. Regurgitated Alpha Bits: 2016

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Keep It Clean, People

The other morning, I had a lovely conference with a lovely parent about their child's progress. English is not Dad's first language, however he speaks it pretty well.

Me: In class, we are working on writing more complex sentences rather than just simple sentences.

Dad: That's good, because I noticed in her homework that her sentences aren't as....uh....sexy as I'd like them to be.

Me: __________

Dad: You know...detailed. That's what sexy means, right?

Me: ______sure...

Thursday, September 1, 2016

You've Got a Friend

My teaching partners and I take different rotations for PE each day.

My focus is on developing the kids' cardio-respiratory endurance. Right now, we're working on jogging without stopping for 2 minutes, and it's HARD for the kids.

I asked them to encourage classmates who they see struggling. As I said to them, anyone can run past a person having a hard time, but a special person cheers them on.

We started the jog, and pretty quickly Marcus started struggling. He's a sweet kid, but life is not easy for him. He's not a fan of PE, not super popular with the other kids and not always willing to push himself in anything.

Nathaniel, a freckle-faced little guy, jogged up next to him when he saw him huffing and puffing.

He put his hand on Marcus' back and said, "You can do it, Buddy. Let's do it together!"

Nathaniel jogged next to Marcus the rest of the time, keeping his hand on his back and cheering him on. It was amazing to watch.

That afternoon I got to do what we teachers do not often have a chance to do. I got to write a note to parents letting them know what a terrific son they have raised. 

And I recognized that I need to be more like Nathaniel.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

What Does Home Mean?

Many many years ago I had a sweet little girl in my third grade class. She and her family were new immigrants from Mexico, and all five of them shared a rented bedroom in someone's house. Both parents worked hard and pushed their kids to do well in school. Over the years, I taught all three of the kids in the family. They're all grown now. Everyone graduated from high school. The two youngest went on to college and the oldest is married and has son of her own.

Yesterday, I heard a voice calling out to me as I drove down the street after school. I see the mom of these kids waving at me excitedly from a porch. 

"We live here now! This is our home now!!!"  

She was so proud, and my heart swelled for her and her family. I'm sure that house represents much more than a home to them.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

It Pays to be Nice

One of my kids was really mean to another kid. Really mean.

Me: I'm calling your parents.

Him: No! They're gonna get mad.

Me: I'm sure they will.

Him: They'll hit me.

Me: Where?

Him: On my butt.

Me: That's a bummer.

Him: Tell me about it.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Kickball Queen

I am not athletic.

In any way.

At all.


But that doesn't stop me from participating the Teachers vs. 6th Graders annual kickball game.

There was great news this year!

I did NOT hit any kids in the face with a ball during that game.
It was a refreshing change...

What DID I do?

1. Cheered on a teacher who ran clear across the field to get a ball that was dangerously close to becoming my responsibility.

2. Made student spectators stand so I could drag their chairs out to the outfield and sit in them while I played. Assistant Right Field, to be precise.

3. Took the "long way" out to the the outfield so I'd miss most of the inning at times, (Most times...)

4. Convinced a teacher's teenaged daughter who was visiting for the day to run for me when I was up to kick.

5. Called another teacher "delusional" when he suggested I "kick the ball low." (As if I have ANY control over where or how high that thing is gonna go.)

6. Took about 98.9% of the credit for us KILLING those 6th graders.

Take THAT, athletic skils!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A Little Too Open House

At Open House this year, I had a fun little conversation with a fourth grader from my class and her second grade sister.

Me: Wow! That's a nice diorama. That's a good grade on it too! Did you make it?

2nd Grader: No. My mommy did.

4th Grader (trying to save face): You helped!

2nd: No I didn't.

4th: Sure you did. You colored and painted.

2nd: No I didn't.

4th: You told Mom where to put stuff in the shoebox.

2nd: No I didn't. She made it after I went to bed.

4th: Well, you're not supposed to admit THAT to a teacher! You have a lot to learn. 

Monday, July 25, 2016

A Toes to You

Not school related, but funny nonetheless.

I got a pedicure recently. The lady in the chair next to me was a little wacky, and the lady doing her pedi did not speak great English.

Wacky Lady: I want a flower on my big toe. I don't care what color. Make it red. No, make it black.

Pedi Lady: What color?

WL: Red! No, black. Make it black.

PL: So, red?

WL: Sure. That's fine. No, wait, make it black.

PL: Sooooo, what color?

WL: Red.

PL: I'll make it red.

WL: No, black. I want black.

PL: Ok. ok. I'll make it for you.

She got her flower.

It was purple.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Boy Meets Girl

One of the kids' favorite topics in science is magnetic forces.

I integrate Language Arts standards into my Science instruction, so we read a little story about a lonely magnet who can't ever get near his friends. They are alike and keep repelling away from each other, as magnets do when like poles face each other.  Then one day, he meets a girl magnet who is the opposite of him, and he has an instant "attraction" to her.

Then we had to talk about the multiple meanings for the word "attraction" since many of my kids are second language learners.

And one kids says, "I get it. Attraction is what my mom feels when she sees a guy with a nice butt!"

Yes. Yes, that's it exactly. Be sure to tell your mom you shared that in class.
She'll be so proud of you.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Bridge Over Troubled Lectures

I had to talk to a dad about how his fifth grade son, who's usually super sweet, was picking on some of my fourth graders.

