Thursday, December 10, 2015

Step 2

Since I've moved and started substitute teaching again I've been asked a few times to become a building substitute. I think I talked about this before in a different post but I can't remember. So for those of you who don't know, a building sub is a person who works only at one school every day and whatever teacher in the building needs a substitute, they fill in for them.

In my opinion having a building sub is a bit selfish on the part of the schools. Almost every school I have been to complains about not having enough substitutes, but other schools have building subs with nothing to do some days and they could be utilized in other schools.

Anyway

Initially I didn't accept any of the building sub positions for a few reasons.

1. I'm in grad school and I didn't know what my semester was going to be like in the spring.

2. I didn't want to commit to any one school in case I got stuck in a school I didn't like.

But I recently did accept a building sub position in an elementary school near where I live. I don't know why but I like this school. When I say I don't know why I mean because they have some pretty difficult kids but it's like a few not like the majority of the building. The assistant principal called me and said the position was opening and he had a few people he wanted to offer it to but he wanted to offer it to me first. Since this is a school I like and he said he was willing to work around my grad school schedule I accepted. We'll see how this goes.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Prediction Board

Last week I conducted a lesson with two 6th grade girls from Thailand about making predictions. Basically what we did is read a story and make predictions.

What you'll need:

  • Poster board (or easel paper)
  • Different color post it notes for each child
  • Pencils
  • Crayons (or colored pencils)
  • Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
  • Paper

What to do:
  1. Do a picture walk using Enemy Pie with the students. Have them make predictions every few pages using only the pictures. Have each student write their predictions on their own colored post its and stick them to the "I predict" column.
  2. Have the students tell you why they came to their predictions on another post it note and stick it to the "Because" column (or the "evidence" column).
  3. After the picture walk go back and read the story with the children having them make (but not write down) new predictions with the evidence of the words and pictures. When you come across the sections the students wrote predictions about, have them stop and go over their original predictions and write new post its about what actually happened.
  4. Extension activity- Have the students create a poster advertising the story in a way that would get their friends and peers to read the book.

Recess and the Rest

I don't like recess very much as a teacher because I hate to be outside when its too cold or too hot. It's mostly because it's really difficult and stressful to keep an eye on a bunch of kids doing potentially dangerous things without telling them to stop playing. Then it's a lot to decide what's play and what's too dangerous.

However I actually do love watching recess because it's one of the few times I see kids these days being kids. Today kids all have iPads and electronic devices and talk about things that are way too grown for them to even know about. But during recess I hear kids playing things like super heros and my little pony. It's just nice for kids to play like kids.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Mirror Mirror on the Wall...

I had an opportunity to take a step back and look at how I was doing and improve. I had a student in first grade who was misbehaving the whole morning, not doing any work, running in and out of the classroom and not being where he was supposed to be. One of the most difficult things about being a sub is not knowing the behavior reward/discipline system in the room. Even when the children try to explain it to you... you're talking about 20 six-year-olds trying to explain something to you and they can never all agree on the details of anything so my only real option is to throw kids who aren't listening out of the room and have another adult in the building deal with it.

Anyway back to the kid I started off talking about...

It was intervention time so some of the kids were in different classrooms and we were working in groups. This child was in my group, or he was supposed to be. He started off in the group but he had a pencil he kept playing with, we weren't doing any work where he even needed to write to I don't know why he needed a pencil. Anyway after a few times of telling him to stop playing with the pencil I asked him to give it to me. Every time I told him to do anything he looked at me like I was insane, I assume trying to figure out who I was telling him what to do. Anyway after asking him a few times to give me the pencil I told him to give it to me or go to the office. When he eventually came back from the office he was still not doing any work and misbehaving.

I told him this behavior was not an option and his choice was to take a seat in his chair or sit down with us and do his work. He was doing whatever he wanted and I told him I would call his Dad if he didn't stop misbehaving. When none of this was working I took a minute to redirect my approach since threats and force weren't working and really aren't a way I want to handle a child anyway. So I asked him why he wasn't listening or doing his work. He said because he didn't want to I calmly explained to him that this is school and not doing your work because you don't want to isn't an option so you can either make a better choice and rejoin the group and do your work or you can go and sit in your chair quietly. He came back to the group and did his work. I made sure to praise him for making the right decision and choosing to get his work done.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Parent Trap

I don't know if there were this many kids getting picked up from school everyday when I was a kid and I just didn't notice cause I was a bus kid but every elementary school I sub at there are a ton of parents waiting outside the school to pick up their kids and we have to walk them outside and make sure they get to someone who can legally pick them up. Especially the preschoolers... I don't think presschoolers are allowed to ride school buses.

Anyway where I was going with this is it's super awkward and weird to have to deal with parents when you're a sub. I barely know the kids' names and I don't know much about them I just met them today. Then when a parent comes and asks me how their kid's day was it's usually the bad kids' parents who ask that so I have to actually remember each bad thing the kid did during that day which is a lot of work when you have a class of about 20 kids you barely know.

Yesterday I had a parent basically have a mini parent teacher conference with me, telling me she's ex-air force and that her daughter is too advanced for the class she's in and she talks too much cause the work isn't challenging her and I'm just like ok... but have this conversation with her regular teacher.

 I also had one kid who's adjusting to new medication I guess. I asked him to stop making noise in the hallway and told him to either stop or he could go to the office. He decided to he wanted to continue what he was doing and walked off to the office. Since I don't know for sure if a kid makes it to the office, whenever a child leaves a room I'm in charge of unattended I call to the office to have someone find them so they're not unaccounted for. I tried to call down to the office when this happened but I couldn't get through while they were about to use the PA system to do the afternoon announcements. This child's mother was in the building and walked into the classroom and asked me why her son was out in the halls and I told her. But like I said it was a weird conversation to have to explain to her why her child walked off unsupervised. Then she started going into detail about his medication situations...

