Friday, September 17, 2010

The Discovery of Tape.

Today, one of my dear sprouts learned about the wonderful ways of tape. I'm sure he has always been knowledgeable with how sticky and interesting this stuff can be, but today he learned something new: The more you stick it, the less it sticks.

I am simply amazed with how these little discoveries are made. Through play and exploration we can discover all about our world and the things in it. These discoveries are especially popular in Kindergarten, and can be made with abstract concepts and objects. Even tape.

The discovery of tape started Monday morning when Kevin decided his name plate needed to be adjusted approximately three inches over on his desk. On Tuesday, another adjustment needed to be made, only this time, the other direction. Wednesday rolled around, and a new discovery was made: Every time I touch my desk plate, it moves. I'm sure his thoughts went something like, That's crooked now. I can fix that! As an adult, we are all familiar with the way tape works. So you can only guess what his many adjustments was doing to this fascinating product. By Thursday, curiosity combined with the lack of quality adjustments led to this "name plate" becoming a "name tag." You guessed it, right on the chest. With a sweet reminder from Miss Molly and additional effort to make it stick, the name plate went back on the desk.

Finally, today, when nearly all hope was gone that this name plate would ever stick on the desk, Kevin pulled out his last big idea. Maybe... it will stick better on face! And just like that I watched the little name plate (with barely any "stick") fall from his face... repeatedly.

I intervened. "Kevin, please bring me your name plate."

As he walked over and placed it into my hands, his eyes showed nothing but commitment to the fact that he did nothing out of the ordinary. He boldy pronounced, "It wouldn't stick!"

With this discover made, nothing more needed to be said.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


I can always count on my kindergartners to keep me in line. Today, I went off on a tangent. Yes, a tangent. You know those things where you completely stray from your original purpose in conversation and dive into something completely off topic? Trying to place it more under the "teachable moment" category, that was me today. It went something like this:

"A, B, C, D, E, F.... What comes next?" I asked. "Yes, G! This is the letter G. The letter G makes two sounds. Can you say /g/ /j/?"

The class gladly repeated "/g/ /j/."

At this time, I recognized that the second sound came out more of a "dgsh" from one of the boys. I gave this young Russian student some additional assistance. I had not planned on talking about the various languages spoken at home, but when recognizing that the Russian sounds he was speaking at home was mixing with our English sounds, I found it the perfect opportunity to bring up the subject of the diversity in our class. This is where the tangent began.

"How many of you speak a different language at home?" I asked.

Nearly all the hands were raised. This took a minute to clarify that we all speak English, but that some of us speak another language. I found it very exciting that our class varies in different languages such as Cantonese, Russian, and Korean, but apparently I'm the only one. After a couple minutes of setting each student apart and excitedly sharing about each language, I was abruptly interrupted by Daniel with a "You've got to be kidding me" look.

"Can we get back to the ABC's now!?" he shouted.

With a smile I replied, "Of course," and we continued, "A, B, C, D, E, F, G....." If he hadn't have stopped me then, I'm not sure we ever would have finished. These little "reminders" are in my class every year. I'm actually quite thankful for them, because honestly, I don't know what I'd do without them.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I love my job.

As if the title didn't say it any more clear, it's true - I love teaching Kindergarten. You see, what I love best about my job is the power that I have. No, I didn't become a teacher because I get gratification from telling five-year-olds what to do all day. In fact, that can get a bit annoying. The power I have doesn't come from force, but from a sincere desire to influence an individual's life. As a teacher, I have the power to motivate. I have the power to inspire. I have the power to encourage. I have the power to comfort. But most of all, I have the power to make a difference. Everything I do and everything I say has to be intentional. Without intent, my power is useless.

The school year has begun and I have already found ways to use the power to create excitement in even the simplest of tasks, like counting to three. I experienced so much fulfillment while asking my new sprouts to count to three on the third day of school. Easy? Of course. But I can assure you, with as much expression and enthusiasm that I used, counting to three is proven to be quite the accomplishment. If you were in my class, even you would feel special for doing it. :) For added thrill, we even counted backwards - three, two, one. They walked away from our Daily Doodle Bug with bright shining smiles. Let's just say it was a BIG deal, and they felt proud.

I can't help but look at these five-year-olds and sometimes six-year-olds and see nothing but potential. When I look at them I don't see all in which they do not know (for at the beginning of the year that seems like an abundance) Instead, I look at them and see all that they can learn, all that their curious minds want to learn, and finally, all that I know they will learn. It seems like a big task to teach a child who can barely write their name how to write entire sentences in nine months, and even more so to teach a child who can barely identify alphabet letters how to read. I wait in anticipation. The accomplishment of this task is only a portion of the joy that I get out of teaching. The other portion of joy comes through the entire journey of the school year -- a journey that I am looking forward to sharing with a whole new crop of tender sprouts.