Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tug of WAR!!!!

My principal went out and bought brand new jump ropes for the playground. They’re nice ones – long enough to play double-dutch and nice and sturdy. The children were delighted and they got lots of use the first day they were put out. Lots of jump roping and happy children.

And then….the “big boys” (2nd and 3rd graders, ha!) got a hold of them and decided they would make a good tug of war implement. Twenty “big boys” started tugging – and 5 (yes, you read that right) of my little firsties decided that it looked fun and they joined in.

Predictably, yard duty busted every one of them – EXCEPT the two of mine that ran away. The recess bell rang and I walk to the line-up spot to pick them up and I can hear YELLING and angry voices as I walk around the corner. I suppressed a sigh and brought my lovelies into the classroom to hear the whole sad story.  (I won’t bore you with repetition – just read the above paragraph with lots of first grade angst and you’ve got the jist of the conversation…) MY contribution to the conversation went something like this: “Dudes, weren’t you supposed to be playing JUMPROPE with the jumpropes? You joined a group of 20 big kids to pull the rope? What were you thinking?????” Etc, etc, etc. Nobody’s listening, I don’t know why I bother….they’re not mad they got busted – they’re made because 2 of them DIDN’T get busted.

 It is a fair comment to say that I grew tired of the conversation WAY before they did.

And because it was the same 5 kids (minus a  few others, which I was happy about) that I’m ALWAYS talking to about their playground behavior, I made them write a letter home regarding this and I changed their color card. The principal and yard duty had already told them to knock it off – And honestly, since I’m ALWAYS talking to my class about their behavior, YEAH, I was done…

So yesterday, after the entire class witnessed these 5 kids getting in trouble, I’m fairly confident that I no longer have to remind the children to use the jumpropes for their intended purpose – I mean, come on! If 5 kids got in trouble in your class, wouldn’t the rest of the class think, “WELL, I certainly won’t be trying tug of war anytime soon.”?

OH, NOOOOOOO!!!!! It’s lunch time, I’m eating my lunch – alone – without children – enjoying the quiet – when the door bursts open and in comes yesterday’s Famous Five to snitch-tell on-  REPORT that 5 more of my kids joined ANOTHER tug of war game! (And people, two of them were my GOOD KIDS! The other 3 were the kids that I was honestly surprised yesterday that they weren’t involved, so no surprise there.)

So, of COURSE the first Famous Five are breathlessly waiting to see what will happen to the next group that dared to play tug of war – and  HONESTLY, I’m so tired of this, I can hardly stand it. But you can’t tell that to first graders so….we had another conversation (see above…. Just add in a conversation over the intercom by our principal to underscore the point.

Oh, and add bored expressions by all 10 kids and them saying in their minds, “Mrs. M, BITE ME.” And you have the whole sordid tale.

Group 2’s notes home were WAY funnier than Group 1’s, though. One of them even drew a line and wrote next to it “Mom, Sine Here” (Okay, so “sign” wasn’t spelled correctly but he knew it was a long vowel! Hey, I’m looking for the positives as I can here!)

I am contemplating taking a sick day how to best remind my lovelies to use the jumpropes and plan on introducing some jump rope songs. I dug through my bookshelves and found a book with a bunch of them – I think this will be our P.E. lesson for the next few days.

One of the parents of the boys involved said to me, “You know you’ll miss them when school gets out.”  Yeah…………..maybe………………….

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Scholastic Book Club Problems - Any Ideas????

Hi all! Scholastic has been having some real problems the last couple of years with billing in their book clubs. Last year, a couple of teachers in my school had problems – this year, it’s my turn.

Way back in August, I sent in a huge order (a hundred dollars) to their book clubs. The checks never got credited to my account, although my books arrived and the parents (thankfully) got their books. I’ve gotten all kinds of “dun letters” demanding payment – which has already been sent in!

I’ve made several phone calls – and some of their personnel were helpful; others were more like, “Go away and leave us alone.” To make things worse, their billing department closes at 2:30 – and guess what time my kiddos and parents are finally out the door???? Yup, you guessed it – 2:30. I’m NEVER able to get to the phone in time to call them! Very frustrating!

Yesterday, I called AGAIN and demanded to talk to a supervisor. Enough is enough! I’m not ordering books from Scholastic because of this and, as I told the supervisor, I don’t plan on ordering books until they get this situation resolved! I’m hopeful that THIS time, things will really get resolved… we’ll see! One thing is certain: I’m NOT repaying this money!

Has anyone else out there had this problem? How did you resolve it? I’m very frustrated right now! I’ve heard that this has become a common problem! I’ll let you know what happens – to me and to others. In the meantime, I’m checking with Amazon to see if they have a book club service that I can use until Scholastic gets their act together! Thanks for letting me vent! 