It's not even that I don't care I actually do care about all my kids even the ones I never see again, it's just that I have no say, authority, or bearing on what happens in your child's class after I leave.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

edTPA Flashback

I was sitting in the teacher's lounge eating lunch while I was subbing a few days ago and I overheard a meeting that was taking place. Then I realized it was a meeting with a student teacher and a mentor teacher. It seriously flashed me back, especially when I heard that dreaded word... edTPA. For you non-teachers the edTPA is a teacher certification exam that requires lesson plans, videos and ends up being about 60-70 pages after all of the questions are answered. And I can only speak for this state but it costs $300 to take it as well... it took me about 8 months to finish it. Sitting there overhearing this conversation flashed me back to sitting at a table across from my own mentor teacher as an undergrad student teacher having my work evaluated... just. one. year ago. It's just insane to think a year ago I was so stressed as a student teacher and now I'm working on my master's. It's an interesting feeling I'm starting to ramble because I can't even describe it.

Pick and Choose

Today's rant is about job placements when subbing in the district I work for.

For those of you who don't know, when you're a substitute (speaking only for the districts I've worked in) there are a few ways to choose your job assignment for the day.


  1. You go on a website where teachers can post their absent days. It lists the teacher's name, the grade level or subject, what school it's at, contact info for the school, and the teacher can attach their email address, attachments, or a note for the sub.
  2. The website can call you with an automated message giving you most of the info listed above and you can choose to accept or decline the job by pressing buttons on the phone.
So lately... and pretty much since I've started in this district they seem to put me in whatever spot is open when I get to the school rather than giving me the assignment I've chosen and it's really f*$%ing frustrating. And I conveniently keep ending up in special ed classrooms. I have nothing against special ed classrooms or children but it's not my department and I really don't prefer to sub there very often. If I wanted to do special ed I'd pick it and I'd mentally prepare for it. Last week I was supposed to be a 3rd grade teacher and ended up a gym teacher in the morning and a special ed teacher assistant in the afternoon.

My point is they should put subs in the jobs they chose not just whoever get to the building first put them in an empty spot.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Young Forever

It's super awkward being a young and young looking substitute teacher. I constantly have teachers mistake me for a student particularly in high school. High school I can understand, I only graduated from there about 6 years ago, I'm short and shorter than some high schoolers, and I'm sure I look pretty young. Looking young will be cool at some point but its really awkward when I walk into a classroom as a sub for a TA and the main teacher tells me to "grab a packet and take a seat." Shaking my head. Sidenote, it's October... that teacher should know her students enough to know I'm not one of them by now. She also asked a different girl that day if she was new to her class and she said no which again tells me that teacher doesn't know her students well.

One time I my old high school English teacher asked me to sub for her. When I walked into the English office another English teacher proceeded to yell at me and tell me that students weren't allowed in the office and ask me what I was doing there.

This week I was subbing at an elementary school and I had a sixth grader and a first grader ask me if I was a grown up... a grown up!! Do I look so young that even kids can't tell if I'm an adult? Does that fact that I'm telling them what to do not tip them off?

This really isn't a rant or even a complaint it's just really awkward and kind of embarrassing sometimes to not be looked at as an adult.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Teachers vs. Students

Yes I'm about to rant again...

This time its about teachers that engage in arguing with students

I don't argue with students. I'm a grown woman and I don't waste my time arguing with children. First of all if a student is talking back and arguing with you in the first place there's a problem with the level of respect in the room. Secondly a child's mind is not on the same level as yours, you're an adult you need to set a child straight calmly and let them know who is in charge.

I was subbing in a fifth grade classroom once, p.m. half day so the teacher was still in the room when I got there and when I walked in the room she was arguing with a little girl. She was speaking SO disrespectfully to this teacher and the teacher was arguing back instead of taking control of the situation and I was just standing there like... where am I?? She warned me about her disrespectful kids on her way out. The minute she left the room I let them kids know immediately I was NOT the one and they would speak to me like they have some sense or they would be sent to the principal's office. There were a few kids who still tried it but they were sent out like I said... I also don't make empty threats to kids because they pick up on that stuff and eventually know you won't do anything when they act up. Most of the kids were in line for the rest of the day.

My point is why argue with a child? I don't have the time. I tell the kids I'm subbing for all the time if they try to start with me "Sorry, I don't argue with children" and the conversation is over. I'm in charge and whatever I said goes there's no debate about it. If you have something to contribute about how things are usually done in your class you can raise your hand and tell it to me nicely but don't try to tell me I have to do it how your teacher does.

Special Ed/Special Teacher

Lately when I talk to people about wanting to become a teacher a surprising amount of people go "So when are you adding special ed.? That's where all the money is." I'm just like "uhhh yea no". A special ed. teacher I talked to about this told me they only make a small percentage more than the regular teachers and even so, everybody knows teachers are grossly underpaid and you don't go into teaching for the money! My current certification is birth through grade 2, and I'm working on adding literacy birth through grade 6. Everyone always was telling me I'd never find a job if I didn't make myself more marketable and at least add up to grade 6. So I decided I would add up to grade 6 even though I prefer to deal with younger children, I convinced myself that having the grade 6 certification would at least get my foot in the door and hopefully I could work with younger children anyway. But as far as special ed.? Not gunna do it. It's not that I don't think children in special ed. are deserving of my time or that they are less than or anything. I just feel that special education deserves a certain kind of teacher, a teacher that has the passion and patience to tend to children with special needs. I know that I am not that teacher and if I was to become a special education teacher I would be miserable and the children would suffer because of it. You always see those teachers who you know should not be teachers... I don't want that to be me.

