Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I Think I've Got My Unit!

Hi everyone! Thanks for the ideas for units I could do with the kids! I am going to keep a lot of those ideas in mind for when I have my own classroom, because I'd want to be able to spend a lot of time on them and be able to expand them creatively. In this class I'm a little limited. In fact, I found out that we're supposed to try to do a unit that the cooperating teacher would have done anyways. Mrs. Eagle tossed me a few ideas. I'm leaning towards a plant unit! 
What really got me excited about the plant unit was when I stumbled upon the website for the Tickle Me Plant, aka the mimosa plant. The Tickle Me Plant grows pretty quickly, And, when it grows leaves and flowers, it will actually curl up and lower its branches when you tickle it! I can get a package of seeds for about $5.95, which would contain enough seeds for each kid in my very small class to have one. 
Here's what I'm thinking. The first day, we would learn about what seeds need in order to grow, and the plant life cycle. We'll plant our seeds on that day. Even though the plants will most likely not be full grown within the week, the unit can be informally extended for the rest of the year... I'll set up a little center by the window where they can care for their plants, measure them, and chart their growth. 
During the second, third and fourth days, we'll learn about the parts of a plant, how seeds spread, and uses for plants. I;m also thinking of having them make lap books, and we'll add to our lap books each day. 
Our fifth day will be an "assessment," but it will be a fun one. I'm going to make a giant game board on a poster board, with Velcro game pieces. The game will hang up on the board. (This will prevent grabby hands from messing with it.) The kids will be in teams of two or three. When its their turn, they roll one of my giant dice, move that number of spaces, and answer a corresponding question about plants. They'll be able to use their lap books as a reference. This way, they'll be getting informally assessed to see how much they learned, but it will also be reinforcing what they learned in the unit! 
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this unit. Good? Bad? Needs more? Needs less? Ideas? I want to hear from you!

Kite, by the way, will not be leaving our classroom after all. It turns out that, because the family is moving in with their grandmother due to finances, they qualify as homeless. When a family is homeless, the children are permitted by law to continue going to their home school for up to eighteen months, and the school district even has to provide transportation for them. So, Kite will be coming to school in a taxi cab for the rest of the school year! Since she is transitioning to middle school anyways after this year, she will just start her new middle school in her new school district. That will be a lot better than having to switch schools for three and a half months, and then having to go to a new middle school!

Also, Miss L asked if I use aliases for the students, and where I get the names. I replied to her comment in the comments section of that entry, but I thought I'd answer it here too! Yes, I do change all of the students' names. This is for their privacy, and also because I want to remain sort of anonymous on the web so that I can talk about my real life experiences without worrying that it will effect my job searching! Currently, I've named all of my student teaching kids after birds. Each school year I'll change the "theme" of aliases for my current students. So future kids may be named after trees, flowers, colors, etc! What do you think of that?

Alright, everyone, its time for me to hit the hay! 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

One Week Down, Nine To Go!

