Well, we finally got the okay from Ms. Lezze-Faire to do our Grandparents Tea for Valentine’s Day. We’ve gone to the dollar store to pick up tablecloths, cups, plates, etc. I’ve also printed out some songs for us to pick from for the kids to sing. All we need now is an idea for party favors. We want them to be made (as much as possible) by the children. We also want to keep them as low cost as possible. Any ideas or suggestions? It would be greatly appreciated! 🙂
One morning last week my children were slow to come and so at 8:30 I only had 6 kids! So I got blocks and cars out on the carpet for them to play with while we waited for our friends to show up. They were playing in groups of 2’s and 3’s – making ramps, buildings, and roads for the cars. After about 10 or 15 minutes of play one of my brightest announced: “There are no tractors allowed in here!” as she pointed to a block “castle” she had made.
Some of the boys didn’t believe her and attempted to drive their tractors into her structure. She once again made her announcement and moved their tractors out. Then one boy put his back in and in frustration she shouted, “I said NO TRACTORS! I guess I’m gonna have to make a sign so you guys know!”
She asked me for paper and a pencil, which I happily supplied. Then she asked me how to write, “No tractors allowed.” I told her to sound out the words and write the sounds she heard. I knew she was more then capable of doing this – she knows all of her letters and letter sounds and is already beginning to read. So, after a few minutes of work she brought me her sign. I read it, “No traktrs ulwd.”
I smiled. “Beautiful.” I said. She asked for some tape so she could put up her sign. After it was up, she brought everyone over to read it to them. After that, no one tried to put a tractor in her castle, the sign was up and now it was an official rule.
It was a lovely moment.
I’d like to do something different for our Valentine’s Party this year (if I can convince Ms. Lezze-Faire to let me use a specific part of our building) and have a Grandparents Tea. I ran this idea by a couple of my fellow teachers and they liked it so much that they asked if all 3 of our classes could join together! I told them it was fine with me!
Anyway, I’ve been trying to gather ideas online for everything from decorations, simple menu items, maybe a simple project, and even a valentine they can make their grandparents – basically, ideas for all aspects of this event – none of us have ever had a grandparents tea before! So i thought I would put a quick post about it together so that you, my readers, can contribute any ideas you have!
So, I’d like to hear your thoughts…what should we do or have at our Valentine Grandparents Tea? Any and all comments and ideas are welcome – I’m always open to suggestions! 🙂
Anyone who has been following my blog for any length of time knows i abhor worksheets for preschoolers. That’s not to say that there isn’t some developmentally appropriate papers that can be done – but those certainly do not include worksheets!
So one morning last week I was talking to 2 of my co-workers and this was thier brief conversation:
Teacher A: “Oh, I almost forgot to ask, did you give Teacher C those worksheets she wanted?”
Teacher B: “Yes, I almost forgot but I gave them to her right before I left yesterday.”
Teacher A: “Oh good, because that parent has been bugging Teacher C for a few days now telling her she needs to send papers home with her daughter!”
Teacher B: “Well, that’s good, it will give the child something to do and it never hurts to start young.”
Me: “Why would Teacher C be sending home worksheets when she teaches 2 year olds?!”
Teacher A: “Because she has a few kids who are really bright and are getting bored and in trouble so thier parents asked for paperwork for them.”
Me: “So, you’re telling me instead of educating her parents on what is developmentally appropriate for thier children and giving them ideas of activities they could be doing with thier children she is just going to give in to their demands and send home worksheets?! They are 2 for heaven sakes! They can’t even hold a crayon correctly – much less do a worksheet! I teach 4 year olds and I have not sent 1 worksheet home all year and, as young and needy as they are, they are still picking up on what I’m trying to teach! I don’t get this at all!”
Teachers A and B stared at me as if I had lost my mind. They were literally speechless. After a minute or two of silence they made a feeble attempt to defend worksheets at Teacher C – they soon realized I wasn’t going to change my mind. It bothers me how easily teachers (and parents) of young children turn to worksheets. Parents ask me all the time what they can do to help their children. When I give them age appropriate suggestions, most of the parents ask, “Can’t I just get them one of those get ready for kindergarten workbooks instead?” Are parents really that lazy? Or is it the teachers who make the parents believe it’s okay because it’s what they do in class? I don’t know. I can’t believe what they world of education is coming to these days.
…but as it turns out, it’s not. When my co-teacher left at the end of last school year and I found out I would be in the classroom alone – I was super excited! The idea of having half the amount of kids and not having to always okay my ideas with someone else (even though I was head teacher and didn’t have to – I liked to have my co-teacher involved and get agreement on ideas) gave me the impression that this year was going to be much easier then years past! I envisioned being able to give each child all the attention each needed so that they could all succeed to be the best learners possible. I thought that we could all be much more productive in class because there would be less kids. I had visions of great projects and learning opportunities!
But, that’s not the reality I’ve been living this school year. Instead, it feels like the exact opposite and I come home feeling exhausted and, more often then not, having a headache. This is why I’ve been absent from my blog so much this year. I work for a private, non-profit school so we don’t have any services available to our children. However, I have 3 children who could use speech therapy and 2 others who I feel might have some sort of special need (but I don’t know what…something’s just “off” with each of them). Also, I have about 4 children who have behavior problems (2 of those being aggressive towards others). And this class is really young. I only have 14 kids. I get so discouraged some days. Then there are other days that run so smoothly I begin to wonder if it’s not something I do to cause the “bad” days.
This class is young. Needy. Immature. Whatever you want to call it. There have been a lot of days where I feel like I’m failing them because I don’t always have the time or ability to give them what they need. I’m doing the best I can – this is such a big adjustment not having another adult to help me. I had thought I was doing well, and they were starting to “get it” – but then I did mid-year evaluations. So many of them don’t know so many of the concepts we’ve been working on for months! So once again, I think I must be doing something wrong. But then I think, maybe they just aren’t ready? I dunno.
Today I was reading through some of my favorite blogs to catch up and I read this post on Elbows, knees, dreams and I totally thought for a minute she must have a hidden cam in my class because I can totally relate to everything she wrote here! They also don’t listen when I’m reading (or talking) to them. I can read something like, “The little girl ran away from the house to get away from the witch.” And then I might ask, “So, why did the girl run away?” And I get answers like “She ran fast!”, “She likes to run!”, “Because she’s having fun!” and others along those lines.
Anyway, I don’t mean to complain. I do love my job. And these kids aren’t terrible or horrible. They can be sweet, cute, funny, inquisitive, innovative, helpful, caring, and silly. We laugh and have fun together. We ponder together. We investigate together. And we’re growing together. Everyday.