Tag Archives: kindergarten

Bridging the Generations


This school year, I wrote and received a grant to “Bridge Generations.” The idea was to bring my kindergarten class to a nearby senior citizen center a few times during the school year to “bridge the generational gap.” I have often read about the benefits of mingling the young and old and decided to see for myself.

Today was our second visit. In December, we went with our music teacher and sang with them and shared a snack. Today, our art teacher joined us and we created mini-masterpieces with them.

Most of my students have been looking forward to this for weeks. We counted down the days  until today arrived! A few of the kids were nervous but their fears were diminished as soon as we got there and they saw that the seniors were just as excited to see us as we were to see them!

My favorite part about the experience was listening to them chat with one another as they colored and shared snickerdoodles. The innocence of these children as they conversed with these these wise souls brought out such sweet conversation. I couldn’t help but smile as I watched the kids help the seniors open their Capri Sun juice pouches. Some of them had never seen one before! We will try to visit one more time before the end of the school year but if we can keep this program going, I hope to make it something we can do every year.

St. Patrick’s Day

It was my mom’s favorite holiday. She would cook for everyone and every family member, Jewish, Catholic, Italian, Irish…we had them all, would show up for her corned beef and cabbage dinner. This year, St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Friday during Lent. Although the Catholic Church has offered dispensation, allowing Catholics to eat meat today, we are waiting until Sunday when we my dad and brothers get home from Florida to share our St. Patty’s Day dinner. 25 pounds of corned beef have already been ordered and my cousin, sister and I will head up to my grammy’s to cook that morning.

The photo prompts haven’t all been falling into categories to write about so I have strayed from them a bit but today’s is GREEN and there couldn’t be a better day to share some photos. St. Patrick’s Day in Kindergarten is always an exhausting adventure. Once again, that pesky little leprechaun showed up in our classroom making a mess wherever he went. He comes every year.  The magic of Kindergarten is part of the reason I enjoy teaching this grade so much. Yes, it is exhausting and draining sometimes but the look on their faces on days like these make it worth it.

The photos tell the story…


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Today’s word….Playing.

Play. It is essential to development. I have become passionate about the importance of play in Kindergarten. I am in the middle of a course for grad school where I am evaluating research on the importance of it. There is so much information out there on both sides of the issue.

Currently, there is so little time for free and unstructured play at school. Play contributes to the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children. It is essential to their brain development. While trying to meet the demands of a rigorous curriculum, and with so many goals and standards that must be met, these young kids are losing out. Instead of easels and sand tables, we have math and literacy centers. Instead of drawing, art and creation stations, five year olds are writing opinion pieces. There needs to be a middle point, where students are learning in developmentally appropriate ways. They need to be exploring, moving and socializing. Learning through play provides opportunities to build number sense, vocabulary and phonemic awareness.

Children should not be anxious in Kindergarten but when we put this much pressure on them to succeed academically we are not helping them. The social and emotional foundations they learn in kindergarten are what will help them succeed as learners. As one of my coworkers often remarks, most of these babies were in diapers just a few years ago! They develop at such different rates when they are this young. Just like no child is potty trained or learns to walk at the same time, no child will be ready to read at the same time either.  It is time to find a way to balance the rigor and the play with achievable and developmentally appropriate goals.

Frozen – Word of the Day

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I didn’t take a photo today, but I can write about FROZEN!! Today it snowed. Just a little bit, less than an inch, but it wasn’t bitter cold so our school had outdoor recess. This made the kids so happy!

They wound up getting a lot more outdoor time than expected. A few minutes after they came in to eat lunch, the school was evacuated due to a very strong odor of gas. The fire department had already arrived to investigate the smell (which seemed to be coming from outside the building.) While the kids were on the playground, some of them noticed the commotion but they didn’t know what was going on.

As soon as the evacuation of the building began, we headed towards our safe location, which is the middle school, a few blocks away from our school. There are a few busy roads to cross, and until police officers came to block traffic, teachers took charge of holding up the cars to allow for students and staff to cross. Over 700 of us. The snow, while not deep, had made for frozen, slippery sidewalks, so we had to walk quickly but carefully to keep from slipping down the hill. As soon as we reached the middle school, a police officer gave us the “all clear sign” to head back up the hill to our school. This time, police officers were holding up traffic at the intersections allowing for us all to cross the street once again. Traffic was backed up quite a bit, but instead of the drivers getting frustrated and angry, not being able to go anywhere, they were smiling and waving at all the kids. It was like a parade.

