Monday, December 23, 2013

The Twelve Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas, 

My class got crafty, and made cinnamon ornaments for a tree. We cut them out on Friday and I left them to dry over the weekend. When I got in on Monday, I hid the dried ornaments in one of my cupboards so that they wouldn't be distracting to my kids. Still, they were very fragrant, so the second they walked in the room they smelled cinnamon and wanted to know exactly where the ornaments were. Barrett came in a little bit late and missed the hubbub about the ornaments. He put his backpack away and said, "What is that smell?" Having already threatened -er I mean told- my kids that if they let the ornaments distract them from doing their bell work we would not finish decorating them later in the day- everyone stayed quietly focused on their work.

Barrett: "Seriously guys, what is that smell? (turning to all the students at his table one by one) You smell that right? That smell. What is it? Do you smell that?" And not one student answered him.

Finally he turned to me and said, "Is that an actual smell that everyone smells? Or is Tinkerbell tickling my nose?"

On the second day of Christmas, 

Claudio chased Leslie, and tried to give her a kiss on her cheek. Claudio has always been a hugger, but recently he has been really into kissing people. Seriously. He will run up to one of his classmates, lock them in a big ole bear hug and kiss them on their cheeks. Girls, boys, doesn't matter who; Claudio loves everyone. I have found myself saying, "Hands free and lips free" an obscene amount these last couple of weeks. When I pulled him aside to tell him how inappropriate it was to kiss his classmates he just shook his fists at the ceiling.

On the third day of Christmas, 

Barrett said to me, something awesome- I think you'll agree. Every day I have to walk my kids out to the bus in a line and make sure that everyone gets on the right bus. Barrett is the first one we drop off. Every day he runs up to me and gives me a big hug and yells, "Bye teacher! You're the best!" Then, he lowers his voice so only I can hear, and in a voice that can only be described as the House-Bunny-Exorcist voice he says, "I love you." It is so awesome.

On the fourth day of Christmas, 

Claudio did something else blog-worthy and interrupted important testing. The whole class was on laptops for our district-wide testing this week. I said to them, "Alright, on the count of three everyone is going to open their laptops. 1, 2, 3!"

21 laptops opened simultaneously.

"Very good. Now when I say go, everyone open your internet browser. G-"


On the fifth day of Christmas, 

All my kids and me made pet reindeers! After they cut the reindeer pattern out, they got to decorate them however they wanted. Barrett was so excited by this project. He kept laughing and giggling and saying, "He is going to be so cute!" He would glue something on the reindeer and exclaim every single time, "Man, this just looks so cute!"

Finally, he turns to me and says, "Miss Earl, I know cool guys don't really say the word cute. And I know it's weird for such a cool guy to be saying that a reindeer is cute, but I just can't help it! He is SO CUTE!"

On the sixth day of Christmas, 

My student brought to me new detergent for my luandry. I was about to call his mom to make sure that she intended for him to give it to me, but then I remembered I was running low on detergent and accepted it for the odd-but-useful gift that it was. But still, note to all parents: if random stuff in your house goes missing there is a good chance your kids are bringing it to their school teachers.

I also got a mug and some hand sanitizer. It was a pretty good year for me. 

On the seventh day of Christmas,

Claudio interrupted our testing again - this time no lips.  I was walking around monitoring the room and every time I passed Claudio's desk he kept trying to get out of his seat to give me a hug. I kept reminding him that during tests we have to keep our pockets glued to the seat. Finally, when I saw him about to lunge for a hug the third time I said to him, "Claudio, if I see your pockets leave that seat you are going straight to a yellow card."

In an angry and threatening whisper he replied, "Miss Earl, one of these days I'm going to hug you and I'm never going to let go."

On the eighth day of Christmas, 

We did a partner math activity- and everyone learned,  minus Claudio. Knowing that Claudio has some issues focusing on his work, I paired him with one of my little know-it-alls, Katie. As I was monitoring the class, I passed them and they had most of their page filled out. Impressed, I said, "Katie, has Claudio been helping you solve the problems?"
She said, "No, not at all. I even tried to give him the easy ones, like, 'Claudio, what is three plus seven?' and all he said was something about a metal hammer. I think it has to do with Mario..."

On the ninth day of Christmas, 

Liva was sassy. No surprise there. We were talking about Christmas coming up and one of my students said something about needing to be good this week.
Me: "Remember, Santa isn't just watching you this week, he's been watching you all year to see if you've been good."
Liva: "Oh my gosh, Santa is such a stalker."

On the tenth day of Christmas, 

We played Scattergories, and my kids couldn't even beat me. 
We were playing a game like Scattergories and the kids had to think of a place that started with an 'O'.
Jorge: How do you spell ocean?
Cristian: O-C-E......  Wait, is there an S?.... Or an H?..... I think there's an A in it..... (sounds it out slowly to himself again).... there's an N..... Dude, just put sea.

On the eleventh day of Christmas, 

A mother came to me, upset because her daughter was blackmailed. 
Me: Isabella, why don't you tell me what happened.
Isabella: The boy, he dropped his book and I said, "Ha! Ha!" and he said, "That's not nice. I am gonna tell teacher." And I said, "No, don't" and then I said, "I have candy?" and he said, "Do you have blue?" And I said, "I don't have it here it's at my house. I think I have green, pink, and yellow." And he said if I brought him some he wouldn't tell you because I didn't want to get a yellow card.

