Friday, February 26, 2010

Flight of the Bumble Bee.

The excitement of bumble bees began near the beginning of the day when a little one discovered a giant bumble bee hanging out by the ceiling lights in our classroom. I was quietly helping one of the students with their writing at this time when I heard an abrupt commotion coming from the corner of the classroom. "Miss Molly, you have to come look at this bee!" they called me over. Without going near to see what the ruckus was about, I naturally encouraged them to find their seats. The excitement quickly became such a disturbance they couldn't let go of it, and I soon discovered that this bumble bee was a much bigger deal than the one I didn't make out of it.

"OK, let me take a look at this silly bee," I gave in, thinking we could have a short moment of awe and then continue our work. Apparently, I didn't know what I was getting myself into. "You've got to be kidding me!" I exclaimed. "That has to be the biggest bumble bee I've ever seen!" I'll admit, sometimes my enthusiasm gets the better of me and I tend to exaggerate, but this was not the case. Amazed by it's size I pulled out my camera to take a picture of the thing. Suddenly everyone went to hide behind desks, where there was no topic of discussion other than bumble bees.

The picture ended up not doing it justice, but the bee was then left alone until...

"OK bumble bee, you have overstayed your welcome. It's time to leave," I called out as the kids ran in from recess an hour later and still in awe with this bee.

"Bumble bee, go away!" I shouted once more with a book in hand.

"Maybe he thinks your talking to yourself," a little one informed me.

I began to get serious as I propped open the outside door, stood on a chair, and began waving a book at the bee. Before long, I gained an audience with the 1st through 3rd graders peaking by my window laughing hysterically as I had it one-on-one with this bee. It was quite the fight, but the bee finally flew out of door and chased away 15 screaming children.

"That was AWESOME!" a third grader informed me. And of course, with the thrill of the moment, many of my Kindergartners from last year just had to come give me a tight squeeze.

Nothing like a bumble bee to throw of the day, but thanks to him I ended up being that much more of a hero.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Together, We Love The World.

It’s a pleasant feeling knowing that you are loved. It’s an even more pleasant feeling knowing that those same people you love in return know that you love them back. There's no doubt I love my students, so I am quite satisfied knowing this feeling is recognized by them as well. This morning’s journal entry may have seemed like nothing out of the ordinary, yet it make me feel loved in an extra special way.

Decoded, this story says, “We love each other; actually teacher and me love the world.” This picture delicately portrays me, the teacher with glasses, and my dear friend together walking under a sky of hearts with pumpkins at our feet. Why she decided to draw pumpkins in February gets me, but I can only assume that our field trip to the pumpkin patch was a more than memorable event.

Seeing this picture of her and I loving the world together showed me that with these five-year-olds I don't have to be "extra"-ordinary. I don't have to try to be anyone I'm not. I only need to love on them and help them succeed the best way that I know how. Just being in the classroom and guiding them every second I get makes them feel secure and loved. For that simple reason I am blessed to be called their teacher and friend. Friends that together, love the world.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What's In Your Pocket?

I’ve heard that you can tell a lot about a woman by the contents of her purse, but what I never thought about is the same can be true for a five-year-old. I am always intrigued by the objects that come out of these little people’s pockets.

There is one student in my class who is particularly known for little goodies coming out every day. On any given day you can guarantee that he will have something in his pockets. Yesterday was a harmonica, the day before that was a Nintendo DS screen cleaning cloth, and today was a toothbrush. I couldn’t even guess what tomorrow's pocket surprise will bring, as it’s always a completely random and surprising object that never has any relation to the previous days.

I'm sure you can imagine these objects becoming a distraction, yet I still allow them bring their own toys from home. However, they are warned that if they are not careful, it may get locked up in the “Distraction Box” (or for those who like to mispronounce it the “restraction box”) where their cherished belongings will be safely kept until the end of the day.

Keep in mind that this box is no bigger than a shoebox. In a moment that was completely unrelated to the subject of the distraction box, I told one of my munchkins today that their continuous sounds were becoming a distraction to their classmates. “You better stop, or you’ll get put in the distraction box!” a friend shouted. I had to laugh with the cleverness of the thought, which implied the knowledge that all distractions end up there. No, I have not ever tried to stuff one of those five-year-olds in a box, although I guess some days it seems like an excellent idea! :)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Back To The Basics.

