I have unshakable faith in children. They always show me the way. ♥

Monday, May 19, 2008

exclamation! marks!

background, part one:
Last week (Monday) each student in my class planted two pea seeds. They have been eagerly awaiting growth.

background, part two:
The children in my class are great writers. They have fascinating ideas and are writing a variety of pieces. One thing they are not yet adept with is using punctuation marks consistently and accurately.

On Friday, the children were observing and drawing day 5 of waiting for the pea seeds to grow. There was much excitement when they discovered what was going on under the soil. Lina came to me immediately, "Look, Ms. F! I used excla-bination marks!"

[My! plant! is! growing!]

Indeed she did. ♥

Monday, May 12, 2008


I'm sitting in the classroom right now, sipping a cup of tea on a (very) rainy morning. Right away, I was reminded of last Friday morning. We had tea during writing time in the classroom. I'm surprised it's taken me so long.

Before writing, my class got talking about something (I wish I could remember) and I looked at them all and in a joking manner said, "But, ladies and gentlemen, this is not a coffee shop." A few of them giggled.

"Yes, it is," one of them said.

"It is not," I said, shaking my head. "Look around you. Do you see tables and things?" [NOTE TO FUTURE SELF: bad idea...]

They looked around and started laughing. "Yes, right there!" they said, pointing to the tables in our classroom.

I laughed. "Okay, well, yes, there are tables and chairs and people, but there's no big coffee machine nor anyone here to take orders..."

Alejandro then pointed to the fifteen year old, 4-cup coffee maker that I have on the shelf behind my desk and said, "Isn't that a coffee maker?"

Okay. I know when I've been bested.

So, we started our Writing Workshop and I thought, "Why not have a little cafe for the day?" I heated up the water in my coffee maker, threw in about four bags of Cardamom Cinnamon tea (herbal, no caffeine), sprinkled in about 1/3 of a pack of sugar, then took orders. After it cooled, I delivered small cups of sweet-smelling tea to all of the students that wanted some (all but one). Some of them loved it, some of them found that it was not to their liking, but we all sat and inhaled and drank and wrote for the rest of Writing Workshop.

One teacher even walked in during that time to borrow a couple of my students and commented on how lovely it smelled in our room.

The kids were tickled by the whole thing.

Sounds like we ought to do something like this a bit more often. Maybe you'd like to join us?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

thinking in poetry...

Children often think in poetry. It's amazing the way some of the conventions of language, or our stubborn adult grammar, get in the way of adults regularly thinking or communicating in such poetic ways. Children aren't bound by these rules yet, and it's so evident sometimes.

Yesterday, Milena caught my attention, because I hadn't yet put my name up on our feeling board.

Milena: Ms. Lee, how are you feeing today?
me: Hmm... two feelings, tired and happy. I don't know how to pick.
Ghaazi: You can only have one.
me: One feeling?
Ghaazi: No, you can have lots of feelings, but you can only put one on the feeling board.
me: It's a hard choice sometimes, when I'm feeling two things, which one I want to put my name on on the feeling board.
Milena: Yeah, sometimes that happens to me.
me: How do I choose?
Milena: What if you put one up on the board and... keep one in your heart?
me: *dies of the beauty* *beams at her*
Milena: *grins back*
me: That makes a lot of sense! I think I'll put my name up on "tired" and keep the "happy" in my heart.
Milena: That way your heart will be happy.
me: Yes. And it'll be all your fault... ♥

Thursday, May 1, 2008

there is not stapler...

[click on either photo to enlarge]

When I came back to my classroom today, this was on my desk...

This was the note inside the paper...

As soon as I opened it, I nodded, going immediately to get some staples with which to reload our stapler. On my way, I stopped and giggled to myself, because it hit me what words were actually on the note. I'll let you reread...

I realized that someone that doesn't work with or think like young children on a regular basis might find the whole thing odd. There is not stapler -- in a note... underneath a stapler. Hahahaha!! Logically, well, it doesn't make sense. Why wonder about the stapler when it's right there? It amused me greatly, I think, because sometimes I get so used to reading/interpreting the meaning behind what my students are saying or writing, that I forget that sometimes the literal translations are priceless.

First grade is awesome.

Also, we had our First Grade family night tonight -- nearly all of the first graders showed up and we taught our families about the famous Americans that we have to study this year. The kids were amazing! Tomorrow we're having a popcorn & lemonade party to celebrate. But, shhhhh... they don't know it yet.