Thursday, November 20, 2014

Superheroes wear chalk dust

If you have kids then you know that this week is American Education week. (And if you have kids and don't know this then you might want to consider cleaning out your child's back pack occasionally. Just saying.) This means we celebrate school and teachers and students and all things educational all. week. long., complete with Visits To The Classroom To Watch Them Learn. (Though really, why is this the week before Thanksgiving with all the attendant days off. Some of us have to work for a living yanno.) Anywho, this is the first year that both Noelle and Noah are in big kid school and luckily (?)  their classroom visit times were on the exact same day. Noelle chose to have Dyl visit her class and no switching allowed (her rules but grandparents could change it up, NBD. Thanks kid.) so I observed Noah's class. I know I went to Noelle's kindergarten two years ago but I don't remember anything like what went down in Room 2.

I walked in to the morning meeting where they were doing calendar-type stuff. But not just the days of the week, oh ho ho! No, this involved identifying all of the months, figuring out what day it was, putting it on the calendar, deciphering the pattern of the numbers, counting the number of days of school thus far (52), talking about how to group the numbers to get 52, predicting the temperature, reading the thermometer, graphing the temperature all while keeping 22 little butts on the carpet. After that, it was time for a break. This is the part of kindergarten where we dance.

What does the elephant say?
Now it was time for project number one for the day - making a turkey glyph. But before that, we needed to do the morning message as a letter and all the accompanying parts. Then popsicle sticks were drawn for the sight word detectives and lastly, a story about turkey's disguise. Directions were discussed for the glyph and the kraken were released to art and craft!

When the glyphs were finished, it was time to reconvene on the carpet for language arts and the mystery of syllables. Something else happened but you need the energy of five- and six-year olds to keep up. Or that of a kindergarten teacher. They were released once again with a page of Thanksgiving-related words and directions to separate them into one-, two- and three-syllables and paste in the correct columns. Then because I'm mean I made him pose for pictures with his grandparents. He'll thank me someday.

Note that *everything* above happened in less than two hours. Two. Hours. Introducing, reinforcing, reviewing concepts, teaching, encouraging, redirecting and praising, allowing them time to move and do and be. Kindergarten teachers are the force behind the perpetual motion machines that are children. I returned to work completely exhausted from watching this beautifully balanced chaos. 

To all of you early childhood educators, you are amazing. Thank you for all that you do with a group of ants-in-the-pants, semi-deranged howler monkeys on a daily basis and not giving in to the understandable urge to run away. I am forever in awe of you.

The wild rumpus
And I think Mrs. C in particular deserves something extra nice for the holidays this year, mostly likely in the form of a large bottle.

On second thought, better make that two.

Friday, November 7, 2014

My other car is a DeLorean

When I was a wee lass of nine or ten, a few months before Christmas that year my younger sister and I approached our mother with an important topic of discussion. The gravity that only tweens can project and the timing could mean but one thing: we were about to blow the whole 'Santa Claus' racket sky-high.

As the oldest, I took the lead, "Mom, we've [my sister and I] been talking and we've come to a decision."

My mom, anticipating and dreading this day, girded her loins and ready to admonish us not to spoil things for our much younger sister took a deep breath - "Okay."

"Mom, we've decided that Santa has to be real because there is no way you and Dad could afford all of those presents!"

And like that, the mystery was preserved for a while longer. In fact, I don't think she's still ever actually 'told' us. Kind of like the non-existent sex talk. Huh. This certainly explains a lot.


Flash forward 30 years.

Last night at dinner, the topic turned to what the kids might like for Christmas and given the amount of 'live' TV they've watched with accompanying commercials, there is no shortage of things they wish they had when Noelle turned to me, "Mommy, do you believe in Santa?"

She's asked me this before and I told her the truth as I believe it, "Yes, I believe in the spirit of Santa." (Okay, so I kind of mumble the whole 'spirit' part but in my defense, she never listens to the second half of a sentence anyway.)

"Me too! You and Daddy can't afford all those presents."

Ladies and gentlemen, start your flux capacitors.