Tuesday, March 02, 2010

"Think left and think right and think low and think high..."

... oh the things you can think up if only you try!

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

I'm dressed as a Star Bellied Sneech today for our Read Across America activities (oversized yellow tee with green marabou trim, a single green star  heat-n-bonded to the front), and was able to make it through last night's baking adventure without taste testing too many samples of to-die-for blueberry muffins.  I'm partnered for "lounge duty" so treats and daily lounge clean up duties are on the agenda each day this week.  

(The Stars were **thrilled** with our guest reader, after all, she was accessorized with a sparkly tiara, sash and pretty dress!)

Nummies I'm making for lounge treats:

peanut butter cookies  (I add a cup of honey roasted peanuts to the dough before baking)
pretzel/Rolo/pecan nummies (four bags of Rolos fills two large baking sheets)
blueberry muffins
oatmeal raisin spice cookies

Fruit (strawberries and grapes) and a large box of snack sized chips will bring the sweet-factor down a few notches... b-a-l-a-n-c-e.

This year my daily schedule has been greatly impacted by the students and families I have as well as by Dear Husband's deployment: I have to work through every possible minute while at school each day since I can't stay late nor can I come in and work on the weekends like I did when Parent Number Two was here with Dear Daughter and the Pre-Schooler.

With third quarter quickly coming to a close, it's time for my students and I to plow through our mountain of common assessments so that the kindergarten team has additional “data, data, and more data” from which to interpret and divine daily teaching modifications and score our kindergarten report cards.  Maybe it's the hectic schedule, or maybe my preference for strictly observing developmentally appropriate practice holds more weight with me than does the public policy of turning kindergarten into the new first grade... but I'm .... tired.  Physically tired, mentally tired... and I can't help but notice that kindergarten is now rarely the joyful learning environment it used to be.  Labels, scores, diagnosis, data, interventions and concern dominate my conversations with colleagues and parents, pushing topics such as personality, quirks, apprehensions, interests, and daily a-ha moments, inquiries and silliness to the back burner.

Who my Super Stars are matters just as much, if not more so, than the tasks that they can perform.  Drill and kill doesn't appeal to me, nor does expecting every child to perform every task on my timeline instead of their own.  Who should enter stage right at this point but Doug Noon, sharing links that are a must-read for me and any other early childhood/kindergarten teachers who question the current state of educational "reform."

I still believe I'm a good teacher in spite of NCLB, not because of it.

Yep, tired.

"As you partake of the world's bill of fare, that's darned good advice to follow: do a lot of spitting out the hot air, and be careful what you swallow."

It seems my favorite Dr. Seuss quote changes from year to year which is appropriate since 1) he had so many good ones and 2) life is always changing.  Professionally:

"I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind.  Some come from ahead and some come from behind.  But I've bought a big bat.  I'm all ready you see.  Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!"

...and personally (Dear Husband should be back this weekend for his two week R&R):

"You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams."



  1. Thank you for the wonderful post. I can only imagine how hectic your life must be with hubby gone, being a K teacher, and most importantly being the Mom.
    I took a relaxing breath when you wrote, "or maybe my preference for strictly observing developmentally appropriate practice holds more weight with me than does the public policy of turning kindergarten into the new first grade." I see this is well and it's driving me bonkers because we are putting too many kids in a position of feeling like failures when they can't write words or read text. Some are just not ready. You know that magical moment when the light comes on and they grasp something that's clearly at their level. Too bad so many don't get there (for us level 3 reading) by the end of the year. Sure several kids were so well prepared when they came through the door in Sept. and have parents working with them a hour a day, that those kids will "make the grade."
    So take a well deserved breath yourself and know that you are driving the bus in your classroom and you know what stops to make for your kids. Thanks for giving me a sign that I'm not crazy about this topic.

  2. "I still believe I'm a good teacher in spite of NCLB, not because of it."

    How true! We have to do the best we can and not lose sight of why we really do what we do!

  3. If that picture is of you looking tired I'm jealous. You look wonderful in spite of all the challenges.

    As a first grade teacher now I'm pained by all of this. It was bad enough in fourth and fifth grades but the testing in the primary grades makes me physically hurt. I'm hoping we're at the wide edge of a serious pendulum swing.

  4. Hello there
    I have been teaching Kindergarten for over 20 years and write a blog for parents/teachers of Kindergartners. Please check it out.


As always, thank you for your comments, tips, suggestions and questions!