I was so proud of our community. The teachers, staff, students, police officer, fire department and even those drivers in the cars. Everyone was so calm.

When we got back to our classroom, the students were asking why we had to evacuate. In Kindergarten friendly language, so not to scare them, we just talked about how there had been a smell that we were worried about so we wanted to get everyone away from it. A few of the boys kept insisting that we had to leave because of the otter on the playground. I explained that otters live near water and that we don’t live close enough to water for an otter to be there. They insisted I was wrong and until the end of the day they were convinced that otter was why we evacuated. I just let it be. Later, as I was packing up my things to go home, it clicked. There was no OTTER on the playground. There was an ODOR! I guess they had heard more of the commotion from the fire department than I thought.

The Same

Today’s word is HAPPINESS. It happens to be on the day that I taught my favorite Kindergarten lesson. I wrote about it a few years ago. I have taught it for years and it never fails to make an impact on the kids. It always brings me happiness when I teach it.

After showing the kids a brown egg and a white one, we talk about the differences on the outside. Then we crack them open and talk about how they are the same inside. It didn’t take more than a few seconds for them to realize – just like people.

It is a lesson that works every time. Here are some photos and responses from today.


(Translation: “The outside’s different. The same on the inside.”)


(Translation: “They’re different on the outside but they’re the same on the inside.”)



I am embarrassed to admit how long it has been since I wrote anything on this blog. School started, grad school started, life in general….where do I begin?!?!

We have a new president-elect and while he was not my choice, I must respect this. I have such a hard time with people who are unaccepting of others, and while Mr. Trump may be able to change his persona while in office – it is his supporters (and I will preface this with not all of them…) who are so closed minded that scare me. I live in a bubble, a town where so many of us are accepting of one another. Where same sex marriage, interracial couples, people of all races and religions live together in what seems like peaceful harmony. This election has truly shown me how naive I really am. I was unaffected by the world around me. Impervious of what so many others in America believe.

In just these three days, on television and online, I am already seeing so many signs of hatred. Swastikas painted on buildings. White people yelling obscenities to people of color. When I read a story about several white girls telling a group of hispanic people to “move to the back of the bus, Trump is president now,” I cried. We are moving backwards and this cannot happen. I fear for my LGBTQ friends. I fear for marriage equality. I fear for  immigrants. I fear for my children but am hopeful that Dave and I have raised them to follow their hearts and continue do good things and be the amazing young men that they have shown us that they are.

Anti-Trump protestors aren’t making things better either. Since when does violence fix anything?  Go out and do something good instead. Make a change. Do something that brings people together not draws them further apart.

When I woke up Wednesday morning and saw the results I cried. NOT because Hillary Clinton lost, but because I didn’t know how I was going to go to school that day and face my students.

While I tried to keep politics out of my diverse classroom filled with five and six year old students, many of them couldn’t help but repeat what they were hearing at home and on television. One boy told me, “Donald Trump makes fun of handicapped people!” A little girl said, “He doesn’t think girls are as good as boys.” When little boy innocently said with a sigh of relief, “Donald Trump hates black people…phew…sure am glad I am brown” I had to hold back tears.

I didn’t know what to say to them. A friend of mine told me “We have a lot of work to do. It is hard work fighting evil and it is our responsibility to fight harder.”

My class and I focused kindness that day. We created Kindness Superheroes. We thought of ways that love wins over hate. There was little talk of politics. Just about how to make the world a better place. We decided that we will continue to make good choices and focus on doing good for others.  They know that they can be the difference and I have faith that they truly can.


A Sign – 3 Years Later

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It has been forever since I wrote. Things are so busy with work and grad school.  My grad school course is on line and in a discussion forum format so I write several times a week there and a lot of it is reflection – so I haven’t stopped writing completely -just not here.

Today, I needed to share.

Three years ago today was the day my mom stopped breathing and was put on life support. It is NOT the day she died, but it was the last time I spoke to her. She had called me that morning around 9:05 in the morning. I only remember the time because I was teaching and about to start our morning meeting. She never called during the day so when I saw her number, I answered it, thinking something was wrong. All she told me was that she was making dinner reservations. I was quite abrupt with her telling her that it was a typical Friday so why was she calling me at work to tell me.  we did the same thing EVERY Friday night so what was different about this one? She really had no reason, just said good bye and that was it. The last time we spoke.

I am one of those people who sees “signs” everywhere. When I see pennies on the ground, I think it is a message from my mom. Butterflies were always my good luck sign, but since my mom died, I like to think they are her sending me a message.

