Sam In The City

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Grasshopper On The Road

Many Thanks Mr. Grasshopper

I had a wonderful day at school today with my students! For the most part, the children were very well behaved and attentive. (Besides Elizabeth spitting a wad saliva on the floor during naptime for no apparent reason and Martin punching Adam in the stomach, the day was great.)

Anywho,I love reading to my students more than anything we do throughout the entire school day. It's so much fun to create different voices for the characters in stories and play around with reading tones. The students really get into the stories that I read in class and that just thrills me. After reading a story to the children, many of them will ask where that particular book is so they can read it after their work is done. I don't want to sound arrogant, but the kids think I'm a pretty cool chick. ;)

Today, for the second time, I read the story "Grasshopper On The Road", by Arnold Lobel. This story is about the journey of a grasshopper who takes a journey on a road he finds, not knowing where it leads to.

While Grasshopper is walking down the road, he meets several characters. He met a housefly, who was only interested in cleaning, and one day hoped to clean the entire world.Then there were the butterflies, who everyday sat on a big mushroom, scratched their heads three times, spun around six times, took a nap, and while they were napping, dreamed that they were taking a nap. The butterflies told grasshopper to stay with them because they liked talking to him and they wanted to talk to him everyday and add them into their strict schedule. Grasshopper declined their offer and moved on because he didn't want to do the same thing everyday. There's also the horseflies, who had an exclusive club for only those that loved the morning. After grasshopper told them that he also loved the morning, they invited him to join the club to sing and cheer about how much they loved the morning. When grasshopper dropped the bomb that he also enjoyed the evening and night, well they kicked him out. :( The grasshopper then comes to a small puddle, in which he finds a mosquito in a boat. The grasshopper's legs are easily long enough so he could simply walk over the puddle. But the mosquito tells him that rules are rules, and even the grasshopper had to let mosquito escort him across the puddle. So grasshopper ends up just carrying the boat, with the mosquito still in it, across the puddle. When they get to the other side of the puddle, the mosquito explains to grasshopper that he's been transporting other insects across the puddle his whole life, and had to hurry back to the other side of the puddle in case someone else needed a lift.

For the life of me, I cannot remember what kind of insects the last and most important characters were, so we'll say they were hornets. Anywho, the grasshopper encounters these hornets who are speedily zooming back and forth in the sky. When they see grasshopper, they stop and tell him that they feel bad for him that he can't fly. Grasshopper tells them that he doesn't mind that he can't fly because as he walks, he notices such beauty around him. He then goes on to tell the hornets that they can't see what he does because they're too busy flying back and forth. Once again, grasshopper is left alone as the hornets return to the sky to keep flying. Grasshopper made it clear that he was perfectly content being by himself and exploring the new road he's traveling down. I'm rattling my brain to think if there are any characters I missed, but I think I that's all of them.

Anywho, the point of this story is that grasshopper was content doing his own thing. He didn't conform to what everyone else was doing just to belong or stay settled. The opinions of the other characters never brought the Grasshopper down or made him feel bad about his journey. As the book came to an end, I was explaining the lessons that can be learned from this story to the students. I told them that it is okay to be different and change can be good. Since the first day of school, I told them that if everyone in the classroom did the same kind of work, it would be boring. So of course, being the smart little Kindergartener's they are, they tied that point in as well.

As we're discussing "Grasshopper On The Road", I was thinking out loud and said, "Mrs. Villa has the same thing for lunch everyday". That thought led me to many others that made me analyze my daily routine. I wake up, pour my coffee, eat breakfast, put my make-up on, brush my teeth, wake up Dan and after he's ready, we split. When I arrive at school, I do work until the first bell rings at 7:40 a.m. and then get the students and then teach the whole day. After work, I clean up the apartment, work-out, eat dinner and fart around with Dan or on the computer. (This is not filtering in doctor appointments or other scheduled activities that may come up.) Anyway, this book really made me think about the way I live my life. I want to be more like the grasshopper who welcomes the unknown and doesn't stress about unnecessary anxieties. It's funny how one children's book can make you analyze your whole life and I'm glad for that.

Anyway, I know this entry was incredibly long, but my blog is a way for me to articulate my thoughts and share them with those I love and those who enjoy reading my writing. So if you've made it through the whole entry, I strongly suggest that you read "Grasshopper On The Road" or at least think about the content of the book. Life's too short to let a puddle in the road stop you from your journey.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The Big Evaluation

Today was a BIG BIG day for me at work. Since I first started teaching in August of 2004, the Early Childhood teachers have been working very hard to get accredited by a prestigious Archdiocese program. To make a long story short, we Early Childhold teachers(who teach 3 and 4 old Preschool through Kindergarten)have been working with a woman sent from the program to help prepare us for the validation visit. This woman, who we'll call C.K. has given us ideas and suggestions to modify lesson plans, teaching styles and classroom arrangement, in order to comply with the prestigious Archdiocese program guidelines. Our school was given a little over a year to prepare for the validation visit, which would determine whether or not our Early Childhood program received accreditation. In addition to the Archdiocese sending C.K. to help us prepare in a variety of ways, the Early Childhood program also received a very large shipment of educational support materials for each classroom.

It's too complicated to explain everything in detail, but the point is that most of us teachers have been working our butts off to receive this accreditation. Today the Archdiocese's validator came to our school to visit the Early Childhood classrooms and ultimately decide whether our program "passed". The validator had to observe the one and only 3 year old preschool class at our school, one of the two 4 year old preschool classes and one of the two Kindergarten classes for one hour. It was really nerve wrecking wondering if my Kindergarten class would get the hour visit or not. The other Kindergarten teacher just began teaching Kindergarten this year and was introduced to all of the accreditation news the beginning of this school year. As nervous as I was about the validation visit, I wanted the validator to come to my Kindergarten classroom and observe...and she did!

