|Rotten pumpkins on Halloween are very SCARY!|
On Tuesday morning this week after Halloween was over, I posted this message on my HeidiSongs Facebook page: “Okay, teachers!!! Your mission: IMPOSSIBLE.
Keep approximately 24 exhausted, over-stimulated, and sugared-up four & five year olds quietly and calmly learning the state standards, as if today were a day like any other.” I very quickly had 32 “Likes” and 22 comments as people all started to tell me how tired they were and how difficult their days were! Okay, raise your hand if you had fun, but you are glad it is OVER! And now from the frying pan and into the fire we go: many of us have assessments to finish so that we can write our report cards and then hold parent conferences! I know that mine are scheduled to begin next week.
Last week on Friday, I attended a staff development presentation on our district’s new writing program, called “Step Up to Writing.” I still can’t figure out why in the world the presenter that they have chosen for us is someone that has only taught high school!!!! (She is back for a second round of inservices since she gave us the first installment in August.) So there we sat, a group of Kinder, First, and Second Grade teachers, and she again told us that “11th and 12th graders are just like Kindergartners.” Arrrrrgh!!! If I have to hear a secondary teacher tell me that again, I think I am going to absolutely LOSE IT one of these days! A couple of weeks ago, I sat in a diagnostic lab and corrected a stack of homework papers while I waited in a very long line for some routine blood work to be done. A lady sitting next to me was watching me and commented on the work I was doing. She asked, “What grade do you teach?” “Kindergarten,” I responded. She said, “I teach English to adults. They’re just like Kindergartners! They do just the same things!!!!” Then she laughed and began to describe how alike they are. I listened politely for a few minutes, and then I started to get irritated.
So I said:
“Is their attention span longer than five minutes? She said, “Uh, yes....”
“Do they pick their nose?” She said, “No....”
“Do they hit each other, cry when they get dropped off, have to be taught how to hold a pencil, not to hide under the table, have tantrums, or wet their pants?” She said, “Well, no...”
Then they are NOT just like Kindergartners!!!” Her chin dropped to the floor as she sat there in stunned silence. Suddenly, I heard the lab technician call my name. “Heidi Butkus!!!” I quickly gathered up my things and as I walked away, I heard, “Well, I DO have to work on social skills with them!!!” (All I could think of was THIS: "Oh, yeah, right. Give me a BREAK! Teaching adults is NOTHING like teaching Kindergartners, and I don’t think that there is anyone in this world that can make me believe that it is!" I teach both age groups regularly, after all!)
And, for those of you that are using the Read Aloud Charts, the remaining Read Aloud Charts are posted for sale on my website at this link. Just scroll down a bit and you’ll find them! For those of you that are just joining us, I had posted the first few Read Aloud Charts for August, September, and October as free downloads on my blog earlier this year, but now we finally we able to squeeze them onto our already overloaded website! Luckily, we are getting a new website soon with room for lots more products and information, and posting things won’t be such an issue.
1. Introducing a NEW sequel to the Wiggles book: Wiggles Learns to Pay Attention!
The kids LOVE it, and I love it because it helps me address all of those little bad habits that kids sometimes have that prevent them from paying attention to lessons, such as: picking at yourself and/or your clothing, spinning around in circles on the carpet, rolling around on the carpet, wandering around during a lesson, attention getting behaviors, asking or telling unrelated questions or stories, talking to other students in the middle of a lesson, interrupting, and asking to take care of restroom needs in the middle of a lesson. In short, all of the annoying things that the children did continually during the first two or three weeks of school when they were supposed to be paying attention but were not found their way into this book! It was actually a really fun way to brainstorm a story!
I find this book to be a wonderful, non-threatening way to address behavior issues with children because it takes the focus off of individual children that may be misbehaving and focuses it on the dog in the story instead. When I tell the story, I always use a soft hand puppet and have that puppet act out the story, and as he misbehaves, I talk to him about why his behavior is a bad idea and what the consequences of that behavior might be.
