Friday Top 5 — Back to School Edition

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This week we started back to school after winter break.  Honestly, I would have loved an extra week but it was nice to get back into the classroom.  I was a bit concerned on Sunday about how Monday would go but I was pleasantly surprised at how the kids were ready to get back to school.

Now, onto on our top 5 for this week:

1 — Introducing students to the topic of Winter and talking about animals that hibernate during that time.  After reading a book, one little boy said that he knew lots of animals like giraffes hibernated.  That gave us a good laugh as several kids had just visited the zoo over break and seen the giraffes, they were a bit confused!

2 — Making snowmen this week and one of my students just got glasses over break.  After he had put glasses on his snowman, several others joined him.  They actually came out very cute!

3 — Introducing iPads to the class on Monday, one little guy asks, “We can play all those games?” His smile after my reply of yes was priceless.

4 — Having a mom stop in to tell me that her son was so excited about school because his classroom was way different and cool.  I did a little rearranging of the room over break and changed up my schedule for the kids.  I guess they ilked it, I know I sure did!

5 — The excitement they had when I shared with them that some of our projects on DonorsChoose (www.donorschoose.org) had been funded over the break and all the new things we would be getting.  There were cheers galore from the kids.

It was a great week back but I am grateful for a weekend to rest.

What were your top 5 events for school this week?  I would love to hear from you.

Bullying — Why I Hate It

imagesBullying.  It’s something we address in school starting at the beginning of the year. As we head back to school this week, we will review the topic as we review the rules of our classroom and school.

In the TK classroom, I use the story The Recess Queen to talk with my kids about bullying.  However, bullying is such a hard topic for me because of my elementary years.  I feel as though in talking with my class that I repeat and emphasize it so much because of how hurt I was as a child.

I was the kid that got bullied.  And it hurt. A lot.

When I was in 4th grade, toward the end of the year, our class had a party.  We were encouraged to wear a shirt for everyone to sign.  I chose to wear a special Disneyland shirt with Mickey Mouse on the front.  All morning in class, we got to sign each other’s shirts with our black pens. It was pretty cool. But then recess came.

During recess, a girl asked to sign my shirt so I let her.  What I didn’t know at the time was that she wrote “kick me” on the bottom three times.  Then she and two other girls proceeded to hold me down on the ground while other students came over and kicked my back like my shirt said.  I sat and cried the whole time.  No one came to help me.  No one who said they were my friend went to get the yard aide .They just stood and watched, afraid to do anything–so they told me. Finally, after what felt like forever, the bell rang.  I walked with tears streaming down my face back to class.  My friends tried to cross off the words but to me, the shirt was ruined.

My teacher, a gentle man, saw my tears and asked what had happened.  I explained and he gave the girls consequences but somehow it didn’t seem right in my world.  I was hurt and no one could take away how I felt that day.  In fact, in some respects, it still follows me today.  The wondering if someone is really my friend or if they are just saying those words.

When I got home, I hid my shirt.  I didn’t want to see it ever.  What had started as a great day was destroyed in an instant. When we moved a year later, I threw the shirt away.  I never wanted to speak about 4th grade.  In fact, to this day, I couldn’t tell you more about 4th grade than that very instant. That’s the impact bullying had–it made a such a strong, hurtful impression on me.

I understand how students feel.  I relate to the hurt because I’ve been there.  I strive to teach my students to be respectful, to use kind words, to be patient and talk about how they feel in situations.  I want to do my best to create an environment where everyone can grow and learn each day. So, in my room, we will talk about how to be a friend and how not to bully someone because everyone should be respected.

Friday Top 5 — Family Fun

As we dawn a new year, I have been thinking about what I would like to do different and new this year.  I settled first on my blog — I want to expand and share more with you this year.  With that being said, I am going to plan to do a Friday Top 5 each week, focusing on an area of my life (family, school, teaching, classes, etc) and share my favorite 5 events of the week with you.

This week to start off the year, I am focusing on my family as we have had lots of fun memories, some silly, serious, new, and exciting.  So, let’s get started!

TOP 5:

1. For the first time, my middle daughter was able to stay up until midnight and ring in the New Year.  She participated in our annual toast with grape juice and laughed away with her older sister.  It was such a big accomplishment for her and a joy for me to watch her.

2. Enjoying family time at home for New Years Eve and New Years.  I am usually the shopper, needing to be on the go, but this year, I chose staying home and enjoying time with my girls and hubby.  It was such a refreshing two days together.  I’m glad I chose to enjoy time at home.

3. This week, I have taken time to pick up an old hobby I had — reading a book.  There is nothing like physically picking up a book and just sitting down to read.  This year I am starting off with a book about making time for myself, something I really needed to start my year off with!

4. As Christmas has come and gone, new toys have made there way into our house.  This would especially apply to all the new Barbie toys my girls have received. But the best part of these new toys coming is the precious sister time I get to listen in on.  Our two youngest daughters have spent many hours playing nicely together.  I have loved listening in on their conversations and watching them play together, it makes a mom’s heart happy!

5. There is always something special when I can sneak a peek at my hubby as he has been diligently working on a project that is so important to him.

That’s my Top 5 for this week, a focus on my family to start the year.

Let’s hear from you — Do you have a Top 5 for this week?