Week 7: A New Body Tool, Parent Meeting, & Birthday Banter

Mark Those Calendars!

  • Art Materials: Please bring in anything you can of Christina’s requested list 🙂


    The library is a cozy space for literacy to blossom and flourish!

  • Community Snack Schedule: This week is the Steinhauer Family. Please, use the snack signup genius here to sign up for a week to ring snack. Let the Snack Coordinator Kudsana (kkizaraly@yahoo.com) know if you need special accommodations. And a BIG thank you to the Olsen family who volunteered last week!
  • Parent Work Shifts Start: Monday September 19th
  • NO SCHOOL Fall Break: September 24-October 9th
  • October Parent Meeting: Wednesday October 26th 6:30-7:30pm
  • Parent Teacher Conference Week: We have EARLY dismissal at 1:10pm 10/24-10/28. Please click here to sign up for Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, or Friday conference times, (Yes, I said Sunday!). I have commitments Tuesday and Thursday that I cannot change.
  • First Field Trip: THIS Friday September 23rd at 9:00am (Apple Farm on Gizdich Ranch in Watsonville, CA!)
  • FUTURE Parent Meeting Dates: Wednesday Nov 9th, Wednesday Dec 14th, Wednesday Jan 25th, Skipping February (short month, too many conflicts), Wednesday March 22nd, Wednesday April 26th, Wednesday May 24th, and Wednesday June 14th.
  • Second Field Trip: Tuesday October 18, 2016 at 9:30am (Spina Farms Pumpkin Patch in Los Banos, CA)

Emergency Parent Sub List:

  1. Jennifer Coscarart (Tuesdays 2nd shift & some Thursdays)
  2. Doreen Stitt (Tuesdays 2nd shift & some Thursdays)
  3. Akiko Fukuhara (3rd shifts) 408-614-9793
  4. Angela Henshall (Thursday 2nd shift)
  5. Christine Ging (always around Thursday morning, though I may be in Rm 12)
  6. Lonnell Graham (408)-836-0385
  7. David Ramos (408) 393-4456 (Thursdays after 1pm)

 A NEW  Trampoline: The Process For Making Agreements

Children were ready for me to introduce a body tool to help get out wiggles and excess energy. A trampoline was donated to room 5, but Terra has allowed the whole kinder pod to use it in the center atelier space. In order to use a material like this, we had to come up with agreements like we did for noise cancelling headphones and fidget tools. The process begins with the whole group doing the following 4 steps:

  1. Discuss the tool/material in question (brainstorming)
  2. Create safety through agreements (Logan wrote down ideas/adults scribed, too)
  3. Try out agreements (practicing safely, respectfully using the tool)
  4. Amend agreements as needed (trial/error)

Once children were finished, friends put their agreements into motion and took ownership over the success of this tool’s induction into our exploration time:

  • Two children agreed we needed a timer (Dominic & Sthanika) and a sign up list, because it was too hard to remember who went next with so many kids clambering to try it! They decided to try 3 minutes per person, “because you don’t have to wait so long for a turn and you’ll get really tired after 4 minutes, anyway!”
  • Nakiya at one point directed everyone to the sign-up list to keep track of who’s turn it was to try the trampoline. “I’m showing people where to sign up and telling them to get the people who are up next and telling people where they are on the list if they’re not up, yet. Some kids need help following the numbers and waiting their turn. ____ already had her turn during someone else’s turn and she wants to go, again.  But it’s Quentin’s turn, now.” (Honoring turn-taking!)
  • Buddy system: “You have to go get whoever is next, when you’re turn is over,” Maddie S. said.
  • THEN, another one of the children put herself in charge of monitoring the timer, for each turn, and telling kids when it was time to get off. “I need to do it because it’s so noisy, they can’t hear the timer, anyway.” (Sthanika)
  • Parents/teachers wandered in and out if the center space to check on safety, but it was mostly a smooth, child-run activity!

A Birthday Bummer… 

poumb4uepw1mutoChildren are turning 6 and it’s such a big deal how they celebrate themselves! Will it be a swimming party? A jump-on-in party? At my house? At a park? At Gilroy gardens? At a restaurant? They’re super jazzed and coming to school bursting with details of what kind of party they will have, what cake they will get, and when it will be. Then, other children naturally catch the excitement in the air and want to join in on the fun dialogue, “Oh! I love that place! I’m so excited to go there! What kind of toys do you want?” Then, the birthday child turns to the excited friend and says, “Oh, no, no, no. (Points to others) You, you, you, and you are coming….not you. I don’t think my mom thought you wanted to come.” Those words slapped him in the face and his spirit dims. His social confidence immediately deflates along with his excitement, and his eyes begin to water. That child’s whole body slumps into a hunched over pile of sadness and as he says, “Aww, man…” And the friends continue playing until an adult intervenes. As the day goes on, suddenly, only the people invited to that birthday party are ONLY invited to play, too.  “Sorry, there isn’t room for you.” They say casually, as they let another friend in. Exclusion shapes a child’s idea of who he/she is and what his/her value is to those around him/her.

