Monday, November 24, 2014

Some People Will Just Never Understand

Let me start off by posting this:

I thought it was hilarious! They did a poll of people to see what they thought the scariest jobs were and Kindergarten Teacher came in 4th place! I do agree it takes a special kind of person! :)

I know that every classroom has it's share of various personalities. But I think teaching GT kids, you see more quirkiness and sometimes social awkwardness. I have had taught several students over the years that the teachers who taught them after me or ancillary teachers just don't take the time to understand. 

I've posted before that I see GT traits in my dog. I know that seems like a strange comparison. She is very smart but also awkward and socially inept when it comes to playing with other dogs (this has been since puppy preschool). She likes routine, change her routine and she gets stressed out. If you are not paying enough attention to her, she will make you pay attention to her-she will grab the remote or a sock out of the laundry and beg you to chase her to get it. We stayed with my parents for over a week after my knee surgery and my mother really did not understand her. She has a belief, as many teachers do with their students, that there should be strict obedience. There is no negotiating, no compassion for differences in learning. But fortunately, that's not they way the world works-every child (and dog personality) is unique.

I had a student several years ago whose backstory would bring tears to your eyes. At 5 years old she was extremely defiant and any little thing could set her off. Her tantrums would be strong and usually damaging to whatever was in her path. How did we make it through the year? I learned to praise every little thing with her. I learned to choose my battles. My administrator marked me down on an evaluation because I didn't tell her to sit up during a lesson, but if she wasn't hurting anyone, I didn't call it out. Now I see her as a 3rd grader who has become much more mature-I unconceitedly take partial credit for that. I handled her on her level and gave her what she needed, and it worked.

I just did letters to my parents (for every single child in my class) stating why I am thankful to have them in our class. And I am thankful for all of them, even if they give me gray hair! :)

Just a reminder that every student has different needs and some need more patience and tolerance than others!

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

What Principals Are Thankful For....

I was reading Terri's blog: and I loved her idea for having the students write what teachers were thankful for. I didn't want to copy her outright :) so we changed it to "what are principals thankful for?"-we are using multiple perspectives and still talking about thankfulness. This is what my kiddos came up with:

for our teachers because they are lovely! :)  (I love the illustration with the coffee mug and an apple-is that the quintessential symbol for teaching or what!)

for the school because if we didn't have a school we will not learn how to learn the alphabet.

my grades

for being the boss   

for quiet

School because they like working. (we are in Texas after all! :)

cars that are sparkly  (well, who isn't thankful for that!)

for so much happy


                                                         for children and students

new friends


turkey and teachers

classes to take care of

for grown-ups who are responsible

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Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Community Service

Every year I try to do some community service activities with my kiddos. They are really good at making something cute! For Thanksgiving, we make placemats that I then drop off for them to deliver with dinners from Meals on Wheels. I asked them to color a pattern around the outside and then draw something Thanksgiving-y in the middle. I know they are much appreciated. (Did you know they do Meals on Wheels for pets, when I'm better I may have to go volunteer for them!)

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Ethics and Holidays

I've been trying to work with my students on the concept of Ethics from Kaplan's Depth and Complexity. It's a hard question for younger students to understand. Even though they understand right and wrong, they don't really understand what to do with the gray areas. For example, we can have a discussion about how stealing is wrong, but then when I bring up the Jean Valjean issue-what if you are stealing food because you are starving? They don't know what to do with that-their brains are thinking "what's the right answer".

We have been talking about celebrations in our Social Studies objectives and this time of year we have a lot of different holidays that people celebrate. So my question to them was: is it fair to have this many holidays when there are people who can't afford to buy things for them? They can't afford the turkey, tree or presents-is that right?

We are still working on the concept and making an argument, but I think the ideas are coming along!

My favorite answer! I'm not sure where she got this idea from-I'm actually a vegetarian! :)

My 2nd favorite--he said it's right because it's a good opportunity to donate to poor people.

wrong because on New Year's people don't have food.

It's right but she'll feel sorry for them.

Wrong because it's mean to buy something when others can't.

right because it's fun.

right because we are allowed to go in the school (she said she was talking about getting the Thanksgiving lunch we do at school).

Wrong because we don't learn when we are off of school

Right because I love holidays.

Wrong because people do not have money.

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sharing a Very Cute Story

Once again my student book club allowed me to find a really cute story. The main character is determined that his superpowers come from his hair and when the evil villian (ie the barber) takes those powers from him, he has to find superpowers in another way. It's written in a funny tone and a great example to show kids about wordplay and clever titles. It's also one where you can get out your comic book voice to read it aloud and make it more fun. My kids LOVED it so I thought I'd share! 

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Yoga in the Classroom

I'll be honest, I was never a big fan of yoga! I really liked Pilates, I think because you walked out feeling like you had a real workout. But I do love using it with the kids. With the cold snap coming through (I know nothing compared to what some of you had, but us Texans are fragile when it comes to cold weather :). We did not go out to recess, all the kids just did not have their jackets and I knew once we got out there they would just complain the whole time.
So when this happens, we do yoga. I know purists may not like these resources, but I think it's a great way to get young kids stretching and make it fun at the same time. When I introduce it I do discuss with them that this is quiet, serious activity-not like the JustDance Kids videos we usually do! I really like this Cosmic Kids series and there are a bunch of them to choose from, these are just 2:
I also like to incorporate it into our workstations. I found this great poster online years ago and the kids spell out words with their bodies and their partner has to write down what they think is being spelled-they love it!

I have had 2 complaints over the years that I'm trying to convert their religion. I know!! I explain to the parents upfront even at Open House and say if you object I can send them out of the room when we do it.
I especially like the way it typically calms their minds a bit-we all could use a little bit of calm this time of year!

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I Love Parents

My first day back since my knee surgery was yesterday and it was a very lllooonnngg day. :) I would have posted this last evening but I literally got my ice, climbed into bed and did not leave it until this morning.

These are my new best friends! I hate it because it slows me down quite a bit and makes even a trip to ancillary more challenging-but the kiddos love vying for the position of wheelchair pusher! :)

I have always been pretty lucky with supportive parents. All but 3 families were represented at my Open House this year. I had parents who attended my book club. They check the class website. While I was off I received at least one e-mail a day from one of the parents just saying "hope you're doing well", "take it easy" and "we're praying for you". 

Then this is what I saw on my desk when I got there yesterday:

How sweet! And the flowers are not even from a current student-they were given to me by a family-I taught 3 of their kiddos in the past 3 years. I got letters from the kiddos:

do you fill butter? :) And I know what she meant, but it still made me chuckle.

(forgive the Halloween paper-I was not there to make copies to switch out in our writing station)

My bucket filler!

I know teachers I read a lot about issues teachers have with their parents, but I have always had the best experiences! Just lucky I guess! :)

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