Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween...



... so it hasn't been TOO bad but the day has coincided with my decision to start cracking down on annoying behavior. So while I'm not wearing a witch hat, some may think I am acting like one!



It's a gorgeous warm fall day and my kiddos are outside for an extended recess except for one. He's in the room with me with his head down. "Maybe this will teach you a lesson my pretty..."

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

What's grosser than gross?

Q: What's gross?

A: Cafeteria fried chicken.

Q: What's grosser than gross?

A: Covering the fried chicken with ketchup.

You have to love Kindergarten pallets.

Monday, October 27, 2008

That's better...

... my kiddos are on their way back to their normal behavior... just in time for Halloween. Stay tuned.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Dark Side of Intersession

I know that I extol the virtues of Intersession every chance I get... until now. As you know, I did not teach this past Intersession (my first time not teaching it since I entered this field in January of 2007). Each time until now I've looked forward to getting my own kids back and to get back into our routine.

Well. This time I did get my kids back, but after two weeks of relaxation bliss. My kids who had different (or non-existent) rules and routines for two weeks.

Holy comoly. Who are these children and what have you done with mine?!

I've literally been pulling my hair out this week whipping them back into shape. It's been like boot camp for Kindergarten (sounds fun huh?) Here is a sampling of the dialogue you might have heard in my room this week:
  • "Please sit down. Please sit down. Please... sit.... down... HEY! YOU! SIT DOWN!"
  • "Shhhhhhhh."
  • "Friends... (deep breath)... it's so very important for you to look at me when I am talking. Please do not make funny faces at your friend while we are learning...(deep breath)."
  • "Please take that out of your mouth."
  • "Shhhhhhhh."
  • "Seriously, don't put it on your mouth."
  • "Are you a doggie that needs a chew toy?" (I know, this was mean).
  • "Excuse me? Did you really just do that?!"
  • "SSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"
  • "This is your last chance. If you behave the same way, you lose recess. The WHOLE recess."

Gah, I've been Viola Swamp. TGIalmostF.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Really?

Poor Spacey is now being referred to specialists so we can find out what's going on. What was once annoying and confusing behavior is now concerning (but yes, still annoying).

Today Poor Spacey was sent to the bathroom first thing in the morning and another break was on its way yet Poor Spacey peed right in her chair. Big ol' puddle in the chair and on the floor. There was no sign of concern or discomfort and frankly I would not have noticed until I walked through it unless a kiddo told me that there was water on her chair. So there she is, just sitting in her own urine. When I quietly asked her if she had an accident, she smiled and said yes. Smiled? She seemed almost giddy when she went to the clinic with my IA to get cleaned up.

Clearly we have some issues to deal with.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Why didn't I knock on wood?

Seriously... after that last oh-I-love-doing-what-I-do post, unlucky teacher karma was bound to bite me in my butt. Here's today's scene:

8:50 a.m., right in the middle of morning meeting. Our registrar is lurking outside the door. She asks to speak to me. I know something is up because she doesn't usually need to speak to me in the middle of teaching. Well she has a kiddo in her office who is starting today. Ok, sure, of course, bring him down. What else could I say? "Um, no sorry, I am full."

8:55 a.m. said kiddo shows up with mom and mom's friend. Kiddo is crying hysterically and refuses to let me lead him into the room. I begin lots of soothing and back rubbing and assurances that I am not a monster and he will surely have a good time.

(Meanwhile, the special ed. teacher has taken over the calendar portion of morning meeting - thank you thank you thank you).

8:57 a.m. I finally drag, yes drag, this poor kiddo into the room and shut the door. He continues crying hysterically and lunging for the door.

8:57 a.m. Another child pukes on the floor.

Awesome.

8:58 a.m. My wonderful assistant is attending to the puking child, I am continuing to soothe the crying child and the special ed. teacher is wrapping up morning meeting and getting my kids ready to go to P.E.

What in tarnation* would I have done with all that help?! (*I am channeling my father with that term... I don't really know what it means but I heard it a lot as a child. I think he used it in replace of hell, but you never know with him.)

Have no fear, the puker went home and the crying child stopped just in time for me to realize he doesn't have a word on English under his belt. Only Urdu, and I am fresh out of English to Urdu dictionaries. At least he's smiling!

Friday, October 17, 2008

All it takes is a little reminder...

Admittedly I have been really enjoying my two week break. I've gotten so much personal, non-teacher stuff done that I've been having a hard time getting psyched to go back. There's no way I can be this productive if I have to WORK. Eeesh.


However, today, my last day of break, I hauled my kids interactive writing project to Staples to see about getting it made into a fancy book (as I had promised them). Now mind you, I did the same thing last week at Kinkos and left after I was told that it would cost me almost $60 to do. I love my kids but I don't love them that much. So I decided to head to Staples to see what I could buy to do it myself when I ran into my new bff Paula from the Staples Copy Center. Paula helped me put the first page onto poster board and then laminated each page in super-thick-teachers-will-love-it laminate and them bound the whole thing together.

