Tag Archives: new class

where we left off and other updates

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The last time I posted I was talking about our valentine grandparents tea and that went off without a problem and everyone had an awesome time!  Even Ms. Lezze-Faire made an appearance and seemed to enjoy herself!  The children made little flowers with sucker centers for the favors…we had enough left over to give each teacher one!

The rest of that school year went fairly well with the majority of my students being more then ready for Kindergarten.   That left me feeling good for what this year would bring.  But, being the buzz kill she is, Ms Lezze-Faire came to me literally days before school was to start and told me that I basically sucked at doing my job.

She said that a certain parent (and that parent’s kindergarten teacher) had complained that the child wasn’t ready for kindergarten because I hadn’t done my job properly.  She said they had complained that the child couldn’t sit still for long periods of time and couldn’t color correctly.  She said this was due to the fact that I didn’t do worksheets in my class.

Um, hello?  Are you serious?  First of all, if the only 2 complaints they had were about attention span and coloring, I think that’s pretty good.  Secondly, some children will always have a hard time sitting for long periods, especially if what is being done doesn’t hold their attention.  Thirdly, who cares if they aren’t perfect at coloring?  It’s coloring…not brain surgery.  Duh.

So anyway, she told me that I had to do worksheets or that she’d fire me and find someone to replace who would do them.  So there.  That’s what I got 2 days before school started.  Fine.  I’ll do what I have to do to keep my job.  No one wants to be out of work in this economy.  So i started scouring the internet for paperwork I liked…which wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be.

Let me be clear on this:  I am not against paperwork…I’m against worksheets.  They are different.  I don’t like the thought of children tediously tracing something or counting pictures and circling a number.  I don’t like the thought of children drawing a line to match two pictures on a paper.  It’s just too passive…and doesn’t really engage the child in learning.   I have no problem if the children are doing an activity and recording their findings (that’s what real scientists do after all).  I also have no problem with my children creating books and filling in letters or stamping a certain amount of items or something similar.  So for a lot of my paperwork, that’s how I set it up…the children are simply doing a hands-on activity and recording what they find (much easier with number activities…letters, not so much).  It has seemed to work so far.

This year I have 10 children showing up consistently.  I have 12 on my roll.  I only have 3 girls…and lots of wild crazy boys!  Sooo….I’m trying to find ways to keep them interested and engaged…which is not as easy as it sounds.  So far, I have done okay…but I think I can do better.

Mid year progress reports have just gone out and most of my kids are right where I want them to be…so I’m happy.  I’m hoping they continue to progress over the next 5 months…and hopefully the ones who are behind start to catch up.  Now that I know where they are all, I know who to spend more time with and what area they need extra support.  I look forward to telling you all stories of our days together…it feels good to be back.

4 weeks in…

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Well I just ended my 4th week of the new school year and I’ve survived 1 case of the stomach flu and 1 bad summer cold (as well as 15 children)!  And I’m exhausted!  I forgot how it felt to get a new class into the routine and all the frustrations that come along with that job!  I’ve been very frustrated lately with how my class has been behaving and I was sure I’d never had a class like this before until I read my post from last August!  I won’t write the same things now – that pretty much sums up what I’m going through!

I thought I could avoid that situation this year by being very intentional when I introduced new toys/activities – I take everything to the carpet at circle time and show/discuss how everything is to be (or not to be) used.  But they still aren’t getting it and I’ve had toys/containers/baskets/books broken!  Beyond modeling and discussing how to treat  items respectfully, how do I get them to understand how to handle things with care?! Should I get the parents involved and write a note?  Any feedback would be appreciated! 

In other news, Parents Night (or Back to School Night or Open House – whatever you call it) was a great success!  Aside from the fact that I did it all by myself this year (which made me extremely nervous) I had all but 2 families show up!  They all seemed very pleased with what I had to say and got all their questions answered!  I haven’t had one complaint yet – and I hope I won’t have any in the future!  My families seem to want to be involved and know what’s going on in the classroom – and for that I’m thankful.  The two families that didn’t show up are two that should have been there to hear what I had to say.  Each of these families has a boy who is having behavioral issues and I’m constantly writing notes home (because I believe these parents are avoiding talking to me).  But hopefully I can get them on track!

Okay, I feel like I’m rambling now…I’ll try to get online more consistently to give updates and let you know what I’m doing in class.  I just feel like I’ve been really scattered and disorganized lately – even though I do plan in advance what I’m going to be doing!  Just seems like I’m always running out of time!  AAAHHHHH!   Sometimes I feel like I’m going crazy!  LOL  But I think it’s just the “beginning-of-school-getting-back-into-the-routine” thing!  🙂  Hope all of you are enjoying your new class (or will be soon)!

a new start

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I’m back from vacation – which explains the lack of posting – and I’m getting things ready for the first day of school – which is Monday!  Way to soon for me!   I’m not ready yet!  Lord help me!  So I’m curious, what do all of you do on the first day of school?  I’m trying to come up with something fun to get my kids excited about the new school year – and I welcome any and all ideas!  Thanks!

desprate times…

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I’m at my wits end!  I need to vent!  Badly.  It’s 3 weeks into the school year – 3 whole weeks – and these kids in my class still don’t get it – and I can’t figure out why!  Usually by this time we have found our rhythm and are a happy class! Usually it’s just a couple kids that need a little extra guidance – but everyone else is fine.  Not this year.

Just yesterday 3 books in our book area were destroyed – the covers ripped right off – and no one will admit to doing it! (Why did I turn my back for so long?!)  And this after we constantly go over how to treat books and how special they are!

