Thursday, December 12, 2013

Mele Kalikimaka!

Aloha!  It's 40 degrees in sunny North Carolina; how's the weather where you are? We had our first big frost of the season yesterday with my car completely covered in an impenetrable layer of ice. (But no snow; it's always winter but never snow!)  So what did we talk about with the kids? The beach, of course!  One of our teacher standards for teacher licensure includes global awareness, or the awareness that life exists outside of our little school bubble. So while the kids were bundling up in hats, gloves, and coats one by one, I showed them all pictures of Santa surfing, a snowman made of sand (which one of the kids dubbed "sandman") and palm trees. I pulled out the laptop and showed them Google maps so we could see where Hawaii is. For a little while, at least, we could dream before we braved the cold.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Healthy Holiday snack

Hello again busy teachers!

It's the most wonderful time of the year! Yes, even for us. It,s easy to get overwhelmed with lists. Personally I have crocheting to do, an IEP meeting to organize, slippers to ship to a customer, materials to get together for my class, 2 shops to promote, and crafts to plan for Family Craft Day. Not to mention Christmas shopping. 
Whew! I need a break just from typing all that. Smell the flower, blow the candle. Better. Sorry. Where was I?
Family craft day! This is a time when we're inviting parents to come make crafts and snacks with their kids. If you would like to do this and don't have time to think of anything, here's something that will help. 
I was researching some snacks that parents could make with their kids and all of them involved sugar or things that my kids are allergic to. 
Here's my own solution:
Get some mini bagels, whipped cream cheese, and dried cranberries. Mix green food coloring with the cream cheese and spread it on the bagels. Decorate with dried cranberries. Ta da! It's a wreath!
I don't have pictures yet since it's next week, so here's some clipart I modified with Paint:

Enjoy your week!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Stone Soup

Welcome back! I hope everyone had good, relaxing holiday.  Last time I talked about making Stone Soup and wanted to share some pictures with you.  The children loved measuring the ingredients into the soup and trying them before they went in.  It was a great opportunity to bring in numbers, more/less than, senses, and teamwork.  Not all of the children tried the soup or liked it of course, but as you know, it's the process that counts.  If you haven't tried this yet, I highly encourage it.

 Here's the recipe we used:
2 cans chicken with juice
2 cups water
2 cubes chicken bullion
Sauteed onions
1 "little" (half) cup canned peas with juice
1 cup Cooked pasta, drained
1 "little" cup each cooked sweet potatoes and carrots (use juice if canned)
Salt and pepper
Use more or less to taste.
Measure everything into a microwave-safe bowl, then microwave on high for about 8 minutes.  Plan on 20 if you have to run back and forth to the classroom like we did :)

The results:



I wish you could see the expression of the kid in the back; he's looking at it thinking, "I'm not sure about this."


If you like this, make sure you follow me! Also check out my Pinterest page, "KidatHeart," for more great ideas.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Holiday Weekend Sale

Stone soup pictures are coming next week. Before then, here's a great opportunity to save some time and money!  I've put together some ideas for the coming holiday season because we're all stressed enough. Why throw lesson planning into the mix?
Even better, all of my items are currently 20% off. If you shop on Monday and Tuesday, you can get up to 28% off with code CYBER.  Make sure you check out other sellers, too; there are some fantastic sellers out there.

To shop, just click the big green picture. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Because presents are always nice


Friday, November 22, 2013

Being thankful

Of course we talked about being thankful this week; is there anyone who didn't? (Seriously, I'd like to know. Post in the comments).  I described it as being something that makes you happy.  For a writing activity, we asked children three things they were thankful for, then encouraged them to draw it on a turkey feather while we dictated. That afternoon, my wonderful assistants made footprint turkeys with the kids and glued the feathers onto them. (Literacy with a 2-part project bonus!) Most of the kids did really well, although there were some that wanted to draw whatever they wanted. Here are some of the responses they gave us:

Mom and Dad
My sister
My skateboard
Fred (a giant stuffed dog in our calm-down area)
My toys
My toybox
My family
All my friends and teachers at school

It sounds like they got the concept just fine!

