#2 Things I Say In Kindergarten….


November 2nd, 2010

(Yes, I’ve had all of these conversations)

Me: Why did you color on the chair?
Kid: You said no coloring on the table.
***************
“When it’s bathroom break, you need to go into the bathroom and pee. Don’t just wash your hands and come out.”
***************
“All pee goes in the toilet. Do not pee on the playground, classroom or bathroom floor.”
***************
“Kindergarteners! Nobody gets to take anyone’s shoes from them.”
***************
Me: Why is there underwear on the floor?
Kid: It fell out of my pocket.
Me: (long pause) Nevermind.
***************

I’ll add more when I remember them….or you know, after I talk to my class tomorrow.

All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten


March 31st, 2010

(a guide for Global Leadership)

All I really need to know about how to live and what to do and how to be I learned in kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sand pile at school.

These are the things I learned:
Share everything.
Play fair.
Don’t hit people.
Put things back where you found them.
Clean up your own mess.
Don’t take things that aren’t yours.
Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
Wash your hands before you eat.
Flush.
Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
Take a nap every afternoon.
When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.
And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.
Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.

Take any one of those items and extrapolate it into sophisticated adult terms and apply it to your family life or your work or government or your world and it holds true and clear and firm. Think what a better world it would be if we all – the whole world – had cookies and milk at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap. Or if all governments had as a basic policy to always put things back where they found them and to clean up their own mess.

And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out in the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

[Source: “ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN” by Robert Fulghum. See his web site at http://www.robertfulghum.com/ ]

Sometimes, my class is cute.


February 3rd, 2010

We started learning about Community Helpers on Monday. We’ve been learning about the different jobs people have, what they do, tools they need, all that fun stuff.

Today, as we came in from recess, there was a Marine also waiting to get into the building (our school is on the third floor of a huge office building). He was dressed in his dress uniform and as he waited for us to pass he looked like he was standing at attention. My students were in absolute awe. Once we were all inside and starting up the stairs and he was out of sight, the questions started: “What’s his job?” “Is he a community helper?” “Can I be that when I grow up?” “Is he real?” “He’s so cool!”

We had to stop on the stairs (because kindergarteners can ‘t walk and talk at the same time) and I tried to quickly answer their questions. While we were there, the Marine passed us going back down the stairs with whoever he was picking up. As he passed my class decided to speak up. A couple kids called out as he passed, “You’re a Community Helper! Thank you! You’re doing a really good job!”

Hope it made him feel good to know that a bunch of kids think he’s a pretty cool guy.

Oh, and the questions, didn’t stop for the rest. of. the. day. I’m thinking I need to find a Marine to come to my class and talk to the kids about their job….

I’ll admit it, I’ve got a favorite in my class.


October 5th, 2009

Remember my kid who meditates? Well, after being gone for almost 10 days due to a broken arm, he came back today.
And he’s learned to use “air quotes”. Sort of. He air quotes about every 5th word he says. Today he needed to “tell me something”. (yeah he put air quotes on tell me something).

“Ms. Abby”, I was at “home” because I broke my “arm”. My dad brought me to “school” in the “car” today. I can’t ride the “bus” until my “arm” is “better”.

Can’t wait to see what new habit he picks up next week.

17 days


May 6th, 2009

It’s almost the end of the school year. It’s close enough to the end that we created a count-down chain in our classroom. And every year the same two things happen.

1) I forget how insane children get when they get spring fever and they know summer is coming and they know they are almost first-graders.

2) I forget how much there is to do at the end of every year.

Our “to do” list is pretty long.

I have a 3 tests I need to give the class and they need to be done individually.

They need to be tested for their reading levels for next year.

There are 3 field trips left (Minnesota Zoo for the kindergarten, Twins Game for the Student Council, Field Day for the whole school)

There are 4 fire drills left.

There is a Spelling Bee.

There is cleaning day for the kids. Which means I need to clean everything out before they clean.

Not to mention finishing up the last of the curriculum, report cards and end of the year conferences.

If You’re Going to Drive Me Crazy At Least Learn the Right Words


April 24th, 2009

My class has (unsuccessfully) been trying to drive me crazy by singing the k-i-s-s-i-n-g song over and over. Personally, I don’t care if they sing the song. It’s annoying, yes, but as far as irritating me goes, it’s going to take a lot more than this little song. Especially if you don’t know the words.

Here’s their version:

Suzie and Johny sitting in a rocking chair, k-i-s-s-i-n-g.
First comes marriage
Second comes love
Third comes SEX (yeah, they shout this verse)
Forth comes baby.

um..yeah. It just ends there. And it doesn’t rhyme. And most the time they can’t spell ‘kissing’ correctly. So as far as teasing their friends and irritating their teacher goes, they’re really starting to slack off at the end of the year.

Can you translate Kindergarten?


December 23rd, 2008

It’s rest time right now and for once they are actually resting. Really I think they are just crashing from the sugar high they had at lunch today. Either way they are still and quiet.

