Sunday, May 10, 2015

They Matter Too

Last week was Teacher Appreciation Week. Appreciation isn't something teachers feel all the time, so it's nice to have a week cut out to recognize all that we do. As I thanked a handful of my students for the beautiful flowers and yummy tea they brought me to show their appreciation, I found myself reflecting on the teachers I had growing up. It seems to me that most people can identify one or two teachers who really made a difference in their lives. For most people, there was that one teacher who cared more, pushed more, and worked harder to change their lives. I went through most of my formal education without one. (There was one who was close. He probably could have been "that teacher" if we had actually built a relationship. That's all below though. :) )

I realize that statement sounds weepy and mopey and sad. That's not at all my intention. Rather I want to raise awareness for students who are like me in the hopes that some teacher will recognize them and be "that one teacher" for them. 

First, let me tell you a little about me as a grade-school student. I was the quiet girl. I wasn't gifted, creative, funny, or witty. I also wasn't attention-seeking, angry, loud, or (for lack of a better term) low. I just existed. I did what I needed to do, although I didn't typically put too much extra effort into it. It didn't seem to matter if I put extra effort into it; no one would have noticed. I just got by. I had a few friends. I came to school everyday. I didn't need much, so I didn't get much. I never felt like my teachers really saw me. 

By the time I got to middle school, the results of being completely vanilla were taking their  toll. Because no one had recognized anything special in me, I didn't believe there was anything special about me. In seventh grade, I think my science teacher saw something. He chose me to be a part of the science club that got to dissect pigs. I was pretty excited about this. After all, my brother, who everyone knew was among the brightest in his class, didn't even do this. When the day finally came for the club to meet for the first time, I was so stinkin' nervous I didn't know what to do. I think I asked my science teacher to clarify exactly where I would be going and when about a million times. I struggled to accept the fact that I was actually going to be a part of that opportunity. Someone had seen something in me and I thought he was wrong. No way I was "good enough" to do this. 

That same science teacher recognized me again later in the year when we did a project on landscaping. After completing the project, he chose mine as an example to send to the University of Northern Iowa where a class was doing something similar. Once again, I was completely surprised. He chose my project? Does he know that it belonged to me? Is he sure he wants to send that one? If he had taken the time to really get to know me - to really build a relationship with me and show me he cared - he could have been "that teacher" for me.

I wish I could say that was a turning point for me - that suddenly I saw the "special" in me and took off. That's not what happened though.

It took me years to realize that I was capable of achieving good grades. As a freshman in high school, I just decided that I was going to get As. My brother was doing that, so I was going to too. It wasn't because I had been nurtured to believe I could do it; it was just because I decided to make it so. I laugh when I think of my ITED scores in high school. (After all, standardized tests are what make a student a student, right...) During my junior year, my school bribed us with a day off if we could do one of two things: score in the 90th percentile or raise our score by 10%. I did both. I didn't suddenly become a better test taker or have more knowledge than I did the years before. I simply didn't want to be left behind by my smart friends who would undoubtedly get the day off. Imagine what I could have done if someone had really taken the time to see my potential. 

I still struggle with confidence to this day. I constantly second-guess myself. When I fall, I fall hard. Luckily, in my adult life, I have crossed paths with an encouraging college professor and a fantastic principal. They have pushed me in ways I couldn't have pushed myself, and it has made a world of difference. I am better because of them. Would my life be different if I had had them in my life when I was in elementary school?

As I think about my current group of first graders, I know I have students just like me in my class. My hope is that in some way I have made the effort to help them feel seen. I hope I have given them a burst of confidence to get them through some rough spots. I hope they don't have to rely on themselves to get down the road ahead. I know I cannot expect perfection from myself, and I know I will make mistakes. Those kids - those quiet, problem-free kids - deserve to be seen though. They matter too. It's my job to make sure they know that.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

It's That Time of Year Again

I normally try to keep my blog posts upbeat, but this time of year has gotten under my skin. I hate this time of year. Many teachers I've talked with dread the beginning of the year. That time when students don't know the expectations and are the youngest they'll be all year can certainly be intimidating. It's the time we put in some of the hardest work of the whole year creating a classroom environment, establishing routines, and building strong relationships. It's a tough time of year, no doubt. For me, though, this time of year (March and April) is my least favorite.

