Monday, December 24, 2012

I Am SO Making These

Found this idea on Pinterest (where else?) and had to share! My idea will be simpler--the kids won't draw such intricate snowflakes, so they'll get to paint whatever they would like to leave white and we'll water color the rest. We happen to have cool silvers, blues, greens, etc. in watercolors (the cheap kind), so I think it will turn out well, especially as a project for two weeks of no curriculum. The full tutorial for the project (and all the credit for the idea) comes from a blog called The Mayberry Sparrow.

The picture has an Amazon link
I have to say, preschool is MUCH more fun without a curriculum. It's like babysitting, and I can get all excited about silly things (like popsicle stick snowflakes and metallic paper coloring). Not to mention it's easier. I had all of our pre-k kids, which equaled ten. It was easy to give everyone my full attention, and listen to their stories, help with crafts, read fun snowmen books, etc. For "circle time" (more like a line with so few kids and no curriculum) I handed out parts to a snowman. There was a body (three pieces), two arms, two eyes, a nose, a hat, and a scarf, which equaled enough for each kid to have one (I also created this about five minutes before circle, so I thought it turned out well). We discussed how you build a snowman, and in what order, then each kid got to bring forward a piece of the snowman and put it together. Then we read The Biggest, Best Snowman, a book my mom used to read me when I was little. I actually brought it in from my home Christmas collection. The overall theme worked out far better than I had planned (especially for no planning whatsoever), and the kids loved it. They kept connecting ideas back to it for the rest of the day. I had a really great bunch of kids, which was incredibly lucky. They worked well together and we had no fights, no tears, no problems. The whole day was smooth as chocolate, and I even got out early.

The dramatic play area currently has a backdrop of snowflakes, snowmen, and white not-Christmas lights. I've added snow to the area, and I'll be stopping at Goodwill for cheap winter clothes for them to wear while playing in the "snow" as well. I don't have super up-to-date pictures of the area yet, so I haven't created a page, but I will soon (hopefully).

I can't wait for some of the other cool crafts I have planned! I'll update as we complete them (if I remember to take pictures).

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I'm a Teacher, I'm an Artist, I'm a Writer, I'm a...Plumber?

The list goes on and on. The things I do for my job that are not related to teaching, that is. (Discontinue reading if you have a weak stomach). Yesterday I cleaned up one of my students' puke in his cereal bowl. Poor guy had been sick all day, but without actual symptoms (such as throwing up what little lunch he managed to eat) we couldn't send him home, though we did call dad to let him know. Every day, I'm cleaning--I clean more at school than I ever have at home. My parents would be amazed. This job is also how I became an artist. Some of the stuff I draw--freehand, by the way--is pretty cool. I'm impressed with myself. I clean things, all the time. I'm an acting mechanic for Things That Don't Work, or Things That Accidentally Fell Apart But I Have No Idea Why, despite the fact that what I went to school for--psychology--has nothing to do with the mechanics of things other than the brain. Also, did I mention that I clean?

Speaking of cleaning, I now bring you to the point of this post. In our classroom, the kids have their own sink which they use to wash hands after bathroom, recess, before snack and lunch, etc. Their towels are extra biodegradable because we can't recycle them for sanitary reasons. So, if we're going to fill up landfills, it might as well be with cheap, easily-mushed up towels.

Do you get where I'm going with this? Easily-mushed up towels is key here.

Their sink has been clogging quite a bit the past few weeks, which I'd noticed before. Not really my job to clean it, so I figured we'd let someone higher up know and it'd get taken care of. Not so. Instead, I found myself hunting down a screw driver when one of my students told me that there were paper towels in the drain. Which, of course, were stuck underneath. Which brings us to the screwdriver.

Which brings us to the most disgusting sight I've ever seen.

Seriously, I almost threw up like my poor flu-victim. It was nasty! I wish I'd taken a picture, just so I could prove how gross this drain was. It was COMPLETELY plugged up with dissolved paper towels, mold, slime, sludge, or whatever you want to call it. No matter what it was, it was disgusting. And I spent half an hour cleaning it out, making our drain good-as-knew. Sort of. It still needs some work, but that requires a real plumber. Someone who actually has experience with that kind of thing. For now, it makes a good story. I'm considering cleaning out someone else's drain just so I can add a photo to this post. If I can brave the grossness.

Thank goodness for gloves.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

More Leaking Frustration About My Turkey

My mom heard my entire rant about having to take down my Turkey. That really wasn't my best moment, and I'm still pretty bitter about it. Anyway, she forwarded this email to me. I would like to state that these are not my opinions, nor did I write the following. I am copying it directly from an email. I just find it worth sharing.

Subject: Lighting of the Christmas Tree!


