Monday, December 13, 2010

The Week of the Christmas Concert

Twas the week of the Christmas Concert and all through the school
Not a student was obeying a single school rule.
The little ones were fussing, the big ones were rude...
the teachers were grumpy, and, yes, fussing, too.

The schedules were changing again every minute,
you never quite knew how the others would spin it!

The practices, how endless!  The lines were so wrong!
The students had seemed to forget every song.
Then I, with my whistle, and evil glare of death,
while avoiding a tantrum and taking a deep breath...


NO, you CAN'T use the bathroom, you CAN'T get a drink...
I DON'T want to hear it, please, let me THINK!"

Then, what to my angry blue eyes did appear?
A cat, in a hat, with a box, and a beard?

No, not a cat, nor a hat, box, or beard...
...just another dear friend who was acting quite weird!
The students were awestruck, but still acted absurd,
while I hoped and prayed that my tantrum wasn't heard!

And later this day, what could happen next?
I encountered a teacher, who was really quite vexed.
My students, you see, had not behaved well,
in French class you'd think they'd been under a spell!

They clucked and they snored, while supposed to be singing
their French song, MUSIC, was supposed to be ringing.
One little "angel", smacked her head on the table...
...over and over for as long as she was able.

The French teacher growled as only French teachers do,
while out in the hallway I heard something new.

"Drop and do push-ups!" A teacher did cry,
so I peeked 'round the corner in order to spy.
Her students, how naughty, her patience was gone.
Alas, it was thus through the school since dawn.

So what might come next?  What atrocities wait?
What new evil could befall on tomorrow's date?
We wait and we wonder, while hitting our heads...
...perhaps all the teachers should be put onto meds.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Spiders and Seventh Grade

It's not very often that I give over this blog to the "Big Kids" at my school...the seventh and eighth graders who have a music class with me once a week.  However, today is one of those days!  At the time it was rather embarrassing...but now it's just hilarious!

To set the scene:

Music Class.  End of the Day.  Practicing for the Christmas Concert.

Seventh Grade Girl, a Drama Queen by nature, keeps jumping out of her chair, squealing. Over and over again.

What does a teacher do?  Get frustrated!  And, of course, try to find out what is going on.  She informs me of the following offense.  The seventh grade boy beside her keeps dangling a spider right in front of her.  I tell him to knock it off, tell her to calm down, we carry on.

Only, it doesn't end.  She keeps right on squealing and jumping.  Frankly, I've had enough.  I march over to the boy, fully believing that he is just teasing her, and that there isn't a spider.  I extend my hand and insist that he give me whatever it is that he has.  The whole class freezes.  What will happen?

He opens his hand and drops the item onto my palm.  I look down and scream, tossing the offending item, a brown spider, as far as I can, then order him to "go get it and GET RID OF IT!"

He starts to laugh.  And laugh.  And laugh some more.  The child could hardly breathe as he walked over, picked up the spider...and begins to unravel it.  Yes, the spider was nothing more than some brown thread, tangled and crumpled to resemble a spider.

The class erupts.  Chaos ensues.  Even the "good kids" are just DYING!  I, too, begin to laugh.  What else could I do?

Fortunately, the class was nearly over.  Fifteen minutes of giggles and requests to "do it again, Miss Gerber, in SLOW MOTION!" with helpful reminders of exactly what I  had looked and sounded like was quite enough.

But truly, if I'd thought of it and had thought that I could pull it off?  *sigh*

Ahhhh...the power of suggestion.  And spiders.  And Seventh Grade Boys.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Report Cards...

Number One Reason for having fewer grades in a classroom...fewer different report cards to deal with!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Funniest Kindergarten Moment!

Said during a discussion about angels, and how they are always with us:

 "I think our angels must laugh their heads off at how silly we are sometimes." 

Yes, child, I think they must.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Funniest Kindergarten Moment!

Funniest Kindergarten moment of the day...
 Me: "What does this letter say?"
 Student: "That's an H."  
 Me: "What sound does it make?"  
 Student: "It's like Horse."  
 Me: "Yes, Horse starts with H.  What sound does it make?"  
 Student: "Neeee-iii-ggg-hhh.  HAHAHAHAHHA"  

*Student falls off of his chair in hysterics.  So does the rest of the class.*

I nearly died laughing.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rice Flour Cookies

Student Opinions: "Yum!" "Much better!" "I like this!"
My Opinion: "Yick. Grainy. Aftertaste.  So not worth my time."