I hate the uncertainty. This is about the time of year when budgets for the next year are discussed, which, of course, means decisions on possible job cuts. In my five years of teaching, I have never had the peace of knowing I would have a job the next year. When I was teaching preschool, I took to marketing like a crazy person to try to attract parents to my preschool every. stinking. spring. I don't think I'll ever forget the feeling I had when no one, seriously no one, came to registration night that first year. I was completely defeated. Last year, there was uncertainty as to whether there would be enough students for me to move up to first grade. It's exhausting, and, in the interest of being completely honest, had I known this was the way teaching would be I might have chosen a different career.

It's not just the uncertainty of this time though. I hate saying goodbye to good people when new jobs are taken or retirements are celebrated. Saying goodbye to the people who had supported me my first three years of teaching after accepting a job in my current district was difficult. They had been there for me during some challenging times, and they put in many extra hours to support my efforts to build a quality preschool. I hated telling them I was leaving. Last year, I was so grateful I missed the staff meeting (thank you late parents!) during which my principal announced he was leaving. I knew what he was going to say and I just didn't want to hear those words. Throughout the school year, I bond with the people around me. We are in this together, after all. It sucks when that bond is broken.

Then, of course, there are the kids. I hate the fact that in just a few weeks "my kids" will no longer be "my kids." We are our own little family. Certainly we have our issues from time to time, as every family does, but each person in my classroom has his/her own role and mostly we function well together. I cherish each and every one of them, and I don't want to break that up. We have a good thing going! They're ready for second grade, and I know they'll find a new role in their new classes. I just want to keep them forever with me.

Speaking of moving my kiddos up to second grade, I hate the insecurity of worrying whether or not I did a good job with this group. Are they going to do okay with a different teacher? Will their next teacher be frustrated that they never quite got the hang of the whole organization thing? (We still routinely have sweatshirts or coats or hats or mittens on the floor of our coatroom. I do the best I can to teach organizational skills. What if that's not enough?) Are my students going to get mixed in with the other kids and not fair as well academically? Will their new teachers understand when my wiggly guys wiggle from time to time? I have students who still occasionally forget to capitalize the first letter in their sentence. Is that okay? I have students who aren't super fast with their addition facts. Is that okay?

There's just so much.

Needless to say, I'm looking forward to May. I look forward to celebrating the time my kids and I have had together and the hard work we have all done. Hopefully, by May, things will be more smooth. There will always be unknowns - that's just life in general - but we will be a few steps closer to figuring them out.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Our Future Will Be Great - Part III

Yikes! It's been a long time since I've posted, and I never finished my series on the incredible students I get to call mine this year. This is the final installment, and I'm so glad I took the time to pay tribute to each kiddo. I have a truly fantastic group this year, and they deserve every ounce of kindness and love I've poured into these posts.

Here we go - the final six!

14 - This guy is the spice in our classroom. He has quick comebacks and witty comments about nearly any situation. He is bubbly, happy, and knowledgeable about all kinds of things. I love this guy’s love of dancing. He asks me to put on the Cha Cha Slide every afternoon and dances like a crazy person. Recently, he has inspired a new version on this dance which is done entirely while laying on the floor on top of his backpack. It’s hilarious! This guy is a smile-maker!

15 - I struggle to come up with the words to fully describe my feelings about this one. He is another one of my inspirations. He won’t let me do the run-of-the-mill “school stuff;” he demands more from me and he calls me on it when I don’t deliver. I’m very grateful for this. Every teacher needs a student who asks more of them, and every student deserves a teacher who will listen. I’m more than happy to be that teacher for him. He has inspired all kinds of greatness this year, and I can’t wait to see who else he inspires as he gets older.

