Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Kindergarten Quagmire

Ma Chérie came giggling into my room the other day
singing a song to the tune of Old McDonald.
And you thought.  AW SNAP!  My buddy has finally lost it!
This was right after I had to borrow some of her
Clorox wipes  that she has hidden in her classroom.
I was out of my own stash, so I ran next door and
I grabbed one so that I could use my classroom bathroom.
1.  Being a germaphobe I NEVER run
out of Clorox wipes.
like ever.
2. How sad that our 'stash' isn't tasty treats or candy
but necessary items to keep our peeps clean.

She soon heard me scream, and watched me as I came running
out of my bathroom in a frenzy to grab a good handful of Clorox wipes
before I headed back to the bathroom to clean streaks of poop off of 
the bathroom wall. (One was NOT enough...believe me.)
I have no words but EEEEWWWWW!
Long Island was sitting in Ma Chérie's room
(Who?....oh that's right our stories are
fiction and identity's are protected by 
our opening clause...see above!)  Carry on...
--Um....Identities? There are no identities here.
Remember? NONE of this is real!--

BACK to my untrue story....
and she (Long Island) yelled at me to let the custodians clean it.
I knew that 18 kids were coming to use that bathroom
in about 2 minutes when they got back from lunch, and it had
better be in working conditions or the streaks on the wall would
only be the BEGINNING of a very bad day. this listed under your job duties?
Just curious?
The normal 15 minute wait for a custodian would be too late.
Soooooo..... after we got back from lunch, as the children were lining up
(on the other side of the room far from the connecting door),
Ma Chérie pops her head into my room and starts serenading me quietly:

Old Queen Chaos has a bathroom,
Oh No! Oh No! Oh No!
And in that bathroom go the children,
Oh No! Oh No! Oh No!
With a poop smeared here,
And a poop smeared there...
Here's some poop,
There's some poop,
Everywhere's some poop poop
Old Queen Chaos has a bathroom,
Oh No! Oh No! Oh No!
Am I a bad friend for giggling
along?  I mean how huh-larious is that?!
Well if you're singing the song,
not living it!

It took all of the composure I could muster
to not throw my flip flop her way
as she closed the connecting door,
Flip flop?  Are you kidding me?

We STILL haven't had a recess.
It's freezing here.
More snow is predicted this weekend.
...and my Florida friend is wearing flip flops?!
I'm a bit envious.  Can you tell?
chuckling as she took her own class out to recess.
She is one of the few that can sing that song
to me without me getting upset. Why?
Because she has had  poop smeared on HER bathroom
walls at times as well.  We're all in the same boat
in Kindergarten World.

Do we sound like a couple of lunatics?
I think that this is the third time I'm writing about potty problems.
You rant about the bathroom.
I rant about outside recess.
However, we can ALL relate.  Rant away.

THIS is the problem people.
In a nutshell.
Have you seen all of the newer stuff I've been making for my students?????
Busy girl.
Have you seen my Sentence Bubbles?????
Love them.
Have you seen my Differentiated Instruction For Guided Reading?????
Way to meet all of their needs.
Have you seen my new brain child for Sentences Circles?????
(By the way peeps.  If you click the item below
it will bring you to another post on our blog
where all of these activities are located FOR FREE!)
So creative.
Have you seen all of these multiple choice, words all of the paper,
(crazy for Kindergarten) things I'm making so that my
students don't have a melt down moment while taking the SAT 10
like they did last year?  
Can you say NOT developmentally appropriate?
ALL 5 Kindergarten classrooms
had students flipping out last year even though we kept
telling them that the test was NO BIG DEAL.
"Don't worry about it, just do your best.....
It's OK if you don't know the answer."
 This is what we would tell the kiddos,
but it didn't matter.
There was moaning.
There was groaning.
There was rolling on the floor.
There were tears.
There was palpable anxiety-
in ALL five classrooms.
So if the teachers were doing that
what were your kids doing?
...Oh, that was the kids?
So the teachers were doing the same
in a more adult fashion?
Teachers would commiserate on the playground.
We tried so hard to take the anxiety away from the testing.
But there's only so much you can do when
the test itself is
 SOOOOOOO not Kindergarten appropriate.
Amen sista!