We will of course talk about the etiquette of birthday party conversations, as a class, but110928032015-play-date-left-out-story-top the reality is that not every child knows how to include everyone, as is.  Some kids will use the social capital of birthday invites to exclude others and strengthen cliques. The worst part is, many think it’s okay, because parents may have even said (with the best of intentions), “Let’s keep it small, sweetie” or “How about we just invite your closest friends. Hmm?” Birthday parties are expensive. I get it! It’s not easy or cheap to throw a rockin’ kids’ party for 24 kids, plus adults. But what children do with that exciting information, when it’s limited to certain friends, can be hurtful.

It’s even worse when a parent sends a mass email to everyone with the e-vite, but only some people on the mailing list are ACTUALLY invited. So, the people who ‘accidentally’ got the message, click on the e-vite and get an error message saying, “You are not on the invite list, please check with the host.” Not cool.

whychildreneSo, please, as birthdays come up, think very carefully about how you present the invite list idea to your child and how you and your child present it to other people. Create boundaries for when and where these thrilling discussions are allowed. I say this because I had several kids in tears over these party invites (or lack thereof). Those invite lists hold a LOT of social meaning for kids in terms of belonging, and they won’t understand why they weren’t invited. Especially, if they look up to the person doing the inviting. They also won’t understand why certain friends begin to “ice” them out in play, either. They will just feel smaller and smaller and think something must be wrong with them.

It infuriates me to see children go through that agonizing process, because it’s traumatizing. It leaves invisible wounds of self-doubt and questioning – why wasn’t I good enough? What’s wrong with me? And eventually, children can begin to expect that they deserve such treatment and start to shut down emotionally, so as not to get hurt.  That kind of emotional trauma will not be tolerated in my class. Our children will grow up including others and knowing the full value of their worth, which is so precious and vast that it’s unable to be defined.  So, I’ll do my part as the teacher to support these birthday invite conversations at school, if you’ll help me as parents by carefully framing the birthday invite conversations at home. It’s a big ticket item that needs to be processed, carefully. I strongly encourage you to take the time to have these conversations, before they spin into webs of exclusion among kinder peers.

Weekly Highlights:

  • Parent Meeting: Please take a look at the Meeting Minutes Document from our

    Morning Meeting at it’s best!

    meeting this week and let me know if you have any questions or comments. We talked about observations, adults in the classroom, and several housekeeping items.

  • Trampoline: We added another body tool and came up with agreements for how to use it safely. It’s shared by our whole kinder pod, but our class the first to be ready to have it introduced!
  • Handwriting: We started our Handwriting Without Tears notebooks which will supplement our writing curriculum. We began with practicing frog jump letters F, E, D, B, and P. It seems simple, but legible “best” handwriting will help IMMENSELY during story workshop!
  • Birthday Books: To celebrate your child’s birthday, they may bring in a book for us to read to the class! Please, refrain from bringing food.
  • Share Chair: If children would like to share, the 3rd item on our meeting agendas are usually sharing. They can bring in a book or special item from home to show. If they bring a toy, it will have to go right back into their back packs.
  • Family Photo: Where is yours? I know who you are and your family name label is waiting for you! lol I’m missing 2!  Please bring in your photos ASAP. We’re a community!
  • Invisible Numbers Math:  Children used chalk slates, q-tips, and water to write numbers and math sentences together. Later, they used snap cubes to help with addition!
  • Spiral Cutting/Coloring: A great fine motor art activity!
  • Nuts & Bolts (& washers!):  A fun fine motor activity of seeing how they work and which sizes match.
  • Mosaic Pattern Making: I introduced gluing colorful square shapes onto black and white mosaic prints to make various patterns. Children enjoyed this activity
  • Alphabet Legumes:  Children did fine motor art with liquid glue and beans.
  • Watercolors/Light Tables: Children loved experimenting with water colors and pipettes on light tables.

Art Material Wishlist:

  • Toilet paper rolls
  • Random flowers if you have a gardenimg_3435
  • Nature items – twigs, stones, leaves, shells, feathers, branches, tree bark, flowers, acorns, etc.
  • Marbles
  • String
  • Plastic caps – from orange juice, milk, etc. – please wash before donating – All colors, shapes and sizes are welcome.
  • Wine corks
  • Misc. Fabric – various sizes, prints, colors, etc.
  • Rubber Bands
  • Lace
  • Bubble Wrap
  • Tree Branch Stumps – Anyone cutting down a tree soon or maybe just some branches?

Whole-Group Read-Aloud Books & Songs: img_6910

  • Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins
  • Mat Man Song -Handwriting Without Tears
  • Mat Girl Song- Copy write Kate 🙂
  • Go Noodle Songs: Milkshake, Pop See Ko, Pop See Ko 2.0, Wobbly Man, Wiggle It, and Secret Handshake.


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