Join me after Thanksgiving for pictures of Stone Soup, a Thanksgiving tradition in my class! Have a safe and happy holiday.


The perfect time of year to talk about friendship and all we have.





Monday, November 18, 2013

Bragging time

It's good to reflect every so often and find moments to brag on the kids. We finished up our fire station week with the book The Fire.  We talked about what was on the cover and the kids did great using descriptive words an predictions. The book itself is about a family whose house burns down and learns that the most important thing they have is each other.  The children took everything in stride and commented on what was happening in the book and the emotions the family had on their faces. I have a smart group of kids.

One of my favorite moments from today: A child looked a little sad after he came in, which happened to be during a busy transition time. When I asked him what was wrong, he said, "You didn't say hi to me today!"  I leaned down and hugged him, saying, "I'm sorry! I'm glad you're here." He brightened immediately. We never know the impact one little greeting will have on a child!

Praising your kids is important and not just in the boundaries of the classroom. 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Call to Arms

I'm afraid I have something shocking to tell you: there are such a thing as Preschool Worksheets online.  I know! In this day and age!  In my bio on Teachers Pay Teachers, I mention that I don't do worksheets and I stand by this.  I've even had some parents ask why I don't send home worksheets to show learning. But you're good teachers; you already know why you do what you do. Hopefully this post will give you some talking points to bring up to parents or colleagues next time they talk about worksheets. 

What are we trying to teach with worksheets?


What's Wrong with Worksheets?

"Too Much, Too Soon" When children circle something on a worksheet, they're not actively engaging with materials. 
.

They push too soon and can actually limit interest in reading. Really, who actually likes to do worksheets? 

It's just not how we work as humans. Also see Vygotsky's theories. Note that this study was on adults; it doesn't change. 


This could go on all day.


Think about it: what were your best classes when you were learning? The best workshops you've been to? Were you filling out forms and told what to circle? Or were you discussing, interacting, and exploring? 


Can Worksheets Ever Be Effective?

In some cases, yes. 

The Handwriting Without Tears program effectively uses worksheets in combination with multisensory materials 

Here's another article about worksheets being successful with children with disabilities: 

*Note that both of these articles deal with children with disabilities. They have different thought processes and motor connections than "typical" children. They need the more rigid structure just to be able to write their name in capital letters. But did you notice? The focus was still on the process. They're also not doing it all day.

"What is it that children do all day at your center?"

Play. Play play play play play. And through playing, exploring. Inventing. Experimenting and failing. Persisting. Focusing. Communicating. Writing. Numbers. Letters. Social Skills.  Even a rudimentary form of telling time. 

I titled this post "A Call to Arms." So here it is. Take back Pinterest. Take back TeachersPayTeachers and TeachersNotebook and whatever resource you use that also mentions worksheets. Let's take back preschool and show people that yes, we play all day. And as preschool teachers, it's the most important thing we can do.








Which class would you rather be in? 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Joys of Parenting

Sometimes the best moments come not from the kids, but from their parents.  Every year I head to the used bookstore and get a whole bunch of books to give out as birthday presents. The kids love getting something for their birthday from me and the joy on their face when they show it to their friends is wonderful.  I happened to be working late today when one of the parents came in. I said, "Xavier(not his real name), did you get your book?"  Xavier got the book from his cubby and proudly showed it to his dad. His dad "oohed" and "aahhed" and made all the appropriate noises, looking a little tired and wary. Then he asked, "He doesn't get to keep this, does he?" I said, "Yes he does! It's his birthday present. Everyone in my class gets a book for their birthday." The dad beamed just as big as the kid, if not bigger. I couldn't ask for a better end to the day.
Birthday books are the best books!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Power plays