How can her mom be mad at the other kid when it was basically Isabella's idea in the first place? The best part was the mom said, "Now, I had her bring the candy because she said she would and I want her to be a person of her word." Some people...

On the twelfth day of Christmas, 

We watched Polar Express and did absolutely no learning. 


Sunday, December 1, 2013

10 Stories to Remind Myself That I Love My Kids

1. We had a member of BYU ROTC come into our class during Freedom week a couple of weeks ago. I wasn't expecting him, but I was busy and he was in full uniform, so I asked my kids if they had any questions for him (having not prepared them for him at all). The conversation went like this:
Claudio: Do you live on the street?
ROTC guy: No, I live in an apartment.
Claudio: Is it in the street?
ROTC guy: No, it's in a building. I have a home.
Claudio: Do you have a bathroom?
ROTC guy: Yes! It has a bathroom, a kitchen.. It's just like a normal house it's just a little bit smaller...
Claudio: Do you drive a car that turns into a boat?
ROTC guy: No, I do not.
Claudio: Liar! I saw it! I've seen you drive it!
I finally had to step in, "Officer, stop calling on him. The questions will only get worse."
To which Claudio responded, "Ugh Miss Earl! Don't tell him!"

2. The gym was closed because of Parent Teacher conferences, so the PE teacher came into my classroom to teach my class a character development lesson. This particular lesson was on recognizing emotions or something like that. The teacher would hold up a card that had an emotion written on it and the kids were supposed to show the emotion on their face. They went through scared, excited, happy, mad, and surprised and they were actually pretty engaged in the lesson. Then the teacher held up a new card. "Ok, the next emotion is loved." My entire class in complete synchronicity made one big gagging sound. It was awesome. The next emotion was sad and so the teacher had the kids talking about what kind of things made them sad. Claudio said, "Bullies make me sad because sometimes you have a scab and the bullies, they will pick it, and they will make you bleed. And you say, 'leave it alone so it will heal!' But bullies, they don't leave it alone! They pick your scab anyways!" The PE teacher clearly disgusted said, "Did that really happen to you?" Claudio responded, "No way. These hands are solid."

3. My boys have been really into making clubs lately, and the other day when we were cutting out one of our projects I got to witness a club meeting. It was mostly them talking about how cool it was to be in a club, then they started repeating the  phrase, "Let's kick some walnuts, bra." to each other over and over again. Not sure what that means and I probably should have made them stop, but it was too funny.

4. I took my class to the ballet to see The Nutcracker for a field trip. It was kind of a long show, and it turns out most second graders don't find ballet as interesting as I do. Still, they were very well-behaved for the show, which means they were pretty riled up on the bus ride back. Someone told a joke and it was all downhill from there. You see, with my kids you get one joke that makes sense and then ten other kids tell a variation of the joke that does not. For instance, a favorite is "Miss Earl, spell icup." " I-C-U-P" which would be funny to me if I were seven. But then it turns into, "Spell icup backwards!" "P-U-C-I" *awkward silence* "Yeah, that doesn't actually make sense. Don't tell me made up jokes."
So anyways, on the bus we got into a long string of bad made up jokes and I was just about to have them do a silent competition when Barrett said, "Hey, Miss Earl. Knock, knock."
Me: "Who's there?"
Barrett: "Interrupting starfish."
Me: "Interrupting starf-"
Barrett slapped me in the face with his hand open like a star.
I laughed so hard I cried.
And then we had a talk about how it's not funny to hit your teacher in the face. Even though it totally was.

5. After the ballet, Jose wrote a story about going to the ballet. It went like this: "First, we go on the bus. Next, we sit down in our seats. Last, I sleep. I like the ballet."

6. For the first time I caught students passing notes in my class and I was so excited to read them. Here's what they said:

On a completely unrelated note I've had to talk with Regina a lot lately about not bullying others to get them do what she wants.

7. We wrote letters to pen pals and this was Claudio's:

8. I gave the class the assignment to tell me all about a person in their family. I told them it needs to be someone that they know really well- like their mom or their dad- so that they could tell me a lot about them. They needed to have 5 specific details about that person. Here's who Ali wrote about:

Me: "Ali, are you writing about yourself?"
Ali: "Well Miss Earl, who do I know better than myself? I have A LOT to say about me."

9. Tehani: "Miss Earl, when are you going to get married?"
Me: "I don't know, eventually I suppose..."
Tehani: "I think I'm going to get married way before you."
Me: "Oh you do? Why's that?"
Tehani: "I already have a boyfriend, and you spend all your time at school where there are only little boys. And I already have a boyfriend."
Me: "Yeah I get it, thanks Tehani."

