Thursday, March 27, 2008

Meme: Passion Quilt

I was memed by Organized Chaos for this passion quilt and I have to say I don't even quite understand what "meme" means but I gather I am to post a picture that encapsulates what I am most passionate about for my kiddos. Well, that's easy. I am most passionate about my kids learning independence. They come into my room seemingly without the ability to do anything on their own. Tie their shoes, use the bathroom, read a book, write their name, put things away... you name it, they need help. My goal has always been to help these little beings function on their own. I want them to learn how to solve their problems without the help of an adult. I want them to feel powerful and in control of their own day. Obviously I am here to help and guide and love them... but I want them to lead their own way.

I had a hard time finding the perfect picture, so I picked this one. This student is entertaining himself without the assistance of any teacher and he is in charge of himself and his space. Independence rules!


I am supposed to link this to 5 other people in my professional learning network but everyone, except one, seems to have been bit! So... here you go!

I meme:
PLCweb

Passion Quilt Meme RulesPost a picture from a source like FlickrCC or Flickr Creative Commons or make/take your own that captures what YOU are most passionate about for kids to learn about…and give your picture a short title.Title your blog post “Meme: Passion Quilt” and link back to this blog entry.Include links to 5 folks in your professional learning network or whom you follow on Twitter/Pownce

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Toilets

The toilet in my classroom became possessed today. When it's possessed, it continually flushes itself and, as you can imagine, it's loud and terrifying for a 6 year old, as well as distracting for a room full of 6 year olds.

Mind you, this has happened before and stopped on it's own after a few minutes so I wasn't too concerned. Today it didn't stop. The flushing went on for 20 minutes and because of the said flushing, we had a 15 minute discussion about toilets.

Turns out many of my children have plumbing problems at home.

I really could use that 15 minutes of my life back.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Picking the Right Books

As I read this article on washingtonpost.com, I found myself questioning it/responding to it many different ways.

  1. I wish my school had parents that commented (or even complained!) about what we read. I have one parent out of 21 that tells me what her son is reading and asks for advice on other texts.
  2. I disagreed with the statement that, "Picking books appropriate in theme and reading level is an art rather than a science, librarians and educators say." I think it is indeed a science. I have spent many hours being trained on how to determine the correct reading level a child should be reading, and frankly I think the theme is just common sense. I am a first year teacher and it's not rocket science to know whether a book is thematically appropriate. Which brings me to another thought...
  3. I want to give the teacher who read the book about slavery the benefit of the doubt. It began with, "They took the sick and the dead and they dropped them into the sea like empty wine barrels. But wine barrels did not have beating hearts, crying eyes, and screaming mouths. . . . No one knows how many millions died. Except the sharks." One disclaimer - I teach Kindergarten but I don't think I would read this to 3rd graders BUT I don't know the context, the conversation before and after the reading, nor do I know if the teacher edited her reading. I often have to change up the phrases or vocabulary to make the text more reasonable for my kiddos.

I just hope that the kids in my class capture the love of reading much like I did - total immersion. Books everywhere. Numerous read alouds every day. Book Talks. "Oh my goodness that book is SO GOOD! Don't you LOVE it?!" My kids think I love books more than life itself. As they should.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spring Break Day 3

What happened to Spring Break Day 2? Oh I know, it was lost amidst touring properties with our realtor, hashing out "is this what we want?" and anxiously waiting for our mortgage guy to call us. We didn't plan on doing this during spring break but thank goodness we are! This is an all-consuming and exhausting affair. My husband claims he enjoys it but I think he's just trying to buoy my not-enjoying it side. He's good like that.

I do have to admit that during all this grown-up stuff, I am wondering how my lovies are doing. I worry when when we have long breaks from school because a lot of them don't have family vacations, sleep overs, or even fun day care. They have TV, and it's usually not Sesame Street!

I have found myself turning on Sesame Street to fill my void. No matter how old you are Grover is still awesome.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Spring Break Day 1

I just discovered a show on the Style network called Hot Guys Who Cook. No need to say more.

Friday, March 14, 2008

I've Got the Fever

3 hours and counting...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bird Walk

We learned today that the cardinal is the state bird.

