Friday, November 1, 2013

Braggy Blog

So I know I said that posts would be few and far between, but we had some things happen this week and today that I just had to brag about.

Problem Solving Princess:  I have a little girl who is very sweet but kind of spacy.  I mean really out there.  She often refers to herself in the third person, she only draws pictures of princesses and talks about princesses and wants to read books about princesses.  From the beginning she has come up against every struggle (and there have been a lot...we're still working on her name facing the right way) with an attitude of helplessnes: "I just can't do it."  "I just don't know how to do that thing yet."  She has moments of pure candor that make me laugh.  She asked me to tie her shoe while we were walking down the hall, which I do not do because I only tie shoes when we've reached our destination, and my answer to her was, "I'll tie it later."  Her response was, "That sounds like you aren't going to do it."  Needless to say, this is a little girl who is used to every problem being solved by someone else, exactly when she wants it.  This week we've been doing activities with pumpkins (measurement, observing sink or float, etc...) and she easily had the largest pumpkin in the class.  Today I carried it outside for her because I didn't want it to SPLAT in the middle of the hallway, but once we got outside I made her do her own heavy lifting.  She was getting so frustrated with trying to pick it up and it tumbling down.  I saw her look around like she wanted to ask for help, but she was far off in the field, so she bent down and started rolling that pumpkin off to join the rest of the class.  After I died laughing, because the image is really just too cute for words, I was so proud of her.  Even tiny moments of problem solving are a huge milestone for this girl.

Choosing not to get angry (this time):  While painting our stained glass masterpieces in Art yesterday, I looked up and noticed a little girl who had a smudge of paint right under her nose.  It was placed in such as way as to resemble a Charlie Chaplin mustache, which made the art teacher and I snicker.  A few minutes later I look up to see another little girl with so much paint on her lower face and hands she looked like she had a black nosebleed.  She tried to say it was an accident, and the art teacher sent her to clean herself up.  When she got back, I could have been mean and told her that she was in double trouble - for doing that and for lying about it.  Instead, I pulled her over to the side and said, "I don't like what you did with the paint, but I will really be mad if you lie to me - did you do that on purpose?"  She looked sad and said, "I just wanted to make everybody laugh."  I hugged her and told her that is it is great to put a smile on people's face, but we don't have to make a huge mess for someone else to clean up to do it.  I showed her the silliest face I make (the Disgruntled Platypus from Runaway Bride), she giggled, I asked to only make silly faces with her face and not art supplies, and she got back to work.

Authentic, student-directed learning:  We were brainstorming words that begin with "F", and we were about to start brainstorming "G" when a kid (who was looking everywhere except where he was supposed to) noticed our potato plant.  We had suspended it in a jar of water, and it had started to grow roots, stems and leaves.  He was excited, and told everyone, "Hey!  Look at our tomato (yeah we're still mixing that up) plant!  It's got green!"  The teacher stopped and brought the plant over for everyone to see.  Then another little boy piped in and said, "You know what we should do with that?  We should put it in our science journals!"  About a week ago we had put our first structured entry into the journals using our ivy - we drew it and labeled the parts.  I guess it stuck with them because they all thought it was a great idea.  We left the word brainstorming for another day, passed out the science journals, and got to work.  My little boy wrote the words "Potato" and "Roots", and the princess mentioned above got all the labels on her page without me having to prod her and say, "Now write a p, now an o, write a t..."

Starting off November right - I am so thankful for this job and these kids.