Sunday, August 31, 2008

Pondering a classroom pet...

As most of you may know, last year saw the demise of three, yes three, classroom fish. The first fish loss was by far the worst...he'd been with us the longest, he was the most beloved fish EVER. There was the funeral, the burial, the "dead" song, the mourning period and then the loss of the two replacement fish. So, I had pretty much decided that there was NO WAY I was going through all of this again. Well...6 year olds can be pretty tough negotiators and me being a pushover for batting eyelashes might also have something to do with the fact that I'm even considering getting a class fish. Our classroom theme this year is all about monkeys, but they don't make very good classroom pets ;-). So, I am thinking about getting another fish for my room..but with some changes this year. Such as a covered tank with no chance of foreign matter getting into the tank, i.e. whatever white sheen kept getting on the top of the water last year, and a permanent heater in the form of a light bulb. I am thinking that after our first intersession, I'll spring for the $2.50 fish and get the tank going. My kids are SO good this year, I kind of feel bad not getting them a classroom pet. Besides, feeding it could be an additional classroom "job"...which they would LOVE.

I've also considered other pets...such as a hedgehog (they're CUTE), a chinchilla (even cuter), and hamsters (pretty cute too.) But, they come with a significant increase in financial and time maintenance. Plus, on intersessions, do I really want to bring home an animal for my cat to terrorize? Additionally, something my kiddos can actually touch and pet, will only increase their heartbreak should the animal die. Final thought? I think I'll stick with fish for now :-)

First intersession starts the very end of September...we'll see if I can hold off until then.

Friday, August 29, 2008

The dream confession...

This one is too funny ... and totally, completely benign in nature.  Yesterday, I had a first grader who clearly found some of his parents reading "material" of the "naughty" kind and proceeded to tell me about a "funny" dream he had.  It turned out his "funny" dream was of the sexually explicit kind, and I don't mean "first grade" explicit...I mean graphically explicit (tongues down throats, lips on things and licking other things, AND he used hand movements - you can figure the exact details out for yourself).  It was all I could do not to bust up laughing in his face, because you could tell it was so innocent...nothing weird going on at home malicious in nature.  He just wanted to share his "funny" and "interesting" dream with me.  So, imagine receiving a phone call from your 6 year old's first grade teacher explaining to you that your son just revealed to her a sexually explicit dream involving another student in his class.  The mother was mortified, to say the least, and admitted that he had found where they kept their "things" about 10 days ago and that he had been having these "funny" dreams since.  She was sure I now thought they were "horrible" parents.  I simply told her that we were all adults, but that it might be a good idea to change the location of their "stuff"to make it less accessible to him.  She groaned and said, "it was only ONE time we did this..." and then her voice trailed off.  I was SO glad this was over the phone, because in person it would have been MORE uncomfortable.  I seriously couldn't stop laughing once I hung up with her.  When his dad came to pick him up after school, he couldn't even look me in the eye, he was so embarassed.  He said, "I just don't even know what to say to you right now...I'm just"  I stopped him right there, just put my hand on his shoulder and said, "How about 'Have a nice afternoon Mrs. Eklund'...he kind of laughed, said it and then walked away.  ha ha ha  

How was YOUR week? =)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I'm back and haven't forgotten you...

Sorry it has been SO long since my last utterly irresponsible of me! =) Seriously, I was gone for a couple of weeks traveling back to Montana for a family reunion and then thrust into three days of training upon my return. Needless to say I am glad to be back in my classroom with my wee ones as I missed them terribly.

I am happy to report that the two substitutes that took over my class while I was gone, did surprisingly well. I've heard horror stories about teachers painstakingly planning for an absence only to come back and discover that their substitute did NOTHING in their lesson plans. I was thrilled to come back and find out that every assignment I planned for them to do, was actually executed and my students received rave reviews! I cannot stress to you enough how different my class is this year than last. I will, however, always have a special place in my heart for my very first class. They were wonderful, challenging and very, very special to me. Seeing the few that are still here, makes my day - especially when they shower me with hugs and sign language "I love you's". Now that I've taught my current class the "I love you" sign they are equally as eager to share it.

The past couple of weeks since my return have been wonderful, yet heartbreaking all the same. For the majority of you who know me personally, you know of the heartbreak of which I speak. For those who don't, I can only say that I have been dealing with my first case of alleged child abuse. It is mindboggling to me how someone, anyone, could hurt a child...any child. Dealing with this firsthand has been an eye-opening, heartbreaking and learning-filled experience that I hope I never have to encounter again.

My students were amazing to return to...each one declaring how much they missed and loved me.  How many of you can say you get to return to that kind of reception? =)  Just one of the many reasons I love teaching.  