It came to my attention today that there is a need to get back to the fundamental reading skills that my Kindergartners have acquired from the start of the year. I was encouraged to see how quickly these bursting buds picked up basic reading concepts this year. They began to read much sooner than I anticipated. My overflow of encouragement boosted their eagerness to read and their confidence that they can do it.

As they have dramatically improved, however, it seems like we've all of the sudden hit a wall. I'm not sure if I'd call that wall 'laziness' or 'over-confidence' but they have started to develop bad habits. They begin to guess words they think they know based upon the beginning letter and sometimes the end, rather than taking the time to sound out every letter and not forget about the middle letters. So today, I implemented a new rule. We must go back to the basics and sound out ALL letters of every word, even the ones that are labeled easy. It's time to implement some new techniques so our middle letter friends are not forgotten!

I suppose this laziness or over-confidence can be found in any of us. As humans, we tend to fall into monotonous routines that run our everyday lives and sometimes forget the need to keep things fresh. It therefore becomes important for everyone, not just five-year-olds, to get back to the basics. Who wants to get stuck creating bad habits? Just a thought, but this appears to be something we all can learn a life lesson about.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bigger Than a Box of Crayons.

It is a known fact of life. Sharing is one of those life lessons that we all will continue to perfect for the rest of our lives. For a five year old, the tolerance for the practice is much more difficult to maintain. They are slowly beginning to understand the concept of sharing and face issues on a daily basis that allow them to discover the benefits of sharing on their own. They find out that it's easy to share when there's plenty to go around and become truly tested when there is a need for a specific sacrifice to be made. They must make a choice to share something bigger a box of crayons.

We were all happily playing a game in circle time today when I slowly watched a boy pull back from the class. He was enjoying himself one minute, and it seemed like within a few more moments he was doing his best to not let his sad countenance be seen.

"What's wrong Michael," I asked.

I could tell that he really wanted to be tough about it. "Nothing," he replied.

"We care about your feelings, and we wont make fun of you for feeling any certain way. If you want to tell us we will help you settle whatever is bothering you," I said trying to reason with him.

"It's nothing," he said again as he was at this point almost fully in tears.

"It's OK if it's something. You are our friend and we don't want you to be sad, " I encouraged.

In the saddest voice he could make and with the biggest heart-broken look he replied, "I'm not sad. I'm mad. I wanted to sit on the blue mat."

Ahhh, yes. The blue mat. One of the three circle carpets we have. The only blue one and clearly the most popular. Somehow I wasn't surprised this was the issue, but before I could say another word one of two boys who happened to already be sharing the blue mat said, "You can sit here Michael." The other friend gave in as well and said, "Yeah, I'll scoot over."

At this point, we had three boys cramming onto the tiny mat that was clearly not meant for three growing boys, but who was I to stop them from sharing? Apparently I wasn't the only one to recognize this choice of sharing. Before I could even attempt to make it public, a friend decided to share her opinion of the situation, "I think they both should be on purple for being nice and sharing."

Wow! We now have a first time nomination of a friend for purple. I didn't even know that was possible. "What a great idea!" I replied.

I'm glad we took those few moments to settle the situation. It turned out to be a big lesson for all of us, and put an extra smile on our faces.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Better Than Video Games.

I feel like there is a great deal of trickery going on when teaching my students. We play a variety of learning games. They find it fun and entertaining, and alternately learn a great deal in the process. It should come as no surprise that learning doesn't have to be boring. It's especially easy when teaching the younger ages to surround them their specific learning style: FUN.

I have discovered a great need in the review of writing numbers. I have targeted it from many angles already this year, yet decided a new type of game was needed in hopes to promote their learning in this area further. I ended up developing a game just for them.

The game focus: Tracing numbers 2-9. Normally, I am not a big fan of general "tracing" numbers, but because many of our number writing activities have already involved a primary large motor skill connection, I was in support of trying it from this new angle.

