Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Let Vacation Commence

As the chaos came to a close, we were all standing in line at the door waiting for the bell to ring and signal the beginning of vacation. One girl shouted above the chatter, "I'm gonna miss you guys!" All the moms waiting for their kids after cleaning up our party issued a collective, "Awwww!"

Aren't fourth graders cute?

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sack Lunch

Earlier this year we had sack lunches to go home with kiddos on a half day. One of my kiddos brought his Saran Wrapped sandwich up to me. Here's our conversation:

Him: What's this?

Me: Looks like ham.

Him: No, not that. This.

Me: Oh. That's cheese.

Him: Nooo, this.

Me: What? The bread? That's wheat bread.

Him: But it's still bread?

Me: Yep.

He walked away apparently satisfied with my answer, but still looking perplexed.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Whine Alert

Teaching has lot of perks...vacation time, great health insurance, fun colleagues.

One of the not so perky things is grading papers. Every day I get to the end and just don't feel like doing it, so they start to pile up. On Friday afternoon I have such high hopes for catching up over the weekend. Then the weekend comes and whaddya know? I don't want to sit and correct piles of friggin' paperwork. I want to do a little Christmas shopping, watch some TV, knit, goof off online, eat out, even clean out the garage. If I chose to go ahead and do any (or all) of those things, there's this nasty nagging feeling of guilt for not doing that paperwork.

It just can't all get done in the hour and a half of daily planning time I have (usually used for something awesome like photocopying or setting up a science experiment). Isn't there some way I can not work on the weekend and not feel guilty about it?

The worst: A kiddo in my class asking when he'll get his corrected math test back because his twin sister in the other class got it back days ago.

My response? "Let's just face it. Her life is so much better than yours." That got a smile.

End of venting session. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Don't ask if you don't wanna know

Yesterday a mom brought in cake for her child and stayed to cut it and celebrate. I used my standard birthday interview before singing. Here's how it went:

Me: Today you are...

Student: Nine.

Me: And tomorrow you will be...

Student: Ten.

Me: Do you think you will wake up feeling older and wiser tomorrow?

Student: No. I think I'll wake up still feeling like I'm five because my mom treats me like I'm five.

(Engage teacher game face and avoid eye contact with mom. Moving on...)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Nighty night.

I don't know if I've mentioned before that I let my class vote on a reward to work toward. One of my all-time favorites was when they decided to work for "nap time." When the anticipated day arrived we turned off the lights, tipped the blinds, grabbed our coats and snuggled in...okay, I didn't, but they did. About 20 minutes later I opened the blinds and they started to stir. I overheard one kiddo asking another, "Did you fall asleep?" The reply: "No, but I drooled."

Hello again!

Sorry for dropping off the face for a bit.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

"Hello, I'm trying to reach..."

Okay. I did it. I made all 50 (yes 50!) of my levy calls to random individuals. I hated every minute of it. In fact my palms are still clammy as I type. Even the enthusiastic supporters were awful because I felt bad bothering them. Blech! Thanks to those who just dumped me into their voice mails. Bet you never thought of your fourth grade teacher acting as a quasi telemarketer, didja?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Snack Time

Ever smelled a rancid graham cracker? That smell will stay with you for a while. I guess that's what I get for mentioning cleaning out the pantry in my plea to parents for class snacks. Pew!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Guest Speaker

Last year we had an NFL player come speak to our intermediate students about the importance of school. It quickly devolved into a Q&A session (mostly about football and the player's tattoos). Then it moved on to a singing session where he was handing the microphone to any brave student willing to perform. You'd think the principal would have wrapped it up by now, but no. And the crowning moment was when one of the fourth graders in my teaching partner's class got up and belted out, "I like big butts and I cannot lie..." all the way to the part about a round thing in your face. You get the picture. My teaching partner was bright red, but the student was beaming with pride for the rest of the day.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Our Nation's History

While editing a student's social studies writing recently I found a reference to the "Nat of" Americans. What exactly is a "nat?" I wondered. Well at least I know I taught one thing to one student this year.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Waddle Waddle

To: You

From: The Rugrats

The Duck Song

You're welcome. :)

P.S. Click on the words "The Duck Song" oh ye of little technology.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Puke Patrol

Usually it's the kiddos tossing their cookies, but not today. All morning my team teacher was complaining of feeling lethargic and I was doing a great job of commiserating. After lunch she literally ran for the girls' room and could be heard up and down the hallway. I guess she really meant it. Poor thing! I followed her back to class and sent her home stat.

