Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What the Kids Say: Relationship 101

Junior High is the age when most people have their first real relationships, get their first kiss and receive their first heartbreak. As a teacher I am privy to all the declarations, miscommunication and advice columnist that take place in the halls- sometimes I'm even on the receiving end . . . 

Female Student: "He broke up with her, but he told her he'd ask her back out in two weeks."

Female Student: "Stop touching me, you do not have to touch me every time you walk by!"
Male Student: " Girl please, you better be happy you gettin' touched cause don't nobody else want to."

Male Student: "Miss I need teachers to stop given homework, I can't see my girlfriend with all this homework. I haven't seen her in a month- she could have another boyfriend by now."

Male Student: " She is so pretty, I love her so much. I love how pretty she is and I want to buy her everything she wants"

Me: " Do you just love her for her looks? I'm sure her looks-"
Male Student: " Miss, I'm in the 8th grade."

Male Student: " I dated an older girl and she was not as controlling as her. You can't give a girl your facebook password, you cell phone password, myspace password, twitter password and do everything she says. I don't care how pretty she is or what she gives you in return."

Female Athlete to Me: "Coach, you not that old! You can still get a man, your pretty and everything . . .even if you do have those funny ways about you. You can get a man if you want."

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

We Interrupt the Regular Scheduled Programming . . .

 . . . For State Mandated Testing, booo! Next week I will continue to on the series of suggested books, picking up with young adults AND because you dear readers are sooo patient there will indeed be two post.

Until then my hard working parents, here are some t.v. shows that keep distracting me as I wonder up and down the aisle refraining from reading questions and giving thanks that someone was kind enough to invent "wear your jeans to work" day. Put the kids to bed, snuggle up with your favorite warm blooded animal or glass of bubble- whatever makes you happy and get ready to zone out.

Amanda, how we've missed you. What better welcome back date than this fine gentleman beside you and a box of laughs. She's a good girl doing everything right, but everything keeps going wrong and he's a bad boy barely holding on, but still making it work. The cast is great and the anticipation even better. My favorite quote, " You didn't break, just bent."

Best Friends Forever:
Great laugh out loud moments of a grown up, healthy best friend relationship. Seriously, you will laugh out loud. The show has not premiered yet, but check out Hulu for a sneak peek. Favorite quote: " Fighting weight, gotta get back to your fighting weight."

Happy Endings:
This started out with one scenario of a couple breaking up, but keeping the friends and ended with a great group of friends who know entirely too much about each other to start looking for new friends- not that they want or need too. Favorite Ongoing Quote: " Bitch, it is four a.m."

This show is like Glee, only everyone is an adult or at least they're suppose to act like one. The voices are great and there are some genuinely funny moments. Favorite Quote: Every time someone breaks out in song

I love her stand-up and I love her show, but really I love her the comedic genius that is her and her on-screen boyfriend. Seriously, they are that couple that you would actually be willing to hangout with in your free time. Favorite Quote: " Hey TeenWolf, oh yeah I remember you."

You know what it stands for, don't pretend. First I love Annie Potts, I was raised by her and Julia Sugarbaker and she's just as great in this show. All these women carry their own comedic story lines and don't be fooled they're tough as nails. This show reminds me just how powerful a left handed compliment can be when delivered just right. Favorite Quote: "And if anything goes wrong, Gigi can just shoot 'em".

What are you watching to zone out from a busy day, or maybe you're like I used to be with no cable or internet and just stick to reading. Either way let me know what takes you away for a bit at the end of a busy, busy day. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

It Was That Kind of Weekend

One of my best buddies came into town this weekend and I was excited about the visit ALL week! In honor of one of my favorite distractions and all the fun I'm had this weekend I'm going to let the honorable Mr. Newman what exactly went down this weekend . . .

Dance, dance until I could no longer dance anymore.

Smelled, lounge in the presences of some lovely flowers at the Botanical Gardens . . . if only I could look this charming.

Have fun, pure fun with one of my closest friends.