Happy Weekend! :D
By the way...have you heard of Allie Brosh? No? Then here's her latest piece on being a terrorizing four-year-old.  Some of her other posts have some profanity, but they're all amazing (try the one about the cake!)
http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/

Thursday, October 31, 2013

In the minds of 3-year-olds

If you've been following my blog this year, you know that my classroom has some special cases.  According to my director, a lot of them "need to be here." Ok, fine. I love them all but sometimes I don't know whether to laugh or go crazy. Here's a funny story of one of the 3-year-olds:
A few kids in the class like to play checkers so I brought out the board this morning.  Keep in mind that this child is typical, as opposed to having a disability. The 3-year-old wanted to play so I said, "Sure! That kid over there can teach you how and I'll be right there."  Keep in mind that this child is typical, as opposed to having a disability. I was helping another child with a puzzle and the kid was playing with a toy from another center. I finished the puzzle and went over to help.
Me: "Ok, put the pieces on the board."
3YO: "I wanna play!"
Me: "Ok, I'll help you. Put the pieces right here."
3YO: "I wanna play!" (Still playing with the toy from the other center)
Meanwhile, other kids are coming over. Now it's a show.
"I wanna play!"
"If you won't let me help you, I'm going to give someone else a turn.  Let's put the pieces here and we'll play together."
Nothing. He just sat there, playing with the other toy. Finally I said, "Ok, I'm going to give this child a turn."
Complete meltdown.  "I WANNA PLAY! I WANNA PLAY!" Now I know why some sets say "6 and up."

Dinosaur week next week! Hopefully I'll be able to get the lesson up in my shop soon.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Happy Un-Halloween!

I might not let my kids know it, but I'm a big believer in the idea that rules are made to be bent. In NC, teachers are encouraged to build on children's interests. Naturally, the children's thoughts are turning towards Halloween. There's just one problem: my center doesn't like Halloween.  Or any holidays, for that matter. I've had to get a little...creative this week, putting in Halloween-type activities and pouting a little. But then I saw this: (profanity warning) Here's a summary in case you don't like profanity: we watched scary stuff when we were little and instead of scarring us for life, it actually helped prepare us for the evil that's present in the real world.  And that got me thinking about the actual spirit of Halloween. It's easy to pull out pumpkins and ghosts and tell the preschoolers, "This is Halloween. It's cookie cutter art, projects from last year, and sterile." Boring.
Where did Halloween come from? Imagination. Storytelling. Empathizing with heroes defeating the bad guys as we listen to our favorite stories again and again.  Realizing that yes, evil does exist and yes, we are powerful to defeat it.
So I have a challenge for you: Even if you work in a center where you can celebrate Halloween, go beyond the normal.  Challenge yourself and your children to use imagination. Don't just read books, tell stories. I think you'll be surprised at what you find.


By the way, here's our pumpkin this year. I let the kids vote on which shapes they wanted for the face. Then I told this story: http://www.bedtymetales.com/story-01-old-jack/ with the lights off and putting in an electric tealight at the appropriate time.

What's your favorite scary story from when you were little? Do you tell stories to your class?