Bathroom Blunders

Ok I'm about to rant real quick

Am I the only teacher who knocks on a closed bathroom door before I walk into it??! I was subbing in a school the other day and the door wouldn't close the right way. The first two times I used the bathroom I was able to push the door closed enough to where I got the lock to lock. No one knocked or tried to come in. The third time I went to use the bathroom I couldn't get the door to shut enough to lock it, it was the end of the day, the kids were gone and I had to pee again before I left. Of course this was the time another teacher needed to use the bathroom, but did she knock? Nope just walked on in and said "oops sorry!" I'd rather hear a knock on the door rather than an oops after the fact. It's just common courtesy for anyone to knock on a bathroom door before just walking in.

My other issue occurred when I was on the other side of the bathroom door. I needed to use the restroom. The faculty restrooms are locked, I had a key but before I used it I knocked on the door several times and waited to listen for an answer. When I didn't hear one I started to use the key to open the door. The lock was difficult and I was struggling with it, then I hear "hold on a minute!" I'm just sitting here like... b***h... no you didn't just cop and attitude with me. You were given ample warning that someone was trying to come into the bathroom and you chose to remain silent. Don't get buck when I start to come in open your mouth or give some sort of indication that you're inside.

Alright rant over. But my point is I feel like there's 
certain bathroom protocols people should follow.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

My Worst Nightmare

So I consider myself an early childhood educator. I'm good at dealing with younger children and I have a lot more patience and tolerance for little kids. I don't really know how to deal with high school kids so much. Mostly in the sense of discipline and keeping them in line. With little kids the "I'll call your mommy" still works or when you try to confiscate something they still give it to you.

The thing that irks me the most with high schoolers is everything is about being cool and "frontin' on somebody" or embarrassing the teacher or whoever you can and most of all proving how little you care about any and everything.

As much as I feel like I can't handle high school kids, I accepted a substitute teaching position for a day at a high school... for emotionally disturbed children with behavioral problems... If I could show you the face I was making inside my head when I realized that's where I was. When I accepted the position it didn't have a grade level on it and the name of the school didn't give way to the fact that it was a high school.

When I tell you it was slightly not as bad as my worst fears... yet really it almost was. I was a teacher assistant and the main teacher told me she had a few of her worst kids suspended at the moment so I guess I lucked out?

The kids that I was there with were pretty bad too. This one kid was high out of his mind and eating the whole day, talking back and disrespectful as hell. The teachers couldn't get the kids to put away their phones or take out their headphones. This one girl actually did her work... then when she started playing music on the laptop she was privileged to use and the teacher was asking her to turn it off so he could continue with class... she tore up her completed work and threw it in the teacher's face. Then there was a girl who walked in and looked like she was older than me! Apparently almost 19 and not even close to graduating.

And lastly the kids were being basically spoonfed the answers for their work and just don't do it because they don't want to. The teacher was giving a test and to study she gave the kids a study sheet which was the test but she took the word test off the top. Then when they came to class the day of the test she gave them time to study again and they were still too lazy to want to do the test. Shaking my head.

I understand having emotional and behavioral problems means that their behavior isn't 100% attributed to laziness but... it was a rough day I'll just say that.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

On the Road Again...

So after working for my new lead teacher position that I was so excited about I've been laid off? I guess? Let me start from the beginning. I was hired to be a full time teacher. My class was a preschool class (older 2 year olds and 3 year olds) that was going to be split into two classes and I was to be in charge of running the older 2 year old class. I started off getting scheduled 40 hours, but my coworkers informed me I wouldn't be actually working 40 hours a week because most of the teachers get sent home early once the kids start going home at the end of the day. That happened to me a few times. Then I had a day when my boss told me she didn't need me to come in the next day at all... that's a whole day's pay lost. Then a few days later I was sent home after about an hour because the number of children in attendance that day was low. Then I was scheduled the next week for only 16 hours and told they didn't have as many children as they anticipated to start in the near future actually starting and that my position may become an on call position. I immediately made an appointment to start substitute teaching in a nearby district. After taking the interview I found out that actually pays more than I thought and more than what I was making. I originally canceled this interview the first time I had made it a month ago because I thought the job I was offered paid better so maybe this is a blessing in disguise. My boss then emailed me and asked if I wanted to interview for a full time position at one of the other daycares we are affiliated with that was closer to my house. I told her I was waiting to be approved to sub and I'd like to keep my position for a few more days. She told me she had already put me down as my last day being the next day. So even though I was anticipating leaving I was let go a little earlier than I wanted. I still hugged all my babies goodbye and found a few of my coworkers on facebook. I guess now I wait to see if I can sub soon. I have another interview for a different district in a few days.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Cleared for Take Off!

My fingerprints finally got cleared today! For those of you non daycare workers I'll explain what that means. When you work in a daycare or school you have to get fingerprinted so they can do a thorough background check. Until your prints come back with a cleared check you can't be alone with the children. Not being able to be alone made me feel like I was one of the kids. When they would be trying to work out breaks and whatnot it'd always be "oh no wait she can't be alone she's not cleared yet". It makes me feel like I have to be babysat cause there has to be an adult in the room with me. I knew eventually my prints would clear I've been printed a bunch of times but its a weight lifted.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Diversity is the Spice of Life

One thing I love about working in schools and daycares is the different types of families I get to encounter. Not everyone comes from the born in America, married mom and dad in one house, one son one daughter family that I do. And personally I think that's wonderful, we should all learn from each other's differences and experiences.

I've had a little boy whose father was transitioning to be a woman. A 5 year old little boy who just loved what he called his "Maddy" (Mom + Dad). His Maddy would come pick him up from daycare in the evening and you could tell this was once a man. This kid has been in fights with the older kids who couldn't grasp a man becoming a woman and tried to explain to him about needing certain chromosomes and whatnot but he didn't care. And he shouldn't care what other's think, he knows who loves and takes care of him at home.

I have a little girl whose mother recently went back to China while her and her father are still here. I don't know the whole situation but it has an effect on her.

I've had kids of divorced homes, kids of gay parents, kids of interracial families, kids of single parent homes, kids who had another sibling on the way, kids whose parents were going through custody battles and we've had restraining orders on file preventing one parent from coming on the property, I also had a kid who was born in Iraq, his English was ok but his father didn't really speak it which made for a very interesting parent-teacher conference.

