Miss Night's Marbles

Musings, mumbles, marvels, and sometimes mockery, live from kindergarten.

Home

My name is Amy, and I teach kindergarten…

I believe:

that play should be  a practice in the same way as religion is.

that technology is a tool, nothing less and nothing more.

that if you don’t have a sandbox, you don’t need an iPad.

that if kids aren’t learning the way I teach, I need to teach the way they learn.

that the world looks better with a vanilla latte in my hand and a little glitter in the air.

I work hard every day to keep all my marbles in one jar.

Won’t you stay and play awhile?

My Latest Posts:


33 Responses to “Home”

  1. glady says:

    Just wanted to say how I am glad there are teachers like you. I could not do your job. My grandson has mild asberger syndrome and takes special classes. He lives with me since his mother and stepmother were evicted from their apartment. Sometimes his biggest problem is his mother. She treats him differently and is always telling him he is special needs. I treat him like a normal person. He reacts to me with love although he has a hard time saying it. I tell him at least once a day that I love him. Hugs he will tolerate from me, but at 13, what boy wants to be hugged by Grandma? Keep up the good work, but quit worrying. Put your troubles with God and ask your angels to help out wherever and whenever they see a need. God Bless.

  2. mykidnsid says:

    Amy, what a wonderful post (that kid) and what a wonderful site.

    My son has SID & Dyslexia. I have a blog, not updated as regularly as I should, I have written a book: My Curious Brain of Noise – although there will always be people who judge, and I tutor, trying to give “that kid” and others a break.

  3. karie says:

    Just wanted to let you know i ran across your post and than your website you sound like an amazing teacher and when I get my teaching degree I hope to be able to use your logic.-thank you

  4. Naomi Rubinstein says:

    Dear Amy,
    I was THAT KID who had their name written on the board daily, who in kindergarden through 3rd grade bit the other children who made fun of my LD problems. The KID who needed more teachers like you, the kid who the school allowed to be separated due to low reading level, The kid who by the age of 10 was still not reading past 3rd grade level. I was that KID who by 6th grade stopped going to class,

    THAT KID, in 6th grade,whose parents had to receive a call from the school saying i would be better off in a “school for ‘special’ children”

    I was That kid, but i also was this child

    I was the child who desperately wanted to feel accepted,

    I was the child who at the age of 8 had explained the economic effects of the Montgomery buss boycott. I was the Child who came home to a mother in tears of joy, because the teacher had called her telling her how amazed she was with my answer.

    I was the Child who at the age of 10 and a half, out of the blue, started reading above grade level, when I was so far from it just weeks before

    I was That Kid, and in part i will always be that kid,
    but it didn’t have to be like that,
    by 7th grade i had switched schools, who started receiving test scores above class average,
    whose parents came home from conferences with the only bad news being i did some of my homework in colored pencil
    The kid by 9th grade started tutoring others in math
    by 11th grade i had a job as my high school’s laboratory technician
    with each year, i grew and the Kid i was showed less and less, but it will always be apart of me.

    Now i am in my first year of University, *in a foreign country no less *the UK

    To all you parents of “THAT KID” , do not panic, talk to your kid.
    As someone who was THAT KID, i feel that, a lot of the time there are things we don’t say. Things that hurt us and make us lash out, but we don’t tell you, in fear of your anger.
    Tell us you will not be angry, let us cry in your lap, no matter how strange what we say may sound, or the reasons we say.

    Amy, this article was beautiful, teachers like you change the world. It is teachers like you who let us know: it IS OKAY to be different.

