Today I wrote a referral. It was the first I've written in several years. Here's what I wrote: "I asked _____ to lower his voice level in the lunchroom several times. When he continued to use a loud voice I asked him to move to an empty table. He refused. I picked up his tray and moved it to a new table. He ran to the tray, grabbed his frozen ice treat off the tray and ran back to his original table with it. I told him I would have to write a referral. He screamed, "NO!" But did not move back to the table where I had placed his tray.
I probably could have let this go. I mean who really cares? Other people were screaming too. Still, you really should move when a teacher asks you to move. But maybe I could have compromised. Not really sure.
The book club was at my house last night. I had mixed feelings about this. A combination of dread and annoyance. But come to find out, everything worked out well. The book clubbers didn't love the book I picked, but they didn't hate it. They did not spurn the Jimmy John sandwiches I offered for food. They drank quite a bit of wine and talked into the night. Conversation was lively. I guess you could say I've joined the best book club on the planet. And I don't have to host for another 5 months. January.
Oh my gosh, that lunchroom's going to drag me down my friends. It's going to drag me down. I'm in there for 25 hours at a time, bringing kids to the food lines, running about reminding them to stop screaming, dealing with their interpersonal issues, picking up their disgusting half eaten food that they've left on the table, trying to get them to pick up the horrific messes they create, washing down their tables as quickly as possible because there's another group coming in. In short, it's not fun. And really, not exactly requiring me to use that fancy degree I worked on for 12 freaking years.
Okay, this being said, 2 things happened today that were actually pretty good in there. I will discuss them thusly.
Scenario the first: Crazy fourth grader stood up in the middle of the riotous lunchroom and screamed like there was no tomorrow, "I HATE YOU TANISHA!" I ran over to him and he leaned his head into my stomach area (which I don't like people to touch) and started wailing. It was all so sudden that I had to laugh kind of a lot. As I laughed and rubbed his back he told me that Tanisha had angered him so much that he had slammed his lunchbox down on the ground and now his lunchbox was dented and his apple sauce was spilled everywhere. "I can see you're frustrated," I told him, as he sobbed into my shirt. After that he sat down and seemed okay. So that was good.
Then Scenario the second. Second grade new kid was sobbing hysterically because she had no money in her account and she had to have a peanut butter sandwich. This situation is super hard to handle. I was rubbing her back and opening up the scorned sandwich when I asked the other kids, "Have you ever had to deal with this kind of thing?" Two girls told her right away that this had also happened to them. Then cheerful boy said, "I don't have that problem. I'm on free lunch. So I always get my food." That wasn't helping so much, and she was crying harder, but then the kid next to her said, "You can have my corn."
"Jason," I said, "We're really not supposed to share food in here, but right now, you are my hero."
That's when Emma decided to hand over her fruit salad. The kid's sobbing was slowing down and I sent her off to wash her face.
When she came back, she was fine.
So I guess I hate the lunchroom, but I'm occasionally charmed by it as well.
Did some writer's workshop with the kinders today. One kinder drew something that looked suspiciously like a guy with a gun. "Is that guy holding a gun?" I asked and he nodded. I explained we don't draw guns at school. The kinder replied, "Well, this guy's getting shot too."
Another kid brought up his four page book that had 5's written over every page. "Want to know why I'm drawing so many 5's. It's because I'm 5 years old."
It's fun and weird being with the kinders, just the way I like it.
My Uncle Tim died yesterday. We were not expecting that. Does the suddenness make it sadder? Sometimes I think that's true. Uncle Tim was a fine, fine uncle. He visited us lots of times and always brought us on little outings. He hosted me at his home throughout my life, and always made me feel welcome and happy. He loved talking about movies and books, told me lots of family stories, sang some songs with some pals at my wedding reception. He was a sweet and good man. I'll miss him a lot.
Book club meets on Thursday, at my house. I also have to provide food. Not thrilled about this, because I've only been in the book club a short while and I don't know all the peeps that well. But this is how it is, and I've got to get organized. I'm reading a good book for the club. It was my pick this month and Legal Brother Bill gave a good suggestion. The Submission by Amy Waldman. It's making me a little sad though right now. Things are spiraling out of control for the characters in an all too realistic way.
Back from Georgia. Did not work this weekend. How out of control do you think my week will be because of this foray into fun? Alas. Still, all worth it.
Anyway, if you want to read this book, you should.
First the bad: That kid I wrote about called Little Red Head? He moved and didn't come back to first grade.
Now the good: There's a new Little Red Head in kindergarten. Someone brought him to the office last week when I happened to be there. Come to find out, the kid repeatedly kicked a glass door, and would not stop. When Pal Lewis asked him what was going on with the door, new Little Red Head said, "Want to know how sorry I am? I'm really really really (then he said "really" about 38 more times) sorry."
I'll be keeping tabs on this kid. Obviously, he's someone to watch.
Well, here we are in Georgia, peeps. Mom was super surprised when Brother ManDan and I entered the home Thursday evening. She had no idea. Fairly amazing, considering I don't come from a family of secret keepers. I made the birthday cake today, my first cake ever. Mom mostly did everything, but I was right there, acting like I was making it the entire time. Mom turns 82 on Tuesday. I love her so much. I feel lucky to be able to sit here with her today, watching the Braves. C'mon Bravos, let's get it done.
