Friday, February 29, 2008
Thursday, February 28, 2008
February 28, 2008, 6:17 pm
Obama Offers Some Parenting Tips
Nick Timiraos reports on the presidential race from Beaumont, Texas.
Barack Obama took a chance to offer some parenting advice during a forum on the economy Thursday, bringing a crowded auditorium of 1,700 to its feet.
His lecture came in a response to how he would improve education. After discussing the need to overhaul the No Child Left Behind Act, he asked the audience for permission to speak frankly.
“It doesn’t matter how much money we put in if parents don’t parent,” he said. “When that child comes home you’ve got the TV set on. You don’t check the homework… So turn off the TV set, put the video game away, buy a little desk or put that kid at the kitchen table.”
The Illinois senator also urged parents to teach healthy lifestyles. “Make them go to bed at a reasonable time, keep them off the streets, give them some breakfast, come on,” he said. “Can I get an amen here?”
He also admonished parents to take responsibility for their children when they make mistakes at school. “Since I’m on a roll here,” he said, “if your child misbehaves in school, don’t cuss out the teacher. You know I’m right about that.”
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
It's the 117th day of Kindergarten and many of my friends have forgotten that:
- We sit criss-cross on the carpet. Always.
- We raise our hand when we want to share. Always.
- After we raise our hand we WAIT until we are called on. Always.
- We avoid pig piles on the carpet. Again, always. There is never an instance when that has been okay.
- If someone accidentally steps on our pattern block creation, we don't scream at the TOP of our lungs.
- When I am talking to another student, we don't stand next to me and repeat my name over, and over, and OVER until I give them the evil stare which means "STOP!" Today the stare hasn't even worked.
Sigh. I just hope that 25 minutes with them will be bearable... I envision about 10 students on the carpet listing to our awesome chapter book and the remaining 11 being banished to quiet seats at their tables for doing any or all of the above mentioned. Way to think positive huh?
(P.S. I have already warned our Art teacher)
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
I began to wonder if I could market this into a new game-night product like Taboo or something of the sort. A bunch of adults sitting around throwing letters and coming up with as many words as they can... "A! Apple! Aardvark!" I think it would be a blast, but I'm not sure what "normal" adults might think. Maybe I'll toss it out as an idea next time we have company and see what the response is. Stay tuned...
Sunday, February 24, 2008
As a career-switcher (a higher paid one at that), this is the only time I think wistfully of my past life. The one and only time. Hurrumph.
Friday, February 22, 2008
Thursday, February 21, 2008
"No dirty mouth!"
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Today we learned about George Washington Carver, not to be confused with George Washington, and how he found many ways to use the peanut. Most of my kiddos let it be known that the best use of the peanut is peanut butter and lucky for them, we had all the ingredients! After showing them a peanut in the shell ("they really grow in the dirt? Ewww!") and creating a giant mess of shells (20 kids can shell 3 cups of peanuts in 10 minutes flat), we put it all in the blender with corn oil and salt (note the absence of sugar) and turned it on. I think this was the first time many of my lovies has ever seen, or heard, a blender. It was hysterical.
Once the peanut butter was made I drizzled it (we went a little heavy on the oil) on a saltine and savored our homemade creation. They were begging for seconds and declared they would start making their own peanut butter. I mean, come on, who would buy this in a jar when making it is so fun?!
What a fantastic day.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
My room smells like sweet stickiness, my head is spinning, and I am looking a wide variety of Valentine's Day schwag on my desk.
Admittedly, the day was insane, but insane in the best way possible. To quote one of my lovies, "I just LLOOOOVVEEEEE Valentine's Day!"
Happy Valentine's Day!!!
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
- "plant trees and build houses for them like I did with my dad."
- "give everyone money for toys if their mom's couldn't buy them."
- "give everyone candy."
- "make everyone be quiet because they're too loud."
- "build everyone a house with big windows."
- "make everyone stop fighting and be friends."
- "give everyone a car."
- "give everyone puppies so they can have dogs like me."
- "be a WWE wrestler."
- "buy all the books in the library to take home."
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Can you imagine? I tried to think what I would do. Sing myself hoarse? Initiate a rocks, paper, scissors tournament? Cry myself to sleep in the corner?
