Saturday, May 23, 2009

Bike Day

"Bikes today teacher?" The first words out of Mr. K's mouth as he exits the bus. "No not today, today is Tuesday, we play on the playground." "Oh," he says in a disappointed tone. Bike day is every Thursday, it's when we take out the tricycles and helmets and let them ride around outside on the basketball court. They love it, we have bikes of all kinds. There's big bikes, small bikes, yellow bikes and red bikes, a bike with two seats, a chariot and carriage bike and even a little red wagon. Although it's hectic trying to put helmets on everyone and getting them settled in to riding and taking turns, there's a method behind our madness. To the children it's a fun time of riding bikes and pulling the wagon, to us it's an evaluation of their gross motor skills. As for Mr. K, it's all about riding his favorite yellow bike with two seats. So every day it's the same question, "Bikes today teacher?" "No, today is Wednesday, we play in the gym," "Oh." But when Thursday rolls around he jumps for joy after asking, "Bikes today teacher?" and we reply, "Yes Mr. K, today is Thursday, we ride bikes." "Yea! My favorite."

We recently moved Mr. K into our afternoon class, it's a better fit for him as he out grew the morning kids. One of the advantages of coming every Tuesday and Thursday is, we have bike day every day. With a longer class time the children get two recesses, one of which is riding bikes. The disadvantage is he has more competition, the yellow two seat er tricycle is a favorite among other fellow bikers. The chaos around the shed where we keep the outdoor equipment is like a swarm of bees buzzing around the hive. The children gather around the door and start requesting what bikes they want, all at the same time. It's way too much mayhem, so we devised a plan to have the buzzing swarm of preschoolers run across the field to a chain link fence, which boarders the playground, while one of us stays behind and pulls out the bikes. It's a brilliant plan that works like a charm, it only took us half a year to figure it out, but hey, better late than never. What we have noticed, besides releasing a lot of their energy and giving us time to get the bikes ready, is how their strength and endurance has grown stronger each week. They also have figured out that what bike they get depends on how fast they run, since choosing a bike is on a first come first serve basis. Mr. K has learned to run really fast, as for the others, by the time they finish running they don't really care what bike they have. It's a win, win all around for everyone.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

High Noon

The wheels on the bus go round and round, all through the town.......12:30 it arrives at school and the cutest cowboy stepped off decked out in his light up boots, cowboy hat and wearing
pants that looked as if he was doing a little steer wrestling before school. With his twinkling blue eyes, blond curly hair and a coy smile tucked under his black felt hat, he could melt any country girl's heart. A cowboy right down to the core, even his odor had a familiar smell. Being somewhat of a farm girl myself, I know the difference between cow dung and horse dung but his aroma didn't come from the animals on the farm, rather it was something he produced himself. This is where the familiarity comes into play. It's not uncommon for our four year old cowboy to arrive at school with messy pants.

Here let me back up a bit, before the bus dropped off our busy bunch, the teacher of our class was on the phone informing a parent the schools policy; if a child throws up, for any reason, they can't come to school for at least 24 hours. It just so happened that this particular parent's child threw up on the bus, it looked as if chocolate pudding was part of his lunch. As a matter of fact, the bus driver should get a special award for having to deal with the clean up, the smell and keeping the rest of the children calm, all the while maintaining his sunny personality. The mom of throw up boy was pleading her case trying to convince the teacher that her son is not sick and couldn't understand why she had to come pick him up after the bus arrived. But rules are rules, and he needed to go home. So while our fearless leader was waiting outside for the argumentative mom to retrieve her son, who was wearing chocolate pudding, the other parapro and I took the remaining children into the school. That's when I noticed the old familiar smell coming from the little cowboy and knew he I had a cleaning to do in a stall. With the mess creeping out the back of his pull up, I had him remove his shirt so it wouldn't get soiled during the cleaning. He's actually very capable when it comes to his self help skills and normally I would have had him take care of the mess himself, but this was an explosion of the worst kind, which actually baffles me how he can be so comfortable in it. None the less, I cleaned him up then directed him towards a stall to get dressed. As soon as he entered one, he turned right around and said, "Not that one, it has poop in it." He was right, some other student forgot to flush, but after what we just experienced and knowing he could have stayed in that messy pull up all day, why a little unflushed poop bothered him, I will never know......

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Mr. Wind

"Mr. Wind whistled at my door, asked me to come and play...."
One of the songs we sing in March, which seems appropriate for that time of year, but here we are in May and the wind is still blowing just as hard as ever.
While things are whirling and spinning outside, garbage cans rolling around,
and the flag snapping on the pole, inside the classroom we are experiencing the same
kind of turbulence. It's as if a tornado is brewing but not quite ready to release it's fury. This would rank as one of the loud days.
I know the wind makes animals frisky, something about that blustery breeze gets to them and their energy level escalates. I'm beginning to believe it has the same effect on children. From the moment those sweet preschoolers got off the bus, I could tell it was going to be "one of those days," and my 14 years experience of working with children didn't let me down, I was right.
During circle time, they couldn't sit still. Poking each other, wiggling in their chairs, and whining - then at snack, everyone is talking at once, then talking louder to make sure they are being heard.
Still wiggling in their chairs, the drinks are spilling, napkins are falling on the floor taking the
snack with it and of course, more whining. But it wasn't until free play that the noise rose to a whole new level. A few of them decided to play "puppy dog," which meant crawling around and
barking. To make it even more interesting, "chase the puppy" became the new game - that's
when the screeching started, and the child on all fours figured out running is faster than
crawling so it evolved into "catch me if you can." "No running in the classroom," we
remind them. So, now we're back to barking puppies. Clean up time was like herding cats, they know the routine but on this windy, blustery day their listening skills went right out the door. Which is exactly what we did, we bundled everyone up, took their energy and gave it to the wind, thus creating a perfect storm.

It's what they needed. Free to run, screech, chase and be one with nature. I almost believe it was the wind all a long, beckoning them, calling to their little bodies, and stirring them up giving us no choice but to unleash the fury to the outdoors.

It was a beautiful sight actually, everything blowing, whirling, and spinning in perfect harmony.
As the song continues, "We pretended we were little red kites and we soared and we soared all day. Oh, we soared and we soared all day....."

Sunday, May 3, 2009


"I'm ba linging home a baby bumble bee, won't my mommy be so louda me, I'm ba linging home a baby bumble bee." A song that a little girl, I'll call Dora, started singing while cleaning up her snack area. Dora is a perfect name, with her round face, brown eyes and her hair cut in a short crop she looks just like "Dora the Explorer." OUCH, he stung me! I'm squalishing up a baby bumble bee, won't my mommy be so louda me, I'm squalishing up a baby bumble bee." I was also involved in cleaning up, but as she continued to sing, I sat down to listen in total amazement. Just a year ago we could barely understand what she was saying and now here she is, singing out loud in front of her class. "Ooooooh, he's gluey! I'm wiping off a baby bumble bee, won't my mommy be so louda me, I'm wiping off a baby bumble bee." When she was all done, I started clapping, then the rest of the class joined in, and at the moment she grinned, enhancing her chubby cheeks, and took a bow.
Posted by Picasa