Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Funnies

Today completed my first full week of 2nd grade. To say I'm exhausted would be an understatement. I am slowly becoming accustomed to the 5:45 A.M. wakeup call. However, the early bedtime is a bit of a struggle for this night owl. I have always loved staying up late, especially since I got to college. One of my best friends Katie and I are known amongst our friends to be the late night crazies. When we all lived in the dorm together on the sorority hall I would venture to guess the 2 of us each averaged about 4 hours of sleep a night. And then college started getting serious...I'd give anything to go back to Freshmen and Sophomore year. But I do love this current "season" (buzz word...that I strongly dislike, but appropriate for this context).

Besides the major adjustment to my sleep schedule, I am absolutely loving my internship! I may be saying otherwise in a couple of weeks when I start teaching full days. The children are precious and keep me smiling and laughing all day long. There is rarely a dull moment. I kept my notebook near this week and jotted things down, mostly memorable funnies that I knew would be blog worthy. So please enjoy a few of the week's greatest quotes.

During a small group reading discussion about Presidents' Day I presented the question, "If you could ask President Obama anything what would it be?" These were a few responses..
"How come the White House isn't in Alabama? Can you move it here so we can go to school with your daughters?"
"How come you ended slavery?" ....umm yeah...I don't know either...
"Who are you gonna get married to?"
"Can you change the rules so we can have more time at recess?"

During another small group reading discussion we were talking about Jackie Robinson...
"Oh yeah I had played against him in baseball one time. He good." ...doubt it?
"Is Jackie Robinson still alive?.....Oh. Well did he die 'cause someone killed him with a baseball?"

Who can tell me what a veterinarian is?
"Oh it's those people that don't eat meat!" they're actually animal (A.K.A. meat) doctors

Talking about the dentist, I asked if anyone knew what a filling was...
"Oh yes! It's like when you cry or when you're happy"
Then I asked her if she knew what a tooth filling with a cavity...her response?
"Yes like I would say 'My tooth is filling really sore today!'" lesson? proper pronunciation of the word 'feeling'

"Is Santa Claus real? I know he doesn't drive one of those sleighs. Reindeer don't have wings. He must drive a sports car, like a mustang. The reindeer are just a joke to make a good story." ....Little does he know it's all a story.

While playing with paper money..."Ms. McKinney come o'er here suga, I'm about to make it rain. I'm rich baby!" ...the facial expressions were almost better than the quote

"My dad makes $80 a year. My family is richer than yours." ...if only that were rich

I asked a little boy if he had a Valentine and if so what was he going to get her...
"I won't let her know she's mine until the day of. She can wait. I'll give her a piece of chocolate or something but it's only for a day so it doesn't really matter."...This mentality can NOT start this early.

"Ms. McKinney were you born in 1499 or 1999?" ...sidenote, all of my students were either born in 2003 or 2004. How crazy is that!?

"Ms. McKinney are you gonna bring your son and your husband to school ever?" ...None of the above?

And the last one comes not from the mouth of a student...but the tshirt of a student. This is what it read...
"I know I'm special 'cus God don't make no junk" ...we wonder why children have trouble with grammar...let's just print grammatical errors right on their clothes!

Kids really do say the darndest things...

Monday, January 24, 2011

Have You Filled a Bucket Today?

Well it is officially Week 3 of my internship, but today was only Day 3. After starting on a Friday, followed by the MLK holiday making a 3 day weekend, and a state mandated training session for 3 days; I came back in on one more Friday and officially began a full week today. Full speed ahead!

They were slightly confused when I was there this morning after my weekly Friday appearances. I was actually greeted by a little girl with "Miss Kinney it's Monday why you here?" You may be thinking "who is Miss Kinney?" Let me explain. Ever since I started my field experiences with the College of Education, my name has multiplied. The butchering my name has taken has been brutal. My whole life people have inserted Zs and Ls in my last name forming McKinzie and McKinley. I'm used to it now and usually don't correct someone unless it will ultimately have an affect on me. I feel bad correcting adults, can you see me correcting these precious children that can't even get the initial consonants? The most popular is Kinney. But I have been called Kinzey, Mackiny, Mackian, Mickney, Mickey, MK (for those who like to abbreviate?), and my new favorite as of today Mcnieey. Those are all real. I have documentation. It makes me laugh. It also makes me hope that maybe my future husband will come in and save the day with a kid-friendly last name.

Every couple of weeks the school counselor comes in and does a brief lesson for the class. It usually focuses on character building and other personal subjects. This morning she brought in a book titled "Have You Filled a Bucket Today?" I had heard about this book before from my Education classes and was slightly excited myself to hear what it was all about.

