Thursday, October 22, 2015

Mrs. A is coming back!

After a long hiatus... I am planning to return to the blogging and sharing world SOON! Many, many, MANY things have changed in my life since I last posted on Kinder Corner, but I am so very excited to share what's new in my corner of education. 

Since my last post, I had a beautiful daughter (who is now 1 and has quite the personality!) and I moved states. But, most importantly for this blog, I changed jobs. My "first love" will ALWAYS be kindergarten -- the innocence, the bright eyes, and the beautiful beginning to a lifetime of learning. I spent 6 years watching little readers, writers, and scientists unfold before my eyes. The stories, memories, and lessons from kindergarten will forever be in my heart. But, while teaching kindergarten, I completed my Master's degree in Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE). For those of you that are not familiar with ECSE, it's a rather small field that is also referred to as Early Intervention. With my ECSE degree, I am licensed to work with children with disabilities from birth through age 5. An ECSE position can vary from a NICU developmental specialist to an infant-toddler service provider in the home to a classroom preschool teacher. I have an amazing opportunity in my new role as ECSE at an elementary school that houses two preschool classrooms. I am not a classroom teacher, but a co-teacher between two classrooms. I spend my days providing support in the classrooms alongside the classroom teachers, elaborating on cognitive and language skills through play-based intervention, and working one-on-one or in small group settings with select students. 

As much as a I know a small part of me will always miss the "true" classroom teacher role, I am loving this new position. It is incredible how powerful individualized education can be in many children's lives. As a classroom teacher, I always wished for more support from specialists -- so I am really enjoying being able to be that support for my teammates and their students. 

More than anything, I am learning so much through my new ECSE job. I find that my knowledge of kindergartners -- and what they need to be successful -- is driving my focus with students. Whether it's supporting a student's social interactions, play behaviors, early literacy and numeracy skills, or skills of independence, I think our team is making big steps to prepare our little learners for their educational future.

Stay tuned for tales from my ECSE corner of the world. [and no... I'm not changing the blog name!]

Friday, December 19, 2014

Holiday craze!

Oh man... surviving the last week of school before Christmas break is quite the feat. The kids are bubbly, excited -- and just crazy! But, to be completely fair... so are the teachers. I know I, for one, can't wait for the break because somebody is having their first Christmas!!

This week has been a week of playing catch-up -- and laughing at their funny antics. It's a week when the kids are truly happiest coloring and listening to Christmas music. In those moments, I just have to sit back and remind myself to rejoice in the sweetness of childhood. It's in those moments when as a teacher, you have to make the decision of A. do I fight for their attention and attempt to do this planned activity? or B. do I just let them be happy children? It's usually B. I just can't get enough of their sweet, innocent, and wide-eyed Christmas spirit.

Here's just a little recap of the cute, funny, and strange things from this week...


Student quote: "Hey Mrs. A - do you know what I notice about the word 'table?' It has an animal name in it -- bull."


Mrs. A (doing report card assessment) - "Okay, honey. I want you to start counting out loud at 1 and just go as high as you can go."
Student: "Really? Do I have to count past 1000? Because I can, but I really don't want to."


While sharing what we want for Christmas (most of them said "iPads" -- yikes!!)
Student: "I want a Kindle Fire. Oh, and to go to the North Pole."


An adorable kinder joke (love their cute humor)
Student: "What do you call a mummy who eats crackers in bed? A crumby mummy!"


This is SUCH a cute Christmas card one of my little kinders gave to me. What a super author -- adorable!!

[Santa, Santa, what do you see? I see a elf sitting on a tree. Elf, Elf, what do you see? I see a reindeer pulling me!] SOOOO CUTE!


This was a funny little book one of my kinders wrote. She obviously took some coloring sheets and thought of what she could do with it. Can't decide if this is cute or strange... or both... ha ha ha!

[What is the gingerbread man eating? The author is Mallory.]

[Gingergerbread, what will I eat? A cupcake.]

[Gingerbread man will you eat a gingerbread?]

This is where it starts getting a little weird... LOL!
[Gingerbread man will eat a dog.]

[Gingerbread man will eat a bells.]

[What will I eat last? A person.]

What a cute little weird book. :)


I found this adorable note tucked into my mailbox. It was an "I miss you" card from a former student while I was on maternity leave. Notice my pregnant belly. Ha ha ha!


And THIS. This just melted my heart. Honestly, if I ever doubted why/how I do this job -- this is it. So sweet and genuine -- and completely melted me.

The 2nd graders at our school were working with the principal in the computer lab to create "advertisements" for our school by coming up with their favorite things about Morton. Our principal had this little one -- one of my favorite former students... even though we aren't supposed to have favorites :) -- bring me his rough draft card. I nearly cried. :)

You can see the advertisements here on our principal's Twitter:



Monday, December 8, 2014

Today was just funny

Today was just funny. And I think I really needed it. To say that coming back from maternity leave has been hard would be a total understatement.

