26 June 2007

Day 12

WATER DAY! Since the heat index was going to get too high to take the kids out in the afternoon we decided to have a water day in the morning! We found a sprinkler, it was a daisy that you connect to the hose and it has a spike that you push into the ground. When you start the hose the daisy whips around and sends water everywhere!! The kids love it! Then one of the other teachers (we had two different classes out at the same time) brought out her sensory table filled with water and plastic fish... later she threw in some paint brushes. You have no idea how fun it is to paint with water on the cement!!! I started my own game called "Are You Thirsty?" I went around with a cup of water asking kids if they were thirsty... then I just threw the water at them. One of my students was having so much fun with it that I chased them down with a bucket of water! The student then came after me asking if I was thirsty and was throwing cups of water at me! It was a blast!

I stayed with another staff tonight to close. I'm not sure if we were supposed to do that, but she later expressed her thanks for me staying behind to close with her. It goes back to my concern that something might happen... It's just a severe safety concern of mine, not just for the staff, but for the kids and parents as well!!

Since it's so hot we went out to dinner at a Mexican place some parents recommended to me. It was not the greatest experience of my life. The food was pretty bland, and just not up to par. If you're ever in Madison I was would skip a visit to La Hacienda! Go to Laredo's! We ate there awhile ago, and it was very tasty!

I think I'm going to have a small taste of my chocolate ice cream in the freezer! Mmmm!! Z-Chocolate!!!
25 June 2007

Day 11

So I had my first lesson plan today. It worked out GREAT! The kids loved my ideas and books! It was a wonderful day at work!!!

Wednesday night the Madison Chamber Orchestra plays a free concert down at Capitol Square. I think we're going to run down there and check it out this week!! I'm excited!

Also, Rhythm and Booms is this weekend!!! Fireworks set to music! It should be extremely interesting!!!

I made ribs for dinner tonight... They were so tasty!!! I am definitely going to make them again!
24 June 2007

Day 10 + Weekend Update

INSANE! So I got to work Friday morning and Bubbles tells me she's not feeling well. There is flu going around right now... She's going home, but before she takes off she lays everything out for me. This means I'll be left alone with the class! Luckily it was only 9 kids, but still... I've only been there two weeks. I was a little nervous (ok, so I was a lot nervous!), but I seriously felt bad for Bubbles because she was not feeling so good... In the end, I survived! I just hope it doesn't happen again too soon.

Since my family was in town we decided to take them to the Farmer's Market on Saturday!
As you can see there is a ton of people!! And a ton of stalls!! This is merely one side... The whole market wraps around the capitol!
Grandma was truly enjoying herself with all the treats we found along the market!
Our list of treats included: Wheat donuts, Fresh cheese curds, Sugar snap peas, Cinnamon rolls, Beef jerky... That's all I can remember at this point! But we'd get something and then share it between ourselves. That way everyone got a taste! And after all the treats we made a trek to see the inside of the capitol!
Mom kept taking pictures and Da was just enjoying the scenery. The walls are painted or mosaic... Either way they looked so interesting that Mom and I just kept taking photos of it all! Later we took a little walk down State Street and called it a day after visiting a really good ice cream place called The Chocolate Shoppe!

We got a new printer! Thanks to Grandma!! The printer we had was having serious issues, so she offered to get us a new one! It works wonderfully! I spent a good portion of tonight printing off some pictures so I could hang them up around the apartment!! Thanks Grandma!
21 June 2007

Day 9

This is what I did at work today!!
The kids were absolutely enthralled! And I got to play with chalk! I really like how the bubbles look, but the bubble blower looks pathetic... That's because we were changing playgrounds and I ran out of time... but there is always tomorrow!!

I finally hit rush hour on the Beltline today. :( I got to leave work 5 min. early, because we had enough staff and very few kids. I can't believe 5 min. makes that much of a difference! I definitely hate rush hour!!! >:(

I just got my safety deposit back from Lakeview Mannor! That was some money I forgot was coming my way!! YAY! I have money!!!

