So many thoughts percolating through my head, so much I want to say, so please bear with me if I ramble. I cringe when I hear educators say: We have to get them ready for kindergarten, first grade, for the future; They’re just playing, it’s time for us to teach; OR there’s no time for that in our busy schedule, we have to stay on track. ON TRACK FOR WHAT, I ask? I keep following #ascd14 and the blog posts I find here. I read about the incredible speakers I heard and the educators I met. No one talked about getting ready, but instead about fostering interests, aspirations, choice, innovation and creativity; giving students the time to find out about themselves, who they are, and intrinsic motivation. How would our students know any of this unless we give them the time to explore, to find out the who, what and why of themselves? And this needs to be available for them in the NOW. I am not discounting the importance of the 3Rs or the curriculum that “needs to be covered” but just looking at it from the perspective of the “whole child” a term in favor once again. At my school CCSS does not drive the curriculum or my teaching. I am grateful for this, not just for myself as a teacher but for my students and me as teachers and learners. Having said that, we still “cover” so much with the Daily 5 balanced literacy program, Writer’s Workshop and implementing a math curriculum that works for us. “Play” time becomes a valued commodity, one I guard like a hawk! Indoor and outdoor play becomes the learning tool that drives my kinders. Here they learn to create, generate ideas, think, dialogue, compromise, collaborate and problem solve. And then they bring it into their other curricular areas. I have seen this in their explorations as they build, play board games, draw, work on the computer and during our #geniushour time. Once again a reflection, but I end with some Pic Collages that shows my kinders interests. In your busy schedules how do you find time for your students’ passions.