Slippery Slope

Time seems to be flying at the moment, and we are definitely on the slippery slope to summer vacation.  Last night we had our big school gala in a hotel downtown, but I will let Gav tell you all about that as he was one of the main organisers!It’s kind of that time of year when my job gets super busy-teachers the world over seem to all want to do research in March and April before kids are just totally checked out in the last month of school.  I have been working with kids in classrooms from Pre-K up to 11th grade.  One of the 11th grade teachers asked me if it was weird to deal with all the different ages.  I replied that each age group has its pluses and minuses, but that last week I did find a dried booger on the back of my shirt after working with kindergarten kids and I was hoping that wouldn’t happen in this class.

The Pre-K kids (4 years old) have been interested in airplanes.  Our school follows the Reggio style of instruction in the early years, which means that all of the curriculum is driven by what the kids are interested in.  I guess some of them wanted to know more about planes, so they went on a field trip to see an old airplane at an airport in town and then they all came up with questions that they still had about airplanes.  The teacher asked me if I would spend some time helping the kids find answers to their questions, so for two weeks I spent the first hour of my day sitting at a little table in the classroom with books and my computer, helping kids look things up.  Because they are 4, most of them can’t read or write really, so my method of doing “research” with them involved me asking them to flip through books to see if any pictures look like what they are wondering about and then I would read them the text and ask them what facts they want me to record.  Sometimes we watched a video or I would find a website and do the same thing.  It worked pretty well until we got to the more technical questions like “how does the engine work” when I would have to read, then try to translate the information into 4 year old language and try to get the kids to actually understand.

One morning I was with on kid who wanted to know how the airplane wing works and the kid all of a sudden says “who’s that guy”?  Oh fantastic, it’s my boss and he’s here to observe me.  While I am trying to explain aerodynamics and lift to a 4 year old.  There were lots of questions after this-he wanted to know what Mr. K was doing in the classroom, I told him I think he just want to see what we are working on, the kid wanted to know if he could ask Mr. K some questions about the airplane and I was very eager to say sure!  He would love that.  Mr. K then had about three kids swarming all over him and sneezing, which delighted me because I am always telling stories about being sneezed on by these little germ-bags and then he accuses me of being dramatic.  At the end of the day, I got very positive observation notes and Mr. K got a raging case of bronchitis.  I told him he was probably just being dramatic.

I told the teacher it would be fun if we could have the kids interview someone who knows about planes.  She thought this would be a great idea, so I offered to have them Skype with my dad, who is a private pilot and very enthusiastic about airplanes.  So last Monday morning (Sunday night for Dad) we got him on the class TV and everyone got to ask a question.  Dad did a great job explaining everything in kid-friendly language and the kids thought it was a hoot.  One little girl was very bothered by the fact that he did not teach Ms. Lindsey how to fly-she was not willing to accept that he was not qualified to do that and I didn’t want to learn anyway!  It was a big success.

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In other funny little-kid news, I was reading a version of The Boy Who Cried Wolf to the kindergarteners recently.  In this version, the boy is telling the truth about who is causing destruction in the house (Ninjas, space monkeys and a sunburned alligator) but his parents don’t believe him.  I asked the kids to raise their hand if they had every been accused of something they didn’t do.  I got lots of kids shouting about how their siblings did something and they got the blame.  I also got one kid who yelled out “I once said that Johnny* (another kid in the class) touched my penis but he didn’t really!”  I said “James,* we don’t really need to know the details.”  Kids have no shame.  Also, after that I was VERY specific about how we were going to raise our hands, but we were NOT going to share any specifics.

*Names changed to protect the innocent and the not-so innocent

I also overheard one little kid tell his mom that I was “the fish teacher.”  We had indeed been doing some work about fish, but I wonder if his mom left that encounter thinking that the school has oddly specific job titles.

The picture at the top is of Gav using our brand new hose to water the plants!  Up until now watering them was a very tedious job involving filling up the watering can from our weird water reservoir about 5 times to give everything a drink.  We had purchased a hose a long time ago, but realised that we had no water pressure outside so it was useless.  Last weekend we bought a pump and yesterday saw the the guys from school had come and hooked it all up for us!  Gav and the plants are very happy.  Also now that we have a hose outside we can finally wash Nell out there.  Up until now I have had to shower with her every Saturday, a process that turns my shower into a crime scene of dirt and dog hair.  Now we can ask out cleaner to do it and Nell can stop giving me her angry eyeballs when I tell her it’s time for a bath!

 

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