Thursday, December 15, 2011

On the Eighth Day of Christmas

our pen pals gave to us......
Udderly Smooth lotion.  When they were posing for the pic, I asked the kids what should they say when I say "1,2,3".  They wanted to say "moooooo".  Here they are.  No more dry, itchy skin.

These kids are  so giving. A mother came in to drop off a present for the party.  She was telling me how she had a little extra money and wanted to treat her daughter to a surprise trip to Disneyland.  She was trying to drop hints and asking her daughter what she wanted for Christmas.  The girl told her mom that her teacher's husband was really sick and all she wanted for Christmas was for him to be healthy.  A ten-year-old girl, who could have a trip to Disneyland, only cares for her teacher's husband.  Their hearts are so pure.  This is even more touching when you know what kind of challenges they face.

Just this week, one of my students had a brand-new baby cousin born.  The baby died shortly after birth.  How tragic.  Another girl couldn't bring a gift to the party because her mom had to go to Phoenix.  The student's sister had tried to hang herself and had been life-flighted to a hospital in Phoenix.

Speaking of presents, we had our classroom party.  Remember Christmas morning growing up?  Some of you may have memories of when your little ones opened their presents.  Was it chaos?  Wrapping paper flying everywhere?  You can't hear anything over the shouts of joy?  Imagine a classroom with 26 kids who have just eaten their fill of sugar.  Do you imagine utter destruction?  It wasn't.  I pulled names from the cup and they came to pick out their gift, one at a time.  I usually instruct them to wait until everyone has selected a present, then to open theirs.  This year, I was a little more relaxed and didn't tell them to wait.  But, they did anyway!  They sat patiently, with the present burning a hole in their lap, watching their friends select presents. I can't tell you how much I learn from these kids.  I am so blessed to spend every day with them.  If they only knew.
I love these kids.  They have taught me the true meaning of Christmas.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Spelling Bee

A teacher is much like a proud parent.  We take pics of our kids, oops, I mean students.  We feel a burst of pride when they do something amazing.  And if you have the fortune to stick around a school long enough, you can feel this with all the kids as they go on to higher grades.

Today was our school spelling bee.  I, for one, am not a very good speller.  I am amazed that these children, little children, some 8 years-old, can spell words that give adults trouble.  But, spell they did!  They spelled their little hearts out.

I had the pleasure to send 3 of my current students to the spelling bee this year.  As I sat there, I counted 6 former students on stage as well.  I had nothing to do with their success, as I already mentioned I am not a good speller, but I was still proud to see them there.

Jay did very well.
Gerald did well.
As did Akima.
After 6 rounds, there were only two students left.
Akima and a third-grader.  After 15 grueling rounds of back and forth spelling...... a winner spelled her way to the top.

Congratulations Akima Hinton!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

On the Seventh Day of Christmas

On the Seventh Day of Christmas, our pen pals gave to us:
more stickers
glitter glue
and ball games

Friday, December 9, 2011

Gifts Galore

This week has been like the twelve days of Christmas.  Wednesday, we got notepads and pencils.  The kids feel like high school students with their mechanical pencils.  They sit up straighter and are taking notes on everything I say.  hmmm, maybe I'll have to give them mechanical pencils more often. 

Thursday, we got crayons.  We all know that girls love to color, but you wouldn't know that 4th grade boys LOVE to color too.  I had a few coloring sheets on my desk for Jack and Josh.  Some students saw them and asked if they were for them.  They love to color. 

Today, Friday, they will get Christmas pencils and FUN stickers!  I'll post that pic later.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dictionaries All Around

Another wonderful pen pal knew of a foundation that provides dictionaries to each child for a very minimal cost.
I'll be honest, I didn't quite expect them to be so excited about a dictionary, but they were.  Just check out those smiles!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Warm Heads, Warm Hands

I have the sweetest students.  Just the sweetest ever.  They teach me everyday how to be a better person.

One pen pal had mailed 7 pairs of gloves.  I was holding on to them until Christmas.  But, it recently got cold.  It was 9 degrees at my house.  I figured that the gloves don't keep any hands warm in a closet, so I should pass them out and at least keep 7 kids warm.  I explained the situation of only having 7 pairs of gloves (for 26 kids) and that some kids would not get gloves this time around.  I pulled names out of my cup and two of the kids said that they already had gloves and to give the new gloves to someone else who did not have gloves.  I'll be honest, as a kid, I probably would have kept the new gloves.  Their generosity amazed me.  I went on and passed them all out.  Later in the day, I noticed the kids only wearing one glove.  I also noticed other kids (who I had not called) wearing the matching glove.  Those kids, those 9-year-olds, gave up one glove to a friend, so they could have a warm hand too.  I was astonished.  I don't think that even as an adult I would have done that!  Their hearts are pure.  They are givers and they think of others.  

The same pen pal felt so touched by their generosity, she bought 24 more pairs of gloves AND handmade 48 beanies.  They were all different colors and styles.  She mailed them in and again I was waiting for Christmas.  Well, we had been hearing how a big storm was coming our way, with big snowfalls.  Again, I decided that they do no good in the closet.  I passed them out and we still had some leftover.  It sort of felt like the fish and loaves of bread.  I believe in letting the kids brainstorm solutions to "problems".  I posed the question of what to do with the extras.  One student took over and took suggestions from the students.  She wrote them on the board.  The suggestions were 

  1. give to parents
  2. give to homeless people
  3. give to teachers
  4. give to siblings
After debating and voting, they decided to adopt a classroom and give them to other students.  They walked around school finding out how many students were in each classroom.  Finally, they found a classroom that had the exact number of students.  We went in, gave the students new beanies, and read Christmas books to them.  Kids reading to kids is one of my absolute favorite things as a teacher.  Here are some pics.
 Beanies AND Gloves!
 Japheth, Kailaynei, and Preslie

where Glory meets my suffering