Wednesday, September 24, 2008

This is why we do what we do...

This is a letter I received in my email today from one of last year's preschoolers...this IS why I get up each day...

(Dictated by Devon and typed by her mommy word for word.)
Hello Mrs. S,
I love you. I am having a good time in kindergarten and my teacher, Mrs. R, wants to know how I got to be so smart. I told her you helped me last year. She goes to my church just like you do. My bus ride is good but my bus driver screams a little. We do lots of fun things and next year we are going to have recess which means playing outside on the playground. And next year we are going to go into first grade. I hope the kids in your classroom are good to you.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Need your ideas, please!

Tomorrow, I will be starting a new activity in my four-year-old class, which will be ongoing throughout the year. Because I have a more advanced group this year, with one reader and a couple others who are almost ready, I wanted to do something to challenge them and also help them get to know each other better. Therefore, we will be adding the "Question of the Day" to our morning routine. I have a prepared chart with a 'yes' column and a 'no' column. I also have an area at the top, which is where I will clip on a new question each day. The children will each have a clothespin with their name on it, with which to answer the question (by clipping it onto the correct column).

So, here's where I need your help...I need to come up with a bunch of yes/no questions to ask the kids. Any and every idea is appreciated...
My first two that I have ready for this week are...
Do you like preschool? (I really hope they say yes or I'm in trouble)
Do you like fall weather?

So let me know what you've got! :)

***AAAAHHH! I Just noticed! This is my 100th post! Yippeeee!***

Sunday, September 21, 2008

More house pics!

Gregg is away today (Eagles vs. Steelers game), so I thought there was no better time than now to update everyone on the house! We're locked into a settlement date of October 20th! That is now officially less than a month away! Last week, we snuck in during the evening (shhhhh! don't tell anyone!) to get some pics now that the drywalling is done! I can't believe how much bigger it looks now with the drywall in, than it did before when it was just the 2x6s and plywood on the floor.

The garage

Looking from the kitchen into the living room

The dining room...I already have our furniture all picked out for this room! :)

Another shot of the living room

The guest bathroom tub/shower

The laundry room (upstairs) - I love this green shade of drywall they've been using - I think it must have something to do with being the kind for damper rooms - anyone out there know?! :)

The office

Master bedroom...don't you love the pile of builder's garbage right where our bed will be?

The stairwell

And my lovely corner tub (and after posting this, I realize that it looks like it's a sink, not a tub! I was going to stand in it for comparison, but DH wouldn't let me)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

What parents see vs. reality

Parent interaction & feedback has been my Catch 22 all throughout my years (this will be #7!!) working in some capacity as a teacher. Meet-the-teacher Night, parent conferences and class programs rank right up there for me under root canals and gynecological exams on the painful/uncomfortable scale...ok, so I never really had a root canal, but I'm speaking on behalf of all of those unfortunate souls there who have had one; I'm guessing they're not exactly a walk in the park. You just never know what they're going to work SO hard trying to build their child up and with one fell swoop, they come and break you down. HARD.

On the other hand, of course, parent interaction gives you a great opportunity to hear some excellent feedback and to give some feedback of your own. Graduation night last year was one prime example of that. My students' parents rallied together to present me with a $100 Target Gift Card as a year-end gift! It was so thoughtful! But even more meaningful were the kind words that so many of the parents had to favorite was, "I don't know what you did with our son, but he's like a new man since having you - he's made such a complete turn around and we are just so thankful for all of the wonderful things you did this year for him. I know that he's really ready for kindergarten now." And I have the opportunity to give parents reassurance and feedback, as well.

But, there comes a time, (and a kid) where it's tough to come up with something positive and constructive to tell a parent. After all, these are their babies whom can often do no wrong. Parents don't always want to hear the painful truth (even if it is tactfully disguised and encoded in our most diplomatic, constructivist jargon). In honor of this time-honored truth, I give you two versions of my weekly newsletter...

The newsletter to the parents:
This week in preschool...
*We learned about the letter Bb, read story called Bubble Bear, listened to a Bb song and brainstormed a list of Bb words.
*We colored our Bb page blue, black and brown.
*We explored our world using our five senses: taste, touch, sight, hearing, and smell.
*We learned about the number zero, watched a quick movie about the number zero, and practiced making zeroes on a coloring page.
*We worked hard each day to become better listeners and better friends.
*We had Physical Activity time with silly songs and stretches.