Dear Friends,

On Monday, I hosted the lighting of the Christmas Tree that is inside our Capitol building...and yes, I do call it a Christmas Tree!
In my first year as Governor, I issued an Executive Order that encourages the celebration of Christmas and Hanukkah and prohibits any censorship of these religious holidays. I encourage you to read and share the executive order with your family and friends by clicking here.
As you may know, in the past, state and local officials in Arizona (and elsewhere) have attempted to strip Christmas of its meaning, including establishment of policies forbidding state employees from placing religious items of celebration at their desks, and re-naming Christmas trees as “holiday” trees.

Under my administration, I call things what they are and will gladly allow Christmas be celebrated at the State Capitol. Please click here to go to my Facebook page and comment if you agree! I encourage my colleagues and fellow elected officials across the nation to do the same.

Yes, Merry Christmas everyone!

Jan Brewer
Governor of Arizona



©2012 JAN PAC. Paid for by Jan PAC and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

Monday, November 19, 2012

What a Rainy Day

For those of us who are "lucky" enough to live in Western Washington (specifically the Seattle area), we know that today was HORRIFYING in terms of rain. I think it let up twice that I saw, and the rest of the day was dreary, dark, and deep! I'm referring to the puddles with that last one. And the flooding.

When we closed the blinds for naptime, the room got DARK! I mean, normally it gets darkER, but it isn't too dark to see. Today, it was. We couldn't work during naptime because of the lack of light. That's how horrible the weather was. That, and we didn't have recess AT ALL today because trees were falling down and the wind was too strong, power was going out in other schools and stores, and there was lightning.

If you've ever worked with kids, you know what that means. No run-around time!!! What a frightening thought. By the afternoon, the kids were going crazy, so I had to do some fast-thinking and find an activity that kept them busy and also constructive.

For a bit, I worked on paper snowflakes--yep, it's that time of year already, and I sort of go snowflake-crazy every year--but that didn't interest everyone. Plus, the boys were a bit rowdy. So instead, we had a...DANCE PARTY!

It was brilliant. I taught the kids the Macarena--I need to find a slower version of it--and we played Call Me Maybe, a few Kidz Bop songs, and we danced around the room. It wound up being pretty fun, the kids loved it, and it kept them running around the way I wanted--not into each other. And not literally waving their hands above their heads while making obnoxious noises (it actually happens in real life, as I've discovered). Tomorrow, if it happens again (even if it doesn't since it's relaxed curriculum), I'll probably introduce FREEZEDANCE. You play a song, they dance, and when the music stops...everybody freeze! Then it starts again and you dance again. Sounds fun to me and I'm 22.

No Such Thing as Thanksgiving

I have a couple things to write about today. I'll start with Thanksgiving. Because, of course, I'm still bitter about this.

Friday was not a good day for me. I woke up in a bad mood and drove home in tears after a flat tire (it was the final straw, really). I won't go into why it was bad, but part of it was the stress of having to take down my (beautiful) turkey and find something else for the dramatic play to last three days. My turkey was cute, by the way, and very colorful (hello! Color month!).
Isn't he adorable?!?!?

Anyway, AFTER I put him up I found out that I can't have turkeys up during the week of Thanksgiving, because apparently the holiday doesn't exist. Not in our school, anyway. The reasoning is that we have too many different cultures and we might offend one of them by celebrating our holidays.

Okay, here is where liberal BS gets to me. Honestly, I'm a pretty open-minded person, and I appreciate a lot of different opinions that are liberal. This is not one of them. The way I see it, I don't travel to other countries and expect them to change their culture to avoid offending mine, and other shouldn't come into this country and expect us to change our culture. I see it as basic human courtesy.

Anyway, I don't want to go into a massive rant, I just thought I'd make this bit of my opinion known, since it is my blog. Besides, Thanksgiving is a holiday where we celebrate others coming into this country and having peaceful relations with the locals!

See? Still bitter.

One bright spot in my day on Friday was something that a lot of people I think wouldn't even notice. It was one of those small acts of kindness that you don't necessarily notice every day, but I think I did that day because I was in such a horrible mood. On my way to work, I was driving through Issaquah and I was of course stopped in the traffic light traffic. Who doesn't get stopped there? I was kind of glaring out the window, listening to some song rather than singing it, and reading shop signs. A woman was walking on the sidewalk in the same direction as I was going, and she passed this shop whose door was one direction and a pillar another. Behind the pillar (out of sight of the door) was their newspaper. She walked by it, then paused, turning back. She walked back to move the newspaper where the shopowners could see it.

I'm not saying that what this woman did was an amazing feat of kindness or anything, but I think that most people wouldn't have stopped. How often have you considered doing something simple and decided not to because it seemed like too much effort at the time? I can't even count that (mostly it's picking up my room or putting dishes in the dishwasher when the sink is so much closer). I also think most people wouldn't have even thought of moving the newspaper. I probably wouldn't have.

It's these small acts of kindness that make the world a better place. The woman didn't do it for thanks (since how would they even know someone was kind to them?). I found it inspiring, and I want to be more like that woman. I'm trying to incorporate small kindnesses into every day now.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Daylight Savings Did Not Work

Normally, the closer I get to work, the lighter it gets outside. I feel like this is a fairly regular phenomenon for most people, especially if you have an early shift. However, today was different. Rather than waking up in the dark with the sun rising as I drive, today I woke up while it was still light (I slept in...not enough sleep last night) and drove into the dark.