    Sincerely
    THAT KID (Naomi Rubinstein)

  5. Gemma says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading this!

  6. Su B says:

    Amy,
    Thank you so much for writing this. It brought tears to my eyes, (and down my face!) as I am THAT mother. I have felt all of the difficulties my son faces, I have actively tried to work with schools and teachers, and even tried to talk to parents of other class children to try to work as a team to show my boy the best way to learn those things other children were born knowing.
    I have never tried to condone behaviour that affects others negatively, but it gets harder to be able to put a brave face on as more and more people slam doors you try to open in your face. I have been dismissed, demoralised, have teachers think they know what’s best without listening, and then blame him (and therefore me) when he has a meltdown. I have had parents mutter about me as I stood alone in the playground at pickup, waiting for that heart sinking moment when staff inevitably come out and crook their finger- their signal for me to walk my regular walk of shame. What am I walking into this time…? Parents who have put their hands up at my face when I have tried to apologise or ask to talk. Literally.
    I have had my periods of leaving him only to come out and wring my face dry of those heartbroken tears before I am able to drive away.
    And the teachers. Oh, Amy, that is why I cried. It is THAT teacher. So many of them. I cried because you are THIS teacher. And I need you. My kid needs you. ALL children need YOU. I wished with all my heart that more teachers had your ethos.
    I know so many people begin teaching with these ideals but so much happens that their strength is sapped and they are left bereft of these abilities/qualities they may have once possessed.

    I ask you from my heart to use all of the comments you have received to help build a team of teachers who will in turn build an institute of THIS teacher.

    Thank you. For loving my child. For loving every child. For being THIS teacher.

    • Rae says:

      Dear Amy and Su B. I just wanted to say I cried at Amy’s THAT KID and then was again in floods of tears and at the end I was a mess complete with nose running when I read your reply Su. As I really do understand the mummy mafia, I understand about bad teachers who have just written my son off and the joy of when a teacher spends the time to connect and has the ability to see how to work with spirited children and as I am also one of those THAT KIDS MOTHER. Thank you Amy

  7. Connie says:

    This was an amazing and thought provoking letter, thank you so much. I am so happy to hear that a teacher thinks this behavioral -color changing program is useless. I was shocked when my daughter transferred to a school in 2nd grade who used the green, yellow, and red streetlight as a method for keeping children behaviorally on tract. Children would come into the classroom each day with a clothespin with their name on it, on the green light, if having difficulty following the expected behaviors they would be told to walk up and move it to yellow for warning and if severe than red. I could not understand how someone could start the day off thinking all these children were good…until they caught them doing something wrong. Then to make them do what I called the walk of shame in front of their peers. Never being in education I was floored by this method. I asked when and where do they move their clip for being amazing? When their was no answer I went straight to the administration and helped them to understand (in the way that most mother bears can) that this would not be an acceptable way to work with my children. Over the years and with two adopted children both with significant behavior, impulsivity, and fear issues we have worked as a team to provide more appropriate interventions. Are they perfect, absolutely not, am I always pushing for improvement, absolutely yes, but love it or not we are a team and we have years of working together to support our children.

    I live in a rather small community and when my children came to me they were the only THAT CHILD and I found that talking with other parents and sharing the story of their history and how we were working to change their lives created a community of support. Almost 7 years have past and now they are not the only THAT CHILD but still have many moments. The conversation with the teachers and other parents as well as their classmates are very different these days. I am sending you and all of the parents of THAT CHILD my prayers and wishes for their success.

  8. Patricia DiMauro says:

    That Child made me cry and that’s something very hard to do. It is a fantastic article and I believe every parent on earth should read it. I have a multihandicapped daughter. Thank you for writing it.

  9. Jodie says:

    I just returned home after having a parent teacher meeting about ”THAT kid’ and saw your post. THANK YOU (although I can’t stop crying :) and to his teachers that cared enough to have that chat! My 3yr old son is highly imaginative, highly sensitive and regularly he’s erupts suddenly like a volcano lashing out at others. I worry about a lot of those things you mentioned and that I am partly to blame, but you’re post reminded me to stop worrying and instead channel that energy into helping him becoming the wonderful human he is.

  10. Francisca says:

    THAT child is absolutely wonderful! I would love to share this at my school but wanted to make sure it was OK with you? I think having this printed and shared with not only staff but the community would benefit everyone! Thank you for sharing this beautifully written letter.

    • Miss Night says:

      Hi Francisca. Than you so much for your kind words. You are most welcome to share it with your community. Thank you for asking me. I hope it makes a difference to all of THOSE kids in your world!

