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#KindersCAN – and they will!

I teach in the sweet spot because I am fortunate to work with elementary school students. You see, they come to school EVERYDAY  – curious, passionate and filled with enthusiasm. They are willing to try, make mistakes and try again.

They think they CAN doing anything and they are FEARLESS (as evidenced by the photo below – Kindergartners sharing their work with teachers from across the state of NC at the NCTIES conference.)

Kinders presenting at NCTIES 17 during the Student Showcase

Why do we place limits on them?

Why do we create barriers?

Why don’t we believe in their potential?

Why do we always have to be the lead learner?

In other words, why do we stand in their way?

It always amazes me when a teacher says, “They won’t take ownership of their learning,” but won’t let go of control so they can.   If we don’t give them opportunities to lead their learning today why are we surprised when they can’t or won’t do it tomorrow?

We have kindergarten students creating books in the Book Creator app and then mentoring 3rd graders on the app so they can work together and create a collaborative book.  Yes, you read that right – the kindergarteners are teaching the 3rd graders!  We have kindergartners through 5th graders using Google apps to build their digital portfolios.  Just imagine what growth they will see in themselves after 1, 2, 5 years?

Check out some of their work from our NCTIES presentation.

We have elementary students going home and using Google apps to create, collaborate and communicate with each other – not because homework was assigned – but because they are so excited and engaged in the work they are doing!  Isn’t that the dream of every educator?

Yet I am still confronted with THEY CAN’T…THEY ARE TOO YOUNG!

You see, we buried “THEY CAN’T”  at our school because…




8 thoughts on “#KindersCAN – and they will!

  1. Yes! This is so powerful, Chris. To a certain extent, students perform to their teachers’ expectations. And all too often, teachers don’t get out of the way to live learning wide open with their students. Who’s to say what is or isn’t possible? Unfortunately, adults also perform to the expectations put on them by their superiors, colleagues, and inner circles. Who’s to say what doors of professional learning can be unlocked by us? That NCTIES Student Showcase is priceless. Keep up the great work. Keep raising ceilings. Because #KindersCAN! Also–Do they make #KindersCAN t-shirts for guys?


    1. Kyle, You bring up a great point. What limits are leaders placing on their staff when they cater to the lowest common denominator? If the success of the teacher is only measured by test scores than what motivates a teacher to risk innovation? Brad Gustafson said, “We can be accelerators or speed bumps for student innovation.” What if we all chose to step on the gas?


  2. TRUTH! I waited to read until I had done my own reflecting on #kindersCAN, and I love the perspective your reflection brings. We’re the only thing that can hold them back. Excited to see how they will surprise us next!


  3. Chris, I love this post and the overarching #KindersCAN movement you all have going at WashinGTon. Applause!! This goes hand in hand with Angela Maiers’ #YouMatter and #LiberatingGenius messages – our youngest students believe they CAN so much then sadly over their academic careers are told they CAN’T so often that becomes an “accepted reality.” We have the power to leverage that shift and you all are on the forefront of the moment. LOVE it! So proud of you all and even more so for telling your story at #NCties17 along with blogging. #YouMatter and the world needs your contributions! KOKO, my friend! -Brendan


  4. Brendan,
    Thanks so much! We all need to continue to be a champion for kids and get more teachers to see all students as pure potential! The are so capable and we need to give them opportunities to shine.

    Liked by 1 person

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