Don't get me wrong -- I still love my job. A lot. It keeps me so busy, inspired, entertained, and challenged everyday. But, leaving my new little one was harder than I expected. And, returning to a classroom and a class that was not "mine" was harder than I expected, too. Things are slowly getting better around here, but I've had a lot of work to do! :)

So, today was a funny day. I laughed -- a lot. And I really, really needed that. I needed a couple laughs to remind me to just take everything in stride. Sometimes, even when things aren't perfectly controlled in here (like I'm used to), it's best to just laugh when something is funny. Today, my kids reminded me to not take things so seriously.

First of all -- and most hilariously -- one of my little boys walked right up to me while I was teaching and dropped two one-dollar bills, some nickels, and a few pennies on the cart I was using. He said, "Here. This is for your baby." I kind of chuckled and said, "Well, okay - thanks!" (I, of course, was just going to give it back to him after I was done with that lesson.) He then added, "You know - it's for your child support." WOW. I just laughed out loud. How could I not?! He obviously has some previous experience with this subject...

Then, their writing just made me giggle today. It was so cute. Teaching kinders to write is so difficult and challenging at times. They have to learn SO MUCH and concentrate on so many things. It's the hardest subject to teach this age -- for sure. However, today, their writing just made me giggle. I just had to enjoy the cuteness of it and forget all the other stuff. Thought I share a few cute ones:

[I am big and strong!] -- it's a elephant. Cute, huh?! Can you tell we are learning about exclamation marks and talk bubbles?

[Do I like Easter? I love it!] -- so funny because you know... it's Christmas. :)

[I am brave! On the roof!] -- I adore this picture. Look at this little cutie stringing up the lights on his house. Plus -- they are even patterned. Too cute.

Ahhhh... take a deep breath. It will all be okay if you just remember to LAUGH a little everyday.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mailbox overload!!

So, I looked over at my mailbox yesterday and this is what it looked like:

I think it's time for me to unload. :) I shared some of my favorite/cutest things here!

[Dear Mrs. A - You are the best teacher.]

[Dear Mrs. A - Were you surprised it was a girl?]

[The tree that didn't get cut down.]

[I love my teacher. She is very nice. If you get her, she will be nice.]

[Dear Mrs. A - What are you going to name your baby? How about Samantha?]

[That is a good idea.]

[I love Mrs. A and babies.]

This just made me giggle -- no, she doesn't love whores. It says "I love hearts."

And I LOVE this next thing. It was a little book one of my little authors wrote. I was so proud because it is just proof that they have learned more than just academics in kindergarten -- it's about life!! :)

[All About Mistakes]

[Hi, I am Kya. I make mistakes. 4+4=9. Oops, that's wrong. 4+4-8. I am silly.]

[Did you know mistakes are proof that you are learning? I love being me.]

SO CUTE! :) What will I do without these little cuties this summer... and for most of the Fall, too!!!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Teacher Appreciation Day/Week

So, this week is Teacher Appreciation Day/Week -- and while I absolutely love the breakfast our wonderful PTA provides each year, I am not one to expect something on this day/week. I love the little notes my kinders give me every week, the random nice e-mails parents send, the invitations to dance recitals and family events I receive (like last night!), and all the "little things" in between.

However, I was pretty pumped about BOGO Chipotle tonight for teachers. Just sayin'.

Well, today, on my favorite coupon/deal blog, she nicely posted a list of store and restaurant discounts and freebies for teachers this week. I clicked on the comments section (should have known better...) to see if anyone posted anything that wasn't included. That's where I came across this little gem of a comment:

"Teachers get paid a TREMENDOUS amount of money especially in my district. They pay little or nothing for their health care benefits and live very good lives. Their appreciation comes every time they get paid!"

Wow. Really?! I have never met nor heard of a public school classroom teacher receiving a "tremendous" salary. And, even if I had, it would not mean that their job is any less difficult, rewarding, important, or essential. I normally do not let negative comments get to me, but this snarky little remark seriously irked me. I audibly scoffed when I read it. 

I would really love to know what that woman does -- even more so, I would really love to know what has happened to this woman that made her so incredibly bitter. I mean, if you are dogging the world's teachers, what went wrong in your life?

I am not going to go to the plate for every teacher. There are crappy teachers out there. Lots of them, I'm sure. Just like there are crappy lawyers, doctors, bankers, and even parents out there. No, not every teacher is a passionate, caring, and dedicated educator. But, every teacher does have an important and heavy job on their shoulders.

And no, you will never convince me that teachers are overly, or even generously, paid for their work. It's just a fact. We are rewarded by the truck loads in many ways, but financially   will definitely never be one of them. I try not to read those Facebook posts of articles comparing the salaries of jobs or the ones that add up what people on unemployment or welfare actually make -- because honestly, it doesn't matter. We chose this profession for a reason, and we all knew what we've gotten ourselves into.

