Posts Tagged With: emergent curriculum

British (preschool) Invasion

My preschool keeps “daycare” hours because it’s a Reggio-inspired school…this means school in the summer…it’s fun though, because each week is themed out like summer camp.
This week is ‘Globetrotters’ and the country we’ve chosen is the UK.

The Anglophile in me is squealing and clapping like a little girl!

This morning discussed why Great Britain has so many names and that the flag is called the Union Jack. We looked at photos of Her Majesty, Big Ben, and of course, the iconic red double decker buses.
I’m teaching them a bit of British slang, (Only age appropriate things like. ‘loo and ‘telly’.) and introducing them to a musical genre called Punk. (Though not enough to have to explain anarchy…)
I’m wearing my Union Jack Chucks all week!

At our ‘Parade of Nations’ on Friday, my friends will be “riding” in the double decker bus they’ll make this week.

Some days I know my co-teacher and I have more fun than our students…this week will be five of those days! Though, one of our little friends, in a fairly decent English accent said: Excuse me sir, could I please use the loo?
(I’m already “chuffed”!)

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pretty great Robybird week

I took the day off to do estate stuff…which included me going to the antique coin shop, an antique shop and going to the bank.
As it turns out, the coins Daddie had are pretty much worthless above face value. Some of the old dimes are worth about a dollar and ten cents and the Kennedy half dollars are worth about two dollars because of the silver content. (Um, OK…thanks.)
The girl at the antique shop told me they do buy silverware and handmade lace, the owner wasn’t in the shop today, and she does the buying, but I can call her and set up a time to come in if I’d like. (Super…thanks.)
The bank was a bit more successful, but not exactly what I was expecting.
I’m so over “estate stuff” I could scream.
My brother, who complains he’s three thousand miles from home and miserable, is selling off all my Dad’s woodshop and mechanic tools and using the money to buy heroin. (Awesome.) Then he’s up my ass about what I am and am not getting done. (Oh I’m sorry, does the fact I work full time keep me from getting stuff done and that displeases you? Well too damn bad for you. Go back from whence you came…I’m sure I can handle this without your input.)
Of course he can’t go back to the west coast because he hasn’t any money…so I’m stuck with him and his crap attitude. I believe he expects a big payday when all is said and done…well that’s not going to happen.
It’s OK because I’m going about my business and doing what needs to be done for my life and the estate. I’ve spent forty one years worrying about him and I think it’s time for me to stop. It’s hard though, because I can’t just say: I’m going to need for you to get it together. He hasn’t gotten it together in forty one years…and that’s his issue not mine, it’s just easier for me to ignore it when he’s there and not here.

On a more positive note, I’m feeling really great about my new classroom at school and I’m absolutely mad about my co-teacher. She and I work beautifully together! We have similar points of view but come at things from different places, so we compliment each other well. She came from a four year old class and I came from a two year old class, so we’re meeting in the middle with these three year olds. I know where they’re coming from and she knows where they’re headed and we are successfully combining our know how to make a great classroom. I’m so pleased with the progress we’ve made in two short weeks. It makes me love being a preschool teacher again.

I’m going to watch a bit of Baltimore baseball…my Nationals are having a respite tonight after kicking the asses of the Rockies three times this week. I love that I’ve helped YBW learn to like baseball…even if the heat was unbearable Tuesday night, I got my Nats blankie and I was happy. YBW said, I don’t normally like to sweat this much unless there are orgasms involved. I just cackled and folks looked at us but I didn’t care, I was with my own precious darling watching my favorite game. And we won!
What a great Robynbird week!

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if wishes were horses, beggars could ride

Yesterday was hard and I felt quiet. YBW celebrated with Thing C and Thing G and we went to his nephew’s graduation party. I was quiet, I drank water and ate a tiny spoonful of banana pudding. We went home and watched a movie all snuggled together on the sofa before the boys went back home to their mom’s. (It’s her week.)
When the boys left, YBW hugged me and asked was I sad, was I thinking about my dad. No, not sad, no, not really thinking about my dad in the context of Father’s Day…I can’t stop thinking about him…about the mess he left behind…about how much work it is to clean it up and how much I don’t want to clean it up.

I got home from school right about 4:00 on Friday, went upstairs, took off my shoes, then my britches and before I could put on new ones, I fell asleep on my bed. YBW came home (I don’t know what time it was.) and checked to see if I wanted to get up. I tried and couldn’t…I just kept sleeping. He came back a few hours later asking if I wanted dinner. No thank you, and back to sleep. I got up at 8:00 and got a drink of water pulled my jammies on and went back to bed. I slept straight through till 8:00 Saturday morning.
I just want to stay in my bed all the time.