Now, on one hand, the state and the government say
that I'm required to have my students at a certain
academic level by the time they leave my class,
but on the other hand they're only 5.
1 year ago they were learning how to speak in complete sentences.
2 years ago they were learning how to dress themselves.
3 years ago they were learning how to talk.
4 years ago they were learning how to walk.
5 years ago they weren't even born yet!
So they are lacking in certain 
life skills that really need to be addressed.
Uh, ya think?!
Let's Talk About:  Bathroom skills many times have you heard me
go on and on about bathroom issues?
I really think that I'm more aware of this than
other K teachers simply because I have that darn
bathroom attached to my classroom.
I agree with you there.
We take restroom breaks...and then walk away.
Our bathroom is shared with 10 different classrooms.
So on average, there are over 200 students using
these facilities.  Our janitor cleans it...not us.
My kids don't use a K-5 restroom 
that has more anonymity.  What?  
Poop smeared on the bathroom walls?
I bet that was a misbehaving 3rd-5th grader
trying to do something extremely disrespectful
and worthy of school suspension
instead of a clueless 5 year old who just couldn't
get the toilet paper out of the dispenser.
 I hate when that happens!
Have you ever had a student
come to school
in a pull-up?
On their way down to the Pre-K room?
Oh, you mean your room?!
All year?
And once you discover it
because other students
are yelling it out in the classroom
(which had to be addressed)
you find out
that there's nothing
on the rule books
saying that students need
to be potty trained
to attend public school?
Me neither.

Have you ever had a student
come to school in NO underwear
and wearing a dress...
and no one has a clue until
she breaks a rule and climbs
UP the slide at recess
(which is totally against our
playground rules)
which causes 3 of her
classmates to scream and
come running to you yelling
that so-and-so doesn't have
any underwear on?
Me neither.

But they can read.
Both of them.
Mrs. Davis, Put your hand in the air
and pat yourself on the back!

 Moving On To Tying shoes.
I can't even tell you how many times I tie a shoe in a day.
I remember learning how to tie my shoe in Pre-School.
Those days are long gone.
Pre-Schools are now focusing more on academics
instead of life skills.
This whole.....let's boost up our academic scores
by hoisting more and more academia onto Pre-K to 1st Grade
so that our students will score higher in
Middle School and High School is lacking a little bit of perspective.
Five year old perspective.
Who has time to teach how to tie shoes?
By the end of the year,
my kids can read.
Believe me.
They're reading.
I've killed myself doing it.
But they can read.
All of them.
Tying shoes....that's a whole different story.
Something is not quite right
with this picture.
Agreed!  Politicians, are you listening?

Blowing Your Own Nose.
Another skill that my students should have already
gotten at pre-school.  But, nope.
We're walking around the classroom
with snot going everywhere.
Whatever happened to life skills being taught in Kindergarten?
Have you seen a Kindergarten Report Card lately?
Let's students will be graded on
"economics" and "civics and government",
yet there's nothing on there
about being able to take a tissue and properly wipe
their noses.
Because most 5 year olds talk about 
economics and the government out on the playground right?

All of this just has me singin' the blues...

  Oh...I'm just a lowly Kindergarten teacher
Tryin'  to follow all the rules,
I'm back on antibiotics
Oh no, oh,no....
I've got the Booger Blues. 
The Booger Blues.
I've got the Booger Blues.

Did I just  write that?
No, I didn't.
That was Angela.
Uh, anybody reading this knows that
you're the red font and I'm the purple font.
If you're going to throw me under the bus,
make sure there's no evidence!
Talking about evidence....
Here's a side note for you:
I've come to realize that I can't
go around killing anyone.
My hair will give me away every time.
Any where I go, I leave a piece
of me behind. 
I don't know where that came from,
but I thought I'd share.

Do you know that I had to go to an ENT
about 6 weeks ago because something
was pushing on the inside of my neck
(toward my breathing tube)
and making it  hard for me to breathe?
Runway (the beautiful teacher who looks like a supermodel with
 4 boys of her own who range from 7-25ish.)
found out about my throat and told me a horror story
about someone close to her who had the same symptoms
and has been in and out of the hospital ever since.
So, I got an appointment with an ENT,
and I left school to see what was wrong with me.
This is not typical.  Normally, I work through anything.
But, like I said....Runway's story coincided with how
I was feeling, so off I went.
Thank goodness for an understanding principal,
and Ma Chérie and Long Island
who helped cover my class as no sub ever showed up.

