Monday, November 29, 2010

Hungry kids

We just got a new child last week and along with him came a new issue for me to experience. It seems that this child is not getting much, if any, food other than what is given at school. He tries to eat the breakfast served (usually gram cracker) all morning. We tell him to put it in his cubby but he is constantly sneaking a bite. He has also been getting in trouble the last few days for eating food of other children's plate at lunch.

I know from personal experience that when I am sitting in class hungry I don't pay much attention to what is going on. Really I sit there and watch the clock till lunch. So for him to come in hungry and have to wait till lunch to eat, then still not get enough food, its no wonder he is a little scatter-brained.

If his mother would get him to school earlier he would have time to eat breakfast which would help a lot! But yet again that would require that his mother to be more responsible than any 7 year old can really control. It's really hard to watch a child sneak food because they are hungry and have to tell them to stop.

I don't know how to solve the problem but I know its hard to watch!

-Miss Hansen

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Surviving this...

Let's be honest everyone says teachers should treat children equally and all but every teacher has a favorite child. One that they tend to gravitate towards, whether it's because they are smarter, or funnier, or more social, or in my case, more "messed up" than the other children. 
Today I found out my favorite child was moving schools. From the beginning his mom had been saying "she was going to get them out of here" and while everyone hoped it was true it was an "I’ll believe it when I see it" kind of thing. So today when I got a call from the office that she was here to get his things and he would not be returning my stomach dropped. I sat at the desk and watched the door hoping she wouldn't come. She instantly saw my face and gave me an "I’m sorry" kind of smile. 
As I helped pack up his things my eyes started to fill. To others this child was the "troubled child" who had behavior issues and didn't know what was going on. But when he was with me (and yes my teacher will be the first to say that I babied him) I got to see that smile, with two missing front teeth and breakfast crumbs on his face.
He would tell me stories (true or false I'm not sure) but it was clear that he had seen things that NO seven year old should know about. And his hugs, boy he gave the best hugs! He would come-in in the morning and wonder over to me and just stand there waiting for a hug. At recess he often stood by me rather than running around. I'm not sure if the other children picked up on it or not but every teacher knew that he was my favorite. 
After his mom had left I had to leave the room. Like a little kid I grabbed my phone and went to the teachers bathroom to call my mom in tears. While I want him to be safe and happy and all I knew that if/when he moved schools he would get named a "problem child" and would slip through the cracks. He was already very low but to be the new kid at school, trying to make friends, he is bound to only get more behind. I feel like I understood him more because we knew what was going on at home, so when he came in all pissed off and angry we knew it was because his dad was back in jail. How can another teacher give him what he needs not knowing what he has seen and gone through?
Now I know it's possible I’m being a little melodramatic, but it is so hard to see him go. He needs consistency in his life. He needs to be around people (teachers) who can make him see how smart he really is and help him excel. He needs to know that there are people looking out for him, who care what he has to say, and who genuinely want to help him. 

I am going to have to figure out how to do my job the very best I can and give the children everything that they need... with out being attached or I'll never survive this. It can't be that every time one of my children leaves I feel so heart broken like this. This sucks!

 “Teaching is like a love affair, if you don’t take it seriously it’s no fun and if you do take it seriously, it can break your heart”.

-A very sad Miss Hansen

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

"I'm thankful for nothin"

We started talking about what "being thankful" meant yesterday. We gave the children several examples and then went around the room and wrote on the board what each child said they were thankful for. We came to almost the last child and she responded with "I'm thankful for nothin". I just kind of stared at her for a second. My teacher responded with "really there is nothing in your life that you are so glad you have?" "No" this went back and forth a few times and she didn't come up with anything. I was just blown away. Maybe she didnt understand what being thankful meant, but the rest of the class understood and she heard several examples.

- a VERY thankful Miss Hansen!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Almost every has heard of a SMART Board. This is the most popular brand of interactive white boards. I did a big fundraiser to try and get some money for my class. A lot of the money went towards art supplies but we also put money towards a Mimio, which makes our basic white board interactive. It requires you to have a bar connected to your computer that records the movement of the provided "mouse pen". We use a projector to project what is on the computer on to the board and then we can manipulate the screen.
We have been using it a lot for morning meeting, which has included making a class graph, doing calender, weather, money, and place value. Some times the children get to do the manipulating which they really like.
I have also used it to display pictures of the new fruits and vegetables we try, an author study chart, as well as graphing.
So far I really like using it. We are going to try and mount the projector so we don't have to use a rolling cart or worry about the cords. I want to try and use it several times through out the day and in several areas of study.

So far so good! There is so much to learn and so many ways to use the Mimio!!

-Miss Hansen

Music Hall

Last week my class went to Music Hall for a field trip. Even though most of my students were bored and some fell asleep, I thought the experience was great. To see their faces as they walked into the building was priceless! The huge chandeliers above and the thousands of light bulbs lighting the huge theater was beautiful. I heard "Miss Hansen look at that" and "Miss Hansen look at this" a million times!
We listened to the Cincinnati Orchestra play 3 pieces. The conductor taught the children how to move their hands properly to conduct the orchestra, which was nice because it helped keep their attention (most of them).
I know the children might never hear this type of music again but I do think it is important to expose them to different cultures.

-Miss Hansen

Halloween surprise!

As we discussed the Halloween parade we would be participating in on the Friday before Halloween I had several students tell me "their mamma couldn't buy a costume". They were very worried they would be the only ones walking in the parade with out a cool costume. That night I realized that I was "allowed" to be pretty much whatever I wanted for Halloween and never really had to think if we could afford a new costume.

We have a company that sponsors our class, which includes coming in once a week to work with the children. It is a way for the children to get some one-on-one attention as well as have successful role models. Well the day of the parade they came in with a huge bag full of costumes!! The children who didn't have a costume got one and to top it off they got to take it home! I have never seen them so excited and appreciative before. Over all they didn't care what their costume was they were just excited to be dressing up with the rest of their class. We had several costumes left over and they let my teacher keep them for next year.

I was so happy for the children I almost cried as I helped them get dressed. It really put things in perspective about how lucky I was growing up. I am going to start going to discount stores to buy the costumes when they go on sale this year!

-Miss Hansen

Alternative seating

We talk in classes a lot about providing students with different forms of seating. A lot of classrooms have "standing" tables and short tables where the children can sit on a rug with no chairs. We also talk about having a "quiet" corner where they can read with comfortable chairs or beanbags. I love the idea that the children have other option rather than just sitting in the plastic chairs. I have three students who stand to do their work all day long but we are constantly telling them to sit down "and get to work".
I would like to be able to tell the children they can sit on the rug to read or in a corner but I don't know how to teach that procedure for classroom management. Teachers who read my blog- how do you set up your room to provide alternative seating, and how do you teach those initial procedures???

-Miss Hansen