This morning, I was getting ready for our day to begin at school. As I walked in my room, I almost stepped on a little pin that was on the floor. I bent down to pick it up and noticed it was a butterfly. At the same time, I glanced at my phone. The time was, 9:05. Perhaps just a coincidence, or maybe, just mom saying hello. I had sent her a message of my own on her facebook page this morning. We never deactivated her account.  My message to her was just a little heart. Nothing more, but maybe she saw it and was letting me know.

I asked each of the kids in my class if it was theirs and one little girl realized it was hers and that it had fallen off her jacket. It was broken. At the end of the day I shared the story with her mom. I gave her the broken pieces of the pin in a bag. Shortly after that, the little girl came running back and gave it to me and told me I could have it because she knew it was special to me – even if it was broken.

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Cynics might just laugh – but I love seeing signs and I think that was truly one today.

Last Day of My Summer..

time spent with family

August 31st.

School starts for teachers tomorrow. Most of us have already been back for weeks, preparing our classrooms for the kiddies to arrive on Thursday. Our two days of professional development begin tomorrow.

It was a busy, fun and productive summer. We celebrated my grandmother’s 100th birthday, (the “real” day is actually this Thursday.) Our cousins from all over the country came to New Jersey and we celebrated for nearly three weeks! I think I wound up seeing more of New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New York with my Western cousins than I would have ever done had they not been here!

We took a “historic” tour of Greenwich Village, visiting the places Grammy grew up, the apartment she and my grandfather lived when they were first married, the church my grandparents were married in and another church where my father and his brothers were baptized.

We went to the beach – so incredibly close, yet for some reason, a place we hadn’t gone in over a year, and to the Poconos with a trip to Bushkill Falls. We got to see another one of our cousins play in a performance of “Rock of Ages”. We went bowling, to a trampoline park, to the zoo and to the pool. We watched a Mandala be constructed in my own home town!

All of this happened in just those three weeks! The rest of the summer, I worked at Camp Maple, where I have worked for the last seven summers, so although we were outside and having fun with our campers….it wasn’t quite “my summer” yet.

On Friday, we take DJ to college. He is one of the last of his friends to leave for school and he is ready to go.  Dave and I….maybe not quite so ready to have him leave, but we are excited for his new adventure.  That might officially end summer for me. A new batch of Kindergarten parents, leaving their babies with me as I leave my “baby” in Massachusetts. It is going to be a week filled with bittersweet tears for all of us!


Vignette, to be completely honest, I had to look up the definition of this one today! This is what I found, a brief evocative description, account or episode. This morning, when I left the house, I wasn’t  sure how I was going to approach this prompt or if I’d even use it tonight.

but then this happened….

During today’s morning meeting in Kindergarten, all of the children were gathered on the carpet.  Just like our typical morning.  It was “calendar time” and suddenly, while we were sitting there, a few of us heard a soft humming sound.  We realized it was coming from the CD player, but no one had turned it on.  I found it odd but just turned it off, but not before noticing that it said 47:09 on it.  The number has no significance to me, (and I am always looking for “signs”.)  We went on with our morning meeting when all of a sudden, a bunch of them began grabbing in the air for a fluff that was gently floating above their heads. It looked like a really large dandelion fluff.  It was HUGE! About the size of a 50 cent piece. It almost looked like a white spider floating through the air.  It is the middle of winter.  I have no idea where it came from.  I snatched it out of the air and brought it over to the trash and threw it away.

Again, always thinking these things mean something, I decided to write down that number from the CD player since it was only minutes later.  Was someone trying to send me a message???  I knew I’d never remember the number otherwise.

Well, as I assumed, I forgot all about it.  Until I went to my mailbox after school and my new batch of Scholastic Readers was in there.  On the front cover was a giant yellow butterfly.  My good luck sign!  I remembered the number from the CD player and decided I’d buy a lottery ticket after school and see what happens..  (I am sure nothing…but one can always hope…)

yellow butterfly scholastic

Where I Stand

Today’s photo prompt, “Where I Stand” was pretty simple for me.  180 days of the year, (plus many summer days and breaks from school,) this is where you will find me standing.

kindergarten door

Room 123.  One of the four Kindergarten classrooms at my school.  Behind this door is where it all begins. I always tell parents at Back to School Night that Kindergarten is a magical place.  The place where children become life-long learners and hopefully the place where they begin to love to learn.

Room 123, the classroom where I attended Kindergarten more than 35 years ago!  Behind that exact same door in the very same room.

That is where it all began for me and I can only hope that I can inspire children they way I began to be inspired in that very room.  One of my very favorite places to be.