Friday, January 15, 2010

It made my day

After 3 1/2 weeks of winter break (an extra week off compliments of tons of snow, bad roads and frigid temps) - the last week of it partnered with the stress of Bryan's layoff and another matter - plus Luke still waking in the middle of the night (but going back to his own bed), the last thing I wanted to do two days ago was go to kindergarten.

I really wanted to leave the noise (and what I suspected was certain chaos during indoor recess) to Zach's teacher. But, it was my commitment. My day to volunteer in class.

I went to school on Wednesday.

For the first 30 minutes, I enjoyed the quiet of the photocopier. Quiet compared to remaining almost exclusively indoors with 2 kids bouncing off the walls for 3 1/2 weeks.

After my quiet time, I returned to the classroom to help with centers. I enjoyed helping several of the children write a couple of words or practice letter sounds... Many showed me all the detail of the pictures they'd drawn, and I listened in as five children "read to a friend". I really enjoyed listen to Zachary read to two of his classmates! My previously "shy" child, is growing in both knowledge and confidence.

After centers, I took a group of four kids out to play a board game. The game was a challenging one where the kids had to name an item pictured and place it in its family (does the word end in "ing", "ail", "at"or "ock"?). After a couple of rounds, the kids were really beginning to understand and enjoy the game! I love a good "light bulb moment" (as my 8th grade Latin teacher would say), and watching each of those kids get it did not disappoint!

When the kids headed off to Library, I went back to my photocopying... My quiet.

Only to return to indoor recess! Which was not chaos at all. The kids played board games, while Mrs. H. and I did some work at her desk (and chatted).

After recess the kids had calendar time, discussed sentence structure, had math circle and did some work at their desks. I enjoyed just sitting in the room, quietly labeling puzzles while absorbing the different techniques Mrs. H. uses to teach and watching the kids process information.

One thing I really love about Mrs. H. is that she has a wonderful balance of firm, flexible and fun. She knows when and how each child needs to be redirected or corrected. She doesn't wage war over a child needing to sit rather than stand. She allows the kids the freedom and responsibility to take themselves to the restroom (or get a kleenex, marker, etc.) without asking permission first. She has fun little rhymes to get their attention or remind them of their responsibilities. She changes the scenery frequently - sitting on mats in back, circle in front, at their desks, centers, etc. I admire these things greatly... I have been taking notes all year, as these are areas of weakness for me!

I am impressed by how quickly the kids have moved from identifying letter sounds a few months ago to now counting dimes and forming sentences! A lot has been learned this school year. The kids have changed too. They understand Mrs. H., her rules, methods and expectations... I can't tell you how many times I heard her say, "I can't send you on to first grade if we don't..." I get the impression that these kids don't think they're newbie kindergartners anymore, they are preparing for first grade. (cue sinking heart)

Honestly... I asked Bryan a few times if he was sure he didn't want to go to school in my place on Wednesday. I really didn't want to go, but I am so glad I didn't miss it. The kids are amazing. Their teacher is amazing. Their growth and sweetness is amazing. School made my day on Wednesday.

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