One time I had a deaf infant. She was so happy and adorable though. And luckily she was born to very loving parents.

I had one little girl who was 2 years old and her grandmother had custody because both of her parents were involved in drugs. Her mother had died recent to the time I was working with her but when she would play with the toy phones in the room she would always try to call her mommy. Her dad regained custody but we did not have the paperwork from the courts yet so legally he could not come pick her up by himself his mother who had custody needed to be with him. One night he called and said he was coming to get her alone and I was by myself in that class with her. The director stayed in the building with me to make sure he didn't try to take her by himself. Luckily he did show up with the grandmother and it didn't get ugly.

I have two little twin boys who have divorced gay mothers. I don't know if they were ever really married or they're just broken up but my point is they don't live together anymore. I've had kids with gay parents before but never have I had kids having to deal with having gay parents AND divorced parents. I think it'll be interesting to see how boys of two mommies grow up, let alone divorces mommies. But they love both of their mommies equally and they are the happiest little boys.

My point of all this is that I love to learn about the different types of families that can exist. I look at it as another way I can learn from my babies. Never stop education yourself.

The First Few Pages in this New Chapter

This week everything in my life has been changing. I've moved out of my parents house to the city where my grad school is... well sort of. I've put some stuff in my new place but I've had too much going on to move yet. I've started work in my new classroom, and I've started grad school courses. Which one would you like to hear about first? Grad school you say? Good here we go...

Grad school is so far pretty overwhelming but I'm trying to keep it together. I was having some trouble because I didn't bring a notebook or pen to class (what the hell kind of grad student am I). But I had my computer with me and I figured I'd take notes on that, until my professors started asking us to do things with paper. On top of that I was also having trouble registering my computer to the school's wifi. Anyway I got that all settled and now I'm just trying to keep up with my assignments.

Moving has been probably the most stressful part of my last few weeks. We have been slowly moving from our old city to our new city and having to travel back and forth since we don't have everything moved in yet. We also don't have our wifi and cable set up yet which makes getting my work done difficult. We did just get a bed delivered though so no more sleeping on an air mattress, that's a plus. Every few days we move some more stuff up so hopefully soon we can just be all the way moved in and stop going between both cities.

Work is going pretty well so far. I like my co-workers a lot they seem pretty cool and easy to work with. This job is a LOT different than my last job. My class that I will start taking over soon will be basically a class of older 2's and younger 3's that's being split into two classes during instructional times, I'll be taking over the older 2's. This job is a lot more structured than my last position, paperwork for everything and we are NEVER out of ratio, as in if I want to go to the bathroom I have to call another teacher to step in for me. I'm not complaining, it should be this way, it's just different. We also spend a lot of time outside. We also don't really do letter of the week crafts we do a lot more instruction, but also learning through play. Here's a peek at my circle time area:


Saturday, August 29, 2015

R Week- R Rabbit

My last day went by way too fast. But i did receive some lovely parting gifts which you can see on my instagram @TheTeacherWithTheFro. Anyway let's make a rabbit.

What you'll need:

  • Pipe cleaners
  • Construction paper
  • Letter R cutout
  • Eyes
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Pom poms
  • Cotton balls
  • Pink Crayon

What to do:
  1. Cut out a white R and glue it to green construction paper. I chose green to imitate grass.
  2. Use the scraps to make some rabbit ears.
  3. Have the kids glue an eye on the front curve of the R.
  4. Have the kids glue a pink pom pom on the front curve of the R to make a rabbit nose.
  5. Cut the pipe cleaner into small pieces, less than an inch. Glue them around the nose for whiskers.
  6. Put some glue on the leg of the R and let the kids make a rabbit tail with a cotton ball.
  7. Place some glue on the top of the R and let the children attach the ears. After they are dried, color the inside of the ears pink like rabbit ears.
The finished product:



Thursday, August 27, 2015

As Time Ticks On... I Get Ticked Off

I'm a little P.O.'d today. I didn't go to work yesterday I had to go to my grad school to deal with some things before school starts. Anyway I came back today and things were changed in my classroom. Decorations were changed things were moved. I had left notes around the room for the new hire teacher to know certain things, they were taken down. After tomorrow of course I don't have any say or care what they do with the room, life goes on after I leave, but I'm still here and I don't like things being moved and changed while I'm still here so now I have to wonder where things are in my own classroom. I just needed to vent it out.

Anyway I left a few pages of notes for the new teacher about each kid and a few things that really I'm probably the only one who knows because I'm in there with them everyday. As far as the big stuff the other employees can train the new teacher, the same way they trained me when I started. The difference is I was hired as a sub and when I became lead I had spent a lot of time with these children and talked to the parents and I knew certain things, a new hire who didn't train under the lead of the room would have a different experience. In these notes I left things like who gets a binky at nap time, what behaviors they should watch for with each child, and what they mean when they're talking about certain things. I just thought it'd be helpful but I hope they get to even read it and it's not deemed unnecessary and thrown away before they even hire someone.

R Week- Handprint Rose

Just a simple one to finish out my last few days.

What you'll need:

  • Red and green paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Sponge brush
  • Construction paper
  • Something to clean tiny hands with

What to do:
  1. Using the sponge brush paint the child's hand red.
  2. Place it on the paper, I usually hold it down and count to 5 because sitting still is not a mastered skill of 2 year olds.
  3. Use the paint brush and the green paint to paint a stem for your rose and maybe some grass if you feel like it.
The finished product:



Tuesday, August 25, 2015

And the Plot Thickens...

