The Night Before St. Patrick’s Day by Natasha Wing

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Beyond wearing something green or eating green eggs and ham, have you thought about St. Patrick’s day? You know, like other things you can do? And I don’t mean guzzling Shamrock Shakes.

Well, here’s a book that comes highly recommended: The Night Before St. Patrick’s Day by Natasha Wing. This would be a fun book to read the day before St. Patrick’s Day, since the holiday lands this coming Friday. This is perfect for all of those fancy projects and activities you have lined up.

This is the description of the book off Amazon:

Natasha Wing puts an Irish twist on a Christmas classic. It’s the night before St. Patrick’s Day, and Tim and Maureen are wide awake setting traps to catch a leprechaun! When they wake the next morning to the sound of their dad playing the bagpipes and the smell of their mom cooking green eggs, they’re shocked to find that they’ve actually caught a leprechaun. But will they be able to find his pot of gold?

Sounds fun. Without reading the book, you could probably think of some extension activities: find the leprechaun gross motor activity, eating green eggs sensory activity, or making a pot of gold out of play dough.

Get this book. It’s fairly cheap too. I’ll do my part this St. Patrick’s Day too… and get those yummy Shamrock Shakes!

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Delicioso!

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Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

Green Eggs and Ham

Back in Kindergarten – a lifetime ago – I remember my classroom changing into shades of green. Since then, March and green have always gone together. Also, reading the book Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss.

This is a classic book. The rhyming words and visuals are, or course, great and imaginative. But, the repeating language and sentences, with each page adding a new line, is fun to read. It can get boring, so entertaining teacher reading that ebbs and flows with the character emotions really makes the book stand out.

I highly recommend that teachers get the book Green Eggs and Ham. However, after reading the book, the real fun begins.

As a child, I also remember eating green eggs and ham. When I was little, I remember looking at the green tinted meat and omelette thinking, “That’s what food looks like when it’s sick.” Fortunately, it was just food coloring. Taste remained the same.

If you’re interested in making your own green eggs and ham, here is a recipe I found.

And here’s one that produces some really, really green eggs and ham.

Hope you found this article informative! If you liked this article, click that like button!

Matching Green Shamrocks

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March is upon us. Your classroom may be turning green. Dusting off all of those green clothes you have…like, the two pieces of clothes you have. You’re gonna get a copy of Green Eggs and Ham.

In addition, your switching out materials from the various learning areas. So, here’s a game that can support your green transition: Matching Green Shamrocks.

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It’s a memory game matching clovers in different shades of green. There are six pairs in all. Download the matching green shamrocks file. Print it out. Cut it out. I would recommend laminating the cards. Or, paste the cards onto construction paper, then laminate. Any way, I highly recommend that you should laminate.

I’ll be printing this out for my son so he can practice is fledgling memory skills.

Download Matching Green Shamrocks.

Memorable Posts 2016

Feels like it’s 2016 still. Well, that’s what some of my paperwork still says. Are some of you still writing 2016 on your paper work? It’s not 02-20-2016? Gonna need some white out.

Every year,  I like to highlight the top 10 posts from the previous year. These are posts that got a lot of views, meant something to the readers, or meant something to me. Here is the list for last year.

Top 10 Posts from 2016

If you read them and find that they mean something to you, feel free to like. Don’t worry if you’re late to the “like” party. No one will notice 🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day…Tomorrow

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According to Google, the meaning of Valentine’s Day is…

February 14, a day when it is traditional to send a card, often anonymously, to a person one is romantically involved with or attracted to.

Anonymously? I mean, were people everywhere giving cards to their secret crushes? That would be awkward. Today, it’s morphed into a couple’s only holiday or a chance to attend one of those single’s party bashes you hear about on the radio.

What am I doing? Well, it’s happening on a Tuesday, so that means I’m going to work, then heading home to the family. My son goes to sleep around 9pm. My newborn daughter will fall asleep at… ugh, some point. And whatever evening time left will be spent with my wife eating M&M’s and watching Good Mythical Morning and Netflix.

Still, I’ll do something special, like a card, flowers, and special meal.

Happy Valentine’s Day and hope everyone has a fun time with the kiddos, cards, and chocolate candies. If you’re looking for some easy Valentine’s Day cards to print out, you can use the one in this blog post. Or, you can download this Valentine’s Day card printable.

