Sunday, September 14, 2014

Clifford The Big Red Dog To The Rescue!

Are you feeling testy about all
of this testing in Kindergarten?
Ode To Kindergarten Teachers Tired
Of Testing Instead Of Teaching
 Sing To The Tune Of The Wheels On The Bus:

Kindergarten testing is out of control.
Out of control.....Out of Control!
Kindergarten testing is Out of Control.
All through the schools!

The government says....Now test THIS!
Now test THAT!  Now test THIS!
The government test THIS!
All through the schools!

Teachers have to put headsets on
To test one one one, to test one on one.
Teachers have to put headsets on...
All through the schools!

Who's teaching class while you're testing one on one?
With a headset on? With a headset on?
Who's teaching class while you're testing one on one?
Teachers can't teach when they're testing in schools.

Sooooo....a Kindergarten teacher has a headset on her head?
Listening to what that child just said? 
And at the same time she has a classroom full 
Of children who came to LEARN at school?

TWO MONTHS gone from teaching in schools
To test the little ones....To test the little ones...
TWO MONTHS gone from teaching in schools
What government fool came up with these rules????? 
Ma Chérie Adds:

My lesson plans say....

FAIR testing....FAIR testing....FAIR testing

My lesson plans say FAIR testing 

All the live-long day! 

No new learning at all today

At all today...... at all today

No new learning at all today 

We are testing their lives away! 
Ma Chérie is all fired up about the Kindergarten Testing!
The Wheels of Madness Must STOP!
Well said sista!!!

I didn't want to interrupt the flow
of this song with my 2 cents.

Seriously, people?!
These short people
weren't even on the planet
five years ago!
Now they're spending

the same amount of time testing
as college kids on the ACT?
I take that back....
Kindergarten kids are spending more
time testing than college kids!

Can you say developmentally inappropriate?!

I understand and agree with
the idea of showing growth.
It's important to be able to say,
"they started the year here,
they ended the year here."
However, testing 5 year olds
like their 18 year old peers is 
the way to do it!

Do some developmentally appropriate
activities now and later in the year.
Compare the two.
There's your growth...
done with a Kindergarten child in mind.
...not some suit in Washington that
has NEVER been in a classroom.

...and now you have to use 
a headset?  HUH?
That little accessory hasn't hit Illinois yet.

What in the world is the rest of the
class doing while you're doing an
impression of DJ Jazzy Kindergarten Teacher?
Hanging from the ceilings?

Wrestling on the carpet?
Wasting brain cells?
All of the above?



I'm just waiting to see how long
testing is going to take out
of First Grade this year.
My Kindergarten friends....
I feel your pain!

May you be able to deal
with the Ups and Downs
of the school year.

Until then....
if you're still seeing red....
maybe this will help!

Clifford The Big Red Dog
by Norman Bridwell
Graphic Organizers:
 Have your students write
3 sentences about Clifford:
Clifford is...
Clifford has...
Clifford can...
 Clifford The Big Red Dog Bubble Organizers:
Have your students draw a picture
of Clifford The Big Red Dog, and
then write three things or three
sentences about him.
How about Spanish Clifford Organizers?

If you like those graphic organizers...
you may like my Firefighter Graphic Organizers:
...and here are some
Organizers for my Spanish friends:
Los bomberos son....
Los bomberos tienen....
Los bomberos pueden...

 Maybe those firefighters
can help us cool down as our tempers flare!

I just can't resist...

Clifford Labeling Sheet:
 Either have students write in the words...
or have them cut and glue the words onto the sheet.

A few days after this post...
Florida has cancelled all FAIR testing
for students K-2 for this school year!
Holy Shnikes Batman!
Someone is FINALLY listening!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Rules of Engagement!

Don't you wish someone could just
magically tell you all the rules you
should have in order to survive
teaching Kindergarteners?
Notice the word "survive"?
Just saying...

Rules For Children
Youtube: Purenature

Well, after 8 years of teaching that grade....
here's what I can share:

How To Survive Kindergarten

Rule #1:

Have a constant supply of
hand sanitizer available.
Seriously. All.The.Time.
We call it magic soap.
Somebody sneezes?
"Bless you.

Blow your nose 
and wash your hands."
BTW-That phrase is such
a part of my vocabulary that
I've responded that way with
my husband and children.
Yes, I receive eye rolls.
However, some things you just
can't shut off.

Rule #2:

Always bring a Clorox Wipe
with you to the classroom bathroom.
Clorox wipes are on our
supply list.

Rule #3:

Always have a bandaid on you...
ready and waiting.
Even pass bandaids out
to chaperones on field trips.
Oh, the medicinal purposes
of a band-aid for thee wee 
smallest of scrapes.
"And the Oscar for the best
dramatic performance at 
recess goes to...."

Rule #4:

Wear a watch. It's not cool....
but you teach Kindergarten...who cares?
Morning Duty, Recess, Lunch, Specials, Dismissal...
Be on time!

Rule #5:

Do the Mr. Rogers' shoe switch for recess.
OMG!  That's a hilarious analogy!
Playground sand: Is.Not.Equal.To.Beach.Sand.
Change into those sneakers...PRETEND you're
a super cool New Yorker on her way to work!
Uh, you're totally busting your Florida
self out on this one.  Most of the rest of
us have either wood chips or shredded rubber
for playground material.
How do the neighborhood cats enjoy that?

