Today was our first adventurous day without the help of Ms Dallas. She is extremely important to our school family but I am happy to announce that we made it ! WE MADE IT ! For over 15 years I did family home care alone with 10 kiddos. It wasnt hard at all. At some point after Randy and I got married his mother got terminally ill and we decided he would work with me for a while and we expanded to include 16 children. After his mom passed we just kept trucking along the same way. About 9 years ago I applied for Arkansas Better Chance funding. Along with the funding came a pay cut . much more daily preparation and some out of town required trainings. We needed help. Ms Dallas was a mommy volunteer and we found she really liked being here and she was good. Eventually she became one of us and now works Monday – Friday 8- 1230. When the children get laid down for nap she leaves. Its a huge help. Its amazing how much you forget what you used to do and rely on the extra help. Days like today are good for Randy and I to remember that we can still handle it and we are a great team.
During breakfast today I read the story Chrysanthemum .
Chrysanthemum, a cheerful and guileless young mouse, loves everything about her perfect name. And then she starts school. Each day a trio of disdain- ful mouse girls—Jo, Rita, and the leader of the pack, the domineering Victoria—tease and taunt her mercilessly about the unsuitability of her name. Chrysanthemum wilts. Chrysanthemum’s shattered psyche is repaired by Mrs. Twinkle, an “indescribable wonder” of a music teacher, who reveals to the class her own long, flower-based name: Delphinium.
This is an ideal break-the-ice book for the first week of school. Not only does it get children thinking about and bonding with their own names and the names of everyone else in the class, but it is a fine vehicle for starting a discussion about treating class- mates with tolerance, kindness, and compassion.
As we read the story each time the children in the class said something mean or unkind to Chrystanthemum Mr. Randy would take and crumble the read painted heart. We talked about how the mean words hurt Chrysanthemum. As I read the kids would say ” Ms DEBBIE!!! HES WRINKLING THE HEART !” When the book was over we tried to make the heart look crisp and new. We couldnt get the wrinkles out. I think the kids really understood.
There are some great ways your can extend this learning at home. Ask what if Mrs. Twinkle had not come to Chrysanthemum’s rescue? What could Chrysanthemum have done to get the girls to stop badgering her? What can you do to help a friend when someone is being unkind ? ( Play with them. Help them breathe. )
During Circle time we played Simon Says . I gave the kiddos large cardboard cut outs with their names on them.
Simon says.. stand on your name. Simon says… jump up and down with your name.
Put it high about your head
Put it on your forehead
Jump on one foot with it
Twirl in a circle
Children are kinesthetic learners. Doers…
At some point in the day we also read ” Shubert Rants and Raves. ” Shubert is our conscious discipline mascot. He got angry today. He got BUG CRAZY MAD. His teacher helped him to calm down by breathing. His friends wished him well. This was a small introduction to our next calm down technique with is
T Take a Deep Breath
We strengthened our fine motor skills today by covering the first letter of our name with star stickers.
I was miraculously able to get a couple more sections of the DIAL 3 down. Today we did articulation and concepts. In articulation I was listening for any speech delays or difficulties. For the concepts section I would show the kids a picture of an object what is it ? ( Apple ) What do you do with it ? ( Eat it. )
Mr Randy started telling his Dooney , Bird and Onion stories today. Randy has been telling these stories for years. I dont even know which ones are real anymore. The kids love them. Dooney , Bird and Onion are his cousins who are now in their 60’s. The kids think they are 4.
When you pick up or drop off look up in the tree. Mr Randy has added some whimsy. Its a little hard to see in the picture but I love it !
I love the letters you guys sent back !
Has your child talk to you about our ” voice levels ?”
1. Is a whisper.
2. Is a quiet talking voice .
3. Talking to a group so you can be heard !
4. Loud ( outside )
5. Yelling ( outside )
I am all about visuals this year. On our table we have golden 2’s to remind us to display good manners and keep our voices at a level 2. When it gets too loud we may take it down to a 1 until we all can get control of our voices. I initiated this last year while visiting Northside when I noticed they do something similar. I dont adopt many of their practices because well… we arent kindergartners yet and cant be expected to act like one but this one thing I thought I could translate to work in our home.
( Did you notice new name tags on the table ? They are there to help with name recognition and to help us keep our groups together. We have two groups that travel outside together and this organizes us a little more. If you see blue lines under a child’s name that simply means they need a blue cup. Blue cups are for kiddos that are lactose intolerant. Another organizational tool we are using to simplify our day. )
We also started writing in our journals today !
It was a good day. We showed Monday how it should be done.