She Can See!

One of our preschoolers came to school with a new pair of glasses. She was very excited to tell me that her new glasses were like mine (same shape, similar color)! My favorite quote from her that day was, “Miss Sarah, did you know, there are trees across the street!”

Poor girl! We had no idea she was having a hard time seeing. I can’t imagine not even know there were trees across the street!

I remember when I first got my glasses. The thing that stood out to me, was that the trees had tops on them. Obviously, I KNEW that the trees had tops on them… until you can actually SEE the line between the tops of the trees, and the sky, you don’t realize that you aren’t seeing it…

Because we have two children with new glasses, and because our unit is dinosaurs, I decided to read Bumposaurus. It’s a book about a baby dinosaur who can’t see. He ends up going on quite the adventure, and finds himself snuggling up to a T. Rex (that he thinks is his mother). After his family rescues him, he meets his grandma, who has on glasses. When he tries them on, he can finally see! It was very appropriate for this week! Gotta love it when things line up just perfectly!

If you have glasses, do you remember what stood out to you when you first got them? What about the children in your life? What have they commented on as being new to them once they could see?

Welcome Back!

Recently, I was on vacation for a week. After I got back, we had a day off for a Staff Inservice Day. That meant it was a full two weeks that I didn’t get to see our 3-4 year olds (They come 2 days/week).

At the beginning of the PM class on my first day back, one girl peeked her head in the class, and yelled, “Miss Sarah!!!!” She ran up to me and jumped up for the biggest Hang-from-the-neck hug in history (ok, maybe not history, but you get the idea). It was such a great way to start the afternoon!

That same day, my dog was sick – very sick! I had to call for a sub, because he had to be let out every 1/2 hour-45 minutes. In between, I was cleaning up after him. It was horrible! I was only able to find a sub for the morning class. Luckily, my husband got home from out of town on time for me to make it in for the PM class.

Because of the rough start to my day, that big hug from that little girl was EXTRA special! I needed that hug as much as she did!

When I sent the email to the families in the morning class letting them know I would be out, one of the moms responded, telling me that her daughter had prayed for me the night before, and told Jesus that she missed me…

Today was my first day back with the T/Th AM class. So many of the children had big smiles for me, and told me how much they had missed me. It really is a great feeling to be so loved by so many preschoolers! Reason #142 why I love my job! :-)

Something Unique Happened… Twice!

Our preschool classroom is located in a strip mall. We have no playground to play on, and only a small grass area between the parking lot and the road to play in. Needless to say, we only go outside a couple times per year (usually for fire drills, or to do sidewalk chalk outside the door). We also don’t have a gym.

How do we help children get their energy out? We do action songs, stretching, and/or breathing exercises at every group time. The area we use for Circle Time is also our Large Motor area during free choice time. Every couple weeks, we rotate what children can do in that area. Sometimes, it’s a trampoline or balance beam, other times, we might have something like bowling or basketball.

Children usually play appropriately, but it sometimes gets a little out of control with balls flying or rolling all over. This one time, we let the boys be a little rambunctious, and we were amazed with what happened next.

In a class of 4-5 year olds, a group of three boys started playing what appeared to be a real game of basketball (but with 2 balls). The boys were attempting to block each other, were trying to get the ball from each other, and make baskets. They were cheering for each other when they made it (even if they were on the opposite “team”).

One of the boys was acting as both player and ref. He would stop the game with a “Time Out”, tell them to come back in the lines, then would pretend to blow a whistle, and throw the ball in the air, as if for tip off. What shocked all three teachers in the room, was not only the level they were taking this game to, but that they were following each other’s directions, and no one was getting hurt feelings when the ball got taken away from them.

Other children came in and out of their game.  They played for a good 10-15 minutes (if not longer). All the children involved had red cheeks, and were sweating by the time it was time to clean up.

In all the years we’ve been teaching together, we always dread basketball week, because it usually turns into children throwing balls all over the room, getting out of control, and we have to put the balls away for the day because all other attempts at redirection fail. Not this year!

