Wednesday, October 28, 2009

distractions, distractions

I have discovered that 3rd graders are masters of distraction! Just in watching them for one period here are the ways I saw them creatively distract themselves and each other:

folding tinfoil from lunch into the shape of a cell phone
erasing writing on a desk
writing on a desk
sharpening a pencil
asking to sharpen a pencil
talking about monday night football
realizing someone shouldn't be sharping a pencil and telling the teacher
cutting a piece of paper
tearing cut pieces of paper into smaller pieces
throwing a pencil
dropping a pencil
picking up a pencil
arguing about whether your neighbor's arm is actually in your personal space
asking a friend to sharpen your pencil
sharpening a pencil


Monday, October 26, 2009

SL (looking me up and down): You are SMALL!
Me: And today you are my favorite child.

ancient greece, meet modern woman

I was reading some "Greek Times" newspapers with my 3rd graders the other morning and included was a place for the kids to vote for the next official in the government. A bright little girl, H, was choosing her vote and I mentioned to her that if we were actually in Ancient Greece she wouldn't be able to vote because she's a girl.

Her prompt response:

Well, if I had a husband I would just lock him out of the house until he agreed to vote the way I wanted him to.

Look out ancient world, here she comes.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

3rd grade

Yesterday I left behind the world of A for apple, what number is this?, go wipe your nose, share the playdough, is it nap time yet?

to walk
for the first time

to meet 3rd graders... who are legitimately as tall as I am.

Here is a snippet of conversations from the morning:

"I spent most of the weekend watching horror movies and my mom was like, 'Uh, that's going to rot your brain.' And I was like 'UH! Is your brain rotting?? NO!' Then I did some work on my lap top because I'm publishing a book. I don't know how much money I'm going to get from that. We'll see." -- lil miss m.

"In exciting news I found my yellow droid I had been looking for. A funny thing about that droid finding-- it was in my sister's lego box. I'm not sure at all how it got there." -- s.

SL: "What's your first name?"
Me: "Shannon."
SL: "Lemme get a handshake."

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Did you do your homework?

Yesterday Miss M. marches into my class and announces in her sweet Southern accent, "Miss Shannon! I did my homework!" (The word homework has about 5 syllables for this child.)

Her "homework" involves a book she chooses to take home that goes home with a one-page activity sheet for her to do with her parents/guardians if she chooses. Sidenote: these activities and books are actually really awesome because they were developed and paid for by the Curry School making it really easy for us to provide children with books every night and to connect parents to the child's learning and literacy. The activities are usually questions or pictures kids can draw and sometimes cut and paste.

Miss M had one such cut and paste activity, which when I pulled it out of the bag was curiously covered in blue spots. Miss M. explained, "I used grease."

Me: Um... excuse me?

Miss M: I used grease! We don't got no glue.

Me: You used hair grease??


She had cleverly glued little pieces of her homework together with blue grease. We actually decided not to send home a glue stick for future assignments for her because she was so proud of her innovative solution. We're going to let grease-glue be a part of her culture.

Monday, October 12, 2009


Today was a great teaching day... one of those days where you finally wake up without a stuffy nose and miraculously rested despite an impossible five hours of sleep... again.

Where you walk into your classroom somewhat prepared but more importantly excited for ten 4-year-olds to walk in the door. A day where you actually hope all ten kids will show up, instead of guiltily crossing your fingers that a certain snotty nosed child will stay home.

And it's a day where your kids feel it too! They walk in with enthusaism and announce, "I'm heeeeeeeeeere!" They hang up their backpacks and put their folders in cubbies without you saying it 78 times in a two minute period.

It's a day whene you're delighted to offer choices for breakfast-- pizza (!), cereal, or graham crackers-- instead of being annoyed at offering ten children three choices, waiting 3 to 5 seconds for a response, then 3 to 5 more for the child to predictably change his mind, ask for juice, and remind you that they still need a spork. You don't mind the wait... you even tap dance, shaking the cereal as a tambourine as you wait. After all, it took you ten minutes to decide whether to have cereal, oatmeal, apple pie, or just coffee for breakfast this morning. (And you maybe had three of the four...)

Children sing the ABC song at circle time... loudly. And today it doesn't grate your eardrums but reminds you that three weeks ago many of them didn't know the letters at all. It's a day when you stop the entire lesson to congratulate one child on recognizing his name begins with an M and to have the nine other children offer him a round of applause.

It's one of those days when a girl calls your name 47 times on the playground, "Look, Miss Shanna!" in her piercing voice and you actually look 45 times to see her just standing, smiling back at you, wanting to be reassured she was worth seeing. The other two times you were busy handing out graham crackers, tying a shoe, and kissing a bumped head. Simultaneously.

Today was a day when a little boy with autism taught nine other children the numbers 1 through 9 and two of those children later taught him how to share the playdough so they could play with him. And you rejoiced.

Today was a day that you said, "Go to the bathroom." 56 times, read 6 stories, only of of them from beginning to end, tied 11 shoe laces, wiped 15 noses, put on hand sanitizer until your hands were practically pickled, opted for giving children choices instead of being efficiently in control, rubbed small backs until breathing slowed, hopped up to give a coughing child water, rubbed his back again until the coughing eased, and stayed just a little longer than necessary by his side, hand smoothing his curls and heart willing his body to fight off the flu.

You woke the children up with a slowly crescendoing, "Everybody Dance Now!" instead of snapping on flourescent lights and you worried less about getting the cots put away on schedule and concentrated more on rallying ten Michael Jackson fans into wakefulness.

At the end of the day you hugged the walkers as they passed by, blew kisses to the car riders on their way to the parking lot, and gave each child a fist pound on his way onto the bus. And then you stood on the steps of a school build in 1925 and thought... this was a good day.

Friday, October 09, 2009

One of our little guys walked in this morning carrying a very small journal.

Another boy asked, "Is that your diarrhea book?" (meaning Diary)

M answered, "Yea! It's my Diarrhea!"

Pre-K, I am going to miss you. 3rd grade here we come.