Sunday, April 24, 2011

Habby Eeser!

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Thanks to our fabulous families, my Super Stars enjoyed coloring eggs before they left for their three-day Easter weekend.

Eau de Vinegar and Hard Boiled Eggs was our aroma for the day, and little fingers remained blue, pink, and green at the tips no matter how much they were washed and scrubbed.  Such is the life of a kindergartner.

The life of a kindergarten ~teacher~ includes one of repeated germ exposure, so guess what *I* have for Easter?

A spring cold.

Yep, I hab a code in my doze.  Sudafed, ibuprofin, and lots of fluids fill my Easter basket this year, and unless my voice returns, I may need to request a sub for tomorrow.  NOT the best day to be absent, but also not a good day to try to go to work voiceless with a head full of gunk.  Kindergartners + Easter candy + Monday requires SUPER TEACHER, and at this point, I'm a cape, tights, and a few super powers short.

Ah, sub guilt.  When do you feel it?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Students Don't Need Test Prep, They Need Life Prep

Will Richardson explains how school presently equals test prep (no surprise to educators), and shares his opinion that "if this is your definition of better, you can have it."  Test prep does not equal learning.

He shares a tweet almost ten minutes in that I had to pause the video in order to read:  “My kid already plays sick to get out of going to kindergarten.  WTF?  How do you make kindergarten suck?”  The audience laughed at the horrible humor of the Tweeter's child's reality, sympathetically, I know.  I just cringed.



I agree with Richardson: our students don't need test prep.  They need life prep.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Signs of Spring

My students have enjoyed observing and identifying signs of spring this week.  Their list:

Signs of Spring
~ green grass
~ no snow
~ warm weather
~ buds on trees
~ flowers on bushes and shrubs
~ rain
~ getting to wear shorts and sandals
~ buying new sunglasses
~ birds singing and chirping and flying
~ worms crawling across the sidewalk
~ parents "firing up the grill"
~ getting ready for Easter


and of course...


~The reappearance of golden, sunshiney dandelions!~


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Every spring, my Super Stars collect dandelions that they offer to me as bouquets, bracelets, necklaces, and crowns.

Every spring, I become Mrs. Sommerville, the Dandelion Queen.

My...job...rocks.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Question: Do You "Flex?"

A question (followed by quite a few more): are you a kindergarten teacher who "flexes" or utilizes grade level "flexible grouping?"

If so, HOW?  An hour?  Half an hour?  Math and Reading?  Centers or didactic/teacher led instruction?  Small group, large group, aides, volunteers, school specialists?  How long does it take for your students to get into the groove of moving (smoothly) between multiple ever-changing classrooms at the beginning of the year?  Do your groups REALLY change, or are your highest kids always your highest requiring enrichment and your most needy always behind the curve year-round?

Seriously, I'd love to know!  Plusses, pitfalls, pros and cons.

You know how I feel about developmentally appropriate practice, so just put that on the back burner if need be, and share what you've experienced when you've assessed and grouped at this age level.  Thanks so much for any and all information you can share!

...and On That Farm He Had a Pig

E-I-E-I-O!

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For our "Down on the Farm" theme, my students wanted to make oinkers!

They traced around two paper plates on a 12 X 18 inch piece of pink construction paper, cut out both circles, and used tan, white, and black construction paper for the eyes, nose, ears, and hooves.

This project combined tracing and freehand components, helping students build their confidence as they worked with drawing, cutting and gluing different sized circle shapes to create their pigs.

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*****
~ Our Crafts ~N~ Things shares another version of a pink paper pig here...

~ Katie's Nesting Spot shares a cute craft idea for Princess Pigtoria...

~ Do you have a room-parent who loves to make cupcake treats?  Look here for pig-decorated cupcake ideas!

Friday, April 08, 2011

New Teachers, In Case Your Ed. Classes Didn't Tell You...

... wiggle eyes make everything better:

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Here's the rough template for the bunnies that I shared last year.

"Wiggle" eyes come in fun shapes, sizes and colors, just check your local craft store, look online, or search them out in teacher and/or craft catalogs.

Hoppy, er, HAPPY Easter!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Oh, the Guilt

Have you ever felt it?  That overwhelming wow-I've-got-so-much-to-do and not-enough-time-to-do-it weight sitting on your teacher shoulders?  On your parent and teacher shoulders?  How about your spouse, parent, and teacher shoulders?

Yep, THAT weight.

It's exacerbated when some additional issue arises: a change at work, students or families experiencing something difficult for which they need extra time or extra help... wonky spring weather that puts your students' internal barometers into high speed roller coaster ride mode... surprise health issues that result in needing a sub... with interesting characters answering the call.

Interesting characters.  I'm using that as my polite description for those who occupied my room during what went down this week.  "Pepe le Peu" ~might~ have been one of my impolite descriptions, but trust me, it was a kind reference. Not to the skunk mind you, but I was trying:

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Guilt?  I haven't blogged.  I haven't posted new photos of my students on our class web page for their families.  I haven't shared all of the wonderful and silly quotes that I've been lucky to hear.  When I haven't been absent, I've been selfish: hogging my students' hugs for myself, commiserating with colleagues, and swimming in family time, avoiding living at work.

It would all be exactly what I need to recuperate, re-energize and reflect...

... if it weren't for this pesky guilt.

*****
So let's turn it around shall we?

Skunk-tastic!

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This cute fella can be found with other alphabet-inspired friends here....

Click here for a link to some skunk coloring pages...

... and my favorite skunk, Flower:



How have you been?