Santa Sighting #1

Well, since tomorrow is December, it is probably about right that we had a santa sighting at school today.  This man seriously could have been old Saint Nick – he was out of uniform, but he was large, jolly, and had a long poofy white beard.  I don’t blame the children for greeting him with “HI SANTA!  HI SANTA!  HI SANTA!” as he walked down the hall… but I still felt like I should apologize on their behalf.

My coworker assured me that he does actually play santa during the holidays, so at least he is aware he looks like Santa?

And maybe I can convince the children that he is keeping an eye on them for the naughty and nice list – so they’d better be on their best behavior.

Which reminds me of a couple of years ago when I had an interaction with a student that involved a picture of santa saying “ho, ho, ho” and the child being appalled at the language being used…

Oh Christmas and kindergarten.  You mix so well.  Or not at all.

1 little, 2 little, 3 little pilgrims

Yes, that is a title of a book I read to the small children.  No, this post does not have anything to do with kindergarten.

I’d actually like to take a moment and thank the sponsors of this post: my Grandma VanLoon and my aunt Laurie.

My Grandma surprised me with an amazing and somewhat magical frosting piping gadget a couple of weeks ago, and my aunt mailed me a surprise winter snowflake apron that I opened on the day before Thanksgiving – aka Baking Day.  I could not have accomplished what I did without their support.  Or just without their thoughtful gifts.

Originally I was in charge of rolls for Thanksgiving Dinner.  (Let’s not talk about why I am not allowed to be in charge of corn).  That responsibility was taken away from me and replaced with: make a fun dessert for later in the evening when we are having leftover turkey sandwiches.  Ok!

After much deliberation, I chose (or called my mom and made her choose) a chocolate peanut butter cupcake recipe. All I knew for sure was that I wanted to make adorable pilgrim hats for on top of the cupcakes.  Since they required a peanut butter cup and a fudge striped cookie, the hat and the cupcake flavor seemed like a good pairing.

Baking these cupcakes was an adventure.  It is a good thing my roommate wasn’t home to witness the disaster I created in our kitchen.  Things started with a cocoa powder explosion, and they didn’t get much better after that.

One of the first steps was to make peanut butter balls to put on the inside of the cupcake.  The peanut butter mixture was extremely sticky and extremely impossible to form into a ball.  So instead I created ugly peanut butter globs and set them aside for later.

Next on to the cupcake batter.  I was proud of my efforts until I went to pour smush it into the little paper cups in the muffin pan.  Annie said that the cupcakes were dense, but I didn’t realize how thick and sticky the batter would truly be.  I had to force globs of it in the cups, then try to put the peanut butter “ball” in, then cover the glob the rest of the way with batter.  You might think this sounds pretty straightforward.  False.  This approach was highly ineffective and I mostly was covered in chocolate-peanut-butter-ness at this point.

The highlight of my baking experience (other than my new apron of course) was the decorating.  My new kitchen tool from my grandma was more fun and easy than I could have imagined.  I will now be baking things for the sole purpose of getting to frost things.

All in all, it was a messy adventure.

If you choose to make/eat these “masterpieces” at some point in life, my brother recommends using a fork so you don’t break your jaw, as they are quite tall.

If you hurry, there are two more sitting on Rachel’s desk at church and you could eat one.  Today, I pawned my leftovers off on others, offering them “mediocre cupcakes”.  I have been told they are better than mediocre, but I would for sure recommend having a glass of milk handy, as they are quite rich!

Giving Thanks – kindergarten style

After my kids made these amazing turkey hats, I taught them that turkeys say, “gobble”.  This is probably their new favorite word.

Today we watched Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.  During it, a couple of the characters were talking about holding hands under the table.  A few kids said, “ew!”  But one little boy spoke up: “love is a beautiful thing!”

As we sat down for our Thanksgiving Feast, wearing our pilgrim hats, we shared around the table what we were thankful for.  I love hearing their thoughts.  Naturally they were thankful for their teacher.  Others were thankful for “all the kids that couldn’t be here today” and for “all the people everyone in the world.”  Others named off everyone in their families.  Still others shared that they were thankful for God and Jesus.   I think this may be the first year that most of their thankfulness didn’t center around toys.  I’m impressed, kids.  I went around the table and said I was thankful for each one of them by name.  It was mostly precious watching their beaming faces as I said I was thankful for them.