Rule #6

Never wear anything to school
that isn't easily washable
or dare I say....easily disposable?
A hazmat suit is not out of the question.
When I see student teachers walking
towards a Kindergarten classroom in 
ANYTHING white, I want to sing
"Another one bites the dust,
another one bites the dust,
another one's gone, 
another one's gone,
another one bites the dust!"
So much for THAT outfit!
Rule #7

Keep your long hair UP!
Throw a hair band on your wrist
before leaving your house.
Excuse me while I scratch my head!
I'm afraid to say this out loud... I'll whisper it.
I've taught 21 years now and I've never lived this nightmare.

Heed my warning!
Your family will not appreciate
you transporting lice from your
classroom to your home.
It is a complete nightmare!

Rule #8

Count heads wherever you go.
Anyone can wander at any time!
And they will! Count on it!
I count so much that I'm

waiting for somebody to refer
to me as Rain Man.
This is one of my biggest fears
working with short people.
Give each student a number
so that when they line up,
they're always in that same order.
That way, if number 8 is missing...
you know exactly who to look for!

Always give a head count # to
the Special Area Teachers whenever you
drop your students off....they will love you for it!

Rule #9
Something I learned from my mentor, Ma Chérie

Make sure you're ready for
Monday before leaving
on Friday.
It's OK that the rest of
the week isn't planned yet.
If you happen to have an
unplanned sub on Monday,
you've got yourself covered.
You have 2 days over the weekend
(when you can speak coherently again)
 to figure out Tuesday-Friday.
...and it seriously takes 2 days
to speak and think coherently...
...especially in the fall of Kindergarten!

Rule #10
Most important rule of self preservation
I learned from Ma Chérie
Remember this is a J.O.B.
No one is handing out gold stars
when you show up sick...
have spent the entire night/weekend
working on lesson plans...
given 150% to your class
leaving only a negative 50% of yourself for your
own family and sanity.
This is the saddest TRUTH of all!
I doubt there's ever been a teacher
that said, on her deathbed,
"I wished I would have spent more
time at school."
However, I'm sure there's a lot of regret
for those long hours spent at school
while their own family was at home 
without them.
BTW-I should have typed that while
looking in the mirror.  
My name is on the "weekend sign-in" sheet
more times than I'd like to admit.

Remember this nugget of wisdom from
a seasoned Kindergarten teacher:
Protect your glow!
Sleep, and Melatonin, can be your bestie!

Oh yes...
Almost forgot the MOST important rule....

Rule #11

The Best Teachers Share!
And you're very good at it.

People have to scroll and scroll and scroll
through all of your fab-o freebies on here!
Can we give Regina a WOOT WOOT?!

Don't you know...
That's my motto!

So....I think it's time for some sharing!

I decided to combine some
different classroom rules
to make my rules chart this year.
Last year I made and used and LOVED
Whole Brain Teaching’s set of 5 rules.
Then my elementary school came up
with its  own set of rules
which included the 3 B’s of Learning
in addition to the new school rules.
I decided that instead of having
my own classroom rules
and then the school rules…..
I needed to condense.
I kept all of the school rules
and the three B’s (which we’ve had for years)…..
but I did tweak it to add in 2 of my favorite
Whole Brain Teaching rules. 
 How can you get a better rule than
“Make Smart Choices” and
“Make Your Dear Teacher Happy”?
That about says it all.
I like adding our school mascot to the rules…
and I decided to make some
other mascots just in case someone
out there in cyber world can use it.
Of course, when we come up
with the rules at the 
 beginning of the year as a class,
the kids always think that THEY’RE the ones
coming up with the 5 rules.
It was all their idea…..
Not the school’s,
not Whole Brain Teaching’s,
and definitely not mine.
Then I magically have my chart
that goes with these great ideas they came up with.
 Does anyone teach a classroom of sharks?
Use this one, if you do!
 Any dolphin schools?
 How about alligator or crocodile mascots?
Is your mascot a raccoon?
 How about a leopard or perhaps a cheetah?
I think this little guy is close enough to either mascot.
How about a snake?
Is your school...The Rattlers?
 Ooooh.....a lion....anyone have a lion mascot?
 Can't forget about tigers!
 And last, but not least the bee...
Can your school sting like a bee?
OK...just joking....
there's one more.
As a request I'm including
some cute little bulldogs.
Woof!  Woof!
Some of the wording is a little
different on the bulldog pages
as requested.  :)
If you like the mascots,
you may like my
Back To School Student Information
For Teacher Files:
I pass these papers out to parents at
Orientation so that I can keep their
personal information on file.  I've learned that
the phone numbers they give the front office
aren't exactly always the best phone numbers
to contact them.  Just giving you a heads up!

Wanting your kids to take
ownership of your classroom rules?
Have them help you come up with
your own classroom rules (wink,wink)
while using one of these
No David Classroom Rules
sheets.  I even gave you a
student version for them to
follow along as you write.
I love using clipboards in my
classroom....keep them busy
while you're writing!
 You can use these for yourself
to write what the children say:
 These next sheets are for students
to use to copy what you write:

May your Rules Of Engagement
keep you teaching
for many years to come!