Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Day Ten...Biggest Tool in the Shed

Today we had a special guest speaker come to our school to talk about the importance of working hard, setting goals, and staying in school...all the usual motivational stuff. He's a football player at a local university (hint: I live in Seattle) and I'm guessing this was his first time speaking to a large group of small children...and I'm hoping it's his last.

In addition to saying "you guys," and "awesome" about a hundred times during his 20 minute "presentation," he also had a few words of wisdom for the kids...

(these are not direct quotes, but you'll get the idea)
  • You know how when you workout you want to get big muscles? Well maybe not the girls, but they want to look good. (Ya, 'cause the only reason women workout is to look good.)

  • You know how when you play sports you've got to be mean? (Oh, is he going to talk about sportsmanship? Nope. He really is going to talk about being mean.)

  • You know when you're playing a game and you want to punch someone in the face? Or you want to call them butthead? Uh, you shouldn't do that. (Did he really just say "butthead" in front of almost 400 elementary students?!?)

In addition to these pearls of wisdom, the speaker also thought it would be a good idea to have the kids scream out THREE separate times...once to show how they cheer at a game, once to shout out what sports they like, and the third time to yell out what video game system they like to play. Video games? Oy vay.

When one kid asked "What did you study in school?," he danced around the question, mumbling a few sentences about studying and then moved onto the next question. Apparently in college he learned how to b.s., but unfortunately for us, he's not very good at it!

At the very end of the assembly, one of the teachers asked him what his plan was after college. His reply? Applying to med school. :)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cute Kid Quotes

In order to get to know my students better, last week I had them fill out a questionnaire. On the last question they had to complete the following sentences:
  • Happiness is...
  • If only...
  • Friendliness is...
  • To care is...

Here are some of my favorite responses (with limited editing):

  • Happiness is climing trees.
  • To care is to halp peapole cros the stret.
  • Happiness is eating my moms pudding.
  • If only I could make my moms pudding.
  • Happiness is a cat.
  • If only my family went camping more often.
  • Happiness is extra recess.
  • If only I could do a roundof backhandspring.
  • Friendliness is to defend someone and to play with someone.
  • Happiness is rice.
  • If only I could get out of math.
  • Happiness is done my homework on time.
  • To care is easy.
  • Happiness is eating chocolate in belgium!
  • If only I could have the key to the house.
  • Happiness is like the sun.
  • To care is to love.

Happy Monday Everyone!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Missing in Action

Yesterday was the first day I missed a posting since school started...but I had a great reason!

As soon as I got home from school, I met up with my mom and two of my closest friends and we went downtown for happy hour and to see the musical Wicked! It was fabulous, and I wholeheartedly recommend it to others, especially if you're a fan of The Wizard of Oz! I must admit though, I did think of work occasionally during the show....parents I needed to call, the e-mail I forgot to return, the family letter I wanted to send out, etc.

How do you stop thinking about work? I'd love to hear suggestions!
Pigtailed Teacher

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Day Four and Five

The last two days have been strange.

Yesterday was "sad day." A co-worker had to put her cat to sleep. I learned two people I know have brain tumors. And Patrick Swayze died.

Today seems to be "weird and creepy day". A co-worker shared with me a disturbing letter one of her elementary students wrote today. It was about the different types of guns and explosives he knows how to make. Then, as I made my way across the teachers' parking lot to go home, I noticed two adults (possibly parents) getting very comfortable in the grassy area behind the school. I suppose they were just relaxing and enjoying the sunshine, but it seemed a little out of place on school grounds. And while I was at a happy hour/curriculum planning session, my co-worker got a phone call from her very pregnant sister, telling her that a presumable crazy man had just yelled at her on the street, demanded money, and told her he'd be back. How scary!

I'm hoping that tomorrow's theme for the day is one of good luck and happy surprises. I can't take any more of these downer days!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Summer Flashback: Houston vs. Seattle

During my trip to Texas this summer, I noticed a lot of differences between Houston and Seattle (and I'm not just talking about the weather!).

In Texas, a lot of Mexican food involves CCQ (Chili Con Queso). Ugh. It's a Velveeta-like substance that seems to accompany most dishes at Mexican restaurants. Sometimes as a dip, sometimes as a sauce, and sometimes as a filler, but always, Chili Con Queso.

Churches and over-sized crosses seem more common in Houston, as do Taco Cabana's and oversized trucks.