So this doesn't directly affect me but I feel the need to share anyway. I have been telling the parents of the children in my class that the previous teacher that I took over for would be coming back after I leave because that was my understanding. I'd asked my boss a week or a few weeks ago when she would be coming back and she'd just told me she hadn't spoken to her yet and she didn't know. From what I know, it is a regular thing every year for this teacher to leave during the summer and take care of her own children, then return to her job. This year, her kids are older now, I'm not sure exactly how old but they're older. She has some sort of art degree and has decided now to pursue a career doing something with art instead of coming back. I kind of feel like I've been lying to the parents even though I didn't know. I can't help but wonder if I would be keeping the position of lead teacher if I was staying in this city instead of going to graduate school. Hmm..

R Week- Rainbow Fruit Loop R

I know we already did rainbows but this time lets learn the letter R and add some fruity rainbow cereal while we're at it.

What you'll need:

  • A large letter R
  • Fruit loops
  • Crayons
  • Glue



What to do:
  1. Let the children color their R however they want.
  2. Drizzle glue on the R in the shape of an R.
  3. Let the children place fruit loops on the glue.
  4. Usually when you do a project with food it's best to bring enough for the children to eat some otherwise they'll want to eat the ones that now have glue on them.
The finished product:

Monday, August 24, 2015

What's Coming Next

So I start my new position next week and as much as I was looking forward to not changing anymore diapers, it looks like I'm going to be lead teacher of an older 2 year old room. I'm happy for the work and to have gotten hired as a lead teacher this time from the jump not taking over temporarily for someone else. Every age level has its ups and downs and advantages and disadvantages. So while I'm not switching age levels, this maybe will make it a smooth transition and maybe having older 2's will mean more kids closer to being potty trained and better verbal skills and listening skills. Who knows what the future is going to hold. Gotta take the next step to see what's up the stairs.

R Week- Rainbow

When I think R I think rainbows. And kids love rainbows to why not?

What you'll need:

  • Paper plates
  • Cotton balls
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Construction paper
I didn't realize the picture was so blurry but you can still see the materials I hope.
What to do:

  1. Cut up rainbow colored construction paper. (For those of you who haven't met ROY G. BIV, the colors of the rainbow are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet). Now I think I cut my strips a smidge too wide but that's because I was only expecting a few children today so in my head I needed to cut the same amount of strips as kids, make them a little narrower than an inch to accommodate the space.
  2. Cut the paper plates in half.
  3. Drizzle glue on the paper plate, leaving some space on the bottom.
  4. Have the children place cotton balls on the glue to create a cloud.
  5. Put enough glue for one strip on the bottom of the plate. Doing the glue one strip at a time will help the children keep the colors in order. If you put a whole line of glue across the bottom the kids will likely just put their strip wherever they see glue.
The finished product:

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Insta-Teaching!

I've made an instagram account to help me document my rise to teacher-dom. I wanted to keep it separate from my personal account since I post some pretty interesting things on there and I want to only follow other teacher type accounts so get some classroom ideas. So follow me on @TheTeacherWithTheFro there's even a little button on the side here! >>

Friday, August 21, 2015

Movin' On Up!

So I've been accepted into graduate school and I'm still stressing about finding a place to live. It is so far looking like I'm going to have to commute from my current address to school until I find a place, that's an hour and a half commute. I'll be leaving my current job in the 2 year old room in a week. Today I received an email from a woman I interviewed with at a daycare in the city my grad school is in. She offered me a job, full time preschool teacher with more money than I'm making in my current position! I don't have all the details yet but I assume I'll be lead teacher in my own 4 year old class but who knows. I just know I've got a job which will hopefully open some doors to finding an apartment. A lot of the landlords have told me they don't feel comfortable renting to me without a job so maybe this will help. But I am excited to start this next chapter in my life. I worked in a grocery store for 6 years, I've worked in retail and even McDonald's. It's uplifting for myself to feel like I'm at a place where I won't have to work in a job outside of the childcare or education field again in my life (hopefully). It's good to feel like my certification and degree and experience and the things that I've worked at and for are finally presenting opportunities for me.

L Week- Laundry

Who doesn't love doing laundry when you're 2? It's never too early to learn about the good old days when we hung up laundry outside.

What you'll need:
  • Construction paper
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Glue
  • Crayons
  • Scissors

What to do:
  1. I didn't think this project needed to be so big and I didn't want to waste paper so I cut the paper in half on the long side.
  2. Give the child half of the paper and let them color all willy nilly however they feel like.
  3. On the other half, color grass and a sky with a sun in it.
  4. Paste 2 popsicle sticks to the paper and draw a curved line connecting them.
  5. Using the paper the children colored, cut out tiny little clothing items (shirts, pants, shorts, dresses, etc.)*
  6. Glue you tiny laundered items to your clothesline on the other paper. I added little clothespins to help make the idea more real.
The finished product:

*Note when doing things like this I like to turn the paper over when drawing the items I intend to cut out so I don't pick what ends up on the front. It's just random and if the kids drew on that spot or didn't that's what ends up on the item.


Thursday, August 20, 2015

L Week- L Lights

I realized I didn't like how the wire for the lights came out. I wanted to use a smaller brush but I couldn't find one. I hoped using a small amount of paint would help make up for it but it didn't. In hindsight I could have used a black crayon. Smaller line, more control. 20/20 hindsight I guess.