10. To celebrate birthdays in my class I have every student give the birthday kid an appreciation (Thank you Sister Payne!) We talk about how a good appreciation is something you really love or admire about the person that is not related to their clothes or the things that they own (because otherwise I would get a whole lot of 'I like Susie because she has smelly erasers and a bright pink crayon.') It was Isabella's birthday and so we were going around the circle giving our appreciations.
"I like Isabella because she is a good friend."
"I like Isabella because she is very brave."
"I like Isabella because she shares with others." Isabella was just beaming.
Tehani was last in line. She stood up and said, "I appreciate Isabella because she has A LOT of friends who are lunch ladies."
 I could not help but laugh! I tried so hard to hold it in, but COME ON. So the class all starts nodding their heads and trying to convince, "No seriously Miss Earl, she knows every lunch lady."
"She always talks to them during lunch."
"They all know her name and everything!"
"Sometimes she stays in from recess to hang out with the lunch ladies."

Monday, November 11, 2013

Happy Veteran's Day!

Here are some heart-melting letters my students wrote for Veteran's Day. 
I may or may not have cried reading through all of them. I am so grateful for this country and for all those amazing people that fight for our freedom every day. Thank you will never be enough, but that's all I've got for now. Well that, and these adorable letters: 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

He's my favorite

I was on my knees at a student's desk working with them on a math problem, when Claudio snuck up behind me for a backwards hug. I gave him my standard three seconds and then said, "Ok Claudio, get back to your math."
"I'm done with it," he whispered in my ear as he laid his head on my shoulder.
Yeah, a little too cozy for a student/teacher interaction.
I said more forcefully, "Claudio, we're done with hugging. Get back to your seat."
He squeezed me tighter and said, "Just ten more minutes."

Later that same day, I was working at my desk when I noticed him wandering around the room.
Me: "Claudio, get back to work."
Claudio: "Not until you give me a two minute hug. You never give me a two minute hug!"

We take three bathroom breaks during the day (yes, three. Oh the joys of second grade.) and I am constantly having to go over appropriate bathroom behavior. "You have to flush and wash your hands every time." "No talking in the bathrooms." "No making soap bubbles." "No talking in the hallways."  "No locking the doors and crawling under them to trick people." "No talking!"
We had just got done with one of our bathroom behavior lectures and I decided to let them put it into practice by taking our bathroom break right then.
My class was awesome. As soon as they were done using the restroom, they could come and line up, standing perfectly still. They looked like two rows of tiny soldiers. They were silent! It was insane. It was wonderful. It was glorious.
Just then, the principal pops out of her office. Hallelujah!, I think to myself. She is going to be so impressed with my management.

And then I hear singing coming from the boys' bathroom.

Loud singing.

And here comes Claudio.

Hair FULL of bubbly soap.

Skipping out of the bathroom.

He runs up and stops right in front of the principal.

He looks up at her.

And then he sings, "loobedee, loobedee, looooo" as he wiggles around dancing like a lunatic looking her straight in the eyes.

Impression made. 

Claudio: "Miss Earl, Cristian A. is not giving me anything."
Me: "Well, what is he supposed to be giving you?"
Claudio: "I don't even know what it is! But he gave it to Cristian M. and Braxton and he won't even give it to me and that is really rude. But you know what Miss Earl? Santa Claus is coming and he is watching and so Cristian A. is going to get nothing for Christmas!
Did you hear me Cristian A.? Santa isn't going to bring you anything and he's bringing me Plants vs. Zombies and Mario!"

At the end of the day I always do a desk check where the kids have 30 seconds to get their desks in the straightest line possible. For the last ten seconds, I countdown from 10 and close my eyes. The rule is that when I open my eyes on 0, all students have to have their pockets in their seat and mouths shut. If they don't have both those things, their row automatically loses.

While doing our desk check today, I started counting down from ten, but I forgot to close my eyes.

Claudio ran up to me shouting, "Close your eyes! Close your eyes!"

As I started to close them I saw Claudio run and jump on top of the row of desks and surf down the row on his stomach.

And he still made it to his seat by 0.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Last Three Weeks

I was eating lunch in my classroom with my kids one day and all I had to eat that day was my trusty box of Wheat Thins. I said aloud, mostly to myself, "Man, I really need to go grocery shopping." 
Live replies, "Yeah to buy some more tight clothes."
Now this was the first casual Friday that I had ever participated in by wearing jeans. My jeans were skinny jeans to be fair, but nothing like hipster boy skinny jeans. It was more of a cigarette-leg, if you will. 
Clearly offended, I said, "What are you talking about? My clothes are not that tight."
Liva: "You can hardly fit in them, they are ripping on the side." 
Me: "Those are not rips. It's called distressing. It's supposed to look like that. They're made that way."
Liva: "You can hardly move in those. If you're pants get any tighter you're gonna be walking around like this." *Does a Frankenstein-style walk around the room.*

Needless to say, Liva ended her day on a yellow card and had to owe me five minutes of recess. 

She greeted me this morning with, "Oh good, you finally repainted your finger nails."

Who knew 7-year-olds would be so judgmental about my appearance?

Out at recess one day I saw a group of my kids arguing on the soccer field. It was three of my girls against three of my boys. I went over to enjoy the drama and maybe tell them to stop if it wasn't anything entertaining. 
Me: "What seems to be the problem here?"
Afia: "Jorge said Karla told him I like him, but I don't and Karla didn't say that."
Jorge: "Afia said Cristian told her I like her, but I don't and Cristian didn't say that."
Me: "So... let me get this straight. Afia, you like Jorge?"
Afia: "No! I don't!"
Me: "... and Jorge you like Afia?"
Jorge: "No!"
Me: "Ok then you don't like him, he doesn't like you. Nobody likes anybody. So what's the problem?"
Barrett, my sweet little boy who spends most of his recesses inventing new Tron video games (he's up to Tron 6) had sauntered up and started listening mid-argument. He chose this moment to pitch in and help me out. 
Barrett: "Guys! You know what? It's ok. I have a crush on a girl in my video game!"

