Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Years Traditions

The Tuesday we came back to school was an exciting day! The children appeared to be refreshed and re energised for school. As we sat on the rug discussing our break I got several expected answers:
"I played in the snow"
"I went to my grandma's house"
"my mommy had a baby",
"We didnt hear shots at midnight so we were sad"... Wait What??!?!

I was totally confused so I asked for more information.
 "What do you mean "shots", like fireworks?"
 "No Miss Hansen shots, we stay in side and wait but we didn't hear any so we were sad".

 Still confused I moved on deciding to figure this out when not everyone was around. So when we went to lunch,  I asked the other teachers if they knew what this child was talking about. Everyone did except the White girl from Parker, CO!
Apparently on New Years it is a tradition for those in the neighborhood to go out and fire their weapons into the sky as a form of celebration! The children are used to having to stay inside because "its shooting out there". (This phrase is used in the same way one might say "its raining out there", because of its regularity).

Crazy right!!!!

-Miss Hansen

Recess: Right or Gift?

Let me start by saying I think I truly have the best mentor teacher possible. She is willing to let me try almost anything in her classroom, which provides me with great incite into what works and what doesn't. She has let me totally change the set up of our room as well as add reading and writing workshop. She rocks!

The one thing we really don't agree on is Recess. In my opinion, (obviously because this is my blog) recess is a right. It is unrealistic to expect young children to have the ability and motivation to "sit still and behave" for 8 hours straight. He** I cant attend one of our 3 hour classes with out leaving the room at least 3 times.

In most careers, adults are in control of their own schedules. They can pee when the want, eat when they want, stand up when the want, etc. But in many classrooms, the children are given little choice/ control if any. They are told "no you can not use the restroom right now, it is inconvenient for me!" In my opinion, this is unrealistic and not productive at all. I believe there needs to be boundaries for the child to follow, but everyone knows, when you "gotta go" all you are thinking about is how bad you have to "use it" (as my children say). Meaning, even if they aren't in the bathroom during instructional time they aren't paying attention at all!

Recess is the one time during the day that a child can choose to run, slide, skip, climb or sit. The one time during the day they truly are in control. The phrase "they aren't paying attention, they don't deserve recess" is totally counterproductive! If they can't sit still and pay attention, it is CRUCIAL they have time to run around and get their energy out!

Right now in Cincinnati it has been too cold to go outside :( So we dance! The children love the song "Peanut Butter Jelly Time" and yesterday we learned the "Cha Cha slide". This doesn't give them the same relief as running out side, but they seem to really enjoy it and it helps get their wiggles out.

Any other song ideas would be greatly appreciated!!!

- Miss Hansen

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

First Days Back

After a wonderful day to end the quarter I was more than excited for my first day back. I spent 4 hours before break in the classroom moving things around and countless hours of thinking about new things I wanted to try. After all the planning I felt confident as the children walked into the classroom yesterday.

I changed around the seating arrangements for the quarter. We have two "normal" tables, a standing table, and a table that is on the floor where they sit on a rug. The children were eager to try out the new tables!

 We also introduced Reading and Writing Workshop, where children have an opportunity to read literature and work on their writing skills.
I had expectations for Writing workshop which I feel now may be a bit high. When I envisioned it I saw the children really sitting down and writing about something. But the children have had no real experience selecting their own topic and formulating ideas (first, then, finally) so there was a lot of confusion. Today we went step by step starting with the date and title then determining what to write. I am still not satisfied but it is only day 2 so we are going to keep trying.

I am both excited and nervous to become lead teacher next week. I am lucky to have a mentor teacher who will let me try new things!!!

-A Hopeful Miss Hansen