Experiment Result:  I discovered that it's yucky to try new things without all of the proper ingredients (ie, a full mix of different kinds of wheat-free flour).  I also rediscovered that I'm very very very grateful to not have food allergies of my own.  Real ingredients make a massive difference!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Allergies, Part Two

So, we tried our cookies today. The dough was passable, but the cookies never really hardened enough in the freezer to be edible.  That means (to the students' great excitement!) that we'll try another "experiment" tomorrow.  It will involve rice flour (instead of the oat bran) and brown sugar (instead of the white sugar).  We'll see!  The dough should be stiffer, which will help.  I'll let you know!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Allergies, Politics, and Staff Meetings...

It's sad when a person has a wonderful day, which is then spoiled by the politics of staff meetings.  What a way to spoil a day!

Then, how about adding a last minute cookie baking requirement to my Thursday?  I actually knew it was a possibility, but was admittedly ignoring it.  There is something really intimidating about the following scenario:
--make cookies with your class.  Your students have the following restrictions:  wheat-free, egg-free, dairy-free, peanut-free, no candy, no artificially coloured/flavoured ingredients.  Oh yes, one student hates chocolate.  Really, really hates it.  The kitchen is unavailable.  PS--you have no brown sugar, the store is closed, there isn't a chance to hit the only grocery store in town after it opens tomorrow.

Seriously?!?!  This is not some random optional challenge, either!  The cookie-making is part of School Spirit Week, and was just a victim of unfortunate timing when it comes to kitchen availability.  The allergies/food restrictions are a very real part of my every day reality.

So, this is the plan.  I've got a recipe for Frozen Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls.  These are the listed ingredients: butter, brown sugar, vanilla, water, flour, chocolate chips.  These are the ingredients that we are going to experiment with tomorrow:  margarine, white sugar, vanilla, water, oat bran (I don't have any oat flour, of course), and chocolate chips (which the chocolate-hater can skip!).  If I broach the idea as an experiment, a science project, the kids will love it.  Using margarine will eliminate the need to soften the butter.  I'll take my own mixer, and will fight for/beg for/borrow/steal freezer space.  We'll make them early in the that if it all falls apart I can call in reinforcements (aka: Soy Boy's mother to bring in a wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, peanut-free treat!).

If they turn out, I will share the recipe tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

School Spirit Week

I love School Spirit Week.  Granted, much instructional time is "lost" due to the changes to the schedule, but it's worth it!  Yesterday was "Stuffy Day",  where each student could bring a favourite stuffy or two to school.  We had to do full-on introductions for each visitor to our classroom, of course!  Today was "Pajama Day"...which was awesome.  The kids were darling and oh-so-comfy.  One little one wore a fuzzy polka-dotted pair of footed pajamas...and looked so very very little!  Another commented that "this is the most comfortable that I've EVER felt at school!"  I enjoyed it as well.  Sweatpants, t-shirt, and fuzzy slippers are so much easier when sitting on the floor!  Dress clothes? What dress clothes?
Tomorrow is Skating Day...bound to be awesome...and amusing.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sesame Songs!

In the spirit of being happy that the long weekend was so awesome, sad that tomorrow is Monday, and yet happy to be back with the kids...a medley of Sesame Songs, to match my mixed up mood!  I couldn't narrow my choices down very pick one at random and see if it doesn't make you smile!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Remembrance Day

Every year I am saddened by the declining health of our veterans.  We had a special Remembrance Day ceremony this week, and had a local veteran come and talk to the students.  Amidst all of the expected talk of war and guns (popular conversations, of course!) I really appreciated the way that this lovely gentleman emphasized that most veterans are "pro-peace, not pro-war."  That's what we needed to hear!  That's the focus I try to give for my students.

These veterans are getting old.  They're getting sick.  They're not around anymore.  I haven't checked this statistic for myself, but according to our guest the WWII veterans are dying at a rate of about 2000 each month. Even if his number is exaggerated, it's sad.

Despite this, I am so pleased by the responses of my students to our Remembrance Day discussions.  They gave me such gems as this:

"The soldiers are like the Mommy at the end of Love You Forever...we have to finish the song for them."

What an amazing connection for a little one to make!

Shannon Gerber

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Long Day is Over...