The newsletter the teacher wishes she could write:
This week in preschool...
*Your child's teacher came up with a list of adjectives starting with Bb to describe the children's behavior. They are as follows: bad, brutal, belligerent, bitter, base and blasphemous. Several other children could be described as: benevolent, blissful and beautiful, but not yours. We're working on that.
*Most of the children colored their Bb pages blue, black and brown. Your child instead decided to color his arms, hands and table blue, black, and brown...pretty much anything but the Bb page.
*Your child explored our classroom using many of his five senses. He tasted his friends' snack without permission, touched the teacher's pointer and broke it, heard the teacher send him to time out, and saw his friends playing outside from the comfort of the picnic table while spending time in aforementioned time out. He also smelled the sweet scent of freedom when his teacher finally sent him to play after 4 minutes of torturous imprisonment.
*Your child's teacher reviewed the number zero by pointing out that she had ZERO desire to come to work several days this week, due to sleep deprivation and disgust at a certain child's belligerent behavior.
*Your child's teacher wanted to help the children work harder on being better listeners, and planned thusly by implementing activities designed to hone your child's listening skills. The only problem was that your child was finished with the activity before Mrs. S had even finished giving the directions. When asked why she had chosen to work ahead, " was reaalllly easyyy and I wanted to do it THIS wayyyy." (In case you were wondering "THIS wayyyy" was not "MY wayyy" and landed your child in time out).
*Mrs. S got lots of physical activity by chasing your child around the classroom and play yard when he refused to sit at circle time and line up after play time was over. Someone give me a weekend!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


From time to time, my kids will just say something that makes me was the first of the year! My little 3-year-old, Noah (who cried on the first day, but his mom said was SO excited to get out of bed and come to school today) excitedly said, "Hey Mrs. S, guess what? I brought Fin Gewtons for my snack today!" (for the preschool illiterate, that is 3-year-old speak for fig newtons!) Too, too cute!

And a few house pics...just for fun :)

This is our living room & the back door

The steps leading up to the 2nd floor & down to the basement - they will be hardwood with a carpet runner :)

This is the dining room

This is the master bath with my AWESOME corner tub under the sky light above!!! (can you tell I'm excited about that part?)

This is one of the spare bedrooms

Monday, September 08, 2008


First, let me start off this post of "firsts" by saying that I am SO sorry to have abandoned you all for a while. I really haven't fallen off the face of the my own defense, if you know any other teachers, you know that we're all MIA right around this time of year. Not the best of excuses, I know, but thanks for bearing with me.

I have been absolutely swamped and overwhelmed by work. My new work schedule has me up at 5:15 every morning and if you know me, you know I'm NOT a morning person, so that aspect has been painful, to say the least. I work before-school daycare from 6:30-8:30, then I teach from 9-11:30, then I have prep until 12:30, which also includes a few daycare responsibilities, such as setting up the nap room.

I successfully managed to get a week of "firsts" under my belt. I had my first, first day with the 3 year olds (since I didn't start off teaching 3s last year, I never had them on the first day) and it was interesting to say the least. Do you happen to recall the blog post about the boy whose mom wanted me to give him M&Ms for successful trips to the potty because he's "just starting to get the hang of it"? Well, guess what? 10 minutes after we got back from our group bathroom break on Tuesday, the kid pooped his pants! Oh yes he did. Not only that, but earlier in the day, I discovered that he didn't know how to drink out of a real cup, when he repeatedly spilled apple juice all down his front. So when we took the group trip to the bathroom, I used his spare change of clothes to change him...which meant that of course I didn't have any other clothes to put him in when he had his second accident. Luckily for me, his twin brother (who is potty trained and who does know how to drink out of a cup, mind you) had his change of clothes in his backpack as well, so we used those. THEN, on Thursday, we went accident free, but he now decides that he's going to be a demon-child and make me chase him around the classroom just for kicks and giggles. After the second time, I marched him (along with my whole class) down to talk to my director...and that talk sunk in and worked for about 2 minutes and then he was up to his old tricks. I have to keep telling myself that tomorrow will be a better day (and that I only have the 3s, two days a week).

I also had my first two days with the 4 year olds and they are amazing! I have two or three of them who are already reading & I just love them to pieces. Today was a bit of a crazy day because we didn't have time to do all of the things that I wanted to get to (due to having gym class), but the kids were flexible and did a good job! There is just SUCH a difference between the threes and the fours & I really can't get over it! I think I would teach fours full-time if I could!

And as my final "first" of the week - we had our first glimpse of the inside of our new home! They took us on a walk-through last Friday. It's the point after the electricians are in, before they drywall, when we meet with the builders and start getting a feel for the layout of everything. It was awesome to see and we really can't wait to be in! I'll leave you with a few pics & I'll upload more later!

This pic gives you an idea of the siding color (tan) - where you see insulation is where the stone will be :)