Hi everyone! Well, I made it through my whole first week at Tree Elementary School! I am enjoying it, but its not going quite as quickly as the days at the preschool did. Maybe I'm judging too quickly, since I've only been there four days... and maybe its just because I am more nervous now than I was at the preschool!
The teacher, Mrs. Eagle, is giving me responsibilities pretty slowly. So far I've been asked to take over the putting up of the daily schedule (which basically entails sticking pre-made cards up on the board in the correct order,) collecting the lunch money and sending a kid down to the office with it, and sometimes pulling down the screen for the morning announcement show. (They  have a little webcast type thing each morning.) I've also helped kids with their AR and other reading programs, helped kids with their math worksheets, and observed the teacher doing Running Records with kids. 
I am looking forward to two weeks from now, because that is when Mrs. Eagle says I can take over my first subject, Language Arts! The class does Language Arts in a very simple way. Basically, the teacher reads them a story, and then sometimes they do a little activity, such as answering comprehension questions. My responsibility will be to plan out which stories I want to read, and which activities I want to do along with them. The activities cannot be worksheets or projects anything like that, just a very informal activity. Actually, because of the way my school requires me to lesson plan, I think I am going to be giving them more challenge than they are used to. For the lesson plans we write, we have to include an objective that is connected to the state standards, and assessment. So I can't just say, "I'll read a story." I have to make it a little more meaty than that. It may be hard to balance what the kids are used to doing and capable of doing, with what I am expected to have them do. 
I have already planned out my first week of lesson plans! I cranked most of them out last night, and finished the final two today. I own all of the Skippyjon Jones books, so I decided to do a week of that. The five activities I've planned out involve answering reading comprehension questions, using context clues to figure out unfamiliar words, describing a character, comparing and contrasting two stories, and retelling a story using sequencing cards. We'll also talk about what a "series" is, and on the last day we'll make a bar graph of our favorite Skippyjon books. I hope it isn't too heavy of a week for the kids! I can't wait to tell you more about it  in a few weeks. I'll also post the lesson plans after the week is over, in case anyone wants to use them! 
The week after that, I'm going to do St. Patrick's Day books. I haven't cranked out those lesson plans just yet. And after that... who knows! Anyone have any great books you think kids would enjoy? Keep in mind, although they're in fourth and fifth grade, the highest readers are at a second grade level.I did ask Mrs. Eagle if any of the kids complain about having to hear "little kid" books at story time, but she says the kids seem to enjoy the picture books. So... anything goes, I guess!
Other than that, I don't have much news to tell you. Funniest moment of the week? For me it was when we were reading a book about Abraham Lincoln. One page showed a picture of the Lincoln Memorial, with a closeup of the statue of Abe Lincoln sitting in the chair. When Martin saw it, he asked in alarm, "Is Abraham Lincoln in there?" I had to quickly explain that the statue had been made by carving stone, and they hadn't simply poured concrete over Lincoln's body! 
Have a great weekend, everyone! 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Another First Day!

Today was my first day at Tree Elementary School, as an actual student teacher! It actually went pretty well, except for the fact that I have a wicked sinus infection today. I tried all weekend to rest and drink orange juice and take Emergen-C, but I didn't recover in time for my first day! Nothing like making a first impression with a stuffy nose, sore throat, and giant headache! 

I thought I'd start out by formally introducing the children to you. I don't think I ever really did that with the preschool kids... you met Ani, for sure, and maybe Robin and Wren and Pewee and Phoebe and some others towards the end. But today I'll let you meet all eight of the kids I know!

First off there is Finch. The weirdest thing here is that Finch is the older brother of Robin, the preschooler who was always telling me he liked me so much and that I could borrow his Wii! I knew Robin had an older brother named Finch, but I had no idea how old Finch was or that he had special needs. When I saw Finch's last name on his desk name tag, I asked, "Are you Robin's brother?" Finch barely looked up as he said yes. The only thing that caught his attention was when I told him, "Robin says you're great at Wii! He wants to be just like you!" That turned on a spigot of information about all the different video game systems and corresponding games Finch owns. It turns out he's a fifth grader with Aspergers, who is very smart and fully mainstreamed. Aside from being Robin's brother, I don't know much about Finch because he is mainstreamed and is out of the classroom all day.

Weaver, like Finch, is a fifth grader with Aspergers who is fully mainstreamed. I don't know him that well either, since I only saw him today for about ten minutes. 

Martin is a fifth grader who is very sweet and who came up to me and said, "Hi, welcome, Miss Read!" (He might have been reading that off the chalk board, but still, it was nice.) He  loves to check the lunch calendar to find out what he'll be eating for lunch at any given  day in the next thirty days. He also likes to keep track of what everyone is doing and who is absent!

Jay is a fourth grader who is very quiet. The only thing I know about him so far is that he has to stay away from magnets, microwaves, metal detectors, and that sort of thing, because of his pace maker. Also, he likes outer space!

Oriole is a fifth grader who is more "high functioning" than most of the other kids. For instance at calendar time today he was able to run calendar, and talked to the other kids as if he were a teacher and they were the students! 

