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.
We did the letter “F” this week. Personally, I do no prefer to teach using letter of the week…and for the past couple years I’ve been trying to get away with not doing it…but I was caught and told I didn’t have a choice! So, this year I’m sucking it up and doing it – but I’m doing it MY way! 🙂 The entire school does a letter a week in alphabetical order. This week we were on letter “D” – well, at least everyone else was. I have decided NOT to go in alphabetical order. If I have to teach something I don’t want to – I’m going to do it the way I want. And since I use monthly themes, I’m teaching the letters to tie in with our theme so the curriculum seems more cohesive and meaningful for the children.
So, as I was saying, this week we did letter “F”. I made a large letter F out of poster board and feathers so the children could “feel” (or trace) the letter with their fingers and see it all week (as I place it at the table or area where we are doing letter-related activities). We glued wallpaper “scales” onto fish, wrote the letter in flour, and made fans to keep us warm in the heat. I was pleasantly surprised when, after giving some children their paper to color and decorate for their fan, some wrote F’s on them as part of the decoration! This was totally the children’s idea as I gave them absolutely no direction beyond, “Decorate the front and back of your paper.” I was super excited to see this – and the children who did this were excited to show me! It’s the little moments like this that I look forward to and make me smile! 🙂
This past week we had a school-wide harvest carnival! I teach at a Christian school that doesn’t believe in Halloween so we do Harvest instead. To prep for the carnival we made Jack O Lantern bags (out of brown paper bags) that the children would use to put all their prizes and goodies in (yes, we are allowed to do Jack O Lanterns). Just seeing the bags completed and sitting on a table waiting for the big day made the kids super excited!
Then, the day before the carnival I stayed 2 1/2 hours after work to help set up and decorate for the carnival – that part was really fun! It didn’t feel like work at all! Then, the big day finally arrived! We had two hours where the children could walk around and play games, make an art project, and decorate a cookie! Since we were all in one big room (with all the teachers, administration, and plenty of parent volunteers) I let my children go wherever they wanted to – I wasn’t going to micro-manage them and take all the fun out of it!
We had lots of games: a bean bag toss, pumpkin bowling, hula hoop toss, clothes pin drop, a fishing game, and much, much more! The children had a blast! They were super excited – they talked about it all the rest of the week! We asked the parents to donate all the prizes and candy – and each child got a bag full – they had donated so much! I was soooo happy to see how well the parents responded! Everyone agreed that it was a big success! I just feel bad that I didn’t take my camera to work with me that day! I would have gotten some awesome pictures! Oh well, there’s always next year! I’m just glad that everything went so smoothly and we all had a fantastic day! 🙂
Also – I hope everyone has a very Happy and Safe Halloween!
Today a group of 5 children sat on the area rug in our room and worked together to put together a 48 piece floor puzzle. Once they completed it they stood up, cheered, and clapped their hands. They were so proud of themselves! And I was proud for them. They invited everyone to the carpet to see their masterpiece! Then they took the puzzle apart and repeated this same scene twice more.
It was nice to watch them work together. When one child wasn’t sharing pieces or being especially helpful I would hear someone say, “We need more teamwork!” I loved it! They tried to talk it out and use trial and error to find where pieces went – I was proud they just didn’t get frustrated and give up! I love going through my day and looking for moments like this! And when they decided they were done, I made sure I let them know how proud I was with all of them! I hope this behavior continues! 🙂