Katie: "Did you know that caffeine can cure headaches?"
Me: "Oh, it can?"
Katie: "Yeah... well on adults sometimes. If my mom has a headache she can have caffeine to make it better. But I'm too young, so it won't work on me."
Liva: "I am so glad my parents aren't addicted to drugs."

Claudio: "Miss Earl I created a new video game. It's called Claudio and Braxton Vs. Spongebob 2: It's About Time."
Me: "That's a pretty good name."
Claudio: "Wanna know what powers I have?"
Me: "I would love to, how about you tell me at recess?"
Claudio spent the rest of the day finding any moment besides recess to tell me all the various superpower capabilities that the characters in his game had. And it turns out, everyone in the class was a character in his game. 
As I was walking by his desk he whispered, "Isaac has a blue suit for ice mode. He shoots frozen things. Like... frozen peas. Yeah, frozen peas."
He came to my desk to tell me, "Jorge can eat graves. He eats all the grave stones in the whole graveyard."
While he was sitting on the rug, I called on him to answer a question and he said, "Cristian A. has the power to shoot 500 boomerangs!"
When I went to help him on his worksheet he grabbed my hand and said, "You shoot fire out of your fingernails because they are red."

I don't know about you guys, but that sounds like a video game I would totally play. 

Regina: "Miss Earl, you look like a grandma."
Alexandria: "I think you look like a very rich lady."
Liva: "I think you look like a baby angel. But only, your face needs to be a little bit shorter."
So I will now be describing my looks as... versatile?

I was working with a small group one day that normally gets pulled out by another teacher during that time. 
Regina: "I wish we were going with Mrs. B today."
Me: "Mrs. B is really nice, isn't she?"
Regina: "Yeah, she's the best teacher ever."
*awkward pause*
Regina: "But Miss Earl, you are a way better teacher than Mrs. B."
Me: "Well, it's not a competition. But thank you very much."
Braxton: "Teacher, what if it was a competition?"
Cristian: "Yeah! Who would win?!"
Regina: "I think you would win Miss Earl. You are the bestest teacher."
Cristian: "I would say Mrs. R would win."
Me: "What? Mrs. R teaches third grade, you've never even had her."
Cristian: "Yeah. I know. But I hear she is really good."

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Oh hey, I teach in Utah.

Me: "Ostyn, you really need to get writing. Do you need me to help you think of an idea?" 
Ostyn: "That's ok, I'll just pray about it."
(Folds his arms and closes his eyes.)
When I walked by two minutes later Ostyn was writing. He looked up at me with big eyes. 
Me: "Prayer works."

I wore a cream shade under my blouse one day. 
Liva: "Miss Earl, I'm pretty sure I see your Garments."

Me: "I didn't have time to get to that, alright. I am a very busy person. "
Liva: "Ugh, things mormons say..."

We were reading the Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
Liva: "Hey Miss Earl, do seeds have spirits, too?"

So I guess it's mostly just Liva who's open about her faith, but it still makes me laugh. 

Also Claudio said this to me today. 

"Miss Earl, you look very pregnant today."

Not just pregnant. Very pregnant. 

I replied, "Claudio, you just really hurt my feelings."

He shook his head really quickly and said, "No! I mean you look like Princess Peach!"

Sorry, Claudio. There's no coming back from that one.  

2 more days 'til Friday!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A Conversation Overheard

Today my class was working on cutting out paper for an art project. I turned on the Pandora relaxation station, which I sometimes play when they're working individually. This is the conversation I overheard.

Leslie: Ugh, why does she always play the romance music?
Liva: She needs to get married already.
Regina: No if she gets married, she will get pregnant...
Liva: Yeah and then she will get fat.
Regina: No! Then she will have a baby!
Leslie: Then we won't be her favorites anymore. Because she will love her baby.
Liva: Yeah, but babies are so cute. And teacher is old. She's supposed to have babies.
Leslie and Regina: Yeah.. she should... you're right...

Happy Tuesday!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

It's Claudio (Said in the Mario Voice)

Today was picture day. Claudio came in his best button down shirt with a fancy corduroy jacket over the top. His hair was perfectly slicked.

As I was herding my kids to line up to get their pictures taken, I caught the following conversation:

Picture lady: Oh don't look fancy! Go ahead and take a seat with your knees facing forward. That looks great. Ok now can you put your hand down?
You look great, I just need that hand to come down.
Your hand is blocking your face can you put it down?
Why do you have your hand like that?

Claudio: It's holding my hat
Picture lady: But you're not wearing a hat.
Claudio: This is how Mario poses in all of his pictures.

Well he's not wrong.

I finally met Claudio's mother today. The first thing she said to me was, "He doesn't talk about Mario too much, does he?"

Hmmmm... How much is too much?

Saturday, September 14, 2013

One Week Wiser

I've got one more week as a teacher under my belt and I have learned some very important lessons.

