Sunday, November 13, 2011

"He ate my cupcake!"

In Kindergarten, we take our cupcakes very seriously.

Birthdays are a cause for celebration, especially when you've only had five or six of them. We had a birthday celebration for a little girl in my class last Wednesday. For birthday celebrations, we give the children a birthday hat to wear and a birthday card and pencil. Then, if parents want to come in and bring in a snack, they can come for the last half hour of the day. I'm glad our school still allows sweet birthday treats. While I'm all on board for making schools healthier, I can't say I'm a fan of limiting birthday treats to granola bars, fresh fruit, or muffins. When I was a child, my mom always brought in freshly baked funfetti cupcakes that we'd iced together the night before when it was my birthday and I loved it!

There are seventeen children in my class and the birthday girl's little brother came in to celebrate with her. That's eighteen children. There were eighteen cupcakes. One for everyone. Perfect!

Well, perfect until I look up from where I'm passing out baby wipes to wipe off sticky icing-covered fingers to see one of my students jump up out of his seat, fists clinched and shaking. Then he started screaming. Total, complete meltdown. And extremely worrysome because I have a number of students who have a difficult time controlling their anger and many of them, including this boy, have a tendency to be very violent.

I rush over, tell him to sit down and take a big breath and tell me what the problem is. Tears are streaming out of this child's eyes and he is shaking because he is so furious. He takes a big breath and then points to the little boy across the table and screams at the top of his lungs, "He ate my cupcake!"

I said, "Excuse me?" My co-teacher said, "Who did?" The little boy screams the name of the boy sitting across from him, his fists still shaking.

Sure enough, the little boy had licked the icing off of his cupcake, then gone to get a squirt of hand sanitizer and when he returned there was no cupcake on his desk. And the little boy sittings across from him was literally licking his lips after devouring another child's cupcake in one, swift bite.

My co-teacher escorted the cupcake-eater out of the classroom across the hall to complete a think sheet - where he draws a picture of what he did wrong, then discusses his behavior with an adult in another classroom and comes to a conclusion about what he should do next time, and then draws a picture of how he could have better handled the situation.

I do think the boy should have been removed from the "party" because of his behavior and that taking a moment to refocus was necessary but I don't feel like it really remedied the situation. This was a classroom management situation that had no truly successful outcome and no solution. Yes, the boy who stole the cupcake was punished. Would he do it again? Absolutely (this is the same child who bit me and drew on my pants with sharpie after all.)

Most importantly, though, the cupcake was gone. The other little boy never did get to eat a cupcake. There were no extras, not even one for me and my co-teacher that we could have given him. I offered him a leftover bite sized snickers bar from our Halloween celebration and that did seem to help a little and at least he got a treat with everyone else. But it was no cupcake. And in Kindergarten, we take our cupcakes very seriously.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Halloween Costume Parade & Quote of the Day

Oh how I wish I could post pictures of the costumes my Kindergarteners wore yesterday. Our school hosted a parade of costumes for the students. Since the community that serves our students is ummm...not the safest, our school hosted a safe Halloween event during the school day. Students in the lower school were able to change into their costumes after lunch and recess. They had a parade of costumes for the upper school, faculty, and some parents who were able to make it into school then went back to class for pumpkin painting and a Halloween party.

For privacy reasons, I will never post pictures of my actual students but I searched Google images high and low for photos of a couple of the cutest costumes from class.
Ladybug Princess

Lady skeleton

 Child pimp

I kid you not, one of my children came to school dressed as a pimp. Gold chains, hat, and all. I couldn't help but laugh out loud. I asked him what his costume was to see what he would tell me and all he could do was giggle. I wish I could share the actual picture I took - hilarious!

Quote of the day - I was signing in at the office when I got to school on Monday, loaded up with Halloween goodies and freshly baked cookies. One of the other teachers told me to expect some of my students to be out all week. I asked why - apparently it is gang initiation week in our community and some of the kids will be home with their parents doing those sorts of activities. I was also told not to stay late working at school this week. Sometimes I feel like I must be pretty naiive and like I have so much to learn about the "real world."