Tuesday, September 11, 2007

What a glorious day!

The minute I woke up and realized it was in the low 50's this morning, I instantly knew it was going to be a good day! I don't think I've mentioned yet how much I HATE hot weather. These past few weeks at school have been absolutely miserable!!! We don't have air-conditioning, so I have to try to open a window (without having everything on my desk blowing onto the floor) and depend on one little oscillating fan. It's been rough. Today, though, when I woke up at 6am and let the dog out, I almost let out a scream of joy! Yes As much as I do enjoy having all four seasons (and in Chicago, that can happen all in one day!) I prefer spring and fall. My fantasy year would be 5 months of spring, followed by one month of summer (so the kids can go swimming), then 5 months of fall (my absolute favorite season!) followed by one month of winter (we have to have a white Christmas!). I've been looking for somewhere on the planet that stays between 65-75 all year. I've been told that San Diego, Colorado and Tahiti all have that type of climate. I've never been to any of them, so I'll have to take their word for it!

OK, OK, I know I'm not talking about school yet! Sorry... My Apologies

So, today, when I got to school, I was in a FABULOUS mood (Thank you, Mother Nature!). Then the morning started a little rough when my little darling that I mentioned yesterday started acting up. D.J. decided he didn't want to sit still, or in a chair, for that matter, during our Read Aloud time. He thought it would be more fun to fall out of the chair, then slide around under the table, then move under another table, then start kicking my big metal storage cabinet while lying on his back under my table. This went on for a while, but he was seriously disrupting the story for the other 23 kids, so I had to deal with him. Up til this point, I had been trying to ignore him, as to not give him any negative attention. I just calmly repeated my request for him to sit in his chair. Now, I had to stop reading and address this issue. I told him I needed him to sit in his chair quietly because he was interrupting everybody's story time. Then I told him he had 3 seconds to get in his chair, or he would have to sit in the hall (like he has almost everyday already!!) Miraculously, as I started counting to 3, he got up and walked to his seat, and SAT DOWN! Hmmm, maybe we're onto something here. I used the counting to 3 trick a few more times before lunch. I was afraid he was enjoying it too much, though, and was going to start acting up just so I would count. But, he maintained himself fairly well, I must say. Naturally, the 3rd time I had to do the counting, a few of the kids starting counting with me, so I had to nip that in the bud right away! The last thing I need is for him to start acting up to get even more attention from the other kids!

D.J. was still a little iffy when we went to lunch, but he surprised me by walking all the way there without me having to say his name even once! After lunch, we had 10 minutes for a bathroom break, and then off to library. I gave Ms. M. (the librarian) a heads-up about the rocky morning he was having. Low and behold, when I picked them up 40 minutes later, he got a good report!! Yay!!

Next was rest time. It's my favorite 20 minutes of the day! Raise The Roof 2 So far, each of the 5 days have been a little different for D.J. One day, I let him have 'carpet squares' (remnant squares I bought somewhere that I let some kids lie on during rest time. Some lie on the carpet, which fits 8-10 kids, and the rest stay at their seats.) and he actually fell asleep. A couple of the days, he just wiggled and jiggled, falling out of his chair, crawling around on the floor, etc. Today, I guess he was feeling pretty proud of himself, and he asked if he could go to the carpet. Usually, this spot is reserved for the very best behaved, especially since they lie so close to each other, and it makes it easy to talk and play. I wanted to reward his positive behavior, so I told him he could have one chance, and if I had to say his name even once, he had to go back to his seat. He said he understood. Well, guess what? I didn't have to say his name!!! He actually went to sleep. When the 20 minutes was up, I selfishly let him keep sleeping, even though I woke everybody else up. I know, SO wrong, but I was so tired, and I'm still struggling with this horrible cold.