Monday, October 21, 2013

This post is not Pin-worthy

 I'm sure there are other posts on this topic somewhere; at least I hope there are. I can't be the only one tired of all the cutesy stuff on Pinterest when it comes to children's art. Don't get me wrong; I can easily spend an hour Pinning, commenting, and following rabbit (Pin?) trails. There are a lot of great ideas out there. But when I see post after post about giving worksheets to preschoolers, letting them color something and then cutting it up, or devoting an entire week to crafts, I cringe every time.
See, I don't know much about art but I do know it's about expression. Think about it for a second: "art." What comes to mind? Art galleries? Freedom? Putting a bunch of pegs into holes? Hopefully you didn't think of that last one but if you did, it might be time to take a trip to the art gallery.
Imagine if you worked hard on a lesson plan and your boss came by and said, "Good job! Now let's make it into a bunny." "But I don't want it to be a bunny'" you say. "It's supposed to be a lesson plan and I don't even like bunnies." "Too bad," your boss says. "We're doing bunnies this week and I'm turning all the lesson plans into bunnies." Would you want to try again? I'm guessing you wouldn't. But that's what happens every time you change a child's art, even a little. You're telling them that all their hard work wasn't good enough. Making crafts tells the children that when it comes to art, there's a right way and a wrong way and they all need to conform like good little automotons so they can grow up and be uncreative.
Of course I use crafts a few times a week with a purpose. I want the children to focus on specific skills. "Here are some materials. Here's what an owl looks like. If we put our hand inside like this, it looks like a puppet. If we put the eyes here, doesn't this look like a mouth? How else can we make it look like an owl? You don't like owls? Then what do you want to make? " Or I'll focus on sequencing to make a book in a small group. Or we'll talk about making shapes as they match them on a paper and discover they make an animal. I used to use coloring sheets rarely until a little girl came in and did nothing but make little scribble marks all over her paper. If you picture the hand movements of someone coloring inside the lines, you know what I mean. By the time she left my room, she was making purposeful and elaborate pictures. We do messy splatterboxes.  We make experiments that don't work. And we love every minute of it.
I promised a few posts back that I would share the kids' apple trees. I never did it because they weren't "cute." They don't all look the same and some of them were cut all the way through. But you know what? Here they are. Beautiful for what they are: a representation of exploration and expression and learning.

And when I'm done with this post, I'm Pinning them.

We were learning about apple trees. I took a bag and demonstrated that if they used scissors to cut the top and opened it up, the children could make trees.  I gave them scissors, apple shapes, leaf shapes, and crayons. One of the comments was, "I'm putting my apples down here because they fell off the tree."

On the left is a child's spiderweb. They were interested in spiders, so I gave them string and glue and told them they could make spiderwebs. On the right is the same child's free art on the easel.  I asked him what it was and he said, "I don't know." Which is just fine with me. 


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Smile!

I was reviewing shapes this morning using some of the great ideas found here when some of the kids guessed correctly and I smiled. That's great for them, of course, but the strange part is how alien it felt. Do I really smile that little? I thought. I thought about it and even asked my assistant who assured me that I do smile. But it made me realize the power of something as simple as smiling. There's a Becky Bailey technique for calming down we use with the kids called S.T.A.R.: Smile, Think happy thoughts, And Relax.  To be honest, I doubted its validity but that one little moment suddenly made my morning brighter and gave me clarity to think of what I needed to do that day.  There is a scientific explanation. Just that simple act of smiling fires those mirror neurons in your brain (they're responsible for empathy) and makes you feel better. So as you go about your day today or tomorrow, just smile. Hopefully this blog helps you but you don't need an excuse. Just smile.


Monday, October 14, 2013

Representational Drawing



With the apples last week and insects this week, I realized something: this class is amazing at representational drawing!  When we talked about sunflowers one day, the children looked at photos and recreated them fairly accurately.  This week we talked about spiders; some of the children needed help with shapes, so I gave them a few shapes to glue together. We counted out 8 rectangles for legs and put two circles together for the body.  While they were working, I mentioned that "By the way, spiders also have 8 eyes." None of them said anything, but when they were done, several spiders had 8 eyes drawn on their heads.  We may still need a bit of help with social skills (getting better all the time) but we have art down at least!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Save the drama for your mama



I thought that with 12 boys in the classroom, we'd have fewer issues with namecalling and friendship and more with rough play. Of course they do play rough and hit each other, but there's quite a bit of drama about who is whose friend on which day.  Today at the lunch table, a couple of boys decided they weren't friends and started arguing back and forth.  I reminded both of them of our class policy: "You don't have to like each other, but you do need to be nice to each other."  One responded, "Fine, I'm ignoring you."  A minute later, he offered the boy a stress ball, saying, "This will help you stop being angry."  (We'd talked about relaxation strategies in class earlier).  It wasn't long before they were talking back and forth nicely to each other and even acting like friends.  I guess you never know!

