Parents Parents What Do I See?


Kinder parents, it’s here. You did it. We are in the last 7 days of the school year and you and your little person survived,maybe even enjoyed this amazing year of learning and growth. As I begin to pack, reflect, and plan for the upcoming year I see so many things. Today, as I was working on finishing our memory books, I saw our September self-portraits, and then our May self-portraits (see above), and it got me thinking about all that I was “SEE”-ing here at the end of the year. 

Beyond seeing the amazing reading scores, and letter and sound id, the fabulous writing, the number concepts, the sharing, the communication, the play, and the stamina, I see something different. I see children who have learned to ask questions when they are confused. I have see children who make eye contact,and TRULY  listen to others when they speak. I see 5 and six year olds explaining their thinking. My kinders have learned to complete tasks, help friends, zip their coats, zip-up BEFORE leaving the restroom,and open a milk carton. They have learned to greet each other and their teacher in the morning. They have learned compassion, patience, and grit. They have learned to do it themself, and help other’s when they can’t. They have learned to stop and listen. They have learned self-control. They have learned how to clean up.

This group of kinders has learned what it means to be LEARNERS. I can’t begin to express how proud I am of these little people who have become a family. Beyond the scores, the levels, the grades, I see children who really SEE themselves,and SEE others and more importantly BELIEVE in themselves,and believe in others. Seeing these self-portraits is an amazing visual of the level of learning that has gone on this year!

The stress and the logistics of closing up a year can cloud our ability to really see the “little” things, which it turns out are the BIG things in life!  There is always MORE to learn, MORE to do, and MORE to worry about: I challenge you to take a minute (yes, right now) and think about your kinder from 8 months ago and compare that little one to the kiddo you have now.

Well done parents…..growing people is not an easy task and it truly takes a village. I am proud to be part of your village.

With Love,

Bebes

 

 

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What’s the buzz???

The “buzz” of learning is a hard thing to explain in all classroom settings. However, yesterday during our daily five block (55 minutes of literacy centers/ guided reading) I was taken aback by the “buzz” of learning going on within the four walls of my kinder classroom. There were four kiddos at my guided reading table using fluency phones to practice expression, kiddos reading to self, kids practicing writing and sight words, kids listening to reading, kiddos writing,  and students working on phonics skills… This is all happening at one time. If you have a kinder, or have had a kinder, or have ever known a kinder, you can recognize the miracle/ wowness (not sure this is a word) of this phenomenon that 21, 5-6 year olds can work independently and successfully at literacy activities successfully while one teacher (the 1 adult in the room) pulls 4-5 differentiated reading groups for specific reading instruction. It’s intentional, it’s fun, it’s complex, and, to be totally honest, it’s a miracle.

This work is fun.

This work is hard.

This work is intentional, and this work is powerful.

With passion and love,

Bebes

    
    
    
    
 

Hey…. It’s me, Sara

Hey parents, it’s me, Sara. You don’t know this, but I have dreamt of being a teaching since I was five. I had to study my tail off for every A I got. I ran cross country, worked at McDonald’s, Target, and a little Italian joint through high school. I quit show choir to be a PST for a high needs child with autism my senior year. I worked almost full time through college and took a ridiculous amount of credits each semester to graduate early so I could get into the classroom. I met my best friend and husband in Winona. I left Wisconsin to be a teacher. I got hired by the husband who happened to be a principal who happened to be the spouse of a woman I happened to sub for while they were on vacation and she was impressed. I waitressed full time through student teaching (undercover, because holding a job wasn’t “allowed” while we did our teaching even though we weren’t getting paid)… I fell in love, got married, had a baby, and got tenure by the age of 23. I left my six week old at daycare because I didn’t have sick leave… I bought a house, had another baby, moved schools twice, and started grad school. I spent hours and hours in the weekends, nights, mornings, vacations planning, prepping, organizing, communicating with families. I have been On PTA, run meetings, graduated from  grad school, coached soccer, been chair of the arthritis walk. I have struggled, cried, laughed, been sick. I have questioned my choices, worried about my impact, and made myself vulnerable. I have been judged as a teacher, a peer, and as a mother. I have worked at a marriage for ten years, been a mom for eight, a best friend for 30, and a teacher for 11 years. I am Ms. Bebeau, Mom, Sara, auntie, daughter, friend, wife  and that girl who is always talking. I am a person, I am educated, I am a professional, I am silly. I am an artist with children and a communicator. I am a person who has chosen to be with your children not because I know all the answers or because I am the smartest but because I care about learning, I care about children, and I know it takes a village. I am a mom. I am a wife. I am a woman. I am a person. I am doing the best I can with the resources I have given the time I have, and I hope in this moment I can remind you of your strengths, struggles, passions and impacts. 

With love,

Bebea

Thanks for listening…

One of the most important things I teach in my classroom happens at morning meeting (YES,there is STILL time for morning meeting!) I have a student of the week and he or she fills out a poster at home about themselves. When the poster comes to school the child stands at the easel and shares about the poster….This seems like a simple task, but in reality, it’s one of the hardest things for kiddos to learn. Consider this regarding the Star Student:

  1. The child has to remember what he or she wrote/ drew on the poster.
  2. The child has to stand in front of his other peers and share.
  3. The child has to speak in a voice that is clear and understandable.