The primary task: write numbers 2-9, not once or twice, but fifteen times in less than two minutes. I put the practice sheet with 15 outlines of the same number in a page protector, gave them a dry erase marker, and hit the play button for a short song on our Alphabet CD.

The process: race to see if they could finish all 15 numbers by the end of the song. It became an alternate task in promoting teamwork. When one finished, they encouraged their friends to get done. "Come on, you can do it!" they would encourage. If they were successfully ALL done with every number, I threw in an extra compliment in our compliment jar.

To finish, we wiped off our boards and passed our papers to our neighbor, ready to conquer the next number.

The outcome: Their numbers have been better ever since. I found that one of the reasons why it worked so well was because we were able to make a race of it-- not for bragging rights, but for the sole purpose of "I did it." They felt accomplished and encouraged that learning to write letters doesn't have to be so laborious. I can assure you that if I had given each of them a page to trace 15 numbers they would not have been so motivated to finish in a timely matter. Every number wouldn't even be completed in the less than 20 minutes it took for this activity.

The bonus: They loved it! "This is better than watching the movie Ice Age," someone happily shared. "This is even better than video games!" a boy added. OK, now if I can come up with an activity that's better than TV and video games, then we have a real winner. They are looking forward to the next time they get to practice their numbers in this fun and memorable way.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Case of The Broken Apple Timer.

Every once in a while I will read a book that my students absolutely adore. Reading them once isn't enough. It must be read until the kids are only partially bored of it, and Miss Molly is desperate to find another quick fix favorite. Surprisingly, their favorites are usually ones that I would never expect them to really get into. Recently, a book ended up on my desk. I have no idea who gave it to me, but it was clearly someone who knows my secret obsession of children's books. The book: Detective Dinosaur. I can't figure out why, but this book became one of those favorites, even by the girls. Besides the mystery, they probably find it thrilling listening to me pronounce the big dinosaur names. Who wouldn't find that enjoyable?

Thanks to Deputy Diplodocus, he has inspired some of my sprouts to become detectives themselves. They were eager to help me solve "The Case of The Broken Apple Timer," without any knowledge to what actually happened. "I'll help you Miss Molly. I'm a detective you know," a willing assistant informed me. All he knew was somebody broke Miss Molly's apple timer, and there had to be a missing piece laying around. I smiled thinking that the case became how it was broken, and not who broke the timer. Nonetheless, neither part of the mystery could be solved. I'm OK with that, but Apple Timer, you are already missed.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

How to catch your breath.

I'm sure you all have heard the phrase "catch your breath." During recess today, a five year old gave me the most unique translation of this phrase. Read carefully, it will give you new insight in how to exactly do it.

Hi Miss Molly, I’m out of breath.

Oh no! What are you going to do?

Catch it.

And how do you do that?

By running as fast as the boy in the Incredibles.

Isn’t that how you lost it?

Yep! But now I have to go catch my run. See ya!

[comes back all out of breath] Miss Molly, I caught it again!

And what exactly did you catch?

My breath, silly!

I love this age. I am amused by the many things they take literally. The phrases like "catching" your breath throws them off, and makes me wonder who was the crazy person to come up with it in the first place. I bet you didn't think that catching your breath could be so exhausting!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Silly Story.

Dr. Seuess wrote, "Every day, from here to there, funny things are everywhere." One of the reasons why I love teaching Kindergarten is because you get to be silly. In fact, you practically have to be silly if you want to be most successful. The other day, I gave my students an opportunity to write and illustrate their own silly stories, after reading One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish by Dr. Suess. If you've ever read it, it's full of rhyming, nonsensical short stories that the kids love to laugh and laugh about.

After giving them a moment to think creatively, I handed them their papers and let them run with their imaginations. Here's some of the silly stories they came up with:

1) My funny is a girl on the potty. And a rainbow was shining at her.Photobucket

2) Goop and the Vilgaks. Goop is fighting Vilgaks with a sword. But Goop won.Photobucket

3) Play, play, play, play until it was dark.

4) She went to the restroom. Mariah is her name. It was the boys.

