Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cold Hearted

Wintertime in New England presents certain challenges when it comes to recess. The weather is cold, wet and unpredictable. Mittens get forgotten, not every child remembers to wear their boots or snow pants and hats go missing.
Our principal is a big advocate of getting the kids outside, and in most cases I agree. I know outside play leads to healthier kids. They are more focused and fresh air is just a good thing, especially in kindergarten. It's their chance to blow off some steam and release all that pent up energy they've been holding in all morning long.

My kids seem to really like bringing some of the great outdoors inside with them. I have rescued more than one snowball from certain death in a child's pocket.

Today one of the little cherubs carried in a chunk of ice in his little mittened hand. I put out my hand to take it from him.
"But Mrs. Collins."
"We need to put the ice back outside, it's just going to melt and make your pocket all wet."
"But Mrs. Collins I...."
"No, we can't bring it in, give it to me and I'll just put it right outside the door."
He relunctantly gave it to me, but as I turned to place it outside I took a look at it and understood.

I didn't put it outside like I said I was going to. I carefully carried it back into our classroom.

When we were back upstairs I called him over.
"I understand now why this piece of ice was so special! The problem is it will melt in our really warm classroom. But I have an idea."
 I walked him over to the windowsill and placed his little piece of ice on top of our spider plant.
"Now your special little block of ice will melt here and give this plant some water and a little bit of love to help it grow."

The smile that grew from that little gesture could melt even the coldest of hearts. I know it melted mine.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

...and sometimes Y.

Dismissal time in kindergarten can be crazy. Cubbies to empty, folders to fill and back packs to pack.

In the winter there are boots, hats, scarfs, mittens, gloves and jackets...oh the jackets, the person who invented those jackets with the zip-out linings in kindergarten size, was obviously never a kindergarten teacher. I can not tell you how many sleeves I've had to tuck back in so their little arms go through the right hole.

So during dismissal I try my best to make things as calm as possible.
There they were today, packed up and ready to go. The bus kids were in their holding patterns in the hallway waiting for Mission Control to call their space shuttle bus, and the parent dismissal kids were waiting quietly in their circle spots.

I play a little game when it's line up time. I might say, "if you are wearing stripes, you may line up" or "if you are wearing pink, you may line up". Today I decided to go with a little phonemic awareness.

Me: "If your name rhymes with silly, you may skip to the line."

Billy: "YES!"

Me: "If your name begins with a "c" sound, you may hop to the line."

Me: "If your name begins with a vowel you may tip-toe to the line."

My three vowel kids toed it to the line, but the fourth didn't move.

Me: ( I repeat) "Yolanda,  if your name begins with a vowel you can tip-toe to the line."

Yolanda: "Mrs Collins, what's a BOWEL?"

Me: (without skipping a beat, cause I that's how I roll) A,E,I,O,U and sometimes....?

Yolanda: Y!