Friday, March 26, 2010

Rainy Days and Fridays.

There is an inverse relationship between a rainy day and the amount of wiggles, shrieks, and tears found in the average preschool classroom.

Every preschool teacher out there knows exactly what I mean.

Teacher has erased playground time and fresh air from the day's schedule. If the school has a large gym or great hall, that will be where the kids will run around for fifteen minutes some time over the next four hours.

They make it through the morning, have some lunch . . . then come to me for Preschool Phonics.

I love these kids. They're bright, loving, eager to share the minutae of their lives (including some things I'm sure their parents would be appalled they tell me), and greet me joyfully each week.

But if it rains, all bets are off. I resort to theatrics, goofy faces, songs, jumping up and down, and anything I can think of to get their attention. Oh, they want to work. But they just can't contain themselves. Because they haven't had playground time. Or fresh air.

Lesson: long vowel /o/ with silent /e/ at the end. "Phonics Friends, how do we know this is a long o?"

"It's funderin, Mrs. Naw," says precious girl in sparkling pink shoes. We take a two-minute pause so everyone can shriek and wonder if it's going to "funder" again.

I'm looking for one of them to notice the silent e at the end of the word. I'm pointing to it. I'm making my goofy face. They KNOW this - we're merely reviewing a concept they have engraved on their brains.

"My feet aw wet - I don't like wet feet." Monkey boy who never met a dirt pile he didn't like does not feel the same way about rain.

Okay, then. Let's start our centers. They love centers. Open an easter egg, pull out the letters, and create a long vowel word for the picture card inside (a kid favorite - who doesn't like seeing what's hiding in a plastic egg?). Who can make the most three-letter words with the What's Gnu game?  Sort the words according to long vowel and short vowel sounds.

Because it's raining outside, children who can usually spend five minutes in each center are wriggling and restless after just 2 minutes. Hello, Short Attention Span Theater.

"Mrs. Naw, I need to go to the baffroom." This child has already gone three times, and unless we're dealing with a bladder infection, I think the bathroom has turned into his happy place.

CRASH! Shrieks of laughter reward the curly haired moppet who just took all the Boggle cubes and scattered them across the floor. So I suggest the kids make words by rolling the cubes and seeing what words turn up. An instant hit, and soon we're spelling LOUDLY on the floor.

Suddenly it's treasure box and pick up time. Parents dash in from the rain, Phonics Friends go skipping out the door, and I survey the wreckage left behind.

Another rainy day. Yet learning still happened.

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