Sunday, November 12, 2017

When I Double as a Vet Tech

I assume you've noticed that I've been gone for an extensive amount of time.
The last time I posted was back at the end of September! I apologize for my disappearance.

If you are a parent of a student in my class, or a friend, or a family member, then you already know that I was spending literally all of my spare time outside of school caring for Wilson.  If you didn't know this, or are wondering what exactly happened and how he's doing, well I'm happy to say he's finally better.

So... who is Wilson, and what happened? Well, Wilson is our cat.  He's from the same rescue organization as our dog, Zulu, and if you want to see adorable photos of the two of them together, you should follow them on instagram! @blackcat_whitedog

Back on September 6, when we got home from work, we couldn't find Wilson.  We noticed some throw up in his bed, and searched around the house for him.  When we finally found him, he was curled up in David's closet, covered in his own urine and vomit.  Upon closer inspection, he was bleeding from his mouth and had a clearly broken (drooping) jaw. We rushed him to the vet.

This is where it gets weird. The vet thought his injuries aligned with being hit by a car.

Wilson is a primarily indoor cat.  While he has had the ability to get in the backyard, he is terrified of the outdoors and we've never seen him go anywhere near our 6-foot fence.  When he's gone out there, he lays down on the patio and whenever he hears a noise, runs back inside.  But let's say he DID go outside and jump the fence.  If that's the case, and he did get hit by a car, it's remarkable that he made it BACK over the fence and inside. (For the record, our doggie door is permanently closed now.)

We were terrified that maybe Zulu did it on accident, playing too rough with him.  But there were no puncture wounds, and Wilson's belly was scraped and nails frayed (also pointing to being hit by a car).  When the vet gave him anesthesia and looked more closely, she found a lot of dead tissue and said his injury looked like it was more than 24 hours old. IMPOSSIBLE! We saw him that morning, and he was perfectly fine.  So, basically, we're not sure exactly what happened, but whatever caused it, he had a badly broken jaw and a lot of dead tissue.

Our vet wasn't sure of her ability to perform the level of surgery he needed, and recommended a specialist in Atlanta. At nearly $5,000, with no guarantee, and a need to get up to Atlanta immediately, we decided to go with the local vet's surgery and hope for the best.

It was a day by day recovery.  He had a feeding tube, and I had to feed him and give him his medicines three times a day.  His recovery was slow, and he could only be out of the crate/confined bathroom if we were watching him, to make sure he didn't catch his cone or the wire holding his jaw together on anything.  

My sleep was practically nonexistent and my free time was spent caring for, petting, and praying for Wilson.  Not to mention crying.  I was pretty sure he wasn't going to make it, guys.  And if you know anything about me, you know that my pets have my absolute and unconditional love.

But, despite the two weeks of uncertainty ... 

Last week, Wilson got his wire removed. He is doing great! It seems like he knows that he was on the cusp of death and has a new chance at life.  He's always been a friendly, cuddly, playful cat, and I didn't think it was possible for him to become even more so, but he has.

If you're interested in seeing the step by step of his recovery, you can check out the album of his progress here. There are some images that are really depressing and pretty gross (like when, after a week, his chin got infected), but know that he made it!  I think there's also a picture of Zulu getting his allergy shot in there. Seriously, I am pretty good at vet care at this point. 

To those who also have a hurt cat and stumbled upon this page wondering how their cat will do - know that I researched and read articles REPEATEDLY about broken cat jaws.  If you are patient, and follow the vet's instructions, and monitor changes, have confidence that your cat will be okay.  If you're worried about a feeding tube, DO NOT BE! It is time consuming, and you have to be committed, but it's WORTH IT.  I made myself a daily chart with checkboxes so I could keep track of the time/amount/administration type for each medicine.  Now I have a ridiculous log of the whole experience.  But I wouldn't have been able to keep track of it all without my "cat lesson plans," as a friend referred to them.

Anyway, please bear with me as I post classroom updates over the next couple of days so I get caught up.    And to the parents, who were all super supportive and willing to let Wilson come into the classroom for extra care had the board given me approval (they didn't), THANK YOU.

Sunday, September 24, 2017


In math, we've been learning about 2D and 3D shapes - how to recognize them, how to describe their attributes, and how to use positional words to describe where we see them in our environment.

There's nothing better to review the shapes than the HarryKindergarten YouTube videos 2D Shapes I Know and 3D Shapes I Know.  We play these at the beginning of each math lesson on shapes. 

We play lots of games with shapes and make models of shapes out of kinetic sand, wikki stix, and marshmallows & toothpicks.  Above, you can see children playing "Race to the Shape." Students sit on the edge of the carpet and race the person across from them to find/grab the shape I describe or name.  (This works as a great quick assessment too, to easily see who needs help identifying which shapes.)

We play shape bingo!

And to combine our science unit on five senses, we use our sense of touch to play the same mystery bag game as before... but this time, it's full of 2D and 3D shapes.  Students have to reach in, feel whichever shape they've grabbed, and describe it to their group.

Several of our math stations have changed to activities involving shapes: building things out of shapes, identifying shapes around the room, sorting by shape, etc.  Most still focus on number sense and counting.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Self-Selected Books

The best ways to foster a love of reading in children:
-provide a lot of high-interest reading material
-model a love of reading

And, of course, let students self-select their own books. 

Let me tell you a secret. I used to hate reading. In school, I was always good at reading, I just didn't like it.  My teachers gave me books that I had to read.  And because I had to read the books they chose, I hated it.  I don't want to do that to my students.  I want them to have a wide variety of books on their reading level (and above) to choose from, and I want them to choose.

Friday was the first day for this group of kiddos to shop for books.  They were so excited!

Each Friday, students will self-select ten new books for reading at school and at home. 

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Community Helpers

Our current Social Studies unit is about Community Helpers and the jobs they do.  What better way to teach community helpers than by having some visit our school and present to the students? The coming week has more visitors, but so far we've had an EMT and a Karate instructor come present.  The kids loved it!

In Science, we're continuing our five senses exploration unit.  We felt lots of different textures and made texture rubbings to see the difference.