What you'll need:
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Black paint (or crayon)
  • Paint brush
  • Marker

What to do:
  1. Cut out an L and glue it onto a piece of construction paper.
  2. Using the scrap paper from cutting out the L's, draw and cut out assorted colors of tiny light bulbs, the kind that look like christmas lights.
  3. Use a marker to draw some accents on the light bulbs to make it look like a light bulb such as outlines and horizontal lines to create what looks like the part you screw the light bulb in with.
  4. Drizzle glue over the L in a zigzag pattern over the L (think the way they do the frosting in the toaster strudel commercials).
  5. Let the kids place the lights on the glue wherever they feel.
  6. After the glue dries, use the black paint to make a wire that strings the light bulbs together on the screw sides.
The finished product:

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Handprint Ninja Turtles (Brotherly Love)

There's a child in my class who I absolutely adore and he has a baby brother that does not come to out daycare on a regular basis. He was with us today in the baby room and I thought it would be cute to make a project with the two of them. I don't really know why I had the urge to do this but I did. Maybe because I will be leaving my class soon and I'm feeling emotional. You can want whatever reaction you want out of people but the reality is they will react however they want to. I got lucky with this one, I was hoping the parent would be all emotional about the project their sons made and the mother was when she picked them up. She was about almost in tears talking about wanting to frame it. I just wanted to make something nice for them and it worked out. :)

What you'll need:

  • Green paint
  • Markers
  • Construction paper
  • Eyes
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Sponge brush

What to do:
  1. We're making Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles so that is why we're using green paint. Paint the child's hand green with the sponge brush and press it onto the paper. Hold the child's hand down to prevent smudging (I usually count to 5).
  2. Let the handprints dry before you move on. Cut a thin strip of paper to make the eye mask, use one of the ninja turtle colors (red, blue, purple, orange). I also cut to smaller pieces to create what looks like the ends when you tie the mask onto a face.
  3. Glue the mask onto the handprints, then the eyes onto the mask.
  4. Cut some orange construction paper into 4 small orange squares. Glue the orange squares onto the area where the "stomach" would land, I glued them onto the middle and ring finger area.
  5. I used red and black markers to make an open mouth smile with a tongue sort of sticking out to make my turtles look happy.
  6. Since this is a sibling project for parents I wrote a cute phrase on it and the children's names and ages so it can be a memory.
The finished product:
I wish my handwriting was a little cuter but I'm very proud of the outcome.


L Week- Paint with Legos

I don't know why I like for my babies to use paint it's so messy but I think being 2 is the time to be messy.

What you'll need:

  • Paint
  • Legos
  • Paper

What to do:
  1. This really is as simple as it seems. Dip the legos in the paint and let the kids go to town!
The finished product:



Tuesday, August 18, 2015

L Week- Ladybug

I learned a little bit about myself as a teacher from this one. My kids love ladybugs, I don't know why, they just do and it happens to start with L so we did ladybugs today. My boss also did ladybugs with her class, of 4 and 5 year olds. I realized hers looked a lot nicer than mine did but here's where I learned about myself. On top of the fact that her class is 4 and 5 year olds and mine is 2 year olds (you know the developmental difference if you've ever even been around kids), I realized that I focus less on the finished product coming out nicely, and more on the kids getting to do as much of the creative work as they can handle. I couldn't care less if their lady bugs looked nice, but that they were the ones to color it and put the dots on it. Their parent's will get the idea.

What you'll need:

  • Paper plates
  • Black paint
  • Black construction paper
  • White and red crayons
  • Eyes
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Stapler
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Something to clean hands

What to do:
  1. Have the children color the paper plate red. You can use small paper plates, I had leftover plate middles cut out from yesterday's craft.
  2. Put some black paint on a paper plate and have the children dip one finger in the paint and make ladybug spots on the paper plate.
  3. Let it dry, then cut the paper plate in half.
  4. Overlap the halves leaving an upside down V-shaped opening and staple the paper plate halves at the top.
  5. Cut out small circles of black construction paper to make the ladybug's head.
  6. Glue eyes to the head and use the white crayon to create a smile.
  7. Cut a pipe cleaner into small pieces and curl them to look like antennae, then glue them on the back of the head.
  8. After all of that dries, glue the head over top of the staple.
The finished product:


Monday, August 17, 2015

Handprint Tu-tu

So one of my kids welcomed a new baby sister early yesterday morning and I wanted to show her parents that as her teacher I cared about their new edition to their family so I wanted to make something with their daughter that they could hopefully keep as a baby gift from their first born.

What you'll need:

  • Pink paint
  • Pink and white construction paper
  • Pink tissue paper (or ribbon)
  • A marker
  • Glue
  • Scissors
What to do:
  1. One at a time, paint the child's hands pink, place them on the paper slightly overlapping (see picture).
  2. With the pink construction paper cut out what would look like a pink tank top.
  3. Place the tank top on top of the handprints to create a ballet leotard (or tu-tu).
  4. Use the tissue paper or ribbon to cut a belt for the tutu to cover the separation between the tank top and the handprints.
  5. If you used ribbon it can be easier to tie a bow but since I was using tissue paper I cut some into the shape of a bow even thought it was a bit hard to see and do so I would suggest ribbon if you can get your hands on some.
The finished product:
It's not perfect but the idea is there. I thought coming up with a cute phrase would help get the idea across.

The End is Near

My time with my kids is coming to a close in the next few weeks. I'll be going off to graduate school soon and giving the classroom back to the previous teacher as the summer comes to a close. All of the plans aren't set yet but things are in motion. I have a few job options, some in daycares and I'm also looking into substitute teaching again in the district near my grad school. If I do that I'll be blogging a lot less often probably because I won't be creating lessons anymore but if I move to another daycare I'll try and keep up. Blogging has helped me not only to get out my creations to the world but to create memories. It's like keeping a career journal for me to learn from my mistakes and be able to redo some crafts if I want to. I'll probably keep blogging just for myself. I never really thought anyone would read it anyway so I'm pleasantly surprised at how many views it does get and if you're reading this thank you for following me on the ups and downs of my career journey!

L Week- Lion Mask

Rawrrrr!!! I wanted to started the week out with a growl!

What you'll need:

  • Yellow, brown and orange construction paper
  • Paper plates
  • Stapler
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • An adorable faced child
There are popsicle sticks in the picture because I originally intended to use them for the children to hold up the masks but the way I had to cut the paper plate it got difficult and I scrapped them.

What to do:
  1. Cut out the middle of the paper plate.*
  2. Cut the orange and yellow construction paper into strips.
  3. Cut the brown paper into rounded ears.
  4. Put glue on the leftover part of the outer circle where you want the ears to go and let the children place the ears on the glue.
  5. Drizzle glue on the remaining part of the paper plate avoiding the ears.
  6. Let the children place the paper strips on the glue.**
The finished product:
I would like to show it with a child's face inside it but I don't post my babies online without express written consent. Can't do it. It's not right.

