Monthly Archives: June 2009

a mascot?

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So, Ms. Bennet and I are considering having a class mascot (for lack of a better term) next year.  We thought it should be some sort of animal (after all, most kids love animals) – don’t know which animal yet – and we could use this mascot in the name of our newsletter, incorporate it into the room decor (such as cubbie names), and even get a stuffed animal of that animal – and of course name it with the class.  We thought this would be a cute idea to implement and distinguish our class.

Of course, we haven’t picked an animal – but we know we want something unique – something not every other classroom already has.  And we’re currently trying to find other ways to incorporate our mascot into the daily class routine and environment.  I’m debating letting a child take it home on the weekend – knowing some of the parents I’m getting next year – I don’t think it would come back!  It’s just something we’re looking into and pondering.  Have any of you done something similar to this?  How did you make it work?  Any suggestions or comments are welcome…I always appreciate the differing point of views and advice.  🙂

knowing their stuff

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Wow – 7 days without a post – it’s been awhile!  Sorry I’ve been neglecting my blog lately – I’ve been busy with some family matters as well as suffering from some pretty bad headaches…but now I’m back – I know I was missed!  🙂

I don’t have much to blog about that’s work related – just one tidbit that makes me very happy!  A few of the children I have left have been going to their respective Kindergartens to go through their orientations and preliminary readiness testing.  Knowing this always makes me nervous – it reminds me of all the subjects I didn’t have the chance to cover as well as I’d wished (we all have those I think) – as well as the ones I might not have touched on at all (I’m always afraid that I forgot to teach them something important)!

Anyways, after two of my girls came in from being absent for a couple days (turned out they were at their Kindergartens) I was informed by their very happy mother’s that they were completely ready!  YAY!  I was sooo happy!  One mother even told me that her child’s kindergarten had told her that she tested above average in almost every area!  So, I guess my no worksheets approach really worked this year despite what anyone else had to say!

I’m hoping that when the rest of my children continue onto kindergarten their teachers feel the same way – but in the meantime, I’m rejoicing in this small victory!  🙂

parent communication

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I’m curious as to how other teachers out there choose to communicate with parents.  I just bought a book about how an early childhood professional can put together a parent newsletter – I was thinking about doing monthly newsletters next school year.  I know that I don’t communicate and involve parents as much as I should – it’s a big shortcoming for me – it always has been.  A big part of me just wants the parents to leave so that I can do my job in peace – horrible, I know!  But I’m trying to rectify this and I would be glad to have some ideas.

Parents at my school don’t seem to want to get involved – but I still think I have a duty to somehow communicate to them what we do in class.  Maybe they wouldn’t complain so much about paperwork if they had more of an idea what we do each day.  I know of teachers that send home daily reports for each child – but this just seems like a lot of work!  I’ve heard of others that post pictures of what happens each month in their class on a special bulletin board.   Others do parent-teacher conferences and show work examples every few months.  On a side note – my directer informed me when I was hired that we “don’t do” parent-teacher conferences.  She said that was only “needed in Kindergarten and not in preschool”.

So, I was wondering what everyone out there does to communicate with their parents?  I’d be interested to hear what you do – and maybe get some ideas I can use next year!

listening to books

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I worked in another classroom this afternoon and when we came in from playing outside the children were strongly requesting that their teacher read some stories to them.  I thought to myself, “I’m glad to see that they are so excited about books!”  She told them to sit quietly while she got a few books to read.  The next thing I knew she was putting a CD in the CD player!.  It was a book on CD.  In fact, all three books she “read” were all on CD!  When she put the books away, I noticed almost all of their books are on CD!  I remember thinking, “How sad!”

Don’t get me wrong – I have nothing against having audio books in the classroom.  They’re great for a listening center (which none of the classes where I work have).  But, as I listened to the books, I realized how many opportunities were missed to actually discuss the books or what was happening in them!  This is such a passive form of “reading” a book – the lazy way out!  And by the multitude of these kinds of books – I realized that these children probably rarely hear an adult actually read to them!

