“She needed a man.”

“She needed a man.”

I had heard her “reading” behind me, but wasn’t focusing on what she was saying.  I was trying to enjoy our Flashlight Friday with some reading as well.  But that line – that line pulled me out of my book.

“She went to Africa.  She needed someone to take care of the chimpanzees.”

She continued to pace behind me, “reading” from her book.  I knew she wasn’t reading the words in the book.   Making up her own story is still her favorite reading time activity, even though she can read books that are “just right” for her.  Some days, like today, the day before Spring Break, it’s a battle we can’t fight.  We know we won’t win.  After several minutes of listening, it was clear she was “reading” about Jane Goodall.

It was taking every ounce of will power not to laugh.

“I read chimpanzee books until I was six.  Those were long years…”  she reads as if she is exhausted.

That was it.  I couldn’t contain my amusement, but tried to stay as silent as possible.  However, at this point others around us were hearing this, too.

What is she reading?” a boy at the next table asks.

“Don’t worry.  Read your book,” I reply as I pretended to read mine.

She continues on and he can’t let it go.

What is she reading?”  he asks again.

“About Jane Goodall and chimpanzees,” I tell him.


Then, the girl under my table, with a clear view of the book in question, says in a confused tone, “It’s about a dog and a dolphin?”


It’s a good thing it’s the Friday before Spring Break…

This is the same student that stars in my slices Finding a Just Right Book the Week Before Spring Break and What’s a Pole Vault?.    She is a fountain of slices!  She has been my muse this month!

Finding a Just Right Book the Week Before Spring Break

“How about this book?”  she says more to herself than me.  She doesn’t really care what I think.

“That book is in Spanish,”  I tell her, for some reason thinking it will be enough for her to put it back and pick a new one.  Some of the students know how to speak Spanish, a few more how to read it.  She is not in either of those categories.

She continued looking at it, getting ready to put it in her book bag.

“You don’t know how to read Spanish, so that book isn’t just right for you.”

“Yes I do.”

“You don’t know how to read Spanish. Put the book back and pick a new one,” I repeat.

She looks up at me and smiles, “Gracias!”

I can’t. Through laughter I repeat, “Put the book back and pick a new one.”

And so it started …

“Can you make me one?” Another student asks C, holding a piece of blank paper.

I could only see her back, but I could tell C just wanted to use her sacred ten minutes of quiet time to read her book. She had spent countless quiet times making them for the other students in the class and I could see in her body language that she was torn. She didn’t want to tell him no, but she also just wanted to read.

I took pity on her and did what I had been avoiding for weeks.

“Let C read. Come here and I will make it for you,” I told the student.

I saw disbelief in his eyes as he walked toward me. However, I also saw C’s body relax and slide back into her book.  And that made what I knew was coming (lots and lots of folding) completely worth it.

“You can make fortune tellers?!?” he and several other students nearby said in disbelief.

“Yes, I can make fortune tellers. This isn’t a new thing. I used to make them when I was your age,” I told them and they watched as I started folding.

And so it started – my week of making fortune tellers, teaching second graders to make fortune tellers, and then fixing the fortune tellers that the students didn’t fold carefully enough….


Now to find something to distract them for their obsession with fortune tellers…

This slice brought to you by the Comic Sans writer’s block trick.  How did that just work?!?!


Poison Dart Frog and SOL

“If you’ve been poisoned, you shouldn’t be talking.” It’s a reminder the fallen “flies” always need.  And they needed it once again during our morning game of “Poison Dart Frog.”

All of a sudden several of the “flies” on the opposite side of the circle erupted in laughter, my co-teacher included.  “Oh, G,” she said through her laughter.  “I need to write this down!” Then, she turned and started scribbling onto a post-it.

I’m not sure what G said, but I do know that I will get to read about it later on her blog.  Gotta love March and SOL!


“Mrs. Bless is painting her living room wall. It is 32 feet long. She painted 14 feet of the wall before breakfast and 5 more feet of the wall after breakfast. How much more of the wall does she need to paint?”

“So 32,”  one of the students say.

“Yep.  Draw thirty two,” I say, turning to get the attention of another of the students sitting at my table.   The second graders are practicing word problems in Class Kick and a handful of them are sitting at my table for the extra support.

They drew the tens and ones to make 32.  Now they needed to subtract with borrowing. I led them through the steps as they did it on their iPads,but with each step one of the students, G, did it by himself right before the group got to that step.