This amazing “game” of basketball in our classroom was a wonderful glimpse of what CAN happen when you let children get a little more “wild” with their play. It has never turned to this before.

What’s even more amazing, is that it happened again the next day with our 3-4 year olds! We couldn’t believe it!!

2014 in review – Moments of Brilliance

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Our Cute Kiddos

We have an adorable group of preschoolers this year. Once again, I’ll be posting some of the funny, quirky, or just downright cute things they say through the year.

One day, I was sitting at the art table. One 4 year old boy asked me, “Miss Sarah, why don’t you guys do this cool stuff?” I asked him what he meant. His reply was, “Do you play when we leave?” If only we could! If only life were so simple as to wonder why everyone wasn’t playing, because that’s what our world revolved around… :-)

We have a 4 year old girl who loves Spiderman! She has a Spiderman backpack, and wears a Hello Kitty locket with a note inside that says, “I love Spiderman.” I love when parents encourage their girls to love Super Heroes just as much as Princesses (and vice versa)! This is the second year in a row that we’ve had a girl who loved Spiderman so much (and it’s not the same girl).

On the same note, a former co-worker of mine let her little boy dress as Maxarella. It was an unexpected costume from a boy who is usually decked out in his sports gear! He made a beautiful princess, and according to pictures, wore it proudly!  Way to let kids be kids!! :-)

A 5 year old boy told us he wasn’t going to come to school any more. When Miss Kim asked him why, he said, “Because you always make me draw.” Apparently, he doesn’t like when we do journals at school. He has also told us the same thing because we make him write his name too much. He hasn’t quit yet, so maybe we’re getting somewhere? ;-)

A 4 year old girl who joined us late last year as a 3 year old, and barely ever spoke has found her voice. She doesn’t talk often, but when she does, she has loooong stories to share! This past week, it started with, “There’s somethin’ fishy going on at my house. My shoes weren’t in the shoe pile, they were downstairs, and I don’t know how they got there.” The story went on as to how she discovered said shoes downstairs, and how she put them in the shoe pile… I have no idea where this random story came from at the snack table, but it was quite amusing!

At the snack table, with our three year olds, we were talking one day about whether or not they were in any sports. Some kids said they play soccer, some are in dance. One girl said “I play Barbies with my Mommy and Daddy.” I asked her if she did anything else, like maybe dance class or soccer. Her matter of fact response? “I do gymnastics, and I play Barbies.”Apparently, this is now a sport in the 3 year old scene! ;-)

In our program, we use the Second Step social-emotional curriculum. After some issues with the puppets last year, I was introducing new puppets. Our morning class gets the privilege of naming the puppets. Last year (or maybe two years ago), they came up with the names Jack and Jill. The new puppets are Billy, and… well, we couldn’t exactly agree on a girls’ name. I suggested Maria. One boy got really upset. He said, “We can’t call her Maria, that’s our house cleaner’s name!” He has since, mostly gotten over the fact that our puppet has the same name as the maid.

Many of the children in our classes have a hard time understanding that we are not only teachers, but parents too. One boy who we’ve had for 2 years totally gets it. When I’ve been gone because one of my kids is sick, he has been known to ask how my kid was doing upon my return. One day, after I demonstrated art, he asked me what I was going to do with my art. He asked, “Are you going to take it home to show your kids?” He was so sincere, I thought it would break his heart to know I usually throw mine away. I don’t remember exactly how I responded, but I remember thinking I should be careful with how I respond.

What fun or quirky things have you heard the little ones in your life say?

Kids Who Make me Laugh

One of my favorite things about being a preschool teacher is listening to what children have to say. Little ones are incredibly funny! Often times, they don’t mean to be, but when they tell you things they are absolutely sure is the truth, and they obviously can’t be, they are very entertaining.

Here are a couple of examples of things I heard at the end of the last school year that made me laugh:

4 year old girl – “I went to the moon one time. We went in a rocket ship and we bounced really high in our space suits.” When I asked if that was a dream, she said, “No, it REALLY happened. I went with my mom and my brother!”