  11. Christine Friedemann says:

    Dear Amy,
    Thank you so much for putting into words what it is like to be a teacher for “that” child. I owned and operated a preschool for 10 years that specialized in serving families with children who had special needs. I served over 100 children in a ratio of 1:5 for 10 hours a day. I often struggled with how to talk to my parents with neuro-typical children. The part of your article that talks about how you worry about every child was so validating. Since I closed the preschool this past September I am grieving the loss of my daily relationship with little people. It is so heart warming to be reminded of what I did and why I did it. Your article was just what I needed to inspire me to continue working with the same passion I applied in my classroom. I now work as a Wraparound Facilitator which means I provide intensive case management and support for children and youth with significant mental health needs. I am also preparing to start parenting classes with Circle of Security and Collaborative Problem solving curriculum. I will also be staying in touch with my peers by offering classes for them locally and through conferences. May I have your permission to share your article with parents and other professionals through handout, email and website.

    Yours faithfully,
    Christine

  12. Jaymi Sharon says:

    Thank you; for your article about That child….
    I’m not a mom, but I was a kid, and might have been that kid a few times. I remember being the “helper” in the office, and reading alone while the class did another activity. Raised by a single, working mom, I also remember being the last kid, a lot of the time at daycare…and my mom having private chats with teachers over the years.
    I want to thank you for doing what you do; I remember every one of my teachers, as they were all excellent and kind, teaching more than ABC’s… Your actions are making a difference, and your heart is the reason. THANK YOU!!!! Keep up the caring, your students will never forget :D

  13. LM says:

    I’m also THAT mom of THAT kid. A kid adopted at almost 2 years, a beautiful, fun, out-going child with an infectious laugh (you just couldn’t help but laugh with him!) — and unknown special needs. That kid got every bit of help we could afford to provide — because most therapies, assessments and supports are not provided. Almost every time we tried to get supports we were told that the schools “should” provide it. They didn’t. Nobody did. We did what we could. We struggled. We learned. We tried. (Have you ever noticed how similar are the words “tried” and “tired”?) My son loved kindergarten. By third grade the stresses he felt at school were creating severe behavioural issues, mostly at home. By high school he had dropped out and was in the streets. He never got a diagnosis. No one even had ideas — or at least didn’t share them. Until he was nineteen — NINETEEN! — and a lovely counsellor, mandated by the courts to provide some counselling, told us he was probably fetal alcohol affected and that counselling would never help, that he probably had a permanent brain injury and needed support, lots of supports. He’s an adult now, living independently, and still needs supports. And still does not get them. Or a diagnosis. Canadian regulations forbid it, because he is adopted and has no prenatal history, even though all the behaviour evidence points to this.
    And when we finally were able to discuss with him about fetal alcohol effects, he was so happy. “It’s not my fault!” he said. And he’s right. None of it is his fault.
    But it’s still his life.
    Miss Night, your letter to parents made me weep. I wish my son had had you as his teacher every year.

  14. I just want to say ” thank you” I won’t go into a long explanation why but those 2 words say it all.

  15. Gisela Marques says:

    That Child made me cry. Have a child on the autism spectrum and another with anaphylaxis. My kids are that child! Heartbreaking! I am going to give a copy to every teacher in their school! Thank you for such a wonderful piece!!!

  16. Beth says:

    “THAT child” was, no doubt, one of the most powerful pieces of literature I have ever read. I nodded, I cried, I clapped. I shared it all over my Facebook page and watched as my friends shared it all over those. My director printed out a copy and placed it in every employee’s mailbox and the church bulletin. I read the entire post to my ECED Early Childhood Curriculum course, who wrote a journal reflection about how meaningful it was to them and wanted to share it with their co-workers. This was amazing. I am here to check out the rest of your blog, as a sister of kindergarten teachers, but also to tell you what an impact you have made in my small world. Amazing.