Another exciting day...just wait 'til conferences start at the end of the week.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Many of the ones I meet are good with kids, but rough with adults. When you come back the next day your teaching partner is NOT happy with you (not that this has happened to me lately).

We all seem to agree, though, that the best ones are the ones that get everything you left in your plans done and really keep the kids on task and learning. Then the kids hate them and welcome you back with cheers. Perfect!

The worst ever was when I came back to food crumbs all over my desk and a mysterious stain on my chair...MY chair! I called the district controller of subs and had her banned for life. Gross.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cry for Help

I bought a bright orange stuffed crab to cushion my teacher stool a while back. One day I went to sit down and "Crabby" had a little sticky note on him that read:

Please don't sit on me anymore.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bonus Points

I used to live just a short walk away from school and one day the parent of one of my students rolled down her minivan window to ask if I'd like a ride. I politely declined and she emailed me later to say that her 7-year-old had been in the back seat and asked, "If we gave the teacher a ride home, would we get extra credit?"

Sunday, November 8, 2009

First Field Trip

We recently went on our first field trip downtown, which brought back the fond memory of the first time I took kiddos on this trip. When looking through the thank you notes they wrote to our tour guides I found one that said, "Thank you for taking us on the tour. I saw a hobo eating chips out of a trash can."

Glad to know that he learned so much on our academically enriching trip.

P.S. Where in the world did he learn the word hobo?!?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Honesty is the Best Policy

I have a reward system where the class chooses something to work toward and I put blank spaces for each letter of the reward to be filled in at my discretion based on their behavior. After being absent for a day, a girl came back to class and noticed some more letters filled in. "I know how all those letters got there, " she said. "I wasn't here and I talk too much."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Fourth Grade Funnies

You can add this joke to your repertoire courtesy of one of my kiddos today:

What time is it when an elephant sits on your car?

Time to get a new one! *grin*

Monday, November 2, 2009

Momentary Classroom Departure

Facebook is a fun thing. Apparently my nephew told his mom this week that he was a little bit naughty in church, but that Santa didn't see him.

I'll have to remember to pinch his cheeks for that next time I see him.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hey you!

If you're reading, don't forget to leave a reaction. Just click one of the little boxes at the bottom of each post. It's completely anonymous, but I love to see what you think. If you don't, I'll feel like no one is listening...*sniff*

Halloween Hoopla

Every good teacher loves a class party. We really tear it up with cookie decorating in one area, a movie in another, and crafts The highlight of the event came my personal favorite component., the dance party room. A round and ever-smiling little one of mine came up to me (after putting Thriller on for the umpteenth time) said, "There's a reason they call me Mini Michael" and then moonwalked away. He's got the tipped hat and the 180-twisted-foot moves down too! Eee Hee!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Birthday Bash

Who is teaching kids that it's awesome to smear frosting all over their faces?

If it's you, please stop.


Friday, October 23, 2009


Can we clean your desk?

No, thanks.

Why not?

Because then I won't be able to find anything.

Are you this messy at home?

Pretty much.

**Bring on the weekend! smile**

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Experiment

It started with my tiniest student asking if I slept on my back or stomach and went on from there.

Me: Usually my side, but sometimes my stomach.

Her: I sleep on my stomach, but last night I laid on my back the whole time. It was SO uncomfortable.

Me: Why didn't you just roll over?

Her: I wanted to try it out.

Me: Oh. You were experimenting.