I have not met Towhee and Triller yet because they are sick. I'll meet them next week, most likely!

Kite, like Oriole, is a fifth grader who is more "high functioning" than the others. She can read and write, speaks clearly, makes jokes, and sort of bosses around the other kids in a big sisterly way. I probably won't get to know Kite that well because it turns out she is moving away in a week!

Rosella is a sweet girl who recently got hearing aids and now has to relearn the sounds of all the letters. She is funny and friendly, although she doesn't talk much! An odd thing I realized about Rosella is that although she can read a little, she is almost completely a sight reader. For instance she has a key ring of flash cards of words she has learned. She will see the word "eight" and read it as "four," not because these two words have any letters in common, but because she knows that "eight" is a number and she can't remember which one. Or she will see the word "grass" and read it as "tree." I'm not sure that even counts as reading!

Finally, Starling is a fifth grade girl who is the "lowest functioning" in the class. She talks nonstop, although it is very hard to understand what she is saying. She cannot read, write, or count, and she is still learning to go to the bathroom without accidents. She is very friendly, and loves school work. She demands all day long to be tested! When I first saw her wearing a puffy, swirly, gauzy black skirt with white hearts printed on it, a hoodie with all different colored hearts all over it, sneakers with tie-dyed laces, and a mess of auburn hair, I couldn't help loving her! 

I think the most challenging thing about student teaching there will be doing all the lesson plans my university requires me to do, when actually the kids mostly do their learning from very scripted programs that already have the lesson plans for each day included. I'm actually going to have to take the scripted lesson plans, and rewrite them into the format my university requires our lesson plans to be in! Awkward.

The thing I am most looking forward to is the one week unit I have to plan. This is the one area in which I will really be able to use my creativity and have some fun! However, I am not sure what kind of unit to do. Can anyone help me think of something! This would have to be a one week unit in which they would do about half an hour of learning each day for five days. It would have to be something that would be interesting and relevant to all of the kids, from Starling and Rosella who are learning on a preschool level, to Oriole and Kite who are learning almost at their regular fifth grade level. I thought of doing something seasonal, like a St. Patrick's Day unit, but I think the actual teacher may already have that one covered! Does anyone have any ideas? I'd love to hear! 

Alright, everyone! I need to go take some cold medicine and go to bed. 

Friday, February 17, 2012

Finally Some Good News!

Hi everyone! When I last wrote, I was frantic because I had not yet gotten my next student teaching placement, and because my professor had hinted that something might be wrong with my application. Well, the good news is here... I got a placement! It seems like a great one, too... only 20 minutes away from my house, in the same school district where I've already student teaching in. Unfortunately, the district isn't great about keeping up teacher or classroom websites, so I have absolutely no information or details about the placement. I only know that it is an ELS class, possibly containing some fourth graders. But I have to wait for the teacher to email me with more info. I sure hope she emails me soon... I'm at the edge of my seat here! 

Meanwhile, today was my last day at Sky Elementary. I had already planned out how I was going to try to make it a special day. Quite a while ago I ordered some inexpensive Scholastic books, enough for each child to have one. I just looked for the sales where they sell four or five books in a bundle, and ordered several bundles! I picked out a book for each of the kids, and wrote a personal note to them inside telling them that I'll miss them, etc. I wrapped them up, mostly so they wouldn't be fighting over who got which book! Also I stopped at the grocery store this morning and picked up oatmeal cookies from the bakery, and two bouquets of flowers for Mrs. Wing and the teacher's aide. 

Mrs. Wing also did her best to make it a special day! She let them listen to a CD and play rhythm sticks in the morning... something I have never seen in my whole five weeks there! This was the first time they got to do any sort of music and/or movement activity! She also brought some brand new containers of playdough, and they got to play with it. I got to read them a fun book, If You Give A Cat A Cupcake, after calendar time. (They are the best audience for reading to... they all applaud at the end!) And they got to watch a movie, Leapfrog's Letter Factory, while they ate popcorn and cookies! I think it may have been the most fun day ever for them! Even though Ani complained that he didn't like the rhythm sticks activity... he thought the music was too loud, we should have turned it down, and no, standing further away from the CD player or putting earplugs in his ears would not have been acceptable choices for him, and we'd better never do such nonsense again! (I think Ani was a little cranky today!)