This is my last week in my classroom…I move to a new classroom in a different age-group next week…I came here and completely salvaged the two year old program and now have been asked to do the same for the three year old program. So when I clean up this mess…will I have salvaged myself out of a job?
There is a part of me that is eager to get it underway, the transformation of space and ‘wrangling’ of children, creating a sense of community…a classroom family if you will.
YBW told me it’s what I do best, organize and restructure and make it run smoothly…he says I like to see the progress. He’s right. I’m just not sure now is the best time…
What I do know is this: I’ll be successful and satisfied.

Sundance and I are currently texting, asking how the other is we each respond with: ‘Same as it ever was.’ I then wrote: ‘I’m so sick of same as it ever was. Yet I dread change.’ (I’m going to need for you to get it together, Robynbird.)

Today is the first day of a thirty day cleanse…my body has suffered my indifference long enough and needs to be taken good care of. I spent a goodly bit of money without much thought…but it felt right when I considered it. It’s not about weight as much as my health and way my clothes fit…this is about losing inches as well as weight…bring on the inches! (Well, take away the inches, but you know what I mean.)

My dad used to say: If wishes were horses, beggars could ride.

That’s cool, Daddie, but I’m going to wish and ride and eventually feel better in the process. Perhaps the cleansing of my body will somehow promote the cleansing of my soul?

Categories: me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

becoming my very best self

Taurus horoscope for December 29, 2013
You are evolving, Taurus. You are beginning to blossom into your very best self. You have experienced a lot of lessons recently, and you have learned them well. Now it is time to transcend who you were, and become who you really are. You will be able to forget the past, and to let go of any mistakes or wrongs you still feel guilty about. Don’t fight it. Don’t let guilt drag you down. Let go and move forward. Allow yourself to evolve and to become the best you that you can be.
(Yeah, I’ve been trying to write this for more than a few days.)

After the chaos of 2013 I’m ready to become the best me that I can be.
There are a few circumstantial things in my favor…I’ve found a doctor who is helping make strides to improve my physical and emotional health. I have a safe and loving home and I’m surrounded by good, strong loving people for whom I’m eternally grateful. I have a job that no matter how frustrated and exhausted I feel is ultimately rewarding.
Possibly the most important circumstance is that Thing 2 has come back to me. The ease this brings me is immeasurable. There were several tearful phone conversations which included her saying, ‘not to sound hypocritical, but who wouldn’t want you to be their mommy?’ and ‘I was selfish and stupid.’ and ‘I just need you to help me.’ These conversations also included me saying, ‘I will always help you, baby.’ and ‘that’s why you have a mommy.’ and ‘I love you and will always do my best to keep you safe.’

She’s coming home to us later this week. Sundance and I are over the moon, Girlie Thing is too…YBW seems hesitant. He watched what I went through, but he was also very hurt by her too…I sense he is worried about her but concerned about what it will be like for her to be here. I hate that. I am ready to move on. My forgiveness is vast and all encompassing. This is not to say I have forgotten the way it felt, but I know what’s important, and to me that means healing and moving forward with love and understanding. I believe that’s where he is too, but I can’t seem to shake the fretty feeling.

In addition to these circumstantial things, I’m beginning to feel less as though I’m in survival mode and more as though I’m beginning to be able to govern the events of my life. I’m tired of feeling guilty and angry. I’m ready to let all that go and embrace peace. It’s funny, I’m sensing a “new year’s” sort of theme…I’m not the resolution kind of girl, but I’m feeling inclined to welcome change. Something’s got to give. I can’t keep going the way I was.

I got a brand new do yesterday and the metaphorical weight I lost with that cutting of hair was more freeing than I could have imagined…not to mention it’s pretty adorable.
I am revisiting that Robynbird as phoenix-like feeling…and making big plans as I move into 2014…(But not really resolutions.)
This morning I read an article posted on facebook by a guy I grew up with, about goals vs systems…it made good sense to me…designing and maintaining a system for doing what you want instead of setting goals and holding yourself to an unrealistic standard…it fits nicely into my big plans and I plan to embrace it whole-heartedly.

Though the following are conceptually resolutions, I don’t consider them as such…to me they’re promises I’m making to myself to assist my move from survival mode to my very best self…it feels like less pressure that way…this isn’t something to crow about or to wear like a badge, it runs deeper than that, I am honoring me and don’t really care what it looks like from the outside.

I promise to be more aware of what I put in my body, to be mindful of my physical health and strength.
I promise to get behind my brand new camera once a week.
I promise to write with purpose twice a week.
I promise to give my preschool students the best age appropriate curriculum I can create.
I promise to be truly present with my family.
I promise to devote the time and attention my own school work deserves.
I promise to trust my gut and ignore my logic.
I promise to put myself first without guilt.

No more half-assing my life. I will be the best possible me because it is time. My time. I promise.

