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10 Sep


5 a.m. I’m up

7 a.m. I’m out the door

3 days a week

40 new names to learn

40 new faces to remember

40 personalities to understand

40 folders to keep track of

40 backpacks to correctly identify

38 families (2 sets of twins)

40 conferences times 2

2-3 prep hours each school day

2 or more prep hours at home each Sunday

1 church where our preschool rents its space

2 classrooms to set up every Monday

2 classrooms to take down every Friday

3 morning teaching hours with 20 students

3 afternoon teaching hours with 20 students

9 months of preschool

100,000,000 things to learn and do

8 hours of sleep definitely needed

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


7 Jun


The definition of closure (n.):  “bringing to an end; a conclusion.”

A few closures in my life:

1.  My daughter has her fifth grade recognition tomorrow.  This will bring her elementary education to a closure.  She moves onto middle school (grades 6-8) in the fall.  We’ve been a part of this elementary school since September 2001, and it has served us well.

2. We will have closure with the issues at the middle school, before Tuesday, June 9th.  They’ve already given my son closure, and that’s the most important part.  I just need closure as well, and I will get it.

3. The Monster Bug has been named.  We call him Goober, and he will soon be at home in our new office space.  So the search for the perfect name has come to a closure.

4.  The new office space was once the toy room.  The old office space will become the kids’ new game room.  I cannot wait for this project to come to a closure.  It is harder than I imagined.

5.  I have written my preschool thank you notes.  That act brings this past school year to a closure.

I miss my little friends.

After closures come new beginnings.  We’re at the beginning of summer, which will be the beginning of many projects, and the beginning of many fun (I hope) adventures. 

I don’t want to think about bringing summer to a closure just yet, because then I’d have to think about the beginning of another school year.

I’m ready to start enjoying summer with my children!

Mrs. V

Spring Break

1 Apr


Spring Break, really?  The weather seems far from spring right now.  It’s cold and windy and there is a prediction (Dare I say it?) for a snowstorm on Saturday.  This week off really should be called “Late Winter Break” or “Maybe it’s Spring, but only if you’re lucky break” , but I prefer to think of it as the “Hey, I don’t have to get up at 5 a.m. break.”

The break from work also means a break in my routine, and my mind tends to wander.  A lot.  Here’s the evidence.

My Random Thoughts that occurred during Spring (ha-ha-ha) Break

1. I have 7 weeks of teaching left in this school year.  That’s it.  7 weeks.  Where did my school year go?  I love my students and 7 weeks is just not enough time to do what I want to do.

2. My two children have 9 weeks left in their school year.  That’s it.  9 weeks.  Thank goodness!  I’m so over 5th and 7th grade, the school system, the projects, the headaches, and the homework.

3.  Gasp!  My daughter has her 5th grade recognition in 8.5 weeks.  That means she’ll be a middle schooler in the fall.  Help!

4.  39 years old + Waterpark = Soreness for days.  I will never learn, will I?

5.  I like staying up late and sleeping in.  Oh, how I love sleeping in.

6.  Pedicures are a wonderful thing.  Why have I been denying myself this pleasure all these years?  Oh yeah, the cost thing.  But the flowers on my toes are so cute.  **sigh**

7.  When can I wear my sandals?  I want to show off my flowers on my toes.

8.  Newsletter, I need to write my April newsletter and make my April calendar for my students and their families.  Focus, I need to focus.

9.  You mean I have to get up at 5 a.m. and go back to work on Monday?  Will it be spring then?  Will I be able to wear my sandals to work?  I have these flowers on my toes…

10.  Routine, I need my routine.  I need my preschoolers.  And why is that dinosaur song still stuck in my head. Why?

11. Seven weeks. I’m going to cry that last day of school. I just know it. These are two outstanding groups of kids. How did I get so lucky this year?

12. I hate ending on odd numbers. It bothers me.

Mrs. V

Smiles and Frowns

28 Jan

Here are a few of my random smiles and frowns from the past week.

~A smile is little voices mispronouncing words.  To the first graders I listened to read: You say catapidda, I say caterpillar.  I think your version is cuter.  

~A big smile is making a committment to join a health club.  Oh, I didn’t join it for the equipment or the excercise, I joined it for the aqua-massage.

~A bigger smile is a little 4 year old chatter box in the class where I was subbing.  I knew all about Chatty-Cathy’s family, friends, imaginary friends, family car, and even her mom’s age by the end of the afternoon.  I’m glad she trusted me with such vital information.

~An even bigger smile is beginning to see that my students have been learning the academic lessons I have been teaching all year. It makes observation and assessment seem like a good thing, instead of a chore.

~A gigantic smile is when both of my classes understood that penguins have feathers, not fur.Yay me!

~A frown is realizing that your classroom is once again full of the creeping crud. Yes, I do believe I work in a Petri Dish. We sent a child home with a fever today. **sigh**

~A big frown is the cold winter weather. I’m tired and even my little students are tired of being stuck indoors! How long until spring?

~A bigger frown is watching your friend and assistant teacher wipe out in an icy parking lot and teach in pain all day. I told the children to be gentle with her, and I hope they were.

~An even bigger frown is realizing that Bumble has had some a whole lot of regression in the past two weeks.  It seems that Bumble is back to behavior that I haven’t seen since October/November.  Yikes…  Hopefully Bumble will be back on track soon.

~A gigantic frown is having  gourmet dreams on a mac-n-cheese budget.  Darn economy.

Mrs. V