Mrs. Wing treated me to lunch, and she gave me a class picture with most of the children in it, and the kids who can write their names all signed it. I will keep it forever! 

All day it felt like just an ordinary, regular day. Even though we were doing fun activities. I mean it felt like a fun day, but not a day in which I would be saying "goodbye forever" to the children I'd grown to care about. Its so weird that on Tuesday, they'll show up at school and start going through their day without me... and I'll be at another school, trying to get to know a whole new group of kids 

At the same time, I'm excited... This is where the real student teaching begins! If anyone teaches fourth grade special ed, please holler out your blog url to me so I can start doing some research! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Broken Heart On Valentine's Day

I don't have good news. Things are going horribly awry. 
I may have mentioned before that I don't yet have my placement for my ten week student teaching assignment, which begins one week from today! Five weeks ago when my professor decided to pull me from the student teaching assignment I'd been placed in, she assured me that I'd have a placement when the time came. It hasn't happened.
Yesterday my professor (I'll call her Professor A, so I don't have to keep saying "My Professor!") came to observe me for the second time at my internship placement. She had told me ahead of time that she wanted to observe me doing a whole group lesson. Well, the only whole group activity they do in the preschool class is Calendar, so I told her I could do that. Our calendar time is very basic, with no songs, rhyming, sharing, or other "nonsense." You just take attendance, tell them the month, the day of the week, the date and the year, and then the kid in charge of weather comes and does the weather, and finally you read a story. For this particular calendar session, Mrs. Wing also gave me a little Valentine game to do, involving counting different colored hearts, I guess to draw Calendar out a little longer so Professor A would have more to observe. 
For the most part, Calendar went well for me! For the first time ever, Ani actually said, "I'm here!" during attendance! All of the kids are supposed to say, "I'm here," but Ani usually just raises his hand. He said it, and I took that to be a great sign! Calendar went well. The weather went fine. The story was great. The game was a little haphazard because Mrs. Wing had just given it to me fifteen minutes ahead of time, and some of the pieces included were different from what was in the description that I was given to read... but it still went well. Calendar ended, and Mrs. Wing came over to describe to the kids what their cut-and-pasting activities for the day would be. 
So. Professor A wanted a short conference with Mrs. Wing, and they left the room while I ran Mrs. Wing's cutting and pasting activity for her. I was actually feeling pretty good about things, especially when Robin told me in his slow motion way, "You did good, Miss Angel!" 
Then Mrs. Wing returned to the room. Right away I felt like something was weird, because of the way Mrs. Wing said, "I think your professor wants to talk to you in the other room." 
I went into the other room. Professor A was all friendly as she told me that she thought my calendar time went well. Then she went on to say that she thought I looked too much to Mrs. Wing for direction and that Mrs. Wing stepped in too much for behavior management and for helping with the Valentine game. She said, "It doesn't seem like you're ready to really lead the class! Remember, during the ten weeks, it goes very quickly. By the fifth week, you'll be responsible for all of the teacher's responsibilities!"

First of all, this is internship, so I never thought I was supposed to be completely taking over. On the calendar we were given in class, it said by the fifth week we were supposed to have "shadowed" the cooperating teacher, interacted with students as directed by the teacher, and worked on our individual projects. Not "take over the entire class!" I swear on my soul, I've been doing everything according to that calendar and the syllabus! I've done my best not to step on Mrs. Wing's toes, and to be more of a helpful sidekick than a takeover teacher!

Second of all, Mrs. Wing hasn't really seemed open to my "taking over." Even when I tried to handle small things, she often stepped in to do it her way. She's a very experienced teacher with her own way of doing things. I pointed this out to Professor A, and she even agreed, saying that she herself was like that as a teacher, and that it can be hard for teachers to accept someone else doing things differently. 