5) Pop. He is on the cap. He is cool. He has three eyes.

6) My snack is Ed. Ed jumped.

So what's your vote on the funniest?
1. The girl on the potty?
2. Goop the Vilgaks?
3. Play play play play?
4. A girl in the boys restroom?
5. Pop with three eyes?
6. The snake that jumped?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Meet my friend, hani-tizer.

Germs, more commonly known as "practically invisible little monsters that can make you very sick." They seem to be a teacher's worst nightmare. (Okay, I could think of worse, but it's definitely up there!) They can spread so quickly that pretty soon half the class is missing within a day. And if you're not careful, you just may be too. I made the decision from day one to not let germs get the better of my class this year.

The first day of school day came, and I made sure to cover all the basics. You know the simple practices that keep those germs away like: wash your hands often, how long to wash them for, how to wash your hands properly, sneeze or cough into your sleeve, use facial tissue, clean shared surfaces, what not to share, etc. If it had to do with germs we talked about it, I modeled it, the Kindergartners practiced it, and then some more, repeatedly.

I still remember the first time a princess used the bathroom in my class. I heard her in the bathroom washing her hands while faithfully singing her ABC's. Yes, this was something I modeled to teach an appropriate length of time for hand washing and was quite proud that I had made such an impact that she remembered herself from the start.

Hand sanitizer was formally introduced as "my friend." Now, I know that washing hands often is the most efficient way of keeping germs away, but there are a lot of little hands to wash, and to be honest, we just don't have that much time in a day. That said, I made a big deal out of how wonderful my friend was. I was happy to share my friend with them, and they we re more than eager to let "our friend" help out. Hand sanitizer became so much our friend that I would catch my little ones giving hugs to that bottle, and with shining faces saying, "Hani-tizer, my friend!"

I believe that if you build something up from the beginning, making it fun and memorable, they are far more likely to stick with it and remember it themselves. But I will also tell you, that this technique would never be as successful if it was not followed up by routine. In my case, routine has been so much built up that friends are more than happy to hold each other accountable if one ever were to forget.

Half-way through the school year now, I had a student eagerly shoot up his hand out of nowhere while teaching a lesson. Thinking that this random outburst had to be important, I called on him, "Yes?" In abrubt panic, he precisely informed me, "Yesterday, at school, Kyle forgot to use hand sanitizer!"

I could barely contain myself from bursting up with laughter. He was so serious about this issue, I could certainly not laugh in return. After all, I happened to be the one who made this topic such a delicate matter. Holding every smile within, I said "Oh no! That's terrible..." and continued the lesson.

"Hani-tizer" (the shortened name one of my munchkins gave when the length of the name was found difficult) has saved my class on numerous occasions, and kept those nasty happenings of large numbers of students missing down to the number zero. Thank you, I owe you one.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Biggest Valentine Ever.

Our Valentine's Day party was a big hit. Each child contributed to this event by bringing something for our party. Easy, yet I was surprised at the outcome of how the kid's responded to it. "What did you bring?" one would ask. "I brought the carmel dip!" another would shout. Or my personal favorite, "Who brought the grapes? They are not good!"

Even if it was only mom sticking a package of heart-shaped plates in their backpack and sending them off to school, I'm glad that everybody had something to contribute. I think we all need those moments to feel important and involved.

As we were sitting at the table eating ever so quietly, I read to them a new story, "The Biggest Valentine Ever" by Steven Kroll. The book became a perfect fit for my class. Clayton and Desmond worked together to make a valentine for their teacher, but ended up fighting and ruining the whole thing. At this point in the book, we all had serious looks of concern. It was a sad thing to see best friends fighting, and somehow I think we were starting to relate. The two went home that night to make one of their own, but neither valentine turned out to be as wonderful as the one they made together. In the end, my class smiled with congratulations as Clayton and Desmond stepped it up and made the biggest valentine ever!

This sweet moment didn't seem to last long. The major rush of sugar kicked in, and before I could blink an eye I had my entire class running out the door to look at the water puddle that was mischeiviously created in the bathroom. It seemed like just as I had taken care of that little moment of spontaneous creativity, I caught intentional napkins being glued to innocent faces with carmel dip. [Time for a chill moment!] No games. Only happy songs and fun finger plays for the rest of the day.

