Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What We Really Look Like

I am big and fierce with sharp fangs, but I am stuck in the body of a five year old boy! Can somebody please let me out?

If you were given a piece of paper and asked to draw a self-portrait....what would be seen?  I never really thought about this until this week. For one of our math lesson the students were to draw a self-portrait.  Simple...easy...quick. I told them, "Draw yourself and nothing else....just you."  Oh my, some of these kiddos have some very interesting ideas of what they look like. 

If it were me, I would draw a stick picture of a girl.....well....but would really like to draw a picture of a princess wearing the most BEAUTIFUL dress with  people doing all my work.  ;O)   These kiddos view themselves very differently than someone who is older.  I had to laugh when I saw their pictures and realize they are five.  

The types of self-portraits drawn:
- Spiderman
- A boy with fangs
- A girl on a grassy hill smelling flowers
- A boy with large muscles

I love the imagination of these kids.  It makes me see some hope that they will always view them selves as something strong and powerful in a world full of crazy.  I hope that they know that how they view themselves is very important and to not let anyone take that from them.

They are important even if they believe they are Spiderman!

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Friend Forever

To an adult it might look like a pile of grass growing in a sandbox....but to this five year old, it was a world of bugs. 

It started a on Thursday when we went out to play for the first time.  It was hot, but the kiddos needed to get out and run!  I am talking to another teacher and then this little guy runs up to me jumping up and down all excited.  I bend down and ask him what's up...he is so excited that his eyes are twinkling and he has a smile on his face that is contagious.  "Mrs. B....I found a cricket!" He says in his little kid voice. "That's great!" I say, and off her runs back to his bug hunt. 

I look over a few minutes later and I see him bent over and pointing to something. He then turns to the boy next to him and shares his excitement.  At this point, I am very curious.  What has this kiddo so excited?  It's just a bug!!!  I go over and see his "cricket".....which actually turns out to be a grasshopper.  He points to it and I see it....attached to a single blade of grass.....minding it's own business.....then it jumps away.  At this time, we must go inside. And my kiddo must save his bug hunt for another day.

We go outside again today and I notice that this kiddo runs right to the same spot he was yesterday. The hunt continues....this time....he is more invested in the hunt this time.....looking more intently for these bugs.  I see him bend over and then slowly move the grass around.  He then carefully moves around the grass and then runs over to me.  Once again he is all excited about his bug hunt.  He eyes the plastic sandwich bag I have in my hands and asks me if he can use it.  "Sure," I say and off he runs. 

A few minutes later I look over and see something truly amazing.  In this horrific playground that truly should be condemned, this kiddo has found a world of wonder.  I see that his attention is focused on a butterfly that he is trying to make his friend. He slowly tries to catch it with his bag and then a stick.  He does this with such expertise! He then tries to sneak up behind the butterfly and catch it with his finger....needless to say, the butterfly got away.  

When we lined up to go inside he runs up to me and shows me his bag.  He caught a grasshopper and is excited!  I asked if we could let it go back to his home, and he said no. So I decided to let the kiddo bring the grasshopper into the classroom.  I ask the teacher across the hall for her Preying Mathis holder and we put the grasshopper inside.  I turn around and the container is sitting on his desk and he is proudly looking at his catch.  

At the end of the day I tell the kiddo that he needs to let the grasshopper go back to his home.  He is a little sad, but understands.  He goes outside and let's it free.  When he comes in he tells me that the grasshopper did not want to go home, but wanted to jump back into the container.  

It always seems to amaze me that kids can find wonder in things that are gross.  Our playground is awful, but yet this little man found a world of bugs and intrigue. While hunting for these bugs, he shut the outside world off, and was totally engrossed in his own world.  He made this area his own and didn't see the harshness of the environment.  He truly felt that this grasshopper was his friend.  I will always remember the sight of him going on his bug hunt...it was truly amazing.

A three year old child is a being who gets almost as much fun out of a fifty-six dollar set of swings as it does out of finding a small green worm. ~Bill Vaughan

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Day 1 ~ The First Day of Kindergarten

When I opened the backpack, I was shocked by what I saw.....but at that instant I fell in love all over again....in love with my job and in love with my grade level.

Today started off as any other first day of school. The students arrived at the classroom door all eager to learn and to experience a new adventure. I greeted them at the door with excitement and caution. I was excited by learning about this little one with bright scared eyes, but with caution because I knew they were unsure of whom this lady was kneeling in front of them welcoming them to a great year.

I started out by showing them the first part of the daily routines that I wanted to enforce. This was very easy to pick up on and follow. As more students came in and started their first day of Kindergarten, the personalities started to show. There were those quiet students who are eager to please and do everything just right, and then those students who had never been in a school setting, much less an environment with structure. Then there were those "stinkers" who are not what I would call "intentional stinkers", but stinkers due to their age and their cuteness. They were the ones that had to remind repeatedly of my simple directions and needed constant re-direction.

By the end of the day, I was tired and worn out from not only the heat, but from being a kindergarten teacher. As we were getting ready to go home, we started the task of getting book bags and putting folders inside bags. I look over and see a boy with everything out of his bag. On his desk were new folders, shiny new pencils, and the papers that were in his folder strewn about. I could tell by this that this little man was so excited about all his new supplies. How could he not be?!?!? I took his backpack and opened it up...and that is when I saw it....the stuffed elephant. I looked at that stuffed elephant and could picture his mom putting the elephant in his backpack as his "secret" security. This was his way of having a piece of home and his mommy with him as he embarked on his first day of kindergarten. Something that made him feel safe in this brand new environment. Something that was close to his heart and made him smile when he thought about the elephant stored secretly in his bag.

This elephant does not only represent safety, but the realization that standing in front of me are 21 kids….kids who I am responsible for teaching, caring, and showing them the world for the next 180 days. It doesn't matter where they come from, how much money they have, or who their parents are. This elephant represent the purity of childhood and that these kids are just that...KIDS....and deserve the right to enjoy and have fun while being in my Kindergarten classroom.