Reports are still being given that fly-overs and bridges are closed. I hope this one was de-iced and those busses got on their way.
Monday, February 11, 2008
1. Assessments -- I have a new, and so far successful, Writing Workshop notebook copied from our Literacy Guru (hooray). I am also beginning to implement check-lists for math and social studies (double hooray). I was given some good tips today from one of my graduate classes on how to collect anecdotal information from kids in science and social studies when I almost always teach these in whole group settings. The tip is this: during transitions, ask a kid a question and mark it on your check-list. Or, if I want to know if everyone knows that George Washington was our first president I will ask them to whisper it to me as they line up for lunch then check-it off on my list. Brilliant! How did I not think of that?
2. My husband's messages to my special friend have exploded into many of my kiddos writing to him. I have relieved some of the workload and responded back to the kids in his name (is that wrong?) I print the letters out (big comic sans font, always with a question to answer) and staple it to their original letter. Now we are brainstorming about other people we can write to! My kids are beginning to moan when we don't have Writing Workshop (instead of the reverse) and for that, I am elated.
3. Friend from China -- he is getting there... very slowly, but I am certain very surely.
4. I am in the process of formally assessing a group of kids who qualify for intervention... so far almost all of them have made huge improvements from the beginning of the year. That feels good. Their improvements however, put them where many of their classmates were in August. So that feels daunting. Can I catch them up?
5. Tomorrow is primary election day and I must think about getting to bed so I may fulfill my civic duty in the morning. My kids will likely ask me, many times, "what is that sticker on your shirt for?" I wonder how many different ways I will explain it...
Thursday, February 7, 2008
(If you cracked a smile - you can hang with my kids. If you rolled your eyes - you might want to avoid my room).
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
Kindergarteners don't have routine exams and tests to give quick, albeit often inaccurate, information. Kindergarten teachers rely almost solely on anecdotal information. As a self-described Type A, list maker, control freak -- anecdotal assessments are tough. They're not direct and they don't fit into columns and rows. I have created, and later abandoned, many systems that I thought would work for me that did not. I have seen amazing systems in place and working, but they're not right for me. I am still searching for my anecdotal soul-mate! For now my anecdotal information is a hodgepodge of information in different locations that I gather for report card time and hope that I am being accurate and fair. If the teaching Gods are watching over me, I hope that I find my groove in the next few months because this is one of the first-year stresses that I would prefer not to follow me into year 2.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
This morning during snack, my friend needed some one-on-one time with me. He was quiet and grumpy all morning -- I just wanted to give him lots and lots of hugs. While sitting at my table he asked when my husband was coming to visit. I told him we would send a message on my computer and see what he says. I made the message from my friend and typed it verbatim. Here it is along with my husband's responses:
Dear Mr. xxxx,
Are you gonna bring a DVD tomorrow? "How 'bout a movie tomorrow? Tomorrow we can watch a movie with you.
Dear Special Friend,
I would love to watch a movie with you tomorrow, but I have to work so I can buy a DVD. Maybe in a couple of weeks I will come in to surprise you.
Dear Mr. xxxx,
How about Power Rangers or whatever you want? That's okay that you can't come tomorrow.
I think Power Rangers is too violent for me. Maybe Happy Feet and you and your classmates can dance with the Penguins.
This quick exchange made my Special Friend's day. He was excited and engaged during Writing Workshop -- he got to tell his friends about his "conversation" and then took the lead when we decided to write a letter to my husband formally inviting him into the classroom. I HEART my husband for taking those 60 seconds out of his day to make a little kid happy (and his wife to boot!)
P.S. My special friend's inappropriateness is not what reminds him of my husband at age 5 -- it's his energy, personality, intelligence, and all around adorableness. I thought that needed to be said.
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Well, turns out he doesn't listen to her either. I see her speaking with him and he rolls his eyes and typically does exactly what she asked him not to. Typical 6 year old behavior I suppose, just in another language. Any suggestions on where to go next with this kiddo would be appreciated... all the tricks in my bag (endless visual cues, buddies, etc) haven't worked.
Friday, February 1, 2008
Paper bags, glue and some popsicle sticks... sometimes that's all it takes. I heart my job.