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(love can be both) right-way-round and upside down

I taught a lesson plan earlier this week from a book called ‘Henry and Amy (right-way-round and upside down)’.

henry and amy

This is a book about friendship, specifically a friendship of opposites attracting and helping each other see the beauty of right-way-round as well as upside down.
I used this book in my month-long lesson plan revolving around manners, friendship, and being helpful. We’ve been discussing “good manners”, you know, please and thank you and as one of my precious friends points out, I’m sorry. I’m not as big a fan of I’m sorry…but I’m working with what I’ve got.
We’ve also been discussing helpful hands and feet…did you know helpful hands hold doors for friends or helpful feet don’t kick books?
My little friends do! It’s been a fun and interesting process and I think they’re finally starting to really understand because our director held the door for us this afternoon as we went outside to the playground and one friend said, “Look! Miss Brynn has helpful hands!” And then I heard a chorus of “thank you(s)” even from one little dude who was so busy thanking her he walked into the doorjamb.

‘Henry and Amy’ was one of Thing 2’s favorite books when she was a little girl, she and I would read it over and over with hugs and giggles.
Oh how I wanted to call her when I got home to tell her all about it…but I didn’t.
I’m being respectful of her feelings. I’m acting upon her request.
Golly it was hard. I wanted to share that day with her in ways I don’t even yet understand and I honestly believe she would have loved it.

But here’s the thing: it didn’t hurt.
Yes I was sad, but the memories of Thing 2 and ‘Henry and Amy’ were happy. They moved me into my higher brain…where I was safe and happily swimming around in memories of my sweet little girl.

It was a great day!
It was a great lesson plan.
The activity that followed reading the book and our discussion was spectacular, and when we met again to read the book after the project was finished, my little friends were invested in ‘Henry and Amy’ and they’re beginning to understand the value of helpful friends.

And one day…one day…when she’s ready, I will be happy to share the experience of this day with Thing 2.

Categories: education, love, on being a mom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

preschool might be fun after all

I finally got my classroom set up in a way I feel will be successful for the friends and for me.

art center in the foreground

art center in the foreground

manipulatives, books and the cozy corner

housekeeping, cozy corner, books, and manipulatives

raspberry scented playdough on the table, block center, and housekeeping

raspberry scented playdough on the table, block center, and housekeeping

I’m slowly adjusting to the new way of being…no more tears, but I meet with the director a LOT! You know how Gandhi said, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”?
Yeah, that’s me. I wasn’t ready to be the lightning rod of change, but the mantle has been draped upon me so I’ll do my best to rock it.

YBW says, “You are a F*&#ING ROCKSTAR!”
My internal jury is still out on that, but it sure is good to hear!

Categories: education, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

preschool is not as fun as I remember

First week at my new preschool and instead of feeling overjoyed, I just want to cry.

This process of adjusting is never easy for me but I am especially struggling with adjusting to this new school. Part of the problem is the school isn’t exactly what it claims to be…Reggio inspired emergent curriculum, conscious discipline…it means well, but it surely isn’t meeting my expectations based on what I was sold.
I’m being assured by the director and compliance manager I’m exactly what they want and need…I’ll bring to the table everything that is lacking as well as my passion and energy for young children. Only I don’t want to reinvent the wheel…I want to teach two year olds, not train staff!
If only my friend and mentor could come spend time here…these people could seriously use her expertise.

I’m struggling with how to process these conflicting feelings…how to find balance between my desire to teach young children and my serious concerns about this new school.
Am I overreacting? (I’m not above admitting it’s quite possible.)
I know I’m having trouble getting my groove on.

I’m not sure how to talk to YBW about this, not that he wouldn’t be a good listener because he would, but I’m afraid I’d feel the need to over-explain everything so he could sort of…I don’t know…catch up?
Maybe I don’t want him to know how unhappy I am. I’m not exactly sure he would understand that it isn’t a reflection of him.

Perhaps I don’t want to consider how unhappy I actually am.

It isn’t the move or being away from Thing 2…though both of these impact me every single day.
Being here has made me feel as though I belong for the first time since I had to leave my first SC home. I am safe and I am loved.
Thing 2 and I are good too. We talk often and text and she’ll be back in two weeks!

I really am so very unhappy about this job.
Whoa! That was VERY important! The fact I used the word ‘job’ and not ‘school’ is seriously telling. I’ve never thought of teaching two year olds as work…I went to school every day…this is me thinking of it as a job. Must pay attention.

I know I need to allow myself more time to adjust.
I’m not ready to throw up my arms and “rage quit”. (Thing 2ism)
My desire to see what can be is very big…my stubbornness is ready to fight for what I hope this can end up being.
But honestly, I just want to lie in my cocoon and cry, because something inside of me knows this isn’t right. And quite possibly won’t ever be.

Gotta breathe.
And just keep breathing.

Categories: education, me | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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