Third of all, I pointed out that when we had a sub for a week, I did feel able to take over and do more things with the class, because my help was more needed. I assured Professor A that I thought that, if I was given the chance, I could lead a class.

Anyways. That wasn't the worst of it. Professor A then went on to say that she had looked at the long list of schools that had denied me placements, and was alarmed. She said, "There must be something wrong with your application or your resume, or maybe your transcripts! Something is making these people dislike you right away! Maybe you should have gotten help from the writing center at school."

I told Professor A that writing has always been one of my strengths, and that I never thought to seek help from the writing center. This center is more for students at my school who can barely write at all. I think I can write on a college level. The A's I receive on every single term paper or essay I turn in should prove that! (I'm not bragging... its just that I have loved writing since childhood. And since I often do poorly on tests on subjects like science and history, I depend on those essays and term papers to bring my grades up! 

Professor A continued to say that there must be something wrong with my application, or possibly something in my transcripts that people weren't liking. (The transcripts could be part of it. I get a lot of As, but I am not a straight A student, especially in mathematics, history, science, and that type of thing. I have plenty of B's and C's mixed in. My grade point average is 3.4.) She then told me that it would take a special person to be my cooperating teacher for the ten weeks, and that they would really have to work to find someone who would take me. She added that I might even need to stay in student teaching for an additional week or two. And, as I was crying internally (not outloud... on the outside I was just sitting quietly with my heart in in my hands) Professor A went on that she knew about a teacher who retired recently and that 800 people applied for her job. She said my chances would be slim for even getting an interview, if I was being rejected just for student teaching! She said some people were better off working as aides, and that she thought I was on the level of an aide because I was doing about the same types of things that Mrs. Wing's classroom aide was doing. 

Ever since then, it has been torture for me to be in the classroom. I still adore the children, of course. I made little Valentines goody bags to bring to them today, and some of them gave me Valentines as well. I love when Ani talks to me. It makes me feel like he feels safe around me, and that's a big part of being a teacher. I love when Wren asks me to play with her, every single day. I love how Robin loves to have long conversations with me when he's supposed to be working, and how even Ibis, who rarely talks, will sometimes whisper to me that he watched basketball with his dad yesterday.I love how they are always so excited to show me their shirts when they take off their jackets... they always have such great, colorful shirts! I love how even the small little 3-year-old special ed kids, in the afternoon class, who are just learning to talk, can say my name now... and sometimes just say it over and over for no apparent reason. I love how they'll hold my hand in the hallway. I love how I can make them laugh when they're about to cry. Today in the afternoon gym class I was trying to teach two little kids named Noddy and Pitta how to play catch with the gym balls. They were supposed to be taking turns tossing me their balls, and I would throw the balls back to them. Suddenly I was being pummeled by ten gym balls, because all of the kids wanted to play catch! I somehow got them all lined up in a row, and got them to wait until I said their name before they threw their ball to me. They were all giggling like crazy! We spent the whole gym time this way. Usually the teachers spend gym time sitting against the wall and talking while they watch the kids. Usually I do to... its a nice, relaxing break in the day. But I have to admit I had fun playing catch with the kids today. Even though Kokako pegged me in the face, like, five times!
I do love the kids. But it is still hard to be there. Because I just want to be at home, in bed, bawling! I want so badly to be a teacher, and I've put four years into it, including having to spend lots of money and having to ask my parents for lots of favors (such as letting my dog and cat and I live with them since student teachers aren't supposed to have jobs so I'd have no way of paying rent!) I've come so far. SO FAR! Especially considering that I was once a kid who was told I would never go to college at all, and would have to be in a special home for disabled people. Frown! Its so hard to be teetering at the edge of success, and then have it snatched away!
Please, if you are a praying person, I could use your prayers! And if you are not a praying person, I could use your positive thoughts! 
Okay, now for a funny story to lighten the mood. Today the kids got to exchange Valentines. They had white lunch bags to collect their goodies in. A lot of them included candy with their Valentines. One kid even gave each friend a small heart-shaped box of chocolates! Mrs. Wing stapled the bags shut, and the children were told that they should not open the bags until they got home and had their parents' permission. Anyways. The kids also got brownies and chocolate milk at snack time as a special treat. By the time they lined up to go home, lots of them were pretty hyper! Pewee, in particular, was in rare form. He was actually spinning around and laughing at nothing! I asked Pewee if he'd eaten too much chocolate. He said, "no." I told him, it must have been his invisible twin brother Lewee who ate his brownie! Pewee laughed like a maniac. 
An hour later, there was a call from his mother. Apparently, on the bus ride, Pewee cracked open his bag and ate all but two pieces of his candy! He was sick to his stomach! 
Okay. That doesn't sound so funny. I don't mean to laugh at a kid who got sick to his stomach. But if you knew Pewee...  the cutest, funniest, three-year-old trouble maker I'd be laughing too! 
Happy Valentine's Day, everyone. Thanks for listening. 

