ‘t’ sound like?”) throughout the production of the movie. So, essentially, we had many learning experiences from this: during the making, we explored the letters of the alphabet, and we also have an end product that shows our learning. What has been really cool about this experience is that she is now asking me days later, “Daddy, what letter does this start with?”. Boom.
This project didn’t take long to make at all, and that’s exactly the point here. Technology is now advanced enough for us to take quick videos with our phones, tablets, and computers; it’s then fairly (iMovie takes some getting used to) simple to then edit the movie together. Is this movie Hollywood quality? Absolutely not. But the learning is there!
This project is a great example as to why I love tech integration with education: we learned throughout the process and now have a pretty cool product to show what we’ve learned. We bonded, we learned, we explored. If one were to use this in the classroom, a vital part to this project would then be the “visible thinking” piece as well where students explain their thought process throughout.
I am absolutely loving this bonding time with the family (I also have a 6 month old daughter), and our learning possibilities are endless this summer!
If it weren’t for “The Three Little Pigs”, I don’t know if I would have ever become a teacher. I can recall being a toddler and climbing into my grandfather’s lap, as he would perfectly recite the lines to my favorite story of two moronic pigs and their genius brother who outsmarted the big bad wolf in the end. Although he would read read me this story no less than 500 times during our time together, my grandfather acted out and recited those story lines as if it were opening night. There was something magical about seeing words come to life, playing out the story in my head, and sitting close to my grandfather that allowed me to understand the true value of a story. Even as a young lad, I understood the importance of reading.
Now that I have a child of my own (and another on the way), we read every single day. This time is, by far, my favorite moments spent with my daughter. As an almost two year old, Mae likes to read the same stories over and over….and over and over some more. The stories that I remember loving as a child have now become memorized in my brain as I now read them on a daily basis with an adult eye. But it’s her excitement of the story and her plopping on my lap that keeps me motivated to press on. As she’s getting older, she not only likes the pictures, but the words are beginning to intrigue her as well. She now has the ability to finish sentences on her favorite books because she has heard them so many times. This is a child who is developing a love for reading. As both a parent and an educator, nothing pleases me more.
So this entire experience with the toddler had me thinking about my own reading journey. Had I not been shown the excitement of reading at a young age, I might not be up late at night reading articles on my Twitter feed, and I certainly would not have become an English major in the first place. Basically, I would not be the learner that I am. My early love for reading has driven me to become a life long learner, and this is what I think about every time I read a book with my toddler. Every time we turn a page, I see that she is starting to develop a love for learning. After all, reading isn’t about passing a test, it’s about making connections and discovering the world.
Looking back, I was very fortunate to have grown up surrounded by people who taught me the importance of reading at a very early age. At the time, I saw an opportunity to hear about a good story. I didn’t realize it would allow me to discover the world.