Sunday, December 20, 2009

Book Choices

In kindergarten, we're learning how to choose books we like. A lot of girls want to find books about princesses. Others want to learn about animals.

I get to work with the quirkier ones, though. One likes to find "Bleeding Books." These are where someone is bleeding or maybe has just been bleeding. She really like Shel Silverstein poems.

Another likes books with "Mean Faces." She's the class tongue-sticker-out-er and eye-roller.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Surprises from the kindergarten set

Most of the time, the kindergarteners I know are pretty typical. They cry when someone steals their crayon; they need help tying their shoes; they like to tell you the love you.

Today, though, I was mightily surprised not once, but twice.

Incident #1:
During snack, I overheard one girl say, in a fake British accent, "Charlie bit me! Ouch, Charlie! That hurt!" Usually the cultural references are more Hannah Montana-related. Youtube viral videos? That's new.

Incident #2:
At dismissal, one kid who usually goes to afterschool was in the family pick-up line, and I didn't think twice about it. After her afterschool group left on their merry way, she yelled, "I need to go to afterschool!" Uh oh.

I had no idea where the group went or where the program was located, but the school aide told me they had just left and we could maybe catch up. So kindergartener and I went flying down the street, her with flailing arms and me with a pink Hannah Montana backpack. Once we got to the corner, the group was nowhere to be seen. Uh oh times two.

Luckily, kindergartener wasn't half as worried as I was. She seemed to know the way, saying things like you turn here and then go down a curve. After about 5 twists and turns down Bronx blocks, we arrived at the program. I would've been lost without her, but this kid knew her stuff. Future cartographer?

Monday, November 30, 2009

If You Like It, You Better...

I often seen one of my little ones on the subway in the morning. She's in kindergarten and has speech disabilities. She's a little hard to understand and also talks super loudly.

The other day, she spotted me a few seats over. Though squished between her 8-yr-old brother and very pregnant mom, she yelled my name and tried to climb out to meet me. I didn't think that was good for our fellow passengers, so I got up and went to her.

We shook hands, and that's when she noticed my ring. Oh boy, this was exciting. She grabbed my hand, yelled at her mom, "Ring!! He got a ring!!!" and started doing the Single Ladies dance. No jokes.

Monday, November 23, 2009


As you might expect, there are a lot of pictures in kindergarten and first grade. Especially when the kids can't read yet. So I spend a fair amount of my time drawing things that are, somehow, supposed to express a ton of meaning.

For a "Writing Partner" lesson, I needed to show, "Partners listen to each other and provide feedback. Partners share their writing clearly. They sit side by side. They take turns."

Sometimes, the meaning gets skewed. Like here:
If I didn't know better, I'd think this lesson was on how to stare adoringly at a friend, perhaps alienating yourself, even though she should be the one who's alienated because of her hairstyle.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

When I grow up, I wanna be...

Every class gets to pick a "star of the week." The star gets to do all sorts of things: wear a special ribbon, hand out papers, steal numbers off the hundreds chart. My favorite thing is the Star of the Week Interview.

It is written down and put on the wall. Hard-hitting, it covers questions like, "What's your favorite color?" and "Why are you special?"

It also asks, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Predictably, the girls' answers usually include doctor, teacher, and police officer (although that came out of nowhere from a mini, smiley kindergartener).

This week's top answer: fire truck.

When pressed, she answered that, no, she didn't want to be a firefighter. She wanted to be the truck, spraying water and everything.

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Let's face it: things got busy. Opening a charter school takes brain energy, and why post if there's nothing to note?

But today, there was something to note.

When reading a label book (you know, "tiger" is written right by a picture of a tiger), one of my grumpiest kindergarteners found a peacock. At the top of her little lungs, she shouted, "Cockbush!" It was followed up with "Lion!"

She had no idea....

Thursday, October 1, 2009


One first grader is new to schooling this year, so she's working hard to learn what's what. In her writing journal recently, she's been creating wonderfully illustrated stories. The text goes a little like this though:


She's got the period thing down.