things you should never say to your mom…

20 01 2011

*I apologize for my lack of blogging.  I’ll try to be better!

We began our first day back after winter break the same way we start each day, with a community circle.  The whole class circles up and we go around, each sharing one thing with the group.  That day’s prompt: tell us 1 thing you did over your winter break.

So we go around the circle, hearing about Christmas gifts, staying up late on New Years…all those exciting things.  Then we come to Mary.
Mary: Over Christmas my sister and I were talking about things you should never say to your mom.  I said, “You should never say Mom, move your big fat ass.”
*cue dead silence*
Me: Mary, is that appropriate?
Mary:  No way!  (with a look that read: duh Miss Teacher Girl!  That’s why I said you should never say it to your mom!)
Me: If it’s not appropriate…let’s not say it at school.

best techer in the wrad :)

3 11 2010

Some days are challenging.  Lately, most days are challenging.  After the end of the day rush- 28 coats on, backpacks packed, 28 chairs up on the tables, and 28 children handed off to their parents, I sit down, take a deep breath, reflect on the day and get ready for the next day.

First graders love to be sneaky.  When I sit down at the end of the day I often find little knickknacks, drawings, or letters secretly left for me.  Last week this one brightened my day:

Mailbox, Pinwheel, Backpack, Floor

18 10 2010

Picture this:

It’s the end of the day.  5 minutes left.  28 six year olds as squirrelly as can be.  You are trying to regain their attention for long enough that you can get them packed up and out the door.

My plan:

Be fun and entertaining!  I tell them they need to get their papers out of their mailbox, (as they do everyday) stop and pick up the pinwheel they made in art class, (strategically placed next to the door) pack their backpack (again, just like everyday) and then sit back on the floor.


The first graders join in: “MAILBOX! PINWHEEL!  BACKPACK! FLOOR!”

“Just the girls!” I say.


“Now the boys!”


“Just Kara!”


(Yes! They’ve got it!) I think.

“Just Cody now!”

“MAILBOX! PINWHEEL!  BACKPACK! FLOOR!” Cody shouts confidently.

“Show us Cody!”

“You’ve got it!” Cody smiles as he gives me a double thumbs up and double clicks his tongue at me.  (He’s REALLY cute!)

The class and I watch anxiously as Cody jumps up, looks back at us to give us one more thumbs up and then bounds out the door.

Mission accomplished?

Class entertained?  Yes.

Focused and listening to directions?  Questionable.

(Luckily, the rest of the class realized Cody’s error and was able to pack up correctly!)



The Fox River Boyfriend

12 10 2010

Some ladies have all the luck with men.  Case and point:

One nice day, my apartment was incredibly warm so I ventured down to the Fox River to do some school work.  I chose an area with 5 empty benches in a row, sat on the middle one and got to work.  A little while later a man on a bike came and sat on the far bench.  Then two old ladies hobbled by with their walkers and sat on the bench next to mine.

A while later I hear, “Is anyone sitting here?”

I look up to see an older man (at LEAST 70 years old) standing by the bench.  After glancing quickly at the two empty benches in the area, I tell him no, no one is sitting there and and he plops down next to me.  Wanting to strike a balance between being polite, but not TOO friendly, I continued to busy myself with school work as the man gabbed on and on.

Fox River Man: “Do you come down here a lot?  I’ve never seen you before.”

Me: “I come down every once in awhile…but not during the day because I’m normally working.”

FRM: “Well I come down here at night and I’ve never seen you.  Are you sure you’re not new?”

Me: “Yeah, I’m sure. I’ve lived in Waukesha for quite awhile”

FRM: “Hmm..well, do you want to get coffee sometime?”

*At this point there was a HUGE awkward pause…I was trying to decide if he was truly a creeper, or possibly just lonely and wanting to chat more.  Either way I knew I did not want to have coffee with this man…but I was not sure how to convey this.  Luckily, he broke the silence by clarifying his intent:

FRM: Oh, do you have a boyfriend?

*I used this as a chance to turn down the coffee date but telling a small lie.

Me: Yes! Yeah, I have a boyfriend.

FRM: Oh…I guess he wouldn’t like that very much then……does he live around here?  Do I know him?

Me: No, I don’t think you know him.  But he does live around here.

FRM: Is it serious?  Are you engaged?

Me: No, not engaged.

FRM: Well, it never hurts to ask…I’m just looking for a good woman.  I’ve had a few women, but they all are into drugs or drinking… don’t drink, do you?

Me: Not much.

FRM: Me either, just a couple times a month.

*At this point I’m trying to figure out if I can just get up, say goodbye and leave or if he will follow me or walk with me.  Being busy with schoolwork didn’t deter him from talking my ear off, I wasn’t sure if walking away would deter him either.  Finally I told him I had to go.  He said it was great talking to me and he hoped he’d see me at the river so we could talk more.

