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.

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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.

Ready to head Back to School (again)

A wonderful Sunday at church, followed by an amazing 49ers game, playtime with my kiddos, and then the dreaded time . . . school work.

I didn’t bring much home over break, just some books to put together and report cards to write.  But as I sit down on the couch now, my mind is racing with all the things I could have gotten done.  All the books are put together and the paperwork is gathered to do report cards but what about lesson plans, center plans for the week.  What theme activities and letter work will be doing?  One’s mind could begin racing and yet, I am not concerned.

I know that all the copies for activities and projects this week are run off and on my table.  I know that the books we need are put together and ready.  I know the letter of the week and some of the stories I want to read aloud.

However, the biggest part of tomorrow will be listening.  Each child will have so much to share about the last two weeks.  Where they went for vacation, what presents they got from Santa or their parents, what they did for New Years, or each little thing they did during the day.

And yet, among all of that, there will also be tears.  Tears because they miss mommy who they have been home with.  Tears because they are tired from a long day at school and they want to go home.  Tears because something doesn’t feel good.

I am ready for the little kids that will walk into my room tomorrow.  We will share smiles, tears, laughs, and stories.  We will make it through Monday and enter our second half of the year.  We will enjoy our new day!

Are you ready to head back to school (again)?