Eat way more than I should, and like it.

And one to get me through this brand new week, full of STAAR testing. 

How was your weekend, did it leave you as worn out as mine has left me- there is a reason why teachers believe in early bedtimes. What all did you do OR not do?

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Control Freak Loosing Control

I have laughed so much this week with my students and colleagues, this week will probably rate amongst one of my favorites for this school year. With that sad, one of the funniest moments this week ( licking elbows anyone), was a result of me trying to lighten the mood after one of the darkest moments in our class history. My students now refer to this moment as " Miss loosin' her cool".

Anyone who knows me knows I don't loose my cool, I'm very laid back and if all else fails sarcasm will handle the situation. So how do I manage to stay in control of myself no matter what, simple- control everything . . . which obviously is not possible in a classroom full of twenty-nine students. I have tried so hard this year to control my one atomically disruptive student that slowly, but surely he has become the one in control. He controls the tempo of the class, my mood and even worse classroom instruction.

 Honestly, my thought process was that if every time someone in my class received a negative correction and he was the common denominator, then I just needed to eliminate his negative behavior and I would no longer have a slow uprising on my hands. The problem with that is that this students behavior has very little to do with me and acres to do with situations at home that a far out of my reach.

About the time that I was bending over from laughing so hard at the numerous attempts to lick the elbow I looked up and saw this overactive student laughing along with us and actually completely his work, but more importantly I saw the rest of my class laughing along. I realized that even though I can't control every aspect of my students life and I definitely can't control my students actions, I can control the environment that I provide for them. I can introduce them to healthy relationships with adults, I can provide a place where they share their opinions with very little judgement ( they have learned sarcasm well from me), I can help them understand the power of hard work and most importantly I can make them laugh, until they cry- which is highly possible with some of the comedians in my class.

So next week when I'm starting to look at that one student with ideas of how I can subdue him, I'm praying that I remember to stop looking at him and starting looking at the needs of my other twenty-eight students who only deserve my best not my worst.

So what have you learned this week dear friends, who has taught you something that you weren't expecting to learn anything from?

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spring Is Here, Dress Like It!

Spring is here my dear fellow teachers, please let the great change in season reflect in your dress. No more dreary black and gray, no more sweaters layered with more sweaters, and please throw out those sensible shoes that guarantee you will not be slipping in the snow. 

For the Ladies: 

 For the Gents:
The colors, the simplicity, the crispness, and the lack of layers. If you can't catch the attention of your students while standing at the front of the room looking like this nothing ever will. Nothing. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Few Good Distractions

Sometimes, heaven forbid I get a little distracted during my day. Thank goodness it usually occurs during sustained silent reading so no young minds are harmed, but for these distractions I'd be willing to risk a few young minds.
Dr. Avery, oh my. Honestly it's not Jesse Williams, the gent who plays Dr. Avery, but truly Dr. Avery who I find irresistible. The character is a great guy, hard working and just goofy enough that his great looks aren't too intimidating, but don't be fooled because he's a highly assertive man. 

A rebel with a cause, I just saw this movie over spring break with my little sister and man oh man was I okay with the scarce clothing. 

This guy is a model that liters my pinterest board. If I ever meet him I will promptly me handcuffed about 20 minutes after we make eye-contact. Seriously, Je t' adore. 

They just don't make them how they use to AND don't even get me started on the greatness of Paul Newman and Joanna Woodards marriage. 

Please, please do. Nerd love at it's greatest.  

What the Kids Say: The Funny Stuff

Here's a few funny comments from the past week that honestly had me dying with laughter . . .

Me: It's been scientifically proven that a human being cannot lick the tip of their elbow, but if you can do it I will give you a 90 in my class for the six weeks. Promise.

After numerous attempts . . .

Male Student Number1: If I could just grow my tongue, just like two more inches. They should invent that I can't be the only person who needs a longer tongue.

Male Student2: Forget that I'm just going to pop my shoulder out of place when I get home, my mom his going to be so proud of me!