My family is coming tomorrow!!! Yipee!!
20 June 2007

Day 8

Another story with the twins. One comes up to me to tell me about a tummy ache. Now, I'm not sure if this is because One didn't want to go to swimming lessons or the tummy was really sick. Well, the time for swimming lessons came around and I started wrangling up the part of my class that was going... I get them all lined up, open the gate and start heading to the door. One stops and just heaves! I stopped dead in my tracks... Called over Bubbles and took care of the situation. I literally passed it over to Bubbles because I had to get my kids on the bus so they wouldn't miss their lesson. It turns out when Mom came to pick up Two she told me One was still not doing so well at home either... poor One... :( I hate being sick in the summer.

Speaking of swimming lessons... Bubbles decided that whoever was lead teacher for the week would stay back with the kids during this time. Since she planned out the week I was sent. It wasn't too bad. I found a rope, tied 7 knots in it and told each kid to grab a knot and keep ahold! They thought it was a fun game of follow the leader, and I didn't lose anyone!!!

I'm so close to finishing my lesson plan for next week. My main theme is the letter U, and with that I'm focusing mostly on Umbrellas and Underwater fun! It's going to be a fun week of water activities! If anyone has any great ideas please send them my way! I'm always up for suggestions!

I had my first work meeting tonight. It was extremely short. The other teachers with kids around the ages of 2-3 were supposed to meet to talk about assessments... Most of them couldn't make it to the meeting. So, I spent maybe 15 min. listening and being introduced to everyone else. Then I left... I can only hope the rest of the meetings are as painless as that!

We ate at a great burger joint last night. The Nitty Gritty! Nice juicy burgers and tasty fries! It was a ton of food for a very decent price too!! We are definitely going to make it a regular stop!!!

Green Grapes rock! They were on sale, so we bought some and I've been popping like candy!! Oh! And pineapple is awesome too! The real kind that is.

Otto and I played Bocce Ball tonight. We bought a set the other night, and decided to try it out in the grassy area around our apartment building. It was a close game, but I ended up winning by one point! woohoo!

This is a picture of my best friend! Doesn't she look cool?! I think so!
19 June 2007

Day 7

So I talked with Bubbles today about why we're getting such young group in September. It turns out there were some problems with class sizes and either their classroom took a younger age or one of them was going to lose a job because there would only be a class size for one teacher. I guess I don't feel so bad knowing that I'll still have a job come September!

I have a set of twins in the class. They are mostly connected at the hip, but there are times one/both of them want some alone time. Today was one of those times. We'll refer to them as One and Two. So, Two comes to me to complain because One is not talking. I tell Two that maybe One doesn't want to talk... and to go find something else to do. 5 min. later Two comes back with the same complaint. I'm dealing with another child and so I tell Two, "Go talk to the wall then." Two stares at me for a moment, nods, and smiles walking over to the wall. I can see the lips moving, but can't hear anything. After awhile Two comes back to tell me the wall talks like Daddy. I'm not sure what that means, but it made me smile!

Again with the gas... $3.05! At this rate it might not get to the prospected $4.00/gallon during the summer months. Not that it would be any better to pay more in the winter.

Todays temperature was much lower than last week. It was so low that I ended up wearing jeans and a sweatshirt for most of the day. I love this weather much more than the 80*-90* we were dealing with.

I got my new watch tonight! Watch I figured it worked with everything I wear. And it got the Otto approval! Lol!!!

I'm going to try a recipe I found very soon. I want to try and make Iced Coffee! So I found a recipe for an Iced Mint Mocha! I'll let you all know how it goes when I finally get a chance to try it out!!!

I'm extremely excited!!! My family is coming to visit us in Madison this weekend!!! I'm pretty sure by the time Friday comes around I'll be bouncing off the walls! I should probably lay off the coffee starting Thursday. At this point we plan on taking them to the Farmer's Market Saturday morning, and maybe the botanical gardens or the arboretum... and if we get a chance possibly take a stroll down State Street depending on how good everyone is feeling! I will definitely be taking some pics! Which reminds me... I need to get some pictures up... of what, I'm not sure, but I need to put some up. I could post some of the apt., or my classroom. Hopefully tomorrow!
18 June 2007

Day 6

We were playing with these connector blocks. Slats of plastic that sort of fit together like a puzzle. The kids were trying to fit them together in any way possible. Some seemed to be making cubes or boxes, while others got extremely creative! One student informed me that he was making an Amazon River Dolphin! I did a double take, then sat next to him to watch how this new animal was going to turn out. Basically it looked like a long string of pieces with a curled tail at the end. Suddenly another student began making the same sort of animal, except theirs had the ability to jump!

