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Current Issue Table of Contents | Back Issues

Volume 3 Number 8

Harry & Rosemary Wong remind us that, "An induction program is an organized, sustained, multiyear process with many activities designed to help you succeed...."
Preparing for the First Day of School by Jan Zeiger
Classroom Discipline Forum Will Support New and Veteran Educators by Kathleen Carpenter, Editor in Chief
Six Traits of Writing Forum by Kathleen Carpenter, Editor in Chief
Ideas for Welcoming Teachers & Students Back to School by Kathleen Carpenter, Editor in Chief
Classroom Rules??? by Bill Page
Learning Your Students' Names: Fun, Fast, Easy and Important by Bill Page
Making 2002-2003 The Best Year Ever by Bill Page
Your Summer Reading List: The Process of Change in a School System by Dr. Rob Reilly
Beware of the Standards, Not Just the Tests by Alfie Kohn
The Importance of Reading Aloud by Lisa Frase
Dear Old Golden Rule Days, Chapter 2 - Creative Activities by Janet Farquhar
Objection overruled, or You can always go to law school if things don't work out by Taylor Mali
Dealing with Dishonesty by Tom Lucey
The Maiden Week by P R Guruprasad
Is Learning to Read Easier Than Learning to Play the Piano? by Grace Vyduna-Haskins
School was GREAT today because... by Linda Todd
The New Teacher and Coping With Special Needs Students in the Classroom by Dave Melanson
Learning About Community Service by Jay Davidson
Book Reviews - We Can Work It Out: Creating Peace in the Home & Songs for Howard Gray by Susan Gingras Fitzell
Summer Recess by Joy Jones
Tips On Time Management by Jan
Class Books Around the Year Compiled by Terry
Literacy Centers Organization by Catherine Thornton
Why the Center Approach? from The Mentor Center
Classroom Teachers' Management Tips (Part II) from the Chatboards
Why Teach? by Lynda L. Hinkle
4 Blocks Literacy Tips: Storing "Making Words" Materials from: The Mentor Center
How to Encourage Substitute Teachers to Return to Your School by Lucy, Substitute Teacher
Teaching Students To Discuss Controversial Public Issues from: ERIC Clearinghouse
August Columns
August Regular Features
August Informational Items
Gazette Home Delivery:

About Linda Todd...

Linda Todd is founder of the company Kids Just Wanna Have Fun and author and co/author of eight Kids Just Wanna Have Fun books. Her philosophy and fun classroom ideas prompted her to publish and present workshop presentations at various early childhood conferences.

She lives in Delta, Utah where she taught preschool for 16 years. The preschool was an integrated classroom with special needs and regular education children ages 3-6. It was in an elementary school and part of the local school district who were very supportive and believed in the importance of a quality preschool program. She also taught a gifted and talented kindergarten class for one year in Salt lake City, Utah.

In her words;
"I love to watch children learn. The natural wonder and curiosity they have and the excitement in their eyes when something clicks and they are able to associate new experiences with prior knowledge they already have is very rewarding to watch. I love paying close attention to what they say and watching their thinking process grow as their language skills and experience base builds. I made up the term "structured play" to describe my teaching style. It's not the stress filled, highly structured, everything better go as planned every minute of the day, I see in some classrooms. It's also not the chaos of a total play, anything goes, type of classroom either. It's more like, play with a plan, yet very flexible to changes at the spur of the moment to fit the needs and enthusiasm of the students.

Teacher Feature...

School was GREAT today because...

by Linda Todd

It's Monday morning. You wake up feeling good. You have a great week planned out. You have your schedule planned out. It all looks good on paper. You've put in extra time to make sure everything you need is ready to go. The classroom is clean, attractive, and smells good. You are ready!

Then the kids come.

Three kids are crying because they don't want their mama to leave. Suzy left her jacket on the bus last week and her mother wants you to make sure she comes home with it today. Everyone wants to tell you about their weekend while you are trying to locate two missing name tags. Several children bring in notes about who is to pick them up today. Meanwhile, a mother is talking to you about Johnny saying his stomach hurts, but she's sure it's just Monday morning jitters, and she simply can't miss work anyway, children, (including sick Johnny) are running around the room yelling instead of finding their place to play. Sarah is at the dramatic play area crying because she wants to play there but not with Tara because she won't let her be the mom.

One of your assistants calls in to explain that she'll be a little late because she has to take treats to her child's class today and wants to talk to the teacher for a few minutes. Jason hits Tommy on the head with a block because "He wasn't playing nice." The ice pack is needed but someone forgot to put it back the last time so hugs will have to do.

The day doesn't get much better. Ricky refuses to clean up at clean up time. Jason pokes other kids all through the story you picked to introduce your theme. Just as you get ready to divide into small groups, you find out Johnny really did have a stomachache. You send everyone out for an extended recess while one of you cleans up the mess and another tries without success to call his mom. You'll just have to find him a quiet place to rest while you keep trying. You spray an air freshener though it's not much help so you decide to let them play out a little longer.

Sarah comes in crying. Jason pushed her down and she has skinned her knee. You wash and bandage it up and decide to let them play outside just a little bit longer while you have a talk with Jason and an assistant sets the table for snack.

Dayna won't eat what you're having for snack again (you wonder what keeps her alive). Jason spills his milk.

You look at the clock, there isn't enough time to rotate three small groups now so you pick one of the activities and do it as a whole group (you'll just squeeze in the other activities tomorrow). The activity doesn't work out as well with the large group and you lose their attention and have to keep calling them back.

You are almost finished when you notice it's already bus time and you have to rush them to get ready. Doug cries because he says he's not supposed to ride the bus but his mom forgot to write a note. You send someone to call quickly while you go beg the bus driver to wait a minute.

Sarah's ride is late again (25 minutes) so your lunch will be short. You can do those errands after school. Ricky left his show-and-tell. You forgot to ask Suzy's bus driver about the jacket. You grab a sandwich and sit for a minute in the quiet room and in walks Chris and her father, he has some errands to run and thought you wouldn't mind if he dropped her off a little early (15 minutes) again.


Not every day is like this, but some are. You will go crazy fast if you don't remain flexible and realize that even though your plans look good on paper, once you add four year olds, anything can (and will) happen. Take it all in stride and adjust your plans as needed. If an activity isn't working out like you hoped it would, or you've lost the children's interest or control, go ahead and change it or stop and move on to something else.

If you go home each day thinking about all the things that went wrong and all the problems you had you will very quickly become frustrated and burn out.

Focus on the positive! There is so much of that when you look for it. A hug, an extra smile, a step toward a goal accomplished. A pretty picture, a sunny day, twenty kids with dry pants and only one wet (imagine the opposite).

To help you remember there is good in even the worst day, take a few minutes before you go home to list three (or more) reasons the day was GREAT! It will help you go home thinking positive thoughts instead of negative ones.

As long as the children are secure in the fact that they are entering a warm, caring, loving environment when they walk into your classroom, they will thrive and learn from you, and each other, no matter what activities you had to skip or adjust. They will learn to be flexible and caring people also.

Linda Todd

from Kids Just Wanna Have Fun...and so do Teachers.

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