Monday, March 19, 2012

A New Linky Party

Kindergarten Lifestyles is having a linky party, designed to help us get to know all about each other. I LOVE that idea! Go straight there and join the fun! 

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Good Couponing Site - and an Award!

Hi everyone! I know there a lot of us out there that are couponers! I just was told about a new site devoted to Southern California couponers but it has a lot of information and coupon links that would work for anyone. The site is called Southern Cali Saver and you can go there here: I hope you find this link as helpful as I did!

Spring break is ending and I go back to school Monday. I’ve enjoyed my vacation and wish I had another week! The weather was beautiful and I planted a few plants – a couple of “guinea pig” tomato plants: It’s a little early but the way the weather has been, who knows? I also planted some onions and garlic. Anyone else out there doing some planting? What have you planted?

In other news, Barb (over at It’s About Time, Teachers) awarded me the Lovely Blog Award! Thank you so much! If you haven’t seen her website, you really should! It’s marvelous and full of information for our classrooms! 

The rules for the Lovely Blog Award are:
1.      Link back to the blogger who gave it to you (done!)
2.      Pass the award onto 15 other lovely bloggers.
3.      Follow the person who sent it to you (done!)
So here are 15 lovely bloggers that make my life easier and that I love to visit!

There could easily be more than this but rules are rules! Take a look at these wonderful lovely blogs and you’ll see why I chose them for the Lovely Blog! 

Friday, March 9, 2012

George Ella Lyon

As you all know, last Friday was our presentation on George Ella Lyon for the Charlotte Huck Literature Festival. It went really well and I’m relieved to have it over! Our audience was very complimentary and my principal was impressed with both the children’s hard word and our presentation. We represented our school well!

We got to meet George Ella Lyon too! Okay, I’m about to sound like a geek but Oh Boy! That’s one of the fun things about the Charlotte Huck Literature Festival – you get to rub elbows with real authors and illustrators! She was SO nice and so impressed with the children. She brought her entire writing of one of her books, from where she got the idea, to her many first drafts, the editor comments and further rewrites. She stuck it all together and had it laminated in a huge row. Then she rolled it up and brought it to the conference. She asked the kids if they’d like to see it unrolled – and of course they said YES! She had everyone get in a big circle around the edge of the room and then started unrolling it. It went two and half times around the classroom (which was a pretty big room)! The children were just amazed – and so were we!

It’s funny, because as teachers, we always exhort our children to write and rewrite – the sloppy copy and the final draft, if you will. But to see it in action is another entirely different thing!
I did bring my camera but – I can’t believe it – the battery was dead. You’d think I’d have checked it the night before but I was really nervous! My partner took pictures though, so when I get them from her, I’ll post some.

I did want to show you some of the first graders work, though. To preface this, we are a thinking map school. The products below are maps that the first graders made on specific books that George Ella Lyon wrote. In addition, we are all GATE trained (Gifted and Talented Education) at our school, so you’ll see some GATE icons on the children’s maps. We combine both the thinking maps and the GATE icons to create very powerful higher level thinking. 

In addition, we've been talking with the children about Mosaic of Thought's text-to-text, text-to-self, and text-to-world connections. To our delight, the children immediately got it! Here's a screen shot of a lesson we did on the book No Dessert Forever. You will also see the GATE icons (we have them on magnets to use on the board). 

I don’t know if anyone is interested, but I have my PowerPoint presentation from the festival. I don’t even know if it can be uploaded. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll give it a try! Thank you to EVERYONE for all your kind words of encouragement - it meant more to me than I can even express! You are all wonderful and I appreciate you all!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

One More Day . . .

It’s 4:30 in the morning and I am up.  

We have one more day until the Charlotte Huck Literature Festival, at which I’m presenting! My class is ready, we have about a zillion projects to show, the kids have learned their lines, we have a PowerPoint ready to go – and both my co-presenter and I have a cold.

Should I be surprised? No….This month has been insane! 

We had a visit from the Distinguished School folks (before which we all stressed over big time)

The author came and visited and was WONDERFUL (I highly recommend him!) but the Book of the Month Club group (of which I’m a part of) stressed over and worried over and fretted over – but it turned out okay.

Yesterday, our school celebrated Leap Day – the kids came to school wearing green – and crazy hair. You can imagine how excited the kids were!

It is also the annual Book Fair this week – so I came to school at night and read a couple of stories to groups of children.

OH! And did I mention that report cards are due to be passed out tomorrow to children? So, I’ve been fitting in report card writing in all my spare time as well!

I’m certain I’ve missed a couple of things….no matter! We go on Spring Break at 2:05 tomorrow for two weeks and I can’t wait. Yes, it’s early – it’s usually in April but the District Office decided to move it because of  - wait for it – the testing schedule.

When we come back, we start our First Grade play…. It never stops, does it? I hope your day is a good one! I miss you all and look forward to getting back on the blog more regularly! I’ll post literature festival project pictures later!