After subtracting five by crossing them out, he counted what was left.  “So the answer is is 13?!?”

“Yes!  Nice job!”  I held up my hand for a high five.

He high-fived me with a huge smile on his face.  “I’m a genius!”

Screen Shot 2019-03-19 at 12.01.45 PM




“Tomorrow…no….”  She pushed that little microphone and tried again, “Tomorrow!”

D walked by and noticed she was having some trouble with the text to speech feature on the iPad.  He tried to help.  “You have to talk like a robot. This is an android. It’s like a robot “

“What?”  She looked confused and had no idea what he was trying to say.

“You have to talk like a robot, so it understands you…because it’s a robot.”  D tries to clarify.  By her confused look, he obviously  figured out she still didn’t know what he was trying to say.  “Here, I’ll show you.”  Then, he touched the tiny microphone and said, “To-mor -row.”  This was followed by giggles from all of the kids around them (because he was saying it like a robot), but it worked!




I sat in a dark room working on plans while our class was at their special.  Suddenly, noise erupted from across the hall. stink bug

“It’s a stink bug!”

“I’m sorry I threw you, stink bug!”

“We’ll release it when we go outside,” I heard the poor teacher across the hall tell her students in an attempt to get them to settle and get back to work.

“She said we are going let it go!”

It doesn’t matter how old the kids or how experienced the teacher – if there is a bug in the room, there is no getting back on track…

“I hope that stink bug didn’t lay an egg!”

Full of excitement and questions.  Typing their slices with vigor.

I heard a noise.

Maybe it looks like a cage.

During morning meeting the coat slipped off a little and I saw a cage and little feet! “GASP!”

We decided to create a slice for our second graders to write about – the anticipation.  What was our surprise?  I kept glancing at the clock on the wall.  Checking the time on my phone.  This unveiling was the slice of the day I was waiting for!  Almost time for the reveal…

Clap.  Clap. Clap clap clap.

“Ok, Close your iPads and put them in the middle of the table.”  I looked over at my co-teacher.  “Ready?”

She stood next to the surprise and held the coat.  “You want to count down?”

“5, 4, 3, 2, 1….”

The coat slowly moved to reveal an animal carrier.

“WHAAATTTT?!”  “What is it?!”  “It’s a kitty!”

“Oh my gosh, there’s two things in here!”  my co-teacher said in mock surprise after she peered into the cage.  This was followed by more screams and excitement.

“Ohhhh, it’s a baby ferret,”  she told them as she pulled it out and held it in her hands for them to see.

Silence for a good few seconds.

“Is that real?”  Well….no.   We got them the class pets they have been asking for.  We led them to believe they were real.  But, no, they are not breathing animals.  And they were definitely disappointed.  Their slices today about yesterday’s reveal should be interesting… I’ve already seen a draft of one…



You can see the video and pictures on Twitter.

What’s a pole vault?

Estimation.  Thanks to estimation180, our students are doing pretty well.  While practicing today the struggle wasn’t deciding if an object was closer to five centimeters or five meters – the struggle was What is a limousine?  What is an olive?  What is a golf tee?  And since we were using an online program, I couldn’t predict what they were going to need to know and not everyone had all the same questions.   I tried showing the entire class, but it’s Friday and it just caused more talking and less working. So, I answered their questions as they came up.  What is a limousine?  What is an olive?  What is a golf tee? 

“What’s a pole vault?”

This was maybe the fourth time I had been asked this specific question in about five IMG_5201.PNGminutes.  One girl, A, had been sitting at my desk so I could help her.  She had seen me show each student the picture on my phone and explain what it means to pole vault.

Picking up my phone, A looks at it and responds for me, “It’s this guy using a pole and wearing a really bad outfit.”  The student who asked the question looked at the picture, looked at A, and then walked away.  Apparently that was enough information to answer the question. Or maybe he just knew better than to question it…

You know how sometimes your curiosity is telling you to ask the follow up question while your teacher brain knows it will not go anywhere productive and you really should just let it go?  This was one of those times. I gave in.  I asked the question.  “A really bad outfit?”  I asked.

“Yeah…It should be pink.  We wear pink on Thursdays…”

What?!?!  Yep, nothing productive.

“No.”  I replied.  “We wear pink on Wednesdays.”  I couldn’t help it…