In Houston, few people seem to know what recycling is. We only saw it two places, the airport and the aquarium, and I think it was only newspaper recycling. Here are a couple pictures from the aquarium:

People in Houston love their buffets. A lot. We went to a buffet at least once every three days. (That averages out to ten buffets a month!) There were Asian buffets, Mexican buffets, Greek & Mediterranean buffets. Here's a picture of the "famous" macaroni and cheese pizza from CiCi's Pizza Buffet (It's only famous to us, not to anyone else):

After this trip I know I will forever be a Northwesterner!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Day Three...Three Kids Sent to the Principal's Office

Not a good sign that I had three kids pulled out of class today to talk with the principal. Two had had a disagreement of some sort and one child got whacked (Accidentally? On purpose? Who knows?) The third child had to go to the office because at recess he was playing way too rough with another kid and they had been disrespectful to the playground teacher that tried to intervene.

On the positive side of teaching, I got three really nice notes today. One was a note included the line, "You are the smartest teacher in the school." (It's good that someone has finally recognized my brilliance, dammit!) Another one was a picture of me. The artist handed it to me and said, "Here's a really bad picture of you." (I know she meant her drawing was bad, not that I looked bad, but it sure didn't come across that way). And the third note was a head-to-toe drawing of me, and boy, I've got quite the figure in it! (See below)

Not bad for the first Friday of the school year. :)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Day Two...Feet Feel Swollen Twice Their Size

The nice thing about the beginning of the school year is that you don't really have to plan a lot.

Really, you don't.

That's because every activity takes twice as long as you expect.

You have to teach about a bazillion procedures to go with each activity...where to get a clipboard from, where to put your home folder, how to walk in the hallway in a straightish line, how to make a lunch choice, where to put finished papers, when to sharpen pencils, what to do when you're finished with your work, etc. The list goes on and on.

In the end though this may be the one time of year I don't feel pressured to have the kids produce work and be on task 100% of the time.

That starts next week. :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Day One...To an Interesting Year

Let's see, the first day was fine. Exceptions to this statement include one girl calling the new boy an a-hole, the new kid cartwheeling into line (twice), the new kid deciding he should sit in the teacher's chair when we came into the assembly, and the new kid chewing on colored beads during the assembly and then trying to roll me when I told to spit them out ("Both of them," I said.) I'm sure there will be lots more stories to come...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Tomorrow is the first day of school. I think I'm finally to a place where I'm physically ready for the kids to come; meaning I've got the classroom set-up and most of the materials prepped.

Today was a long day because it was the Back-to-School BBQ. As a kid I never knew teachers didn't want to go to after school activities. Now though, I think I only know of one or two teachers who actually look forward to evening activities (and those are teachers who have been teaching too long to know better anymore!).

I just finished my first day letter and a glass of white Zinfandel. The letter is short and sweet, and it only took me a few minutes to update it since I was able to find the original on my computer.

I think I'm going to challenge myself to blog every night of this school year. It sounds like a daunting task when I reread my blog out loud, but I know I can do it. It might just be one sentence, but I want to make writing a daily habit and I already see it falling by the wayside now that I've returned to the classroom. So all of you out there, if I don't post something one day, write me, ask me where the post is, make me feel guilty...I'll put it to good use, I promise!


The Pigtailed Teacher
PS...Here's my "To Do" list from last week. What wasn't finished on the list has been transferred (and downsized) to a Post-It note on my desk. Let the games begin!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Educational Buzz Words

Just three official days back and I'm already tired of educational buzz words. Some of the most frequent ones I heard last week were: transparency, protocol, and community of learners. There was even mention of some sort of "guide to probing." Sounds vaguely naughty, but it's not.
I also had a PTA board meeting a few weeks ago and they had their own set of annoying catch phrases. The two that really stuck out to me were "e-mail blast" and "off line." Maybe I should have had some of the beer or wine that was flowing around me...then I might not have noticed how often those phrases were used. :)

What sort of educational jargon have you been saturated with recently?
-Pigtailed Teacher

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Practical Teacher Tip...What Works for Me

After lots of trail and error, this is what I've found that works best for me for classroom jobs. I bought these little pockets at the teacher store and labeled each one with a different job. I believe that since it's "Our" classroom, each person should have a designated job each week. I made labels with the students' names and put them onto Popsicle sticks (Use the large ones!). I secured the labels with clear tape. Every week I rotate the sticks one job to the right, so eventually each child gets to do each job.

To all the elementary teachers out there, what is your favorite method for assigning classroom jobs?