|It's Wiggles, Live!|
On a side note, last week one day after school during my tutoring group, the classroom door opened, and in trotted a small dog that someone had evidently let in. Wouldn’t you know that the dog was a dead ringer for Wiggles, LOL! (Well okay- he was a white mutt with black spots, which was close enough for us!) The kids in the group all started yelling, “WIGGLES, WIGGLES!!!!!” as if a real live celebrity had just walked into our room! It was hilarious! It turned out that the dog had been sniffing at our door after school and one of the children from another class that had gone to the restroom had seen him there, and decided to let him in, assuming that he belonged to us! Not long after that, the dog’s owner came looking for him. Luckily, he was a friendly little thing! You can see a picture of our furry little visitor at the right. :)
2. A NEW Wiggles Game: Where’s Wiggles? Sight Word Game
|Where's Wiggles? Here he is!|
My kids absolutely LOVE this new little game, because they get to pretend to be dogs and do dog tricks! I love it because I get to watch them do silly things like shake, sit, stay, roll over, speak, beg, and wag their “tails,”LOL! So in the game, the children read a word and then pick up the card to see if Wiggles is hidden behind it. If not, the whole group does the dog trick. It’s as simple as that. It can be played whole group or small group. My only complaint about it is that I only wish we had more time to play it! In a small group, it works better if you seat them on the floor rather than around a table, since they constantly need to get up from the table to do their dog tricks, and that’s a bit of a pain. So it is better to just push the table and chairs out of the way, I think. As always, we included a page of blank word cards so that you could change the words to whatever you are working on, or even change them to numbers, etc.
When I tried the game out for the first time a couple of weeks ago, I had an incredibly fun morning, giggling the whole time as I watched them do their doggy tricks! But I think that this game is a good cure for the blues. Who could be depressed watching bunch of little kids roll over and beg, or wag their tails? :)
3. A Song for Number 31?
For a long time now, I have tried to sing the song for each number when we come to that number on the calendar. So for example, if it is the 27th of September, we would sing the Twenty-seven song from Jumpin’ Numbers Vol. 2, and if it is the eighth day of October, we would sing either the Eight song from Jumpin’ Numbers Vol. 1, or the Number Eight Spelling Song from Sing and Spell Vol. 5. BUT... when we come to number 31, there isn’t a song to sing, because I never wrote one for that number. Well, this week on my HeidiSongs Facebook page, one of the readers there suggested that I write a 31 song for that purpose. This is not the first time that this has come up, although the suggestion has only been made to me a couple of times in the past. The problem with adding a song to an existing album is that anyone that already has the CD or DVD (or both!) is likely to be upset about having to buy the entire thing AGAIN, right? And I couldn’t blame them. What would I do? I can’t replace everyone’s copy free of charge. Since it seemed like opening a can of worms, I chose to ignore the issue completely and just skip it.
I can’t say that I will every actually add this song to the CD or DVD, but as I was trying to fall asleep on Wednesday night, I found myself trying to figure out how a 31 song might sound. These number songs are typically very simple. In fact, the challenge is to keep them simple, and not go overboard on the lyrics! Kids don’t need much to help them remember these things; they only need a few key words. As I turned it over in my head, a melody popped in- (thank you, Jesus!) and it happened to be the tune of George of the Jungle! If you are not familiar, then try Googling it and see what you come up with! This little song I made up works to the tune of George of the Jungle, and maybe it will solve the immediate problem of needing a 31 song. Meanwhile, maybe I can problem solve with my husband on what to do about updates to CD’s that need new songs added due to the Common Core Standards that most of us are having to meet now. Yikes!
© Heidi Butkus
(It starts with the drum beat cadence.)
Three, one, that's 31, (say it like "that's thirty-wuh-un," for three syllables)
Three, one, that's 31,
Three, one, that's 31,
Three, one, that's 31!
(Here's where the drums stop and the lyrics start)
Three, one, that's 31,
That's a 31!
Uuuuuaaaaahhhhh! (That's a Tarzan yell.)
THAT'S A 31!
5. Number Writing: Ugh!
Well, we have gone over it and over it and over it and some of the children just are not writing the numbers much better than before. And I assign number writing practice for homework, and many of the parents in the class simply accept anything that their children write as correct and turn it in! This drives me absolutely CRAZY! I just don’t understand why some of them don’t ever think to help their child practice writing their name or their numbers or letters CORRECTLY instead of doing their homework practice completely wrong. Where does that get us, anyway?
So, I decided to make a “cheat sheet” for parents that would explain exactly what is acceptable in number writing and what is not, such as not making “snowmen” rather than “eight.” I have included this sheet as a free download for you today, just in case you are having the same problem! Of course, it does have one important flaw: it does no good whatsoever unless someone at home actually READS it, so no guarantees!