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."