Monday, December 12, 2005


I love my students--their delight in all the snow we had on Friday, their sheer joy in having snowball fights and making gigantic, slightly dirty snowmen.

At the same time, they drive me crazy. Two boys are being really rough with some of the girls and they excuse it by saying "they always bother us." And then I caught the girls all in a corner "gathering evidence" against the boys so that they could go home and tell their moms. Hello, who's in charge here?? Why did I get cut out of the equation?

And then I watched them all work together so well this morning decorating the classroom for Christmas. (The student council always has this contest and the kids get to spend the first 20 minutes of one day in the week before vacation decorating). They all shared the materials, even though some people had forgotten to bring any in and they helped each other with the tape and no one made fun of anyone else's ideas and one boy who often gets antsy when he's done with things and no one else is, said, "We also should do some cleaning up to get the room ready," and then started doing it himself.

But then I've had to threaten to send pink slips home because they keep forgetting to turn in their reading logs which is a regular part of their homework! UGH! And then I caught one boy kicking another and then he yelled at me for sitting him out of recess. He wanted me to punish the other boy for something he wouldn't admit to and I'm supposed to just go by the word of the one I saw kicking??

Anyway, I do love them--I went to a doctor's appointment for the first half of the day and then when I come back they all called my name and were so happy to see me--like I had been gone for days!

We're dressing up in "tacky Christmas wear" on Wednesday (another student council idea) and I have to remember to take pictures and add them to my poor blog!

Monday, November 14, 2005

States I visited

This was really fun. I got it from my sister's blog--I liked comparing where her boyfriend from the West Coast had been with me from the East Coast. Wish I had all 50 but haven't been everywhere yet.

create your own visited states map
or check out these Google Hacks.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Super Hero Status!

The other day I was writing down my students' oral answers to history questions for them to copy. A few of them started to complain that they couldn't see and I started to get frustrated. Where was their patience?? (Where was mine?).

But then one of my boys said, "I wish you had really long stretchy arms so you could write on the board and be out of the way at the same time." (So they do realize the impossibility of me writing on the board and not being "in the way").

I replied, "Unfortunately I'm not one of the Incredibles."

And then another boy said, "Yes you are!" and clapped his hand over his mouth.

I thanked him and laughed. Does he have a crush on me?? Oh well, now I'm a Super!

lost in the details

Ok so I know this blog is supposed to help prevent this, but I've been lost in the details for the past few weeks. Or at least that's my excuse for not blogging for so long.

Anyway, I've been doing fall things, like cooking hearty dishes, switching my closet to reflect the weather, sitting and sipping warm beveridges.

One of these hearty dishes made me feel like a pioneer woman or a farmer or something. I made pumpkin soup from the pumpkin I got on our trip to the "farm". And the stock was stuff I'd made myself from chicken bones saved from chickens roasted weeks ago. I think the only ingredient I purchased was an onion! So, why a farmer/pioneer woman? Well, the whole idea of making something from nothing and using all the parts of something to create food. See, the chicken bones were used as were the pumpkin seeds (for a nice alternative to croutons).

On another fall topic, why is it that every year when I go through my closet and drawers, I get rid of 1-2 bags of clothing that I don't wear anymore or that I shouldn't wear anymore because it's stained or holey? And then I always feel like I have nothing to wear. I don't get it. Do the junky clothes multiply when I'm not looking? Or do the nice ones magically transform into junk after they enter my drawers? One of life's mysteries.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I'm such a big nerd!

Last night, I came home from dinner and was going through the mail. Then, I started jumping around my apartment with glee because the Dahesh Museum is hosting an Iliad marathon reading in which the audience takes turns reading and they feed you Greek food & wine. I begged R. to give it to me for my birthday (months away) and my friend is going to do it too. In case it's not obvious, the nerdly part is that I'm still excited about it today and I can't wait to tell my students about it.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Just a regular week

Except that I was sick with a cold for about half of it. I would come home, sleep on the couch for a while, feed the cat, sleep some more, feed myself, grade papers and go to bed. But I guess that helped because I'm better. And now I haven't blogged for over a week.

It was just a regular week, although I took the kids to the Met. It was fun showing them all the pottery and jewelry and they were pretty good about not getting freaked out by the naked statues. I think they missed the nudity on some of the Olympic amphoras. I'm hoping.

Anyway, it was neat watching them engrossed in drawing things from the various cases and labeling and comparing drawings with each other. I always get a kick out of how easily they get to work--they seem so mature! One or two wanted to stay longer and couldn't believe it when I said we'd been there for an hour. Of course, I had one sour-puss who said he thought it was a waste of time but that he was glad we had missed reading. Great. But later I heard him say he loved history which was a big step because he so often shares what he hates.

My sister says I need more picture. Guess I have to dig out the camera or post old pictures of the cat.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

That fall feeling

I should have recognized it Friday evening when I was reading on the couch with a blanket. But it wasn't until yesterday when I was cold getting out of the shower that it sunk in. Fall is here! I instinctively reached for jeans and a sweater to wear to my doctor's appointment and it just seemed like a natural thing to walk along 5th avenue to the Met instead of taking the subway. And I could smell that scent of decaying leaves and something else intangible too. At the farmers' market the squash were eyeing me temptingly but I decided to start slow with just some Macoun apples. There's plenty of time for squash yet. I haven't even seen any changing leaves, aside from those few that shock you in August as a reminder of school beginning again soon. Maybe I would have seen some if I had actually ventured inside the park.

Anyway, I was at the Met to look at the Greek art in preparation to take my class there. This is the first time that I've really studied the Minoans and Mycenaens so it was cool to see the pottery and jewelry that I'd been reading about in person. These people really existed 4000 some years ago. It's so hard to fathom, sometimes. What would life have been like for a bull-leaping Minoan acrobat?