*Watch for pictures of our 3D apple trees coming soon!*

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

How to get a picky eater to eat

Every class has its own picky eater and mine is no exception.  Just by looking at something, he decides he doesn't like it.  He's especially this way with apples, so we had a happy accident today.  We're talking about apples this week and did lots of fun things like make a chart of the children's favorite colors of apple.  Today, the children got to observe some apples(red, green, and yellow) in a bowl on a table and draw what they saw.  Now keep in mind, the picky eater was on the other side of the room the entire time; he didn't so much as look at the apples.  Which is fine.  So as the kids were observing, I was telling the kids that they would get to taste them later.  Apparently word got around to this boy because at lunchtime, he sat excitedly with his napkin in front of him.  He didn't touch anything on his plate, but he ate all three apple pieces and asked for more!  I couldn't have been more proud.

(picture from Library of Congress)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Confession Time


Everyone, I have a confession to make: I underestimated my preschoolers today. I know! If you've read the last couple of posts, you may have noticed it's been a rough week.  Everyone has those times when you wonder if anything you teach your kids is actually getting through and this week was one of those.
  So, we've been focusing on social skills for the past few weeks: we've talked about the children, their families, making friends, and had a wonderful lady from IY Dina reinforcing rules and calm-down strategies. The honeymoon period is definitely over and children are starting to test limits.  Today, one of our more aggressive children (Boy #1) attacked two others, so one of them (Boy #2) scratched him back.    Of course in my mind, I thought "Yay! He finally got stood up to!"  but it ended up triggering a meltdown for Boy#1 that lasted about 20 minutes.  Keep in mind this boy was saying some very negative stuff within earshot of Boy#2.  While this was going on, the third boy involved(Boy #3) came up to me and asked, "Can I go ask him why he did that to me? We didn't do anything to him."  I said, "I love that you want to do that! He's upset right now, so maybe later."  To be honest, I was hoping he'd forget about it because I was worried he'd get hurt.
  Now, we've all been taught that time-out only needs to last a few minutes because children can't remember what they've done.  They have the attention spans of gnats and incidents are quickly forgotten.  This didn't apply to my kids.  Boy #1 kept saying things about Boy#2 through naptime, a good two hours, until he finally went to sleep.  Finally, after naptime was over, it was time for me to go to lunch.
   When I got back, my assistant told me this:  Boy#3 asked Boy#1 why he'd done those things. Boy#1 said it was because he was mad and asked Boy#2 why he'd scratched him. It turned into an entire civil conversation, with no other fists involved.  They played together the rest of the afternoon.
So, I apologize.  When it comes to your kids, don't underestimate them because they might be capable of more than you think.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Reminder

This week, it's been hard to find something good to take away so I thought I'd post some reminders on what we're teaching children during their tough moments.  My goal this year involves executive functions, which you can read more about here: http://developingchild.harvard.edu/resources/multimedia/videos/inbrief_series/inbrief_executive_function/ and here: http://www.ncld.org/types-learning-disabilities/executive-function-disorders/what-is-executive-function

When children...               Teachers can:

Throw a tantrum                  Help children switch focus and with time, help them find other solutions
                                             Teach calm-down strategies (try Conscious Discipline)

Hit others                             Good problem-solving skills

Aimlessly wander                Involve them in a project revolving around their interests
                                             Help children plan before going to centers

Use inappropriate words     Teach and help children remember good words to use
                                             Direct focus to pay attention to good things

Run in the class                   Help children call on past experiences and apply consequences to the
                                            present 

 

Can you tell some of the things we've been dealing with this week?  I hope this helps you because writing this down has helped me too.