The Mad That You Feel…

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Handling emotions is something you teach. Not something you learn about, hide, or keep inside. They are what make us human.

That doesn’t mean that outbursts of emotion are easy to handle. Children who exhibit strong emotions can affect everyone around that child. It’s hard not to get stressed or angry ourselves.

Mister Rogers, however, has a message for us…

“Almost everyone gets mad sometimes. That is just a part of being human, whether you are a grownup or a child.”

Fred Rogers on  Set

This is a quote from a very helpful handout from the producers of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and the American Academy of Pediatrics. Furthermore, the handout contains a lot of wonderful advice on how to support children during times they are mad.

There are explanations on how…

  • Children learn self-control in everyday ways.
  • Everyday rules and routines help children develop controls.
  • Children get scared when they are so mad they get out of control.
  • When children use words, they are less likely to hit.
  • Children feel good when they are able to stop.
  • Children can express their feelings in ways that do not hurt.

You want a copy of this handout? Click below. Hope it helps!

The Mad that You Feel Pg. 1
The Mad that You Feel Pg. 2

4 Year Anniversary

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A Guy in Preschool turns 4 years old. I never thought the blog would be going this long. But, hey, it’s still here.

Although I’m proud of this blog, as far as the direction of my writing, I’m not sure where to go from here. Reason being, when I started this blog, I was teaching children. I was a preschool teacher, single, and living in San Francisco. Today, I’m a husband and father with two children, an office worker by day and college professor by night living in Pittsburgh.

The person who started writing this blog is no longer here. I mean, I’m still here. But, I’m no longer living in the context by which this blog was meant to showcase.

Therefore, the content and information on this blog is going to reflect my life changes. Although focused on early childhood, there will be a lot more information and guidance, with the occasional classroom story, fatherhood tale or daily experience. This will allow me to write about what I’m going through currently, rather than pulling tales from the past.

Additionally, I’ll be incorporating some new content by way of multimedia. I love photography and video, and I hope to incorporate more of those mediums into my writings.

Here we go 2017!

Winter Siesta

Winter break is finally upon us. The unofficial half-time of the school year. Time for some much needed hibernation. Pajama’s become your daily outfit. Time to catch up on those Netflix series.

The first few days of winter break is just about doing nothing. If you’re done holiday shopping, then you get to enjoy full rest of body and mind. If not, remember that Amazon Prime will deliver in two days.

For me, somewhere in the middle of winter break, it’s a time to think back about how the academic year has been going, what could change, and what I wanna do come January. This may seem kind of weird, spending your time off to think about what you’ll do when you return to the classroom. That’s just the mindset of the teacher.

I did the same thing toward the end of summer break. Not so much about the classroom, but what I wanted to accomplish with this blog. Up to this past summer, my posts had been – sporadic. Then silent.

I didn’t like the spread shot of little dots Word Press shows under stats. No consistency. Like little bursts of espresso followed by a caffeine crash. No likey. So, I gave myself a goal to accomplish by the end of this year.

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More consistency

I challenged myself to post every Monday from August to Winter Break. At the beginning, posting was easy because of the initial motivation. Got a little over-zealous with posting Fridays as well. But then came the grind and posting weekly became a bit of work.

Please keep in mind. I’m not a writer. I just write. Just as I’m not an ace driver, artistic photographer, or thought-provoking artist, I just drive to work, snap photos, and occasionally design graphics.

Amongst a community of writers, I right-click for synonyms.

So, posting now for 23 straight weeks is very good for me. Quite proud of it. But now is the time for the streak to end. I’ve reached my goal. I’ll pick back up the baton in January.

Enjoy the winter break. Don’t forget when you’re suppose to return back to work. See everyone in 2017!

Working through the Pain

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I admit. There were days when I taught and I was not 100%. Probably not even 70%. Still, unless I was physically unable to (and there were days), I made it to the classroom.

Now, before you start thinking I was one of those teachers who showed up everyday because of their commitment, you’d be wrong. Sure, that was part of why I showed up consistently, but there are other reasons. Need the pay check. Didn’t feel good abandoning my assistant to working with a sub. I didn’t have any sick or vacation time.

Still, I don’t think that many people realize that teachers work through pain. We work through pain. And, during my teaching career, there have been three consistent culprits.

Migraines

These are the worst. Walking around feeling like someone bludgeoned you with a mallet. Unable to stay balanced when walking. Noises and light pierce your senses like javelins. Migraines are no fun.

