The Papaya

“Did I tell you about the papaya?”  my son asked on the way home Sunday night.

I had only seen him for a little bit on Friday, so I hadn’t heard anything about school on Friday yet.  “No, I don’t think so.”

He took a bite of his granola bar and chewed.

I waited.

And waited.

“Are you going to tell me about it?”

He nodded as he chewed another bite of the granola bar.

I waited.

“The Papaya,”  he said and then paused.

I waited.

“Ok.  So, Friday during Lanugage Arts -”

“Wait!” I interrupted.  “Did you just say the title of your story?”

He nods and then continues telling me the story of “The Papaya.”  Yes, my son, the writer, apparently titles even his verbal stories.  It wasn’t actually titled “Papaya,”  it was another “p” word that is more of what you would expect from middle school boys.   He went on to tell me a story about middle school boys, a “papaya” drawing, and an unsuspecting teacher on the last day before spring break.  The more he tells me about middle school, the happier I am to be here in elementary school,  far away from “papayas” and middle school boys…


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!”

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I’m not June Cleaver.

“Can you put the discs for this audio book back in the right pockets?  I want to return it after the movie,” I ask my son as I drive to the movie theater.

He grabs the case to do as I ask, but I can sense his disapproval without even looking at him.  I wait for him to complain. He just can’t except I’m never going to me the mom that always puts things back where they are supposed to go.  Our house will never be in order.  I am not June Cleaver, to his constant disappointment.

“Why don’t you just put them back in the right place as you go?” There it is.

“I’m driving when I listen to it.  It wouldn’t be safe.”

“You’re the one that wants to drive,” he retorts, not being serious, but needing to give a smart response.  “No one said you need to go to work.”

“You’re the one who wants food and shelter,” I respond.  Got him.  I think.  But, I should know better…

“I never said that.  I just want WiFi.”

Oh…life with a teenager…


“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!