I don’t mind audio books as an occasional treat or in a listening center – after the book had already been read aloud by the teacher and discussed.  But to be the main form of “reading”?!  I don’t like this very much.  It doesn’t encourage the child’s involvement or any critical thinking.  I dunno, maybe it’s just me.  I love to read aloud to my class!  I love to model how excited I get about reading and I like to see how their expressions change as I change my voice and do hand motions!  And I like hearing about why they think events happen or why a character feels a certain way!  I feel that these children are missing out on the best part of the reading experience when all they do is sit back and passively listen to a story!  Oh well, not much I can do – if I get any of them next year – they’ll be able to see how a real story is told!  🙂

lazy days

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This week Ms. Bennet has been on vacation so I’ve had all the little ones to myself!  It’s been quite pleasant – but uneventful.  We have been slowly working on wrapping our Father’s Day gifts and taking them home.  I have also been working part time so far this week due to the low summer enrollment.  It’s actually been quite a nice break.  I love my job – but it’s been really nice having been so slow and my hours being cut back.  I have more time to just sit back and take in the joys of early summer!

Observing my kids now it’s hard to believe how much they’ve grown and matured over the course of the year!  I’m so proud of how far they’ve come!  They can organize games by themselves without it ending in chaos.  They can resolve conflicts without having me walk them through the process.  They are more independent in all aspects – and I know they are ready to leave the nest and go to Kindergarten.  And I will miss them – and always love them – and I hope they feel the same about me.  This year flew by – and with the few children I still have with me…I only have a few short weeks left with them.  I cherish every moment I have left – good or bad.

oh daddy!

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We’ve been working on our Father’s Day gifts all week – and so far they’re turning out great!  We are making our dads pencil holders.  We’re making them out of baby food jars (the taller ones).  This week we spent time covering the baby food jars with tissue paper squares.  We used watered down glue for this.  Then once they were covered I sprayed some clear sealant stuff (I don’t remember the name for it now) on each jar.  This alone made the jars look really nice – almost like mosaic stained glass!

The children got to pick the color scheme of their jar.  The tissue paper wad divided into two containers.  Container one contained red, orange, and yellow squares and container two held blue, green, and yellow squares.  I figured by doing this when the tissue paper die bled the colors would be in the same general spectrum and would still look nice instead of turning into a brownish color (which usually happens when too many colors mix together) – fyi:  we don’t get the no bleed tissue paper at work.

The next step in our pencil holders is for me – hot gluing round washers on the outside.  It gives the jars a neat polka dot effect and uses a hardware item most dads can relate to!  It almost gives them a retro feel – but the children liked the idea (I showed them an example and asked if they wanted the washers) so I bought some and next week  I will glue them on each child’s jar!  After that all we have to do is wrap them and take them home!  With a week left – there shouldn’t be a problem!

vacation time

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No, I’m not on one – yet.  That’s our theme this week.  I hate that we get assigned a different theme each week during the summer.  I feel that it takes much more than one week to fully explore a theme and all the directions the children want to take that theme.  But that’s just me – guess I’m weird.  We’re making due.  I just think that it’s a shame we had to move onto a different theme in the middle of our dinosaur unit!  The children were excited and really into learning about dinosaurs and then suddenly – sorry kids, we have to do vacation now!  Oh well, enough of my annoyance.

We’ve only been averaging about 10 kids a day.  A big change from the 20 we’ve had all year!  A nice break though.  Today we played a memory game (vacation themed of course).  We titled it, “I’m going on vacation…”.  Basically child 1 says, “I’m going on vacation and I’m taking…” here they insert an item of their choice.  Then child 2 says the same but before stateing their item they first repeat child 1’s item and then thiers.  Each child has to repeat what everyone before them has said before adding their own item.  The children really enjoyed this game and we played it 4 times!  I was surprised how good a lot of their memories are!

We also plan on giving the children index cards for them to create homemade postcards.  They will be able to draw a picture on one side and on the other Ms. Bennet and I will replicate (as best as we can) what a post card looks like.  Even putting a small box for the stamp and lines for the address!  We’ve also asked all of our families to bring in vacation pictures, postcards, and souvenirs to have their child share with the class!  This is something all the children have been very excited about!

So, while we were sad to have to move on from our Dinosaurs, we are trying to get excited and have fun focusing on vacations!  So far, so good!