Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ugh...dealing with the pain of abuse...

Over the three years of teaching I've had to deal with two cases of parent/guardian abuse. It is, by far, the hardest thing I've ever dealt with as a teacher. It breaks my heart to see these little babies, really, come to school bruised and battered. My most recent case (which I can't really talk about yet due to legal issues) hit me out of the blue. I would never have suspected the guardians of abusing my student. As a teacher, you do all you can to protect these students who spend their day with you. You work hard to provide a loving, caring, SAFE environment for them and you hope and pray that they have that same SAFE environment at home. When you find out they don't, it shatters your faith in people and makes you realize that your job is infinitely more important than it was before you found out...because that safe place you provide at school, as it turns out, might be the ONLY safe place they have to go.

My poor little student...I hope he/she is safe this weekend.


If you want to see the latest shots of my sweet students, check out my SCHOOL website. I've uploaded some shots from varying points in our school year. The latest is our foray into the world of solids/liquids/gas. We made "Oobleck" a non-Newtonian substance that is both a solid (when under pressure) and a liquid (when the pressures is released). The students had a GREAT time getting messy and learning about matter.

Conversation Buddies...

So, I've just started a non-verbal conversation buddy project in my class. You may think "non-verbal conversation"??? How does that work? Well, I've partnered my students up and given them a notebook and clipboard. Every day for 20 minutes they partner up and have a "written conversation" via their notebook. They have to "talk" via paper. It's been pretty funny thus far as students are getting used to writing down their conversations versus having them verbally. My plan is to collect their notebooks each week and read through them - to see how their spelling, punctuation and so forth are going. Additionally, I want to see what they're saying to each other. This gives me a peek into their unaware first grade psyche. So far I've seen lots of "love" notes about different students in the class, but here is my favorite from this past week. I'm still trying to digest it, to be honest. There's a lot going on here.

This is a boy/girl partnership. Let's call them "Abby" and "Ben". I've put the name of the responder in parentheses so you can keep track. Additionally, all other students' names have been changed.

Day #1:
"Do you have a boyfriend?" (asked Ben).

"NO!!! I am only seven, Ben! Why? Do you have a girlfriend, Ben?" (replies Abby)

"Heck no! What's wrong with you? Um, I dare you to go to the restroom on top of the slide, then play on the playground, then run home." (dares Ben)

"NO! I will get in trouble. No way! Ben - I dare you to kiss Jamie." (replies Abby)

"No!...YOU kiss Jamie. Go lick the white board." (replies Ben)

"No, why don't you??" (asks Abby) "And go kiss Princess NOW Ben."

"I will kick your monkey butt!" (says Ben).

Day #2:
"Abby, go steal one of Mrs. Eklund's slinkies (sp), if you do I will buy you a slushie, I promise." (dares Ben).

"Ben, kiss Jennie, please Ben! I will be your friend, I will buy you a slushie, I promise."

"Abby, why don't you go get one of Mrs. Eklund's whiteboard markers and rub it all over your little mouth? I DARE you!" (says Ben)

"NO WAY! That would be mean. You love Emma. I'm going to tell her. Emma loves you, Ben, go kiss her." (threatens Abby).

"You go lick Emma's lips." (says Ben).


And so it goes on and on and on... ;) Very interesting conversations thus far. It looks like I have some talking to do with these two kiddos. I'm surprised at some of their comments and after reading the rest of the classrooms notebooks, these two are by far my most verbal. The rest of the class had comments about their favorite books and colors and animals and movies and etc. Nothing as provocative or outright flirtatious as these two. The rest of their notebook, to date, is filled with this contentious back and forth flirtation. These two clearly "like like" each other. It's pretty funny. Ben actually makes the comment later that he's sick of Abby talking about other people..."we should just talk about each other." Oh man. Love in first grade?? These parents are in for it!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

"Do You Believe in Me?"....a powerful message for all teachers...

My favorite video....when I need to be reminded of why I teach, when the bureaucracy gets too much...I watch this video. :) Enjoy!!