Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Biggest Messses

This week's #kinderblog question is about a disaster encountered in teaching. I have two moments that stand out. The first one was while teaching Pre-K kids. We were doing small group centers and we were learning about water. I was monitoring the water table and talking to children who were exploring how liquids move. One second everything was fine, the next one little kiddo discovered the plug. You can imagine my delight as water gushed all over the floor. While my assistant and I scrambled like maniacs to plug the table and get paper towels, many munchkins came over. They helped us grab towels and we discovered how paper towels absorbed water. Later my assistant and I laughed about it.

My most recent teaching disaster involved Kindergarten kiddos and paint. We were learning about secondary colors and had read Mouse Paint. We had mixed the two colors red and yellow together. We were transitioning to Centers and my assistant was going to paint with kids. One really interested kiddo came over and knocked the top off the cup spilling paint all over our rug. My room is covered in rug. This caused a big scene in which my wonderful assistant and I along with some kids used wipes to try and wipe it up. I owe my assistant really since she got the mess out.  Especially since it was my first year at this school and I had later learned the previous teacher kept that room spotless.  Needless to say, I was very frazzled, but again somehow managed to turn the whole thing into a lesson about absorption.

So, the lesson learned from these two disasters? Just go with it. Life happens. Breathe and somehow find the lesson in it. If all else fails, then sing. It always helps. :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

PB 10 for 10

This post is for #PB10for10, which was started by @mandyrobek and @CathyMere to share resources about favorite picture books used in classrooms. This is the second year for this. So, without further ado here is my list:
     1) Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. And John Archambault
I always start the year out with this book and come back to it. Kids love the rhythmic text and being able to say the A,B,C,'s.  Kids beg for this to be read over and over.

     2) Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni
I use this book when teaching about mixing colors. Children live that it's about friendship and are curious to see if the two primary colors do in fact make green.

    3) The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Manus Pinkwater
I love this book. It's about being individualistic and not copying what everyone else does. My classes and I have had great talks about feeling the need to be one's own self.

    4) Hey Little Ant by Phillip M. Hoose
In this story, a boy must decide whether or not to squish an ant. The ant's side of the story is told. It makes for great discussion on whether or not the boy or ant is right. Also, good book to read or sing to kids. I find them discussing book long after we finish.

    5) Mouse Paint by Ellen Stohl
This is a good book about mice who splash in pant and mix to make new colors. Another good resource for teaching about primary and secondary colors. Also incorporates concept of camouflage as well.

     6) The House that Jack Built by Simms Taback
Great interpretation of the classic rhyme. Great illustrations and good for showing cause & effect.  Lots of silliness and rhyming involved too.

     7) The Snowy Day by Ezra Keats
Story involving Peter and a snowy day. Great for discussing melting, snow, and cause &effect. Kids love hearing this story over and over.

     8) The Fourth Little Pig by Teresa Noel Celsi
Nice twist on what happens after the Wolf is defeated. The Pigs have a sister who shows them to not be afraid to get back outside. Kids absolutely adore this one.

     9) The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
I love Eric Carle. This story of how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly is beautiful and engaging for children.

     10) Kindergarten Rocks by Katie Davis
I picked this book up last year after meeting Katie Davis on twitter. It's a cute story about Kindergarten and well, how it does rock. Dex is nervous about starting K and his older sister helps him by explaining what school is like. Kids love this book.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

They All Change Me

This week's #kinderblog post asked us to write about a child that changed everything for us. I must admit, I really struggled with this one.  I kept going back to certain children or classes and moments that happened.  It's really hard for me to pick just one.

I could write about my first class with A (see first blog post) and how they changed me from novice to teacher.  I will be forever grateful to that class for putting up with my inexperience and teaching me as I was trying so hard to teach them.

I could write a book about my class from a few years ago that made me question my ability as a teacher and helped shape my views about social justice and how poverty affects kids.  I still carry those babies in my heart and pray for them. There were times I thought my assistant and I wouldn't survive that year, but those kids taught us all about surviving and trying to beat the odds placed on them by society. I will always be grateful to them for teaching me about love, patience, humor, and about fighting for what's right.

I could also write about a little boy I taught who reminded me about how routines are vital to children and how sometimes hanging out in the hall with the teacher needs to be done in order to just take a break. He really taught me a lot about intelligence and about how sometimes kids just need someone to talk to when things change all around them.  I think he somehow knew he taught me as much as I taught him.

So, I guess my point is that these kids change me. Sure there are ones that stand out, but they all change me. From one year to the next they change me. I am never the same teacher twice. I can't be. I'm whatever these children need me to be. It's my job, or calling as some call it.  It's something I can't imagine not doing. It's who I am through and through.  It's fluid and ever changing, much like education itself.