Thursday, January 17, 2008

Daily Review

While I cannot honestly confess complete and total happiness with my motley crew today, I must say that they were much improved from yesterday (although, while I hesitate to say it because believe me they'll prove me wrong, I'm not sure they could get much worse). As a case in point, as I picked them up from the cafeteria today, Jo informed me "We weren't acting no fools today." To which I responded, "Good, you better not have." Happily there was a green star to carry proudly back from lunch.

Now I am trying to balance these blogs with levity and seriousness, as well as the good, the bad and the ugly. So here are some high points.

T and I had two minor breakthrough moments today. During journals this morning, Jos threw a huge tantrum. If I remember correctly (this was the first of a few), it was because I told him not to stick his tongue out at T and that he would receive a consequence (code=time out from recess). In that moment, I called over T and said, "Do you like it when Jos acts like that?" Resounding and adamant no from T. "How does it make you feel?" "It hurts my ears." "Well, how do you think we feel when you act like that?" He thought about it for a minute and then, almost surprised, answered, "It hurts your ears?" I don't think it ever occurred to him that his fits were the least disruptive and, while he had one or two today, they were noticeably quieter.

Secondly, I try to bribe T with earning a prize at the end of the day. You may feel free to agree or disagree with said policy, but I also invite you to come and deal with him for the day. (The first and only time we had a sub, I wrote an apology letter beforehand.) This has varying levels of success and I do reward for "changed choices." I'm not going to punish for a terrible morning if it's gotten better and we've had a fantastic afternoon. The problem is, he seems to think that he deserves a prize regardless of his behavior. This often results in a showdown where he refuses to leave the classroom at the end of the day and I tell him "I'm more stubborn than you are and I am going to win, so if I were you, I'd stop now." (My mother, I'm sure, would be glad to confirm the reality of this statement.) Today, he certainly did not deserve any kind of reward. However, he wasn't horrendous and I think a lot of his problem comes from a lot of negativity (and excessive "whuppings") at home. So I told him, "I will give you the good stamp in your conduct folder, but you did not earn a prize today." As I braced myself for war, he simply responded "Because you have to be good all day," took his folder and sat down in his chair. I nearly had a heart attack in that moment. Success!

I'll take what I can get.

Highlights of the day:
1. During naptime, R, S and I played a counting/number recognition game involved a caterpillar and flowers. The following conversation evolved from that episode.
S: "Where's the caterpillar's other head?"
R: "That's not his head, that's his booty."
S: "Haha. Booty. Look at my booty."
R: "The teacher's got a booty."
2. To went home early because she pooped on herself and didn't tell me for what I now think may have been two hours. After she changed herself, one of the bathrooms was rendered unusable based on the odor.
3. Je has gotten smart enough to gauge my stress levels in the classroom and flashes me "I love you" in sign language (which we learned as an alternative to giving the finger) whenever he can tell I've just about had it.
4. N: "It's cold, I'm going to cover you up in my jacket."
5. We got to use the parachute that my mom sent for the first time today. They had the best time and we practiced listening and following directions. It also made the recess time outs ten times as effective and is now an excellent reward to work for as a class (or something to lose in the event of a day like yesterday).

Sad moment:
M: "This is a picture of my mommy crying because Joseph slapped her. But my mommy was good yesterday so him no whup her."

"If I rise on the wings of dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me, Your right hand will hold me fast." Psalm 139: 9-10

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