. Regurgitated Alpha Bits: November 2011

Monday, November 28, 2011

Genius is Relative

One of our sweetest, nicest, kindest, most responsible, never-gets-in-trouble boys came to school today wearing a necklace with a big ole medallion hanging on it.

That's weird.

So, I sat next to him to do a little questionin'.

Me: Hey Zach! You got a new necklace there.

Zach: Yup! (Big grin.)

Me: Do ya know what it says on your medallion?

Zach: Yup! "Geniuses." (Bigger grin.)

Me: That's kinda what I thought you'd say. You're wearing it because you're a pretty smart kid, huh?

Zach: Yup! (Gigantic grin.)

Me: I agree, Zach. You are a smart kid, which is why I think I should tell you that your necklace says, "Guinness" and THAT is a beer.

Zach: (Huge, mortified, beer-bottle-sized eyes. No grin.)

Me: That probably explains why a necklace about "Geniuses" is shaped like a bottle.

He pulled that necklace over his head and jammed it into his pocket faster than college student in a beer drinking contest.

Poor kid. He couldn't look me in the eye for the rest of the day.

I should have confiscated it.

It would have made a great gift for my husband!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

You Asked for It

I've received many emails asking me for more information about King Arthur Flour and their Life Skill Program, so click here if you're interested.

I'm so glad my teammie found this program and that our kids could participate.

Best of luck to you and your kiddos if you decide to do this or any other charity work. It's the perfect time of year for giving!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Baker's Dozen Times Seven

After a few weeks of banging my head against the wall with Howard, I needed some feel-good stuff to happen.

Ask and ye shall receive!

Thanks to my take-charge, do-gooder teaching partner and some pretty awesome students, my wish was granted.

You see, my partner is one of the good guys. His message to our students is consistently positive and always sincere. Each year, he seeks out ways to allow our students to be of service to others; reinforcing the message that no matter how much we are struggling, there are always ways to we can help others who are struggling more.

AND, because he drags me along on his charitable adventures, when it's all said and done I look like this great teacher too!

Great-by-Association is more like it.

Well, my teammie contacted King Arthur Flour and arranged for them to come to our school and teach our students how to bake bread. After the lesson, the students were supplied with all the dry goods and a recipe, thanks to King Arthur Flour, to bake two loaves of bread at home that night.

One loaf was for our students to enjoy at home with their families. They were instructed to bring the other loaf back to school the next day so that it could be donated to needy families by way of the St. Vincent de Paul Society.

The King Arthur Flour representative was fantastic with the kids, and they loved the lesson. We gave them their bags of dry goods and sent them home with good wishes for some successful baking.

As they marched off with their baking materials, we teachers said we'd be so proud if 30 or 40 of our 100 kids managed to bake bread by tomorrow. Many of them have little money, live in apartments with several other families, and have parents that work crazy long hours. Thirty or forty is a fine amount of participants.

Our little bakers awaited us the next morning with 83 loaves of freshly baked bread! Some baked baguettes, some braided theirs, some made half-moons, and others made simple loaves. Eighty-three loaves of bread! One parent fouled up her recipe so she went out and bought two loaves of bread with her own money so her son could experience the power of charity.

Have you ever baked bread from scratch? This was 83 families that sacrificed at least 4 hours of their night to make bread for some other needy family to eat.

It makes my heart swell with pride.

I am humbled.

It is a privilege to teach these children.

It is my honor to continue to learn from them.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Language Barrier

Here's the scene:

Three little first graders are standing outside their room, talking loudly like first graders do.

Heck, like ALL graders do...

"You kill me!"

"No! You kill ME!"

"NO! I wanna be killed!"

A teacher, my teammie, was walking by and overhears this little conversation, and stops to discuss it with them....

...in Vietnamese.

She's not doing this just for fun. Two of the kids are Vietnamese, and speaking to them in their home language usually raises their level of respect.

The other kid is Chinese. No worries. She speaks that too.

The kids, of course, immediately deny their conversation.

The teacher, of course, tells them THAT is not gonna fly since she heard them.

Then, much to her surprise, one of the Vietnamese kids says, "I don't speak Vietnamese."

Leading her to ask, "Uh, really? Then why have you been answering my questions in Vietnamese this whole time?"

(insert pregnant pause accompanied by looking everywhere but at the teacher)

Looks like "deception" is just one more thing we don't do a good job of teaching in school.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Miss America

One of my favorite things to do is chat with the kids.

Informally, just hanging out, getting to know them and all their little kid thoughts.

A few weeks ago I was out with the kids during free-play on a Friday afternoon. Quiet little Ana giggled her way through a story about a time her mother pretended to be Miss America. How one morning, in her bathrobe and with bed-head hair, she slipped on her highest heels and sashayed through the kitchen waving the wave of a beauty queen and carrying the morning paper like a bouquet of roses.

Ana and her friends all pretended to be beauty queens in heels too and tottered on tiptoes across the playground, laughing and waving like her mother had.

That memory will always be special to Ana. It was a gift that she shared it with me.

Ana's mother was taken from her this morning. Cancer stole her, leaving her three daughters and husband with only memories.  

Every day we have with our loved ones is a gift, and our memories are what we find when we unwrap it.

Go hug your family.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Running Shorts

So we ran the mile again this week, much to the chagrin of most of our students.

Every week, we remind the kids to wear comfortable running shoes and loose clothing in preparation for the run.

But we SHOULD have reminded them not to wear their father's boxer shorts under their jeans because by lap 3, they begin to ride up...

...in a most uncomfortable manner.

And then, not only do you have to be miserable because of the running, but you have to do it with an atomic wedgie all of your own doing.