Male Student: Miss you wanna know why I really didn't come to school yesterday. Cause it was rainin' and I was not sittin' at the bus stop in no rain just waitin'. Hmm, I didn't much even wanna come today and it was cold outside, so I sure wasn't waitin' in no rain.

Female Student: " I'm gone need you to stop raising your hand an' bein' a nerd. I know the answers too, now stop it!"
Me: " Hey, sportsmanship, we cannot play the game if you cannot treat each other with respect."
Female Student: " Miss, I'm just tired of them answering everything just because all they do is read all day!"
Are you smarter than a 5th grader, they're pretty intelligent and so adorable.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Don't Play the Video Game, Read a Book . . . Please, Oh Please

So a week before spring break I talked about books to start your children out reading. Now we're at the stage where you can tell a fire is growing, but don't know where to direct it or you can tell the fire is dwindling and are in search for some fuel ( sorry about the metaphor, but I am an English teacher). 

This kid is hilarious, my whole family adores these books (as in parents and siblings because I don't have my own kids or husband yet). And the narrator is the same age as your kid, so they're going through the same things at the same time. 

"Yo'or a wi'zard H'ry". Enough said. But seriously, I grew up with Harry, and cried at the end of the seventh book because it was over ( I still haven't seen part 2 of the last movie, I just can't say goodbye). 

Anything, she writes your daughter will love, the first two series above are friendly to all genders, but she focus's on young ladies and only features strong relatable protagonist. 

This is the book that introduced me into classics. I love the quiet language and stories in this book- every character is written so well and with such love. 

Please note that this post is geared towards kids ages 8-14, the next step is young adult a genre that I love so dearly and might flow into more than one post.

If you have any other suggestions for this age group please let me know, I would love the insight. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Why I L.O.V.E. Teaching

I'm back! I sooo enjoyed my break, my much needed break. I was sick the majority of the week, but that's okay because it meant I for sure received all the rest needed and was able to spend as much time as possible with my family.

I realized something though, I rarely talk about myself on this blog, and the whole point of this blog is for learning from each other, not just providing information. I'm a firm believer that in order to truly learn from someone there has to be trust and if you don't know me why would you trust me. In an effort for this to truly be a place of learning and growth I'm going to start talking about myself plenty more. And to start off here are the basic reasons why I teach, that drive me daily and get me through the tough times:

My co-workers, they are amazing and make me strive harder every day to be a better teacher and co-worker. 

I know in my soul that my lessons learned and taught to my students go beyond the curriculum. I have lived a very blessed life and know that those blessing can be shared with my students. Who I pray go on in life and  do so much more than I could ever imagine. 

My parents are teachers, so many of my aunts and uncles work in education- one of my grandmothers ran a daycare center. My name means, "to teach". I went to college originally for law school, but knew by the end of the first semester I could not ignore where my heart really lay. Teaching is in my blood and the foundation of my soul.

I love the written word, I love the history of literature and how literature has influenced so many things throughout the world. When I'm discussing my love of literature and authors that's when I really have my students attention, and they have mine. 
The laughs, the smiles and the greatness of my students. Yes, my students can be stinkers, but man oh man can they brighten a day. Not a day goes by that I don't laugh with my students . . . and occasionally have a laugh at their expense.

Those are a few of the reasons that drive me in teaching, just a few. What drives you in your work or just in your life?

Spring Break, Much Needed

Until next Monday, it's been fun, but you want no part of my Spring break becasue that's exactly what I plan to do- break!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

To Teach and To Play

Seriously my closet mantra is, "Just because I teach does, does not mean I have to give up my closet". It could help that I generate towards the 1940's secretary style anyways, but I love a little Rock n' Roll and that love always seems to creep it's way into my outfits- no matter where I'm headed. 