In non-Thanksgiving related news, we had a dad drop off a coat for his son today.  When the little boy found it in his locker at lunch time, he got the hugest smile on his face ever.  He had a permanent expression of shock and joy.

This morning at breakfast, Mrs. T overheard one of my students say:

“Oh my God!”

to which another child replied:

“Don’t say that!  He’s up there listening!”

One of my kiddos moved here from Kenya in February of last year.  All day long she kept interrupting me and telling me excitedly about her family’s plans for their first Thanksgiving.  So fun!

One child excitedly commented that they are excited to get to stay home for 4 days.  Later in the day a different child said to me, “So we have four stay home days, and then we get to come back to school?”  and it reminded me that for some of my students, school is their happy and safe place.  So as much as I need this Thanksgiving break, I will be excited to get back to work on Monday and keep loving these kids.

Happy Thanksgiving!



Cold weather got you down?  Feeling like you can’t do anything because you are so freezing?  Allow me to remind you of the amazing invention of: the snuggie!

I’ll admit – I was skeptical of this amazing blanket/backwards bathrobe.  But then I got one for my birthday, tried it on, and haven’t taken it off since (ok that last part is not true at all).

There are so many great things you can do while wearing a snuggie!

Like reading a book!

Or serving food:

Or holding back a friend’s sleeve’s so that they can serve food:

Did you know that the newer models even have snuggie-pockets??

You can pretend to be riding a roller coaster!

You can even celebrate Christmas!

my sister wisely comments, “My favorite is the triangle playing guy, because really the triangle is very underappreciated in the musical world.”

Whatever you decide to do while wearing your snuggie… taking your dog for a walk, brushing your teeth, or frosting Christmas cookies, I hope you have a snuggie-riffic day!!!

Automatic ‘A’

Today in one of my student’s folders, this was found:

Yes, I realize that this is backwards – that is how photobooth on my computer works.  And I can’t be bothered to take a real photo with my camera.   But yes, one of my students indeed was playing hangman, with the answer being “I love to go to school.”  A+ for sure!  (except we don’t actually give letter grades.  but if we did – he would totally get an ‘A’).

Yesterday’s quote of the day is a child talking about me and saying

“I think her imagination is confused.”

Yesterday also I was drawing a picture of a child on the board (talking about what clothing should be worn in summer weather) and one kid shouted out, “he should wear a Twins hat!”  Of course, I obliged.  And as I drew the TC logo on the cap, the students began to chant, “TWINS!  TWINS!  TWINS!”  It may have been my proudest teaching moment.

Last night I rearranged the tables in my classroom.  Today it was hilarious to watch the kids’ reactions.  Some of the highlights include the child who walked in carefully looking at his morning work and not looking up until he was halfway across the room, then getting a befuddled expression on his face and looking at me questioningly.  Another student said, “This is the awesomest!!!!!  Why did you do it?”  in two VERY different tones of voice.  Others froze in their tracks and their eyes continually widened.  But the best reaction by far is the child who stopped, looked around saying “oh, oh, oh” and then pretended to dramatically faint on the carpet.  Awesome, kid.

Cinderelly, Cinderelly, night and day it’s Cinderelly

Today the children decided to test my ability to focus.  Can I focus on leading our morning meeting with one child angrily kicking a table to a steady beat and another child filling the background with whispering screaming noises?  Yes, yes I can.

Tonight our custodian will be tested on his vacuuming abilities.  We had a popcorn party.  “Boys and girls, you may not eat your popcorn on the carpet.  You can sit on the tile or at your table spot and enjoy it.”  While it seemed like they were following that rule, it suspiciously looks like it snowed in my room.  Snowed flakes of popped corn.  They did an impressive job of creating a complete disaster, that is for sure!

Speaking of our popcorn party, we watched Cinderella while we ate our popcorn.  Last night at Bible study, I was letting someone in to the church and my shoe fell right off my foot as I walked up the stairs.  My friend Jill commented that I should have left it there and perhaps Prince Charming would have brought it to me during Bible study and we would have lived happily ever after.  During the movie in kindergarten today, all I could think was, “this could have been me!”  Next time I will know to leave my shoe behind.

Creepy Art = Joy in my Heart

5 little squirrels sitting in a tree

The 1st one said, “It’s getting cold for me”

The 2nd one said, “The leaves are falling down.”

The 3rd one said, ‘There’s acorns to be found.”

The 4th one said, “We better not wait.”

The 5th one said, “Fall is really great!”

