Saturday, 19 January 2013

Happy New Year! Things continue to be crazy...

This school year has been exhausting and often frustrating, but I am learning.
Every day.
And that's pretty lucky.

A late Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to those who haven't given up on my postings, or haven't seen me for a while! After Christmas brunches (in both schools), parties and concerts, it was definitely time to head home for a break. Once again, I spent the entire Christmas coughing, and am still getting over it a month later. Yeesh. Much of our first day(s) back at school included re-learning and practicing hand-washing. I've never seen so many kids whose hands are always migrating to mouths, noses, eyes, etc. than this year.

My mind is drawing a blank right now so far as writing, but I know that I've many stories, frustrations and laughs to share. I wish that I could put videos up of the kiddos- we've got some pretty great ones of new achievements, dance parties and gym classes. Just before Christmas we had one little guy move away on very short notice. He has had a very tough life, and as it was, we were his longest, most consistent relationship. I know Kathy and I both lost a huge amount of sleep and hydration that week and those following- we sure miss our little guy. We planned a last day for him filled with his favorite activities, and celebrated our friendship! * When this little guy came to us last January, he was in a foster home, had a total of three words, hoarded food, had been taking care of his 1-year old sister, threw massive screaming fits, and had no idea how to play. It is heartbreaking to see a three year old stand and stare (for hours if we had let him) at the children around them and have no idea what was happening.

By the time we had to say goodbye, this little guy could have a full conversation, laughed, danced, could eat without choking, shoving food in or worrying whether there would be any for next time, talked his problems out (for the most part) and was celebrating his successes daily. It's incredible how resilient kids are, and how much we came to care for our buddy over our 10 months together.

As his hugs were something that Kathy and I looked forward to every morning, we decided to make him his own "Book of Hugs" that he could take to his next school/home. We went on a photo mission, taking pictures of anyone who knew him in the school and felt like sharing a hug. We read stories together, played with toys and spent time with one another. I also took some video of him reading, and was shocked at the things I noticed (speech-wise) from a video. Since then, Kathy and I have been video-ing daily, and have really been able to work more specifically with many of our kiddos on speech sounds, behaviours, etc.

Some highlights:

- Our quietest kiddo (ELL) coming to our desk, tying a shoe, and how proud he was to share his success with us- without a word! This guy has been tying his own shoes every day since. Hurray!

- Our Christmas concert was a lot of fun. The Kindergarten kids, Grade 1's and Grade 2's told/sang the story of "Pete the Cat Saves Christmas," by Eric Litwin. I almost had to kick myself off the stage after one of our boys busted out in his own solo, half a step behind everyone else.

- Overheard conversations: Two boys were sharing a puzzle on the carpet, when one said, "You know, you need a girlfriend and that's that."

The second little boy looked up solemnly and responded, "Yea...I need a girlfriend."

- Kathy asked a little guy what he was up to, and he (coloring a picture) says, "Ohhhhh you know, just shakin' my booty. That's all, just shakin' my booty."

- Dance parties to Happy Feet (Michael Jackson style)

I'm going to keep it short today as this coming week will be another challenge (we're getting another little one again, and half of my week has been taken already with planning, meetings, etc. to prepare for him coming). I just want to spend time with the kids - I'm getting tired of sharing them with (amazing) substitute teachers! I'm just always shocked at how much classroom time is taken away in rural Kindergarten classrooms for pre-K and K meetings, appointments, etc. I'm wishing these things were somehow built into our year ahead of will all work out!

Thanks for reading!

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