  17. autism spectrum mom says:

    My 3rd grade son has Asperger’s. He is That Child. And I wish more people, sometimes even teachers, were more understanding. He’s really a very sweet boy. He just needs a lot of compassion. I’ve been that parent crying at a meeting. And I’ve been that parent in public that other people are probably judging…silently accusing of not giving the child the discipline he “deserves”. They don’t know that I’m trying my best to teach him right from wrong while maintaining my own level of patience and taking his disability into consideration.

  18. Anna belot says:

    Oh my gosh…I’m still crying after reading “About THAT kid”. I have a 5 yo beautiful precious daughter whom we adopted at age 1. She is in kindergarten. She is not that kid at school…she is that kid at home. Every day. Every moment, every day, at home. And I’m still crying. Because your compassion brings to light how I have forgotten my own compassion. Because I’m tired, because the measures we put in place may work for a day or just an hour. Because my son is afraid of her a lot of the times. Because I am trying to apply what I’ve been taught or what has been told to me by doctors to no avail. Because I forgot to go with my heart. I forgot my own compassion. Thank you for reminding me. Thank you for being a wonderful teacher and a beautiful person.

  19. Janis says:

    You are truly a wonderful and caring teacher. I hope your school recognizes your incite into all of the special needs and circumstances each child has on the beginning of their journey in life to learning the most they can and becoming a successful part of our society. You are the foundation for their future ability to love learning In today’s world you are a blessing.

  20. Kaylynn says:

    Miss Night, your article is so refreshing. I’m a preK teacher and used a behavior chart for two weeks the first year I taught preK. Never again. One child who had trouble “conforming “, but who also desired to “end on green”.asked me every day for the rest of the year, with all the seriousness of a four year old, “Was I bad today?” And we only used the chart for 2 weeks!!! My staff and I focus on facilitating children’s behavior choices, so they learn to manage themselves rather than be externally controlled. “You Can’t Come to My Birthday Party” is a great first book to read that helped me along the way. We want each child to have the tools they need, so we fill their toolbox. And I have to add that one of those tools is knowing how much they are loved and valued, not just by us, but by Jesus. Thank you for sharing! I pray your article gives other teachers food for thought, for kids’ sakes!!!

    • Miss Night says:

      Hi Kaylynn! Thanks so much for reading, and for your supportive comments. I agree that love is a critical part of a classroom community, regardless of religious traditions.

  21. SJ says:

    So thankful to read your post on why behavior charts don’t work-it’s helped clarify my thoughts for a meeting with my daughter’s kindergarten teacher and principal this coming week. Our first week of school was ruined by a constant focus on “staying on green” and by “being on yellow”. My formerly excited child is now a nervous wreck, my heart is breaking for her.

    • Chris says:

      Just stumbled on here. Sorry to hear that SJ – Everyone needs to remember that kids all want to “stay on green”. Sometimes they just don’t have the skills or whatever to do it – they need support and help – and it works best if they are involved in determining what helps them succeed.

    • Anne Brow says:

      Glad to hear you are taking your concerns to the teacher. As a first grade teacher of 30 years myself, I am always willing to listen to parents concerns. I’ve made many changes over the years to meet the students’ and parents’ needs. We all know no two children are a like. What works for some doesn’t always work for all.

  22. Cathy says:

    How do I find your post about behavior systems vs relationships? Someone shared it on Facebook but it won’t let me share it to my gmail.
    Ps great ideas!

  23. I enjoyed your post and your beliefs! I agree with all of them. I have 2 kindergarten teaching sisters and a 4th grade teaching brother. Look forward to sharing this with them. As a crafter, I have glitter in my hair, on my face and everywhere in my stamp area…

  24. Faige says:

    So terrific. If you don’t mind would like to share with the other kindergarten and #ece teachers in my school

  25. ellie says:

    Amy – love it – so eye catching and thought provoking! Compared to other sites that can be very heavy on text or glitzy images, your colours, phrases made me think about the layers beneath your words. You are so right – learning is hard work but so worth the effort – I wonder how we can share this insight with our learners?

    • Miss Night says:

      Thanks so much, Ellie. I’m so glad you like it. I’m really proud of how the whole “look” has come together. I feel like it really reflects who I am and what I’m all about. Please visit often!

Raise your voice!