Sunday, March 31, 2013

A is for Ants in my PANTS!!!!

I'm lost! Where's the line? It just went away. What do I do? What do I do?

We'll be stuck here forever!
From: Disney's A Bug's Life

These little critters are fascinating...
Well, maybe not if you find yourself standing on a pile of them in kindergarten... wearing your most favorite pink pair of pants...while waiting for your class picture to be taken... and you don't notice them all over your backside... until a little buddy asks..".how'd you get red paint all over you?"... and as you frantically try to flick them away...your whole class is ushered by an equally frantic teacher into picture position... and you try really hard  not to cry as they bite you!
"Smile for the camera sweeties!"
(Whew! I feel better now. Let me wipe the sweat off my forehead)
Now that I have vented about my first memory of these little critters, can I just say that I still find them amazing and these are the reasons why.
*They work like a team.
*Each ant has their expertise.
*They plan ahead.
*They are strong.
***But my favorite...of course...they live for their Queen!

The Lesson

When you think you just can't do it anymore watch how those little rascals roam around and never quit!

Oh and too...Windex is the only thing that will stop Argentine ants...just in case those pesky critters invade your home!

So, whattaya waiting for? Put on some tango music and watch 'em work!


Sunday, March 24, 2013

My A-Z Topic Reveal...

A to Z Challenge [2013]

You would think this would be an easy task for someone who is surrounded by letters all day everyday.
You would think choosing a topic would be easy especially since I teach kidlets day in and day out the basics of writing.
You'd also think that I would be able to generate some kind of schedule seeing as I lesson plan each 
You'd think.
But as I sit here getting ready for the task I've signed up for, I find myself getting anxious. It conjures up memories.
 Memories of cramming for exams in college.
Memories of hoping my name wouldn't be called to answer a question in class.
Memories of not having my homework done. Yikes!
But the biggest memory is that of knowing that I have been a writer for a very long time and that the very first award I ever won for writing was a $50 savings bond...I received for writing an front of the television...the night before the essay was due!
You see I suffer from procrastination-itis. Those that suffer from this malady understand that some of our best writing comes when we are under pressure. Of course along with that comes the questioning after-thought, "Hmmm...wonder how much better that writing could have been if I had actually planned it out?"
It's a dilemma. But, well it's not something I want to try super hard at trying to change right at this point in my journey. So, with that, this Teacher is revealing that yes, I do have some posts in the works. But truthfully, I may just be asking the wisest people I know...the wee folk...this question everyday. 
"So friends, what should we write about today that starts with the letter...?"
But when I really look at it...I have an advantage after-all!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

It all started with a question...

"Hey Jenni's mom, what happened to your yard?"

Oh little people. They say the darnedest things. They are so inquisitive. They are so darn cute how they speak their minds. Aren't they? Can you detect my sarcasm? Well if you can't let me just tell you it's there.

"Well Jenni's mom and Jenni's dad have been busy. Sometimes they don't want to go out and mow the lawn. And know what little person? Jenni's mom likes the look of clover. So there you little booger!"

 That's what I wanted to say to the little neighbor darling after a long week of teaching and it was right on the tip of my tongue too when out of nowhere my little Latin Angel showed up with her Irish cousin and pulled on my ear. (Dang-it!) And that little Irish Angel Riverdanced on my shoulder with her pointy little shoes (they're sparkly too) and I heard her declare in her sweet Irish brogue, "Now don't ye be getting yer Irish up. Tell the wee bugger that yer on the hunt fer the wee folk and that pot o' gold!"

    So that's what I did! I told that wee booger that I was hunting for leprechauns and to be careful not to step in my clover either and as I walked away I saw him turn to his little Dennis the Menace companion with wide-eyed, wide-mouthed intrigue.
     They were hooked and I was going to use it as not only an opportunity to pique their little curious imaginations, but also as an opportunity to teach them about another culture with a sprinkle of physics too!
 So out came the Rube Goldberg Machine
 that my very own Common Core Kid and GWH made the year before...

Some helpers paid a visit...
I see you little green man... 
And then some more curious visitors...
 Glitterific Girl held Physics class in the front yard...
And they waited...
And they waited...

Did they capture a leprechaun? Well, I'll never tell, but what I will tell you is that on this beautiful day of green the most important thing that was captured was the imaginations of little people.
 And they taught me a little something too!

The Lesson

"Questioning is the door of knowledge."
-Irish proverb


Teacher-Mom Go-Ok Go-This Too Shall Pass *Rube Goldberg Machine

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Floogers:I'm Still Here and Breathing Too!