Since I’ve got a few minutes and I’m done with my prep work, here’s the answers to a worksheet from one of my better readers/writers. How many can you translate?

1. apple (yeah, the first few easy ones)*

2. bat

3. cat*

4. dog

5. elefet*

6. flar*

7. got

8. haas*

9. isic*

10. jop*

11. kakro

12. lag*

13. matet*

14. nat*

15. otpog*

16. parat*

17. quwen*

18. rayan

19. snack* (and no, she wasn’t writing “snack”)

20. tawr*

21. ubreyela*

22. vocur

23. wrm

24. xaray

25. yo-yo

26. zap (nope, not writing “zap”)

My favorite part is at the end of the worksheet she wrote “Thist is the end.”

For comparison here’s another student that wrote some of the same answers:

1. ablle

2. cat

3. dnsard

4. elfnt

5. flwr

6. hrs

7. insat

8. jps

9. lag

10. mtns

11. nat

12. oktps

13. prat

14. qwt

15. snak

16. twr

17. uprls

(The matching answers in the first student’s list have an (*).)

Good luck.  I’ll post the actual answers in a couple days.

A Letter to Obama


November 6th, 2008

Yesterday my class talked about the election and they wanted to talk to Obama and tell him they were excited he won. After I explained that he probably won’t be making a stop at our school they decided a letter was a better way to go.

Here’s their letter, word for word.

Dear Mr. Obama,

We are in kindergarten.

We go to Dugsi Academy in St. Paul, MN.

We are very excited you are president.

When you won people ran around our houses and yelled “O-BA-MA” really loud. It was fun.

We also had some questions for you. Will you answer them please? Thank you.

1. How are you? Are you excited to be president? (from Asha)

2. How many people voted for you? (from Suad)

3. Do you think you’ll get a surprise being president? (from Mustaf)

4. What is your phone number? (from Zakariye)

5. What school do you kids go to? (from Yahya)

6. Can we see your house? (from Suad)

7. How old are your kids? (from Asha)

8. Are you happy to live in the White House? (from Yahya)

9. Area you good at helping people? (from Roda)

10. Do you want to be president two times? (from Rayan)

Thank you for reading our letter!

From, Ms. Abby’s Class

They all signed their names, tomorrow we are taking a class picture to send along. I’m hoping we at least get one of those form letters back.

I love that my class is very civics minded. They love learning about our country, how it works, how voting works, etc. And they come up with these little projects on their own. I had no plans to write to Barak Obama today but it was something they really wanted to do. So we did it.

The Kindergarten Class and the Glue Sticks: A story.


October 24th, 2008

Last Friday the kindergarten class was working on a project that required glue sticks. About 100 glue sticks are kept in a bucket on a shelf, the class is free to get a glue stick and use as needed. All the kindergarteners were working quietly in their seats, cutting and gluing away. And at clean-up time glue sticks were being returned to the bucket, with caps on (very impressive). Then it happened. On one of the tables was a giant purple smear. Not an oops-my-glue-sticks-went-off-the-paper smear but a creation of purple, an entire glue stick devoted to this work of art. I asked the class who did it and this pain in the butt kid named Not Me was apparently the culprit. So, I collected all the remaining glue sticks and declared that there would be no more glue stick use until the artist fessed up.

A week went by. A week of me planning fake glue stick activities just so I could give them all the instructions only to end it with “but we can’t do this fun project because we don’t have our glue sticks back yet.”

Today we had another project and this one the class really wanted to do. As I got to the part about not doing it due to lack of glue stick privillages one student raised his hand and asked, “Can we just sit here until the person who did it tells you? I really want to use the glue sticks again.” The rest of the class agreed this was a good plan. And so we sat. For 10 minutes.

10 minutes of students saying, begging, pleading, with the guilty party to just come forward. And she denied it up and down.

Finally another student shouts out, “Do you want to get into heaven? Because if you do you have to tell the truth. If you keep lying, they aren’t letting you in!”

And apparently, all it takes is a little religious guilt. Because the guilty party confessed, told the class she was wrong for lying and using glue the wrong way and promised not to do it again.

And with that the glue sticks were returned and all is right in the world again.

Eid Mubarak


September 29th, 2008

Tomorrow is Eid ul-Fitr. It’s the celebration that breaks the fast which took place during Ramadaan, which when you are a teacher at a school that is 100% Muslim you get two days off of school.

This year it fell on Tuesday and Wednesday which means that we had school today, we’re off Tuesday and Wednesday and we go back Thursday. It’s a little odd having a weekend, then one day of work, then a weekend, then two days of work, then a weekend.

Today was really not worth having. Most families celebrate the holiday by getting together and going some place fun (a popular place around here is Camp Snoopy or Chuck E. Cheese), eating a huge pile of good food and presents. Lots of presents. So today was like trying to teach on Christmas Eve. Not the most productive of days.