Thinking about not renewing my Mailbox Subs...Anyone else not think they aren't DAP?

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by chicagoturtle, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Aug 12, 2008

    When I first started teaching, the teacher I worked with did many things from the mailbox. I had never heard of it, but I soon after ordered my own subscription and subsequently many of their books.

    My second year as a teacher (and third) I started investigating the project approach and doing more of it. Though I haven't done a full project "the right way."

    Last September, I started Grad School where DAP is really encouraged.

    Last October I joined Naeyc (so I get their magazine and books).

    Last May or so- I subscribed to the Naeyc TYC - their new preschool magazine.

    This year, I will be in a study on Reggio.

    I like some of the songs and poems in the mailbox- (but also make up a lot of my own with the kids)- as well as making some file folder games from the magazine's online area as well as the cooking activities. It is great that the ideas are from teachers.

    However I feel a lot of what they show is "cookie cutter/ fridge art" as opposed to process art. Particularly the B. Board Ideas.

    Anyone else feel this way?
     
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  3. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Aug 12, 2008

    I never thought of it that way but I've never used anything in pure form from any resource I've gotten but I sure do value the "creative spark/idea" it gives me to get myself moving in a direction I want to go.
     
  4. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Aug 12, 2008

    Sometimes I think maybe it generates ideas- but more and more- I think the ideas come from within and DAP seems to say in pre-k many of the ideas should come from the students with more authentic learning. I don't know when my subscription runs out (is that bad), but I just got Oct/Nov- so I think I have a few months to decide.

    I know that my NACYE needs to be renewed by October.
     
  5. TulipsGirl

    TulipsGirl Cohort

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    Aug 12, 2008

    I'm not sure what you mean by "the project approach", DAP or "doing a full project the right way"... Could you elaborate?

    I get the Mailbox too and, like any resource, you take what you like and scratch the rest. Many times I like the idea they present but dont feel that it fits perfectly with curriculum, age group, or cultural poulation that I am working with at the time.
    I think the goal is to use fresh ideas and themes as springboards for use in your own classroom.

    Personally I love the posters, and centers (which I make into filefolder games. they very often corresepond with a skill I am teaching right then, and if not, I use it in some other way.
     
  6. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Aug 12, 2008

    The Project Approach info can be found here... well a jump start...http://www.projectapproach.org/
    It is an intensive study where you follow the kids lead and study a topic for 6 or so weeks. We did school buses at one of my schools, but it was the first time I did it and I think I did to much prompting with the project and not enough preparation.

    DAP = Developmentally Appropriate Practice information - http://www.naeyc.org/about/positions/dap4.asp
     
  7. Miss J. Pre-K

    Miss J. Pre-K Comrade

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    Aug 13, 2008

    I agree with you about Mailbox magazine. Most of the stuff in there isn't DAP. We got it from the school library when I was student teaching, and I picked and chose a few things to try. Could it be something your school librarian or director ordered for all of the pre-k/k teachers? (not sure if you're in a center or school)

    Also, I'm so glad to see someone on here investigating Reggio and the Project Approach. I visited Reggio Emilia in April '07, and I worked for 2 years at a Reggio-inspired lab school with infants and toddlers. If you ever want to discuss or have questions, I might be able to help.
     
  8. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Aug 13, 2008

    I work for a public school - not sure if they would order the Mailbox for it- but I am at a new school soon and there are 4 pre-k rooms so someone else may subscribe.

    All my professional development next year if everything goes according to plan should be reggio.
     
  9. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Aug 13, 2008

    I was really happy with Mailbox Pre K --until-- I started on the project approach. Now, I really hardly use it. I use the calendar in the extras to make a calendar for the chidren's parents to tell them about our field trips and family nights and so on.

    I am glad to hear someone is questioning it as much as me.

    How about a whole proj approach thread?
     
  10. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Aug 13, 2008

    They have been started and quickly died- but we can try to ressurect them or start a new one.
     
  11. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    Aug 13, 2008

    I'm not sure any part of my curriculum fits into the DAP, and I'm powerless to change it. (I'd insert the crying emoticon here, but I'm doing a quick reply!).

    I love the mailbox, but I don't use many of the art ideas. I do use the fingerplays and songs, and sometimes they have great sensory table ideas. We have a strong focus on letters/sounds/words in our curriculum, and I've found some of the ideas offered there to be more appropriate than the ones in my curriculum guide, so I go with theirs.

    But what I REALLY love about mailbox is the online newsletter templates. I would subscribe just to those if I could. Some monthes, that is all that I get out of the magazine...the ability to use the companion online so that I can do a nice newsletter.

    Kim
     
  12. Mrs.Sheila

    Mrs.Sheila Cohort

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    Aug 13, 2008

    I agree with kimrandy1! I mainly use my mailbox for the online extras!! I also love getting ideas, but turningthem into something else ~ even if it is just showing the kids something and letting them turn it into whatever.
     
  13. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    The online extras are nice. The permission slips at back to school and the newsletters. We sit in front of the calendar (don't really do it much-sliding out of it for DAP) and as I have downsized calendar it pleased me that there were sheets online.

    I don't really know why I order it. I too use the ideas in NAEYC more but I can't really leave NAEYC's as a lesson plan for a sub either? The are more conceptual not task oriented. Sometimes I need to point at something and then leave the room for a minute.
     
