What's not to Love?

I have a confession. A confession that may not only shock you, but force you to look at me differently. Force you to see me though eyes that you never thought you would. I have been holding this confession for a while...waiting for the perfect time. It is a confession of which I have weighed the pros and cons. Weighed the impact it would have on my untarnished reputation as a silly, stiletto wearing pre-k teacher. I have decided...it is time. I..am a member of a book club. Okay..so maybe the book club consists of only 3 of my closest friends. Well..we don't actually have a set day to meet, and our discussions consist more about making each other laugh with our genius moments from the week than discussing the books we have read (and by genius I mean the complete opposite. If you do not know the opposite of genius, you may need to take a little field trip to my pre-k class. immediately. I will help you.), but it is a book club all the same.

I realize you may be surprised to know that I read things other than glossy-paged magazines. For that matter, I'm sure you are quite surprised that I even realize books contain words with more than 2 syllables. That I read the gamut from historical biographies to the Shopoholic series...(okay...seriously...you must give it up. gamut? 3.95 GPA. Proven. Just now. I deserve some props. Props: Praise. Recognition. Congratulations. It's okay, I'll make you an urban slang study guide.) Sorry... I got distracted by the big pretty word...where was I? My reading the gamut. If it has words, I will read it. Unless those words are boring. And by boring I mean western. I realize you are completely and utterly sitting in total shock from this information. ::snapping fingers:: snap out of it!

I read. A lot. Yes...I read trendy magazines. No..it is not the majority of what I read. My favorite book is a well-worn, tattered paged historical fiction novel about Anne Boylen. I love this time in history. I mean, come on...who wouldn't want to wear fantastic dresses and hang out all day in a King's court? Who wouldn't like to learn fancy dances and have meals prepared as if every night was the most special night ever to be celebrated?

Sidenote: be on the lookout for my birthday celebration. Yes..we all dressed as princesses and princes. Best. Day. Ever.

Sorry..back to Tudor History.. I have read everything I can find about this time. Twice. There is something about getting lost in a book...getting transported to another time and place that I love. There are even times where I would rather read than ::gasp:: watch TV. Okay..now this totally depends on what is on TV at the time. Honestly, passing up American Pawn shop to read? Probably not. I need to know the value of random things such as the value of the original pair of glasses Dwayne Wayne used to wear on A Different World or the wig Martin wore as Sha NayNay (if you understand these references consider yourself a SPARK student in early 90's television. Bonus points if you remember Sha NayNay's spandex biker shorts and fanny pack. Or fanny pack in general. If not..you must google these things. Your day will be infinitely better if you do.)

Now, back to the mind-blowing subject at hand. Me. Reading. Historical Fiction. Well, I'll really anything. It's a gift my dad passed down to me. He has given me many...a hot pink velvet chair for Christmas...a fantastic pair of jeans for my birthday...but the gift of reading. My fav. (fav: a shortened version of favorite. Meaning the one I love the most. Used for texting purposes. If you do not speak text this is your first lesson)

This gift of reading is a gift that I hope to share with my little 4 year olds. A gift they hopefully will not even realize I am giving....a gift that they will fully realize long after their year in my crazy class is over.

Today I continued my gift giving with one of my favorite books about Valentine's Day, Happy Valentine's Day Mouse! I mean..it is almost Valentine's Day after all...I'm sure it's a law somewhere that you have to read this book. This is a holiday where one bestows gifts on those they hold dear. Or..in this case..bestows gifts on those who make my day filled with laughter.

Case in point: While reading this book about love and friendship, I was feeling all warm and tingly just thinking about the concepts being taught. That is..until I heard two of my little friends having an in-depth discussion..compelte with hand gestures, head shakes and puckered lips. Really...I was waiting for the finger snap..waiting for the "oh no you didn't and the jewlery to come off.

Now let me explain these two little debators. They are the ones who dress up in kitchen with every sparkly dress, scarf, and purse they can find. It is known that the purple high heels in dress up are for them. No one is to touch them. They are the ones who could run my classroom if ever I had real emergency...you know, like if I had to leave for an unexpected sale on Nine West shoes. They are the ones who, at four years old, would actually know what a Nine West shoe is. They are best friends. They are me at four years old.

So I hear them...debating over a word that was read.

Mini Me #1: It said Champ. Ch-Ch-Champ.

Mini Me #2: Nuh Unh...take off the Ch and put a Tr. That's what it said. (insert head shake and puckered lips here)

Now... I will let you do the phonics.:: Expectantly waiting on you to laugh as loudly as I did.:: It was not my best teaching moment ever. I couldn't help it. Face hid behind the book. Laughing. I guess I could have used this time to review what was a cover of a book. To review where the title could be found. All things that would explain hiding my face. None which would explain my laughter.

And also: I didn't know whether to be proud that she had used her phonemic awareness of switching out beginning sounds; or concerned about the word she created. I let it slide. I didn't even slightly want to open that discussion. They seemed to have it under control. Moving on. Turning the page. Desperatly finding any explanation as to why I could be laughing. Any reason at all. Laughing? Me? Oh, no...I just had something in my eye.. it made my laugh. Uncontrollably. Doesn't it everyone? No? Hmmm...that's odd. Subject averted.

Sidetracked. The gift of reading. As we read this book today, we learned two really big, fancy words. Author and illustrator. We talked about who would want to be the author and write the story. We talked about who would want to be illustrator and draw the pictures in the story. We went on a hunt for the exclamation point in this book; we went on a hunt for the question mark in this book. We learned. We began relating to this book. Began having an emotional response to the pages that were read. Okay...so maybe the emotional response wasn't as deep as if we were reading, lets say, East of Eden by Steinbeck (I'm a reader..I told you this. I realize the shock value is still there. It's okay.) but it was a response. Relating to the story being read and wanting to know more. Wanting to read. Developing a love for books. Today we decided that we would pretend to be illustrators of this story . We were going to make Valentines. Just like Moose did. Here's what we made:

And just to prove there really is a method to my madness, here's a happy little list of things that I will be using this work sample to evaluate. Notice the word happy. Lists make me happy. They make rainbows come out and the birds sing.

My happy little list:

1. Fine motor: Cutting out the heart all on their own. Yes some of them look more like a straight line than a heart, but it is their straight line. They are proud and I know who needs help. And also, take a peek at their fine motor strokes..the ones they used to scratch away the paint. It's a little hint as to who has mastered precise control of their writing tool and who has not.

2. Using adjectives: Although they do not know the fancy word adjectives yet, they do know what descriptive words are. ELA goal met. Check it off. Done.

3. Following 4 step directions: First they had to color. Second they had to watercolor on top. Third they had to cut. Fourth they had to decorate. You know..I'm not really sure I could have remembered all of those. Gifted. I have a class full of gifted four-year olds. I am convinced.

4. Cooperative learning: Which...in a four-year olds world is much like me trying to navigate traffic on the interstate. Difficult. Tricky. They had to pair with a friend and describe their heart. They then had to listen to their friend describe it also. Yes..contructive critisim and kind words were heavily taught during this lesson.

And voila! Valentine's Day bulletin board! C'est fini! J'aime! (Yes I'll help you..don't I always? C'est fini! J'aime! : It's finished. I love.)