The book conveys a message of positive behavior to children through illustrations and descriptions about "filling a bucket". Each of us have an invisible "bucket" that we carry around everyday. This bucket has the potential to be filled, but can also be emptied. The choices we make help us fill others' buckets or empty ours. The book expresses how we can share happiness with others and also bring it to ourselves. By using encouraging words and kindness towards others, we are filling their buckets with happiness. We are also filling our own because we feel good about ourselves when we are kind to others. But when we are negative or bully others, we are digging into their bucket and also emptying ours.

The whole concept is for children to use this metaphor and see how very easy and rewarding it is to express kindness towards others on a daily basis. Many teachers have used this "bucket" concept as a classroom management strategy. Every child has a bucket. When the teacher notices a student being kind or sees/hears that they have been helpful or positive, they receive a little something, usually a treat, to put in their bucket. Students can also write encouraging notes to each other and put them in their classmates' buckets. At the end of the week, the students get to retrieve their bucket. They get their treats and the notes from their classmates. This in turn fills their "invisible bucket" and rewards them for their behavior that week.

So after the counselor read this book to our class today, she presented two small buckets. One was labeled with their classroom teacher's name, the other with "Ms. McKinney". By the end of the day they were to write encouraging notes and "fill the buckets". After reading the kind words I can't help but become a strong supporter of this metaphoric classroom strategy. My bucket was definitely full after today, and so was my heart. Try and fill someone's bucket today. I promise you will be rewarded.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Welcome to 2nd Grade Ms. McKinney

One of the main inspirations for this blog was a birthday present I received in November; a blank journal. Inside was a note from a friend "We love your stories about your teaching experiences, please use this to write them all down during your internship so you'll never forget them, and so you can share them with us!" I will be taking this journal with me to school everyday to jot things down that I can later blog about. That way I can remember them and also share them with anyone who is interested in hearing about my wild ride through 2nd grade over the next 4 months (and whatever else may occur that is blog worthy).

I can't believe I'm writing about my internship before giving appropriate recognition to the National Champions of 2010! Don't worry...that post will be next. I wanted to be sure to include pictures and detailed descriptions of that experience, but my camera chord is currently MIA. And I wanted to write about my first day of 2nd grade before I forgot too much! But just so everyone knows, I have not forgotten. AUBURN WON THE NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP!!!!! War Eagle.

My trip to Glendale for the big game actually had a huge impact on my internship. The game was on Monday. I would be missing my first 2 days of my internship and returning to Auburn on Wednesday to begin. I questioned my decision and wether or not it was professional to miss my first 2 days (probably not at all). But after finding out my classroom teacher, who I will work under, is an Auburn grad, my brothers telling me I'd be crazy to pass this up, and Cam winning the Heisman...I needed little convincing. I'll explain in detail later about my trip, but to make a long story short; due to the blizzard that took place in Atlanta, our traveling plans changed and I didn't get back to Auburn until Thursday evening. At that point I had missed 4 days. All I could do was repeat in my head, "Don't stress, we're National Champs..." That justifies it right?

After much delay, I finally started 2nd grade Friday morning. The night before I set out 3 different outfits (I am ridiculously indecisive), made my lunch, and set my alarm for 5:30 (that's gonna be rough). I arrived at the school 15 minutes early, as nervous as a kindergartner on their first day of school. I sat in my car with a million thoughts running through my head. Would my teacher like me? Would the students like me? What if I hated it? What if I fall walking in..? I couldn't calm my nerves. I said a quick prayer and headed for the front door.

I was greeted at the front door by the principal with a big smile on her face. It was obvious she loved working at this school and she knew exactly who I was. "Are you the one that's been stranded in the desert and the blizzard? Welcome to our school!" She was so warm and welcoming and all of my premonitions were left at the door. I met several teachers as I made my way downstairs to the 2nd grade hall, and all of them were nothing but friendly. The school where I am interning has students from PreK-2nd Grade.

I found my classroom and met my teacher who I would be working with all semester. She is wonderful! She was so excited to meet me and made me feel so comfortable. She had set up a desk for me to use for the semester and had put together a folder of helpful information. Also in the folder were 15 letters, one from each student. They had all written me letters telling me about themselves and about their school. I got tickled reading some of them. Their inventive spelling and limited grammar skills made me smile, and also made me excited to get to teach them some of these skills.

As the students started filing it, it was obvious I was the "new kid". I heard little whispers and saw many wandering eyes. I smiled back and they quickly averted their attention elsewhere as if they didn't want me to know they were staring. I heard "Is that her? Where do you think she got her sweater? Where is her wedding ring? Do you think she's 19 or 40?"....yes these were all real questions.

After things settled down I was formally introduced. They went around the room and introduced themselves telling me their name, their favorite school subject, and something about themselves. Then it was my turn. With a game of "20 Questions" I was asked everything from "What is your favorite food?" to "Do you wear bump-its in your hair?" It was hard not to laugh, but I took the questions very seriously, because they were very serious about them.