Clearly, Dad was not used to handling these situations, since his son is not often mean to others, so he fumbled his way through his lecture.

Dad: Why did you do this?

Kid: Jack was doing it, so I just started doing it too.

Dad: Jack?!? Never follow what Jack is doing! He's always in trouble. NEVER follow what he's doing Ever! Not unless he's jumping off a bridge.

Kid: _______

Me: _______

Dad: _______________ Wait. Scratch that. That's not quite the saying I thought it was. When he's jumping off a bridge, you jump too.

Kid: ______

Me: ______

Dad: _______________________ Wait. Not that either. Don't even go on a bridge with Jack. Aaaaaannd, stop picking on fourth graders.



Thursday, July 14, 2016

I'm Freeeee!

I had to leave the confines of the school gates to talk with a parent at dismissal.

As I walked past an SUV with the windows halfway down, I hear a little kid in the backseat say:

"Hey! Who let that 4th grade teacher out?"

Monday, July 11, 2016

AC/DSee I Know a Song

Did I ever tell you about the time I was asked to record a kindergartener singing his favorite song?

I was student teaching, and his name was James.

My master teacher was awesome. She had so many songs for her class. The Good Morning Song, The Postman Song, The Clean Up Song, The Snack Song.

So James, a tape recorder and I headed into the workroom to record him singing his favorite song in his best five-year-old-boy voice.

Me: Alrighty, go ahead and sing!

James: She was a fast machine
            She kept her motor clean
            She was the best damn woman
            I had
            ever seen...

I let him sing the whole song in his best five-year-old-boy voice.

And I think of him every time I hear it.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Cheesy Story

This is not a school story, but it is a true story nonetheless.

A cautionary tale about sending a rookie in to do a pro's job.

This was overheard in the checkout line at the grocery store.

Flustered and hurried Dad: Hey! Who put this giant bucket of cheese balls in the cart? Put these back!

Kid: Uuummm, you did, Dad.

Other kid: Yeh, that's right, you did. You said Mom would like them.

Dad: I did? Well then...ok, I guess.

Dad goes back to unloading the cart.

The kids look at each other in total disbelief that that actually worked.

And they spot me slowly shaking my head at their shenanigans.

But smiling at their brilliance.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

The State of Our Testing is Snotty

This year, very few exciting things happened during state testing.

Here were some of the highlights from Day One:

I watched a kid take his headphones off and use the foam parts to wipe his nose. That made me think, after dry-heaving over my desk drawer, maybe I should walk around and offer some tissues. One of my sneeziest, drippiest kids said "no thanks" to the tissues and then immediately wiped a big, wet line of snot onto his arm. The skin of his arm, not his sleeve. I turned away from him to throw up in my mouth when I spotted another kid rolling boogers into dirty little balls in his palm and shoving them between the keys of his chrome book.

Day Two didn't go much differently.

In fact, this is kind of every day in teaching.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Don't Pork Here

Here's a little conversation I had with a nine-year-old at dismissal.

Me: Hi Timmy! Did you have a good day today?

Timmy: Of course!

Me: What's the best part of your day?

Timmy: Ever night a guy walks his pet pig past my house.

Me: ___________

Timmy: It's awesomer than it sounds.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Man Overboard

I had lunch with this kiddo, and we read a story together. Right in the middle of the story, he turns to me:

Him: Do you think they'll ever invent an overboard chair?

Me: A what?

Him: An overboard chair.

Me: I'm not sure I know what that is.

Him: Yes you do! You know, an OVERboard chair. Like the skateboard things kids ride around on with all the lights on it and it's like they're "over" the sidewalk.

Me: OOoooOOOh! Got it. Yeh, I don't know if they'll invent one.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

I Heart Nuggets

Know what initially sounds like a good idea but actually turns out not to be?

Heart-shaped chicken nuggets.

That's what we served for lunch at school as Valentine's Day approached.

Heart-shaped chicken nuggets.

You see, when you turn a heart-shaped chicken nugget over and and then bite the pointy part off, you're left with...

...butt-shaped chicken nuggets.

Fleshy, butt-shaped chicken nuggets.

And then the kids strategically added condiments to them. It wasn't pretty.

The lesson is clear. Keep your nuggets nuggety-shaped or things get dark fast.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Things Are About to Get Dull - Like Vanilla

Where have you been?

In all honesty, I've been putting all the funny on my personal Facebook page. I haven't been putting it here because I didn't want to bore all my "real me" friends who follow me here and on my personal Facebook page where I am the "real me."

But now I've decided I don't really care if I bore them.

Sorry People Who Know the Real Me. (Let's face it. I'm not that interesting in real life.)

So I'll be retelling some of my stories from this school year here, and I hope you find them amusing.

Let's get started!

Conversation with a kid on her her birthday:
Me: Let's talk cupcakes. Which is better, chocolate or vanilla?
Her: valilna
Me: First of all, you're wrong. It's chocolate. 
       Second of all, it's pronounced vanilla.
Her: That's what I said. Valilna.
Me: vanilla
Her: valilna
Me: vah-nil-lah
Her: vah-lil-nah
Me: That's not it.
Her: But I'm saying exactly what you're saying.
Me: I'm pretty sure I'm not saying valilna. Vah.
Her: vah
Her: nil
Me: Lah
Her: lah. Valilna.
Me: Vah
Her: I changed my mind. I like chocolate.