Monday, September 19, 2005

Aaagh, not a whole week!

I can't believe it's Monday again and I haven't blogged. I think I always start these things with great ambition but then get bogged down with daily life. And lesson plans. Definitely lesson plans. Oh well.

I'm not going to try and recreate too much of the week that's over and done with but I do have one story that popped into my head. We were discussing the story of Zechariah and Elizabeth finding out that they were going to have John the Baptist. And of course, Zechariah was mute for the whole time of her pregnancy because he didn't believe the angel's proclamation. So, of course, our discussion gets side-tracked into questions about pregnancy and I was really hoping I wouldn't get one of those, "but how does the baby get in there?" kind of questions. I kept putting them off by saying that I've never been pregnant so I don't know. Then, this mom who was walking by popped her head in and said she could help answer some of their questions. See, this is the problem with collapsable walls--everyone can hear what you're teaching!

Anyway, she didn't really stay and they started to run out of questions and then this one little boy says, "I can't believe a baby can really be in there for 9 months. That's a really long time." I think this might have been the first time he ever heard that. I'm not sure. I hope I didn't lead to a sex talk that his parents weren't ready for.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Shameless Learners

So today I was introducing our science unit on light and I asked the kids to brainstorm some light sources. I got about a million different kinds of electrical things: flashlights, nightlights, gameboys, etc and then some interesting things. Mica, rainbows, guns firing, fireflies, glowing necklaces. Some of them I was able to explain reflected light but I really didn't know about guns since I've never really seen one fired except on tv. Do they produce light? And the sparks that rocks make when you strike them--I guess that's light.

Then they took some time to look at different objects (including a teeny girls sequiny bikini bottom which was very amusing!) and determine whether they were light sources or if they merely reflected light. And some students were sure right off about things but this one little girl just amazed me with her shamelessness. She wasn't sure about the rocks or the sparkely party hat so she stuck each one under the bookcase and hunkered down to check if in the dark under there it made light or not. Future scientist, perhaps? She challenged me--it's so hard for me to admit that I don't know something, let alone to have the courage to try and find out!

Friday, September 09, 2005


I'll probably be more reflective later but these are some things running in my head from the first week:

  • one child wrote that her least favorite subject was bedtime
  • a family decided to send in their older child yesterday (we started Wednesday) but the one in my class won't be in until Monday. For no clear reason. Ugh!
  • off and on all day today one boy kept asking me what flavors of ice cream would be at our summer reading celebration. even though I hadn't seen the woman buying it since Weds.
  • when they had finished their reading work, a group of kids voluntarily selected the Magic Treehouse books on the Olympics and started taking turns reading them together like their own little reading group
  • how eager they are to spread out on the floor to read or write and they do it quietly!
  • the crazy names for our Betta fish and stuffed armadillo: Snapper Sharpedo & Carribean Dallas (last names are the second place winner)

I know there's more but that's for later when my brain is working better.


I knew I was in trouble when the words in my subway novel seemed to be entering my head while I moved down the page but I had no idea what I was reading. Once home, I was knocked out on the couch for about two hours. Then dinner and mindless tv for another two hours. Thank the Lord the first week was only three days long!

I don't think it helped that I was out last night at a friend's birthday dinner. I drove another city dweller to the subway near my apartment and we had a great conversation along the way. Only later did I realize that I should have said much less. My tougue was sore from where it was brushing against my teeth while I was talking. And it's not her fault and I don't think I was too chatty; my voice is just not acclimated to teaching again. I wonder if I can blog to my husband this weekend instead of talking. And no singing in church.

My first year of teaching I fell asleep on the couch every time R. rented a Friday night DVD. And I got laryngitis once each trimester. But that was at the end, not the beginning. I really can't talk this weekend or I'll be messed up next week. I wonder how long laryngitis can last. Not that I have it yet. I'm fighting it with tea.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

They're not mine anymore

Some of my first graders from last year, intently studying . . .

can you see that? A pig! Our trip to the farm/petting zoo.

So, the first day of school came and went. And it wasn't as bad as my nightmare last night would have me think. I enjoyed working with my "new" third graders (I've had them before as first graders) but I realized I missed my old class (mostly pictured above). By June I'm always ready to be free of them but then in September when they're taller and wiser and moved on, I miss them. Sure, they'll call their new teacher my name for the first few days and some of them came and gave me hugs at snack time but for the most part, they're gone. You bond with them so intensely for the school year and then everything changes over the summer.

I suppose it's similar in my "adult life", which always threatens to disappear about now. Seasons of welcoming in and letting go mix together.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Last Day

I keep mentally calling various days my last day before freedom ends and I go back to school. But today is the final last day. The kids come in tomorrow for regular school. Can't get much more last than that. Although maybe yesterday was my last day of vacation and today is my last day of preparation? Who knows. I just want it all to be over.

I've given up the idea that I'll sleep tonight so maybe I actually will. But I didn't last year--hot bath and chamomile tea regardless. It's not that I'm terribly anxious about messing up (though that comes in a little) it's just that so much starts running through my head right when I'm trying to fall asleep and I can't turn it off.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Just starting

Okay, so my sister and my friend Rebecca have fun blogs and have inspired me to start writing a bit more and posting a blog but I wonder who will read it and will it really interest anyone beside me? Basic beginning questions, I'm sure. But I'm just starting. . . a lot of things actually: new school year, new classroom, new grade (moving from first to third). . . so, bear with me. And I have to figure out how to get some pictures on here.

But what's my purpose? Too many lesson plans have made me wonder this about everything: what's the objective for this blog? Maybe I can use it to vent after a long day of teaching, reflect on my class, life (or lack there of). . . who knows. Or finally make myself journal again.

Monday, August 01, 2005