#1. Kids notice EVERYTHING...

I brought in a ziploc baggie with some cookies my dear sister Kendall made for me to school one day. Knowing that my kids would see them and want them, I hid them behind the frame on my desk.
Claudio came up to give me my morning hug (he's a hugger) and mid-sentence (which I'm sure was about Mario) his eyes zeroed in on the corner of my desk behind my frame.

Claudio: Miss Earl, are those cookies?
Me: Yes they are. My sister made them for me.
*Claudio goes back to his desk and returns a minute later
Claudio: I'm really hungry.
Me: Bummer. We have a long time until lunch.
*Claudio goes back to his desk and returns thirty seconds later
Claudio: Miss Earl, I wish you would put those cookies away. They are very distracting.

#2. ...well, everything that is important to them. 

As a second grade teacher, you do a lot of walking backwards. I have learned that as soon as you turn your back to them, kids turn into demons. Without fail. Every. Single. Time. So I walk backwards every day and never watch where I'm going. I know, I'm a giver. I do it for the children.

So this one time I'm walking my class to P.E. and I was getting after someone for talking or pushing their neighbor or one of the million other things I nag my kids about, when I walked right into the metal pole in the middle of an open doorway. It knocked the breath out of me it hurt so bad. And I bit my tongue really hard. And I wanted to cry a little bit. But instead I asked my class, "Why did nobody warn me?"
To which Tehani replied, "You're the one who works here."

#3. Students really do think teachers are all knowing beings. 

Leslie: How do you spell because?
Me: b-e-c-a-u-s-e
Tasi: Teacher, do you know how to spell every word?
Me: Yes I do. Give me a word and I'll spell it.

They threw out a couple of words off the top of their head. School, desk, wonderful... then it got very quiet as they all thought of a word that could stump me.

Tasi: Germany! (with a very proud look on his face)
Me: G-e-r-m-a-n-y
*class cheers*
Tasi: WOW. You DO know every word.

I was trying to get a student signed on to a math website and just wasn't having any luck. The boy sitting next to him, William, noticed my struggling and jumped right in to help. It's important that you know that William can't say his r's or his l's, so everything he says is ten times funnier.

William: Aw you twying to sign on to Fast Math? I know how to get theyoo. But, yoh a teacha. Why don't you know how?
*he looks at me disgustedly and gets on the computer to help his neighbor*
Me: Oh there it is! Thanks, William
William: It was easy. I just went to the student website. How did you not know that? Fast Math is on the student website. Don't foget that because it's weewy impotant. Do you want to watch me do it again? Yoh a teacha. Teachas should weewy know that. (With the same disgusted look on his face.) *This story may not be as funny in writing, but oh my heavens I'm crying just thinking of it. So funny.

#4. Every victory counts. 

September is Attendance Awareness Month at our school. Any class that gets less than 8 absences for the entire month gets to have a BYU athlete come eat lunch and play with them at recess. The front office put up posters to track the attendance for each class. For every day you have zero absences you get a star. I never go by the front office, so when I finally did this week I was surprised to see this:

Not only am I beating the entire Second Grade, I am beating the ENTIRE SCHOOL. I have perfect attendance in my class!

We may not be learning much, but we're showing up and that's what counts. Now fingers crossed the athlete they get to hang out with my kids is a basketball player. And a dude.

#5. Kids are full of fun facts. Chalk full of them. 

Ruth: Miss Earl, Jameson grabbed my leg and he pulled me off my chair and my last name means mountain of the sea and I really didn't like that he did that but also my first name, Ruth, means friend and so my name is like friend mountain of the sea and now my leg really hurts and I wish he hadn't done that.

#6. It doesn't matter how much you bribe or threaten them, your class will misbehave for the sub.

#7. When your class misbehaves for the sub, you can make them put their head down on their desks and you will have five minutes of glorious, glorious silence. Plus, you feel super BA when you're able to instill the fear of Zeus into 21 little kids. 

#8. Notes of appreciation are great. And then they get old. 

Especially when they are preceded by:
"Teacher, how do you spell miss?"
"How do you spell Earl?"
"How do you spell are?"
"How do you spell favorite?"
"How do you spell teacher?"

And she still didn't get it right...

#9. When it comes to teacher swag, apples are SO last year. 

That is a flower, a bracelet made from a shoelace, and a half eaten Snickers bar.

And nothing says, sorry we were horrible to the sub like some freshly picked weeds!

#10. Kids can't keep a secret. 

Miss Baughman (one of the teachers on my team): You're little Cristian walked into my class today and he was doing the splits and cartwheels and just dancing all over the place. So I told him, Cristian we don't do that in the classroom, dancing is for recess time. And do you know what he said? Miss Earl let's us dance! Hahaha, can you believe that?
Me: What? No, that's totally crazy. What a liar, kids are stupid...

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Close enough?

"Hey Miss Earl! Is this how you spell my name in cursive?"

"Not quite, Cristian...."

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Is it only Tuesday?