*We use lots of social strategies in our classroom; if you want to learn more, go find my Incredible Years crash course on both Teachers Notebook and TeachersPayTeachers*

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Mmm...pretzels

Whew! Another year ahead of me. Some kids are those from last year, some are new faces, and some moved up from the younger class. We definitely have a wide variety of learners. I'm focusing on executive functions and social skills these first few weeks, specifically calm-down strategies. I got some great activities from Conscious Discipline, so we went ahead and tried out some of the breathing strategies. So far, success has been mixed. One child did quite well with it; when he was mad, I prompted him to "do the pretzel" and he did. Another child was walked over to the calm-down center this morning and asked which strategy he wanted to use: star, drain, balloon, or pretzel. I pointed to each one saying, "Do you want to do this one?" When we got to the pretzel, he smiled happily and held out his hand! I can't say I blame him; food calms me down, too. It's going to be a very interesting year, I can tell.

Monday, July 15, 2013

A little better all the time

Before I get to the story, I have to give you a little background. Child A has been with us a few months and is usually resistant to cleaning up.  He also likes to throw tantrums and hit when he's upset. He's been getting a little better all the time and has started to follow directions the first time we ask.
Today, child B was coloring and got upset, throwing our box of colored pencils down.  I asked him to clean up, using every strategy in my toolbox, but he was too upset to listen. I was just about to take him to the calm-down area when I heard Child A say, "B, will you play with me?"
I told him, "I'm sorry, A, but B needs to clean up first. When he's done, he can play with you."
Then Child A came over, picked up all of the colored pencils and asked, "Now can he play?"
What else could I say but "Of course!"

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Of course it's important!

Two children that are normally friends were having a very heated discussion in block center this morning.  It started out fine; they were playing nicely and using kind words with each other. They were both engaged in the materials.  Suddenly their voices got louder and one of them got so angry, she hit her friend.  If I hadn't intervened, it would have turned into a fist fight.  What was so important?  They were arguing over whether a horse said "Neigh" or "whicker."  I'm sure we all wish our problems were so small!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Different season, same kids

I'm sure some of you heard about Tropical Storm Andrea coming through recently. Thankfully, we didn't get much except for a few thunderstorms. 
Before I continue, I have to tell you about this kid that joined us in February. He's gotten better, but he literally does the opposite of everything you tell him to do. If he's already on his way to wash his hands and someone reminds him that when he does, he'll be able to eat/play, he'll stop and turn around. If we tell him to stay on his mat during quiet time, he'll try to run around the room. One of the biggest problems we have is getting him to come inside after being outdoors. We warn him, we hold his hand, and this tactic usually works.  Lately he's been really good about coming inside on his own.
So, tropical storm Andrea. After ten minutes of being outside, it started to rain. It wasn't a big deal until the rain came down harder and we could hear thunder.  Everyone was in line except...yep. That kid. He retreated to the structure, wrapped in a towel, and didn't move.  I told my assistant to take the others inside while I talked to him.  I approached slowly, as someone would approach a wild animal or a skittish rabbit. Thankfully, he didn't bolt. I told him to come inside and he said, "But I'm cold!"
That's right; he didn't come in from the rain because he was cold. I have a lot of work to do with him.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Saying Goodbye


Last night was bittersweet. We had our end-of-year party and there were multiple parents crying and thanking all of us, telling us how much they appreciate us.  I was able to look on the faces of some kids that have driven me crazy all year and think, "They really have come a long way."  I looked at some who I thought I wouldn't see again after a few weeks and told them how proud I was of them.  Their funding runs out at the end of June.  Wait, what's that? They're getting comped for the summer? You mean I have to put up with them until August?  NOOOO! Well, I guess I have three more months to make sure they're ready for kindergarten.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Pitchoo!