I think I can officially say now, I'm all partied out. I don't deny that I love to throw special and memorable events for my students, but two days in a row of almost uncontrollable excitement has been the two most fun and exhausting days. Good thing I have a long weekend to recover with an extra two days off!
Happy Valentines day. :)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The best day of my life.

The day we have all been waiting for finally arrived. Today, our 100th day of Kindergarten, became the most memorable event ever. Better than Disney Land. Better than Chuck E. Cheese. Better than Christmas. From the moment they walked in the door I had something special planned. They were in awe with the wall decor, and even more fascinated with the "100th Day Passports" sitting on their desks. Since the first day of school I had been telling them that on the 100th day of Kindergarten we would have a 100th day party. Yes, it was a party, but unlike one they've ever been too. There was no cake, ice cream, or musical chairs, but by the end of that day none of that mattered. I have a feeling I spoiled them enough, and don't feel bad for the slight bit of trickery I had going on with another day of work.

Only minutes into school, I had them asking, "When can we count to 100?!" We've been working so hard towards this goal, they were so eager to show me what they were made of. As we put up the final number 100 on our Daily Doodle Bug and counted flawlessly to 100, I couldn't have been more proud. I want to instill in these bursting buds a love for learning, and by seeing their blossoming eagerness proved to me that I'm doing something right. Moments like this are why I teach.

Today, my little blessings, filled up all ten pages of their "100th Day passport" with a 100th day reward sticker from each of the ten centers they visited. I tried to incorporate as much variety as I could including exercises, fine motor motors, music, writing, building, crafts, music and so much more. Every center had to do with the number 100, and it was a joy to see their faces light up as each center was completed. I could feel their proud sense of accomplishment as they each earned their sticker to add to their passport and all proclaimed at some point today, "This is the best day of my life!"

To top it all off, they had been so focused on counting to 100 that by the end of the day a few had completely forgotten that their 100th Day projects would get to be shared today. It turned out to be a real special treat, especially taking part in the 100 shaped cookie with 100 m&m's on it.

Today was the best day ever, but apparently "tomorrow is going to be even better!" It appears that I now have some stiff competition and high expectations to live up to for our Valentine's day party. However, with the built up anticipation for the delivery of Valentine's in our glitter glue'd up mailboxes I think I have it covered.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Glitter Glue.

Glitter just seems to be the biggest hit in my classroom this year. They get more excited about glitter than they do about recess or candy. Glitter is so exciting for them in fact, that whenever we do a craft, they jump up and down expecting that glitter is going to be next. As a side note, I usually buy dry glitter and sprinkle it over their white glued designs. It turns out to be quite the mess, but I'm not scared of messes. If I was, I would not be teaching Kindergarten! Depending on the craft, I usually comply with their glitter requests, but one day I informed them that glitter would not be next. Pure disappointment struck the entire classroom. Of course they loved what their project looked like without it, but it seems that nothing is quite complete without glitter. That is, until they met "Glitter Glue".

The excitement began with shoebox after shoebox coming in to our classroom. These shoe boxes would be used for our mailboxes to deliver all of our Valentine's in. For weeks prior to our final project I had eager faces asking, "When can we decorate them?!"

"When we get all of them in," I told them. Not even one munchkin knew the surprise I had coming for them.

The day came when all eight shoe boxes arrived. I announced to them that we would be decorating them the next day, but first I was sending them home with a parent to get them wrapped in white paper. That night, I had all the supplies ready, but made one last stop to the craft store for glitter. I went above and beyond with glitter and instead of buying dry glitter, I found glitter glue. I knew this would be thrilling for them. I picked out four at first, but I thought I'd really give them a thrill with eight different colors. OK, so perhaps I wanted to save myself the headache of fighting over who gets to the glitter glue first. I like to think ahead. :)

I placed all the supplies in a clear plastic container. Saving the best for last, I stored the glitter glue at the bottom. They spotted it right away. I pulled out every other supply first, and the anticipation was driving them nuts. "Glitter glue! Look! Teacher got us glitter glue!" Shortly a
fter, I let them go free with all the supplies they could have ever imagined.