I made some CD's this weekend for my class during nap/rest time. At this point I've contributed 2 Jack Johnson CD's. We put one in today and I swear the kids fell asleep faster than ever! And I didn't mind listening to the music one bit. Literally I was singing along the entire time!!

Bad news... :( I was already told I would lose my group of kids in September (the beginning of the school year), but today I found out our class is being replaced by 1 1/2 year olds! I'm a little nervous about this... I was weary about 3 year olds... and now they're sending me younger ones! I just don't know how I feel about this. I sort of wish I could stay with the kids I have right now, even though they can be a handful from time to time. Maybe if I get a chance I'll run down to the room of kids we'll be getting and meet some of these kids during my free hour. Anything to quiet my nerves...

I've been here for a little over a week now, and it's amazing how "at home" I feel! There is this comfortable feeling I have in this city. I'm not sure if it's because I've visited the city quite alot over the last 4 years or if my 5 years in Winona have prepared me for being more flexible in living in different locations... Either way, I am enjoying living in this city!

I need to purchase a new watch! I normally don't wear watches, but I sort of need to pay attention to the time for scheduling purposes and not every place I'm at has a readily available clock. I was hoping to stop at a place and look around this weekend... that really didn't happen because I forgot to look. Luckily we need to make a run to Target tomorrow, so I'll have to take a peek at what they have to offer!

Just so everyone knows, anyone can leave a comment on my posts! All you have to do is click the link at the bottom of a post labeled "comment"! Pretty simple! I would love to hear from people! Also don't be afraid to email me! K.Oeltjen@gmail.com

Weekend Update

We made it to the Farmer's Market on Saturday morning! It was so much fun!! The whole market wraps around the state capitol. Stalls are set up with everything from fresh vegetables, to meat, to breads, to cheese (go figure), to special items (like pasta pastes, sweets, plants...). We left the apartment with our coffee cups in hand. It took about 10 - 15 min. to drive down there and find a parking spot. We arrived at a little after 8am and left a little after 11am. Mainly we took so long because we walked down State Street. Yet, whoever comes to visit should come prepared to get up early on a Saturday to experience the Farmer's Market!

We didn't make it to the Arboretum... We thought it was going to rain... but it ended up just being too hot!

Last night we tried a pizza place not too far from where I work. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't the best I've ever had. I guess I was just too spoiled with Mr. Pizza in Rochester!

[Mistake]: Rachel has pointed out to me that I received some misinformation. The babies name is Theodore Byrum Stoltman!
15 June 2007

Day 5

Since this weekend is Father's Day our class had a little celebration! We invited all Dad's (or family members) to an ice cream social in our room during the afternoon after rest time. Bubbles created a list of things needed (chocolate syrup, whip cream, cherries, caramel, bananas...). We only had two parents sign up, so I told her I would bring in some sprinkles or anything else we needed. In the end we had chocolate syrup, whip cream and my sprinkles (which were the biggest hit with the kids... pretty sure I barely have any sprinkles left!) All-in-all it was a success!

$3.07... That's all I have to say.

My friends Chris and Jess came over for dinner tonight. I made Spicy Spaghetti, garlic toast and salad. It was yummy, and the company was wonderful. We just hung out eating and talking for almost 3 hours before they had to leave.

We're going to the Farmer's Market in the morning!! Yippee!! I'm so excited!!!
14 June 2007

Day 4

Funniest thing... We were out on the playground, and I was telling a little boy to stop picking his nose. The other staff quickly informed me that he had a habit of sticking rocks up his nose. So we asked, "Do you have a rock up your nose?" He simply replied, "Yeah." Our floater ran over to him and sure enough there was a rock in his nose. She held one nostril down, told him to close his mouth, and blow through the other nostril. Out popped the rock... all covered in snot. I'm pretty sure the staff laughed for a good 5 min. about that one!

