Skip to main content


Showing posts from April, 2018

The Gate

I'm at the gate for my flight.  I'm taking a day off, which will be tomorrow.  I'm going to meet up with 20 Something in a city that's one mile high in terms of elevation.  I needed to get away from The Thirdlanders for a day.  They're really acting oddly.  In the middle of something that I find fascinating, a 3rdLander will inevitably yell out, "When's the last day of school again?"  I try not to take it personally, but it was starting to wear me down today.  I don't usually do the count down thing at school.  Some people think it's great that we have 22 days left.  To me, I think.... geez, that's a lot of days dealing with people who are acting like mental ward patients.

I think this day off will be just the ticket to get me through.  We have a lot going on still in Room 200.  We've got stories to publish.  This weekend, I'm not going to think about that.  It's all going to be fine.  20 Something says we're going to go n…

The Game

The Proxy

20 Something went on a boat this week.  For days after her boat trip, she experienced a rocking disequilibrium, as if she were still on the boat.  She called me to discuss the situation.  I stayed surprisingly calm while insisting that she get to a doctor STAT. While she was struggling to get medical attention, I began a few days of intensive research which involved reading as well as interviewing a boating friend.

Come to find out, there's a syndrome called "Mal de Debarquement" that happens to people after a flight or a boat trip.  75% of professional sailors have experienced MdDS.  My boating friend had MdDS for 3 weeks after a cruise once.  Luckily, 20 Something only had the debilitating syndrome for 2.5 days. She's fine now.  I was so nervous that she was going to have Mal de Debarquement Syndrome for 2 or 3 years because that has been known to happen and honestly, we've been on a bit of an unlucky streak around here lately.   I assumed her condition indica…

The Doggedness

The Thirdlanders are starting to storyboard their social narrative stories.  Most people who teach in a writing workshop would probably think I'm too directive and or suggestive  with these young writers.  One Thirdlander has had to restart two times in the last two days.  Another Thirdlander started ripping up her post its after I made some comments about her story idea being a bit same old same old. I try to be tactful, but I stay true to my editor identity. When writing fiction for our press, the Thirdlanders need to make sure their books are surprising and original and can get readers talking about social issues.

This morning, a friend came to me and asked me about a writer she's working with.  I taught this kiddo and he was a hard sell on social justice writing, but he ended up writing a bestseller about gender stereotyping.  This week, he is writing about atomic farts.  She said, "You would say no to that, right?"

"Yeah, I would. He can go home and write …

The Adventure

I listened to a podcast today about how everyone should have adventures.  The podcaster travels all over the world with her 3 children and her husband.  They each have one bag and they climb mountains and tour pyramids and jump off bridges into pools of migrating manta rays and surf down volcanos on top of molten lava.

If I could see this person in person, I'd be tempted to inadvertently elbow her in the rib cage. Then I'd apologize like it was a big accident.

I probably need to start planning an adventure soon.  Because that podcast really stuck in my craw.

The Thirteenth

Yesterday we went outside with our iPads.  After talking about First Nations in Indiana, we went out to photograph the resources out there that we would use if we were living out there, in the playground wilderness.  Their photos were terrific.  There was some squabbling, but in the end, we all had a good time.

While we were outside, a friend's class was catching minnows in the creek, so we watched them for awhile.  Most of the minnows out there are called chubs.  They can get quite large.  They're going to free the chubs later.

This same friend's class found a wolf spider in their classroom earlier in the week.  They put it in a jar and named it Webby.  Their plan was to release it later in the week when the weather warmed up.  I offered Webby one of our crickets from Harriet's tank.  Friend Teacher popped it into the jar and Webby jumped on that cricket in a heartbeat, sucking out its inner organs like a pro.  Thankfully, my friend got a great photo of the meal in …

The Elk

I pulled the ELK medicine card this week.  It's a good one for teachers.  ELK medicine is all about stamina and setting your pace so that you can maintain energy over the distance.  On Tuesday afternoon at bus duty a student teacher asked me how I build up teaching stamina.

I was exhausted so I said, "You don't.  It's an exhausting job.  You'll be completely wiped out at the end of the day for the rest of your life."

She looked so crestfallen and her supervising teacher said, "Well, that may be a little extreme."

There's probably a good reason why I never work with student teachers.  Even so, I pulled it together the next day and thought about maintaining my energy throughout the day.  I worked on crocheting during morning meeting.  We had an extra recess.  When we transitioned from one activity to the next, I didn't let 15 Thirdlanders come up to tell me their random stories.  This last one is a hard one because it seems rude to cut peopl…

The Inflammation

Yesterday a 3rdLander told me that tests are sometimes given more importance than they should be given.  I agreed with this clever kiddo wholeheartedly.

The 3rdlander continued, "My cousin picked at an inflamed pimple one time during a test in elementary school and then he couldn't get into the higher classes in junior high TWO YEARS LATER!"

I agreed that the whole situation was unfair and ridiculous. Let's put things into perspective, People.

The Ninjas

We're in spirit week right now.  Today was class color day.  Everyone was supposed to wear the same color.  We had a vote a few days ago and BLACK won.

We were all dressed in black today and we looked awesome, just like ninjas.  Before school started, I  put the Mission Impossible theme song on so we could walk stealthily around the classroom and act like ninjas.  Creative Thirdlander gave me a badge that he made with the letters NB on it.  Ninja Boss.  I was really acting out the ninja part with verve as the music played because I love that song.

One Thirdlander found a way to perch himself under one of the tables. He looked very much like Tom Cruise in the Mission Impossible movie where he was hanging 6 inches above the floor in that room with the all the lasers going everywhere.

After others started trying to copy this move, I decided that maybe we should tone down the whole ninja thing and just move into morning meeting.  I felt badly for being kind of a buzzkill in the end…

The News

We read an article about the Little Rock 9 in Time for Kids recently.  2017 was the 60th anniversary of the brave heroism of 9 teens who integrated Central High in Arkansas.  After we read about the LR9 in the weekly news magazine, we read another article in a mainstream newspaper, designed for adult readers.  We also watched a few of their videos.  The Thirdlanders were pretty shocked to read, in the mainstream text, about the resegregation of public schools in the U.S.  We will look at some statistics about that.  We then tried out a simulation, where 3rdlanders took on the roles of assistant editors at the weekly news magazine planning a follow up article about the Little Rock 9.  One group of editors want to send some reporters to talk to the students at Central High, as well as the principal, to find out what Central High is like today.  Others want to include some maps of Little Rock, Arkansas, in the next piece.  Another group wants to include photographs of the statue commemor…