I learned that no matter how much you prep a class of Kindergarteners on how to go on a bird walk, they will still run at a group of birds on the ground like crazed cocker spaniels.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Teacher Planning Days

I had a planning day today with my team.

+'s:
  1. Kid free. I love my kids but a whole day in the middle of the week with spring just around the corner is wonderful.
  2. Interesting and informative presentations - really!
  3. Time to work on, and get advice on, those pesky report cards.
  4. I can eat and pee whenever I want.
  5. I can make fun of my kids with the other teachers - we all get a kick out of that.

-'s:

  1. I have to interact with adults all day long. You lose practice doing that when you teach. I might need a refresher course.
  2. Honking on my stuffed up nose makes my kids laugh. It makes my colleagues cringe.
  3. The whole day is spent in a cramped stuffy cold-then-hot-then-cold-then-hot trailer.
  4. Upon returning to your classroom you find everything out of its place. This is hard for a anal, slightly OCD teacher.

The +'s still outweigh the -'s but I can't wait to see my lovies tomorrow.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Longest to Shortest

(get it?)


Math rocks.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

It's been on my mind...

My kids and I had a rough day yesterday... not all day, and not every kid. Three kids actually. One of those three kids got yelled at. I mean really yelled at. Finger in the face, "YOU WILL NOT BEHAVE LIKE THAT IN THIS CLASSROOM" yell. After I did it I felt bad - and not really bad that I told this child what I did, but I didn't need to scream. Totally lost my cool. Ugh.

I began thinking... how often do I do this? I don't think I full-out yell too often at all, but I am a loud person and how often does it sound like I am yelling at my kids? "Friends, we will not be going to lunch until you show me that you're ready." Does this come out like a yell? Or like the-teacher-is-just-being-her-loud-self. I do work very hard to have a measured and soft voice as much as possible but well, I'm loud. Maybe I'll tape myself for an entire day (that could be scary) and see what I truly look and sound like.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I heard it on NPR...

On my drive to work this morning, NPR aired a story (or maybe it was the local affiliate) done by a teen-reporter. The focus was racial tension in her fairly affluent metro-DC area high school. I turned on the radio just as she was talking about her memories from first grade and how racial differences were never seen as differences. I smiled because that's how our school is. There is no majority and no minority -- everyone is just a kid. In my classroom alone, my kiddos span the globe.

As the reporter continued she told of how that feeling is no longer there and described how segregated her high school is. She described her cafeteria as a breeding ground for tension -- "the blacks sit together, the whites sit together and the Spanish sit together." This grouping continues to where people congregate in the halls and in the classrooms.

So my question is... if classrooms at age 5 and 6 truly loves one another for who they are and not what they look like, when and where do we go wrong with these kids? Middle school? Freshman year of high school? Do the teachers see it coming? Do we ask the parents what they think? Are they helping or hurting the problem? I have knee-jerk reaction answers to a lot of these questions, but it just baffles me when I see what i see in my classroom and hear what I heard on the radio this morning. Will these be my kids?

Monday, March 3, 2008

Duh.

We had a presentation from our special education team today at our staff meeting. The topic was about kids who have auditory processing problems and special needs kids in general. The presenters were giving us classroom ideas on how to help these kids and why they don't learn in traditional "school marm" classrooms. One presenter bravely admitted that she has auditory processing problems and how that caused her difficulties in elementary school.

The entire time they were presenting I was on my laptop deleting emails, organizing files and generally just neatening my laptop. About 3/4 of the way through the presentation I thought to myself that I should close my laptop and focus on the presenters, but in reality I was focused on them and paying attention (I had this discussion with myself). I'm one of those people that needs to be active to sit still (if that makes sense). If my husband puts in a movie I need a project to work on as well. If I am engaged in a conversation, my hands are usually doing something whether it's twisting my ring or holding a wine glass, or I am actually up and moving. I have great conversations while I am cooking. It's like my body needs activity so my mind can focus. It's not necessarily short attention span it's just an agreement between my mind and body. Idle body = idle mind. Active body = active mind.

I am rambling on about this because I have kids in my room with the same issue and today's presentation made me realize that some of my kiddos ARE JUST LIKE ME. Dur. Now I get it. Now I get THEM.