If you read this poem, I’m sure that the natural conclusion you could jump to would be to make acorn-leaf-people.  So that is what we did today in kindergarten.

Here is my example:

And the following are exhibits, A, B, C, and D on “why I love kids’ artwork.”

This one actually pretty much followed the example:

Except, oh wait, it is sad, because “he wants to come home with me!”  (clearly this kid was not impressed with my plan to hang this up on our wall.)



This is what happens to an acorn when a leaf starts eating its face:

I love kid art work.  I love that even if you give them a pattern to follow, it turns out looking unique – sometimes it makes me chuckle, sometimes it makes me think “wow, how did this art turn out so creepy?” and sometimes it just fills my heart with joy.  The end.

Conflict Resolution

My kindergartners this year really know how to annoy each other.  Kind of like siblings.  Except we aren’t actually a family.

For some of them saying sorry doesn’t cut it:

(insert EXTREMELY whiney tones)

“He said his name starts with W!!!!”

” I said I was SORRY!”


Or forgiveness is unheard of…

Student A: “During Spanish class I was mean to my friend.”

Me: “Ok, did you want to talk to her about it?  Do you want me to help you?”

so we call the other student over.

Student A: “Do you remember during Spanish when I was mean to you?”

Student B: “Yes”

Student A: “I’m sorry”

Student B: “That’s ok”

Me: “You can say, ‘I forgive you”

Student B: “I forgive you.”
Student A: “I forgive you.”

Student B: “What does forgive mean?”


And you definitely don’t want to take the blame for your poor choices:

“The devil made me do it!”


At the end of the day though, some of my kids hug it out, some of them shake hands, but others prefer a fist pound… whatever restores the peace and feelings of goodwill among all…




“Attention staff, students, and visitors…”

I miss the good old days of taking a break from school to line up quietly and go outside for a fire drill, or sitting uncomfortably on the bathroom floor for a tornado drill.  We will have these things in elementary school, but since I graduated from high school, another kind of a drill has been added to the mix.  The Lockdown Drill.  This is basically – sadly – what to do in case of a gunman in the building.  I will admit, the training video was kind of terrifying.  It shoes a gun coming around the corner and a child pounding on a door (once we close the locked door, we are not allowed to open them again – don’t worry – we sweep the hallways and bathrooms before closing the door).

They don’t really stress me out like the first few years of the drills did – now I know what I need to do and do it.  I guess that is the point of the drill – to be prepared without the panic.

That being said, I do still have to find a way each year to explain to five year olds what a Lockdown with Warning and a Lockdown with Intruder are, in a way that conveys the seriousness without scaring them to death.  Mostly I just tell them that it is a practice for if something unsafe were ever happening out in the community or in our building (INtruder means IN our school).  Of course in the midst of this I reassure them thousands of times that it probably won’t ever happen and it isn’t something we need to worry about, but we just need to know what to do just in case.  I even tell them “I have been teaching for more years than you have been alive, and we have always practiced, but nothing has ever actually happened.”  (woah, I am getting old).

During the peptalk portion of today’s introduction to the lockdown with intruder, I said, “I care about you all so so so so much that I would do anything to protect you and would not let anything happen to you.  Do you know who else cares about you so so so so much?”  and one student points up and shouts: GOD!  (love it!)


Unrelated, today we were talking about our sense of sight and how our eyes help us see.  This included talking about the pupil and iris.  I asked what color my eyes were.  The response:  “Green, like the hulk!”  I followed this up by asking if I was also strong as the hulk.  He said no.  😦

Welcome Back?

I took the day off yesterday.  It was highly necessary.  Apparently while I was gone they were awesome.  Today – it sounds like children everywhere were a little nuts.

But there were a few moments that were highly amusing.

I opened up google for a lesson and a little girl comments, “I know!  You are on the gooble!”

Today we had to tell children: You may not eat woodchips.  (really kids???)

and I had a student ask: “Can we eat from the trash?”  (and I repeat – really kids????)

And the new way one kid is describing his feelings is “buck”.  I have only heard this on So You Think You Can Dance to describe particularly awesome hip hop dances.  This kid however was really cranky when he told me that is how he was feeling.  So just now I tried to google the phrase to find out what it actually means, as I want to start incorporating it into my personal speech.  However, when I clicked the link to urban dictionary, it was blocked, labeling the site as “obscene/tasteless” – I guess the world will never know.  (I hope our tech guy doesn’t think I am going to actual inappropriate sites!  oh dear.)