Recently in kindergarten Category

First Loose Baby-Tooth!

» The Bug has a loose tooth! His first. (Still has all his baby teeth.) The wiggly fellow appeared on the bottom row near the middle .. a little incident that hearkens the arrival of bigger things. One more milestone on the road to maturity.

Many of the kids in his kinder-class already have teeth missing. (I nicknamed one of his classmates "Toothless" .. after the Night Fury that starred in How to Train your Dragon.) So we were kinda expecting this.

Piglet & Pooh Looking for ButterfliesHe noticed it earlier this week while brushing before bed (.. not the easiest thing to get him to do).

The next morning he woke me at 5AM » "Dad!"

Me » "What, pun'kin?"

"My tooth feels looser!" He sounded wide awake. I glanced at the clock. "Oh, honey. It's *very* early."

"Can I play some games?" he asked.

"You should get some more sleep. It's still dark out."

He's a sound sleeper and rarely wakes early. Fortunately he fell back asleep.

Friday morning at school, he was showing it to all his friends. Later, when I picked him up after school, he had received an award that day for demonstrating 'Enthusiasm'.

I asked his teacher, "Was he enthusiastic today?"

"Very," she said with a smile. =)

He seems to be doing well in school. He can read already, and the week prior, he was called up in front of the entire school to receive an award for Self Control, which came with a gift certificate for a cup of frozen yogurt from a local yogurt house .. and that's exactly where we went soon as we left.

Self-control and enthusiasm .. seem like opposites, no? Opposite ends of the spectrum. Bi-coastal.

Pooh & Tigger and Friends» Love, Affection & Attention

I try to give him as much (unconditional) love & affection as I can .. in the limited time we have together each week.

Sometimes I hold him tightly on my lap, cradling him, and kiss him all over his face .. his eyes, his cheeks, his forehead, his ears. Everything. A kissing machine gone wild.

This week, in the midst of these merciless kisses, I paused to tell him, "You know, I only get to see you for a few days each week. So when you go back to mom, I save up all my love while you're away, and I then fill you up with it when I have you again." Then I proceed to kiss him all over his face some more.

He laughs, giggles, even squeals when I get near his ears. "I fill you up with love," I said, "until it starts gushing out of your ears. Look, there! It's starting to ooze out of your ears!" And I madly kiss him some more.

When I finally stopped, he pointed to his right ear (with eyes sparkling & his baby-teeth smile) and said, "It's only coming out of this ear, dad. It's not coming out of the other one yet." =) Too cute.

At which point, I attack his face with scores more. Goes to show that you can never give kids too much affection.

I'm sure there will come a day when he will have none of this .. when he'll be too cool for kisses from his dad. But until that day arrives » incoming! Take cover!

First Month of Kindergarten

Hey, Fancy Pants! an Asian boy called out .. wearing a smile, early one morning this week .. happy ring in his voice .. hurrying toward his classroom (I assumed). Hey! the Bug responded with a waive .. as I locked his bike at school. The boy was obviously older.

Pooh & PigletWhat'd he call you? I asked.

That's my nickname, dad, he said. They call me 'Fancy Pants' here. That boy there started it.

Hey, Fancy! another kid called out, half-running in the same direction. Also older.

While we walked toward the place where the Bug assembles with his class, I heard someone say » Hey, Mister Fancy Pants! But I didn't see who said it, cuz there were so many kids everywhere. But it was a boy's voice.

Seems the school has a computer lab .. where kids learn basic computer skills. The Bug said » Fancy Pants is way harder than the stuff we do there. They also have some high-end gaming PCs at an after-school daycare there, along with a Nintendo Wii (.. or was it an Xbox?).

Fancy Pants 2 Pant-Colors & Trophies» Mr. Fancy Pants Himself

One of the girls who works there later told me (about the Bug, aka Mr. Fancy Pants) » Yeah, he taught all the kids how to play.

Does he play Fancy Pants, too? I asked the Bug about the Asian boy.
Is he good?
I asked.
He's okay. But sometimes I have to help him.

Seems the Bug is teaching upperclassmen to play Fancy Pants and helping them when they get in trouble. Making a name for himself. Literally. (Cracks me up.)

Tho here at the ranch, he has moved on to a new game called » Chaos Faction 2 .. very fast game. [ Totally kicks my butt. ]

He loves that game. The neighbors can hear his cries of laughter & delight. Hey, dad, he called out. Watch me rock his butt! =)

Video Games in the Classroom» Video Games in the Classroom

Speaking of 'games' .. perhaps you've heard about the experiment being conducted at a noncharter public school in New York City (.. in Manhattan, near Gramercy Park).

The NY Times published a series of articles recently on the use of video games in the classroom, as a tool to help kids learn.

Watch the video & hear for yourself the kids (& parents) saying how much better they enjoy school now. See here » Learning by Playing.

At the heart of the Learning-by-Playing model, you'll find this quote:

Not learning with games, but rather problem-based learning, in which kids practice skills as they solve problems. Today our schools focus on facts and information, but not problem solving. Thus, many students cannot solve problems, even when they can pass tests on facts and information.

and this one:

First Week of Kindergarten

Hey dad, the Bug said, as I arrived at his classroom to pick him up. Did you see that girl that just left?

Kindergarten classYou mean the one with the black shirt? I asked, squatting to get my hug.

That's my girlfriend, he said, matter-of-factly, giving me a kiss & handing me his lunch box.

You're pretty fast, I said, standing up. First week of school. I waited 'til 6th grade before I had a girlfriend.

She couldn't open her sandwich container at lunch, he said, as we headed for his bike. So I opened it for her.

Cuz you're so strong? I asked. Yeah, he said, returning a high-five.

This was his first week of kindergarten .. something I've been dreading. Already I've caught myself dividing his childhood into before & after .. with this week representing the imposing demarcation.

Feels like a major shift. Like a big change. Whole new world.

Feels weird, too .. handing off your child to someone you hardly know. Can't really say it feels natural. His teacher however, seems very nice.

The kids all line up outside, and she goes down the line after the last bell rings, and greets each child by name, and says something personal to them, and is able to elicit a smile from each one. Every day. With parents watching. No small feat. Hard not to be impressed.

Need somebody good to ensure their initial scholastic experience is positive. 25 kids in his class. Kindergarten gets out early. I was there, first in line, when they unlocked the gate to let in the parents. [ # They wouldn't let me pitch a tent outside the gate. It wasn't very big. ]

And you shoulda seen the lunch I made for him. Enough to feed 10 kids. [ How am I ever gonna fit this dang turkey into his lunch box? ]

Fancy Pants 2 Pant-Colors & TrophiesI put a note in an envelope in his lunch box .. for the first lunch I made this week.

The envelope contained a print-out of the pant-colors & trophies he won in Fancy Pants 2 .. over the course of the summer. He really liked that.

Those trophies were hard to get .. especially the purple pants and the Afro-Ninja trophy. He explodes with happiness whenever we're able to win one.

And we even beat the Big Bad Bunny .. at the very end .. to win the game. Very difficult. That BBB is one bad dude.

[ # One of the best dads I ever knew said, Find out what your kids like to do .. and go do that with them. ]

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