We had a blast. I enjoyed myself so much that I happened to be the only one who ended up with glitter glue on their pants. "Miss Molly, you look cool," a friend told me. I never could have imagined that I would be cool because of glitter glue.

Monday, February 8, 2010


Have you ever come across something written by a child, backwards? It is actually quite normal for this to happen. In my world, this happens all the time. When I encounter this, I usually give a gentle reminder how to write it correctly and add loads of encouragement for doing their best. Writing can be frustrating at first, so I make sure to give extra support so they don't feel discouraged if it isn't perfect. For those discouraging days, I love to build confidence in my students by saying one of our favorite phrases, "The more we practice, the better we get!" This will usually turn that frown upside-down pretty quickly.

Aside from backwards, on a more rare occasion I have had students writing letters upside-down. They can typically write their names completely upside-down and backwards. Sometimes I stand there amazed. All I have to do is flip their paper upside down and there you have a perfectly written name. This seems even complicated for me to try.

While working with a student today, I noticed her writing her letters perfectly. On the line. Nice and round. Proper direction. When she finished one of the roundest O's I've ever seen I watched her as she then began to erase it.

"What was wrong with that O? I asked.

"It was upside-down," she replied.

I couldn't help but smile as I let her continue. I still can't quite figure out what about her O was upside-down, or even what changed the second time around, but I delighted to know that her writing standards far exceeded mine. :)

Sunday, February 7, 2010


When doing a review of our birthdays, I had one boy couldn't remember when his birthday was. A helpful friend ran to our birthday calendar to look.

“June 11th,” she announced.

“That’s not when my birthday is!” he replied, positive his birthday was on a different day. “That’s when it was last year!”

It became apparent to me that even though a five-year-old may know when his or her birthday is, they might not know what their birthday is. There is no need to be concerned, however. Now, if you ask any one of my students what a birthday actually is, I can be proud to say that they will be able to tell you.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Giraffes Can't Dance.

During story time yesterday I brought out the book ‘Giraffes Can’t Dance’. Now if you know children, they love to tell you every little detail of their lives. They not only love to be heard, but acknowledged. That said, one of the students began saying repeatedly, “I had this book in Louisiana!” Although I heard what he said, I continued on with the introduction of the story without acknowledging his remark. As I read on, he was now waving his hand frantically trying to get my attention. Before I could finish the page to finally call on him, he shouts, “I’m doing rule number two!” Even if he is raising his hand WHILE speaking, at least he’s trying. :)

Our classroom rules are as follows:
Rule number one- I know my job.
Rule number two- I raise my hand before I speak.
Rule number three- I listen to the speaker.
Rule number four- I work without bothering others.
Rule number five- I clean up properly.


The long awaited and highly anticipated 100th Day of School is almost here. I want the kids to be all practiced up with counting to 100. They can count by 5's. They can count by 10's. But when it comes to counting by 1's, a few of the numbers sometimes get left behind. Trying to build excitement and add encouragement I announced the class last week, "Our 100th day of school is coming up next week. One of our goals is to be able to count to 100 by then. Now a lot of you have it already, but the rest of us need a little bit more practice. So let's work hard and enjoy our 100th day!"

When it came time this week to practice counting out 100 objects for our bulletin board, I reiterated that it will be good practice for our 100th day. One little girl who always works really hard, but doesn't quite have it yet blurted out, "Yeah or she'll kick us out of school!" Oh, how I love misinterpretations. I can't help but think for an entire week she has been stressing out about that fact that she can't count to 100. On the more positive note, at least she's getting better!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Rule 4.

I feel like I have become the classroom's official argument settler. Arguments usually occur during snack time or choice time. No matter what the topic of the day is, those little people always seem to turn to me for the final call. One time I settled the argument about whether the term 'google' was a number or a website. Another time it was whether or not breakfast and lunch could actually be termed 'brunch'. Today's argument occurred only minutes into class.

