Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

This year, I am very thankful that Thanksgiving has come late!! This means that there are only three more weeks until Christmas break instead of four! Woo hoo!

Also, my hopes are up for possible snow day tomorrow. We're supposed to get between six and eight inches in the next twenty four hours or so. I'll be throwing ice cubes in the toilet and wearing my pajamas inside out for good luck just in case :)

Ewwww.... Writing

I hate teaching writing. Every afternoon, from 1:30 to 2:10, I have three fourth-grade boys who I work with on their writing. I dread 1:30 with all of my heart. I find it to be so overwhelming tackling a student's rough draft... never mind trying to get them motivated to write something down!

You could almost say that the way I feel about teaching writing is the way Michael Scott feels about Toby Flenderson--especially the screaming part:

Today, my sixth grader with Down Syndrome pooped her pants at 1:25. I was giddy with excitement as I called the fourth grade teachers saying that I couldn't pull their kids for writing as I had to deal with an emergency situation.

That's right. I would much rather deal with poopy pants than poopy writing!!


How do you tell your cat that you are VERY SORRY that you accidentally closed her paw in the door (evoking a giant cat scream-yelp)?? I can't stand the reproachful looks anymore....

Yo Mama

Parents can be a strange breed. And I can say that with all confidence because a) I'm not a parent, and b) I've observed the same strangeness in my own parents!

When I was younger I got picked on. I wouldn't say I was bullied, but my diaries were filled with some mean thoughts about the unkindness of others. I remember telling my parents about how cruel some kids had been to me at school and my dad threatening to go over there and talk to them. One time, in second grade, my teacher slapped me across the face for correcting my work in pencil instead of black pen (don't worry, it was in France and they can get away with that kind of stuff over there). The next day, my dad came charging into the school yard, yelling in his newly-learned/broken French at my teacher. I think he managed the words "mean", "old lady" and "fired".

All of this to say that parents' protectiveness seems to come in many forms. Some students' parents do all that they can to get their kids into special education, to get them access to the services they need (or what the parents decide that they need). Some students' parents, as I've discovered today, do all that they can to keep their kids OUT of special education, regardless of whether their kids need the services or not.

I received a particularly angry/frustrated/defensive email this morning from a mother of a kindergartner who may qualify for special education services. There were entire words written in CAPITAL LETTERS, so I knew she was SERIOUS. The details of the letter aren't really important. What's important is that my heart kind of broke (or at least bent) for this mother. Irregardless of what I believe professionally, this woman's motivation was purely to protect her son from what she viewed to be a bad thing.

And I hope that my sympathy and understanding for her will put me in a better position to help her to see reason....

"I've Lost That Floaty Feeling"

As it turns out, waiting years and not months between dental visits is a bad idea. Stupid, really, because then you find out that you need all this work done, and then suddenly you're broke.

I was dreading today's visit to the dentist because they were putting in a crown. I wasn't exactly sure all that it entailed, but I figured if it was anything like my root canal a couple of years ago, then it wasn't going to be a walk in the park.

When I got comfortable in the chair, the dentist told me that she usually gives patients laughing gas in order to "take the edge off of this procedure". After she assured me that this was a freebie and that I wouldn't get billed for the extra "comfort", I told her to go ahead. I had never had laughing gas while awake before (when they took out my wisdom teeth when I was a teenager, they knocked me totally out), so I wasn't sure what to expect.

After about five minutes of breathing in and out of the nose cover, I asked the dentist what I should be feeling because I wasn't feeling any different than before the gas. "Oh", she said, "I guess you're not a lightweight when it comes to this stuff". So she increased the amount.

Then I spent the next hour feeling absolutely floaty, thinking about how much I loved everybody, especially Mrs. Dental Hygienist and Dr. Dentist. I had lots of warm, fuzzy feelings about my students, my family, this chair I was sitting in, and Thursdays in general. At one point I lifted my leg, but I stopped midair because I thought if I kept going I might kick the ceiling. I even thought of the perfect title if I ever write my autobiography. But mostly I felt like a pretty bubble, just floating along in the wind, totally unconcerned about everything and anything.

I totally get why people do drugs now! Not that I'll start doing drugs, but I will be counting down until my next dentist appointment! Ha!

Seated and Sated

Yup, those two words just about sum up my two-day conference. We sat a lot. We ate constantly. It was as if they were trying to distract us from the fact that most of our breakout sessions weren't very worthwhile.... at every chance they got, they shoved food at us (not that I'm complaining about the yummy food!)

The highlight of the conference was listening to the very entertaining and slightly irreverent W. James Popham, who had intelligent and helpful things to say about formative assessment. His dry wit was so hilarious; I was disappointed that they didn't let him talk more than an hour and a half!

Now if only I didn't have three more days of school to get through before I can catch up on some rest!!

Monday and Tuesday


A two-day conference with hundreds of other teachers
A four-hour bus ride
Two nights at a posh, four-star hotel
Several free meals
Twelve hours of meetings

My prediction is that I'll have a great time socializing with colleagues, eating, and hanging out in my luxury hotel room but that the meetings will sour the experience! It's at times like these that I wish I had an iPhone or an iPod Touch so that I could more easily tune out the irrelevant content of the meetings. Although I don't know if I would have the guts to blatantly surf the net during a conference. Would you?

Football Fanatics

As we all know, fall is the season for football. Professional football takes over the T.V, and kids everywhere delight in flag football and touch football. At our school, the boys enjoy playing touch football during every recess that they can. One of my fourth graders really loves to play. He happens to have a prosthetic leg, and recently, he kicked the football so hard that his leg went flying across the field!! He was very matter-of-fact about the whole incident as he loudly announced to his teammates: "That's just another day in the life of a kid with a prosthetic leg!!"

I love that kids can be so resilient. He just put his leg back on and got back into the game!

And I'll be Inspector Gadget

Our school, like many schools around the country I'm sure, held mock elections. It's sweet too, because these young children are just parroting their parents when they talk about the presidential race. Apparently, they say that the person who wins the mock school elections ends up winning the real election, so I was interested to find out who our little students had elected.

As it turns out, our 2nd through 4th graders elected McCain, and our 5th through 8th graders elected Obama! So it's still up in the air I guess!

One of my kindergartners, this little guy, had to write a sentence about what he would do if he was president. When he was finished, he told his aide that in case he didn't become president, he wanted to sell "Krabby Patties" for a living--a la Spongebob Squarepants!

Election Day Should be a National Holiday

I had a fantastic weekend! It was very hard to think about going back to school. I considered calling in sick... but since I'm just coughing every so often, I didn't think it justified staying home.

I had a brief surge of hope around four this morning as I was awakened by a very loud thunderstorm. I thought: "If I have any luck at all, my school will get struck by lightning and the power outage will make us have to stay home". I even turned on my cell phone in case I got a call from the school. But the call never came. I pulled into the parking lot and my hopes were finally dashed as I spotted the lights on inside.

Is it too early for a snow day???
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