We've had a lot of rain and pollen this year, so runny noses are running rampant along with sneezes and coughing.  Of course, even after multiple lessons about germs, the children still wipe their noses on their sleeves and the other teachers and I started to get the sniffles. After one particularly violent sneeze by me, one of the children said, "Amy! You pitchood!" 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Too funny to stop

There was a spider on our windowsill again this morning.  A small, hairy brown spider, not even that big.  I say "again" because it's not unusual to find spiders on our windowsills, especially now that it's spring.  We've even spent two weeks on good "bugs", what defines an insect, and why spiders are actually good.  Of course, you wouldn't know any of that judging from the kids' reactions to the spider this morning.  All six of them were literally screaming and one even got up on a table (closer to the window) to try to get away from it.  Once it was dead, of course they were all rushing to see it.  I never thought I'd hear myself say this, but it's only a spider!

Friday, May 24, 2013

Robots and Machines

We had the usual daily tantrums from the usual kids, but there were plenty of bright spots this week as we explored machines and created robots.  The children were able to see inside an old computer and even practice putting parts of it back together with a real screwdriver.  Then we built "robots" out of junk that could fly, vaccuum, and just sit there looking pretty.  Just thinking about their wonder and amazement this week erases anything negative. 

*By the way, you can get an activity packet about robots and machines from my TeachersPayTeachers store*

Storytelling

I promised you all some of the kids' stories, so here are some summaries.  The site I used was Storybird and we had a blast!

A marshmallow got stepped on and was about to be eaten, so Super [Name] stepped in and took the bad guy to jail with his lightning powers.

Dinosuars like blue boats. People were flying in a plane so they could drive. (This one was done mainly with a language device)

A cat family likes cuddling and playing with spooky bones (She made sure to add "spooky" without any prompting from me!)

"They're happy. They're saying, 'Dude.'"

My personal favorite: Spongey's Friends.  One of the kids picked about 7 different pictures and told me little stories about them, such as "This one isn't waterproof; he got water on him and had to go in the trash" and "This one got soaked up with a sponge." It read like the Gashlycrumb Tinies! Then he made me do a back cover.

The only thing that keeps me from completely breaking down and crying like a nut is wondering what the next group of kids will think of.



Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Grizzly Hugs

There's a boy who's been out for the last few days.  He's usually affectionate anyway and has all kinds of funny little quirks (like wearing pink tutus).  I should let you know that today was a hot, muggy, rainy day and I didn't get enough sleep last night.  I almost overslept and had to drag myself out of bed.  That's why it made my day when he gave me a great big hug and said, "AMY! I MISSED YOU!" He's going to kindergarten soon but at least I have a few more months with him. :)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Spiders

We did one of my favorite units last week, about insects and spiders.  I connected it to storytelling this week with a story about Anansi the spider (a nice multicultural bonus for my evaluator).  One of the kids was really into the story and asked to see "the one with the melon on it" during naptime.  He started retelling it on his own and stumbled over the name "Anansi." I helped him, telling him how to pronounce it.  He said, "I can't say that! I'll just call him Antsy." 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Sorry, Sorry

I feel terrible! Almost a month since my last post!  I've been to the SmartStart conference and going through a personnel change in the classroom. I'm looking forward to having someone fresh with different views.  I'll make sure I post at least twice a week for regularity and my own sanity.

Speaking of "Sorry,"  the children learned the word as part of a social skills lesson from the DINA program. Now they're saying it to each other at every opportunity, some of which is good and some bad.  The ones that really get it are great at comforting, but it's a complex skill.  One of the children hit another one through the course of playing and child #2 started crying. We sat the first one down and talked to him about hitting.  Then we said, "What should you say to him now?"  The boy burst out crying and said, "I'm s-sorry!"  He was fine a minute later. I wonder if he really felt that bad or if we should call Hollywood?

*We're doing storytelling this week, so look for a post about some of their stories. Should be cute!*

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

I'm sorry this one's a little late.  It's been a busy week with parent conferences and interrogating a potential new assistant.  Here are two stories to make up for it:

Um...yeah

Oh, parent-teacher conferences. They reveal so much!  I asked one parent what she does with her child at home and we talked about using TV as a reward instead of a main activity.  Then I mentioned how great the child is doing with starting to pick up letters and writing his name.  I asked, "He loves books. Do you read with him much at home?"  Her response? "No, but I guess I probably should read more." Yes. Yes you should.

