Hi there, I am Kristi Mraz. Former literacy consultant with Teacher’s College, co-author of Smarter Charts (with Marjorie Martinelli) and Writing Non-Fiction Chapter Books (with Barb Golub and Lucy Calkins), and current kindergarten teacher. This blog is a place for me to share what is working, not working, and all the thinking that goes into being a primary teacher. I believe in play, choice, independence, and a second coffee at lunch. I also co-author the blog chartchums.wordpress.com and you can find me on twitter at @MrazKristine.

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15 thoughts on “

  1. What a gift! So happy you are adding this blog to your writing and teaching life. Thank you for sharing a slice of the joy that emanates from your classroom. Looking forward to reading this!

  2. Wow! I have just finished devouring your words and thoughts. I would stop only to look up your book references in my library online catalog and reserve them. Thank you for challenging me to think differently about my everyday talk and interactions with kids. I can’t wait to go to work tomorrow! Please keep sharing your thoughts and experiences!

  3. Hey Kristi,

    I teach first grade with a pile of wonderful, motivated, and totally burnt out teachers in Washington, D.C. We are sitting around right now looking through your and your co-teacher’s twitter feed and getting inspired (Spiderman calling? Amazing!). We keep noticing how your priorities shine through– growth mindset, resilience in literacy work– what you teach aligns so fully to the type of teachers we want to be (we’re mostly pretty new to the game, but committed to staying).

    Then, after we get excited, we wonder, “How do you do it all?” We feel pulled in twenty directions and like we can’t do any one thing well. Do you have a schedule you love? Does your schedule change depending on unit or day? Do different students do different things on a given day? Do partner teachers focus on fewer things and really knock those subjects (and bits of subjects) out of the park?

    We’d love a blog post that talks about how you lay out your days and weeks and how you distribute your teaching responsibilities to build such a well-prioritized classroom.

    Thanks so much for all you do to support teachers; we really do have a weekly time to sit down and talk about the posts that have helped change our thinking and our teaching.

    All the best,

    Becky Nolin
    (and the first grade Bulldogs and Wildcats of E.L. Haynes)

    1. Wow! Thank you so much for your thoughts and comments. I used to teach in Washington DC (Emery Elementary School- NE) and I know how incredibly difficult it can be in that system. So first, thank you for all you do and thank you for being committed to staying. Valerie and I work next to each other, but we are not co-teachers (co-planners definitely!) So I am going to ask her to contribute on this post so you can see how we approach things differently but have some of the same beliefs embedded in our teaching. We will do our best to help you from afar, as an FYI I consult as well, so I can also give you up close help as well! We will aim for a post by Monday. Warmly-Kristi

      1. Thank you so much, Kristi! You’ve made a group of teachers in your old teaching grounds VERY excited (Emery represent)! We can’t wait for your posts, and I will certainly get in touch about consulting (nice!). With gratitude, Becky

  4. Kristi, I am wondering if you could share something about homework? What do you assign your kindergarten students, if anything? What exactly goes home to parents? A shared reading notebook? Could you share some examples and photos, if possible?

    Thank you!

    1. No homework in K. I would rather they play and talk with people. I do send home a baggy of books and their shared reading notebook and make paper samples available to parents. We make a point to send out a play-date list and encourage pretend play at home so parents and caregivers know its value.
      Hope this helps!

  5. Hi Kristine, what and how do you teach writing to your kinders? Common core demands we teach all there, what I consider wildly inappropriate, concepts with writing and honestly teaching writing has never been my forte. So what do you do?
    Amy

    1. Honestly, I LOVE teaching writing. A believe whole heartedly in the “making books is a form of play” idea that Matt Glover and Katie Wood Ray lay out in Already Ready. I think the fundamental shift is to see drawing as writing and no different. I would also look up Katie Wood Ray’s “In Pictures and In words” for some inspiration. I am workshop teacher all the way πŸ™‚

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