Needless to say we got to know each other very well and I even get to eat at the lunch table with them in the school cafeteria; which was quite an experience in and of itself. I got a lunchbox for Christmas...I think I'll skip the lunch line and pack my lunch. Beef nuggets and mashed potatoes aren't nearly as appetizing as they were 14 years ago.

My first day couldn't have gone any better. I have been looking forward to my student teaching since I got into the College of Education and can't believe it is finally here. I am only 4 months away from graduating with a teaching certificate. I will (hopefully...) have my very own classroom. Their education in my hands....TERRIFYING! But so exciting at the same time! I've been dreaming about this since I was little when I started playing "school" in my playroom (See dad's blogpost).

One of the letters from my students read "Hi! I hope your excited. Cause were your coming is a good place. You will love it alot. Trust me when you smell the fresh air you will fill like your home. You will love our school and you will love your job. I promise!"

I can't help but smile at these sweet words and trust that this promise will not be broken. I am so excited about the next 4 months and know it will be a wonderful experience. If you're reading, welcome to 2nd grade, get ready for quite a journey!

Monday, January 3, 2011


My mom is an incredible cook. I know everyone says that about their mom, but really she is AWESOME! She is also one of the most selfless and humble people I know so she'll probably tell you otherwise, but just wait until you try her salsa or her cinnamon rolls. I have been spoiled on her cooking and have tried to take after her in the kitchen, but it is not an easy lead to follow.

Because I have been fed great food my whole life and didn't even know what a cake mix was until 8th grade, I am a food critic. Not a literal one of course, but I love trying all kinds of different foods. I love trying new restaurants, different bakeries, flipping through cookbooks, shopping at Williams-Sonoma (heaven), and even organizing pantries (yes I do that on a regular basis for my mom).

Some of my favorite foods involve one key ingredient. CHEESE! (mac'n'cheese, pizza, grilled cheese, potatoes, anything broccoli and cheese, and the list goes on). If I could have one meal for the rest of my life without an ounce of worry about calories or putting on any LBs, it would absolutely be macaroni and cheese. I could eat it every single day. When my brothers and I were younger there was always one way of knowing if my parents were going out for the evening and leaving us with a babysitter. My mom would ever so thoughtfully leave a box of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese on the counter. If we were really lucky we'd have hotdogs too. But that blue box was the only sign we needed. I love the homemade stuff, but the kinda from the box with the powder cheese hits the spot every time.

Back to my cheese to macaroni & cheese is my love for a good grilled cheese sandwich. Now a grilled cheese sandwich of course comes in more shapes and forms than many may think. How do you make a grilled cheese sandwich? Butter both pieces of bread? Melted butter in the pan?  White bread? Wheat bread? Sourdough? What kind of cheese? Add tomato? Any spice? How crispy? When is it considered burnt? The way I grew up eating grilled cheese was my mom's way. Two pieces of white bread, butter on both sides, American cheese, grilled to perfection with a little crisp but still soft in the middle. Simple, to the point, and perfect. YUM!!

There was an article in the paper a few weeks ago about a place downtown called The Grilled Cheese and Crab Cake Co. My dad and I decided we owed them a visit after we read the article and both started to drool at the thought of this genius little place. An entire restaurant dedicated to grilled cheese sandwiches? Why didn't I think of that?! So last week my mom, dad, and I ventured to downtown Nashville to find this cute little restaurant nestled between some tall buildings and a few other dining places. The 3 of us decided to each get something different so we could try them all. Yes, we strategized the grilled cheese experience. Time was of the essence, who knew when we'd be back? I got the traditional: a very generous portion of white American cheese, melted between 2 perfectly grilled and buttery pieces of Texas toast. Oh yes, and a side of creamy tomato soup! My dad got the Crab Melt, the most popular sandwich; Monterrey Jack Cheese, slice of a tomato, and a fresh portion of crab meat grilled the same as the classic. My mom got the Grilled Cheese BLT: the classic w/a BLT touch. Let's just say, I will never eat another grilled cheese sandwich and not compare it to this experience.

I consider this little spot to be a new Nashville best kept secret. I had never heard of it, and it's not really in a location that you would pass by very often. But I will intentionally be passing by from now on. The prices are a little steep for a sandwich, but I promise you that you will get your money's worth and will leave with a full and happy stomach! It is obvious that the owner and his wife try their very best to please their customers. The owners' 4 young children work in the the restaurant with them. I can only imagine how fun it would be growing up with your parents owning a grilled cheese sandwich place, um hello how fun!?

So if you live in Nashville or if you're ever in town, make plans to take a trip to The Grilled Cheese and Crab Cake Co. You will not be disappointed!