If I could make a law, that law would be that a first week of school can never be a full five days. All schools begin the year with a 2 day week. Maybe 3, but that's it.
Yesterday, I taught 4 classes for the One Book One Fairview project. I had that horrible nervousness and anxiety, trying to think of good ideas, trying to deal with the line at the xerox machine, freaking out inside while a few kids told me they hated my assignment...... yadda yadda yadda. I kind of liked this anxiety. It made me feel like a teacher again, back in the real world. Coaching doesn't really have that icy heart edge to it.
I'm trying to be more of a warrior this year, passionate about our school focus, insistent on our collective expectations. I'm going to have to learn how to temper this stance, because yesterday I got kind of bossy with some peeps, for no real reason. I apologized later. In some ways I wish I could be boss of the world. In other ways, I just want to do my own thing with independence and freedom. I can find middle ground, by having some faith in people, and slowing down the pace a bit. Keep calm and carry on. Motto of the day.
Friends, do not go to Target. It's a nightmare there. I bought #1 son some stuff for college, and I'm afraid to say he was somewhat underwhelmed by my purchases. The notebooks? A shrug. The shower caddy? A look of incredulity. He'll probably be happy later, when he realizes how awesome that shower caddy is.
You're probably all wondering how I'm doing with the impending "empty nest." Honestly, not well. I've asked #1 son to text with me each day. He hasn't responded yet. Anyway, I've got to suck it up and stay strong. Kids grow up and leave. It's a pretty weird social norm if you really think about it, but that's just the way it is. #1 son and 20 something daughter both leave on Tuesday. I'm trying to think of something I can buy myself as a consolation prize.
The theme of the day has to be PRODUCTIVITY. With my 15 minute timer I should be able to whip out all the nagging things that are driving me insane. I am making a power point about Mike Schmoker's book to present on Friday morning. I'm adding pictures of baby animals to each slide, so I think everyone will enjoy that. Still have to pop up some bulletin board letters. I agonize over the stupidest stuff. I'm thinking of writing stuff like, "THIS IS A READING BULLETIN BOARD." AND "THIS BOARD WILL HAVE SOME STUFF FROM THE ONE BOOK ONE FAIRVIEW PROJECT ON IT, ONCE IT GETS ROLLING." Just informational messages so people know what's going on, and there's clarity.
Here's the sitch. I bought 5 new READ posters from the American Librarian Association. I hope they get here soon. I need those posters for my READING MINUTES Bulletin Board. I think the other board might be about writing, tied in with the One Book One Fairview Project. And here's another thing. I have 2 other boards I need to design and decorate for Artful School. I'm thinking one might just have some Masterworks on them, the art we use with the kids during our AL units. And then the other one might be something about ... Legacy? That was our biggest summer theme? I didn't take very many pictures tho, so that's not good. I've gotta figure this out. PRONTO. Please pray for me.
Well, it's time to celebrate some good stuff. Bff Judith's getting married tomorrow in a small sweet ceremony. I'm so excited about this, I'm basically flipping out. I'm enjoying every minute of watching this event coming to fruition. Not doing much to help, but I feel my jubilation is contributing to the success of this glorious day. I've been singing, "Get me to the church on time" all afternoon, much to the delight of family members. I love Judith and I love her future husband, with his fun personality and his rhyming name. All happiness, dearhearts.
Synchronized diving is very beautiful. I'm watching with 20 something daughter. I like the way these divers work together. Their kinesio tape is a bit distracting, but still, a great sport. U.S. won the Bronze, and those guys seemed quite content.
Heard Mike Schmoker talk today at our Literacy Summit. I like Schmoker's focus on reading, analyzing, discussing and writing about texts, even at the primary level. The guy had a pleasant persona. And a smart, simple message. He gets the silver and Kelly Gallagher gets the gold. He talked a lot about teaching writing incrementally, with intentionality. He also had a fine way of presenting. I can't give out a bronze because I only attended 2 talks. I was a monster tweeter at the summit, btw. I think I set a personal best record in the twittersphere.
The US Olympian gymnasts cheer each other on throughout their routines. I wish I had a posse of chirpy teens encouraging me when I'm doing hard stuff like driving into work or decorating a bulletin board: You've got this! Looking good! Keep going! You're doing it! I'm going to try to invent some cheers this year. A teacher taught me this one yesterday. You hold up your first hand and say, "Here's the grater! Then you hold up your second hand and say, "Here's the cheese!" Then you act like you're grating cheese and you say, "You're great! great! great!" I mean, it's not the best cheer ever, but it kind of gets the point across, that you're aiming to cheer on others.
I wish someone had cheered for Michael Phelps when he got a silver for his 18th medal. Everybody looked so disappointed. That's ridiculous. Silver's good. Here's a cheer for silver.
Silver! Silver! Shiniest Yet!
Don't you get that medal wet!
Not great, but it gets the point across, that a silver medal is something to appreciate and value.