Cristian: Hey Miss Earl, Tasi has an eraser in his ear!
Me: What? You mean on his ear?
Cristian: Nope! It's inside. And it's stuck in there good, huh Tasi?
Me: Tasi is that true? 
Tasi: (nods)
Me: Well, how did the eraser get in your ear? 
Tasi: I have no idea. 
Me: Well, did you put it there? (Tasi nods) Then I'm thinking that's how it got there. Let me see it. I don't see anything. Are you sure it didn't fall out already. 
Cristian: Look closer Miss Earl! It's real deep!

And so I did. And there it was. 

And after 6 hours of "Eyes on me!" and "voices off!" I just lost it.

After a solid 30 seconds of laughing hysterically, I wiped the tears from my eyes and said, 
"Well Tasi, let's just hope your parents think this is as funny as I do."
In the words of Claudio: I saw it! I saw the eraser! And it was so awesome (whispered in awe.)

Please don't let this be the start of a new trend in my class.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

I survived my first full week...

Spoiler alert: I am back in America and have been for quite some time now.

I took some time off from the blogging world to regroup and focus on me for a while, ya know? Well, it was that and also my life got super boring once again.

But now I am on a new adventure called teaching second grade.

Another spoiler alert: teaching kids is really hard. and tiring. and crazy. and most days I wake up and I think to myself...

hahahaha. Jk?

But really, it's going to be a great year.

To remind myself how much I love working with little kids that have to pee every five minutes and cry whenever someone "buts" them in line ("back in my day, we used to call that cutting") I think it's important that I share the funny things that they do.

So here goes.

We were in the middle of a math pre-assessment and all the kids were really struggling with it. I kept explaining to them that the things on this test were things that I was going to be teaching them later, and that I just wanted to see what they knew right now so they just needed to give it their best guess. One student in particular was just moaning and groaning through the entire thing. When I went over to check on him I tried to be as sweet as possible and I said, "Claudio, I know that this test is really hard and I know that you are getting tired. But I also know that you are a very smart boy and that you can give it your best for just a few more minutes." His response?

"I just want the fire Mario so bad!! I have all the other carts! I even have Princess Peach and I didn't even want her! And I can't focus on anything else because I just NEED the fire Mario!"

Yeah, apparently he was less worried about the difficulty of the test and more worried about his Mario Kart game.

*Mario Kart on the Wii is a recurring topic for Claudio and I. It usually sounds little something like this: "Class, who can tell me how many ones are in the number 28? Claudio?"
"Do you know what sound Yoshi makes? (insert Yoshi sound here)"

For one of our projects we colored little paper chameleons so they would blend in around our classroom. They had these little toes that were very difficult for my 7-year-olds to cut out, and many were amputated in the process. One of my kids came up to me distraught because he had cut off a toe and he was insistent that I tape it back on. After I did, I handed it back to him and he just stared at it. I thought he was upset because I just slapped a piece of tape on it and didn't bother to line it up to the correct toe socket.
Instead, he looked up with big eyes and said, "Teacher, this is amazing! You could be a doctor!"

We have centers time where the kids are in small groups working on literacy activities and only one group is working with me at a time. I have been trying to train my kids to not ask me questions during centers time, since I will be busy with one of the groups. We spent a whole hour practicing activities where they couldn't ask me questions. It was awesome. I love centers. Anyways, after one of our practices I asked my class, "What should I do if I have a question during centers. I know that I can't ask Miss Earl, but what is something else I could do?"
Barrett responds in all seriousness, "You could pray about it."

I have one little boy in my class who came straight from Mexico this year. He is very smart, but he doesn't speak a lick of English. Thankfully, about half of my class is native Spanish speakers, so they help me out quite a bit. There is just something so adorable about little kids speaking Spanish! Is that creepy to think so? Anyways, one of my little caucasians Elisia came to school one morning and she said to me, "My mom taught me how to say my name is Elisia in Spanish last night." I told her that was so great and maybe she could introduce herself to Octavio now.

A little bit later in the day we were walking to recess and I overheard her tell another Spanish speaker in our class, "oh yeah, I speak a little Spanish, too."

But here's the best part. As the kids are walking in to my room from lunch, I say, "Alright class, come in quietly and go directly to the rug." Elisia comes up and says, "Oh, don't worry Miss Earl, I'll tell Octavio what you said!"

She turns to him and in her best Taco Bell Chihuahua accent says, "When you get inside go straight to the rug." Surprisingly enough, Octavio didn't seem to understand her. It was awesome and oh-so-racist.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Ranui Edition

My time here in New Zealand is coming to an end. This is my last semester taking classes in the BYU elementary education program. In a stroke of good luck, I got chosen for an internship! That means that instead of doing student teaching for a semester I will have my own class for a whole school year. I even get paid half a first year teacher's salary (I'm gonna be rich!) So, next fall I will be teaching a second grade class at Spring Creek Elementary. Yeah, they're gonna trust me with a whole class of second graders. Hahahahahaha. It's gonna be awesome.

My Future. Could not be more excited.

I spent the last five weeks here in New Zealand working as a student teacher at Ranui Primary School. As mentioned previously, Ranui is worlds different from any previous teaching experiences I have had, but I loved every minute of it!