  14. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    Aug 13, 2008

    I thought I was the only one who felt this way about The Mailbox.
    I feel most of the ideas and activities are not DAP for my 4 to 5 year olds. I just thought it was geared towards very young children.

    -I love the online templates for the Calendar and Newsletter. I use them every month. They have made my life so easy.
    I think I keep my subscription mainly for that!

    -I cut and use the file folder games.

    -I'll use an idea for a back to school bulletin board

    -I'll pick and choose songs, sensory box ideas, and maybe an art idea here and there.

    I subscribed for a year, cancelled for a few, and subscribed again.

    I love my NAEYC professional subscription. I would NEVER let it lapse. If my principal did not pay for it I would. Young Child Magazine and the books that come with the professional membership are phenomenal. I get something out of every book and magazine.
     
  15. MsWK

    MsWK Habitué

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    Aug 13, 2008

    I don't like Mailbox, but that's because I'm a firm believer in a child-led emergent curriculum (it's not really "project approach" with infants and toddlers, but it's definitely not teacher-led).

    I agree there are parts of the publication that aren't really DAP. My first year teaching, my co-teacher did everything from there, and I felt like she spent all of her time cutting out patterns instead of encouraging process-oriented art.

    I've never subscribed because I can find plenty of ideas for activities from other places. I like to subscribe to research-based journals instead.
     
  16. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Aug 13, 2008

    mswk-

    could you tell me what the offical difference is between project approach and emergent and reggio and anything else the gets used in sentences with appropriate engaged play and children?
     
  17. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Aug 13, 2008

    Project Approach and Reggio are similar. I know there are differences but my fever fog is preventing me from thinking right now.

    Reggio started in Italy and I believe is more focused on providing an environment that is a learning setting. (I will be doing all my professional development on Reggio this school year).

    The project approach is an intensive study of one particular area for a few weeks to months. Not everyone in the class has to be involved in the whole process. It usually involves a field trip or field site visit, observational drawings, webs, tallying results etc. However, many other things are going on in the classroom (centers etc) in addition to project work.
     
  18. MsWK

    MsWK Habitué

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    Aug 14, 2008

    ... and "emergent" means that the ideas for the curriculum come from the children's emerging interests. When a teacher notices that her children are enthralled with water play, for example, the teacher builds up that area. If her theme is transportation, for example, she'll add boats. If her theme is gardening, she'll add watering cans.

    In a teacher-led approach, the teacher might notice the children love water play, but insist they move on to the next theme because it's what's on the schedule. If it's transportation, she'll start to talk about cars while pulling children away from the water table, or if it's gardening, she'll insist they sort seeds by size on the table (when they could easily do the same thing with the seeds immersed in water).

    Maybe an extreme example, but you get the point.
     
  19. vbubbles1874

    vbubbles1874 Companion

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    Aug 14, 2008

    I love Mailbox and was so glad to renew my subscription. I am not a fan of NAEYC or reggio. I use Creative Curriculum and my own curriculum. With mailbox I can use what I want and then chuck the rest.
     
  20. teresaro

    teresaro Rookie

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    Aug 14, 2008

    Mailbox

    I love Mailbox- if an idea in it isn't DAP. I change it a little or else ignore it. I'm in a school that doesn't always do DAP. I used to stress about it, but I figure that as long as I can change what I do, there's no problem. This will be my 17th year doing this and have gone through LOTS of changes- kind of go with the flow!:whistle:
     
  21. lauriloulou

    lauriloulou Rookie

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    Aug 15, 2008

    Raising hand here! Now that I'm back in education, I just want to get away from cookie cutter projects and focus more on kid's interests. I'm so excited this year to get rid of themes, etc. I want to go more to the Project Approach (although as a long term goal). My short term goal is to do High Scope the right way and focus more on planning and reviewing, etc.

    I do think the Mailbox has some value (songs, center activities) but you really have to pick and choose what is DAP. I don't subscribe but would buy it monthly at the teacher store and now plan to spend that six bucks monthly in a different way (unless I see something really great).

    BTW, how is the new preschool magazine from NAEYC? My school needs to renew my subscription and I was thinking of ordering that as well.
     
  22. PennStateCutie

    PennStateCutie Companion

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    Aug 21, 2008

    It's interesting that you say this because my whole last semester of college (before student teaching) was our DI block, or differentiated instruction. We were almost brainwashed about the dangers of doing "fluffy" activities that were cute but had no real educational or developmental value. I've been thinking for years that I've been crazy because my co-workers at the preschool LOVE mailbox and its art projects, where I've ALWAYS been a DI-kind of teacher. I do not do art just for the sake of doing art - there's always a skill tied in somehow

    that said, I do wish that mailbox would have more themed, age-appropriate skill worksheets in their book...cutting samples, fine motor practice, etc.
     
  23. KarenPreK

    KarenPreK Companion

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    Aug 21, 2008

    In my early years of teaching, I used the Mailbox. Now, I no longer find it useful. I can develop my own lessons and materials to teach things. I also do project learning and emergent curriculum, so the ideas come from the kids mostly.

    Also, I find that Redleaf Press books like "More Than Counting", "More Than Letters", "Math at Their Own Pace" are of much better quality & more useful to me than the Mailbox.
     
  24. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Aug 22, 2008


    I've only gotten one magazine yet of TYC and it was small- but good. Not as much info as the larger nacye magazine- but it has only been around for 3 months I think.
     

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