Sunday, September 29, 2013

Deployment Anxieties

Have you ever been slapped back into reality by one of your students? Well it happened to us this week.

Amongst the beginning of the year chaos of getting routines established, finding a groove that works for this year’s class, beginning of the year paperwork, meetings and life itself, some of our student’s parents returned from being deployed for three to six months. (Deployment is a necessary part of working on a military base. When a parent is deployed he/she is sent to a location where a military presence is needed for several months or longer.) Having a parent return is a happy time but also requires some adjustment within the family and as teachers we are well aware of this. But with the beginning of the year madness, we forgot to look at having mommy and daddy come back through the eyes of a four/five year old. One child in particular was doing fine during the school day, but was not sleeping at night. His mother was able to figure out that her son was terrified that he would wake up and find that his daddy was gone again. Can you imagine the anxiety that child was feeling? It breaks our hearts to know that young children have to experience these types of anxieties or worse in classrooms all over the world. BUT it was a crucial reminder that the ABC’s and 123’s is just a portion of a child’s development. We as teachers need to focus on the emotional development of a child just as well. A hug, an encouraging word or some one-on-one time just to talk can go a long way in helping a child through a difficult time. And not just children, adults need some TLC too!
These books are great for anyone who has had to say good bye. You can find them at
And I’ve linked to a freebie “Hug” from my Salute to the Military Kids product.


Have a great week!


Sunday, September 22, 2013

I Think I Can, I Think I Can!

All Aboard!
Thinking about taking a trip? Need to know the best way to get around Germany? The TRAINS!! Germany’s major cities and many points of interest are interconnected by a well organized and easy to follow train system that includes Frankfurt airport.

One train system, the Inter City Express (ICE), is renown for its speed and comfort. Traveling with children? The ICE has family-friendly compartments called Kleinkindabteil that have room for strollers and tables for children to play/color on and children under 15 travel for free when accompanied by a parent/grandparent! There is also a restaurant car where you can enjoy a snack or a warm meal.
Germany also has night trains. The CityNightLine offers private rooms that include bathrooms and showers. Fall asleep and wake up anywhere in Germany or maybe Rome, Vienna, Paris, or Amsterdam! 
Trains are a great theme to use in the classroom as well. There are many wonderful stories about trains and of course Thomas the Train is well known among pre-k and kindergarten children. The book we love is The Little Engine That Could.
We use this book in the first week to set the motto for the school year. What does the Little Blue Engine say? “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!” Children relate to not knowing whether they can do something or not, but instead of saying “I Can’t!” they remember the Little Blue Engine and start saying “I think I can!”  And it works! Children are much more receptive to trying something, instead of immediately giving up.
We also incorporate the train theme in the classroom. There is the helper train for the job chart, the number train to keep count of the number of days we have come to school and we use “train tickets” (sample laminate chips from your friendly do-it- yourself store) as our center tags.

Toot! Toot! A train whistle is a wonderful way to get children’s attention. We use a train whistle to call children to the “Quiet Train” when getting on a line or when it is time to go inside from the playground. The sound of the train whistle has a great sound and it usually captures everybody’s attention, not just our class!   
If you’re thinking of taking a trip to Europe, feel free to drop us a line asking for the “how to” read the train lines in Europe!  Speaking of lines here’s another poll for you:  Do you think kindergarten children should be introduced to writing on lines from the start or should they be introduced  until second semester?

Do you think kindergarten children should be introduced to writing on lines from the start or should they be introduced until second semester?


Feel free to check out TheBeezyTeacher’s pinterest board on The Little Engine That Could  as well as the Youtubevideo of the book!

Just remember, when you are tired or having a rough day, say “I think I can, I think I can!” Have a great week!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fest Time is Here!

Many of you have heard of the Oktoberfest held in Munich, Germany, but during the months of September and October, fests are held all over Germany. From beer fests and wine fests to jousting and pig fests; whatever can be celebrated is!

Why not celebrate a theme in your room by having your own fest? Apples, pumpkins, trees, or whatever you can think of can become a fest in your classroom. Giving your usual theme a “fest” feel can add a little spark to the activities you already do. Have fun!!!
These are pictures of some of the apple activities we did and will end with a Johnny Appleseed Fest with all the other kindergarten classes and enjoy a taste of our applesauce, apple cider..  Click here if you would like a free copy.

 When we go to a fest, it usually involves choosing a beverage, beer or wine. And sometimes this is a difficult choice! What about the children in your classroom, do they have the opportunity to make a choice of what type of milk they would like to drink for lunch? Our pre-k and kindergarten teachers are faced with this decision at the beginning of each year. Do we give them the choice to drink white or chocolate milk or do we just let them drink white milk. What do you think?