3 year old girl looking all sad – “I wanted to go to the moon, but my mom doesn’t have a spaceship.” I told her maybe when she was older she’d be able to go to the moon. She looked at me as if I were stupid, and said, “No, I’m going to be a COP!”

 

This summer, I have had the privilege of working at Lakeshore Learning. If you aren’t familiar with this store, many people refer to it as Disneyland for teachers. I have also heard teachers refer to it as their “candy store.” It is a dangerous place to work, because I am daily seeing many things I want for my classroom. That said, I get a great discount, and will be slowly adding items here and there.

Anyway, we often have children coming in with their parents.  One day, a 5 year old boy came in to the store with his mom. This boy had the entire store laughing! He is sure to be a stand up comedian some day. He also was sure that everything he was telling us was true. He told us all about his restaurant he owned called “Andover, New York.” The specials usually consist of “recipe soup”, but is different on Fridays when the other chef is there. He told me I should go in on Friday to try the other chef’s specials, because he is a much better cook. Then he told me that I should go at lunch time on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday if I want the recipe soup special. Instead of begging for everything in the store (like many children do), he told his mom (who was looking at educational items to help him with his reading), to stop looking at the “lame stuff”, and to please come look at the toys he wanted. At least he was polite about it, right? ;-)

 

What would this world be without laughter? A pretty boring place! Instead of being annoyed by children’s “fantasies” they are spinning, try to enjoy them, laugh with them, and you will find your heart feels a little bit lighter.

Why I Love my Fitbit

My Fitbit has changed my life. Not drastically, but it has changed the way I do some things – enough that I thought it was worth posting about.

Just keep walkin'...

Just keep walkin’…

My experience with Fitbit started a couple years ago as I was training for The 3 Day. You can read about why I would do something so crazy here.

I met this woman, Ally (@Allybird82), on twitter. We started training together. One of the times we were out walking, she told me about her Fitbit. I had seen some other friends tweeting about theirs, but didn’t want to spend that kind of money on a pedometer. After all, I could spend $12 on one that lasted a couple weeks, or fell of somewhere in the woods while I was training, right? I had probably spent over $100 on pedometers to track my training, but never had luck with any of them. As my kids would say, #FAIL!

Ally ended up losing one, getting a new one, then finding the other one (or something like that). She gave me her old one (I know, I still can’t believe it). I tried to get it synced to my computer, but did something wrong, and I set it aside. I tried again just before The 3 Day, but my computer was having serious issues, and it didn’t work again.

During The 3 Day, my teammate, Kathi (@Auntkathi), had her Fitbit on. Somewhere around the same time, my husband Jason (@StrateSQL), got one. After The 3 Day, I decided to try again with the Fitbit. This time, it worked. It was actually really simple to get started on. I don’t know what my problem was before that.

What IS a Fitbit?

A fitbit is a little device that you wear. It tracks your steps, calories, number of stairs climbed, and you can even use it to track your sleep (I tend to forget to set it before bed). It’s different from other pedometers in that it has an interactive website that you can sync it to. On the website, you can set goals for steps taken. You can also track your weight goals, your diet, calories, exercise, etc. The most fun part of the website, is that you can compete with your friends that also have a Fitbit device for the most steps taken in a week. You can also cheer them on, and leave encouraging messages.

My first Fitbit Tracker broke. As a preschool teacher, I tend to sit at itty bitty tables often. Wearing my Fitbit on my pockets of my pants, meant that at some point, I would hit it on the edge of the table. When I did, it snapped apart. The electronics in that thing were tough though. I was able to get it together several times before I lost the pieces inside, and had to get a new one. I bought my 2nd one off ebay. After enough time, the same thing happened to that one. This time, I had glued the entire outside together, but the lawnmower brought it to its demise.

