Monday, November 26, 2012

Catch Me If You Can...

I started my mini Gingerbread unit this morning with a reading of The Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone and a Roll and Graph Activity compliments of (slightly modified for a larger group). The children were so excited and engaged that they wanted to keep going. My centers were stocked with gingerbread activities to stimulate their little minds, however rehearsal for the (dreaded) Christmas Showcase sent us past the centers and onto the stage. 

While we were walking by, the children noticed the  laminated Gingerbread Boy characters that I attached to a cookie sheet via magnet dots (an old teaching trick that I just discovered) and got super excited. They went on and on about the story and who was going to the story center first and I was ELATED!!!! The teacher in my head was doing the wop and saying "I rock, I rock!!" Not only did I finally find something to do with those magnet dots, I sparked interest in the story, the children were eager to do retellings...I had to tap my pocket to make sure I had enough post-its for afternoon center time. 

After practice (which went surprisingly well, by the way), lunch, outdoors and nap time, it was finally time for  centers. Everyone was on their best behavior, hoping to be called first so that they could have first center choice. The first center picked-the story center. 
By now, the teacher in my head was doing the running man with a side kick (yeah, I'm that old). I was so excited to see the action in the story center, I could barely make it through the rest of center assignments. I watched in awe as the two children at the story center arranged the pieces onto the cookie sheet and with each holding an end, carried it over to the kitchen area and put it into the oven.
They weren't excited about the characters at all, they were excited about the cookie sheet. 
The dancing teacher in my head came back to earth. I have SO much to learn.
A feast of roasted fox, gingerbread old man, old woman, boy and threshers, bar-b-cue cow with a side of cantaloupe and a red, yellow and green apple pie for dessert lifted my spirits up again. 
Maybe tomorrow I will challenge them to bake the characters in the order they appear in the story. 
A great idea, but I'm not going to start dancing yet. 
Okay, maybe just a little two step.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

Drowning in Applesauce

November 25, 2012

After 18 years of managing a construction company, I finally called it quits and decided to pursue my dream of teaching. With a mixture of fear and excitement, I took a deep breath and dove right in, head first. Eight months later, I am still learning to swim.

Preschool is nothing like anything else I have ever experienced. The mini beings that I would look upon with oohs and aahs are now giants to me. They are full of life, energy and big ideas. I look upon them with awe and each day we discover new things together. I am amazed by my new life and I have a sense of fulfillment that was missing in previous years.

At the same time, I am frightened. These larger than life beings are learning the same way I am and it is my job to lead them. Alas, their fearless leader has no idea what she is doing. The textbooks didn't prepare me for this. Great teaching is a skill that comes with experience and experience with time. 

Maybe in a few years (or decades) I'll feel like I have it all under control. In the meantime, I'm just going to enjoy the journey, pick up some new tricks along the way and try to keep myself from drowning in applesauce.