So, I get to the ENT,
I tell the man my symptoms....
Blah, blah, blah, I can't breathe....
Blah, blah, blah, something's pushing on the inside of my neck
toward my breathing tube on the left side only.
Blah, blah, blah.
He immediately takes me to another room,
sits me in a torture chamber type of chair,
and comes at me with a big, long, tube
looking thing and says,
"This is just going to go up your
nose and down your throat so that I can
take a look at what's going on."
Oh no he didn't!
I would have promptly gotten up and yelled
"Praise Jesus, it's a miracle.  I'm healed!"
You're going to do what to me?????
"Is that going to hurt?" I squeak.
"Not a bit, I've had it done many times
and it won't hurt at all....promise."
Big Fat Liar!
Pants on Fire!
I had to grip the armrests of the chair
because it felt like if I didn't, I'd move my head/neck area,
and IF I did that, it felt like he might just perforate my throat.
NOT a good feeling.
As I was leaving, I did have to ask him
why he would have had that done to him many times before
(inconceivable to me),
and apparently doctors practice their techniques on each other.
That's why they make the big bucks.

Luckily I didn't have anything serious,
like ulcers, cancer,etc.
It just ended up
being a big, huge mucus blob.

Who ever heard of that?

I didn't FEEL sick going in to see him,
I just felt like something was pushing into my throat.
It ended up, that I was a walking petri dish
thanks to the constant snot, sneezing, coughing,
and thumb sucking
I've been exposed to.
We should get hazard pay!

Yup...I'd been walking around
for MONTHS being sick and not knowing it.
24 hours after following his recommended regiment
of gargling with warm, salt water, using a nose spray,
and taking Mucinex...

We don't know how to cover
our mouths when we sneeze,
but we have a strong number sense
AND we can add and subtract.
True that!

Welcome to Kindergarten.

We've been told by European au pairs
 that Europeans don't really push the
academics until the children are 7.
(The "WE" = The Five.
The Five = The 5 K teachers at my school.)
We've been told that in Europe, they focus more
on developmentally appropriate activities
for the younger students.
What a concept!
Is this true?
Is there somewhere in this world that agrees with
what Kindergarten teachers are ranting about here in the States?
I wonder if they have room for an American teacher?
I could teach their students to talk in a Texas drawl.
Where's my passport?
Oh, that's right.
My paycheck keeps me below the poverty line.
That is by far the saddest and most unacceptable sentence in this whole post!
I can't afford a passport.

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

My apologies to Dr. Seuss

Imitation is the highest form of flattery right?

In that case....

The sun did not shine.
It was too wet to play.
The teachers were trapped at indoor recess
All that cold, cold, wet day.

We sat there with our short people,
We sat there, we twenty two.
And we said, "How I wish
We had something to do!"

Too wet to go out
And too cold to play ball.
So we were trapped in our classroom
which is no longer any fun at all!

So all we did do is get 
cabin fever and headache after headache
And we did not like it.
Not one little bit. seriously, so OVER indoor recess!

And then 
Something went BUMP!
How that bump made us jump!

We looked!
Then we saw 'her' step into our room!
We looked!
And we saw her!
Mother Nature came in with a zoom!
And she said to us,
"Why do you sit here in such a gloom?"

"I know it is wet
And the sun is not sunny.
But we can have 
Lots of good fun that is funny!"

"I know some good games we could play,"
she said.
"I know some new tricks,"
Mother Nature said.
"A lot of good tricks.
I will show them to you.
Your teacher
will not mind at all if I do."

The twenty two short people
did not know what to say.
"Our teacher is tired of being stuck inside.
We think she ran to the closet to hide!"

But the class fish said, "No! No!
Make grouchy Mother Nature go away!
Tell her
you do NOT want to play.
She should not be here.
She should not be about.
She should not be here
when your teacher is out!"

"Now! Now! Have no fear.
Have no fear!" said Mother Nature,
"My tricks are not bad,"
said Mother Nature.
Uh really?  Can you say Polar Vortex?
Can you say an inch an hour of snow?
Can you say 30 below 'real feel' temps?
Mother Nature...You're one cranky chick!
"Why, we can have
lots of good fun, quite a hit,
with a game that I call
Outside recess.
Ever heard of it?"

"Heard of it?" said all twenty two.
"We've heard legends of old,
when children went outside when it wasn't too cold."

Mother Nature just listened and just sat.
She started to wonder...
...have I been as cruel as that?!

She realized this just won't do,
so out to the sky she flew.
With a flick of her hand,
Mother Nature started to thaw the land.

Snow melted,
Warm breezes blew.
The sun came out,
the teachers didn't know what to do!

They all realized that this brutal winter
had been just a bad dream.
They now looked forward to recess
when the kids are outside when they scream.

My apologies to Dr. Seuss,
as I've butchered his famous book.
But it got my teacher peeps
to come to the blog for a quick look.

May the outdoor recess sun shine on your face,
May these freebies make your classroom a happy place!