*Note I tried cutting from the center and cutting around the circle but it got messy and I wasn't cutting it in a way that looked nice so I ended up cutting from the outside of the plate to get to the circle and then I stapled the plate back together later.

**Note when the children place the strips they probably won't be perfectly on the outside of the circle but it's important that the center of the plate it see through so the child's face can be seen. After the glue dried I cut out any part of the strips that were in the hole of the plate.

Friday, August 14, 2015

P Week- Pizza

This one was a little labor intensive as far as cutting up the paper into shapes but I just thought it was so cute it was worth it.

What you'll need:

  • Paper plate
  • Red crayon
  • Glue
  • Assorted colors of construction paper
  • Scissors

What to do:
  1. Cut up white and yellow paper into strips to make "cheese", green paper into curved strips for "green peppers", red paper into circles for "pepperoni", and brown paper into "mushrooms".
  2. Let the kids color their paper plate with the red crayon to make their "sauce".
  3. Pour glue on the plate all willy nilly and let the kids add their toppings.
The finished product:



Thursday, August 13, 2015

P Week- Panda

Who doesn't love an adorable panda bear?

What you'll need:

  • Small paper plates
  • Black construction paper
  • Eyes
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Marker
What to do:
  1. With the black construction paper cut out ears, and black circles to go around the eye area as well as a small nose. I cut mine like a triangle with one side rounded and used it upside down.
  2. Have the kids glue the ears at the top, the eyes where eyes belong, and the nose in the middle.
  3. Attach eyes to the center of the eye circles.
  4. Give your panda a little panda smile with a marker.
The finished product:

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

P Week- P Penguin

This week's letter craft is a penguin! I happen to love penguins. I'll admit I was having a bit of a bad day today and maybe this could've come out better but I did my best.

What you'll need:

  • A P cutout
  • Construction paper
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Eyes
Those black shapes in the photo were intended to be flippers but I didn't think they looked right once I went to use them. But I didn't throw them away I'm going to cut them into panda ears later in the week. The ruler was to create the P since I didn't have one to trace.

What to do:
  1. Cut out a black P from construction paper.
  2. Cut out a white half oval for a stomach, and orange feet and a beak.
  3. Glue the beak to the bottom of the curve of the P.
  4. Attach an eye to the top part of the curve.
  5. Glue the feet to the bottom of the vertical line part of the P.
The finished product:



Monday, August 10, 2015

P Week- Painting w/ Pom-Poms

I thought it'd be a cute idea to paint for P week but not just paint with regular old brushes, I like to get a little more creative than that. We used pom-poms, the little round fuzzy things. That alone got the kids interested, but I thought it was also a good idea to use clothespins to hold the pom-poms. Less messy and less chance of the kids putting their hands in paint as well as an opportunity to get some fine motor practice in.

What you'll need:

  • Pom-poms
  • Clothespins
  • Paint
  • Something to put the paint on
  • Paper
  • A smock (optional)

What to do:
  1. Pick up a pom-pom with a clothespin.
  2. Pour some paint out on a paper plate.
  3. Dip the pom-pom in the paint, one pom-pom per color would be ideal.
  4. Hand the child the clothespin side and let them paint on the paper wherever they want with the painted pom-pom.
The finished product:



Friday, August 7, 2015

S Week- Spider

I realized a little boo-boo I made after I already started cutting these out but I think this was a cute one to finish out S week.

What you'll need:

  • Construction paper
  • Yarn
  • Paint
  • Sponge brush
  • Eyes
  • Scissors
  • Something to put the paint on
  • Tape
  • Something to clean the hands with
  • Black paint

What to do:
  1. Paint the child's hand black. Remember a spider only has 8 legs so don't paint the whole hand. The mistake I made was using the thumb instead of the pinky. The thumb ended up landing in a weird place.
  2. Place the  handprints on the paper with the palms overlapping.
  3. Allow the paint to dry.
  4. Add eyes.
  5. Cut out the spider and tape a piece of yarn to the back. I should've used a white or grey to look more like a spider web but I didn't think of it.
The finished product:

Thursday, August 6, 2015

S Week- S Snail

This week's craft using the letter is a snail. I had to figure out a way to have the kids do part of this because I realized as I was planning it it was getting too complicated but eventually I figured it out and I think it came out cute.

What you'll need:

  • An S cut out
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Crayons
  • Eyes
  • Something to make a circular shape (I tend to use a small toy plate, it just seems to be the right size when I need a circle.)
  • Markers
  • Pencil

What to do:
  1. Use the S cut out to make S's in construction paper.
  2. Cut different color construction paper pieces in half the landscape way.
  3. Let each child color their half piece of paper however they choose.
  4. Use the plate (or whatever circular shape you have) to make a circle out of the now decorated paper. Save the scraps.
  5. Draw a swirl pattern on the circle.
  6. Glue the circle to the bottom of the S, the end of the S on top of the circle and the middle of the S under the circle (see picture).
  7. Use the scraps of the decorated paper and attach eyes to it, then cut eye stalks around the eyes and glue them to the top of the S.

 The finished product:

Bumble Bee Bulletin Board

I needed to redo one of the boards in my classroom that has artwork that represents all of the kids. I decided to do bumble bees, then I happened to notice the bulletin board was bordered with bumble bees and knew it was a good idea.

What you'll need:

  • Yellow and black paint
  • Eyes
  • Markers
  • Construction paper
  • Scissors
  • Paint brushes
  • Something to put the paint on like a paper plate

What to do:
  1. Paint the bottom of each child's foot yellow with the sponge brush.
  2. Make a footprint on the construction paper.
  3. Allow the footprint to dry, then paint black stripes on the footprint.
  4. Attach eyes to the heel of the print and a smile under them.
  5. Use the marker to draw wings and antennae.
  6. Cut out your bumble bee.
The finished product:




Wednesday, August 5, 2015

S Week- Snake

This one was cute, easy and fun so let's make snakes!