Happy times at Ranui School

*A difference I forgot to mention, instead of calling me Miss Earl, my kids called me Whaea Kylie. Whaea is the Maori word for teacher. The 'wh' makes the sound of an f, the 'ae' makes the long i sound and the 'a' is like a short u sound. It's like saying 'fire' with a Boston accent. Somehow having kids yelling, "Whaea! Whaea! Whaea!" at you is way cuter then when they yell, "Teacher! Teacher! Teacher!"*

Me and some of my kids

Being the tall, blonde, and extremely white Americans that we are, Brooke and I were easy to recognize and quickly gained celebrity status around the school. Kids we had never seen before would run up to hug us and say, "Good morning Kylie! You and Brooke look beautiful today!" It was pretty awesome.

Chillin at recess. Naisali liked to treat me like his arm candy.
The funny thing about kids is that they literally say whatever they think most of the time, so they can tear you down just as fast as they brought you up. One kid will walk up to you and say, "You look like Taylor Swift. I wish I could be as pretty as you." and the next one gets you with, "Wow, your stomach is really big." Bubble officially bursted.

One day I took them outside and spent 45 minutes teaching them how to play Ships and Sailors. #educationthatmatters
But that leads me to my post. May I present...

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Ranui Edition

I'm walking to the teacher's lounge when a little girl comes out of nowhere and stops in front of me
little girl: "You look like a coconut tree."
me: "Uh... thanks?"
little girl pulls me down and whispers in my ear: "That's why you're so tall."

"Reading" at the library

Ben and Lafi at Recess and me with a kid on each side in the background. They would not leave my sides, especially on the last day.

Naisali gives me a hug
Naisali: "How big are you?"
me: "How big am I? Just look at me."
Naisali: "No, how big are you? like a number!"
me: "Oh! How much do I weigh? I only know it in pounds, not kilos, so it wouldn't make sense to you."
Naisali: "But haven't you gone to the doctor? They tell you how big you are."
me: "I've been to the doctor in America, but never in New Zealand so I still don't know my weight."
Naisali thinks for a while: "Can you get hurt?"
me: "What do you mean?"
Naisali: "Can you get hurt? and then go to the doctors?
me: "Well yes, if I got hurt I could go to the doctors."
Naisali: "Oh good! You get hurt, then you go to the doctors and you can tell me how big you are. Can I hurt you???"


Playing duck duck goose

I am on recess duty walking around with a group of my kids as I "monitor" the field
Ben: Whaea, can I hold your water bottle?
me: Sure
Ezekiel: Can I hold your badge?
me: Sure
Illisani: Can I hold your clipboard?
me: Sure
and then I am left walking around hands empty while the kids truck around me stuff
Illisani: This is fun! It's like we're your slaves!

my team of hair professionals

They challenged me to a race. I tripped on my skirt and the whole thing almost came off. Plus I lost. It was so much fun!

I am sitting in my teacher chair and Ben comes over, sits at my feet, and begins rubbing my calf
me: Ben, what are you doing
Ben (With a face that clearly says duh): Rubbing your legs.
me: Well don't do that
Ben: Well then can I rub your shoulders?
Ezekiel: No! Let me rub your shoulders!
me: No!
Ben as he pouts off to his desk: You never let me rub your shoulders!

Ben being Ben


Ben just came and sat on my legs like it was the most normal thing in the world. I am mildly obsessed with this kid.
Random little girl at recess: Do you know Justin Bieber?
me: Not personally, but I have heard of him
girl: Do you want to date him?
me: Nope
girl looking really relieved: Oh thank goodness! Because he just broke up with Selena Gomez and she is DESPERATE to get back with him.

Niang, Anna, Luta, and Afelini

Luta and Afleini

I had a hard time pronouncing some of the children's names and the kids liked to give me grief about it. I had to repeatedly explain that I was doing the best that I could, but sometimes the names sound funny when I say them because of my accent. I was in the middle of teaching a lesson in the computer lab and the kids were just on a rampage. No one was listening and I was at my wits end. In an effort to use my positive reinforcement training I said, "Thank you Foga, for sitting quietly and waiting for instructions." To which someone in the class replied, "Did you say FONGA? That's not how you say her name." I was just about to lose it when dear, sweet little Foga yelled, "Give her a break! She is an AMERICAN!"

Foga and Ana

Ben getting ready for swimming

The boys in class were commenting on the ring on my fingers
Ezekiel: You've got rings, that means you're married.
me: No, I would wear it on this finger if I were married, but I wear it on this finger because I'm single.
Kian: Wait, how old are you again?
me: 21
Kian: I'm 11. How old will you be when I'm 21?
me: I'll be 31
Kian: Well, that's not too old at all!



I was telling my class that I was waiting to hear if I got an internship
me: If I don't get a job, I'm not sure what I will do.
Muna: You can move back here! We will give you a job!
Class: Yeah! Move back here!
Popua: Yeah, if you move back here, I would let you be the janitor!

My kids are total camera hogs

Ben got a free sample of sunscreen, so he put it all over his face naturally.

Man I am going miss these kids so much! I mean look at those faces, wouldn't you?

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Can you spot the difference?

Next week brings the last week of my Practicum here in New Zealand. (Practicum is basically when you student teach for a couple of weeks FYI.) I have been working at Ranui Primary School with fourth and fifth grade students. I love my students.

One of their favorite questions to ask me is, "Is New Zealand different than America?"

To which I always reply, "Oh heavens, yes."

