This is a Tuesday "Slice of Life" for Two Writing Teachers. Check out their website for lots more reflections on teaching.
I have a snow day! My first snow day this year! I just got in from shoveling snow; the snow was light and dry, maybe 5 inches total. The sun is shining, the snow is no longer falling, and the shoveling was so easy. It is a beautiful day.
My husband and I just returned from Saco, Maine, visiting my parents (who are in a retirement home there), and my older brother and his family over the long weekend. There was a blizzard over the weekend…a storm that dropped some 12-15 inches of snow on top of an incredible amount that was already on the ground. Let me share a picture from my brother's dining room window - they have had several storms in succession, with unrelenting cold temperatures. Snow just keeps piling up!
|(Window accents by a kindergartner party planner!)|
All that snow meant for lots of family togetherness. Not only did I spend time with my elderly parents but I played lots with three grand-nieces, girls who straddle the ages of my classroom of preschoolers - Emma, age 6 (in kindergarten), Olivia, age 18 months, and Everly, age 2 (in a couple of weeks). We had fun! Emma 'hired' me to help her make Valentine's Day party invites for a party she dreamed up on the spot…she worked hard on these, creating one for each adult, all with the same identical design - my only task was to color around the heart she drew on the front of the invite. (She was very particular about my work - inspecting each to be assured of its good quality.) She asked each of us to sign our invite, if we were planning to attend the party. (There was a blizzard outside - so, of course, this captive audience was 'going' to Emma's party!) When each invite was signed, Emma created a master list of all the attendees. Do you see the strong academic skills demonstrated in her play?
Emma took a short break from this project to read to me from a Frozen coloring book. For me, a teacher of preschoolers, fresh out of last week's pre-literacy conference, it was so so so awesome to listen to her read…to see how she recognized certain words, knew all of the letter sounds, and made reasonable guesses about unknown words using clues such as word length, starting letter, position in the sentence, and the pictures on the page of the book. What fun it must be to be a kindergarten teacher, seeing reading happen right before your eyes on a regular basis!
Olivia's main desire was to fill containers and dump them out. She worked alongside her big sister Emma, as Emma drew with markers, putting the markers into a bag and then - once all markers were inside - dumping them out and starting over. Full. Empty. Full. Empty. Full. Empty. Over and over. Everly had discovered the thrill of hiding things up her shirt, but could not figure out why they only stayed up momentarily and then fell out. She would quietly appear near to Olivia and Emma, her cousins, and slip a marker or two up her shirt, only to be caught red-handed when the markers fell to the floor. Then, there were many voices at once - Emma's clear "Hey! I'm using that!" and squawks from both Olivia and Everly, some approximating the word "Mine!" All three girls were very easy-going and any sharing issues were brief and momentary. They loved being together.
It was extra special to see my parents with these little ones - their great grandchildren. They gave kisses freely and brought various toys and books to their laps. My Mom, who has dementia, could not take her eyes off of the youngest two. Olivia and Everly seemed to bring an alertness to my mother - she asked their names over and over, and followed their movements with her eyes, frequently cautioning, "Oh, look, she's over there! Should she be there?," perhaps remembering the responsibility of little ones. Mom squealed with delight when the girls laughed - and they laughed lots!
How wonderful it would be if seniors had young children near them regularly!
We may have been snowbound, but we sure had a great time together.