Mary: "Mrs. Knopf, did you know, that even if you're on the good list and have a Christmas tree, sometimes Santa forgets and still skips your house? We don't have a chimney and I told Grandma to unlock the door but she forgot and I guess he couldn't come in!"
In that resilient way that kids have, she shrugged it off the next moment and went on to tell her friend about how she won a race against some of the other kids in the trailer park. It took me longer to get over it. It breaks my heart to think of her not having anything on Christmas Day - especially since, had I known, I could have hooked her family up with 1/2 dozen organizations who were sponsoring kids at our school. Seriously, we were turning potential donors away during the last week before break because we thought we had all of the families in need covered! There's also a church right down the street from our school that has a free clothes closet and would have helped out at a moment's notice. I understand people have their pride, but I'd swallow it to keep the magic alive for my child. I guess I just don't understand some people's priorities...
Yesterday was also apparently a non-mandatory work day. At least that's what I had to assume when two of our teachers left work in the middle of the day, two aides didn't show up and our secretary went home in the early afternoon too! This meant that at about 1pm I had 5 extra darlings in my room - and I use that term very loosely! They were kindergartners, which I usually would love, but the last thing I needed, as I tried to get my students back into our routines, was a group of chatty kindergartners who didn't even come with a coloring sheet to keep them busy! Needless to say all of my afternoon plans went out the window and I improvised with a movie (and then got flack for that! "A movie, really?!" was one snide remark I heard. "Well, yes, when you shove 5 extra children in my class without providing anything for them to do, on a day when my students are still wound up from being on break, what do you expect me to do with them?!" I guess I could have gotten out centers, but this particular kindergarten class is not known for their care of materials so I preferred a movie to risking my stuff!)
Today was much smoother - no extra kiddos, all of my students pretty much settled down and ready to lean with an even more intent focus! No kidding, several of them made resolutions about homework and extra reading time even though those were not on my list of examples of possible resolutions! My class clown even resolved not to be such a "big ham" (from Amelia Bedelia Talks Turkey- I swear he made that connection himself, I did not prompt him!) although he broke that resolution by 2pm this afternoon - right in the middle of an impromptu observation by one of our reading coaches! She wandered in while I was reading aloud one of our Mr. Putter & Tabby books today (if you haven't read the series you should!) and sat down to stay a while! I was feeling pretty good about it, because my kiddos were doing super with predictions and inferences, then they blew me out of the water with synonyms, and then of course my little clown had to stand up and get his 2 cents in lol!
Oh well, I'm pretty laid back so it didn't bother me, although I always wonder if observers think I'm too laid back, know what I mean? Like maybe I should be a strict disciplinarian and make my firsties buckle down, but then I take a deep breath and realize that even though they're loud and rambunctious sometimes, they're loud and rambunctious about what I'm teaching! It's really hard to be stern when they're calling out because a light bulb just went off or they're incredibly proud that they understood something!
And speaking of light bulbs, there must have been a clearance on them over the holidays because my firsties are having bushels full each day! I was handed our Title I math benchmark this morning and started flipping through it, pretty confident that my kiddos will sail through it, when I got to a whole section on fractions! What?! That hasn't been on my pacing calendar - I hadn't even introduced the concept yet and the test scores are due next Friday! So I grabbed a set of pizza fractions from my neighbor down the hall and introduced it during our calendar time. I was floored with how easily 3/4 of them picked it up (do you like how I threw in that fraction?)! We have to teach halves, thirds and fourths and it seemed to go over pretty well - we'll see how much they retained tomorrow when I go at it again with a bit more preparation! I am scouting for any fraction activities I can find - we didn't teach fractions in kindergarten so I don't have any materials for it, if you know of any please let me know! Luckily I won a set of fraction posters from Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher last week, so at least I have those I can display! I also whipped up this quick penguin-themed fraction pocket chart sort to use next week, please feel free to grab it if you think it might be useful in your class too!
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