Their follow up question is always, "Why do you say heavens so much and why do you call us ma'am when we're younger than you and why can't you pronounce Tohu's name right?" *My students ask a lot of questions. Gotta love 'em.

So to answer their question here are some differences in my life personally between New Zealand and America.

#1. In America, I have a car. A lovely little Malibu that I named Barbie (get it? Malibu Barbie? hahaha) and Barbie gets me everywhere I need to go.

In New Zealand, I have no car.

At first, Brooke and I walked everywhere. The walk to the church where we met for school was an hour both ways. And we did it rain or shine.

This is us extremely wet from a long walk in pouring rain
 Then we upgraded to bikes. Now those of you who know me well may remember that I actually didn't even learn to ride a bike until I was fifteen years old (That's normal, right?). By the time I got to New Zealand and was given a bike, I had actually only ridden a bike like three times in my entire life. Now I ride to school everyday through the busy streets of Auckland on a bike that is much too small for me. I haven't died... yet. I am getting a lot better though, I know how to use my breaks now and I can ride off curbs sometimes!

And then there are those trips that are simply too far to walk or ride our bikes, in which case I take the bus. Every time that I do I think of the words of my dear friend Brianne, "Ewww. I hate public transportation" I used to think just like her. But now?  Now I love buses. They take me from my house to the mall for only $1.90! And when I ride the bus instead of riding my bike, I am infinitely less sweaty and gross upon arrival. And the best part? Waiting at the bus stops.

This is me on a cold day waiting for the bus. I didn't bring a jacket, but I did have a towel in my backpack so I used that. Then I decided to wear my backpack kangaroo style for extra protection from the wind. Plus, I was better able to guard it from crazies that might try to steal my stuff this way. I sat like this and sang songs to myself for an hour while we waited for the bus to show. Best part was, I wasn't even the craziest person there! I would have taken pictures with my new bus stop friends, but I worried they might eat me or something.

Oh! Here's another fun bus stop story. We had another long bus stop wait ahead of us one day when we noticed some birds fighting over a piece of bread someone had dropped. These adorable little birds were pecking away at their lucky find, when a huge flock of bully pigeons came and edged them away!

Brooke and I watched enraged by the injustice of it all! We screamed at the pigeons and lectured them for being so inconsiderate just because they were bigger. They didn't listen. Brooke stamped her foot really hard on the cement, and the cowardly pigeons all darted to safety. The little birds ran back to the bread and began pecking furiously, but their victory didn't last long.

One particularly large pigeon came and stole the bread back for him and his friends.

Brooke and I mourned as we watched the little birdies give up and leave to continue their search for food elsewhere. Life can be so unfair.

Thankfully, karma had a present for that dumb pigeon bully...

It got hit by a bus Regina George style. Only worse, because it was most definitely dead. 
And then Brooke and I realized we were sitting at a bus stop watching pigeon fights and we felt a little bit dead inside too as we realized, this is our life now.

 Moving on.

#2. Here, the men love to wear brightly colored short shorts. I can't get over how funny it is to see a grown man in hot pink shorts.

Yes, this is from a store for MEN. Taste the rainbow.
#3. All significant others are called "partners". So your husband or boyfriend or fiance is your "partner". It is really odd to get used to. I still get really defensive when someone asks me if I have a "partner" back home. Though really I can't blame them because...

#4. In America, I use a lot of heating products on my hair and it looks like this:

In New Zealand I have sworn off heating products and so my hair looks like this:

It's kinda like watching Princess Diaries in reverse, right? That's why I'm only slightly offended by all the "partner" questions because really if I was in their position I would make the same assumption.

#5. Milkshakes in America are thick ice creamy drinks that are delicious. Milkshakes in New Zealand are simply milk mixed with some flavoring. Not even close to the same thing.

You sit on a throne of lies!
And then we come to the differences between American and New Zealand schools.

#6. Attention getters: To get my children's attention in my classroom in Utah I said, "Tootsie roll, lollipop. We've been working..." to which my students would reply, "Now let's stop!". Here in New Zealand the teacher's say, "OY! DID I ASK YOU TO TALK?!? Naw, didn't think so bra."

#7. This is the carpet in my classroom

In case it is hard for you to tell, it is very uneven and I am constantly tripping over the lumps. That didn't happen at my last school.

#8. In America I teach kids Math, English, Science and Social Studies. In New Zealand I mostly teach swimming. And a little bit of T Ball. And basketball, and cricket, and rugby. We take a lot of time out for sports.

#9. In America, I was expected to wear a dress or nice dress pants every day and always look professional.

This is my teacher outfit, button up shirt, cardigan, pearls... very classy
In New Zealand, teachers often look like they're headed to the beach as soon as class gets out. There's a lot of sunglasses on head/ tank tops/ sun dresses/ lava lava/ jandal action going on all the time. This was what I looked like at the end of the school day on Thursday and I fit in just fine.

#10. In New Zealand we have morning tea everyday. At 10:30 the kids all eat a snack and then head out to recess while we teachers head to the staff room to drink Milo and talk crap about them behind their backs. It is the best half hour of the day, and I really think the American system needs to adapt this practice. Heaven, I am going to miss my morning tea when I go back...

Only 19 more days! Yikes!