Monday, August 30, 2010

Magical Monday

We had our first inkling of the possibility of creating and living in the World of We today....
Mid-afternoon, in our sauna of a classroom, after having gone through about a box of kleenex between us (allergies?), one of them said, "We (not I) are being pretty good today, huh?" Ahhh. Yes. It's the little came in from the bathroom with his pants all in a twist and a big smile on his face..."I got my pants pulled up all by myself!" Earlier in the morning not being able to had caused a screaming fit.
These are the magic moments that sustain the soul of a teacher. Just one of these overrides many, many tattles and whines.
We are going to be a WE. More hugs are on tap.
When I thought this morning that this is only the 2nd week with these wee darlings I was amazed anew at how far we have come already. Seems like they have been my class for a much longer time They have to learn so much in this one year, socially and academically...things that will see them through the rest of their life. I think it is time to get out, and re-read, All I Ever Needed to Know, I Learned in Kindergarten. Anyone have a copy?
I wonder if I could add a line? Ain't nobody happy if the Queen isn't happy!
What would you add?

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Fun Friday

Yes, I know this is not Friday any longer, but Fun Friday was so much fun that I had to rest and then the computer ate the post I wrote in all of it's wisdom and brilliance, so now I am going to try to recreate it again.
I was reminded of a lesson learned long ago on Friday. Kids learn best when they are actively engaged. That should not be an "ah ha" moment really. But with all of the rules and regulations, testing and time lines that are heaped upon us these days it is hard to arrange for days like we had on Friday. It sounds like just a fun activity: we made applesauce...but it was so much more.
We learned the important strategy of using pictures when learning to read. I showed them the simple recipe written with out pictures and they could not read it. Then I drew the pictures and they could read it...that was an "ah ha" moment! We did sequencing. We learned about the importance of teamwork by reading a great book, Ten Apples Up on Top and working in small teams to get the apples ready to cook. We graphed the real apples they brought in and then transferred it to chart paper. We sequenced the recipe steps. We created cute apple art to hang from the ceiling. We went outside and tried to carry blocks on our heads as we walked about. We covered it all. And the kids, my usually slightly off task, entertaining themselves kids were attentive and involved. That is just an "ahhhh" moment.
Fun Fridays come once a week. This is another of those delicate dances in teaching (like bringing them from the Kingdom of Me to the World of We). Creating a way to play just enough by the "rules" and still teaching from the heart to the heart. Teaching is certainly much more of an art than a science.
Maybe we will have a Magical Monday...
What was a memorable moment for you in your schooling?

Getting ready to graph the apples they brought from home and then eat those things!

Hey! It smells good and is starting to look like applesauce.

Tasting the yummy applesauce!

Technical Difficulties

I just wrote a witty and profound post (teehee) about Fun Friday and it may be lost or it may be posting at 8:14 am some morning. Technology is not my friend....

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Welcome to the Kingdom of Me

Today was the first day with all 20 of my darlings together. It was a MUCH longer day than the previous two! It is always such a delicate dance trying to convince them to be a team when most of them are the center of someone's universe. It doesn't seem like that good of a deal to them right now. But, there is so little room for the loner in the world. Mostly we need each know, sing along with me: People. People who need people, are the luckiest people in the world.
So, the dance begins. I will attempt to move them from the Kingdom of Me into the World of We with all manner of cajolery, encouragement and "mean teacher" looks! Keep me in your prayers....
Really, how much harder can it be to run an office, a multinational corporation or the country, for that matter???? I don't imagine anyone asks other "bosses" to show their lesson plans to anyone...
What do you think I should persue after retirement? Can't wait to hear!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Day is Done

What a great day! It went speedy fast even with the massivie amount of repetition that is needed the first day. They are just not really into "group" listening, I give the information to the "group" that doesn't realize it is a group and then go back and give it all again individually...usually.
Lots of routines practice that will hopefully pay off very soon. But the greatest part was that I taught them to read the first day! What a marvel it is when you realize how much influence you can have. I have a really cute and short poem that they memorize and "read". When I first told them that the most important thing about kindergarten was learning to read, their little faces fell..."I can't read."..."But, that's why you are here. I'm going to teach you right now." We spent almost 45 minutes working with the poem and letting them each "read" until we could do it all and they were thrilled. I got the principal to listen, Mrs. Bayles to listen and a couple of them even brought their mom's to the room to listen to them. And I sent a copy home with them to read. Ah. A great day! And I still have zumba to look forward to!
What a gift reading is....

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Night Before Kindergarten

As I walked out the door....

My last can of name sticks...
and my last word board with my 1st board border.

I have spent the day getting ready. I have had many "lasts"...and there are always a few firsts . I have a plan to get us through the day with fun and laughs and learning...more planned than we will ever get through, I'm sure.
And now I don't want to leave even though it is almost 11:00pm...
I love the way it looks, but I also love walking into the space in the morning, so off I go.
Do you remember what was special about your first day of school? Tell me.
I do wonder how much I will miss this part. Maybe I could get a job just setting up other teacher's room for the first day! Now, that's an option....

Saturday, August 21, 2010


See? This retirement thing allows me to be a bit more relaxed about things...things like my life. I had fully intended to spend the weekend at school working, but instead I spent some time at Shangri La Ti Da - picking vegetables and reading a magazine called, Studios, all about other artist's studios. It was completely peaceful and perfectly comfortable. I will work tomorrow so that the first day is special for my newest...last...little darlings, but today, I got to relax.
I put up my first provisions from my own garden today! I froze some green beans. Would have done more but the ice melted....I have more to do and I can't wait. Can you see how much I need to be able to grow in new ways again? Learning new things is essential for me. I love it.
What is essential for you? Are you doing that thing?

Week One

Are we looking like old school teachers yet? This was our last
first day!

Hello, friends.

It is with completely mixed feelings that I begin this journey. I am unsure of it's final outcome...praying. I know that I am ready to retire and am praying that God knows that, too. There is much that I still want to do. I will always be a teacher in some way...teaching art? teaching college? teaching privately? teaching myself new tricks? BUT...I have loved doing what I do for so long that doing something else will take some getting used to. I love the kids and the families that have touched me. I love seeing them grow up and make lives for themselves. is time.

Knowing that puts everything in a different light this year. A sort of bittersweet joyfulness. My best friend and teaching partner for many years is retiring with me. It is a time of "lasts".

We have had our last first day meetings (won't be missing that too much), our last home visits (had to have a mom talk us into her driveway, "Yeah, I see your car, turn right there into the field"), our last getting the room ready for the start of school(mine is a happy place). Monday will be my last first day with the kids.

I hope you will join me on the journey and chime in often.