Welcome to kindergarten! Join me as I share my experiences in the classroom, my professional learning and reflections and my love of teaching. Teaching is an exciting journey - come along as I share mine!

Friday, March 31, 2017

Pile People

It's hard to believe it's the last day of March already! I want to sincerely thank the Two Writing Teachers Gang for all of the work involved in hosting the Slice of Life Challenge.  I am thankful to be involved each March.  

I was eating lunch with my kindergarten team this week and the topic of keeping a clean house came up.We were talking about the art of the pile, or piles, in some cases. Here's what I have noticed: it's all about the piles.

There are 6 different types of pile people.

The 1 Pile Person:
I have one pile of mail on the counter that I will be sorting and putting away as soon as the children go to bed this evening. This is a very small pile and is always gone by the end of the day.
I may have been this person briefly before marriage and children.

The 2 Pile Person:
I have one pile of mail and one pile of child or work papers.  The mail pile will be taken care of each week when the bills are paid.  The child/work pile will be dealt with during the week as well, as deadlines approach and paperwork needs to be turned in or completed.  These piles are generally small and come and as frequently as each day.
I was this person after marriage and before children.

The 3 Pile Person:
I have one pile of mail.  I have one pile of paperwork that I need to do something with soon.  I have one pile of stuff I don't think I can throw away but I don't know where to put.  These piles can be of various sizes.  These piles can be shuffled from place to place or be hastily tossed into baskets before company arrives.  But...these piles don't go away.  They rotate, they increase and decrease in height, but they do not leave.
This is me now. I work hard to limit the piles to this amount so that I can at least maintain them.

The I Know I Have That In a Pile Somewhere Pile Person:
I have more piles than I can count.  At one point, they were somewhat organized for a day or two.  There are typically too many piles to maintain any organizational system and for this reason, I have given up.  When asked to locate something, I begin looking in the closest pile and make my way through all them until I find the needed item.  I am the person that needs extra copies of things sent home from school.  I am the person who needs second reminders because I probably lost that paper in one of these piles, but it's probably maybe here somewhere.
I know people like this and it drives me crazy.  I am slightly too OCD to have this many piles or to not know where things are. My piles are at least organized chaos.

The Horder Pile Person:
I am just one life tragedy past this ^^ person. I have many, many piles.  I started putting piles in baskets to clean the house for company, but I never emptied those baskets.  Then I needed to go buy new baskets because my old baskets were full of stuff.  Suddenly, I couldn't walk through my house and I ended up on a tv show.
Um...no.  Just no.

The I Never Have a Pile Person:
I have a spotless home. I have the ability to put things in their proper place at all times. I have been known to clean my cleaning supplies.  I might need a hobby.  I am one of the wonders of the world.
This will never be me. Ever. Not even if I tried and had nothing else to do with my life. I'm completely at peace with that.

My colleagues and I were debating how many piles we have.  I'm pretty sure I fall into the 3 Pile Person arena.  I have the pile of mail that needs to be handled or looked at.  I have the pile of kid stuff that is either waiting to be put away as a keepsake or to be thrown away after the kids are in bed.  I also have the "other" pile.  This is the pile of stuff I can't throw away but don't know where to put.  It ends up staying on the counter until company is coming and then it gets moved to a basket that lands on my bed.  Over the years this is the technique I've developed.  If I put it on the bed, I have to move it or deal with it before I can go to sleep.  If it's in my way, I'm more likely to deal with it.  If I use a laundry basket I will have to empty it before I can do laundry, and in a family of 6, that is pretty soon.

Which type of Pile Person are you? 

Thursday, March 30, 2017


what to do
when the words won't flow
when you've looked
but inspiration hasn't arrived

what to do
when the words won't flow
when you've stared
but the page is still blank

what to do
when the words won't flow
when you've thought
but the ideas just swirl

what to do
when the words won't flow
when you've hoped
but the miracle evades

what to do
when the words won't flow...
you just sit down
and write anyway

Wednesday, March 29, 2017


This little face turns 14 tomorrow.


How did that happen?  I truly feel like it was just yesterday that he was smiling this smile.
It was just yesterday when he was starting kindergarten and next year he will start high school.
I used to look down into his sweet face.  
Now I look up and see a young man where my baby once stood. 
This little face just asked me when he will take driver's training.


When you turn 30, my child. 
Maybe by then I will be able to wrap my head around how old you are.
Maybe by then.  Maybe not.

But, in spite of my unwillingness to see him grow up, we are going to celebrate 14 tomorrow. 
14 years of hugs and cheesy smiles.
Can't really beat that, now can I?

Happy 14th birthday, Bugaboo!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Tuesday Tunes

I was able to watch my girl up on stage tonight.  Life is so sweet sometimes.  There she was in her fancy dress, picked for tonight with great care, and her special tights, and shiny black shoes.  She looked so precious.  It's hard to remember she's eight sometimes!

The third grade performed several songs this evening for parents.  Each class took turns playing the instruments and/or dancing to the songs being shared. 