16 - This girl is brilliant! Even more important than that, though, she’s hardworking and driven. She’s also a reader. I’m not talking the regular ole’ first grade reader who will read when asked to. I’m talking the reader who devours books - who chooses to read at recess, in the line waiting to be dismissed, and probably any other place she has a book. Even though she is quiet, we have bonded many times over a great book, and I just know we will in the future too!

17 - Sweet and innocent are the best words I can think of to describe this active little guy. He makes me laugh on a regular basis by the things he says and his genuine child-ness. This guy is our resident super hero expert; he can give you the full rundown of Spider Man from beginning to end. He also has an incredibly caring nature, and I know he wouldn’t hurt a fly in any situation. He wants to be loved and to love right back. He’s just fantastic!

18 - I love to laugh with this one. Seriously. His laugh kills me. It’s the greatest. We have the same type of personality which allows us to get each other. He amazes me in many ways. He has a focus and attention to detail that I would never expect from a first grader. His dedication and inquisitive nature allow him to make the best out of everything. I absolutely admire the way he can make good choices even when those around him are not. He’s going to be an amazing asset to our future!

19 - This guy has the greatest combination of humor/silliness and kindness/compassion. He cares deeply about the people around him. Even though he is quiet, his friendships are strong and he is greatly liked by the people around him. I love the silly side of this guy too. His smile is the greatest, and he often cracks jokes when I least expect them. This guy has worked so hard this year, and he definitely deserves an award for that. He’s going places!

So there you have it! I'm going to have such a hard time saying goodbye to this group, and I can't believe I will be doing that in just two months. These kids have made me a better teacher, and, better yet, a better person. I'm thankful for each moment I've spent with them, and I hope they leave first grade knowing they are loved.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Our Future Will Be Great! - Part II

I'm finally sitting down to continue my series on the greatness in my classroom that I started here. I'm so excited to introduce you to the next seven kiddos in my class! They're a great group, and I am amazed each day by their talents and genuine sweetness!

7 - This little one has the sweetest face and can light up a room with her smile. She is quiet which makes the words she chooses to use that much more important to me. My favorite thing about her is her unprompted hugs and kind words. On a fairly regular basis, I’ll find myself busily doing something, and, without even realizing she is there, I’ll feel her small arms circle my waist or her warm head lean against my shoulder. In those moments, I’m reminded to slow down and simply enjoy her. Her quiet, “I love you, Mrs. Hansen,” fills me up!

8 - When I think of this young girl, one word pops into my head: soft. I know that that can sometimes be a bad thing. People who are weak are often referred to as soft. That’s not at all what I mean with this lovely. Her type of soft is the type that allows me to trust her with absolutely everything. She is happy and caring and has a genuine drive to better herself. She’s cute as a button and has passions I know nothing about, which intrigues me. School is not always easy for her, but she always puts her best foot forward. She takes my suggestions and puts them to good use, and I appreciate her so much for this.

9 - This lovely is another one of my quiet ones. She is a beautiful child - not just in physical appearance but also in character. She is one of my friends who keeps our classroom rolling smoothly. She’ll pick things up without being asked. She’s always ready to be a good friend, and she tries her hardest with everything. She is turning into a fantastic reader, and I can’t get enough of listening to her. I can’t wait to watch her grow up and see where she goes. I know she is capable of big things!

10 - It’s hard for me to talk about this lovely without tearing up a bit. She is another one who has been with me for two years, and my bond with her is very strong. Last year wasn't easy. We butted heads a lot. Luckily, both of us have changed quite a bit since those fairly ugly first days together. I've learned to recognize success everywhere, and she has grown up and matured before my eyes. What I absolutely love about this little girl is her ability to stay positive every day. She comes into the room each day with a smile on her face, and she leaves each day with a smile. She is a good one for random hugs too, but my favorite thing is when she’ll grab my hand when we’re walking down the hallway. I love that she’s not too old for that, and I’ll never grow tired of knowing she loves me as much as I love her!

