Read me a story

A few months ago in class, I tried to get one of my student’s attention. He was reading and he didn’t hear me. I had to repeat his name several times, and when he finally looked at me, he had a dazed look on his face. I told him “I get it, you were reading and your mind is still in the story. I love books too, so I know how it feels.” This led to a discussion with a few students about how much we all love books and reading. I don’t remember if the idea came from me or a student, but we decided to have a reading day. A whole day of nothing but books and reading, no other school work. The kids were so excited!

This was in late winter, so we decided to wait until it was nice enough to read outside. That day was last Friday. The kids worked really hard all week so they could read on Friday. I thought of making them little reading passports, where they could put stickers or stamps, but I decided against it. They were happy to read for the sake of reading, they didn’t need anything else.

We started off with a game of pass-the-book. Each kid picked a book from the ones I had set out on the tables. They sat in a circle and passed the books around while music played. When the music stopped, they had a minute to flip through it and decide if it was a book they would like to read.

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Then we took a trip to the library, because no matter how much the kids thought they could sit still and read all day, I knew better. We needed some action.

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When everyone had picked out their books, we went to the park to read there for a little while.

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After lunch, we headed out on the lawn in front of the school with our books, beach towels, blankets and water bottles.

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At one point, there were a bunch of us reading a book about the toe fairy (like the tooth fairy, but with toes). We were all crowded around the book and one kid poked my foot with his finger and asked “Who’s foot is this?”

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Yes, that is a small child on my back. She’s like velcro. We were looking at a book about Vikings.

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It was a perfect day. I told the kids we could do it again next year.

When blissful moments find you

Today was one of those days. Happy just because. Little bits of bliss here and there.

I’ve been sick and whiny lately, so it was a nice change to have some moments that made me smile.

There was my new dress, which is so fabulous, it deserves it’s own post. (Soon!)

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All the classes at school put on plays around this time. My class’ play was a couple of weeks ago (a musical circus, adorable!). Tonight, I helped out with another group. We don’t have a stage at school, so we go to the church across the street. They have a huge basement with a great stage. While I was setting up chairs, I noticed a bookshelf. Obviously, I had to check it out. They were for sale. For 25 cents! Seriously! A quarter for a book! There was a piggy bank to put your coins in.

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And then coming home after a long, long day to find these beautiful lilacs my cousin Annie left for me and a card her daughter made me. Such a thoughtful gesture and it made me crazy happy! When someone goes out of their way to do something nice, just because, it’s a wonderful feeling.

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I had one of these moments today. They don’t happen every day, so I sat back for a few minutes and enjoyed watching the kids work.

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Also, I went to the library after school and ran into one of my first graders. Her reaction is a perfect example of how kids act when they see their teacher out of school.

You’re at the library?

You’re getting books?!

For our class?! Wow.

I hope your day had some bliss in it!

Teachers hate tests

I am a teacher and I love it. Most of the time. That time when I finally get everyone to settle down after eating a chocolate cupcake (bad idea, by the way, thanks so much to that “thoughtful” parent) and then one kid decides to teach the others some karate moves? Yeah, that’s not my favourite time. But when a kid says “oh I get it!” or is so into a book he can’t hear me call his name, then that’s a good time.

I’m a Montessori teacher. I believe in the philosophy and teaching methods completely, although I will admit that some lessons need updating, as they were created a century ago. I could go on and on about the Montessori method, but that would be a whole post unto itself!

What I really don’t like are tests. If I were a true Montessorian, I would not have to quiz my students or grade them. Alas, the province requires grades and report cards and a lot of my time. How awful is it to have to give a first grader a 72% in reading or even a 95% in math? Let me tell you. It’s terrible! Six year olds should not even know what grades are. Learning is fun and this just sucks the joy right out of it. Who cares if a kid gets 88% in writing, when the important thing is that she spent all morning writing a story called “The pink giraffe and her friends” (True story)

This is what I aim for, only I have to do it with tests. Ick.

 

There are other reasons why I hate report cards. They take endless hours to complete and I could be doing so many other things with my time. Here is a list of what I would rather be doing (if you’re a teacher, please feel free to add to the list).

– Finding my stapler

– Taking the September calendar down (in November)

– Cleaning the dried applesauce off the wall

– Taping books back together

– Organizing my storage closet

– Cleaning the lizard’s cage (and I hate doing this)

– Putting away those last 2 Halloween decorations I forgot

– Dusting off my “to do” pile

– Fixing my globe

– Getting the wobbly table fixed

Now you might think these are all “2 minute” tasks, and you’re right. My work life is a series of 2-minute moments. I have to choose wisely. I choose storytime over test time. Making the work stuff into fun stuff.