Monday, March 30, 2009

my little congo man

One of my Jumpstart kids is from the Congo and has the BEST accent... I wish I could post a video of his delightful self up here but alas you'll have to survive on stories.

So last Thursday E. was fixing my hair in our "hair salon" walking back and forth to the "sink" to get clip after clip and carefully place them in my hair. Alex, his Jumpstart corps member, was trying to engage E in conversation by asking how many clips he was putting in, what his plan was for my hair, etc but E was so focused he just trudged back to the sink, picked up a clip, trudged back repeatedly.

Alex commented, "Wow, he's so intent."

E. immediately stops mid-clip retrieval and says, "No I am not! I am FIVE!"

<3 Congo.


Every Monday I've been observing 1st graders and today I made the switch down about 4 inches in height to Kindergarten. Don't be confused... a decrease in height only means an increase in personality.

I was observing two children write a sentence using magnetic words today and this is how it went down:

Shane (holding up a magnetic word): Hey Daijah, what does this word say?
Daijah: Shane, I am NOT your maid. Sound it out.

I like this girl. a lot.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

It's always time for pie...

Every morning in preschool we read the two lunch choices to 16 wiggly four year olds and as they hand in their folders and library books they can tell us what their lunch choice is for the day...

One day a few weeks ago the choices were Shepherds Pie or a Hot Dog.
The children came up one by one and made their choices... a few hours later the eagerly anticipated lunch cart rolls into our room (there isn't a cafeteria at our school).

Little feet run to the sink to wash hands and grab seats at the teeny tables. Styrofoam (ugh.) containers plop down on tables and hungry bellies growl.

Mekhi, who chose Shepherds Pie, pops open his lunch container and scoots back from the tablel in confusion at what he sees.
He looks up at the adults in the room and says, "Where the heck is my PIE!"

Poor guy. I'd like pie for lunch too.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

No woman wakes up thinking, "Gosh I really hope I don't get swept off my feet today."
-- Hitch.

i'm just sayin.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Things I don't Usually Connect...

When I was in 8th grade I had an awesome group of girl friends that I had known since we were 4, entering Kindergarten and growing up in the same neighborhood together. We had that funny small-town connection that you see in nostalgia-inducing movies like Now & Then. We showed up to school dressed alike by accident (and sometimes not by accident let's be honest) and often finished each other's sentences. They were a blessing in my life.

One of our favorite activities to pass the time during class-- particularly French, sorry Madame-- was a game called "Random Thoughts." Someone would write a random sentence, or part of one, at the top of a paper and the paper would make its way from desk to desk, thrown over shoulders passed in books and tossed behind the teacher's back. Giggles were suppressed as the message got increasingly complex and fairly ridiculous. A version of this involved hiding the original message and adding on blindly. The entire joint creation was read in the locker area between classes, and most of the time we were amazed to see how our brains connected ideas and created some sort of order out of the randomness. Everything seem to be connected.

I am reminded of this game as I think about a class I had last week. I'm taking a course called The Exceptional Learner, which is designed to help education students think well about including children with special needs in their classroom and designing a community of learning that accepts, embraces and encourages all learners.

A few weeks ago we had a guest speaker come and talk to us about people with blindness and visual impairments. She is a mobility instructor for individuals in our area and one of her main tasks is helping people with visual impairments move around town as pedestrians. She explained to us how complicated it can be to stand at an intersection and use only your hearing to determine when it is your turn to cross the street. The "ped heads" on street poles with buttons we all push to signal we want to cross present challenges-- they are always at different heights, in different locations relative to the intersection, some beep some dont, etc.

One complication she brought up that I had never considered: hybrid cars.
Hybrid cars do not make noise while they idle.
A person who is blind standing on the street corner is analyzing the traffic that runs parallel to his or her path in an effort to determine when it is her turn to cross the street. If a hybrid car is idling next to her, she cannot hear it and therefore it presents a great hazard to her if the car intends to turn right. Right now apparently there is litigation to get hybrid car companies to include some sound device-- a click perhaps-- in the car as it idles to help those with VI's be safe in traffic.

I've thought about hybrid cars for a car for myself in the future... and I think they're pretty cool. Now, I'm not expert and to be honest haven't done a huge amount of research so don't go crazy if you think I'm wrong (although I'd be more than happy to hear why). But this is something I had never thought of-- if you can't hear my car, does that make it a hazard to you?? How do the purchases I make affect the people around me in a very real way?

It's just like reading the final product of a class period of Random Thoughts and realizing everything is connected...

Luckily Lil Rojo currently makes enough noise to wake the whole neighborhood.