11 - I cannot get enough of this beauty! I love her innocence. She is one of the most kind-hearted people I’ve ever met. She is sensitive too, which makes her a great friend. I appreciate her dedication to her work. She is engaged in nearly every activity we do, and I know I can count on her to produce high-quality work. What I love the most about her is that despite her intelligence and diligence, she still challenges and questions herself; she wants to do her best and she happily takes on the extra work needed to get there.

12 - This lovely has spunk! She is sassy (in a positive way) and she makes each day exciting. I love that she loves school. She gives our classroom the energy it needs to make it a great place for everyone. Her passion for reading is incredible. She often chooses to read during inside recess, and she’s always recommending books to me and her friends. Just the other day I sat down next to her to conference with her and she said, “Mrs. Hansen. This is a great book! You should read it!” I love that enthusiasm!

13 - This guy makes me laugh on a daily basis. What I love the most about him is that he gracefully makes mistakes. He is a fantastic role model to his peers for that reason. When he makes mistakes, he doesn’t get upset; he just asks for clarification and starts over again with a smile on his face. I hope this rubs off on all of my kiddos! This little guy has one of the best laughs I’ve ever heard too! I smile every time I hear it; it’s the perfect reminder of the good in this world!

I've got six more fantastic lovelies to introduce the world to! Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Our Future Will Be Great! Part 1

Each month, the teachers in our school are tasked with the incredibly impossible job of choosing one student from each grade level to be Linc's Leader. This one person shows their PRIDE (our PBIS acronym) and deserves the honor of recognition in front of the whole school. As a first grade team, we started off by each putting five students from our classrooms into a bucket and drawing out a name. We've been rotating through classrooms so someone from each room receives the honor. It's down between my room and one other room this month.

Here's my problem: What do I do if each one of my students deserves to be Linc's Leader? How do I choose just one (or five to be put in the bucket with only one receiving the honor)? I truly believe each one of my students is doing something that deserves to be honored. I also believe that just because some students make mistakes doesn't mean they don't deserve to be known and recognized. In fact, I believe their mistakes and ability to learn and bounce back from them make them even more deserving.

This is where I'm stuck. I want to the whole world to know about the 19 incredible students I have the honor and privilege of spending time with everyday. I want the world to know about the tender hearts and sweet thoughts that make each one of them shine. Since I only get to recognize one (maybe two by the end of the year) at our school-wide assemblies, I'm so, so glad I have this little blog where I can introduce the world to the joy, creativity, and love I experience each day! So, World, over the next couple of days, let me introduce you to 19 examples of the greatness our future will hold! (I've numbered my students to protect their privacy, but please know that each number represents a real student in my classroom.)

1 - I have had the privilege of spending the last two years with this sweetheart. She works hard everyday and takes pride in her work. She is gentle and cares for the people around her. What I'm discovering this year is she also has a goofy, fun side. She laughs often and is fun to be around. She has an uncanny ability to make the people around her feel good about themselves and have a good time. I'm was excited to see her on my class list for this year, and I'm realizing now what a blessing I have been given with her in my room for two years.

2 - If I had known this summer how much this little guy would make me laugh, I think my summer would have been even more full of anticipation for a new year. My favorite thing about him is that he finds a way to lighten the mood in each moment, but he rarely lets this silliness get out of hand. What incredible self-control! He is one of my hardest workers too. He works carefully and slowly ensuring that each ounce of work he produces is the absolute best. It's hard for me to imagine my life without him, and I'm not looking forward to saying goodbye to him at the end of this year.

3 - When I first met him, I instantly noticed his quiet demeanor. I knew from that moment that we were kindred spirits. This little introvert has a smile that will melt away any ice. He notices things other students don't notice. He's the kid that picks up the marker that found its way into the whiteboard basket and puts it back where it belongs. He's the kid who notices the chaos and in his quiet way handles the situation calmly and respectfully. In the half-year we have spent together, I've noticed how he is beginning to take on challenges. He truly wants to become a better version of himself, and while he makes mistakes along the way, he is taking on something new everyday. I couldn't be more proud of him!

