Jack of all trades?

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Long time no blog again!
It isn’t like I’ve forgotten this blog but life has been frantically busy and while doing other things and reading LOTS of other things I’ve been pondering the future or even future direction of this blog. Lots of questions have been bubbling up. Should I kep blogging? Will anyone read it?
I’m sure there’s not many around to read it as I haven’t been blogging very much and that leads to another question about building up an audience.
I don;t know if I’ve got what it takes to build up an audience. For starters My blog is a little bit of everything. I’m a mother but don’t have enough material to be a Mummy blogger. Although I will be writing about “Technology Diets” and “How to not kill your soon to be teenager” in the near future.
I’m a teacher and I’m very pleased with a lot of what I’m doing in the classroom especially with Daily 5, Rolem Maths and Words Their Way but I don’t know if that is enough to build myslef an audience of “teacher readers.”
I’m a knitter and crafter but not doing nearly enough of that to have much to write about. Certainly not like my BFF Ms Fifikins who has her own weekly knitting podcast!
I like to say I’m losing weight and write all about that but it ain’t happening just yet and I am certainly not an expert dog owner – even though we have become a lot tougher since Christmas.
What it all boils down to is that I’d like to keep blogging and it will continue to be a little bit of everything.
There will be something for Mums, teachers, crafters and anyone else who is interested. The discipline of regularly putting thoughts on paper (or on-line) is a good one for me and helps me put life’s happening in perspective.
And why the Bronco photo you may ask?
He’s the main subject of most of my photos these days. Hmm, better take some more of the childerbeasts.


Ice, Ice, Baby!

Ok, so long time, no blog again.  Just been frantically busy with working full time, getting through the “end of school year” things with the boys and getting Christmas preparations underway.

But I have stopped to “play” and I have some of those experiences to share with you.

At work, I was having (and am still having) an issue with the same group of boys going to block corner every day and building the same things so I decided to shake it up a little.  While researching “activities for block corner” I came across several gems, tow of which I have put into practice.  We are now having a “girls only” day in block corner once a week on a rotational basis – last week it was Friday, this week it will be Monday and so on.  I have also issued some block challenges.  We’ve been enjoying the book Santa’s Aussie Holiday and without giving too much of the plot away, Santa lands at Australia Zoo and leaves his reindeers there while he tours the country.  So in my pre-school group we thought the folks at Australia Zoo would definitely need a reindeer enclosure that would stop the reindeers from walking away AND flying away and thus began our first challenge.  I have also added “Christmas” blocks which are old food packets wrapped in Christmas paper – very simple but in great demand!

Anyway, in the course of my research I found “ice sculpture”. Oh right, I thought but then it turned out to be simpler than I imagined and of course I had two eager “scientists/sculptors” here to try it out.  Over the course of a Saturday we froze varying amounts of water in just about any vessel we could find.  If you’re going to try this at home, you had better do it soon before the fridge fills up with Christmas goodies.  Then when Sunday dawned and despite 538 checks done by the boys (involving opening freezer doors and inserting fingers into very cold places) the water was all frozen.

So out it came, into a large baking tray with much discussion on the placement of our “ice-blocks” which we stuck together with the help of some table salt.  Then we dripped some food colouring over our masterpiece and settled back to watch it melt.

There is so much learning in this!  For example:

Which containers freeze best and produce the most interesting shapes

If you just wait on a hot day, frozen water will just fall out of whatever it was frozen in. Patience boys!

Food colouring looks really cool in the cracks in the ice.

Different shapes melt in different and often unexpected ways.

That’s just the “tip of the iceberg” (boom boom) and now that I have road tested it at home it will definitely go into my program of summer activities at Kindy.

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Carving Out Time

It has certainly been a quiet month for blogging on my part! But I have a good excuse. I started a new full time job on October 3, teaching kindergarten at a long day care centre. Needless to say it is very different to working in a school setting and there is very little non-contact time. So my days have become much longer as I try to get things done before my shift starts in the morning and then get away as speedily as possible when my shift ends (and enough children have gone home!!) so that Ic an come home and do my “other” job.
Add to that the fact that because I am a primary teacher working in childcare I have to do a Diploma in Children’s Services from TAFE and I will be very busy indeed. So my blog topic of “what works for me” is more relevant than ever.

I don’t have all the answers yet but after almost 4 weeks, things are sliding into place and I’m starting to see how I can develop some new routines. I’m seriously tired at night so I’m really working on making bedtime earlier so that I can get up earlier and get the day underway.
When I can get to work 45-60 mins before my shift begins I can drink coffee, prepare resources and set up activities for the day ahead. That has worked pretty well except that it meant I was always leaving at the end of my shift with the desk in a mess and my poor group leader was always tidying up after me at the end of the day. I am on the playground until the minute my shift ends and than I have to leave because nearly everyday I have to collect the boys from somewhere. Today I didn’t have the get the boys, a rarity because both dh’s parents are in hospital at the moment and he has been doing a lot of visiting, so I decided to stay on for an hour after my shift and get things organised.
I have document trays ordered and we have decided what we will use them for. We write observations constantly and these have to be written up formally, new learning experiences planned from them and then evaluated. so one are will be for that.
Another tray is going to be the “today tray” where we stash things we are using on the day and a third will be for things that need to be filed or go on display around the room. So this evening I have found the desk, put lots of things into plastic sleeves and piles and I feel “cleansed”. I’m actually looking forward to walking into the room tomorrow. I am very much resolved to keep it that way because I am sharing the space with my very patient group leader and quite simply we have no time during the day to be looking for things.
I’m also getting my head around the times that I work. It is currently and will continue to be 8:15am – 4:45pm with an hour for lunch. I’m learning to use my lunch hour for good! I have knitted during lunch, sometimes I have a break for half an hour and then work outside the room for half an hour. I need to get organised to make some calls and make some appointments during the day which means having phone numbers on hand etc.
I had already decided that Friday was going to be a “buying lunch” day because I can go to Subway which is a very short walk from our centre. That left four days to organize lunch for. Then today I had to go to the local shopping centre to run some quick errands and I had lunch at Sumo Salad in the food court. The kind folk at Sumo Salad are only too happy to take a phone order in the morning and have it ready for me to pick up so I’ve decided that Wednesday is lunchtime errand day and that I will have lunch at the shopping centre (in air-conditioning). Staying late today also worked well so I am also declaring Wednesday my “late” day so that I have another stretch of time in which to sort myself out and deal with the paperwork and programming.
I’m exhausted, the house is a shambles but I do finally feel as if I am doing less “tail-chasing”.
Speaking of which, poor Vera really needs walks but I haven’t managed it since the first week. Next thing on the list.