Saturday, February 24, 2007

No Wives 16

LawyerBoy is gearing up for the annual golf trip; nothing like a trip to the coast for a week of golfing in Men's Town. (Fraternity brothers and my father go on this annual pilgrimage. Ask me how I feel about that one.) LawyerBoy has never missed an annual trip; he went one year in a walking cast two months after he fell off a building and two weeks after BrownBear was born. (Are you kidding me?) Thank goodness my mother was here. I thought about having him served with divorce papers on the 18th green at HarborTown, but my mother told me it was just the hormones.

We have begun to look forward to these annual golf trips as girls week; we call it No Dads.

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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

BrownBear's Day

Eleven years ago today... we got our BrownBear. Her nickname (yes, sometimes, I actually do refer to her as BrownBear) came from the first little stuffed brown bear she had in her crib. She still has Brown Bear and will occasionally take him out. She has outgrown her dolls, preferring to listen to the same crazy music as her sister and to play computer games with her friends on-line. She is somewhat the tomboy who can outplay the boys at football during recess. She can be a beautiful girl - she is starting to get her grown up face - and I can see the woman hiding behind her little girl looks. All that to say, the baby has grown up.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy St. Valentine's Day

This silly holiday kills me. I have noticed that it is bigger than Christmas. I am showered with love offerings, including the big heart filled with Turtles.

I watched as the students passed out their Valentines. One boy handed each of the girls a Valentine and stated, "This doesn't mean anything; my mother made me do this." I had to turn away to keep from laughing out loud.

The entire day was a sugar high. When they crashed, they crashed hard.

Happy St. Valentine's Day, to you, too!!

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

She Just Didn't Think I Was On

Our district has begun to require Focused Walk Throughs in the classroom. As explained, a focused walk through has an administrator walking through the classroom looking to see if the students are focused on the tasks presented and to see if they can explain what it is they are doing. Not the teacher. Many teachers are beginning to express concern that these walk throughs are going to become part of the required evaluations - the dog and pony shows that always go on during the evaluation season. Last week, the AP came into my classroom as my student teacher began teaching science and she said to me, "Oh, you're not on."

My first reaction was WHAT?? On what? On review? On show? On crack. Because I figured that is what she was on, making a statement like that. She could have easily determined whether or not the students were on task. She could have ascertained whether the standards were being taught or not. However, the first thing out of her mouth should not have been, "Oh, you're not on." No, I'm not. Get a clue.

On a lighter note, we are changing up a few things in the classroom in the next few weeks.

First, we are doing something for President's Day that I stole from PrepGirl's middle school called Presidential China. (Now, my kids thought we were going to do something about the presidents from China and I had to hit myself in the head; any questions about why I thought we should do something about the presidents?)
Everyone gets a president; everyone researches that president. Everyone gets a paper plate and all that information goes on the plate. Plate is decorated - voila, 'Presidential China.'

Second, the dynamics of my classroom have changed again. I have lost a student. Someone asked me how many students there were in my class and I honestly didn't have any idea. Please, someone tally and let me know. How can anyone teach with all this movement going on?

We are also doing a short play about Langston Hughes for Social Studies. We are studying the Jazz Age and we are right in the middle of Black History Month and I couldn't believe my luck at finding this little gem. So, I gathered the troops and asked if they would like a little extra credit. (Hey, Judy, let's go out back in this old barn and put together a musical!) Of course; anything to get away from the routine. So, my budding thespians are gathered together to create a little play about Langston Hughes. The reward is performing for their old 4th grade teacher who is going to start a mini unit about his writing next week.

The Great Dixon Ticonderoga Pencil Experiment is going well. Again, my students think I am a bit eccentric, but I have banished all pencils from the pencil sharpener except those. I have removed all pencils from the room except those and when they need one, they ask me for one of my fancy new pencils. And I happily comply. The pencil sharpener hums happily along. The line is only long when they decide to stand there themselves. And these pencils erase beautifully. Someone asked - it is true. I'm still waiting for a reply to my e-mail from the Ticonderoga people; just ship my case of pencils directly to teachergirl.

Today, BrownBear has her first interview for middle school. She says she isn't nervous, but she isn't awake yet, either. This is for what she is calling her back up school. I laugh as I write this. This school doesn't take anybody - we can't figure out who they accept and how they accept them. The interview for her first choice is next Saturday. I think that will be a horse of a different color.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Great Ticonderoga Experiment

Today at Costco, I bought twelve dozen Dixon Ticonderoga pencils (made of finest cedar) for seven bucks and some change. I just gave a box to BrownBear's best friend and I am planning on handing them out to my class tomorrow. No more crappy pencils in Mrs. Teachergirl's classroom. This whole episode is being brought to you by a blog from Bluebird's Classroom entitled "They Just Don't Make Them Like They Used To."

I am only intrigued by this because of the number of electric pencil sharpeners I have gone through in the last seven years. I can't even count the number I have bought. I have actually had room mothers buy them for me. I am afraid they think I am somehow selling them on the black market. LawyerBoy has had the same electric pencil sharpener on his desk since I met him our junior year in college. His parents informed me today that they bought him that electric pencil sharpener when he was in junior high school.

Now, I don't know what gives. LawyerBoy was an accounting major; he sharpened more pencils than everyone else I knew in college. He has had this pencil sharpener for 30 years. At least. I can't keep one for six months.

We shall see if the rotten, crappy school pencil is, indeed, what is killing the sharpener.

I, personally, have always loved the Dixon Ticonderoga. It is smooth, sleek. It smells right. Really. I had my entire math class just take a whiff of a brand new box of them last week. "Smell, boys and girls. This is what a real pencil smells like." BrownBear just smiled and shook her head; the rest of them smelled and nodded and said," Yes, Mrs. Teachergirl, this is what a real pencil is like."

Tomorrow is Christmas for a girl like me. New pencils. Isn't this why all teachers really became teachers? Ticonderoga pencils?

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Saturday, February 03, 2007

Is Stadium Seating An Option?

Fridays are usually fabulous. But, guess what? ANOTHER new student. Probably a perfectly fine one, but another new one, none the less. We were supposed to be finished with performance series testing and she walked in the door as my last student was finishing up. And right about then, the AP comes over the intercom and asks if the 5th grade is finished with testing. Was she there in the front office? Didn't she see this new fifth grader registering? Uh, NO. The fifth grade just got another fifth grader. See her? About thirty seconds ago, you were probably looking at her.

I'm going to Home Depot today to buy some lumber. I think I'm buying some 2 x 4s so I can build me some stadium seating in my trailer. I got three last week; who knows what next week will bring.


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