The "Treble Makers" group, a small ensemble of third grade musicians who have put in a little extra work outside of the school day, performed two songs as well.  My girl stood up there with her special group and she had the biggest smile.  She was so proud!

The kids were all amazing and they did such a great job -- it was a lot of fun to watch.  I think we are fortunate to have a music program with a music teacher that goes this extra mile for our students. I'm lucky to have my children in this district.  It was an evening to be proud, to celebrate my girl, and to enjoy our district and what we have to offer.

Rock on third graders! You were amazing!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Another One Bites the Dust

I have 24 kids in my class this year.  Maybe some of you are thinking that is a lot of kids.  Some of you might be thinking that number sounds nice compared to yours.  For me, it's a fairly high number.  The last few years we have been between 18-21, so this year when we were at 24 or 25 per kindergarten classroom we were a little in shock.  You wouldn't think that a couple more kids would make that big of a difference, but let me tell you, it does. 

Everything is louder, wiggly-er, more crowded, more giggly, more everything.  It takes longer to meet with all the reading groups because there are so many.  It's harder to hold writing conferences with each child because there are so many. 

But, every once in a while, a day like today comes along.  Now mind you, I don't wish any of my students to be ill, but it doesn't hurt my feelings when a couple are absent from time to time.  Recently, there have been several illnesses going around the school and the office has been more like a revolving door infirmary. 

This morning, as I took attendance, we counted three students who were absent.  This immediately takes my number down to the amount of students I had last year.  It felt nice, comfortable.

I couldn't help but think...

Another one bites the dust...

About forty-five minutes into our day, my amazing para professional gave me the heads up that one of my students had a red, gooey eye.  Yep, sure enough, it looked pretty bad.  I mentioned it to her and asked what was happening with it.  She immediately burst into tears.

A: My mom put eye drops in it this morning.

Me: Did you go to the doctor to check on it?  [fingers crossed that she had gone in over the weekend]

A: No.

Me: Can you tell me why you are crying?

A: It just really stings a lot!

Me: I think maybe you should head down to the office and have them check it out.

I called and gave the office a heads up and quickly got a call back saying A was going home.  We were all pretty sure it was pink eye.

And another one's gone...

Fast forward about thirty minutes.  I had paired up my now 20 students to do some partner reading.  All was going well, kids were reading like little rock stars.  Then...

M: I don't feel good.

Me: [feeling her forehead] You feel pretty warm.  How about you head down to the office and have them check to see if you have a temp.

M: [nodded up at me with the most ashen white face I've seen]

I called and gave the office a heads up and quickly got a call back saying M was going home.  She had a temp, an upset tummy, and a case of very pale and lethargic-ness.

And another one's gone...

Down to 19.

Fast forward about sixty minutes.  We were lining up, getting our hands cleaned with germ juice, and grabbing lunchboxes, when a the next kiddo was picked up early.  Luckily, she wasn't ill, but she was leaving for a doctor appointment.

And another one bites the dust...

Down to 18...and just like that...the magic started.  I'm convinced that 18 is the perfect number of kindergarten students in a classroom.  Everything flows better, everyone functions better, and everyone gets the 1-1 attention that they need.  Magical!

I couldn't get the soundtrack out of my head today, so here you go.  Now you get to enjoy it too!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

A Thorn in My Side

Day after day I slave away for you.
It never ends, does it?

Everyday I gather things for you.
I create things for you.

Evening rolls around and I'm so tired,
But you don't care, do you?

You still arrive every day without regard.
My feelings don't matter a bit!

Do you know how tired I am of taking care of you?
Planning for you? Preparing for you?

No matter; you just keep coming back.
Whether I want you to or not.

Why can't someone else deal with you for a while.
Just go away for a day or twelve.

A thorn in my side.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Baby Season

"Do you have any baby toys we could get out for Abby?" my sister-in-law asked me.

" Um...." I looked at my eight year old. "Do we Maddie?"

She stared blankly back at me and shrugged her shoulders.

"How about a doll for her?" my sister-in-law suggested.

I vetoed that idea before the American Girl dolls or Barbies were handed over.

We managed to dig up some plastic animals from the bin that used to hold baby toys but now holds Legos.  We managed to find one lonely board book from the book shelf that used to hold nothing but board books.

This exchange had me thinking.

There was a time when there were only baby toys in our house.  There was a whole shelf full of bins that held baby toys.  There was a whole shelf full of nothing but brightly colored board books.  There was a time when the dolls were soft and squeezable and there weren't Barbies with thousands of tiny accessories.  There was a time when the bins didn't hold Legos and tiny Playmobil toys.

There was a time when I didn't have to think about finding a safe toy or place to play because everything was safe. 

My how times have changed. We are in a different season in our house these days.  We are in a season where we don't have to worry about small pieces and parts.  We don't have to worry about plug covers or breakable items on low shelves anymore.

I think, as a parent, I was aware of the seasons changing.  I celebrated and enjoyed each season and each change to a new season.  Today it hit me just how far we have moved away from the baby season.  It's a little bittersweet.