Monthly Archives: September 2008

Juggling My New Schedule

Tomorrow is my third full week of school and so far, Becca and I seemed to have adjusted to our new schedule pretty well.  To be honest, I have been so busy I haven’t really had a chance to really take too many moments to reflect.  Instead, it feels as if I have been moving from one activity to another which makes each day long but makes the weeks fly past.  Tuesday night is my Meet-the-Teacher night so I am hopeful that I will feel a little better once I have finally met all of the parents.  Maybe things will settle into a routine once I pass that particular hurdle, hopefully without tripping 🙂

Hanging in there,

Mary Kate

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Filed under Take a Moment

The Mixed-Up Clothes Walk of Shame

I am ashamed to admit that Becca has been walking around in some wacky outfits lately. On our recent trip to the park, she was wearing white flowered capri pants, bright pink sneakers, an off-white Mickey Mouse t-shirt, with a blue and green mushroom covered jacket. To top this whole ensemble off, her hair was frizzy and heading in about 6 different directions.

As I was standing in front of our stoop waiting for Becca to slowly walk down the stairs, I found myself really focusing on her ensemble. She had so many colors, textures and patterns going on that most people would assume that she had dressed herself or at least picked out her clothes. Since we were headed to the preschool set’s version of a red carpet, I briefly tossed around the idea of tracking down some cuter clothes for her. In fact, everything she was currently wearing is cute in its own right so it would just take a little tweaking to move her outfit from the “Don’t” to the “Do” column. Then I realized that by the time I hustled her back upstairs, tracked down a cute outfit and wrestled her in and out of her clothes, the sun would have set and the moon would have been rising. So instead, I vowed to ignore her clear “What Was She Thinking?” outfit and focus on her smiling face. Hopefully, the other moms will just assume that Becca had dressed herself. I know if any of them asked that is what I was planning on telling them.

She insists on dressing herself and I really want to encourage her independence and self-expression.

I wonder if I can say that with a straight face?

Taking the Mom Walk of Shame.

Mary Kate

P.S.  When I resolve my camera issues, I will upload a picture.  It is definitely a ‘you have to see it to believe it’ outfit.

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Filed under Toddler, Walk of Shame

Commemoration of September 11th

It is hard to believe that it has been 7 years since the fall of the twin towers. It is even more mind boggling to realize that my 5th grade students (10-11 years old) only remember “Ground Zero” and ceremonies commemorating the day. They have no memory of the towers and do not notice the gape in the skyline. For them, September 11th must feel like Pearl Harbor, the Death of Kennedy or even the Lincoln assassination feels to me. It is a tragic story but one that feels very distant and separate from their own experience. Therefore, I struggle with the best way to approach this anniversary appropriately. I don’t want to scare my students but I also don’t want to just talk about “tolerance” and “heroes.”

When I arrived at the local Barnes and Noble, I found that it appeared as if they were also struggling with how to approach the date so their solution was to just ignore it. In fact, it looked as if B&N might be knee-deep in denial. There was no “September 11th” display to be found. Although I could pick up a few dozen books on pumpkins, Thanksgiving and even Yom Kippur. When I checked with the customer service rep, I was told that she didn’t have any of my book requests in stock and didn’t have any other suggestions.

After speaking with some fellow teachers, searching on Amazon and googling lesson plans, I was able to come up with a few helpful resources.

I found September Roses by Jeanette Winter. It is a very simple story about “two sisters from South Africa who are stranded in New York in the aftermath of September 11.” I believe this will allow me to provide some background to my students and also place the day in an emotional context.

On National Geographic’s website, I found an interactive presentation, We Survived September 11th, which was created by the students of P.S. 234. I do not believe I will have the opportunity to show it tomorrow but it was extremely moving to watch. It made me wonder where these students are now and how they will be commemorating the day

When two jet airplanes flew into New York's World Trade Center, these fourth-graders were just four blocks away.

We Survived September 11th

I also found What Would You Do For Peace which was created by Faith Reingold in collaboration with “NYC Youth.” Since it is written from the perspective of students, I am hoping that it will resonate with my class.

I am still a little nervous about the best way to approach 9/11. Despite my discomfort, I want to make sure that my students understand the significance of tomorrow and that they are given an opportunity to reflect on it.

Remembering 9/11,

Mary Kate

ETA: My class had more to talk about then I realized. A few of them had lived in NYC at the time and a few others have memories of the buildings burning. Others shared stories that their parents told them or stories they heard from t.v. or the radio. After having a discussion where people shared their memories, I then read September Roses. It was simple but powerful. Tomorrow, we are going to draw pictures and make paper roses to commemorate the day.

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Filed under Elementary School, Everything Educational Thursday, Preschool

Can You Help Me Out Here?!?!?



Click here for other amazing Wordless Wednesday participants. Click here for other Baby, Toddler and Beyond Wordless Wednesday Pictures.

If you are participating in Wordless Wednesday, leave a comment so I can check out your picture of the week!

Happy Wordless Wednesday!

Mary Kate

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Becca’s 2nd Birthday Party

I can’t believe that my baby is two years old!!!! The last two weeks has been a whirlwind of prepping for Becca’s partying, prepping for my new classroom, having Becca’s party, cleaning up from Becca’ s party, prepping some more for my new classroom and starting school.

I had been dreading Becca’s birthday party because last year’s party was a bit of a disaster. There was a mix-up on the invitations so people showed up at 2 p.m. when I expected it to start at 3 p.m. I definitely was not prepared!!! To add to the situation, we hosted the party outside on the hottest day of the year. I ended up with heat exhaustion and spent an hour or so inside trying to cool down. Omar spent two hours running around looking for his friend who was supposed to run the grill at the barbecue. He spent another hour or so buying ice and then another one trying to set up the music. So it was very chaotic to say the least.

So when her birthday approached this year, I resolved that this year’s party would not be as chaotic. For one thing, we did less cooking on the actual day (hot dogs and hamburgers). Most of the other food was cooked a few days before (lasagna, chicken, a few varieties of pasta salad, potato salad, refried beans, tinga, etc.). This way when guests were arriving, we didn’t have to worry about preparing anything. Instead, it was just a matter of heating a few things up and taking things outside. This way I could enjoy the party more.

It ended up being a great party!!! The weather was fantastic and it felt so nice to see everyone. I loved watching Becca interacting with her cousins. There were a couple of times that she was doubled over with laughter. Seeing that made all of our hard work worth it.

When we planned Becca’s birthday party on her actual birthday, I thought it would be cool but ended up being disappointed. In the morning, I found that we were so overwhelmed with the party preparations that Becca ended up watching a lot of TV to pass the time. During the party, Becca was busy playing with her cousins while Omar and I were busy entertaining everyone and dealing with the food. So we didn’t get to spend a lot of quality time together.

Last year, the party was on a Saturday and Becca’s actual birthday was the following Thursday. This meant that we enjoyed Becca’s birthday with friends and family members but we had a more low-key day as well. It just felt extra special. So next year, we will definitely be scheduling Becca’s birthday party BEFORE her actual birthday. I am already looking forward to it!

By the way, did you know that the 3rd birthday is an important birthday in the Mexican culture? So according to Omar we will be having a real blow-out next year. Maybe I should start planning it now…
Feliz compleaños, Becca!

Mary Kate

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Filed under developmental milestones, Take a Moment, Toddler