When we went to snack, D.J. was still sleeping, and when I came back to the room, he was awake. Luckily, he didn't think that we all went home and left him there! I brought his snack back with me for him, so I let him eat in the room with me. My partner, Dori, was in the room with me, and we both lavished him with praise for being so calm, etc. When the rest of the class came back, we went to the bathroom and got drinks, a couple of the KIDS remarked, "D.J. is being so quiet!" I wanted to laugh, but of course, I couldn't. I just eagerly agreed, and when we went back into the classroom, we all gave him a round of applause! It was wonderful! D.J. was simply glowing. When it was time to go, I gave him a job to do (passing out something to the rest of the class) and I made sure to pass on a message to his mom, via his brother, about what a wonderful day he had.

OK, I hope none of you think I'm delusional enough to think today is what the rest of the year (or even week!) will be like. I certainly don't think I worked any magic on him. Every mother in the world uses the counting to 3 thing!! But, the bottom line is, D.J. had a good day!!! Hence, his teacher had a good day! Of course, he promised me he would have a good day tomorrow, too, but I'm not holding him to it!

Obviously, by now, you know that I figured out how to insert my favorite smileys! I promise not to be so annoying with them in the future!

Today's quote:

A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops.
---Henry B. Adams

This is one of my favorite quotes. I try to remember it whenever I'm dealing with a child like D.J. I don't want to him ever think back on kindergarten and only remember getting yelled at all the time. Hopefully, he went home feeling proud of himself today, as he should have. Those are the memories I want him to have. I hope to have a positive influence on all my students' lives. One of the reasons I love kindergarten so much is that kindergarten is the beginning of the educational experience for children. This is where the foundation is built for their future. OK, I don't want to get up on my soapbox, so I'm gonna leave it at that. See you tomorrow!


Christina Shaver said...

Okay. Shot in the dark here. Does D.J. have sensory processing disorder?

This sounds just like Evan -- but not from ADHD. The kid's got a whole psychology manual of stuff going on, and SPD is one of them.

The kids get over-stimulated from their senses and do exactly what you're describing with D.J. -- not sitting still, banging (they want input), CRAVING and NEEDING quiet time and space.

The best thing you can do for kids with SPD is to give them a dark, isolated spot for them to calm down and get their bearings.

At Evan's school, they have "cubbies." It's basically a bathmat, a pillow and a blanket that's underneath a counter. Granted this is not a normal classroom but a therapeutic one. So each kid gets their own cubby.

If a child feels the need to get away for a while, they are allowed to go in their cubby and "rest."

I just wonder if this is something D.J. may need once or twice throughout the day.

Anyway, not that I even know anything about the kid!!

Glad you had a good day. And I agree about the weather.

ChiTown Girl said...

Thanks for the input, I'm going to look into it. Sadly, it's nearly impossible to get any of my kids tested, or even put on the list for being evaluated, for any kind of special ed. services. The CPS system is so screwed up!! Rather than try and get these kids some help in kdg., they ignore the problems until the kids get to 3rd grade and can't pass the ISAT test and has to be retained. Gee, let's not help them in the beginning, when it's easier to help them catch up and/or "fix" things! No, let's just push them to first grade, so they can start a year behind, and by the time they get to 3rd grade, they're 3 years behind. Then, we'll scratch our heads and wonder why they can't pass the ridiculous standardized tests they have to take.

The other sad part to this issue is that many of the parents either don't want they're childen "labeled" so they don't seek help, or they are in denial about their child's problems. Some are oblivious to the problems all together! Many of our parents are pretty "special" themselves, so you can't expect them to recognize a problem with their child, especially if the child is exactly like they were in school. Jeez, don't get me started!

Again, thanks for the input, you've got me wondering now. I've been meaning to thank you, too, for being an inspiration to me by the way you handle thing with Evan, day in and day out. Everytime I'm having a "moment" with D.J., I think of you. And I think, "How would I (or Christina) want someone to treat Evan?" or any of my friends' children. I know, it sounds weird, but it's really what I've been thinking. (Thanks to Laura, I feel like I've known you forever, and even though we've never met, I think of you as a friend) So, thank you.

Dori said...

Speaking of services... I talked to Mrs. S in the hall and she doesn't know where the school based problem solving packets we filled out from last year are. If you happened to put them in the cumm folders or make a list of their names... give that to Mrs. S. Boooo :(

P.S. D.J. is lucky to have you! :)