Helter-skelter Periods…

I love strong, stubborn kids – and my class is full of them this year!  However, it can be exhausting trying to change the way they do something…example:  periods.

“The ideas are great.  It’s a slice of life.  But, you don’t have any punctuation.”

“Aghh…fine.”  She skips away to add punctuation and then comes back in minutes.

I reread the slice and there were periods now, but they seemed to be randomly placed throughout the piece.  “Achoo, (her nickname…)  it seems like you just put periods in random places…”

“Because that’s what I did!”

“Hmmm..Well, that’s not how punctuation works. ”

“But people reading it need a breath.  They’ll get tired.”

“You are very right about that, but not in random places. The periods need to be at the end of sentences, so your story makes sense.  You can’t just put them wherever.”

“Ms. Bless, that’s just who I am.  You can’t change that.”

Oh boy…

I honestly don’t remember the continuation of this specific conversation, in large part because I just couldn’t move past, “that’s just who I am.”  And also, because before and after this, Achoo and I have had many conversations about punctuation. I know she can find the right places for them, once I can get her to accept that it does matter WHERE you put them…

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Homemade Confetti

I stepped into the recycling bin.

“Yes!  It’s time!”  Two girls knew exactly what it meant because they had been waiting all IMG_3230day for this.  They made confetti at home to throw at me and I promised they could at the end of the day.

The kids gathered around the bin, excited as the two girls threw their homemade confetti.  And then threw some more confetti.  It was in my hair, in my face, and all over the room.  I’m not sure that standing in the recycling was effective at all…

I love these strange, creative children.  I have no idea where they come up with some of the things that happen, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

Answer to a Question I Never Asked…

We stood on the stairs, waiting for the bell to ring.  It was 2:59, the end of a very long day.  Their excited speech echoed through the stairwell.  It took all the energy I had left to keep them in line and not screaming.

I was talking to one student when I looked up a few steps.  Ms. Fruity (self-proclaimed nickname of one of my third graders) turned and pressed her face against the cold white stones of the wall and sniffed.  “The wall smells like fart.”

“Who wants to get wet?”

“Who wants to get wet?”

It didn’t really register right away.  I was across the room at my table finishing taking attendance and Cam was sharing some tiny dolls during morning meeting.  I heard her say it, but it didn’t register until…

“Aaahhhhh!”

I looked up and Cam had the tiny doll in her hand, squeezing it as her arm swung from left to right.  As her arm moved, a steady stream of water hit everyone sitting in front of her.  I got up, moving across the room to stop the water.  But, she was ready.   Before I could get there a second doll, a second stream of water, more screaming.

Surprisingly, not one child moved or complained.  She did, after all, ask them first… “Who wants to get wet?”

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The Book That Changed Everything

This is the personal narrative that I am working on alongside my students in our first unit.  It’s a work in progress. We’ll be publishing by the end of the week! 

Ring.  Ring.  Ring.   I saw Jackie flash across the screen.  Why is she calling me?  What does she want?  She only calls when she wants something.

“Hello.” I answered.

“Guess what, Jennie?!?!”

“What?”  I was surprised at her excited tone.  What could it be?

“I finished Twilight already!”

“The book?  Didn’t you just start it the other day?”  That couldn’t be right.  She had barely finished a book in her life, let alone one for fun…and only in a few days!

“Yes. I couldn’t stop reading.  I was picturing Bella and Edward in my head as I was reading-  since I knew what they looked like from the trailers.”

“Wow…Wait, you didn’t usually see pictures in your head?  With other books?”

“No.”

That was the first time I truly realized that the reason I loved reading was the movie that was happening in my mind as I read.  Jackie never had that before.  But because of the movie trailers out for Twilight, she saw the “mind movie” and she enjoyed reading.

Because of this realization, visualizing became a much more significant part of my reading instruction.

The book changed everything for Jackie as a reader.    The book changed everything for me as a teacher.  The bheading

What if…?

Trying out some poetry in preparation for our poetry writing unit:

 

What if there was no CCRAP test? 

I might get to teach students what they need,

without the pressure of this test

in the background of my mind.

What if my worth as an educator

wasn’t decided by a standardized test?

I could stress less, smile more.

I could make a bigger difference.

What if there was no CCRAP test? 

I would not be sitting here dreading going to school

Dreading the next few weeks of testing

And everything that goes along with it.

What if educators made the decisions?

There would be no CCRAP test.

Dear First Year Teachers,

Dear First Year Teachers,

I have never been able to complete a letter to you newbies.   I have tried, but never got past drafting.  This is how my letter started last summer (it was still in my unpublished posts):

Dear First-Year Teacher,

Congratulations!  Your first year of being a teacher will be upon you very soon.  I am sure you are full of emotions.  If your emotions are anything like in Inside Out (which I suggest you see before the start of the year), I am pretty sure that Fear is at the control panel most of the time.  Don’t worry, it won’t always be that way.  Joy will be upfront quite often.

Be sure to ask questions.

And that is as far as I got before I couldn’t decide what to else to say.  Everything in that first draft is true.  And there is sooooo much more…I will try to keep it short and sweet.  I know that there is a lot that you need to know, but I also know that you won’t remember most of what people tell you!

Ask questions.Do the best youcan until you knowbetter. Then whenyou know better,do better.- Maya Angelou copy

Ask for help.

Listen to your students.

Save resources and advice somewhere because you aren’t going to remember it once the school year starts.  But, later after things settle down, you will know where to look to find it and you will be better ready to decide if it is useful to you.

When people start telling you more than you can handle, tune them out.  Smile, nod, and say “Thank you.”  You aren’t ready for what they are saying, and that is perfectly fine.

Good Luck and Have Fun!

Jennie B.