Wednesday, November 18, 2009

American Education Week

This week is American Education Week so I took off yesterday to spend most of the day in Caroline's class. Having spent last Tuesday on a field trip with them and the afternoon before Halloween with them, most of the kids knew who I was when I walked in and immediately started asking for my help with shoe tying, coat hanging, food opening, etc. I'm constantly amazed at how much is going on in a kindergarten class and how the teachers are able to accomplish much of anything. I stayed through lunch with Caroline and then came home to switch off with my IL's who also wanted a chance to sit in on Caroline's class. Then this morning, my mom visited Caroline's class through her "special" of the day. I feel so fortunate that my kids have grandparents that are close by and so interested in the things they are doing. (My grandparents were always over 90 minutes away when I was growing up so they weren't really a part of the day to day stuff very often. ) Caroline has been thrilled to have all of us there, especially since there don't seem to be many other parents taking advantage of the week, which really makes me sad.

The class started the day off with the usual breakfast and announcement period and then we cleaned up and went to the carpet for news of the day and the morning message. I love seeing how they dissect the seemingly simple act of the day of the week/month/year along with the weather and counting how many days they've been in school (54!!). Then they did the morning message in which they talked about what they did yesterday and then incorporated vocabulary, punctuation, reading and spelling all into one. It's really a great comprehensive activity and it was cute to see Caroline raising her hand and going to the front to do her part. Then we all got together and went down the hall for gym class. And for the next 4 weeks, her school has WHITTLE!!! Whittle is basically an indoor jungle gym course that travels from elementary school to elementary school. It's comprised of A frames, ladders, bridges, mats, ropes, and balance beams and really fun! I remember loving when Whittle was at my school and it was so cute to see how excited the kids were when they entered the gym and saw the equipment. Major props to the gym teacher and her management of very excited kindergartners! They had several "missions" they had to complete in class and I was a little disheartened when Caroline didn't want to do the 2nd one. But, I knew it had a lot to do with the fact that I was there so I told Ms. K and she got her to do it. Although I couldn't get her to do the rope swing at the end of class, even when her regular teacher, Ms. R did it.

After gym it was back to class for snack time and then some phonics and center time. Center time is always Caroline's favorite because they get to do different activities each day and yesterday she was in the "following directions center" where they had to search through magazines for photos of families and glue them to a paper and write "families" at the top. Of course, Caroline couldn't find just a regular family. She found a photo of the Mucinex germ family and when she showed Ms. R, Ms. R got a good laugh out of it and said, "Only you would find a photo of a family like that Caroline!" I also noticed while the rest of the kids were in their different centers, Ms. R was "dibeling" one of the other kids off to the side so that must be one of her opportunities to get the dibel stuff done. (I don't know how she finds time to do anything besides manage kids!!!) By then, the kids were hungry and they sorted them all in line according to lunch choice and we headed to the cafeteria. Caroline loved having me at lunch and a few of the kids were fighting over sitting by me. I got to meet the loving lunch lady who always makes sure Caroline is eating and I told her how much I appreciated her doing that - she was just so nice! (Much nicer than some of the lunch ladies at my elementary school!) I could tell by the end of lunch, Caroline knew my time was coming to an end and she was getting a sad look on her face even though she knew that Nana and Big Dad were coming to replace me. But I think she kept her tears in and I stopped in the lobby to write a note to her and to her teacher at the stations set up for the week.

This morning my mom was there from the start of the day through art class and had a great time making clay animals with the kids. She said as soon as she started making a dinosaur, all the kids in the class wanted to make one too!! She also helped Mr. L get all the kids cleaned up afterward and said she wasn't sure how in the world he manages without help on other days. But I guess that's just par for the course in elementary school - especially with kindergartners!


Heather said...

Hmmm, very interesting...I had NO idea is was American Education Week. At my school it would NEVER happen that parents (let alone grandparents) could just come in and sit and watch all day...never. Ever. No way. The teachers would revolt. So, consider yourself lucky! They do volunteer, but not just "come in and hang out with us." The uproar that would cause just makes me chuckle.

Erika said...

Seriously?????? They don't do AEW in NJ? It's a big deal in MD and was when I was a kid too. According to the website it sounds like it's a nationwide thing. I never would have guessed it wasn't in other places. I know it is for a few people I know in PA too. Wha'ts the big deal for one time a year for parents/grandparents to come in and see what their kids are doing in the classroom? Personally, I think it's kind of important.