(Could I have done this at my own school? Well yes, if our laminator actually worked. I'm tired of laminating things twice or three times with an end result that makes this OCD gal really flippin' cranky. Seriously, I spend hours of my life laminating and it just peels off the next day.)

AT ANY RATE, let's get back to the good news. The good news is that Paula did this whole project for me for $22!!! She rocks. I told her about Kinkos and she just rolled her eyes (I wonder if there is copy-center competition...)

So here is my kids' masterpiece. This is my first try with making a movie with my camera and posting it onto my blog. Bear with me. It took us about 5 days of Interactive Writing lessons to create and now that it's a shiny book we will use it for Shared Reading when we get back to school on Monday. Our AP and reading teacher are also going to come in so the kids can read it to them. Then after reading our book everyday this week for Shared Reading it will go in the Big Books We Know center for the kids to read by themselves in Reading Workshop. I love it when things come together!

Yay, I am excited to go back!



Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Five Random Things

I was memed by Snippety Gibbet to list five random things about myself... this was tough, so after a little soul searching, here is what I came up with:
  1. I've been known to drink pickle juice.
  2. I had a face to face encounter with a grizzly bear.
  3. I love to "window shop" online (I go to my favorite stores, fill my shopping bag and then leave without checking out).
  4. I hate using public bathrooms... not because of a germ issue, I just don't like people knowing I am going to the bathroom.
  5. I think tuna noodle casserole is one of the best meals ever created.

I hope no one was expecting to read anything deeper than this... this is it, this is me. Now I am going to go read what everyone else wrote!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Aaahhhhhhh....

The rewards of an 11-month calendar are paying off right now. I just hit my third trimester, I need a little break, and here I am faced with two glorious weeks off. I do have a to-do list (come on, of course I do) but it's reasonable and manageable.

I hope my kiddos do okay on their first day of Intersession*. Some of them will be fine, but I know some of them won't know what hit them.

* for those of you that are not familiar, Intersession is a one to two week period at the end of every quarter, usually in October, January and March/April, during which students are able to take classes that are interactive, creative, and fun! If students opt to go to Intersessions, they pay a nominal fee to participate in classes such as dance, arts and crafts, cooking, storytelling, newspaper writing, or astronomy! Classes providing extra help in reading, writing and math are also available. (In full disclosure, I took these words from our website, they're not mine!)

Friday, October 3, 2008

OCD strikes again...

... or maybe it's how I was raised. Blame my mom :)

I try my very best to always keep in mind that most of my kiddos come from backgrounds that are literally foreign to me. Their families don't run on the same values and principles that I was raised with, along with my homogeneous upstate New York community. For example, my father taught me that 10 minutes early is on time. My mother taught me that you write a thank you note, for everything. These are just a sampling.

So it gets my undies in a bunch when I work really hard to communicate with families in their home language about parent conferences, and extend myself and my time to be as accommodating as possible, and I'm still blown off. One appointment after another... at least the translator that I arranged brought reading material. He knows.

Yes yes, I know I need to let it go. I know that. But this is my therapy and I need to vent.

P.S. My conference with Poor Spacey and The Pooper's parent went very well. Not only was I able to serve up a positive burger, it had a few tasty sides as well!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Validation

So I have always admitted that I am slightly OCD... I haven't been professionally diagnosed, and don't want to insult true OCDers... but it's clear that my desire for order and neatness is sometimes debilitating (just ask my husband).

I often joke about how it is I got into teaching Kindergarten being OCD... neatness can be a struggle... order can be a struggle... constant rules and routines can be a struggle.

But, neatness, rules, order and routine are also an asset in a room of 20 five year olds. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it.

I just met with a parent who gushed over how wonderful she thinks I am based solely on what I send home and how it looks. "You are so organized and everything is so clear. I love opening my child's folder and finding out what is going on in the classroom. You are the best teacher any of my children have had."

Now, I know I'm not the best... there are some kids who don't benefit from my OCD, but I can tell you that I felt AWESOME.

Can I get a sticker for doing a good job?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Switching Gears...

Before I can enjoy two weeks off (hip hip hooray!), I have to spend two full days meeting with the parents of my lovies.

I have mixed feelings about parent-conferences. On one hand, I fully support consistent and open communication about a child's progress, or lack thereof, with parents.

On the other hand, I am dreading a few meetings where I am struggling to come up with "the positive burger." have you heard of this? Think of a hamburger... the bottom bun is a positive about the kiddo, the burger is the negative, and it's topped off with a positive bun. That way the parent doesn't feel attacked and the teacher avoids focusing solely on the negative. The problem is, I have a couple of kiddos who are lacking a bun. I can feign a bottom bun, but a top one as well?! It's going to be tough. (And yes, for you curious Georges... Poor Spacey and the Pooper are on the list.)

While you might be thinking, "Geez, what a battle ax," you should know that I smiled and positived my way through conferences last year and I ended up with parents who really didn't understand their kiddos problems. I want to avoid this.

Tomorrow's goal - find the balance!