It usually starts with me waking up with a headache. Then, taking a brief assessment, I have to decide whether this will be a full blown migraine or something manageable. Sometimes, I would call in sick. The rest of the time, I would show up to work and either 1) aggressively drink water, rest during breaks and the headache would be gone by noon or 2) the migraine would become full-blown and I would be gone by noon.

Noon is make-it or break-it time for me.

Injured Ankles

I rolled my ankle 2 or 3 times over my four years of teaching preschool. Every time it happened, it was because I was playing outside with the kiddos. Tag. Freeze Tag. Ugh… pretty much the games where I was running. Guess I don’t have the best of balance.

One time, I rolled my ankle so severely, I was required to go on disability for a few weeks and walk around with a cane. I thought to myself “Wow, I need a cane?” in disbelief. But then I thought, “I’m gonna put flames on it like House.”

Back Spasms

I’m a big guy working in a room with tiny furniture. Whenever I sat down in the tiny chairs, that last foot or so before my bottom hit the seat ended up being a controlled fall. Add to that the constant getting up and down off the floor and bending over to speak with kids, back problems are sure to follow.

Some mornings, I would wake up, try and sit up in bed, and there would be pain. My face would grimace and I fell back down on my pillow. I reached over to my phone, called the school, and left a message saying I wasn’t coming in. Back spasms.

So, there it is. Working through the pain. Since changing positions, the back spasms and ankle rolls have been reduced. Ahh, but those pesky migraines endure!

The Visiting Home Team

Lunch time. Head out to Happy Place II and get lost in thought. The parking lot overlooks a small baseball field. My eye wanders across the field, fencing and advertisements. The grass is a faded green and brown, hallmarks of early winter.

The field has a scoreboard. It reads “Home” and “Guest”. Not sure who the home team is in this neighborhood, nor have I seen a game here. Then again, it’s winter.

Just. Like. That. My mind flashes to a memory to my preschool in San Francisco. The trigger? “Home” and “Guest”.

One day, an elderly woman waited by the front door of the preschool. She pushed the door bell. Our security cameras triggered and I looked at the monitor. “Who is that?” I thought.

Buzzing the speaker, “Yes, can we help you?”

“I’m here to make a donation,” the woman said.

Through the monitor, I could see cardboard boxes at her feet. The tell-tale sign of brightly colored plastic toys stuck out. “One moment,” I say as I buzz open the door. I walk toward the front of the school.

As I approached, the woman was walking down the steps.

“These are for the kids,” she said. Inside are various toys and puzzles.

“Okay. Thank you,” I said. I looked at (and quickly assessed) the box contents. “May I ask why you decided to make a donation?”

It’s not every day – in fact, never before – has a random person ever made a random toy donation. I need to figure out motive here. Always be cautious when concerning the kiddos.

“I use to be supervisor here,” she said. “Many years ago, I was in charge here.”

Woah! Was not expecting that.

“Oh, okay,” I said. I’m still assessing the situation here, but she seems pleasant enough. “If you want, we can carry the boxes to the office. You can follow me.”

“I know where it is,” she replied.

Well, of course. She wouldn’t check out if she didn’t know where the office was.

After a few more boxes, the woman said good-bye and left in her car. It was a weird exchange. A memorable one. Just not memorable enough to where I remember her name. Later, I assessed all the donations. Everything checked out. I mean, if you were supervisor of a preschool, you would know what would be appropriate to donate.

I drift out of the memory. Snap back to today. Sitting in my car. Overlooking the baseball field.

I’m thinking. No one remembered that woman. None of my staff. Well, at that time, all of the staff had been there for, at most, five years. Still, how weird to visit your own school where you were in charge and no one knows or has ever heard of you.

Two thoughts pop in my head.

First, preschool has an amazingly disheartening employee turnover rate. Not enough pay. Too much work. Mounting stress. People go in and out the door all the time.

Second, I’m wondering if I were to visit my old school five years after I’ve left, would anyone remember me? Maybe not. There are a few teachers that I know still work there. But, of the eight staff members that were there when I was supervisor, only three remain. And that was just in 2014.

I can only imagine if I came back with a donation in 2019. I buzz the door and say, “Yeh, I’m here to make a donation. I was a supervisor here.” I don’t know if the door buzzes open or I’m considered a weirdo and the sheriff is called. Nothing like being a “Guest” in a place you use to call “Home”.