You know. If you ever had a smidge of doubt that black holes existed...they don't. In my world there is no vast void of pure silence and nothingness. I have the opposite extreme. I liken it to a 3 ring circus. They are called testing weeks. And they are the time before vacations.
  At this time of year a very interesting phenomena occurs. All life as we know ceases to exist. All teaching for mastery stops. Now, I'm not saying it comes to a screeching halt. No, as a matter of fact it creeps up slowly. It moves like that green oozy substance my kiddos call flubber.
 (You thought I was going to say boogers, huh? No not boogers..flubber...floogers?...hmmm?)
 And like floogers this week lands in a semi-hardened ball. For the most part. Then it spreads. It melts all over the tables. It takes over everything.  And if you leave it unattended it hardens like rock and good luck scraping it off!
(Am I talking about testing or some kind of polymer? Both?...Why yes I am!)

Though we as Teachers try to push through, cut through, find a way to contain it, it oozes everywhere and consumes...EVERYTHING!
Yes that's testing week. It's hard not to get lost in it. You have to keep your head up and you have to keep looking for the light. Sometimes you just have to swim through it the best that you can. It can get messy. It permeates everything for a while. It can be challenging to get all the remnants of it off. And sometimes, well, it leaves a great big 'ol stain!
Yep. That's testing week. We'll get through it. We'll come out pretty unscathed. We're all resilient that way. We can do this. 'Cuz know depend on it!
The Lesson
Yes friends this is a hectic, report card writing, test taking, incentive giving week before vacation and keeping a sense of humor is tough to do right now. But know what? Turning on the music and busting a move is still one of the best ways to motivate everyone. Even though we all may think teaching for mastery is slowing down that's the best time to sneak in those other curriculum areas we unfortunately neglect. Get those paints, costumes, and dancing shoes out  and give those kiddos another avenue to master!

So, whattaya waiting for? Glitter anyone?


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How kids change my attitude: Skippity-do-dah!

On those days when you're just feeling like nothin's going your way...
      When the sun isn't shining and you find yourself flinging the door open to your Teacher-Buddy's classroom, storming the perimeter and not stopping until you have found the candy jar, ransacked her stash of jelly-beans and exclaim, " I have been trapped in a room with people who are shorter than me I think I am losing my mind!"
 (...and you giggle at the open- mouthed, wide-eyed stares of her students as you make your dramatic departure)

      When you are summoned to the door because one of your little darlings bursts in exclaiming to the entire class, "Tea...blech...blech...grempth...Teach...blech...blechgrmp...TEACHER!!! There's a kid throwing up in the restroom all over the wall!"
(...and you see your little darling turning green too)

It's days like this that I see something that epitomizes the word Happy to me...

     As I send one of my darling down the hall to run an errand to another class, I see them skip, skip ,skippity, dippity, skip, skip, skip...all the way down the hall.

And as I turn smiling to go back into my cave... I catch another sweetums doing the same thing but going the opposite direction!

The Lesson 

Kiddos are naturally happy. Their happiness is contagious. If you just watch them and the little things they do that brings them joy your whole attitude will and can change in an instant!

So...hopscotch anyone?!



Thursday, March 7, 2013

Just Take Notes Teacher. We Got This!

It was the week of Suess' birthday.
The activities ensued.
And the Teacher racked her brain.
She nearly came unglued.

The book and theme were chosen.
Really this wasn't any fun.
Why wasn't it The Lorax.
Or that book with 2 and 1.

So she thought some big- big thoughts.
Of what they all would do.
And she figgered and she figgered.
'Til her thinker went kerplew!

Then she figgered and she figgered.
And she figgered even more.
The time grew ever nearer.
She had to cover up that door.

Then it came to her in a flash.
The answer sat in front of her all along.
And she giggled to herself.
And she sang a little song.

She had them all sit down.
As she unloaded that monstrous task.
"I wish I could help you but I can't,
So don't you even ask."

They looked at each other.
They looked at her
Look at them.
Then something remarkable happened.
One handed her the pen.

While she listened intently.
She tried her hardest not to gawk.
As they came up with their plans.
Her job? To write down all their talk.

These little citizens in training.
Made plans all of their own.
They worked and they organized.
They sounded, oh so very grown.

They wanted glitter, paint and lights.
They wanted Suess' name there too.
And a big yellow fish.
On an ocean filled with blue.

She learned something from them that day.
With wisdom beyond their little years.
She learned that if you're patient and you let them.
They will extinguish all your fears!

The Lesson
This isn't my door, nor is it the creation of my kiddos. It is the total creation of the students of one of my RockStar Teacher buddies, who shared that when she let her students take control of a project, not only did they amaze her with their team work and vision, but how they taught her that this whole Common Core thing...well it can be really fun and not so scary after-all!
Happy Teacher's Week!