Friday, February 10, 2012

Running Out Of Steam

Today marks the last day of my second-to-last week at Sky Elementary. Although I definitely love the children, I have to admit I am running out of steam. Its getting hard for me to drag myself out of bed each day, force myself to take a shower, put on my usual corduroys and sweater, pack a lunch, eat a healthy breakfast, part ways tearfully with my dogs and cats, and drive myself to "work." 
I guess part of it is because, as an "intern" and not a student teacher, everything I do is really mostly the duties of a teacher's aide. I don't have any real responsibilities, like lesson plans or assessments or special activities, to think about. I just show up. do calendar time the way I have been told to do by the teacher, and then do whatever center activity I've been given to do. Always cut-and-paste. The kids cut-and-paste, cut-and-paste, cut-and-paste! Cut-and-paste pictures of vegetables onto a picture of a plate. Cut-and-paste farm animals and zoo animals into the correct categories. Cut-and-paste paper hearts into the correct order by size. Cut-and-paste the parts of a bird onto a piece of blue paper. Cut-and-paste the letters of their names. I'm surprised they haven't developed carpal tunnel from all that cutting! 
Not to speak poorly of the teacher. I like her a lot, she's been very nice to me, and she is kind and loving with the children. But she's been a preschool teacher for 30 years. Probably 30 years ago preschool was all about cut-and-paste... but now there are so many more ways to teach children, so many more ways we could be enriching their lives! 
Plus there is the fact that I still haven't found out my placement for my ten-week assignment. Which starts in one week. Where will I go?
And then there is the fact that I was just informed in "seminar" that, with an LBS1 certificate (which is what I will have when I graduate this spring) all I will be able to be is a resource teacher. An LBS1 certificate apparently doesn't make you highly qualified enough to have your own special education teacher. The professor cheerfully said, "So you'll be a support person! You'll help with homework!"

Help with homework? I don't want to help with homework? I want to teach! 
The professor in my seminar says there is a test you can take in order to be considered highly qualified enough to have your own classroom. But its a hard test. And besides, she can't remember what the test is. UGH! 
This information might not even be true. I have been looking at job openings in my state, and the qualifications just ask for an LBS1 certificate. So... you never know. I guess I'll just hope for the best, right? But the prospects of just helping kids with homework is enough to make me want to curl up in a ball on the couch and refuse to leave the house again. 
Oh well. Lets think about more cheerful things. 
Ani has been getting more talkative every day, has been playing with other kids (especially Pewee), and has even been seen smiling! 
Robin comes up to me every day and tells me, in this sleepy, slow-motion way he has of talking, "I like you, Miss Angel! I like you so much!" 
Quail, a precocious three-year-old who probably doesn't really need to be in the "at-risk" program, swears that at night he and his sister wake up and turn into werewolves!
Rhea allegedly kissed Wren twice on the bus the other day, and has asked her to marry him. Rhea was lectured about keeping his lips to himself , but Wren didn't seem bothered at all. She cheerfully announced that she was going to tell her mother that Rhea kissed her. "I think Mommy will be happy, because she kisses her boyfriends all the time!" Wren declared.
After I read a story to the children about police officers and what they do, Teal raised her hand to contribute, "If you drink alcohol the police will come take you away!" 
And when we were learning about the five senses and I asked the kids what they use their noses for, Pewee replied, "Sneezing!" 
They are wonderful, sweet, funny kids. A lot of them are underappreciated by their parents. The school projects we send home go in the trash. The library books we send home go unread. They are exposed to alarming situations. Yet they show up at school, just happy to play with blocks and color with crayons like ordinary preschoolers. I wish I could do more for them! 
But, one week from now, I will be gone. 

