Wednesday, October 15, 2008

After reading about how Annalyse checks blogs compulsively, I've decided to post something tonight even though I wasn't originally planning on it.

So some of you were asking about the firefighter song.  Last week was fire prevention week at the preschool, so we talked about fires and firefighters.  We even had a visit from a firetruck, which we had been hyping up as the typical red fire engine, and turned out to be white with blue stripes.  Lame.  Quite lame.

Anyway, a little girl from the other 3 year olds class came up to me last Friday and stated, "Ms. Rachel, I know a firefighter song and you don't know it."

"Would you sing it to me, Brooke?  Please?" I asked.  She obliged.  I caught all but one line.  "I really like it.  If you sing it again, maybe I can try to sing along," I offered.  She obliged again, and I did my best to learn it and copy the hand motions.

Still, I couldn't get that one line.  I asked her to sing the first part again, and still didn't understand it.  She finally got on the tips of her toes and, hanging onto my shoulder, sang it directly into my ear.  I still have no idea what that line was... I'm pretty sure she doesn't know it either and just makes up something different every time.

I just pretended to understand her so she wouldn't feel frustrated and thanked her for teaching me the song.

"Ms. Rachel, now you know it," she said, "and you have to teach it to your mom."  Leaving it at that, Brooke danced away to play with the other kids.  I called after her that I would in fact teach it to my mom, but I don't think she heard me.  So that evening, I called my mom, and I taught it to her.  And now I feel I should teach it to you all, so you can teach it to your moms.

The Firefighter Song (to the tune of I'm a Little Teapot)

I'm a little firefighter, mumble mumble mumble*
here is my helmet (point to head), here is my hose (pretend to hold a hose)
When I see a fire, hear me shout (cup hands around mouth)
Turn on the water and put the fire out! (pretend to spray hose)

*this is the part I kept missing.  Stephen says it should be "strong and brave", but that doesn't rhyme.  Then again, neither does the rest of it.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Red or Blue Classroom

My second week at work has been a lot better than my first.  One of the other teachers unexpectedly left, and they asked me to fill in on Monday in her classroom.  I told them I loved it so much I wanted to stay, thus, I am the new teacher for twelve wonderful 3 year olds.  This is the age group I have had the most experience with in the past and it's my favorite age group to work with.  I have had a phenomenal time getting to know them each individually and spending my days hanging out with them.  And, I haven't been bitten even once.

In the midst of a political discussion last night in which I was a slightly reluctant participant, Stephen jokingly wondered aloud, "Do you talk about politics with your kids?"

"It's generally my policy not to talk about politics with anyone, if I can help it," I remarked.  But when I thought about it, I realized our classroom, if I had to define it, would be pretty blue.

For the record, I myself am neither republican nor democrat.  Anyway, here's one example:  This happens in my classroom every day.  Two children are doing a puzzle together.  One child has a pile of puzzle pieces in front of him, the other has only one.  They are having a decidedly uncivil disagreement about the purported "sharing" of said puzzle.

In a democratic classroom, the teacher says that there's plenty of puzzle pieces to go around and tells the child with the pile of pieces to please give some to the child with one piece so it's more fair.  This is how I run my classroom (with some exception).  I'm trying to teach our kids to be kind to others, but in the adult world we might call it redistribution of wealth.

In a republican classroom the teacher might suggest that the child with the pile of pieces has worked hard to get his share of the puzzle, and if you only have 1 piece, well, tough luck.  Hopefully some of the other pieces will eventually trickle down to you through the natural process of preschool classroom economics.

I know, an oversimplification.  I still think it's funny.  And please, if you have some caustic, fiery rhetoric about one party or the other, write it on your own blog, not in the comments.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

First Week!

The prompts over at Three Word Wednesday are deliberate, intervene, and nourish.  And since I don't feel like writing writing today, here's a regular post into which the prompts happened to fit quite conveniently:

My first week of work at my new job has been great.  I share a classroom of toddlers (1 year olds) with another teacher; we have 3 girls and 5 boys.  I have to get up a lot earlier than I usually do, and I work a lot more hours than I used to when I was at the Lutheran Church.  But I come home feeling happy and energized, instead of drained and bored.  I have fun all day and the hours fly by.

The only thing is that I don't know nearly enough about 1 year olds.  I used to work with 3 year olds, and those 2 years in between means a world of difference.  For example, one boy (I call him Bruiser) tugged on one of the girls arms (I call her Lovebug) and made her fall down.  Now, I'm sure he didn't do it deliberately.  Bruiser was trying to pull himself up- he's still learning to walk- but it started a pinching match between the two of them into which I had to intervene.

If it happened between a couple of 3 year olds, I would know how to handle the situation.  I would know how to discipline Bruiser and I would assist reconciliation between them.  But they're 1 year olds- they don't respond to or understand the same language that an older child would.  I'm still not sure how to nourish and love all the kids in my class while keeping them all from hurting each other and crying all day.  But I'm getting there.

I absolutely love watching the kids as they learn.  One boy started stacking foam blocks one on top of the other yesterday, while all the others still revel in knocking them down.  His eyes lit up when he saw what he had done.  Another one doesn't like coloring, but sits at the table absolutely fascinated with the way the cap fits onto the marker.  Another will repeat, or try to repeat, just about any word you ask him to.  So I can't have two days alike- every day is a new and fresh experience for my kids, so every day is a new and fresh experience for me- even if I have to get up two hours earlier than I want.