4 - This guy is our resident Minecraft and Transformer genius. Seriously, you could ask him anything about either of those topics, and he'd gladly talk with you for hours. I've had the pleasure of spending two years with this guy too, and I'm so, very grateful for that opportunity. My favorite thing about him is the courage he shows everyday in his work. Just before break, we were working on a blog post. His post was ok to start with, but I knew he could do more. I told him this and I could sense his hesitation. With a little bit of support and encouragement, he turned an ok post into a fantastic post. That type of perseverance and push is admirable in this 7 year old. It blows my mind that he shows these traits everyday!

5 - This guy is my inspiration. He makes me want to be better at what I do, and he challenges me to find new ways to look at life. What I admire most about him is how he can come to school tired and grumpy (his words, not mine :) ) and he can turn that around within seconds and work hard all day. He cares deeply for the people around him and often exercises incredible self control as he joins in the daily activities. When he overcomes his shyness and self-consciousness to contribute to our conversations and to try something new, my heart grows three times in size. He is a fighter and a true gem in my room!

6 - This eager little girl is always right where I need for her to be. She's excited about school and ready to go every day. She keeps me on my toes. My favorite thing about her is her tender heart. She feels deeply, and this tenderness allows her to be a great friend. As we wrote our new years resolutions last week, I was touched that she chose a goal of being a better friend. She understands kindness on a different level than some of her peers. She's a sweetheart, and I'm glad I've gotten to know her!

It breaks my heart to end here, but I want to make sure I can share all of the great things about my students while respecting your time in reading them. I'll be back to share the next 6 kiddos soon!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Lesson on Kindness

We finally made it back to school today! We had a professional development day on Monday and a work day on Tuesday. We were supposed to have students yesterday, but it was stinkin' cold (thank you Iowa winters...) so we ended up with a cold day. I was more than ready to get back to my students today.

As most teachers do, I typically spend the first couple of days back from Christmas break reviewing rules and procedures in order to lay the groundwork for a successful second half to the year. This year, I wanted to add in some goal setting to give us a direction. I began by talking about resolutions and about why people make resolutions. I shared with them that one of my resolutions is to show kindness to as many people as possible. To help illustrate why kindness is important to me, I read them one of my favorite books, Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson. I discovered this book last year when I was in the midst of teaching a series of character lessons to my challenging kindergarten class. It is easily one of the most powerful books I've ever read to children.

(image from

In this incredible story, Maya moves to a new school. The girls at this new school immediately notice that Maya isn't like them. She wears secondhand clothes and isn't interested in the same things they are. Because of this, the girls decide to exclude her. When their teacher does a lesson on kindness in which she describes the ripple effect of kindness, Chloe (the main character) realizes how she has been treating Maya and vows to change. Unfortunately, Maya moves away and Chloe never gets the chance to repair their relationship.

As I read the story, stopping occasionally to discuss what was happening, my students had all kinds of insightful thoughts about what was happening. When we finished the book, I asked the question, "Can you ever take back your hurtful actions?" At first my students said yes, but as we talked a little more, they came to the realization that no matter what we do to fix the situation we can never take back the mean things we do. This is why kindness is so important. I could feel this sinking in for my students. It has been quite a while since they have been that quiet after reading a book. It was a powerful moment for us and a great way to begin a new year!

We followed that up with setting some reading goals and writing a rough draft of a blog post about our goals for 2015. Their goals ranged from getting better at football to being a better friend to getting better at math. I chuckled at some of them and was inspired by others. All in all, I think we're all set to go for another semester!

Now, if only we could just get ourselves back to school we'd really be set. We got out early today due to blizzard-like conditions and we're already delayed two hours tomorrow. Once again, gotta love these Iowa winters...

