Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners
Now that I have four weeks of "elementary teaching" under my belt, I realize it's fourth graders you want to avoid (I jest...mostly...).
There are two things that I find awesome about Kindergarten and two things that drive me batty. Here they are:
Drive Me Batty:
1. the fact that most everyone refers to them as "kinders". The German word for children is Kinder and I constantly want to correct people's grammar until I realize that they would have NO idea what I was talking about. So far, I haven't corrected anyone, but just wait for the day that I am super tired and cranky.
2. All. The. Singing. Ohmylanta they sing all the time. There's a little Kindergarten song for every occasion of the day. So far, I've abstained from the singing. I just watch the teacher as she sings, trying to keep the smile on my face and the nausea at bay. (I know it's mean but I can't help it! 12 years of high school will ruin you for things like singing, clapping and sitting in circles)
1. Their unrestrained JOY for library time and all things book. When those little people - those Kinder if you will - come in to the library it truly becomes Magorium-esque and magical. They may not be able to read the books, but by God they WILL check them out and they WILL spend hours "reading" them. It's awesome.
2. Storytime. I now love storytime. I get to read the COOLEST books to the Kindergarteners. One of the best I've read so far is Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller. Our first Kindergarten unit is on civics, rules and government. So I found this book and read it to them and not only does it explain manners, it's HILARIOUS. It's like a Pixar movie: it has everything the kids need and some entertainement for adults as well. Two of the three times I read it during storytime I started laughing! Twice because I noticed something new, and once because a little boy (the first one to notice it) noticed the page where the otter passes and says "excuse me" and loudly exclaimed "The otter tooted!"
This book is not just for Kindergarten - you could read it to just about any elementary age - older kids can learn phrases in different languages (there's please, thank you and excuse me in five languages) and they can learn about play-on-words. The younger ones can discuss manners and how we should treat each other. The illustrations (done by the author) are wonderful, though it is quite busy for the little ones - there's a lot to see on each page.
It's an amazing book and I'd highly recommend it to anyone who has or works with younger children.