Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Was today Monday? :-)

Are you sure it wasn't Monday?  Sure felt like it!  We're going to have days when we're glad "school" is done.  I'm pretty honest with my kids here.  I believe in letting them see and hear about most of feelings and also see and hear me working through them.  It's a way to teach them about real life feelings and what the appropriate ways of handling them are.  We have the conversation like... "It's okay to be frustrated, but it's not okay to hit someone when we are frustrated."   One little boy told me this morning, "the kids wore me out."  I looked at him and smiled and said, "I think the kids wore Ms. Amber out."  It happens.  Feelings are a normal part of life.  No one is ever "happy, happy, happy" all the time.  It just doesn't work that way.  We have days where we haven't slept well the night before (which was part of today's problem with the children) and it DOES effect how smoothly our days go. 

So, my nicely planned day...didn't go as nicely as I would have liked.  Which brings me to the question, "Is it okay to set an activity aside and go back to it another time?"  Absolutely.  It is just fine to say "Wow, this isn't working for us right now, is it?  Let's do it later."  It's important that children learn to persevere and finish tasks, don't get me wrong.  I'm big about that and will try to change the activity so that we can all be successful but days like today when I could see the behaviors rising, even in free play, made me decide, okay, get this to a stopping point. We'll do it tomorrow, or next week.  Right now it's going to frustrate the children and myself and possibly cause problems for the rest of the morning.  Sound familiar?  I'm bringing this up because we all are going to have days like this...days that either we, as the teacher, are off and days the children are off...and heaven help us...days when we are all off!  LOL  And everyone needs to's okay to change your plans and forgo some of those lovely learning activities and do them on a day where we'll get a lot more "learning" out of them!

What do you do now?  This is "school time".  When there are days like this, unstructured free play is not always the answer.  At least not here!  I feel that the answer to that question is "sensory".   It's amazing how children will relax and become more focused during and after sensory play. 

Always have your playdough in an easily accessible place.  We do playdough activities about once a week.  Not often more, because then it has the possibility of wearing out its welcome.  But playdough is a lovely activity for a day where things are just not going as smoothly as normal, and I've been known to say, okay guys, put this stuff away, I'm getting the play dough out.  I actually had playdough planned today, so that worked out well.  They sat at the table and flattened round balls of brown playdough into pancakes and pricked them with our P stamper, and flipped the pancakes on the pan. One child even stacked four pancakes together (and told me it was four) and asked for a fork and knife and he sat there cutting the pancakes into pieces.  Ah...p is for peace! 

Water play...this is a very easy activity to use for sensory and it helps the children relax as well.  Add a little blue (or another "cool" color), use warm water and add some soap and the smiles start spreading.  And it is very much okay to "be a kid" and get into this sensory play with them if you need the "relaxing".  :-) I was lucky, once again, that a form of water play was on my plans for today also.  I had planned S is for soap and we skipped our other more "need to focus activities" and went to playdough and soap.  At the dollar store I had purchased a grater with a container.  The children grated the soap, mmm! sure smelled good, and I gave them a bowl (don't tell them, but I squirted just a wee bit of dish soap in it :-)) and they emptied their soap flakes into the bowl and whisked it to make bubbles.  It smelled lovely!  And using that whisk...they whisked out their negative feelings.  :-P  Then we were able to go "back to work" and do quite well!  
See the smile!  Yeah! 

Open-ended art often works well for a day that the children are off...but that sometimes can backfire too, if you have a lot of paint or probability for messiness.  But after the other activities, they did just fine with their O's on the ovals.  

O is for oval. 
The O tools we used. 
Seasoning containers are often a perfect size for printing because they can keep a good grasp on container.  Use your imagination...the children love my dollar store whisk...this one I use specifically for painting.  They also thought it was pretty cool to use the marker cap. 

There are days when I'm singing, at least in my head, "tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow.  You're only a day away."  Yes, looking forward to tomorrow! 

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