Tuesday, November 16, 2010

"You know...some days...you just gotta laugh."

This week, I decided to reverse our daily schedule. Mistake #1.

I decided that the kids were a bit more rowdy in the afternoon during English/reading/LA time, and that after lunch they are pretty much spent. Since math is so hands on (not that ELA isn't, but it's just different) I thought that after lunch they could regain their energy if they were doing things like math games, etc.

I've tried this new schedule the past 2 days, and I don't really even care to wait to see if it eventually will work. Kids THRIVE off of a schedule, off of a day that they know exactly how it will work, and after 3-4ish months of following the same schedule everyday, they are COMPLETELY thrown off.

This week, I decided to change our daily calendar songs. Mistake #2.

The kids are used to the same songs in the same order: Months of the Year, Days of the Week, Today/Yesterday/Tomorrow, Weather, How Many Days have we Been in School?, and then one of the following: Money song (Mondays), Time song (Tuesdays), Shapes (Wednesdays), and Patterns (Thursdays). This week I decided that since we were doing math in the afternoon, and they had gotten the months/days/tyt down, we would cut those songs out of our routine.

Today, our high school "pals" came at 12:15, when usually we have ELA, but we have math at that time now...but today, a live podcast was playing online on Scholastic.com and featuring a representation of the early pilgrim settlers and Native Americans. So I decided to let them watch that with their pals instead of going straight into math. Watch the podcast, talk about Native Americans and what they lived in, and create our own tee-pees. Complete schedule upheaval AND an art project. Mistake #3.

So my kids were thrown off already, and now they were even more thrown. The pals left, we scrawled out our tee-pee designs and met back on the carpet. It was 1:15. And we were just now getting to calendar?

Calendar time was a joke. We were pushing through it when finally I just started laughing. My kids were laughing too. Uncontrollably. I started using a lot of humor and trying to make calendar time more engaging. I kind of threw the rulebook out the window today and was extremely real with my kids. Completely me, not someone else, letting my personality and weird sense of humor push through. And they loved it.

We usually make a train and sing one of our skip counting songs (count by 1s, or 2s or 5s or 10s) and today we made our train and started walking around the room counting by 1s. A few friends decided to lay on the floor and be road blocks for our train to jump over. Don't worry, they were still counting and participating...but just adding a new element to our train counting time.

When we came back to the carpet, everyone was laughing. I asked my friends, "Why did you decide to be road blocks today?"

One of my boys spoke up and said, "Miss Leiss, no. We were being dead ants."

The class erupted with laughter.

As did I.

After we had calmed down, I said to the class, "You know, some days...you just gotta laugh. We've had a rough day, and we just need to laugh right now. But normally, on normal days, I want you to remember that rolling on the ground like dead ants is not allowed during counting time. Normally, --"

"WE LEARN!!!!!!!!!!" (interrupted by a friend who yelled this and threw a mighty fist pump into the air). Now, the reason this was so funny was because we had a HUGE talk about how our number one job at school is to learn just a few hours ago. And this little boy was being dead serious, passionately pumping his fist into the air.

I couldn't control myself. We were all laughing so hard, me and my little class full of 6 year olds, who really might not get a chance to laugh much at home, who might not have anything funny or amusing or enjoyable happen outside of school. We got through the rest of the day, and although it was rocky...I'm glad that I just kind of let go and let God do his thing. Because it's not about me anyway, it's about him. And today he told me to laugh with my kids.


  1. Oh my gosh, that was beautiful Whitley. Of course they love your quirkiness! Who doesn't? I am so proud of you. Those kids will remember Miss Leiss for years and years to come.

  2. Love you! Glad my son gets to spend the day with YOU!