Her: Yes, but I'm totally done with that experiment!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Line Leader

I pick them up when school starts and walk them into class. The one at the front was quite peppy today.

Me: Brrr! It's cold out here.

Him: No it's not. It's warm.

Me: You're warm? Are you insane?

Him: No...slash yes. *with big smile*

I don't make these up, I swear!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Drama in a Bowl

A girl brought in her family betta fish to hold down the post as the classroom pet next door last week. As my teammate set the bowl down she noticed a discolored spot on his back.

Girl: His name is Steve.

Teammate: Oh. Steve isn't looking too good.

Girl: I know. He has fancer...fish cancer.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Trash Day

I got my name drawn to win a garbology presentation to our class. The presenter passed out a piece of trash to each kid to talk about decomposition. Who knew a diaper could stir up such a rucuss? It helped that the dude handed it to a kid saying, "You need a diaper." (He had a pretty good handle on fourth grade humor.)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Geography 101

I asked one of my kiddos about his background and this was the ensuing conversation:

Him: Wellll, have you ever heard of a continent called Asia?

Me: Yes, I have.

Him: Have you ever heard of a country called India?

Me: Yep. I've heard of that, too.

Him: Okay, well that's where my aunts, uncles, cousins and all of them live.

Good thing I keep up on my geography studies. Whew!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Picture Day

Always organized chaos on picture day. We survived quite nicely, thank you. Managed to line up short to tall with minimal drama, get up on the risers and smiling, then off to individual shots. You wouldn't believe how pumped they get over those free personal combs. I was the last one through the line to claim my little known job perk: a free set of 5x7s and wallets every year...sweet! As I walked back to class I realized that my glamour shots will include both my staff badge and my fabulous personal microphone hanging around my neck. Why didn't the camera guy tell me?!?! *sigh* I guess there's always next year.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Fish Funeral

Last year my fabulous team teacher had the brilliant idea of getting a class fish. If she was getting one, I'd get one. We all know how fourth graders feel about fairness. A couple of months into the school year "Mario" wasn't looking too good and, sure enough, I got the pleasure of flushing him a few days later.

I told the class about our loss and suggested that maybe we should have a funeral. They brainstormed what they would want it to be like. We ended up deciding to wear all black and make a shoebox tombstone that we put tributes and farewell notes in. (I had to veto the idea of flushing flowers down the toilet.)

All was going well until the kids were walking out the door and one of them looked up at me, sighed and said, "I can't believe we're having a funeral on my birthday."

Bad teacher! Very bad teacher!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Subway Promoter

The class is chatting while we shift gears between subjects and I hear:

"Five...Five dollar...Five dollar footlongs. Five dollar footlongs." A few others even chimed in at the end.

Brings a smile to my face and to Subway's marketing department.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Clever Little Creatures

Keeping track of me out of the corner of her eye she said, "I made you live in a house with your dog alone." I heard it and gave her a quizzical look. Kids were packing up to go home all around as she lit up realizing that I'd been listening. She turned to me and repeated herself, "I made you live in a house with your dog alone."

"What?" I asked.

"In my Sims game."

"Oh!" (My understanding of this computer game is that you get to build your own little world and life.)

"Do you live alone?" She asked slyly.

"No, I actually live with my boyfriend."

"Hmmm. Guess I'll have to go home and make a boyfriend."

Crafty way of enquiring into my personal life in my estimation. Never underestimate the cunning of a nine-year-old.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Toots Twice

Event A: When asked why he didn't want to sit near everyone else in class, the kiddo replied that he farts a lot and and doesn't want the other kids to have to smell it. Quite considerate, don't you think?

Event B: Another fourth grader squatted down while cleaning his ever-messy desk and let one rip. He quickly excused himself and then added, "That one snuck up on me."

Yes, these things really happened on the same day.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Tiny moment

Me: What a crazy day we are having!

Tiny, fabulous Asian girl: Talk about it!