They still can’t walk in a line – if I’m not constantly telling them wherever we go to follow the person in front of them – they simply wander off! If they don’t wander off they bump into things and I have to keep from laughing!  I know that sounds mean – but really – the stunned expression on their face is quite amusing!

And there is no use giving them simple instructions – they don’t seem to understand.  I told one child, “Please go put this book on the brown table for me.”  (We only have one brown table and we use it daily at circle time – it was about 6 feet away and I pointed to it).  The child proceeds to walk in the opposite direction in which I pointed and refused to listen to my redirection.   He walks around the classroom with a lost expression on his face for a few minutes before comming back to inform me we don’t have a brown table!  When I showed him the brown table – he gave me a stunned look as if I must have made it appear out of thin air!

Some can’t even go to the bathroom without being walked through the process (i.e. telling them to wipe, flush, wash hands with soap, dry hands, and throw the paper towel away).

I have never had a class like this!  And they have absolutely no attention span!  They also have a complete lack of respect for adults.  They talk back, tell us no, and laugh in our faces when we correct their behavior! Where did they learn this behavior?!  I certainly hope their teachers from last year didn’t let them act this way!

I need help!  I.AM.DONE.

(deep breath…or two or three)

There.  I feel better now.  I vented.  But seriously it’s not good.  I wrote about my frustrations with the class here – but I would have thought 2 weeks later we wold have had some progress!  We have our good moments – don’t get me wrong.  And it’s not every single child – but it’s about half of them!  And for me – that’s too many!

I will take suggestions!  If anyone has any games or stories to help teach listening and following direction skills – I will be more then happy to hear them!  Also, they don’t know spacial concepts such as in front, behind, over, under, next to, etc.  If anyone has any good ideas for teaching this, it would help as well.  I need to find away to get this class together!  I can’t go through the year like this – and talking to parents or writing notes will only get me so far – any suggestions are welcome!  🙂

good ending

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Our first week together ended well.  We made our jellyfish out of while construction paper and silver glitter.  Monday I will attach the curling ribbon tentacles and hang them from the ceiling.  It will be too cute!  I’ve found that this group of children has a problem using their inside voices!  Don’t get me wrong, I know pre-k children can be loud – but these children literally yell when they talk!  It’s just too much for me!  So I’m trying to figure out a way to work on this.  Talking to them and modeling what kind of voice we should use just isn’t working!  Suggestions would be appreciated!

I’m not very optimistic about all my parents either.  For example, one little girls mom went up to another teacher and asked her if she was her daughters new teacher.  The teacher said no, pointed us out, and we introduced ourselves.  The problem you ask?  The teacher she asked had been her daughters teacher all last year!  Obviously, she is not a very involved mother.  *Sigh*  Why don’t more parents care?!

On another note, I found two big books at the local thrift store!  They are not in total perfect condition (some wear to the covers) – but for $2.50 – I couldn’t pass it up!  I’ve gotten my entire collection of big books at thrift stores or garage sales and have never paid more than $3.50 for a book!   You can’t beat that especially since I’ve seen them sell new for upwards of $20!  I just love bargains!  🙂

we’re getting there

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Today was a significantly better day!  We had a total of 16 kids – our high so far this week!  They seem to be getting our rules and routines down – I hope tomorrow goes even better!  It was a relief that today didn’t go like yesterday did – we are taking steps in the right direction!  I kinda like that all the kids didn’t show up on the first day of school – that way as more and more children start coming there are already some who know the rules and routines.

All of the children have now completed their first day drawings and they are being proudly displayed on our walls!  It’s interesting too see all the different drawing abilities the children have!  Some can draw people, houses, and flowers while all others can do is randomly scribble on the paper!  But I still love to see their drawings up on the wall and they do too – it helps make the room more personal for the children.

It’s interesting to see all the different approaches the teachers took to getting their rooms ready.  Most of the other teachers put up bulletin boards with posters and other art work on them.  Others decorated their room to fit a specific theme.  I like to just clean off and prep my bulletin boards with new paper and boarders (if needed) and then leave them blank.  Ready for this children’s creations.  My room looks really bare that way – but within and week or two their art is up all over!

The first month of school I do an ocean theme.  Yesterday and today the children painted seahorses.  They used florescent pink, yellow, green, and blue paint and used crumpled newspaper as their paintbrush.  I had them make the newspaper “jump up and down like a rabbit” and the texture this creates with the paint really looks neat!  We’ve also read “Mister Seahorse” by Eric Carle – and our seahorses look very similar to his!  The children were excited about this!  I really like doing this theme and so far the children seem to be enjoying it as well!  Tomorrow we will start making jellyfish!

herding cats

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I felt that today was very chaotic!  We only had 13 – and we went through the same routines and over the same rules we did yesterday – and yesterday went very well – but today was another story!  We both felt like the children were doing the exact opposite of everything we said!  It was just so tiring and we felt like we were fighting a loosing battle!  I don’t like feeling as if I’m fighting with the children all day!

And I have one little boy, who I swear, doesn’t know his name!  We sometimes have to call his name 8 – 10 times before we get a response!  And I know it’s not his hearing.  When we talked to mom and dad they said that they don’t call him by his name at home but that he “should know what his name is” – really?  Am I in some sort of joke here?

I’m frustrated because I feel like we took many steps back today – and I thought that we could be moving forward.  I know they’re just testing – seeing what we’ll allow them to get away with – it happens every year – and I hate it!  If it lasts longer than a few days, I’m talking to parents – because I’m done.  So, I’m praying that it will go better tomorrow – after all, it can’t get much worse!  🙂