I made the mistake of singing in my class today. The kids were in millions of different directions, so I started singing a song. More specifically, the Moose Song! They stopped dead in their tracks and sat down in front of me with their mouths gaping open. After I finished the song they asked for another. Pretty sure I got through about 10 songs today! I'm going to have to hit up my archives and find some age appropriate songs for my class! If you have any ideas let me know! And thanks to a certain teacher for introducing me to Dr. Jean! ;)

I had to attend training tonight for Shaken Baby Syndrome. I'm trying my hardest to not be cynical about the 1.5 hrs I spent in class... but did you know babies cry?

Again, gas went down. $3.09! I seriously am hoping by the time I need to fill up again, that they don't decide to sky rocket!

I made a plan for Saturday... I ran it past Otto and he likes it. These are rough estimates, but this is sort of how I see the day going:

8:00am - 10:00am State Street for the Farmer's Market!
10:00am - 11:00am Grocery shopping at Copps
11:00am - 3:30pm Relax at the apartment
3:30pm - 4:00pm Pack a picnic dinner
4:00pm - 6:00pm Picnic at the Arboretum!

That's all I have at this point! I'm really excited though!!!

So last night I basically finished unpacking things. I sort of had a mess in the computer room... half unpacked boxes, stacks of papers, offices supplies strewed all over... I decided since my friend's from down here are coming over for dinner that I should have the place look a little more organized! Now I just have to tackle the top of my desk. Oh, and as a side note, I got home tonight to find that Otto had vacuumed!!
13 June 2007

Day 3

I entered the room and immediately was bombarded by 4 munchkins who were telling me I was sick. They convinced me to sit down and started their work as Dr's. I had to try really hard not to laugh as one would do something, then the others would follow suit shortly after. They checked my ears a lot, and kept telling me my ear was sick. Eventually after they used everything they could find in their Dr's bag I was told I was healthy again. It was too cute! They were taking it so seriously!!

Today was the first time I was left alone in the classroom during a lesson time. Most of our kids started swimming lessons today, so Bubbles was going to take them while I stayed back with 4 of ours kids. She laid out the lesson plan for me, and put out all the materials I would need. We had a blast! I read the book There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Bat and we had a science experiment where they determined whether things would sink or float. I ended by letting them paint with watercolors for a short time!

It only took 3 days but all the kids know my name now! It was so cute to walk in and to be welcomed to the room by little voices shouting out, "Morning Kris!"

I had to fill out a short sheet with some information for a blurp they do with each staff member.
Here's what I had to say:

Name: Kris Oeltjen
Education: BA- Communication Studies
Family: Mom, Da, Sister, and Dog
Hobbies: Reading, Photography, Hiking, Bowling, Visiting family and friends
Why you like working with kids: They have so many things to share, and they make some of the best teachers without even realizing it! I have learned so much more about life by working with kids for over a decade!

Gas prices went down again! $3.12!! I wish I would've waited to fill up, but then again I did need gas. At this rate I should have no problem with driving to work everyday! The other option is to work out a complicated bus schedule. Just getting to work would take me 45 min on the bus, when it only takes me 8 min when I drive the car.

I found a nice grocery store close to my work. I stopped today, because we needed some more milk and butter (we went through it faster than we realized). Copps. I told a friend, and their response was, "You mean like the TV show?" Yeah, like the TV show... except not. They are huge! It will literally take me a long time to work my way through the store. I already told Otto I would have to go through every isle!!! Hehe!!!!

So, Kerry called me tonight to tell me she found a nest of mice. She called me because she thought I'd be one of the few people who wouldn't laugh at her and tell her to just go kill them. I think her plan is to call the vet and ask them what to do... in theory they would ask her to bring them in and check them out, if they cleared I was offered one! Yipee!! Although Otto wasn't as happy to hear she offered me a mouse... His first response was, "Where are we gonna keep it?" I told him I would find a place! We'll see what happens though...
12 June 2007

Day 2

This morning I walked into my room to find 3 little boys wearing dresses this time... They keep increasing in numbers!

I received an email from a friend wanting some details of my new job. I am a teacher in a room with one other teacher, whom I call Bubbles, and 11 children. The reason I call my team teacher Bubbles is because she has a light, airy personality. She's a very laid back individual, and has a ton of patients with the kids. It's obvious she's going to be easy to get along with. Also, she's open to any idea I want to bring into the classroom, or change in the room itself. (like ASL!!!) As for the kids, none have any special needs other than they are at an age where they want attention all the time! I'm having a wonderful time getting to know all of them in their own ways!

