Monday, March 31, 2008

Monday Morning Workout

My first batch of kindergartners freaked me out this morning. They went into the room before it was time for class, seated themselves, and were quietly waiting for me when I walked in. For the few who may not know, this is not normal behavior for three and four-year-olds! They further confounded me by participating fully in the lesson. I'm not used to them being that angelic, so I almost wasn't sure how to handle them today! Of course, I'm not complaining at all. I hope they freak me out even more tomorrow!

My second kindergarten class brought me back to reality. They were determined to do anything but learn, so I spent the entire class feeling more like a drill sergeant than a teacher: "Amber! What is this?" "Sam! Where is the chicken?" "Liz! Stop talking and sit down!" "Eddy! Open your book!" "Lynn! What is the cow doing?" "Repeat!"

I'm trying to get into better shape, so I've been taking advantage of my kindergartners to help me. Since they're so full to the brim with excess energy, I stop their lessons halfway through each day and have them do exercises, like jumping jacks. They like it, and it's beneficial to me as well. Afterwards, we get back to lessons, and I have found that they pay better attention. In addition, I've been coming up with the most rambunctious games and songs possible to end my lessons with. The kids love it, and it burns calories.

Today, for instance, I invented a game for the second class in which they were chickens fleeing from the hungry farmer. The table was the hen-house, and they had to be under it in order to be safe. Whenever the farmer "took a nap," the chickens were supposed to run around. If the farmer caught a chicken, the chicken was eaten and then turned into a farmer (with the farmer magically becoming a chicken). Naturally, they adored the game and I actually had a few who were sad when class ended. Let's hear it for job security!

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"Passage—immediate passage! the blood burns in my veins! Away, O soul! hoist instantly the anchor!
Cut the hawsers—haul out—shake out every sail!
Have we not stood here like trees in the ground long enough?
Have we not grovell’d here long enough, eating and drinking like mere brutes?
Have we not darken’d and dazed ourselves with books long enough?

Sail forth! steer for the deep waters only!
Reckless, O soul, exploring, I with thee, and thou with me;
For we are bound where mariner has not yet dared to go, And we will risk the ship, ourselves and all.

O my brave soul!
O farther, farther sail!
O daring joy, but safe! Are they not all the seas of God?
O farther, farther, farther sail!"

~Walt Whitman, "Passage to India"