Now consider what the audience (i.e. the rest of the 5 and 6 year olds have to do)

  1. Listen to the speaker.
  2. Think about what the speaker is saying.
  3. Ask questions about what the speaker shared.

At the end of the sharing session my star students says “Thanks for listening”, and then the rest of the groups says “Thanks for sharing”….The star student concludes with: “Are  there any questions or comments?”

This is where it gets intense people. ALL 21 hands shoot into the air ….the Star Student calls on a friend (by FIRST name…another VERY tough skill)For all of October and November most kinders just simply want to share something about their own family and experiences….most of them aren’t able to formulate a question or a RELEVANT question about what the star student has ACTUALLY shared about. Kids are antsy, unaware of what the speaker has been saying and can’t stop thinking about what they would be saying if it were THEM  in front!

The WORK and PRACTICE that we do in regards to asking questions, listening and showing respect as listeners is TIRING and very difficult, even for the brightest of kinders. The pictures below show our 18th Star Student. I was able to stand back, listen, take pictures and feel pride in the AMAZING ability for these 21 children to genuinely listen, share, ask and answer questions and learn about another peer!

I teach kiddos their ABCs, I teacher kiddos how to button, zip, write, read…think..add….but  more importantly, these kinders are learning how to be engaged, intentional, and respectful listeners and friends! This is amazing work…it’s hard work…and I know that these skills will follow them and help them be good listeners, thoughtful friends, and intentional listeners! How cool is that?

With Love,

Bebes


Winter Blues…??


As hard as the winter is on us as parents and educators, I always try to remember that our kiddos are also going through a complete change in routine and entertainment. First of all, they literally have to put 15 things on their little bodies in order to even TRY and play outside (that is if it is warm enough). Not only do they have to zip, flip, tie, strap, and tuck in their items, they have to keep track of it all at school and try to shove it into tiny little lockers. After all of the gear comes the RULES….all of the new rules about how to play, where to play, what to eat and not eat, where they can go and not go and they have to figure out the difference between home rules and school rules. Then comes the DARK. It’s dark at dinner-time and it’s dark in the morning. As much as we miss the sun and daylight, they miss it TEN fold. The nights of playing outside until 6:00 are gone and they are cooped up inside. On top of all of this, they are dealing with adults who are dealing with winter and the cold. They are cold, over-dressed, booger filled, coughing, sneezing, ANTSY, EXCITED, little people. In my moments of trying to get 21 people ready for outside and finding boots, hats, mittens and library books in the morning before taking my own kids to daycare, scraping my car, finding my own boots etc. etc. I try to remember how their worlds have CHANGED! I believe that there are some EASY, FUN, and worth-while things we can do to keep the winter blues at bay!

 

  1. Take the stress out of morning routine time by having your kiddo pack and prep all of their materials and clothes for the morning!! (they will feel proud and it will be ready!)
  2. Make messes in the house that you would never have to in the summer or fall (because they could be outside) in the winter and let them keep it up—-for like 2 days…(this one is hard for me, but TOTALLY worth the GIANT messy fort in my lower-level 🙂
  3. Include kiddos in the nightly “work” now that they can’t be out riding bikes….let them help prep-dinner(yes this makes for longer prep, but that also gets you closer to bedtime!)….have them do dishes, help fold and put away laundry….help shovel…unload all of the dvds and book shelves and put them back in order in a new way! Kids just like to be busy and feel like they are doing something important …we forget as adults that those jobs look different for them!
  4. Go old school and get out board games, new card games, puzzles with too many pieces and play!!! (Monopoly is good for like 3 different nights!)
  5. Read—-read in funny places like the bath, under the covers with a flashlight, in your fort, to the animals, upside down…..

I am trying to change my thinking about the winter and embrace the fact that I get to be with my kids differently and play differently due to the weather. Just like we dress for the weather we need to stimulate our little ones differently during the different weather! I would love to have you comment below things that you do to “survive” or enjoy the wonderful winter season!

With Love,

Bebes

Permission…..

   
 As December rolls into our lives, I am overwhelmed and excited about the upcoming season. For kinders this means snow, anticipation, stressed parents, Daily five training, emotions, short, but incredibly long days and ENErGy (some good and some hard!) 

For parents, December brings many of the same issues: snow(grr!), anticipation for the holidays, bills, getting snow gear ready, scheduling everything, high emotions (some good and some hard), and short, yet incredibly long days… All of this on top of the kid issues (see list above!)

So, as a parent, and a teacher of kinders, I have done something this year…. Something magical, something hard, and something very uncomfortable: (here’s where I share!)

I gave myself permission ….

I gave myself permission to skip holiday cards even though I worry people will think I am ignoring them.

I gave myself permission to let my kinders play twice a day (yup, twice a day) for my sanity and theirs.

I gave myself permission to admit my stress through the end of my grad program to my closest people.

I gave myself permission to “opt out” of some things at work.

I gave my classroom elf permission to do funny things and get my studendts overly excited just so see the sparkle in their eyes. (Totally worth it!)

I gave myself permission to take time to reflect, breathe, play piano, read stories, organize my closet, email my high school friends, go on a date with my husband, not do a fundraiser and to cry. 

We need to all give ourselves permission to step back and make it work. We all work hard, we all need help, and we are all so lucky to have what we have…. So during this December take time to give yourself “permission” to bring it down just ONE notch…. You aren’t failing, you aren’t letting anyone down, you are creating peace, balance and happiness that in then end gets reflected on your children! It’s worth it!!

Happy December!

Love,

Bebes and

our “naughty” classroom elf !