Background

3/29/09

Spring, Please Come Quickly

He stared out of this window for most of the rainy day we had yesterday. Poor guy. He just wants to get out and play! ME TOO!

3/27/09

Breakfast

There's nothing like breakfast with Mr. on a day off of work.  Yum.  PS: Catholics, ignore the bacon. 

3/19/09

Insults According to Nine Year Olds

Today I had to have a discussion with two of my students about the ways in which we treat friends.  Lately, I have had to break up verbal arguments between these two specific students, even though they say they are good friends. 

Last week, I caught them in the middle of a "Your mama" war of wit.  I immediately cut that line of discussion... but then I kept overhearing one or the other make completely rude comments such as "You are stupid," or "You are bad at checkers."  These are things I can "handle" (if by "handle" I mean chuckling under my breath right before I address them in my super-teacher voice. 

Then there was today.  I overhead another "stupid" comment - which, in my professional world, is referred to as "The S-word." 

When I took one of them in the hall, he was quick to note the names that were being spit back and forth between the two.  

"Jenny 20"  (a nod to a fat joke that involves the end of the Jenny Craig phone number)

"White primate"   (fourth grade racism. sigh)

"Fat" (how unoriginal, right? yawn.)

And my personal favorite:  "Bisexual dinosaur."   

My response to the last one: "Dinosaur? Now that's absurd. You're 9."

I'm awesome.

3/18/09

Discipline

At my school, Wednesday is the usual day in which our fabulous student support staff, special ed specialists, and administrators, all get together to have meetings assessing support for identified students.  This team is amazing, and I truly admire all that they do.  

As the classroom teacher, I often attend said meetings that involve my students.  Today was one of those meetings.  

What goes on in that room is completely confidential, but I will say, that at one point the parent said to me:

"Why do you allow _____ to do that in your room?"

I remained professional, but really wanted to have at it with the parent. 
Urgh.

3/13/09

Field Trip and Fall

For the last 2 weeks, Rain Dancer has had a "sore" toe.  I say sore, because I'm not really sure what is going on with it.  When he first started complaining, I decided that his toe was crammed into a too-small-shoe.  Apparently the doctor agreed, and we both gave the advice "Buy new shoes."  Well, apparently what we needed to say was "Buy new shoes of a larger size."

So, for two weeks now, he has been dragging his injured foot around the school - at a slower than normal pace (and if you know him, you know that there is absolutely nothing that will get him to move faster).  My pleas of "We need to pick up our pace" have been met with a hunched back, practically dragging hands on the ground, and the pace slows even more."  I have also been met at the door with a shoe in one hand, and a bloody sock on his foot.  He has offered to show me his bloody foot, and has described in great detail how the care of the toe is going and what has been happening with said toe - and what sticks to it.  

Apparently, last night, RD went to the hospital for the offensive toe.  At this point you should be imagining the slowest walker on the face of the earth, plus he's now faced with a toe injury, and to top it all off - he was at the hospital until 2am - so he's sleep deprived.  

Fast forward to today:
Today we went on a field trip.  It was outdoor for 90% of the time.  Amidst snow flurries, we hauled onto our busses and waved goodbye to our nice warm classroom.   And our nice chairs.  
We walked. And walked. And walked.  

RD was taking all of this with great stride, and was managing to keep up with the class with no problem.  

Then he saw the stairs.  

Our class IA led us up these stairs by the water.  At the bottom, RD declared NO, HE WAS NOT GOING TO GO UP THE STAIRS.  He couldn't, he just couldn't.  He could not possibly survive the stairs.  

As our class passed us on the stairs of death, we took our time - one step at a time.  My arm was linked in his, and I was walking the stairs for the both of us.  

As we touched down at top stair, I released my grip to prance around like Rocky.  I even began making crowd noises and humming the theme song.  As I released my grip, RD dropped to the ground like a rock.  

So there he was, lying in the middle of the walkway.  It was just the two of us - our class was out of sight.  The other classes from our school (including my wonderful co-teacher that is my usual "backup") were on a different path. I was sure that this was the end of me.  

There was no getting him up - none of my usual tricks were working, and he was just rolling on the ground, moaning, and telling me that he was going to go drown himself in the river.  I had nothing left in my pocket of tricks.  I couldn't even distract him (the biggest trick of all).  

Then, I see some people - a nice couple on a stroll - walking right towards us.  I was preparing myself for the "Oh you poor girl" look that I'm sure parents get with toddlers throwing tantrums in the grocery store.  Then, in a nice loud voice, I bend down to RD and I say:

"C'mon little boy, let's go find your teacher."

He laughed, and stood up.  Just in time for those strangers to pass us and smile. 

3/12/09

Finding Voice in History

"Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions.  All life is an experiment.  The more experiments you make the better.  What if they are a little coarse, and you may get your coat soiled or torn?  What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice?  Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble."  -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

I recently made barely a touch of reconnection with an undergrad professor of mine.  So, my thanks to him for the knowledge and power to make it my own in my current environment.  I found this under his favorite quotes, and I plan on sharing it tomorrow with my students.

3/4/09

Clinic Pass

Note from nurse: 

"Pls allow him to remove shoe to put ice on toe."

What she did not say was that THAT ice pack would be on his toe, in his shoe, on the table, on his face, and back around again. But thanks for the note.

3/3/09

The Storm IS the Calm

Today was the first day of the school/work week for us.  We didn't come in Monday because of the snow, and today was a 2 hour delay.  On the outside, the crusty part as it turns out, a day off and sleeping in today - awesome.  The gooey undercooked middle is the mental state of the students on such days.  

For instance: 

One student refused to do any work at any point in the day - and anytime I would try to coax her into anything productive, she would stomp around the room chanting "I want to go back to my ditch."  Community service? No - she had just spent a day digging a ditch in her yard out of snow. She stopped talking to me about halfway through the day, or I'd update you on her ditch planning status.  

Another student came in to school wearing a cloak of horrible mood.  He laid in the middle of the room and refused to move for a good portion of the morning, and then finally sat up in the middle floor for the rest - pushing everything around him out of his way and across the room.  As we were lining up for lunch, he retreated to his seat.  Horrible timing - as we were trying to talk him into leaving the room now to go to lunch.  My usual trick of sending him early to "hold our seats" didn't work, as he groaned and grunted his disagreement.  

He finally showed up to work, but refused to eat lunch.  The rest of the afternoon did not look up for us, he and I... and we just agreed to disagree on any and everything - including when he plugged his ears and hummed at the top of his lungs. During my minilesson.  I was definitely at a level 4 voice trying to talk over him.  But, friends, at least I wasn't talking over his sobs like last week.  

Here's to tomorrow and all of the potential to be a better day! 

3/2/09

Taking My Kid Out

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Here is my handsome little Jack... enjoying his snow day! He doesn't quite get sledding - but he's just as happy romping around in the white stuff! He leaped off of the steps and took off!

3/1/09

11:30pm Update

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School is cancelled for tomorrow, so I am up late.  The snow is really coming down, so I thought I'd update my weather video. 

Here's to zzz-ing through usual school-start time!

Weather Update

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This is what it is doing at my place right now.