Such is the joy of living in western Washington. It just so happened that today, it was not raining at home. Seattle area had, in a change from their normal weather, heavy rain. So i got to drive into a big, dark, raincloud. Yay!

The day got worse as it progressed (starting out with me being half an hour late to work due to horrific traffic--an hour's worth!), but I like to think I'm a pretty optimistic and cheerful person. I made light of it, enjoyed watching humorous videos with my coworkers during lunch, and did my best not to lose my patience with some of the kids. That was the hardest part.

I learned today that recently in the Seattle area, a man went into a bank and told them to put all their twenties on the counter, took one and then waited outside for the police to come and arrest him. And that this is happening all over the country. I may complain sometimes, but at least I have a warm house to go home to, a full-time job, a college education, food, and a family. What am I complaining about?

So I've decided to do my best to keep my petty complaints to myself and be grateful for what I do have. After all, it is almost Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


I feel like this particular quote needs to be predicated with an explanation. One of my students loves to sing and dance--which I encourage, since I do too. I would like to say right now that I only play Kidz Bop versions of certain songs, unless they're clean. On that note, every single day, without fail, this girl asks for me to play the Starships song, the Maybe song, and the Gumastyle song. Translation: Starships by Nicki Minaj, Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen, and Gangnam Style by psy.

I've always thought it an interesting playlist for her.

Anyway, every time she sings the Maybe song (which is her favorite), she changes the lyrics. Sometimes, it'll be pretty close to the real ones, but not usually. Yesterday's lyrics were so funny, I had to write them down! Here is her mondegreen (aka misheard lyric):
I've also recorded her singing a few times on my phone. I'm not sure if I'd be breaking privacy laws by posting it, so for now I won't.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Best Part of Waking Up...

Shania in the morning is the only thing that motivates me for the day.

I've tried other music. I have about a bazillion CDs in my car from which to choose, and you'd think that with such a selection i'd have no problem finding something suitable; wrong. Even after a full breakfast and two cups of coffee none of it works.

And believe me, I need my energy! Even now I'm still amazed at how some of these kids can run and yell all day long. Did I used to do that?

The answer is yes. Yes I did. My mother insists it's payback.

She's probably right too. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween, AKA "Harvest Festival"

While we can't technically celebrate Halloween, we can (and do) dress up--because we're allowed to dress up any day of the year we'd like, we just all coincidentally dress up on the same day that Halloween also happens to be. Also, there's no telling the kids they can't wear their cool trick-or-treat costumes.

Initially, I was going to be a ladybug. My tutu was too late, however. So today, I had to improvise, and it's a good thing I did! My costume was cheap (and by cheap I mean free), easy, and fun! The kids loved it.

I'm a preschooler! With a wand...
On Monday and Tuesday I also spent some time creating a picture backdrop, which turned out really well. We hung it up in our windows and took pictures of the kids in their costumes in front of it, which will go out to parents by the end of the week. It was a huge success!

Imagine the trees closer together and bats in front of the moon
We had an easy, quiet day, and I can't wait 'til the next holiday! :)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Beautiful Crowns

Today a few of the girls were making crowns for each other, playing princess and fairy. I thought it was cute, and encouraged them to continue being generous and kind to each other. Little did I know that it would result in one girl coming up to me with a crown her friend had made for her, proudly showing how it stayed on her head all by itself! Upon closer inspection, I came to realize that the girls had, in fact, glued the crowns to their foreheads (and hair). It was so funny I didn't even mind the 15 minutes I spent trying to get their faces clean. It's things like this that make my job so totally worth it :).

Friday, October 5, 2012

A First Post

In starting a blog, I generally like to write a witty or clever "first post" for my blog, but in this case, I don't know that I even have one. So, I'll just explain my idea here.

Basically, I'm a relatively new preschool teacher in Washington state. I am leaving the location and name of the school out of my writing because of confidentiality purposes, and in addition if I ever mention a child, I won't refer to them by their actual name. Codenames will be given at random, and I obviously won't be posting any pictures of the kids without permission.

Not that it really matters. I really just wanted to get my ideas out to share with other preschool teachers who are new, stuck, or just browsing for ideas. Honestly, I'm not sure how teachers managed before the internet (and Pinterest!).

When I have the time, I'll share funny stories and quotes as they come to me, and I'll try to keep my blog as updated as my corner of the classroom!

Which brings me to my next point: my title. Upon my hiring, I was basically given a corner of the classroom (the dramatic play corner) and told to keep it up-to-date as far as the weekly theme went. I have other duties as well, but this was the one I was most excited about. A chance to create new art every week? I think yes!

So most of this will be dramatic play, circle time activities, and art projects according to the weekly theme as I have time and energy to update. Hope you enjoy!