I can't be mad at you...

First, a setup: there's a child with autism in our class who's picked me as his favorite teacher. By this I mean that he always wants me to play with him, always wants me to be the one to take him potty, and will literally get into fights by shoving anyone else who gets on my lap.  This afternoon, he got mad that he couldn't have snack yet, because it wasn't ready.  He pushed against me, bit me, fought me, and didn't want me to sit between him and the boy he was trying to take his anger out on.  I reminded my assistant to leave him alone and sure enough, he calmed down. It took all of a minute before he said "Amy sit!"  He's going to kindergarten next year and I'm gonna miss the little guy.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Twofer Tuesday

I missed updating yesterday, so you get two stories today!

It's Monday

Yesterday, a Monday, one of my assistants was out and another had put in her notice so already it was rocky.  Everything went all right until naptime, when one of  the children decided they would rather have fun with the substitute than stay quiet.  Of course, if you're a teacher, you know how quickly one can turn into many so it wasn't long before I was moving children and hopping back and forth between them.  I commented aloud to the sub, "What is it today?"
One child I was with piped up, "It's Monday!"

Another Great Insight

We have a child that's a picky eater.  She's also one of two girls in the classroom and very sensitive.  Today at lunch, one of the children at her table encouraged her to try her food and she went into her usual routine: head down, facing away, pouting.  One of the boys asked her, "What's wrong with you?"  Then he turned to us and asked, "What's her problem? We have crackers and she usually likes crackers!" I told the children I had just thought of something funny and that's why I had just burst out laughing.  
Somehow, I don't think any of them were fooled. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

Mini Quotes

Here are a few quotes from the children:

"I'm a turtle! Here's my shell!" (Starts rolling on his back)
"Ah-mee! I poopied!" (from a child with autism, using the bathroom with another teacher for the first time)
"I'm writing a bad note home because his behavior is bad."  (We give out good notes home, not bad ones, so I thought this was especially funny. He then followed through and told the parent!)
"My shoe! My shoe!" (after throwing it over the fence in frustration)



Thursday, April 11, 2013

It Must be Spring

Here in NC, our Springs run the gamut from freezing to feeling like Summer, usually on the same day.  Today the forecast was 80 degrees; the morning was cool but warm enough to go outside, so we started the day on the playground.  It wasn't long before a parent drove up.  A boy got out of the car wrapped head to toe in his blanket, with his mother following behind him carrying the tail like a bride's train.  As they went inside, I waited for him to come out still wrapped in a blanket, but he didn't appear.  A minute later, he and his mom walked back towards the car and he re-emerged wearing a big, puffy, winter coat over top of a short-sleeved shirt and shorts. 
It truly is hard to dress for a NC spring. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

It's That Time Again...

We've had several children out this week and last week due to being sick.  What's worse is when children come anyway.  Today, during naptime, we had a couple of children just coughing miserably for an hour straight.  Meanwhile, because nothing ever goes the way you want it to, another child decided to stay awake and try to play with everything around him.  Soon he asked to go to the bathroom and I took him, accompanied by the sounds of snoring punctuated by hacking.  While in the bathroom, the boy made crazy faces and was just being a kid.  I told him to go ahead and get done, but I had to hide my smile because it was actually pretty funny.  
Sometimes you just can't help but laugh.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Salutations, salutations, salutations!

Welcome to a celebration of the little things!  A celebration, that is, of our little ones and the little things they do and say throughout the day that make every day worth it.  It's easy to get weighed down by the negative and focus on what still needs to be done and what didn't happen.  Treat this blog as a deep breath, a calm pause and pick-me-up during the day.  
A few times a week, this space will hold something that happened during the day that was cute or funny.  Feel free to share your own experiences by emailing them to me!  I'll post it on the site to share with others.  Enjoy!