This outfit has the 1940's cover everything up agenda along with the curvy fit, but the textures and colors are all late 1960's early 1970's . . . perfect, for when I'm teaching and for when I'm playing!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Kids Say: Dead Hamster Society

Did your student bring a hamster to school? Did your student bring a dead hamster to school? Did your student bring a dead hamster to school in a Ziploc baggie? Did your student bring a dead hamster to school, in a Ziploc bag that was tucked neatly in her purse? *

If you answered yes to all of these questions no need to freak out, just follow the simple guide to a happier you. 

1.) DO NOT touch the creature! Unfortunately most teachers don't carry gloves, there are so many reasons why we should though, so many- have the student poke the bag to make sure no movement occurs. 
  • If you want to make a game of it and have all the students "poke the bag", you'll be the coolest teacher in school.
  • This step is crucial, if you've seen Tommy Boy you know nothing worse can happen than a wild animal awakening in a panic, bent on destroying everything in their path. Make sure the Animal is indeed DEAD.
2.) Make sure you keep a neutral tone and calm body language, when questioning the student to figure out what has lead you to this moment. The last thing you want is to make the student/owner of the creature feel as if their sanity is in question. 

3.) Establish the story of the true events that took place leading up to the hamster being stored in a purse. No confusion can be allowed because in the future when you are explaining to other teachers the situation you need to know if (a) the hamster was placed in the purse alive to be taken home later, but due to lack of air ventilation the animal quietly passed away or (b) the hamster was found dead and the purse was only temporary until the student located a final resting place. 

The most important thing to understand is that no matter how you handle a student bringing a dead hamster to school inside their purse, you are teaching a student who is willing to carry around a dead animal with no issue- proceed with caution. 

* All events discussed in this post are TRUE!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Tuck Them Tight, Read Them Right and They'll Dream Wonderfully All Through the Night

Whenever I'm telling some unbelievable, but oh so true story about a thick headed student of mine my friends always laugh and then ask with horror in their eyes, " how am I going to make sure that's not my kid?" 
And I always respond to them, just read to them as much as possible, as often as possible and as many different styles as possible.

Since obviously the reading starts young here's some starts:

Kids, love him, the rhyming and the characters are home to the fresh imaginations.
People who love me still give these books to me as presents, AND I learned why not to tell a lie, about too much junk food, and not talking to strangers from this family.

Girls and BOYS, love these characters with personality and imagination.

Love the love and friendship, The Season book was the first book I ever read to my parents . . . they were trying to see if I had just memorized all the others, proved them wrong and still have the book to this day.
There are so many more, but these are no without fail crowd pleasers- even adults cannot get enough. 
In a soon to come blog, I'll move past the "tucking them in for the night" stage and on to the maybe "grounded  from television you'll actually pick up a book stage".

Who says the reading has to be confined to bedtime?!

Monday, March 5, 2012

How to Do It ALL

Just a heads up, you cannot do it all, not possible, so don't even try. What you can do though, is calm your nervous and learn how to say no . . . I'm still working on that last one ( here's looking at you volunteer track season)

Now a major motion picture, I didn't have enough time to go see it though

  1. Make people give you deadlines, and then sometimes subscribe to the mantra, " My best work happens in the last minute"!
  2. Prioritize, everything cannot possibly be due on the same day AND if it is, then start saying "no". 
  3. Have your students grab a red pen and do some grading! Especially you English teachers, seriously grading essay's is a mountain, students doing some grading is a quicker way to kill the beast in the valley. 
  4. Don't expect perfection, aim for it, but be willing to settle for your best or even your "I'm still learning". 
  5. NETWORK, and that includes google ( my best lesson plan game from google, thank you NC) , Other teachers have so many resources that save you time and even more time. 
Most important: If you wake-up with jolt in the middle of the night because the nightmare you were having involved the problem kid, an evaluation and a flopped lesson all in the same day then you need to take a mental health day. Sunday night shakes is normal, but mass consumption of your profession will quickly eat away at your love of teaching before you reach spring break. Just call in sick, sleep, read you favorite book, go to a movie or achieve all those doctors appointments you've been putting off. 

Just take a day off, old school style.