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Finding Their Greatness

Maya Angelou once said,

"People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

The reality of that beautiful quote is hitting me hard these last few days. We had a district-wide training yesterday on The Nurtured Heart Approach (NHA), and this quote floated around the back of my head all day. Briefly, NHA is a system that allows adults to shape kids' understanding of themselves and teach them how use that understanding to make good life choices. It involves putting all of our energy toward the success of the kids and limiting the amount of energy given to their negative choices. I'm not going to lie, at first, as I sat in that cafeteria, I thought the presenters were full of it - there was no way this would work. You see, in order to successfully use NHA, you have to be able to find a success in any situation. Our presenter told a story about her son to show us exactly how to do this. One day when her son was a junior in high school, she checked his grades. He had a few Fs and two D-s. She was not happy about this and really wanted to just let him have it. Instead, she went home that night and said, "Son, I checked your grades today, and I saw that you have a few Fs and two D-s. Those D-s tell me that you showed up to class and you turned in some work. That tells me you can be responsible, and I appreciate that." 

If you're like me, you're probably thinking, "What? That works?"

Here's the thing though, in that tough moment, she recognized something good he had done. Yes, it seems like a stretch, but it was one thing he was doing right. By emphasizing that right thing and the fact that he was capable of doing that right thing, she was building him up. She was helping him find his greatness. She went on to tell how she continued this process of recognizing the work he was doing, and within three weeks he had moved those grades up to As, Bs, and Cs. 

She made him feel good. She made him feel worthy and loved. That made a difference in his life. What a powerful tool!

That just scratches the surface of NHA, and I'm still learning about this process. I have no proof that it works. I haven't had the chance to apply it yet. What I do know is that if I have the chance to impact a child by helping him see his greatness, I'm going to do it. 

I want my students to leave my classroom feeling like they can do anything. I want them to be empowered to make good choices in life, and I want them to have the courage they need to get through it. I know that some of my students come from tough situations. If I don't say something about how incredibly awesome they are, they might not ever hear it from someone else. After participating in that session yesterday, I don't know how I could ever feel good about myself if I let my students go through their year with me not knowing how truly wonderful they are.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Respect the Introverts!

In my attempt to remain a lifelong learner, I have become a student again this year. Being a student in a traditional classroom setting has brought back all kinds of feelings I haven't felt since college (which wasn't actually all that long ago - 4.5 years - but hang with me people). Along with the overall excitement to be learning something new, the nerves and anxieties of trying to apply the new learning, and the thrill of meeting people with similar interests, comes the inner battle I fight between my introverted self and class expectations.

I am perfectly okay with the fact that I'm an introvert. Sure my intense fear of small talk of any kind makes things difficult from time to time, but in general, I'm happy with who I am. I love that I'm happiest when I'm tucked under a cozy blanket in my house enjoying a good book. I love to have conversations about life and issues with people who know and appreciate me. It doesn't bother me at all that I'm not outgoing and adventurous.

The hardest part about being an introvert,though, is that I'm not always understood by the people around me. This plays a role in nearly every aspect of my life. Here's an example. On Saturday, my husband and I attended our first class on the road to becoming foster parents. I didn't know any of the people in the room, and I had no idea what to expect from the day. We arrived a little before class started and were asked to make a couple of name tags. I was patiently waiting for my husband to finish up with the marker when the lady across the table said, "I don't know what's wrong Jess, but it'll be okay." I wasn't smiling and talking with the people around me, so this woman assumed I was upset about something. She didn't understand that I was simply adjusting to a new situation. It'll probably take me a few weeks before I'm comfortable enough to happily converse with the people around me. That's just who I am.

School, in general, does not have the tendency to be friendly to introverts. Think about all the times we ask our students to get in front of the group and answer questions or share thoughts. Think about the emphasis we put on participation, which is often only measured by how often a student talks. In our class on Saturday, we were told we are expected to participate throughout the ten weeks of class. We will be role-playing, reading aloud, and discussing ideas. At the mention of role-playing, I nearly got up and walked out. Luckily, the instructor saved me from having to throw foster care away by saying we're allowed to pass. I'll read and I'll discuss, but I probably will not role play. We also receive stickers to put on our name tents every time we volunteer to read or participate. There's nothing like a public log of how many times I have not participated to make myself feel good (end sarcasm). Needless to say, I left class on Saturday with more negative feelings than positive feelings and I certainly did not feel valued and respected. (I'm not giving up, of course. I'm a forgiving person. I'll give my instructors the benefit of the doubt and the chance to get to know me.)

