Sunday, October 18, 2009

St. Patrick meets Halloween

Living in Salem has it's perks. We are the Halloween capital of the world. Sure we have to deal with crazy traffic through the entire month of October, but our neighborhoods are taken over by witches, ghosts and goblins, hedges are covered with cotton spider webs and pumpkins both with and without faces are perched on just about every front porch. It's an adventure in people watching and there is a certain feel and excitement in the air that trickles into our classrooms. It starts in the beginning of October with our annual Haunted Happenings Parade and won't end until the wee hours of the morning on November 1st, All Saints Day, when Salem's Finest start herding the hobgoblins out of the city.
I try to be a good mom and and raise my kids with some kind of belief system. I am a firm believer in believing in something, so I dutifully brought my youngest to church this morning and then like a good mom dropped him off at Sunday School.
Now Halloween does not go unnoticed at Sunday school either. They are very well aware that because Halloween falls on a Saturday this year, children will be showing up to Sunday school with candy hangovers. So to put a little excitement into having to come to Sunday school after a night of reverie and too many peanut butter cups, and double bubble, the children will be allowed to come to Sunday school in costume.
Now keeping in mind that Sunday is All Saints Day the children can not come as Power Rangers, Storm Troopers or Indiana Jones, they must choose a Saint and come dressed as that Saint.
Because my son's name is Patrick his natural choice is, of course, the saint by the same name. Good Old St. P, Patron Saint of Ireland, the Saint of hubby's homeland, the man responsible for the lack of snakes in the land of the leprechaun and the spud.
So in preparation of this, his teacher read a book today about the more common of the saints and the kids had to draw one interesting fact about their chosen saint.
This is Patrick's rendition of his interesting fact...
St. Patrick escapes from the Pirates!!
I'm pretty sure that's Captain Jack Sparrow at the helm.

I'm not entirely sure if this is a true fact or not, but I'm fairly certain the pirates who may have captured Patrick to begin with, weren't flying the Jolly Roger.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Lesson Plans

One of the great things about kids is the fact that they can hang out with another kid for five minutes and suddenly be the best of friends. This is, or rather was the case for two little girlie girls in my class. They sat together in the circle on the first day of school and have been inseparable ever since. But just like in a family when people spend too much time together little irritating things start to creep in. You love each other just the same, but those little things that you love one day can be like a thorn in your side on others.
I could tell things were not good today between "Lucy and Ethel". They were bickering and arguing from the time they walked in to the room this morning, to lunch and recess, to dismissal. The tattling on each other was relentless and at one point it even got a little physical.
"Lucy" has a way of saying just the right thing to get "Ethel" to seethe. I could see the level of frustration growing in Ethel until I turned just at the right time and saw her get right up into Lucy's face and FLIP HER THE MIDDLE FINGER.
My jaw dropped. I dropped the pencil I was holding in my hand. I stood frozen, and then I reacted.
"Ethel, I think you need to come with me."
I took her hand and calmly walked her to the office sat her down in the chair and let our principal know about the offending obscene gesture.
So off I went back to my classroom.
About 20 minutes or so later we were cleaning up for lunch and Mrs. Principal came in with Ethel in tow. She was chuckling to herself while we both watched Ethel walk up to Lucy to offer the most sincere apology she could manage.
I looked at Mrs. Principal and said, "okay, what's so funny."
Laughing she said, "Well, I told her that it was a really nasty thing to do, that it is really really insulting and disrespectful and she should never do it again."
"I asked her where she learned to do that."
She said, "My teacher taught it to me."
I looked at Mrs. Principal and said, "and I suppose you want to see the lesson plan?"

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

P is for Personality

Seventeen little personalities to be exact, and all unique. Everyday I learn something new about them. Who to separate, who can work together, and who needs to be watched every second!Like my flower child last year, some have special qualities that I just can't ignore. I'd like to introduce to you...

The Reporter
The eyes and ears of my classroom. If it happens, she knows about it. The who. The what. The when. The how. The why. Nothing gets by her. Strangely enough, she is never involved in anything herself, always the innocent bystander.
"Mrs. C, she has the hiccups. He's being mean to that other boy, he has a lego in his pocket I think he's trying to steal it, she spilled her juice on her shirt and it's picture day her mother is going to be really mad, he needs to go the the nurse I think he has a fever..." You get the picture. I love her to pieces, but because of "The Reporter" I had to break out the tattle jar again.

The Comedian
This one is wiser than her five years would suggest. On week two, her mom came to me and said, "Do we need to have a conversation yet?" I just laughed because I knew what she meant, but in reality I love this kind of kid! I can laugh with her because she "gets" me. I even caught her rolling her eyes at me, but it was not in a way that I found disrespectful, it's was more of a "my teacher is a fruit loop, but I love her anyway" kind of way.
She tries to test me to see just how far she can go before I'll call her on it. She likes to get a laugh so if you could fast forward 12 years she just might be that child who has their picture under the heading "class clown" in the year book.
And one of the best things about her is she's a Red Sox fan, she gets that about me too!

The Mouse
She's a lovely little thing, but rarely speaks above a whisper. She has a lot to say, just chooses to say it very very quietly.

Old Yeller
The flip side to The Mouse. He has a lot to say and says it very very loudly!

The Inquisitor
He's the one that has to be in the know, the reasons behind everything...and I do mean EVERYTHING we do. Why is it snack time? Why won't my shoes stay tied? Why is today gym day? Why are apples red? and green? and yellow? Why? Why? Why?
I love his curiosity and I suppose it's his way of discovering the world around him. I try to answer what I can, but sometimes I just have to refer him to The Reporter.

The Pee-er
There is one in every class. The one child who NEEDS to go to the bathroom because "really Mrs. Collins, this time it's an EMERGENCY!" Well who am I to say no, because it will be the one time I do and...well you know.
I really don't mind so much but I am trying to teach them how to ask correctly. For example, I'd much rather hear, "May I go to the bathroom please?" rather than "I really have to poop!"

Little Miss Sunshine
Much like last year's Flower Child, Little Miss Sunshine is just happy to be here on the planet. Her smile could brighten a room. She's sensitive to her friend's needs, feels badly when someone is hurt or sad and does her best to be kind and considerate. She's the child that you just hope does something a little naughty to prove that she can!
A few weeks ago a child in my class fell and broke his arm. Little Miss Sunshine felt so badly she started to cry. I have to admit, I wanted to too. It was scary! But she chose to turn her sad, scary feelings into action and made him an entire book to help him feel better. They don't come much sweeter.

Mr. You've Got to Be Kidding Me
This is the one who thought if he spoke Spanish around me I wouldn't know what he was saying, and to be honest, most of the time I don't!
Sometimes what he says is kind of funny. Like today when he yelled "Hay Diablo!" when another boy knocked over his block tower.
But sometimes he will speak Spanish while in a literacy center or during math games and neither I or most of his friends have any idea what he's saying. I don't mind at all during social times, like out on the playground, or during free choice time, but in school we all need to be understood to everyone.
Well I am by no means fluent, but I know enough to fool even the smarmiest of 5 year-olds I give them just enough to make them THINK. So today when he started speaking Spanish to his math games partner...
Me: "No Espanol en la clase por favor."
Well the look on this little guy's face was priceless.
Him: "You. speak. Spanish?"
I just smiled and walked away.

I do a lot of is kindergarten after all!