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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Feel-Good Kind of Day

I'm going to keep this short and sweet. I usually have that intention at the start of most blogs, but I'm REALLY going to do it this time.
The day started out with my class's first Junior Achievement class. To sum it up, Junior Achievement is a five-week "seminar" where a businessperson from the local community comes into the classroom and teaches the kids about making good choices, setting goals, working hard, etc. The slogan is, "Let their success be your inspiration." Anyway, the session went really well and at the end our presentor had the idea to ask each child to share his/her favorite thing about coming to school. Keep in mind that it is a requirement that I not leave the classroom at any time during the class, so I got to take in every last one of their responses. I think about 13 of them said, "Recess", two said "Lunch", one said "Music", and one kid (after a long pause) finally said, "I can't really think of anything I like." Don't mind me, kids! I'm just hear to sing, dance, and twiddle my thumbs. Maybe I was just shocked by their responses because when I was a kid I would have been all over an opportunity to brown-nose about how what I loved most about school was being in Mrs. So-and-So's class. You know me! :)
Moving on. The day ended with me pulling out all the stops to break away from the workbook and play a super fun math game instead. I taught the kids the rules and they were pretty pumped because it was going to be ME versus THEM. They loved the thought of teaming up on me and were really getting into the spirit of the game. (Plus they were practicing addition at the same time.) All was going well until they realized that I was really taking the lead. It started with a girl in the back calling out, "Hey! She's winning!" Then another chimed in with "Yeah, she's evil!" (Evil, right? Where would they even come up with that?!) Before I knew it half of them had totally turned on me and were actually ready to throw in the towel on the whole game. Finally one boy interrupted the chaos by shouting above the rest, "No, guys! Not evil! She's a wizard!" Good or bad, I'd take wizard over evil any day of the week.
The day kind of spiraled out of control from there. I guess it's workbooks tomorrow.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Happy Birthday, Rufus!

(I actually meant to post this on Sunday, which was the puppy's actual birthday.)
Yes, our puppy turned 1. We're sad that he is that much closer to losing his "puppiness", but in some ways we're glad to see it go. He's great company and we love him lots. His gift was a new chicken-flavored Nylabone which is his personal favorite. I also looked up a recipe online and made him homemade puppy treats. When we gave him the first one, we sang Happy Birthday (much to my husband's chagrin) and I definitely got a little misty-eyed. Man, will I be a nut when I have a kid. Look out!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Naps are for wimps

I can't tell you how many times non-kindergarten teachers have said to me, "Oh, it must be SO nice to have your students take a rest during the day." I can totally see where they're coming from. An outsider may think this is a nice, relaxing period of time provided every afternoon for me to plan my activities, check my email, and play an occasional round of Solitaire while my 17 little darlings dream sweet dreams of lollipops and ponies. Wrong. Let's just address this issue of "naptime", shall we?
First of all, five and six-year-olds don't nap. In the world of a kindergartner, to actually fall asleep during the designated naptime would be social suicide. Most of them aren't tired in the least, and even if they are, there is always the fear that if you do doze off your thumb may accidently find its way to your mouth and're playing alone at recess. It's the kids who have to find ways to fight the sleep who drive me the most nuts. Each and every afternoon for those 20 minutes, I deal with the exact same problems:
1. Kleenex Girl
This is the child whose nose is suddenly so excessively runny that she needs to come up to my desk at least four times to get a tissue and wipe. Plus, she obviously needs hand sanitizer after every single trip. Total minutes laying on mat=2; Total minutes wiping and sanitizing=18.
2. Human Vacuum
This particular child makes it her personal mission to find one million TINY specks or crumbs or pieces of hair on the carpet around her mat. She then undoubtedly brings each treasure up to my desk (one at a time) and whispers, "Mrs. Place, what should I do with this?" And do you think I can just say, "LEAVE IT!" No. That would be in direct violation of the litter patrol code of conduct. Yes, I have to approve all, and I mean all, pollution pick-up.
3. "No talking" doesn't mean stop talking. It means talk QUIETER.
One of my personal favorites. You know how there's no crying in baseball? There's no talking at rest time.
4. Deer in the headlights
This happens many times throughout the day. I catch the same kid doing something he clearly knows he's not supposed to do. At rest time this usually means pulling small pieces of foam out of his mat and flicking them at people. Regardless of the circumstance, he always looks at me as if he had no idea he was breaking any sort of rule.
5. Self-talker
This is the child who spends most of her days floating around somewhere in outer space. (Bless her heart.) It's hard to make the "no talking to the people around you" rule apply when she's just talking to....??? Sometimes she's even humming a little ditty. It's rare that I can ever make out exactly what she's saying, hard as I may strain. I do know that one day she was definitely singing "Baby Got Back." (Second time I've caught a kid on that one.)

Anyway, as you can see, rest time is anything but peaceful and productive around here. Some days I think I should just ditch it all together. Until then..."Okay, boys and girls, our bodies and our voices need to rest."