The snow kept me from closure of 2009 with my class. Three days of school were cancelled, and so my students and I were all home bound instead of sharing in excited glances and anticipating voices. And by anticipating, I mean they would be all hyper and I'd be all Scrooge and "Stay in line!" and "Stop talking!" So, honestly, maybe this is a Christmas, er, Holiday, er, Winter miracle. Our sanity saved, but at the expense of closing out a few tasks.

I'll take it.

Merry Holidays, my little smarties. Stay warm and know that the greatest gifts you have are your family and friends.


One of my English Language Learners. We are working hard on learning the letters of the alphabet and some simple words. He is a trooper.

Working so hard on writing. HUGE accomplishment. She's working on a chapter book about her favorite cartoon. Characters recycled, but storyline is unique. Also - she found her glasses. I want to tape them to her.
Peer editing champions. These girls worked for a full 40 minutes on adding feelings and correct punctuation to a play they are writing. Every time I heard them, they were reading their lines out loud and then making changes to the writing so that the "reader will know how to say it." Sigh.
As an aside, the girl sitting facing the camera is new this year. Her mom brought her and 3 older siblings to our area for more opportunities - from Saudi Arabia. The mom spent days - weeks- months working long days and nights with her children to teach them English so they would not fall behind in school. You'd never know that just 1 year ago she didn't know any English. Except, well, I'm telling you. In her story she wanted one of the characters to have an Australian accent, which, in her mind, meant naming the parents in the story "Momyo" (mom-e-oh) and "Dadyo" (Dad-e-oh).

I am so proud of my authors. They just created their very own writing rubric from scratch, and we have been practicing using the rubric on sample writing. They have amazing input, and actually debate each other on the evidence to support the rubric in the piece we're studying. They actually cheered when I told them that tomorrow we'd be using the rubric on their own writing. Hooray for ownership over their writing!


Holding Our Breath

Here we are... my 19 learners and I... just a few days away from our "Winter Break." A few days that, no lie, will last a month. They are buzzing with santa talk and their plans to foil his quiet trip to their homes. They will hide "where the presents show up," as some of them do not and will not have trees. I love hearing about their family traditions.

Yeah yeah, you're probably totally getting your panties in a bunch and thinking "She TALKS about holidays?"

Yes. Yes I do. I talk about all of them, as long as the students start the discussion first. I share my thoughts, I listen to their stories. Their stories that are completely alive and moving with excitement and anticipation. I LOVE it.

I also love how we are all, all 20 of us, just dancing in our shoes about our upcoming break. They have such a great spirit. This is the week that my job becomes doubly hard - keeping 19 hyped up 9 year olds still in learning mode at this time of year is just, well, worth the summer break.

I will earn that break in the next 5 school days left until our break. Trust me.

Hang in there, sanity.



My classroom was adopted today! My stinky, bug-infested (more on this later) fourth grader-filled classroom has been graciously adopted by a complete stranger. Literally.

Last year I registered on on a whim. "What are the chances?" I thought. Well, here I am, a year later, and $100 richer. The site doesn't send you a check or anything, but instead offers a list of participating vendors, and then pays them directly. Lucky for me, one of the vendors happens to be OfficeMax. But you can also buy classroom chairs, desks, shelves, or, well, anything all the way down to erasers and staples.

I went on a pencil-buying frenzy. I bought good pencils, projector markers (for use on our math folder-games), clipboards (for those outdoor writing days), and publishing pens. I am beyond excited, and can't wait to share our gift with my class. Thank you, generous stranger, for giving us this wonderful gift. (My wallet and husband thank you as well).

What a wonderful day!


Slip and Slide and Fall Down

This morning we went for an early morning jog right before PE. We have been cooped up inside for DAYS due to wet weather, and even as early as arrival to the classroom I knew they'd need it. It was still pretty damp in the field, but dry enough to keep from getting muddy. I sent my group running "down and back," a quick jaunt compared to the normal 2 laps.

"Watch out for mud!" I exclaim as they go huffing off.

Then I see it. One girl's foot happens to find a huge mud puddle hidden by overgrown grass. She starts to slip, loses balance, and begins to fall into the puddle - which was 3x her size. Then a friend, a darling little girl, reaches her hand out to try to catch her friend... and is then taken down. Boots, jackets, and all... covered in mud.

Those poor things waddled their wet tushes (and toes) all the way up to the clinic to call home for replacement clothes.

Fast forward 3 hours to recess. A coteacher gave his class this lecture:

"Mrs. M's class has a sickness. They are going down fast. It's... it's... a serious case of mud-bottom. Stay away! And stay away from any and all mud at recess!"

Then I saw a student's foot sink into a huge quicksand-esque pool of muddy mulch and lose his shoe. Clinic.

Then I saw a student, so desperate to get control of the basketball, that he rolled right into a mud puddle at the other end of the playground. Clinic.

Both from my class.


I look out at Bug Lover - bless his little tiny-boned touchy-feely heart - and BAM - right as I made eye contact with him as he was running in the field (30 yards away) - he froze, stared at me...

as his pants fell down.

To his ankles.

In the middle of recess of about 10 classes. In the middle of the field.

He just could not manage to get his hands under his coat to pull them up in time.

At least that's what I'm hoping.


Extracurricular Activities

Do you want to join a club?

Thinking that there are some free moments in your day that you'd like to commit to a student-organized group?

Wishing YOUR writing workshop produced such authentic (ha) activities as a student-written oath for his NEW club? An oath that he took through the ENTIRE writing process (hooray for now)??

Let me share the oath (shh, don't tell I told!), and you can tell me if you'd be interested.

I, (enter your name here), do sullenly swear (solemnly is meant, but this is the word the student spell checked on in there...)
that by joining this Gay Club,
that I will abide by being Gay for Life.

What? But Mrs. M, I meant gay like happy!

In case you're wondering, this student did not actually mean gay as in happy. This is my can't-keep-my-hands-to-myself Bug Lover who has been on a constant track between counselors. So here I stand, oath in hand, armed with the most brilliant professionals that are locked and loaded and willing to help this young man. Before.... well, before his hands roam too far from home.

I wasn't too gung-ho about above mentioned power-intervention until yesterday. The day my friend asked another "Do you want to sleep next to me tonight?"

Yup, I'd take that as a sign that it was time.

And just for fun, here are some of the recent questions I have had to ask Bug Lover:

"Did you lick _______'s shoulder?"

"Were you just chasing ________ with your hand?" & "Why?" & "What was it doing there?"

"Do you understand what I mean by 'you're making people uncomfortable'?"

and my personal favorite (which was actually said by a student who witnessed strange behavior in the bathroom):

(Setting: QUIET writing workshop. Enter huffing and puffing students who ran from the bathroom, who then SHOUT across the quiet room:)