Monday, October 31, 2011

Fall Festival, lice, rotten pumpkins, and returning friends

The best thing about first graders is they are excited about EVERYTHING. The worst thing about first graders is they are excited about EVERYTHING. Imagine their delight to meet my dad, arms filled with healthy treats and a big PUMPKIN eating a tiny pumpkin. They literally lost their minds. When they saw him in the hallway, they started bouncing...and bouncing...and bouncing. When we got into the classroom, someone jumped so high and hard they accidentally punched R in the face. She had to take a rest in our classroom library before my dad came in. Luckily, the kids held it together and asked my dad lots of fun questions..."How old are you?" "58" "OOOOOHHHHHH" They lost it again. "What's your favorite picture?" " of my family?" "What are you going to be for Halloween?" "What's your favorite number?" Every answer elicited an "oooh" or "ahhhh." If you ever want to feel like a celebrity, please come to my classroom.
The pumpkin rotted over the weekend and I was greeted with pumpkin-smelling juice all over my U-shaped table and the floor. The day went fairly seamlessly after, though, and my fact families marched around the block, arm in arm, limiting their complaints of the heat to barely any at all. They are growing already, and I'm so proud of how much kinder they are to eachother and how calm things feel. (Granted, calm in first grade is more like only semi-chaotic in real life, but still...)
J only spent half the day rolling around on the rug today and IB only gave a few mean looks to others. KJ had 2 meltdowns and I continued my tiptoed, eggshell dance with ZK to make him feel like it was cool to wear a paper bag with fact families on them--"Ms. Estrada, I just don't DO bags." Oh, but he did.
I always thought I'd be one of those teachers who could traipse along and everything would fall into place and the kids would dictate everything we did and we'd just glide along, floating through un-interrupted constructivist lessons where the kids came to all the correct realizations themselves. Instead, I feel a tyrant in comparison to what my vision was...but, oh the joys of hearing a child say "ok" when I ask them politely to do something. There is a time for negotiation and a time for when the rules are rules and they're there to keep the kids safe and learning. It is a constant battle between those two realities, and right now I err on the side of..."No, you may not do that." I want to say "yes" more, but my first priority is keeping these kids bouncing off the walls...and we're getting there together.
Elephant and Piggie, the stars of our classroom, are all packed up because they're lice-ridden. Oh, dear. The kids were confused as to who to tell all their tattles to today. (I have them whisper their woes into plush-Elephant's ear and he tells me EVERYTHING at the end of the front of them). I told them to tell them to invisible of course J and C throw invisible elephant back and forth to eachother in the classroom library. (I laughed and shook my head at them.)
Mom came at the end of the day and helped with the parade, and I distributed cupcakes as the kids were walking out. Judith, an old student of mine who moved away to Vegas, came back today and is re-enrolled in our school! She and her mom visited my new classroom and helped me clean clean clean and told me stories of too-hot Vegas and mean teachers...glad Judith is back at LWL!
Time for bed...and dreams of lice-infected smushed up pumpkins.

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