Should pre-k and k be given a choice to drink white or chocolate milk?

Our next challenge is to get them to eat their fruit. They are always provided with a piece of fruit if they are buying a hot lunch. This is where these little coupons will come in! We will be passing these out to each child who eats his/her fruit! Click here for your free copy! 


Auf Weidersehen!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Made It! Poll Time, Now!

Well we hope everybody survived another week of school and a smooth routine is falling into place in your classrooms. It is wonderful to know that children are similar everywhere!

As hard as it is sometimes, remember to take time to enjoy your weekend! We love visiting floh markts around Germany. Floh markts are similar to flea markets in the states, but usually offer a wider variety of booths and vendors.



It’s fun to look and find some great treasures. Over the years, we’ve found some great “school” treasures.


During the first weeks before the children start back to school, preschool and kindergarten teachers conduct home visits with the families and children who will be in their classrooms. We think this is an AWESOME way to begin our year. It provides a wonderful opportunity to meet new students in an environment that is comfortable for them, AND a lot fewer tears on the first day of school. However, we know some schools set up visits in the classroom for assessing children before they start so teachers will have an idea on how to manage and diversify instruction. We want to know what you think!

We all do things a little bit differently and some of us are more passionate about one topic than another. So we thought it would be a great idea to share our passions through a poll format. We want your feedback! Occasionally, we will come up with a different topic that affects teachers and students. And we want to know how you feel about the topic.   

Should EC teachers conduct home visits or classroom visits.

Would love to hear why you feel strongly about your choice in the comment section!  




Monday, September 2, 2013

First Day of School #34

I think I’m ready! That’s right – most of you have had a week with children already, and I start tomorrow.  Even though I have had 33 “First Day of School” experiences I am always excited and a little nervous about beginning a new school year. Do I have everything ready? Is the classroom arranged to meet the needs of this group of children? Do I have a Plan B? This is the first time we’re letting the parents walk in with their children so they can take first day pictures. Was this the right decision? We’ve always waved them off and sent them to the Boo Hoo/Woo Hoo Breakfast to commiserate or celebrate. Hopefully every thing will “snap” smoothly.

BUT no matter what – I’ve learned to to take a deep breath and I don’t let beginning of the day upsets set the tone for the rest of the day. I also have a few tried and true tips that helps my year begin on a successful note.   

You gotta feel good – so to feel good you gotta look good!  I always have a new first day of school outfit.  Here’s mine! 
                (Big decision: Do I go with the safari or the German Drindl?)

Be prepared for the little things!  We often address the obvious things but it’s those little duties that can set the tone for the day!  Since we are required to do home visits the week before – I pick up most of their supplies (that’s if they didn’t bring them to orientation).  This allows us the opportunity to put things away, mark items that need to be labeled.  It’s one less thing to feel exhausted about AND it gives us more time to focus on the kids.  For those parents who are less prepared and want to ask a ton of questions – I have a cart I roll out. 
 On this cart – I have crates labeled for any late supplies, clipboard of questions, reminders….. I also have folders so that they can place any late forms I’ll need asap.  I’ll also have the lunch basket for placing boxed lunches.  Believe me, when I say DO NOT wait until the students walk into the room to do all these small things when you can get the parents to help out!  Trying to deal with the little – but important things can set the tone for utter chaos when you are dealing with 17+ children who are experiencing school for the first time!

Recruit help!  Even though we have our fabulous assistants who run around trying to get the attendance submitted on the computer, lunch count…..(the list goes on) – it’s great to have another pair of eyes, ears, hands!  What I do is recruit a former parent volunteer who knows your room and routine.  They’re great to have on the first day – especially in the lunch room to assist in directing little ones to their tables, opening milk cartons, walking them to the bathroom…… 

Make sure your plan includes a temporary seating chart – although by now you may have already figured out who has to be separated….   I also have a carpet seating chart with names penciled in so that I can make last minute changes.  I love my carpet!  It’s been a wonderful management tool for me! After you’ve gone over the rules and have shared your classroom management routines – go over them again and again and again.  Role play, act it out, line up again, and again!  Believe me it will be worth your time! They have to know your expectations!  Remember, if it doesn’t go well by the end of the first day you still have the rest of the year to improve! 

Last but not least, don’t forget to smile!  I simply don’t believe in waiting until Christmas to smile and laugh!  Let them know you are human.  I even bring in my “Woogies” for the class to meet!

More random pics of my classroom: 



Buzzing off for some extra needed Zzzz!
Random:  Moving Art