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~ Kathy M.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Welcome to "The Rabbits" Classroom:

Well, the first week of having the classroom to myself in my new job is now over with.  Wow! 

It has been since 2005 since I have been a preschool teacher.  At that time, following my graduation from college, I was an assistant teacher at Head Start.  Head Start was not an easy job at all for me.  I learned from working there that I do better in private industry, where there is more flexibility.  

I loved being with the kids and with most of my co-workers, but I was happy to leave there at the end of the school year.  More than happy; I was relieved.  Since then, I have been working in my husband's business, La Pine Redi Mix, Inc.  

Last month, I was checking out jobs on Craigslist just for the fun of it, and found a listing for a teaching position in a nearby child development center.  I faxed over my resume and, what do you know, I was hired.  Yay!  There has been a recent change in management, causing a lot of transition in staff and for the families and kids, but I am thrilled to be there.  At this point in time, on my busy days I only have 5 kids during the preschool hours.  

The first thing that I did was to get busy on making the 2's/3's  classroom my own.  I tried hard to set it up so that it is an warm and inviting environment which has separate areas that all flow together.  I thought that you might enjoy a tour. Never-mind the mess on the shelves on the back wall; I didn't have time to straighten that all up for this photoshoot.

When you first walk inside the door, there you are greeted by the Discovery Center.  Currently, there is a large plastic box where our worms live, a fish, some plants and other nature items.  Recently, before my time, there was a classroom pet hamster, but he died.  I think that it would be nice to get another one.  Though our room is known school-wide as The Rabbit Room, I'm not sure that I am up to dealing with a rabbit right now.  I always feel kind of sorry for rabbits in cages.

The stair-steps lead up to the window, where the kiddos wave good-bye to their parents and watch the guy with the leaf-blower maintain the parking lot.             


There is the door on the left, the sensory table (now filled with sand) with our box of slippers underneath.  We take off our shoes when we are inside the classroom, which is awfully nice.  I like being at work and only needing to wear my slippers.  

Please keep in mind, I have only been working here five days, and that this room is a work in progress. 

Behind the Discovery Center is Housekeeping.  The table with the blue chairs is where we eat and do projects.  This week, we didn't get many projects done, but because I had brought in so much to the housekeeping area, the kids were keeping busy with that, along with their regular interests.

This first week was also about getting to know each other better.  The kids are really missing their previous teacher, and not all are on board with having me there.  Perhaps if they ignore me long enough and don't listen, then I will go away and she will come back?  It hasn't all been a piece of cake, but things get better each day.

I was going home so exhausted on the first few days, would go to bed early and then wake up in the middle of the night ... not being able to go back to sleep.  Mostly, I was figuring out what I wanted to do with the room.  Later on, I was figuring out how to manage the kids.  I find it all really fun, and though not always easy,  I turned out to be rather good at it.    

The counter behind the table is where diaper changing takes place.  Dang, it has been a long time since I have changed 10-15 diapers  per day.  It isn't always a pleasant task, but it does give me one-on-one time to visit with each child, and that part is awesome.  Under the fourth cupboard door over is a set of stairs that slides in-and-out, and that helps save my aching back a little bit.

 Welcome to Housekeeping:

I brought in a bunch of my own stuff for the Housekeeping Area.  It backs up the the designated Block Area.  My co-worker brought in the blue curtains, and they really help to make the room.  See ... there is the little bandana couch  that I made last weekend.

I keep going on scavenger hunts throughout the building and bringing more stuff into our room.  I was thrilled to learn that there were even more items in storage upstairs.  I can't wait to go back up there to find a few more things.  I am helping the new teacher in the toddler room set up her room too.  I love to help create cool environments.

I love the cherry kitchen, which was already there.  I brought in the red and blue storage shelving, some more play food, a few more babies, the high chair, etc.  I am now glad that I never shipped off my homemade items to East Coast hurricane victims as planned, because now I am able to share them with my local friends. 


The Block Area is to the right of the Housekeeping Area.  Part of it is carpeted, and part of it is linoleum.

Here is the Circle Area and Reading Area on one side, and the Literacy and Art Area on the other side. The couch is made from crib mattresses.  One couch was already there, but one of our mothers brought in another one for us to make things more comfortable.  I had the fleece blankets in our 5th wheel and brought them in to put over the top of the mattresses.  Ti-da!  Did you spot the pillows and flash cards that I made?

Since we are "The Rabbits", I went online and downloaded photos of many different kinds of rabbits, printed them off and laminated them.  That used a lot of ink, but it has helped us create our classroom identity.  I made 10 of the rabbit photos and let the kids choose the ones that they wanted.  We talked about how we are the Rabbits, and that our slogan was "Hop to it!".  That was on Tuesday, and the rest of the week, I overheard some of them saying, "We are the Rabbits!  Hop to it!"  

I am going to do the same for the toddler room, aka: "The Chipmunks".  Maybe I can find some cute pictures of Alvin and the boys?

I am spending a lot of money on ink right now, but it is worth it.  Yesterday, I brought in pictures that I had printed off, especially of the previous teacher's last day, and put them on the bulletin board.  Only one of my students has seen them yet, but she was absolutely thrilled with the new pictures, especially the 8x10 of her old teacher.  I have extra copies, and we are going make a book to send to Ms. M. as a thank-you and we are thinking of you gesture.