There is something extremely helpful that this program does. They create a binder for each child where teachers can add pages talking about challenges, improvements, or even just funny quotes and stories. During nap time today, since all the kids fell asleep right away, I started pulling out each child's binder to take a peek. I now have a better idea as to where some of my kids are at this point, and where they've been. I can't wait until I get to add my own pages to their binders!!!

I know I shouldn't complain, but they keep my facility way too cold! I thought maybe I was just being a wimp... but when Bubbles mentioned how cold she was I knew it must be freezing! I think we're both bringing sweatshirts tomorrow.

I've decided the Beltline isn't as bad as everyone has made it out to be. Both days now I've made in to work in exactly 8 min.! Although I've left extremely early both days... I may start cutting that down... we'll see.

I love my apartment! Like I told some of you before I left, my view is of greenery... not a city view at all, but in the morning I swear we live in an aviary! Every morning starting around 5:30 am the birds starting singing their tune... luckily I can sleep through most of it. It does make for a peaceful atmosphere!

Gas prices are dropping rapidly. We're now down to $3.15!! I know those of you in MN probably have much better numbers you could throw at me, but I'm not driving back 2.5 hrs to get cheaper gas! I just hope the prices keeps going down.

I found a new bookstore really close to where I work! I ended up stopping their last night on my way home. Probably a bad idea, although I did find 3 more books in the series I'm reading! And I didn't even spend that much money!!! They should last me a month if not a little longer; I hope!

We made chicken burritos tonight for dinner. They were tasty, even though they were abit spicy! And then we made fresh popcorn and watched Stranger Than Fiction.
11 June 2007

Day 1

I arrived 10 min. early to find 2 little boys wearing dresses... It was an interesting first impression. I later found out the other teacher, we'll refer to her as Bubbles, had the kids playing dress-up. All in all, the day went well!

Only one child was afraid of me, but he quickly warmed up and became my shadow for the rest of the afternoon.

I'm working in a room of mostly 3 year olds, but some are still 2 1/2. Almost all of them are potty trained or in the process! So, no changing diapers for me!!

When the director was ready for me she literally walked me to a room, handed me a huge stack of papers, 3 large binders and a pen... Then she casually walked away. I took that as a hint that I should start reading material and fill out forms. I sat at this room for awhile reading the orientation material (handbook, policy, benefits) and filling out forms as completely as I could. The assistant director came in and told me I had 5 more min. before I needed to head back to my classroom... uh, when exactly was I supposed to finish reading the rest of the material and fill out the rest of the forms? Granted, I could take the forms home to finish, but the binders needed to stay. I was a little frustrated... not just over the short amount of time to complete lots of work, but also because they literally dropped me in a room without a word. I had no idea what was going on. Luckily at the end of the day I met another staff member, we'll refer to her as BigL. She walked right up to me, introduced herself, and started telling me about the end of the day routine. After she laid everything out for me I started asking questions about other things that were confusing to me throughout the day. It turns out I will be closing with her almost everyday! Thank goodness!! I'll have someone who'll have the time and patience to help me out!!!

I got the Madison on Friday afternoon. I had just enough time to get everything in the apartment before running down to the managers office to fill out the last of the paperwork. I returned to the apartment to unpack some things before Otto and I found a theater to go see Ocean's Thirteen! We then found a Famous Dave's for dinner, then headed home to make chocolate cookies from scratch! They were yummy!!!

Saturday we went grocery shopping... that was a nice chunk of money! But now we have food. Then we had lunch before our friends, James and Heather, showed up to go see the Botanical Gardens! Heather and I were armed with a few rolls of film and our cameras! I used one roll, and Heather used all three!! It was beautiful! Later we met up Elaine and Nick to go mini-golfing before going out to eat at a place to it... and then we ended up having ice cream!! Finally we all headed back to our apartment for a rousing game of Apples to Apples! But that's not even the most exciting thing that happened! Rachel had her baby!!! I was one day too late! Her water broke on Saturday morning, and she had the baby at 4:55pm. His name is Theodore Byrom Stoltman. He weighed 10lbs. 3.6oz, and was 22.5 in. long!
(picture taken by the daddy)