You see, every morning I open the class with Journal writing time. The Kindergartners have the opportunity to illustrate and write about any topic they want. They are generally very focused on their work, because if they finish early I allow them to have reading time. However, before they can escape to their reading time, their work must first be approved by me. The debate occurred when I had a line of three kids at my desk. I happened to be working with one student individually, while the other two filled their waiting time with quiet bickering. After I had finished working with the first student, the next two stepped up. Immediately, I could tell this was something serious.

"How may I help you," I asked.

"Teacher? Are '/thu/' and '/thee/' the same?"

"Yes. We can say them either way when reading T-H-E, but remember rule number 4? 'In 'the' the E says /ee/ because it comes at the end of a syllable'."

Now you can always tell the humility of a friend when he or she will openly admit they were wrong. This was one of those cases, since he turned to his friend, said "You're right," and then modestly walked away.

I was happy to have helped solve such an important issue, but I was couldn't help but wonder how the topic came about. Still standing there, I asked the third student and deemed champion of the argument,

"What was that about?"

With a gratifying grin, he looked at me and said proudly, "He said I was right!"

I was satisfied knowing that in that moment we had a humble loser, a proud winner, and a helpful mediator.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


It had only been a few minutes into class today before my sprouts noticed something different about me. I wasn't wearing glasses. I mentioned to them that today I happened to be wearing contact lenses so they didn't need to be concerned. I could still see the same. They were not impressed.

I could see their minds working until one student boldy stated, "You look different."

Intrigued to see where this would take us I prodded, "What do I look like?"

"You look weird."
"You look like an alien."
"You look like the hulk."

"You look like your mom."

I suppose it's no question which of these answers were from boys, yet I still can't help but think, am I looking a little green today? Letting their minds think a little more I just smiled.

"How do you get them in?" another asked.

"Well," knowing the process was a little more complicated than one might explain to a five year old, I decided to keep it simple and continued, "I put the lense on my finger and then put the lense directly onto my eye."

The look on their faces at this point amused me. I saw varying looks of pure confusion, disgust, and fright. I'm not sure if I heard an "ew" or an "ouch" next, but more than likely both were said. To them, the process seems quite gross and painful. I knew they would interpret it like this. After all, I suppose shoving your finger in your eye never did sound quite pleasant to anyone.

Tomorrow, I'm wearing glasses.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


In my classroom I have a pocket chart that helps keep track of discipline with individual color-coded cards. Every day the Kindergartners have the opportunity to stay on green for good behavior. After an initial verbal warning, they must flip a yellow card for further reminders, orange for a last chance warning, and red for the more necessary removal of class and possibly a trip to the Principal’s office. Luckily, I have not had to go as far as red.

The colors work as a great visual for them to assess their own behavior. They can see when they need to keep up the good work, or when they may need to work a little harder at doing their best. But what about those students who aren’t just “good” but “great?” What about the ones who exhibit above and beyond behavior, even when the rest of the class isn’t? I want the students to have some thing to work towards; therefore, for these special circumstances, the students have the opportunity to flip a purple card. Noting excellent behavior, purple earns a prize from the prize box, and a note home to parents showing just how they earned it.

Today, I noticed one boy in particular, who for the first hour of class was showing exemplary behavior. Noting that his behavior needed to be recognized, I announced to the class that I was moving to him to purple. To no surprise, he knew he deserved it. Before allowing me to explain why he earned it, he declared proudly to the class,

“You know why I got purple? ‘Cause I wanted it.”

This statement itself taught a valuable lesson. Determination. He set his eyes on the prize and determined that he would do whatever it took to get there; even if that meant sacrificing valuable talking time.

This was a good lesson to share with the rest of the class, but his remark did not end there.

“Today is my mom’s birthday,” he continued, “and I want to get that necklace in the prize box for her.”

Had he left it at determination I still would have been proud, but he decided to share with us one more lesson. Giving. He has discovered that it is much better to give than to receive. So much in fact, that later, I overheard him telling one of the girls,

“Tomorrow, if I get purple again and you don’t, I’ll get you the other necklace.”

I think we can all learn something from this five year old's tender heart.
With a little determination we can do anything and be just as happy when we choose to give.