I don’t go down to the river as much as I used to.  But anyone who is looking for a date…the river apparently is a good place to pick up men…as long as age isn’t an issue for you. 🙂

Parachutes, Buzz Lightyear, and Orca Whales

25 09 2010

School is already in full swing.  New school, new curriculums, new colleagues, and lots of new kids.  It has been getting better and better each day, but I’d be lying if I said I haven’t spent most of September feeling completely overwhelmed.  All of the newness and change, combined with the largest class I’ve ever had before has led to stress, very long work hours, and even a few tears.  Luckily, day by day we are getting to know one another and the routines and we are coming together in our classroom community.

28 is a lot of six year olds to keep focused, entertained, and engaged all day long.  They can’t sit still for longer than 1 minute (unless you are reading a story or showing a video), they are constantly touching one another and attempting to regulate one another’s behavior…with complete disregard for their own behavior, and they are always talking…but at the same time they are curious,  kind-hearted, creative, and imaginative.  When they are creating and exploring they are blown away by their new discoveries, which is amazing to witness.  In science we’re studying air, so we made parachutes with paper napkins, string and a paperclip.  We had the perfect windy day to test them outside.  One boy’s parachute caught the wind just right and it flew so high I was even in awe.  He became the kid from the youtube Nintendo 64 video.   “OH MY GOSH!! LOOK AT THAT!  AHHH!”  Red-faced, eyes bugging out, screaming as it sailed up over the fence.  The parachute then proceeded to land on the power lines.  Immediately 28 sets of eyes looked to me to see how I would rescue the parachute.  Momentary panic set in as I predicted our most successful experience thus far ending in tears.  Luckily at that moment another gust of wind freed the parachute and it sailed down the street.  I still ended up being the hero, being the only one allowed to go into the street to get the parachute.

My biggest behavior challenge thus far is an adorable, incredibly smart boy.You see, he has a submarine and a rocket ship on the playground and also is Buzz Lightyear or a bee, depending on the day.  Buzz Lightyear shoots me and other students with his arm laser throughout the day, while the bee constantly  buzzes.

I thought we were making a little bit of progress one morning as he sat next to me quietly during our community circle.  As we went around the circle each sharing what we had done over the weekend, I patted him on the back and quietly said, “Good job sitting quietly and listening to your friends!”  Halfway around the circle he moved onto his knees.  I was momentarily nervous to see what he might do next, but I relaxed as he continued to sit quietly.  Two-thirds of the way around the circle and out of no where he launches himself into the middle of the community circle, bellyflop style and begins to flop around on the ground yelling, “I’m an orca whale!”  The other 27 first graders and I sat on the ring of his “ocean” for a minute in disbelief.  Now it is pretty funny to retell, but in the moment everyone was too shocked to laugh or even move.  Luckily we were able to catch the orca, get him to sit down again, and continue with our community circle.

Laugh along with me

11 08 2010

I’ll begin my blog with the story of how I earned the name Teacher Girl.  A few years ago I was teaching 2nd grade.  I had a fantastic student in my class.  He was friendly and kind, but when things did not go his way, watch out.  On one of those watch out days, he lost did not win the math game he was playing and he lost it.  When I talked with him in an attempt to calm him down he would only repeat, “I hate Teacher Girls who wear red.” (I just happened to be wearing red that day)  I decided to give him some space to calm down.  As I began walking around the room to visit other student groups he clenched his pencil in his fist and followed closely behind me.  Nervous students warned me that from the looks of things, I was about to be stabbed with a pencil.  I was not worried about being stabbed, I knew there was a kind heart underneath his frustration.  As I made my way to the front of the classroom, he exchanged his pencil for a piece of chalk.  He used that weapon to draw a long white line down the arm of my red sweater.  “See?  I got you now Teacher Girl!”

My grandma loves my stories about my students.  She constantly tells me I need to write a book.  Her suggestion is entered into conversation as much as possible.  Even in a conversation about places to meet men.

“You should write a book!”

“How will that help me meet a husband Grandma?”

“Umm…you’d probably meet him at your book signing!?”

The more I have taught, the more hilarious and amazing stories I collect, but the less I seem to remember them after a few weeks.  So one aim of this blog is to appease my dear grandma and also to have a space to collect all of the fantastic things that happen during school.

Then, a few weeks ago I was on vacation in San Jose having dinner with my cousin and her husband.  I was entertaining them with my latest boy story (the boy in said story happens to be a 70 year old man…but that’s for another blog).  Matt was cracking up and said, “You tell the most hilarious stories!  You need to start a blog!” I kindly reminded him that these hilarious stories are actually my REAL LIFE.  When hilarious things are happening to you on a regular basis, you do have great stories to tell…but you also begin to wonder what the heck is going on.  So another aim of this blog is to keep everyone up to date on the day to day hilariousness that comes my way.  What fun would life be if we couldn’t laugh at it, right?  This way I can keep you all laughing right along with me.