Sometimes it's the little things.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Isopod Escape

We got a new science kit this year that includes bugs (students: yeah! teachers: boo!). Teams carefully constructed these foil "runways" (basically rectangles with sides) and set up three equal piles of soil-one wet, one moist, and one dry-to find a bug's preferred environmental element. Then we added a few isopods (a.k.a. potato bugs, pill bugs, or rolly pollys) to the runways. When I returned in the morning, I discovered that not only are isopods great roller-uppers, but they are also very skilled climbers. I found a couple on the counter, one on the floor and was left to wonder where almost all the rest had gone. One was found in the sink by a kiddo getting a drink later in the day...don't worry search & rescue was successful.

Next year higher foil sides. And you thought the kids were the ones doing all the learning.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Teacher Work Day

No students today so I'm forced to draw upon my stash of tales from years past. I don't think you'll mind too much.
A student lined up in front of me waiting for me to take them in after recess is complaining about how a dress was the only clean thing she could find to wear this morning.

Me: What's so bad about a dress?

Her: Welllllll...I just can't really run and express myself.

Who says these things?!?! (But so true!) Definitely priceless.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Ups & Downs

I had the pleasure of supervising an extended recess today. *thumbs down* Then I got invited to play foursquare (the one activity I could participate in given today's rockin' skirt selection). *thumbs up* Then I got popped in the face by the deflected foursquare ball. *thumbs down* Recess ended and as we lined up one of my kiddos told me I had "great fashion sense." I replied that some people think it's kinda strange and she countered with, "Nope. I like it." *thumbs up*

It's nice to end on an up.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Pom Pom Predicament

Through tears she told me that these were brand new cashmere Uggs and somehow the pom poms on the drawstrings had twisted together and tugged one of the pom poms off. Now she just didn't want to wear the shoes anymore and was beside herself worrying about Mom's reaction and trying to figure out what to do. We exchanged a reassuring email with Mom and jammed the pom poms down inside the boots for the remainder of the day.

Moral of this tale: Please don't buy your fourth grader Uggs. Doesn't Target have a sweet knockoff version?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Memories of Last Week

We were all getting settled in Friday morning when I glanced over at their cubby and mailbox spaces. A little stuffed guinea pig was staring back at me through very well-fitting sunglasses. I couldn't help, but crack up...on the inside, of course...gotta keep that teacher game face on. I made a quick decision to put my amazing (okay, not so amazing) tech skills to work for me and took a photo of him on my phone and managed to get it all the way to my ActivBoard computer up front (basically a big computer monitor/touch screen that replaced my white board). Once I got it up there, I asked the kiddos to wrap up what they were doing and start getting ready for the next activity. Slowly I started to hear, "What the heck?" "Hey! It's Chub Chub!" (apparently this creature has a name) and "Sweet! Chub Chub is famous!" I get paid to do this job. It's a beautiful thing!

You're welcome for your first visual aid.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

That Crappy Ship

A tidbit from Thursday:

A kid cut out a picture of the Titanic, glued it on a paper and added a conversation bubble coming out the top saying, "This ship sucks."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Crazy Hair Day

Welcome to my blog! I have an impressive set of 26 nine- and ten-year-olds in the fourth week of this the 2009-2010 school year. I hope you will enjoy them vicariously through me as much as I enjoy them daily.

It was crazy hair day today everyone. Situated conveniently close to Halloween, which allowed me to stop at the 24-hour Walgreens on the way to school this morning to pick up an amazingly flattering $7.99 wig. It was a black bob with pink highlights, two nasty, ratted pigtails, and pair of pink and black flowers on top that really sealed the deal. All day the kids were asking if I'd really done that to my normally long brown hair. I kept telling them they'd have to come to school tomorrow to know for sure as they tried to peek underneath and dared each other to give it a tug.

The highlight of the day had to be getting outdone by one of the rug rats on this very special day. This clever one showed up with full on Pippi Longstocking braids complete with different colored dragonflies catching a ride on top. Amazing!