From sunny Florida,
Comes Queen Chaos to the rescue!
I've been working hard
On making these freebies...just for you! 
Remind me of your winter blues,
When August is not fun.
I'll be melting in the sweltering heat
From Florida's unrelenting sun.
Valid point sista!

Maybe then (just to be nice),
Someone up north could ship me some popsicles on ice.
I'll hook ya up!

Here are some Cat In The Hat writing papers from me to you!
Several different choices to give your kiddos something to do!
The Cat In The Hat: Writing Paper
Fat lines, skinny lines,
Or no lines at all,
Choose your favorite type of lines,
Print, write, draw & tack them to the wall.
Full sheets, half sheets,
Choose whichever sheet you like.
Quick! Keep your kiddos busy
Before you feel like going on strike!
The Cat In The Hat: Writing Paper
Have your students write about
Their favorite story part.
Then have them draw a picture
In the box to add their art.

Have your kids
Label The Cat In The Hat
It'll take up some energy.
What do you think about that?
 The Cat In The Hat Labeling Sheets
For the quickest way to label,
Grab a pencil and write at a table.
Is what you're trying to lose......
Students can cut & glue the labels
When you're feeling the cold weather blues.

Just in case you want to see...
More labeling sheets from me!

With all of the talking
That the children like to do...
Have them retell the story,
With the puppet I made just for you!
This Cat In The Hat Puppet
Is super simple & made for you with love.
I'm crossing my fingers that Mother Nature
Stops sending you snow from above.

 I made some Cat In The Hat Organizers
To use when the skies are gray.
Have your kids write, write, write, write
On the next cold, cold, wet day.
Have kids write 3 sentences,
Super duper easy,
Have them write and have them read....
Easy, lemon squeazy.
The Cat In The Hat is... 
The Cat In The Hat has...  
The Cat In The Hat can...
 Choose the lines that are best for your class.
 Print in black and white
To save on ink,
Just trying to save you $$$....
Good idea, don't you think?

Broke, broke, broke,
What's worse than being broke?
Being broke, cold, & exhausted from all that noise, noise, noise....
That's MUCH worse than just being broke!
Here are some bubble organizers
To write about The Cat.
I made them extra big for writing...
They're wide and nice and fat.
Have your students write 3 things
About that silly cat.
Maybe: "He is tall.  He likes to rhyme.
He wears a striped hat."

Cat In The Hat Guided Reading Sheets With 3 Levels Of Reading:
Have your students read,
and bubble in the answers on the sheet...
So that when they have to take the state mandated test
They'll be prepared for the multiple choice questions that they'll meet.

This first one is simple,
Just fill in the sight word that makes sense,
So that when they see pages and pages of bubbling in May
Our little kiddos won't get all tense.

If you like these sentence bubbles for your students to do,
There are more available....just for you!

This second set is harder
We get better every day,
At reading, reading, reading....
Practice makes perfect, I've heard them say.

Differentiated Instruction is the way to go, 
Have your students read on different levels while outside you still see snow.
To keep it simple for my brain
I use the same question and answer sheet,
For the mid and harder levels....
Students' needs I will meet!

Saving ink, saving ink,
Print this next set to save your ink!

The Cat In The Hat Sentence Structure Circles
Differentiated Instruction: 2 levels
Sentence Structure Circles are my new brain child,
See if you can use this when your students are going wild!
The Cat in the Hat, the Cat in the Hat,
Let's just draw the Cat in the Hat!
Review the author and the illustrator
Then just have your students draw the main character!
 Cat In The Hat Drawing Paper:

Thing One and Thing Two have come here to play,
Keep Kinders busy reading & writing on a desperately cold day!
Cat In The Hat...Thing One Labels
 "Label me! Label me!" Thing One will say.
"Label me! Label me, on this cold, cold wet day!"
Cat In The Hat...Thing Two Labels
 "Hi there, all of you!
My name is Thing Two!
I have an activity for you to do...
I want you to label me, too!"

Thing One and Thing Two Organizers
Three simple sentences for one and all.
Make writing fun, let your kids have a ball! 
Thing One and Thing Two are funny.
Thing One and Thing Two have blue hair.
Thing One and Thing Two can run fast.
Bubble Organizers For Thing Two and Thing One.
Our writing time is never done.
Have your students write 3 things
About Thing One and Thing Two.
How about: They are small.
They made a mess. Their hair is blue.

As more ideas pop in my head,
I'll add them here for you,
You might want to come back and look to see
If I added more to do.

Thank you Regina for all of this awesomeness!
I think I'll hate winter a little bit less!

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