I officially went back to work on Thursday, August 25, 2016.
It was my first day of school since leaving on January 15, 2016.
And it was great.
It was like I never even left, outside of all the hugs and well wishes and “So glad to see your smiling face!” greetings. Even sweeter was a post it note from my new principal that he left in my classroom the night before, saying how welcoming everything looked and how happy he’s glad I’m able to return.
Prior to our “official” start date, I participated in the Kindergarten Classroom Summer Olympics. Usually, it can be a five-day or longer event . This year, due to scheduling issues, it was a 3 day affair with multiple-tiered activities.
I engaged in all sorts of games that had been previously set up by the individuals in my room, both adults and children, while I was out on sick leave. And let me tell you, they did a wonderful job of challenging me! I tried my best to complete each game to the best of my ability. Some of them were more challenging than others, but all in all, I think I represented my Kindergarten colleagues quite well!
“What’s In The Cabinet?” was great fun as I discovered all sorts of materials and paperwork out-of-place. Some cabinets I just opened and then quickly shut, while others I cleaned and organized without much fanfare. This multi-tiered event didn’t put me in the running for the gold or even bronze medal, but my efforts were rewarded with several empty cabinets. I still have several that need to be tackled, but that is for another day.
“Container Crash” was not an event I wanted to participate in due to the time constraints I was under, but it was necessary to complete. For about an hour, I sorted through the 16 years worth of containers that I have–baskets, boxes, and lids of all sorts of sizes and colors. Some matched, while others remained lonely. I managed to give away a few of them to some of my co-workers, but I still have a huge store of containers stacked in boxes over the cubbies. If you need any containers or lids, either matching ones or replacement parts, let me know. I’ll give them to you for FREE! (That is certainly worth a silver medal, right?)
“Book Jam I” was a difficult event. My trade books were not in any particular order, and I was unable to properly organize them to my satisfaction in the allotted time. I did ok with the “Book Jam II“, sorting Reading Workshop books into the correct bins and finding my personal collection of board books that I like to use to start out the year with. But the BEST part of “Book Jam II” was when I masterfully placed my outward-facing bookshelves so I actually have TWO book corners this year for my little Kindergarten scholars! I think that event was purposefully scheduled to try to trick me into getting rid of Kindergarten furniture. I get a double gold medal for that one!
“Where Are The Spacemen?” is still alluding me. During writing, we use these adorable spacemen clothespins created by Really Good Stuff for teaching about putting spaces between words. I can’t find any of them! They may have gone into Mr. Pail at the end of the year, or they may still be playing “What’s In The Cabinet?” Another level to this game is “Where Is The Smartboard Pen?” I had two pens, and one is missing. Clearly, no medal for me for this event.
At the start of “Kindergarten Kitchen Nightmare“, pocket books were filled with toy food, little scratch pads had one scribble on a page, dishes were mixed in with clothing, and the babies had bed head and were all naked. I had to get everything back in its correct, loving place. By the time I was done, the table was set with a tablecloth and napkins I made over the summer, the babies were all clothed and in bed with little handmade blankets, and the food and dishes were put away in the correct spots. Another gold medal for me! Sorry, no picture proof of this, but I can honestly say, the kitchen looked wonderful by the time I was done!
“Sharpen The 1,000 Pencils” was another non-medal event, sadly. My TWO electric pencil sharpeners are busted, so I’ll be purchasing one over the weekend. Guess I’ll be participating in that one on Monday morning!
And “What Did I Order?” is a game also still in progress. I purchased glue sticks prior to the start of the Kindergarten Classroom Summer Olympics while back to school shopping. Lo and behold on Friday, I received two boxes of glue sticks that I guess I ordered since my name was on them! Ah well…better extra glue than no glue!
“Class List Confusion” is always a challenging event for even the most seasoned teacher. A new student was added to my class list and I wasn’t aware of this change when the children visited on Thursday, the 25th. I had to make her crayon cup with her instead of it already set for her at her seat. But on Friday, I made sure to make the labels for seat and cubby, so she will be all set for the first day of school the following week.
“Paperwork Paparazzi” started out as a challenge, but ended up being a silver medal event for me. Another side-event of “What’s in the Cabinet?”, I found student work and assessments from last year in two separate locations that needed to be sorted, organized, and distributed to the first grade teachers. I also located behavior charts for students, parent information, and other miscellaneous paperwork that just didn’t find its way into Mr. Pail at the end of the school year last year. About an hour and half later, all the pertinent paperwork was correctly organized and given to the proper people.
“Bulletin Board Brilliance” was a gold medal winner for me, for sure! Not only was the bulletin board I made adorable, it is highly effective in terms of student work placement. I made little cupcakes from bulletin boarders and tissue paper. The flame above lists my scholars’ birthdays. Underneath each one, there is a clothes pin hanging by a tack. Putting up and taking down student work is a snap! An added bonus: I’ll be putting their photos underneath by the 2nd week of school, so everyone who visits will quickly know which happy little cupcake belongs to which scholar.
The best game, though was “Toss It!” I KNOW I won the gold medal on this game! I had THE biggest pile of boxes, trash, a rug, broken containers, and other unusable items stacked up in three towers of trash. Too bad I didn’t take a picture of my award-winning dump pile! (You can see a bit of the pile creeping out of the hallway in this photo.)
All in all, I think I fared pretty well in this year’s Olympics.
Now, let the learning games begin!
Yours in Lyme Adventures,