Here is a better view of the Literacy and Art Center.  We will use this for playdough, drawing, painting, journaling, puzzles and manipulatives.  I found out that I will be losing this shelving unit soon, but I have already found a subsitute.  

The classroom CD player drives me nuts, so I temporarily brought in my own.  I brought in the peaceful/nature CD's that I use when I give Cary massages, and they are very nice and soothing.  Of course, there are the traditional kid's CD's there too.  Most of the other teachers use the local library for new material and I'm going to have to check that idea out.

The lamp is very nice during nap time, when the overhead lighting is turned off.

There was a large painting easel in our room, but I put it back into storage.  I replaced it with a smaller one, but yesterday, I gave that one to the toddler room. There is one more easel available, which is the right size and up to four people can use it at once, but it doesn't have any trays for paint.  I'll have to work on that.

So, that is some of what I have accomplished this week.  I feel good about it, and I look forward to next week.  Thanks so much for stopping by to seePlease leave me a comment if you want, and I will get back to you as soon as you can.


Kathy M.

At Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy, if you miss a day, you miss a lot!  All material on this post is copyrighted and not for use without my permission ...Please click here to go to my home page and see what is happening in Mayberry today.
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T. Drecker said...

Congratulations on the new job! Your room looks very inviting :)

Connie said...

Hi Kathy,
I haven't heard from you for a while and was getting lonesome for your company . . so, here I am :) Congratulations on the new job. Your classroom is fantastic.
It looks like so much fun!
Now, listen to this . . . it might blow your mind a little bit, it did mine :)
My Steve works for Central Washington Concrete, he is an assistant manager over 5 different plants, plus a couple rock crushers, it is owned by Old Castle, your husband will probably know them. Before this promotio, a few year ago, he drove mixer truck for 23 years. Also, for ten years I worked as a preschool teacher. That was a long time ago. I quit in 1993 and went back to school for a while :) I was just surprised by these facts as I read your post. It's a small world.
Visit Steve's blog, I know that you are a follower. He is having a $25 Amazon gift card give-a-away, so if you haven't gotten your name in the hat please do so.
Have a great weekend.
We are going to check out the new Wizard of Oz movie this afternoon.
Your blogging sister, Connie :)

Debora said...

My, I'm surprised you have any energy left to blog! I work in an elementary school and find the kinders really sap my energy...preschool must even be more taxing. I love your sensitivity to their missing the old teacher. You're gonna be great!

Kathy A. Johnson said...

Wow, you have a fantastic classroom there. I can tell you've put your heart and soul into making it feel welcoming. No wonder you've been tired when you go home! That plus taking care of five small children! Hope it just gets better and better for you and the little ones.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

From all the effort and care you're putting into your classroom, I can tell this new job is a match made in heaven. Your students are gonna love you. It must be awesome to work with kiddies that young. (Tiring, too... our grandchildren that age plum wear me out!)

Grammy Goodwill said...

My goodness, you have worked so hard this week - and that was before your job part of it. The room looks great. I love all of your additions, esp the bright pillows and your bandana couch.
You are very thoughtful to add the pictures of the former teacher and your plans to send them to her.
I think the kids will warm up quickly to you.

Little Nell said...

I can see you're having a wonderful time setting up the Rabbits Room, and how wonderful to only have five children in there - lucky them!

Lisa Ricard Claro said...

So awesome, Kathy! Your creativity is really flowing. The little ones may miss their previous teacher, but they will give their hearts to you in no time. They are lucky to have you!

Decadent Housewife said...

What a great idea with the crib mattresses! I know what you mean about being so tired after a day with little ones. Hope you have a great second week. (Thank you for putting me in the sidebar - just noticed that tonight.)


Wendy said...

That classroom LOOKS like you. I bet you're having a great time.

Anonymous said...

Dear Kathy, I loved reading your story about your first week in the new classroom. Everything is new, but you gave it your twist allready. No wonder you are tired in the evening! You put your heart and soul into it and you're working so hard. Things shall go easier every day. Thanks for sharing, Prenter.

Deb Gould said...

The Rabbit Room is fabulous! Brought back lots of memories for me when I was interpreting for a deaf kindergartner...I spent most of that year on the floor, covered with glue, glitter and God-knows-what that the kids smeared around; had a wonderful time. You must be a GREAT K-teacher -- lots of stimulation for those kids. They're a lucky bunch of bunnies....

Gloria said...

Oh my goodness, it all looks SO WONDERFUL!!! Kathy, I cannot believe how GOOD you are...bringing in your own stuff and being so good to the kids! And to that other teacher too, helping her set up her class. AND that you are going to make up a thank you book with the kids for the previous teacher and send it! You truly are a blessing to everyone. And your ABC pillows and flash cards look FANTASTIC. That was some nice fabric, it is so bright and cheerful. Actually, EVERYTHING is great! And I'm sure that already the kids aren't missing their old teacher (no offense against her!) because you are so loving and good that the kids are just going to go crazy over you before you know it. Well, you'd better go lie down and rest, you've been very busy and you must be tired! Now Hop to it! ;)

Lynn said...

Congrats on your new job. Sounds like you are really enjoying it and bringing new creative life to the place... and lots of love to the kiddos.

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