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Oh, Hello November…

3 Nov

November Calendar

Thank goodness October is now just a hazy memory of H1N1, fevers, pneumonia, pleurisy, ER and doctor visits, chest x-rays and heavy duty antibiotics. 

Remember that full-on sneeze I was a recipient of?  It brought H1N1 into my house.  The H1N1 gave my otherwise very healthy 11 year old daughter a nasty case of pneumonia.

Obviously I have not had much time to spend blogging.

October is best forgotten anyway, I think.

How has November begun?

One word:  CHAOS

Halloween, time change, full moon and preschool are not a good mix.

I have conferences starting next week.

I have 40 “report cards” to fill out this weekend.

I may have to brush up on my teacher code if the chaos in what was once a rather orderly classroom does not subside.


Mrs. V

Reading Readiness

16 Jun

Reading Readiness

The other day I heard about the “Your Baby Can Read” infomercial. Out of curiousity I googled this infomercial, and both the mom and the teacher in me wanted to cry.

Has our society really come to this? Are parents really buying this video? Is it necessary for such young children to learn to read? Is placing them in front of a video and using flashcards really the best way to teach children?

Parents want so desperately to give their children a head start in this hyper-competitive world, that I can see how this video/flashcard system can be a moneymaker for its creators.

“You’re forgetting about Reading Readiness! Children will read when they are ready to read! Let babies be babies! Let children be children!”

I am teacher hear me roar.

I’ll back up that roar with some suggestions for Reading Readiness for infants through preschoolers that I’ve learned as both a teacher and a parent.

My guess is they cost a lot less than what any infomercial can sell you.

1. Read to your child. Everyday. It should be an enjoyable activity.

2. It is a wonderful thing when a child wants to hear the same story over and over again. Read it until you have it memorized, and then read it many times more.

3. Talk to your child. Ask your child questions, even when they are too young to answer. (Always pause and give them time to answer.) Tell your child what your are doing. Provide a running commentary as you go about your day. Talk, talk, talk!

4. What difference can following numbers 1,2 and 3 make? Tens of thousands of words! Children are a blank slate, capable of learning ANY language in the world. Just imagine the vocabulary you can teach your child.

5. Sing songs that rhyme. If you can’t sing, then chant nursery rhymes. Rhyming is so important for hearing the ending sounds of words. Many children love silly songs and poems, and may create some of their own.

6. Alliteration is the beginning sounds of words. Find songs or poems with alliteration. Teach them to your children. “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers.” Children will learn to hear (and feel with their mouth) the beginning sounds of words.

7. Sing the ABC song over and over again. Everyday. You can even use a small chart and point to each letter as you sing it. You would be amazed how many children think that “LMNOP” is one giant letter. Many children think that there is an “N” between Y and Z. 

8. While reading a story to your child, ask questions about the story. “What color is the dog? Do you think the dog will ever get home? What will the dog do next? Did you like the story?” This builds comprehension and vocabulary.

9. If you think your child might not know a word, give it a definition. “Do you know what a spade is?” (Wait a little while for a response, even for non-talkers.) “Spade is another word for shovel. Do you see the spade?” Then point to the picture.

10. When reading a story follow the words with your finger. Left to right, return sweep, top to bottom, front to back. Let your child help to turn the page.

11. Talk about the front and back of the book. Talk about the author and illustrator. Are the pictures drawn, painted, colored or are the pictures photographs? This helps build print awareness.

12. Let children see you reading books, recipe books, magazines, and newspapers. Take children to the library. They will be able to see that words are important to you.

13. Talk about the print all around you. There is environmental print everywhere. You find print on cereal boxes, snack bags, signs and toys. The possibilities are endless, and this is another opportunity for print awareness.

14. Remember that letter identification and letter sounds will be learned when the time is right. Each child who can learn, will learn when they are ready. 

15. Relax, read a book, and have a conversation.

Children grow up too fast, so let’s stop pushing the fast forward button.

Mrs. V


28 May

This sign should be parked in front of my child’s school.

So why am I annoyed?  My phone calls to people I need to speak to have not been returned, and my email has been ignored.  Am I that hard to track down?  Are people scared of me?  Are they hoping that if they ignore me, I will eventually stop bothering them?  Are they hoping that by not talking to me the problem will just go away?

As each day passes my frustration grows, and I find that I am running out of patience.  For the record, this issue has been going on for over a month now, so I feel I have been more than patient. 

I understand that the school has 1100 students.  (Don’t get me started on that number.)  I know our problems may seem small and petty to those who run the school.  However, the school did promise at orientation that they would take care of my child, and my child is safe in their environment.  I’m seriously beginning to doubt this statement.  If I can’t get the school to pay attention to a small problem, how can I have confidence that they can handle a huge problem?

I’m torn.  The momma bear in me is just roaring with anger, but the teacher in me is trying to stay calm.  I’m trying to remember that schools are very busy places, especially schools with 1100 adolescents/teens within those 4 walls.  I just can’t figure out why communicating with me is so difficult. 

As an educator, I know how hard it is to return phone calls and emails.  Yet, I try my best to take care of those things as quickly as possible.  If I don’t know the answer I promise to find it for the parents, and I get back to them in a timely manner.  I also will apologize if I miss or forget something or someone and I try to rectify the situation as soon as possible.  Is it too much for me to expect the same from my child’s educators and administration?

I realize my son is just one of 1100 students.  I get that.  However, this is my child.  I had given my trust to this school to take care of him, and they are expecting me to trust them to take care of my daughter too.  I don’t think I can trust this environment right now.

Can you understand why I am so annoyed?  (and frustrated, angry, worried, scared, defeated…)

Mrs. V 

They’ve put boogers in my cereal, haven’t they?

The Valentine’s Day that wasn’t…

16 Feb

Friday morning:  I woke up with a nasty stomach virus, had to call in sick to work and I was stuck in bed for the next 24 hours.  My wonderful co-workers handled my classroom, but I still missed the Valentine’s Party with my students.  This made me very sad and I cried big crocodile tears.  I guess that made me pathetic and sick.

Saturday (a.k.a. Valentine’s Day):  I was feeling slightly better and finally holding down boring foods and liquids.  Plans for a Valentine’s dinner and a movie had to be cancelled on account of my jumpy stomach.  My hubby took wonderful care of me, and helped me to laugh at the whole thing.

I am thankful to have such terrific friends and family members who care for me and worry about me, and this means more to me than any Valentine’s parties, chocolates, dinners or movies. 

However, it still was the Valentine’s Day that wasn’t.


Mrs. V

Cat puke in my shoe

2 Feb

shoes[1]At the beginning of last week, my cat George hurled in a shoe that is from my current favorite pair. Not on, not next too, but actually in my shoe.  He’s always had a bit of a shoe fetish, and it’s my own fault for leaving it on the rug in the foyer, but he’s never done that before.   Hairballs are gross, but hairballs in my shoes are completely disgusting.

The rest of my week went downhill from there.  I won’t go into the gory details, it was just one of those weeks that I’d rather not dwell on.

The week ended well though, because  I’ve discovered the healing effects of Pilate’s and aqua-massage.  I’m going to like this health club membership thing. 

This week has started without any barfing in my shoes, since George has thankfully confined his gifts to other areas of the house.  I’m hoping this is an indication that life might return to normal.

My shoes will be fine.  Thank goodness. 

Mrs. V

cat puke in my shoe

humorous life annoyance

present unwanted