In direct response to that woman's comment: YES, I am paid a tremendous amount for my job --  a tremendous amount of hugs, laughter, exhaustion, colored pictures, and joy. 

And, the fact that you are able to spell all those words, type on the computer, use the correct punctuation, and use that clever, rude tone of voice in your writing is because of the teachers you've had in your life.

Monday, April 21, 2014

All about babies

So, my class is honestly OBSESSED with babies right now. They are so into the "baby in Mrs. A's tummy." They are so sweet and funny about it -- and so observant. Somedays, I come in and the kids just say: "Wow! Your tummy is so big today!" I even got an adorable e-mail from a parent saying his daughter (who has some developmental delays) plays "baby" almost every night. She puts a stuffed animal under her shirt and says she is Mrs. A with a baby in her tummy. CUTE!

Here are a few things I have loved (and that have made me laugh) lately:


Student: "I don't get it. My mom has had 4 babies a long time ago -- and her stomach is still big like yours!"


Student 1: "I know why we are animals. A long time ago before there were humans, there were these different types of seeds. And they all grew and grew into different kinds of animals and one of them was humans."
Student 2: "And, I know why boys can't have babies and only the girls do. Boys are too skinny."


Dear Mrs. A - What are you gonna name your baby? How about Samantha.

That is a good idea.


I LOVE this book about babies this little guy made. He got a little sister this year also, so he's really into babies.

Babies come out of mommy's tummies.

Babies are small. Babies are fun.

Babies eat milk. Babies like to be held.

They go to the doctors to get out of the tummy. They go potty in their diaper.

They can walk when they're 1 and 2.


The kinders have been anxiously awaiting to hear if my baby is a boy or girl. Today, they got to find out!! I gave them each a candy bar (with their eyes closed) and told them to open and read the word they saw. They immediately recognized one of our high-frequeny words from the year -- and actually caught onto the trick right away!! :) They were so excited.


This has nothing to do with babies........... BUT, I don't care if you have been teaching kindergarten for 25 years. When little boys come to school with their jeans on backwards... it will ALWAYS be hilarious. Literally -- back pockets in the front, zipper down the back. Hilarious. I, of course, wrote "Check out my sweet pants." in cursive on a sticky note and sent him to see my 2 kindergarten teammates.

And yes -- if you need to send a funny/confidential/inappropriate note with a kid... write it in cursive. :)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Really Great Questions!

For the last two weeks in writing, we have learned about questions and using question marks. We talked all about what questions are, what words help us make questions, how our voice sounds when we ask questions, etc. It has been really fun!

My kinders this year have been ALL ABOUT writing books and being authors -- and I, of course, eat up every bit of it. I love their enthusiasm! So, this week, we used our new question knowledge to write the Book of Really Great Questions! We talked about those "I wonder" questions we all have about the world, life, animals, etc. that just don't really have answers to them.

I was amazed with the questions they came up with!! I couldn't believe it! I promise -- I didn't help them at all with the writing OR coming up with the questions. They came up with such awesome questions! I love their curiosity. It's the perfect project for a classroom full of six-year-olds who just love to ask "Why?"

So, I spent some time going through all 20 of my kinders' books and took pictures of some of my favorite questions. I seriously love them. So, here is about 45 of them -- ha! I hope you enjoy them. If you're anything like, they might make you laugh... but they might also make you think and wonder!!!

[As always -- kinder writing translation is provided!]

Example cover

Why do dolphins squeak?

Where does grass come from?

How do dogs bark?

How do computers work?

How are people made?

How do tornadoes start?

Where does water come from?

How does it start raining?

Why do we have baby?
[This little guy got a baby sister this year -- and I think he knows where it came from!!!]

Why do we have rainbows?

Why do zebras have stripes?

Why are giraffes so tall?

Why do boy lions have a mane?

Why do trees have branches?

Where do rainbows come from?

Why do we have the moon?

How did they make the world?

Why do chickens lay eggs?

Why is the last color of the rainbow purple?

Why do cats meow?

Why do jellyfish have lots of legs?

How do fish breathe under water?

How do people make plastic?

Why are babies tiny?

Why does the sun shine?

Why does Ecko have spots

Where does stars come from?

Who made the planet?

Why does the sun set?

Why do people in Arizona don't have basements?

Why do people go on trips?

How did people come alive?

Is the Easter Bunny real?

Why are leaves green?

Why can Jesus walk on water? With a boat? With people?

Why do we have to pay for our stuff we buy?

Why do we have to go to bed all the time?

Why do we need doors in our classroom?

Why does snails have slime?

Why do ice cream have to be cold?

Why can't people breathe under water?

Why can't dogs talk like humans?

Why does fire have to be hot?