Monday, November 29, 2010

Christmas season in Kash

Its nearly December and I'm noticing drastic changes in student behavior. Maybe its all the snow we've gotten. Perhaps my kids are actually listening to something I say (but probably not). Maybe I'm not as easily shocked anymore (probably so). Whatever the reason, my job has been getting somewhat easier over the past few weeks. Students are again easing into routines after the week off in October (yes, its taken THIS long to relearn them). I look forward to our mornings together. I make sure I have a smile on my face when students come in. A "special student of the day" writes out the morning message while I read with a student or ask about their weekend. Some students brush their teeth. After announcements, we've been doing daily morning exercise (just 30 seconds of push ups or jumping jacks or crunches), it gets a smile on their face and wakes a few of 'em up. I'm hoping to eventually make this more of our day, the kids really enjoy it and I think its worth the time spent. After we regain our breathe, groups of students race to the carpet and the morning message is read and edited, all led by the special student. We do a "morning boogie" in a circle as a class, and then the special person leads the whole class in reading our words of the week, and students orally put them into sentences. By this time, breakfast has usually arrived and the special person washes their hands, and hands out the snack. Students eat apples with peanut butter or banana muffins while I tell them where they will begin their center activities. If its Monday, we brainstorm and then vote on a "Fun Friday" activity that they earn with good behavior and good work over the week.

Being consistent has not only really helped the kids, its helping me TONS with my planning. In September and October I'd be up late, writing and rewriting every lesson - most of which I wouldn't get through because I didn't have consistent routines and expectations in place, and well, because sometimes my kids are .... "hyper." While they certainly aren't angels yet, things are on an upswing as of late. Aunt Barb, if you're reading this, you gave me the best advice on an earlier blog when you told me to stick to routines. I was originally afraid to bore the kids, but they really are thriving on structure.

The other best piece of advice I've gotten is from a high school teacher up here, a friend and mentor of mine. He said, "Love and forgive. Love and forgive. Over. And over. And over." I've caught myself saying this sometimes once a day, sometimes every 5 minutes. It really is the best advice that has really saved my sanity, not to mention my voice box.

As the Christmas season approaches I look forward not only to my 2 weeks off (yea!) but my class is singing a song and doing some drama for the St. Andrew's Christmas Concert. We begin practicing tomorrow! I'll be playing the guitar for the first time in a few years. I've chosen "Nutt'n for Christmas"... because it suits my kids ;)

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Its been a few weeks since I've last posted - a lot happens everyday (every minute in the classroom) but its getting harder to think of things to write about. My theory is that the peculiar of Kash is now becoming the everyday and its taking more and more to shock me these days - a good thing for my classroom management, a bad thing for writer's block.

Scott visited last weekend for six amazing days! We didn't get up to too much - there isn't much to do in Kash with the Northern Store as the lone destination point, and not many sights to see (its so flat you scan the horizon and see it all in one go) however we watched many movies, made pancakes and omlettes, played scrabble, walked around the dike and the town every day, began to plan an all inclusive vacation with Jill and Zach for April (eeee!), relaxed, and even began to sort out some "wedding stuff." He met my class, helped out with some language work and centers, played tag with them during recess. As predicted they fell instantly in love with him (as I did). They've been asking about him ever since.

Since he's left I've been more homesick than ever - November is proving to be an extra stressful month - on top of regular nightly planning, students' Individual Education Plans (IEPs) were due, first report cards go out in two weeks and parent-teacher interviews are scheduled for the end of the month. And, oh yeah, I'm turning 26. Yikes. However with 5 weeks until Christmas break and my plane tickets booked, I know I'll be south and home again soon.

The school year continues and I'm still learning more and more every day. My students continue to keep me on my toes, continue to challenge me in countless ways. While my students drive me absolutely crazy some days, I'm falling in love with each one of them. Getting to know these kids will I think be one of the more invaluable experiences I will take away from Kash - they are each uniquley absoluetly brilliant.

The greatest grafetti written on my portable door - hard to read since someone's attempted to wipe it off, but it still faintly reads:
"A+ for Scott loves Geni."
Like I said, brilliant!