Finally, I bought my newest one at Target. I got the newest, most updated version of the Fitbit One. Right away, I loved the design of the new one. It is a smaller, sleaker version of the old Tracker I had. It is held inside a silicone clip/case, so even if I bump the edge of my preschool sized tables at work, it won’t just snap apart. I’m pretty sure that it would take some effort to break this one! I also discovered that there is now a mobile fitbit app (available in the Android Play Store, and likely in the Apple store as well). I can turn on the bluetooth on my phone, and it will automatically sync my Fitbit stats. It works hand in hand with the website, so I no longer have to worry about plugging in to my USB port to update it. It is slightly more waterproof than the older version (not something I have had to worry about yet, but my husband has been known to forget to take his off while jetskiing). It also seems to have a longer battery life than my previous two!

In addition to our devices, we also own the Aria Scale that syncs right with the website. It not only tells your weight, but also your body fat %. I’m never happy with the numbers that show up, but it’s nice that it all works together.

What’s the point?

I originally titled this post “How Fitbit Changed my Life”. Since the point of the story came so late in the post, I decided to change the title. So, why DO I love my Fitbit?? Because, it has made me walk more. Walking more is good for your body! The goal is to walk at least 10,000 steps in a day. That seems really hard, but it equals about 5 miles total for an average person. It makes you realize a few things:

  1. You walk more than you think you do. 10K steps is not that hard to reach with a little extra effort. For my mother-in-law, this means 2 extra walks around her neighborhood per day.
  2. You go up (and down) your steps more than you think you do. The goal I set for myself is to climb 20 flights of stairs/day. I think the default is 15, but we have a lot of steps in our house, so I raised mine. The Fitbit only counts flights you climb, not the ones you go down. It will however, still counts those in your steps taken per day.

How can you get in 10,000 steps?

For me, there are a few ways to reach that 10K mark. I don’t always get there. In fact, I usually average about 8,000-9,000 steps per day. What I can tell you, is that the numbers would be lower if I didn’t have a Fitbit, or if I didn’t pay attention to what it tells me. I watch where I am at, and try to boost the numbers when I can. Also, I can tell you that being really close to your friends on the “friend rankings” list is a great motivator! No one wants to see that their friend is only a couple hundred steps ahead of them! I may be a little obsessed, because I have gotten to the point that not wearing my Fitbit makes me feel as odd as taking off my wedding ring. That being said, I know others are way more obsessed! ;-)

Here are some ways to get those extra steps in:

  • Park further away  – I no longer park in the closest spot possible (unless it’s raining). I park further away to get those extra steps in.
  • Don’t pile all your laundry up – I used to make a pile of all the clean clothes that needed to be put in the closet, then do the whole stack at once. Now, I walk from the bed (where I fold all my clothes) to the closet to hang up each item individually. I also take each stack of kids’ clothes to their rooms separately (even though they are right across the hall from each other). Doing these extra little things can add a couple hundred more steps on fairly easily.
  • Take your dog for more walks.
  • Go on more walks with your family –  Our block is exactly one mile around. Jason and I enjoy going for walks together. It gets us both moving, and gives us some quality time together. We sometimes bring the kids or dog, but usually go just the two of us.
  • Walk around the store more – My mother-in-law has been working really hard to get her 10K steps per day in. She told me that one night, it was raining. She didn’t feel like walking in the rain, so she went to Target, and walked the inside perimeter of the store until she got to her step count. I thought that was brilliant! I sometimes use getting more steps in as an excuse to just walk up and down the aisles at Target or the local grocery store.
  • Take the stairs instead of the escalator
  • Use the push mower vs the rider – we pretty much always push mow the front, and use the riding lawn mower in the back. Last week, I push-mowed the entire thing. It was a lot of work, but I got a lot more steps in that way! Mundane walking tasks (like mowing, vacuuming, and even sweeping or mopping) can add a lot of steps as you go back and forth, over and over.

How do you get your extra steps in each day? Feel free to write in the comments section!

Interesting note, just as I thought about writing this post, I found another post on the same topic.

Have a happy, and step-filled day! :-)