Tag Archives: parents

where we left off and other updates

Standard

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.

unbelieveable

Standard

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.

the police came

Standard

So, the last you heard from me I was having trouble controlling some of the children in my class.  Things have gotten somewhat better – but there are still about 4 (sometimes 5) children I’m working with – out of 14  I guess that’s not too bad!  October is the month I choose to learn about Community Helpers. One of my father’s is a paramedic and he came in his uniform and with his stethoscope to talk to the children about his job.  They were super excited to be able to listen to their lungs and heartbeats!  He also read two stories to them and gave them all a “super special band-aide from the ambulance”!  They LOVED that part!

Then the police came!  One of my fathers is a policeman and he wanted to come talk to the children about safety.  He also wore his uniform and brought his police car along!  The children LOVED that!  He even let them get in the front and backseat of the car!  I totally wish I had taken my camera to school that day – those would have been super cute pictures!  He also gave them a badge sticker to wear – and I have never seen my children so excited to get a sticker before!

4 weeks in…

Standard

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)!

celebration

Standard

I try to keep things as organized and simple as possible on party days.  I know from past experiences how quickly things can get out of hand – and I would prefer that not to happen!  We started out our party by playing a simple game called “I Love…”  Basically we go around in a circle and each person get to say who or what they love.  The sentence always starts off “I love _______ because…”  We went around our circle 2 times because the children kept wanting to say who they loved and why!  I loved hearing what they had to say!

Then Ms. Bennet read, “Valentine Mice” to the class!  We’ve been reading at least one valentine book to the class everyday this week.  After reading this book they requested to hear “Happy Valentine’s Day, Mouse” once again so Ms. Bennet obliged their request!

While we were playing the game and reading the stories I had 2 parent helpers prepping snack (during the stories I went over to help).  For our party snack we had heart shaped cucumbers, heart shaped Jello Jigglers, a heart shaped piece of bread with strawberry jam on it, a valentines cookie, and a juice box.  The parents helped me cut the bread and cucumbers into heart shapes, open juice boxes, plate the food, and pass out napkins and plates once it was all done!  The 3 of us managed to do this very quickly!  🙂

After snack the parent volunteers, Ms. Bennet, and myself helped the children pass out their valentine cards.  Then we took the children outside to play and run off their energy!  Trust me when I say – they really needed this!  lol  At this point in the day one of my volunteers had to leave while the other stayed inside to hide various sized hearts all around the room!  Our next game was going to be a Heart Scavenger Hunt where each child has to find 3 hearts!  This is pretty much the same as an Easter Egg Hunt!  When the children came inside we played this game – and as usual they loved playing it and asked to keep their hearts!

The last thing we did was let them look at all the cards and goodies they had in their valentine boxes!  I think this is always their favorite part (even though they don’t admit it)!  They were not allowed to eat anything but they could look at it – and when they were done we put everything away and got ready for lunch!  It was a great party and I heard a lot of children say that this was the best party ever!  🙂

gifting

Standard

Last week was very hectic – thus the lack of posting!  We had our class Christmas party, our employee Christmas  party, and we made, wrapped, and took home our parent gift!  Lots to do!  But we got it all done and tried to have a good time in the process!  🙂  We made these hand-print reindeer ornaments I found on the Let’s Explore blog  for our parent gifts this year!  They are really cute (and I’m sure the parents will adore them) but, to be honest, I did all the work since it had to all be hot glued!  I generally like gifts from the kids to be more hands-on – more personal – but I let the ball slip on this one!   I couldn’t help it!  They were extremely cute and simple to make!  It was well worth the effort!  🙂

carnival

Standard

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!