The validator observed my class for about an hour and basically raided my classroom today. She looked through my lesson plan book, weekly parent letters I send home, student portfolios, emergency information, cleaning procedures, child/teacher interactions and about anything else you can think of. Afterward, she individually met with the teacher's whose classroom's she observed. I have a really good feeling about how things went today. I'm not sure exactly when our Early Childhood program will receive the news on whether or not we were accredited, but I hope it's soon! If we do get accredited, we get to keep all the educational support materials we received to help us prepare for our validation visit. From what I understand, if a school is accredited through this Archdiocese program, the school's program is outwardly viewed with prestige. It looks great on a resume to say that you taught at a school that received this particular accreditation. If we don't get accredited, then C.K. told me we will get another chance, with new guidelines to follow that the Archdiocese just came out with.

Anywho, whether or not we were accredited, the validator made me feel great today. When we were talking one on one, she told me that my class had a very warm feeling and that she liked the arrangement and presentation. She also complimented on my interactions with the students and said I read very well to them. Our conversation made me feel very proud of the job I do everyday with my students. When she was in the classroom, I saw her smiling while looking through some of my students notebooks. I was beaming when mentioned how nice my students writing is. If our school had not undergone this very stressful and anticipated validation visit, I would still put just as much time and effort into my job. It was just nice to be complimented and appreciated by someone high up in the education field. I love teaching Kindergarten and today I feel like another individual from the outside really noticed that. I'll be sure to let you all know if our school passed the big test today. This validation visit was a challenge and blessing in disguise. Regardless of the results, personally and professionally I am very proud of our Early Childhood program and give us an A+. ;)

P.S. I was going to post pictures of the beautiful Frema in her gorgeous wedding dress she purchased this past Saturday, but after reading her blog entry and also realizing her wonderful fiance is a frequent blogger, I came back to planet Earth. Sorry folks. :(

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Dun, dun, dun!

To those in the blogging world, it may seemingly appear that I have not posted an entry for over a week. However, last Saturday I posted an entry and then unposted it on Sunday. I was really angry when I posted and afterward thought it was tacky to leave up. Anywho, to the few readers who actually caught the post, thank you kindly for your comments. ;)

This past Monday, I did not have to work because it was a day of observance for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I spent my kid free afternoon going to the dentist. In the last year I have been to the dentist to get my wisdom teeth yanked, have cavities filled, and the latest visit...the beginning of a root canal. As I sit here typing this entry, my poor little molar is THROBBING! :( The pain doesn't stop there folks, oh no! My frickin' tooth has decided to start a conspiracy with my left ear now. I really think my tooth and ear are going at it, trying to see who can give me the most pain. The root canal was started on Monday and the second and last part is being done tomorrow. After briefly seeing the dentist for an unscheduled appointment yesterday, he told me to take three Advil's and one Extra Strength Tylenol for the pain, which is about the equivalent of one Vicodin. I've taken the extreme amounts of non-aspirin, and yet the pain is still there. I can't wait to go to the dentist so I can chew my food without being conscious it. More importantly, I just want the pain to go away.

Yesterday I got the complete second season of Roseanne, which brightened my spirits quite a bit. More importantly, just thinking about Saturday makes me smile because we're finally going to get Breain's wedding dress! Yea!!! ;) Well bloggers, thanks for continuing to read, even though I've been slacking lately. I'm sure after this root canal I'll be able to crawl out of my slump. Say a little prayer for me. ;)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

XOXO, Sissy

Frema on the left & Samantha on the right

Dearest Frema,

This entry is dedicated just for you! ;) Yesterday was your birthday and I had every intention of blogging about you for the big day. Better late than never, right?! ;)

I just simply wanted to say Happy Birthday to you dear sister! I love you very much and you make me so proud! You're a great role model and I really look up to you. Thanks for all the fun memories we've share together and cheers to making many, many more! I'll never forget the childhood memories we've shared, namely: Ding-dong Ditch (in which we'd ring someone's doorbell and run), Friend(the made up drawing game we made up about the friends we drew on paper), Hide-N-Seek and the mini-Lifetime specials you'd make up about drowning in our pool. Those are just a few of the cherished memories I look back fondly on and laugh about. ;)

Anywho, I hope you had a fabulous birthday Breain! You mean so much to me and you are truly one amazing woman! I love you Nootch.


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Woof, Woof!

Today was my first day back at work after fourteen consecutive days off! 14 days my friends! Needless to say, I'm pooped. When I checked my mailbox at work today, I got a little note saying that I would be getting a new student, today. I was a bit surprised to get a new student in the middle of the school year, and it's been an interesting experience thus far. As I'm talking to him, he starts to pat me on the head like a dog. Fun times I tell ya. I can already tell this child is going to make my Kindergarten class much more, well...interesting.

After work, I went to check out yet another hall for Frema and Luke's Wedding Shower. There are so many options for halls and decisions to make for the big fiesta! ;) Can you believe they're already getting married this May?! The time is just going to fly by before the wedding and I want everything to be perfectly intact for the big day. ;)

Well, after a long day of work, hall shopping and working out...I'm going to try to go to bed. It seems like every time I attempt to turn in early, I end up going to bed even later! We'll see what happens tonight.

Buenos noches and