So you're probably looking for some "funnies" in this blog, so let me share a couple with you.  Funny #1: I am teaching extended day school, which is basically an extra hour of reading a day to kids that need that extra push.  On Tuesday night we were reviewing the letter sounds and names and we got to the letter "u".  You know that the letter "u" makes two sounds, right?  It makes the "uh" sound as in "umbrella" and "under" and the "yu" sound as in "unicorn", "you" and etc.  Well, this little girl pipes up and says "h" in "hunicorn"...I look at her quizzically and had her repeat her word, "Yes, Mrs.'s "h" as in "hunicorn."  I tried to convince her that it does NOT in fact make that sound, but in no certain terms was she giving it up.  So I guess it's called a "hunicorn" from now on.  We'll work on that one individually =)

Funny #2:  We're sitting doing calendar one day and I look up to see one of my boys playing with the hair of the girl in front of him.  I give him the "keep your hands to yourself" look and he stops.  A few seconds later...he starts doing it again.  So I give him a second, but more stern, "stop it now" look and he does.  Again, a few seconds later he starts again, so I finally ask him to stop and he says, "But she WANTS me to...her hair is SO SOFT!"  The girl about died of embarassment, turned pink and then looks at me and says, "No I DON'T!"  Looks like we have a rascal in the classroom again this year.  

Funny #3:  Remember the pants-turned-inside-out kiddo from a couple of weeks ago?  He has quite the imagination as you can figure out.  Today he comes and tells me, in all seriousness, that "everything was ok" and he didn't get "fired from his job."  That "James" his boss, "said that he could just finish his work later, but he gave me a warning, a BIG one.  I finally hung up on him and told him I didn't want the job anyway."  Hmmmm...clearly something is going on at home regarding a job. =)

So - that about wraps it up.  I'll have more updates this week and I'll post some pictures of student work.  =)

I'm just going to say kids are so well-behaved this's almost boring! ;-)  Is that terrible to say or what??  They're disgustingly good.  Outside of some in-class talking issues, they're amazing.  I kind of don't know what to do sometimes with them.  Trust me, I'm thankful after all the stuff that happened last year, but wow!  It's kind of unsettling at times.  ha ha

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Something just occurred to me...

'member last year when I had the little boy that I caught "playing with himself" during class (yes, THAT kind of playing with himself)? Well, if I have had to predict one of my students from this year who would/will do it? got it, my little "Danny"...he's already turned his shorts inside/out...I wonder what's next?

OOOhhh...and I get to see some of my kiddos from last year, probably 15 or more of them, as they are in 2nd grade now at my school. They are SO sweet and SO cute...running up to me giving me hugs. I am amazed at how big they got over summer. It's so fun walking around the school, running into all these kiddos that I know now. Next year will be even crazier! This is part of why I love teaching. =)

Friday, August 1, 2008

"It gives me something to play with..."

Phew! Another week in the books. This week was great overall. I have done a pretty good job of not "over-talking" this year, which remains a huge goal of mine. Last year I lost my voice at the end of every week and so far, I haven't lost my voice yet. Last week it was scratchy, but this week it seems better thus far. I am learning to just stop talking and use my silent signals more effectively. My kids are pretty good about stopping (most of the time) when I ring a bell and it's been a life-saver for my vocal chords.

I had some funnies this week for sure. I have a little red-headed kid in my class who is just plain out there. He's a wonderful, sweet, charming student who is completely his own person. He has a very tender heart and gives me 100 or more hugs a day. He also kind of dances to the beat of a different drummer. When we get to the playground each day, he runs with his arms flailing above his head, screaming "ahahhhhahahahahaaaaaahhhh"...and he pretty much doesn't stop for about 10 minutes. If you've seen the Friends episode where Pheobe and Rachel are running in Central Park and Pheobe is flailing her's pretty much just like that, just done by a 6 year old. In addition to his screaming, flailing, running, he decided yesterday to come out of the bathroom with his shorts (not underwear, but outer shorts) turned completed inside-out. They were buttoned up and ready to go...just inside-out. When I asked him why he had his pants on that way, he said that he "liked them better that gave his hands something to play with" (meaning HIS POCKETS...gutter brains). Anyway, it was all I could not to laugh out loud as I told him to return to the bathroom and put his shorts the correct way. Of course ALL of this is after he refused to answer to his name all morning. I would call on him and he'd ignore me...until I finally asked him if he was hearing me, to which he replied, "Yes, but my name isn't's Indy...Indiana Jones to be exact." HAHAHAHA! So...I had to call him Indy for a while, oh well.

Last night was our Open House for the year and it went off without a hitch. I had 17 out of 21 parents show up, which is a great number. When "Danny" arrived he was talking on his "cell" phone to his "boss"...this kid has a great imagination. =)

My kids also did some fun work this week on the topic of "alliteration". Here are a couple of pictures of their work. Too cute! Each table group has a name and they had to come up with a first name as well, for this exercise. Then they had to finish the sentence, "_______ _______ likes to ________." For example, "Larry Leopard likes to leap." It was SO cute to see what they came up with. On the first day of school, I had students draw a picture of themselves. For Open House I taped these up on the wall and had parents guess to see if they could figure out which picture was drawn by their student. It was pretty funny! All of their pictures are adorable. Later on I will laminate them and then give them to their parents at parent/teacher conferences.

The next couple of weeks will be interesting as I will be gone for 1.5 weeks starting next Thursday. While I'm looking forward to seeing friends and family, I'm dreading what my substitute will or will NOT decide to teach. =( I will spend the next few days not only packing for Montana, but also trying to get my room and lesson plans ready. Who would have thought taking time off would be so stressful?? My kiddos are really pretty good this year, so I think the sub will have an easy time of it (fingers crossed).

That's all for now. Love to all!