What you'll need:

  • Paper plates
  • Bingo stampers
  • Eyes
  • Red construction paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue
What to do:
  1. Using the underside of the plate, have the children stamp their plates with the bingo stampers.
  2. Cut the plate from the outside to the center in a spiral pattern.
  3. Using your red construction paper, cut out a small split tongue.*
  4. Attach eyes and glue the tongue to the head of the snake, the inner center of your spiral cut paper plate.
The finished product:


*Note I used scrap red paper since the tongues are so small I didn't want to be wasteful.

Monday, August 3, 2015

S Week- Socks

One of my favorite things is socks. I hate feet but I love cool socks. It is a rare day that one would see me wearing plain white socks. So I took the fact that it's S week as an opportunity.

What you'll need:

  • Construction paper
  • Crayons
  • Stickers (optional)
  • Glue
  • Markers
  • Scissors
  • Pencil

What to do:
  1. Give each child a piece of construction paper and some crayons and let them color it however they want.
  2. Have the kids add stickers (or whatever additional decorations you have available).
  3. Fold the paper in half like a book, decorated side in.
  4. Draw a sock shape on the plain, outside of the paper.
  5. Cut out the sock with the paper still folded so there will be two socks when you're finished.
  6. Use a marker to draw some sock features, the toe and heel spots, and a few lines at the top to recreate the elastic at the top of a sock.
  7. Layer the socks on top of each other and glue them together.
The finished product:


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Mastery Level

Finally! After months of waiting and mix ups with my transcripts and a few rejections from other schools I have been accepted to grad school to start my Master's in Literacy Birth-Grade 6. This is yet another step closer to me becoming a teacher and being where I want to be in my life. There are still a few complications that I can hopefully get sorted out soon. My next courses of action are to find a place to live closer to my school, get a job there, and figure out how I can pay for school. Wish me luck a feel free to donate to my GoFundMe account if you'd like to help!

Friday, July 31, 2015

T Week- Teeth

This one came out looking a little creepy but I had some things on my mind this week and I kind of planned it last minute.

What you'll need:

  • Construction paper
  • Glue
  • Markers
  • Scissors
What to do:
  1. Cut some red construction paper into a half moon shape to make the mouth.
  2. Cut some white construction paper into small rectangles.
  3. Glue the red half moon onto a sheet of construction paper, preferable a color that matches a skin tone of some sort since it will be a face.
  4. Put a line of glue across the flat top part of the half moon mouth, and another across the bottom curved edge.
  5. Give the cut out teeth to the children and allow them to glue them to the mouth.
  6. Let it dry, then draw eyes and a nose to create a face.
The finished product:

I know those are some jacked up looking teeth but... oh well.

T Week- T Tree

I went in to work late after an appointment yesterday so I didn't do the craft with my kids and didn't want to take credit for someone else's work. But here's today's craft. I wanted to use the letter T for a craft this week at some point.

What you'll need:

  • Construction paper
  • Marker
  • Glue
  • Ruler (optional)

What to do:
  1. On a piece of construction paper use the ruler to draw a capital letter T.
  2. Shred up some green and brown paper. If you're doing this with older kids you can let them do the shredding.
  3. Make a line of glue on the vertical line of the T and have the children place the brown shredded paper on the glue to represent the bark.
  4. Make a line of glue on the horizontal line of the T and have the children place the green shredded paper on the line to make the leaves.
The finished product:


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

T Week- Tracks

I went into work late yesterday so I didn't do the craft with my kids. I didn't want to take credit for a craft I didn't partake in.

What you'll need:

  • Paint
  • Cars
  • Paper plates (or something flat to put the paint on)
  • Construction paper

What to do:
  1. Pour some paint out onto the paper plates. I didn't need as much as I thought so don't use too much as not to waste it.
  2. Originally i ran the cars through the paint a lot to get a good amount of paint on it but I found that the children didn't just do straight tracks so too much paint made it into big smears. I suggest just dipping each wheel into a little paint.
  3. Let the children run the cars on the paper, the same way they would if they were just playing with the cars.
The finished product:



Sunday, July 26, 2015

It Never Gets Old, Trust Me

One of the things that gets me through the hard times is the love and trust that come from the children. That feeling I get when I pick up a child and they put their arms around my shoulders and lay their head on me is priceless. It's that feeling of overwhelming love. They aren't just letting you pick them up, they want you to and they trust you to show them love back. It completely melts me when a child falls asleep on me I have no words for that one. I don't think I could fall asleep in the arms of someone I didn't trust to care for me even while I was unconscious.

I know my kids really love and trust me when I'm the one they run to when they're crying. You generally go to someone who is going to at least try to make you feel better when you're hurt or sad. I hate to see my babies cry but when they come running to me while they're crying I know they expect me to help them. It's just one of those things that shows me they trust me to make it all better.

Friday, July 24, 2015

I Week- Iguana

I want to try each week to make a craft out of the actual upper case letter so I can at least have the children start to know what the letters look like. Finishing out this week we made an Iguana out of the capital letter I.

What you'll need:

  • Construction paper
  • An I cutout
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Eyes
  • Markers

What to do:
  1. Glue the I cutout to a piece of construction paper.
  2. Use the scraps from the green paper you cut the I out of to make 4 claws, a tail, and a head.
  3. Glue the 4 claws to the 4 ends of the I.
  4. Glue the tail to the middle of the bottom platform of the I.
  5. Glue the head to the middle of the top platform of the I.
  6. Attach the eyes upside down to the head.
  7. Draw a tongue above the head. I also drew spikes on it's back but I don't remember if Iguanas have spikes. But I didn't feel like being anatomically correct was that important.

Here's the finished product: