Tuesday, March 20, 2018

SOLSC 20: How do you spell 'Hot Diggity Dog'?

I am participating in the
March 2018 Slice of Life Story Challenge (SOLSC).
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, every day for thirty-one days.
A big thank you to Two Writing Teachers for providing this unique opportunity
for teacher-writers to share and reflect.

As soon as I arrived at school this morning, I changed around the dramatic play area in my classroom. I'm such a pro at these reorganizations that I only needed about twenty minutes to make it happen. Out with the suitcases and the travel theme, in with a restaurant! I set up the kitchen as one long galley against one wall for our many passionate chefs; I moved two small tables to the center of the area, draping them in tablecloths and setting them with dishes, to entice our hungry customers; I transformed the puppet show booth into a hostess stand, right at the entrance, so that we might welcome guests to our charming establishment. 

It may seem strange to change it just four days before spring break, but changing the area was more than overdue. All three of us teachers (my two Teaching Residents and I) felt invigorated by the change - it was like a breath of fresh air to imagine new play and conversation with the children. Also, I feel as if it gives us a chance to see what the children most like to do with the area, and we'll be more informed about the children's interests, as we plan the learning for the remainder of the year. The Teaching Residents are running a unit on Cooking, and this dramatic play area will be a fabulous complement to that unit. 

As students walked into the classroom at this morning's arrival, I met them at the hostess stand and said, "Welcome to the Big Cats' Restaurant, today is our 'soft opening.' Please come in and visit with us." Their eyes grew wide with delight and incredulity - everyone loves a happy surprise! They immediately entered into play, searching for plates, cookware, pretend foods, and taking on various roles. (I was most amused by the two children who honed in on using the broom and dustpan! Every good restaurant needs this kind of teamwork!) Their excitement was palpable...yes, it was more than time to make changes to this area! At our morning gathering, I shared that we will brainstorm ways to grow this  restaurant over the next many weeks, adding in their suggestions of what to name the restaurant, making menus, taking down people's orders, deciding what we should cook, and so much more...we will all work together to have a great time at the restaurant. One student exclaimed, "Hot diggity dog!!" and we all burst out laughing.

The restaurant had an excellent 'soft opening.'

That wasn't the only happy surprise of the day. Fast forward, I am home from school. Unbelievably, just after 7pm, D.C. Public Schools announced that schools are closed tomorrow. Snow day! Wow!! This. Day. Off. Is. So. Needed. It feels as if I have been given an extra day this week...my list of to do's has been bursting at the seam, and now I can be home and focused, with feet up, hot tea at my side, computer on my lap...oh my, oh my, oh my! I feel like a little kid, I am so excited. 

(Of course, the power must stay on, if my fantasy day is truly going to be fulfilled ;-)

(I wonder how much shoveling I'll have to do? My husband is in Atlanta...this is going to be all on me...hmmm. Fresh air and exercise is never a bad thing, right?!)

D.C. Public Schools are like the "little engine that could" of this area...all the surrounding counties will cancel school (as they have many times this school year), but D.C. chugs on, "I think I can, I think I can." This storm must be a doozy, to have them announce the closing the evening before. Oh my, it just dawned on me - I don't have to wake up early and search for the announcement! Is a "no alarm clock" morning - woohoo!

This preschool teacher is smiling! Yes, she is! All I can say is, "Hot diggity dog!"


  1. I love the kitchen area. I remember having a "kitchen" in my room when I was young. We often played store (good for math) and cooked and served meals. Your description and photo make me envision a dramatic writing center in a high school classroom. Things like that make me want to teach longer instead of retiring next year.

    And I'm happy you have a day off tomorrow, but I wonder what the storm will mean for the student march on Saturday. The Folger had a teacher event scheduled and canceled it because of the march. I received an email yesterday from the Folger asking who is coming to town for the march. I wish I could go and support the students.

  2. We are headed to Costa Rica on Saturday (for our 30th!) and missing the march, though my heart is with everyone who will be there. (And tons of people I know are going.) Saturday should be great here...it will be a good day for the march. So many people are going to show! I am so excited!