Monday, February 6, 2012

Day One, Week Four... Update!

Hi everyone! You haven't heard from me for a while... I was sick all last week and was basically just dragging myself home from student teaching and falling right to sleep, waking up to work a little bit on my major project, and then sleeping again! I am feeling a little better now so I thought I'd take some time to update. 
Today begins my fourth week of my five week internship at Sky Elementary! I am almost done!
Last week I had my first observation by my professor. I worked 1:1 with kids at a sort of mundane shape matching file folder. I had already warned the professor that this wasn't my lesson plan or anything, and I'm glad I told her because the professor later basically told me the file folder game was silly and not challenging the kids. The best thing that happened during the observation, ironically, was that Ani acted out and didn't want to work with me! The reason I say it was the best thing is because the professor wrote down that I handled it by giving Ani a choice of where to sit, and gave him lots of praise during the activity. So it actually looked good for me! 
Something odd that happened... Remember Phoebe, who had strep that spread to her heart? (She's fine now, thank goodness!) This week she is on vacation with a family member. I think they went to Disney Land. Her little brother Pewee, who is three, came to school, though, and was his usual happy but mischievous self! 
The day went along as usual. At lunch time we put Pewee and the other AM kids on the buses to go home. We had our our long lunch break. We went out to get the PM kids off the buses. And there was Pewee, with a big smile on his face, getting off one of the PM buses! Apparently his mother had never showed up at the bus stop to pick him up. After failing to get ahold of Pewee's mother or any emergency contacts, the bus driver brought Pewee back to school for safe keeping.
Having to come back to school after sitting on the bus for an hour can be traumatizing when you're three! So we gave Pewee a hero's welcome. We all told him we were happy that he came back to visit us, and we introduced him to the afternoon class kids. Since Pewee hadn't had lunch yet, Mrs. Wing scraped up some random lunch food for Pewee to eat in the class. He got to have a granola bar, several chocolate chip cookies, half an apple, and a carton of chocolate milk. LOL! Pewee good-naturedly went to gym class with the afternoon kids. Then he came to the library with us, where he laughed at having to hear the librarian read the same story again! The whole time he had this amused grin on his face. It was probably so weird for him to see the same classroom, and the same teachers, but all different kids! 
Meanwhile, the office was frantically trying to get ahold of someone for Pewee. The thing that made the situation a little shady was the fact that there is a restraining order against Pewee's father. Because he's abused them in the past, he is only allowed supervised visits with Pewee, Phoebe and their siblings. So there was always the possibility that the father could have done something to the kids' mother, and that could be why she didn't meet Pewee at the bus stop or answer any phone calls. The office staff decided that if they couldn't find Pewee's mother by 1:30 they would call the police.
Well, at about 1:15 they managed to get ahold of Pewee's mom! She had had a court date, and had lost track of time. Instead of calling the school or the bus company to let them know that she wouldn't be there to meet Pewee at the bus stop, she had just assumed that Pewee would spin his way back to school and that somebody somewhere would take care of him. After answering her phone and explaining the situation to the office staff, she actually asked, "So, do you want me to come get him?" 
Uh... yeah, probably, that would be thoughtful! We're sure Pewee would appreciate it! 
Have I mentioned how I've grown to love these kids in the past three weeks? I can't believe next week I'll be getting ready to say goodbye!