All of this got me thinking about those introverts who hide themselves in midst of the craziness in my classroom. I know I have more than a couple. Do I treat them with respect and understanding? Do I give them enough opportunities to express themselves in a comfortable way? Do I ask them to do things too far from their comfort zone? Do I handle sensitive subjects in a way that doesn't embarrass them?

It's something to think about this week when I welcome my 19 lovelies back to my room.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

What Exactly Do You Do At Work?

Today, I was filling out a questionnaire for something I'm pursuing in my personal life. When I got to the question, "What do you do at work?" I stopped. Below the question were two lines. How in the world do I describe what I do at work in just two lines? I settled for something along the lines of "teach, inspire, and love my group of first graders." What I'd like to say is this:

At my work, I:

  • Get kiddos out of snow pants that just don't want to unzip.
  • Restart 3 iPads after panicked students come to me because they can't slide the slider.
  • Talk with a lovely about how it's not okay to tell someone they are stupid.
  • Read books.
  • Give directions for the third time to the lovely who is trying his absolute hardest but is just not interested in listening to his dear old teacher.
  • Tie a shoe.
  • Put Bandaids on scraped elbows.
  • Turn the tables on their sides to create the ultimate snowball battle experience to engage my students in math review.
  • Unstick a lovely's finger from the zipper pull she had to put said finger through.
  • Wipe all tables with Clorox wipes to ward off the illnesses sweeping through the room.
  • Kindly remind a lovely for the third or fourth time that he doesn't have to interrupt my teaching to ask for a tissue; he can simply go get one. 
  • Log a student onto a Netbook that is just not cooperating.
  • Teach a lovely that it's not okay to go into the drawers of my desk and take stuff.
  • Put together a Kahoot to review basic addition facts in an attempt to create a fun experience in math.
  • Snap a picture of the students doing the above Kahoot and tweet this picture so parents know what is going on in the classroom.
  • Bundle up for recess duty during which I jump rope, hula hoop, and go across the monkey bars all for the sake of the students' thrills.
  • Attempt to inspire a lovely to give his absolute best on his blog post.
  • Tweet a plea for a first grade classroom somewhere in the world to share the above lovely's awesome blog post with.
  • Feel disappointed when no one responds to the Twitter plea.
  • Log another student onto another Netbook that is just not cooperating.
  • Consult with a young reader about her use of the Monitor and Fix-Up strategy.
  • Throw my hands up in the air and exclaim, "Woohoo!"causing all students to stop what they're doing and stare at their crazy teacher when above reader appropriately uses the Monitor and Fix-Up strategy. 
  • Remind a lovely that it's not okay to push someone out of line to stand next to his best friend. 
  • Talk with my grade-level team about upcoming events, test scores, intervention groups, and technology.
  • Log yet another student onto yet another Netbook that is just not cooperating.
  • Eat lunch in my classroom with the company of four lovelies.
  • Laugh when one of the lovelies says, "--, I think you should just let him die and come play with me." 
  • Take all four lunch trays down to the cafeteria to give those four lovelies all of their recess time.
  • Check to make sure one lovely is riding the bus home and not being picked up like usual.
  • Email a parent about a health concern she is having with her lovely.
  • Invite the principal into my classroom to talk with all the boys about the appropriate way to use the bathroom. (Pay attention and aim guys!)
  • Tell students to give up on the silly Netbooks that are just not cooperating until I can seek technical assistance with them. (Technical assistance, by now, means throwing them out the window...)
  • Get frustrated when I forget to hand out my targeted five tickets for showing PRIDE and try to sneak them into the last 45 minutes of the day.
  • Make the decision to get all lovelies a mechanical pencil in order to avoid sharpening another pencil.
  • Smile as each student leaves my classroom and hope they come back the next day with a smile on their face.
Oh yeah, I also:
  • Teach math
  • Teach reading
  • Teach social studies
  • Teach science
How do I get that all down in two lines?