Today served as a good reminder for me...a reminder that two grades is easy, three grades isn't so very bad, but four grades is miserable.  Our Grade 2-3 teacher was unable to teach today and her students joined my class. This still kept me well under the provincial classroom cap, but felt like easily twice as many kids as there actually were!  It was really nice, actually, to see how my students from last year had progressed.  The kids were all (K-3 inclusive) remarkably well behaved, especially seeing as everything was different with the addition of the second class.  However, I have come to the following conclusions:

1.  The amount of energy required to keep on top of all potential behavioural conflicts in this group needed twice as much coffee as I'd had this morning.
2.  If I ever have to run a big grade spread again, I will ensure that I spend the extra kazillion or so hours to match up all of the curriculum and units of study (as much as possible) so that I'm not having to teach four entirely different curricula to the four grades.  Differentiated levels within the units, absolutely.  That said, my provincial curriculum just doesn't lend well to blended classrooms of more than two grades (in specific combinations).
3.  A ration of 3-1 in the boys-girls category is just not fun.
4.  It is especially important for teachers of many grades to get a break at some point in the least for five or six minutes!  The more grades you have, the more crucial it is to use absolutely every minute productively.
5.  Finally, I am so glad that I had the opportunity to really hammer in the importance of being able to sit still for increasing periods of time in order to do seatwork/read stories, from a very early age.  It made all the difference in the world today that all of the students were capable of working mostly independently so that I could work with other grades.  (Granted, I don't have a tendency to plan very much "sit still and work quietly" time through the day.  It is important, but active learning is so much more effective.)

So, now that I have crashed on my couch for the rest of the evening, I'll leave you with one of my favourite Norah Jones songs!

Monday, November 8, 2010


I will freely admit that I love long weekends.  Don't get me wrong, I love my students, I love teaching, and I usually don't mind the interactions with other adults...but I love long weekends!  This is a three day teaching week, as Thursday is Remembrance Day (a school holiday) and Friday is a Non-Instructional Day.  When you live here, that's code for "work your butt off at the beginning of the week so that you can go downisland (one word, in these parts) and shop/visit people/schedule medical appointments/stop at Costco/go to concerts/catch a hockey game/stop at Starbucks without feeling guilty".   Professional Development days (all three) are ok, but Non-Instructional Days (again, three) are gold!  Everyone understands that students, parents and teachers alike need to get to a bigger center!  This weekend I'll be meeting up with my Mom and we'll spend a few days OFF! No lesson planning, no grading, no guilt.  Granted, we'll probably both be guilty of buying school supplies and resource materials.  However, it's our OWN time!  Yaaaaaaaaaay!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Muffin Tin Mondays

One of the exciting changes to my classroom this year is the addition of an event called "Muffin Tin Mondays", where our lunch every Monday is served in a muffin tin!  All of it!  This may not sound exciting to you, but to five and six year olds this is pretty darn thrilling.  It's also pretty awesome for the parents (and teacher) who get to have a day off from packing a lunch.

I began planning for this over the summer, found my muffin tins on sale at Michaels, and started planning what I hoped would be exciting menus for our meals.  I had visions of mini sandwiches, muffins, cutely shaped fruits and veggies, etc.  I knew that I would have a small class, so I pictured having parents rotate through helping provide the meals, each bringing in a "class set" of something every two or three weeks.

My school is a Peanut-Free zone, which is actually pretty easy to work with...but then I was hit with a triple whammy.  One of my small fry is allergic to eggs, wheat, and dairy.  Eggs, wheat, AND dairy!  Not only that, but to get specialty food items which he can eat is freaking expensive and nearly impossible in this more isolated region.  Another student is not allowed candy.  Sweet treats, yes, but no candy.  Ever.  Even at Halloween.  What a curveball!  

So, our Muffin Tin Monday meals are slightly different than anticipated.  Heavier on the fruits and veggies (a good thing, I know), very little dairy (and when there is cheese, this student brings soy cheese.  He calls himself Soy Boy.  It's hilarious!), lots of popcorn, very little wheat, and next to no treats.  Fortunately this dear student's mother is a prolific baker who is always willing to provide the class with something safe to eat!  For the most part, I've found it easier to provide much of the meal myself, in order to avoid all possible allergens.

(This is from our first special lunch!)

It's a good thing that the little ones are always excited to eat their meals from the muffin tins...even if they are eating grapes and carrots.  Again.

Tomorrow's menu?  Carrots, blueberries, apple slices, pear slices, crackers with Nutella, popcorn, and cheese cubes.  Yummy!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Forest Adventures!

One of the things that you quickly learn when living in a island community like this one is that sunny days are few and far between (especially at this time of year!), and when they come you have to get out!  This was one of those "Quick! Get your coats! Get your outside shoes! Get your explorer hats! Get your shovels!  We're going on a bear hunt!" kind of moments!

That first picture is from the beginning of our forest adventure...after the hats, paper binoculars, and shovels had become more of a hindrance than a help.    :)  Would you believe that this is only about 100 metres from our classroom?

We hiked for about 10 minutes before finding this excellent clearing.  Hills, stumps, fallen logs, standing trees...lots of dirt, and lots of fun!

We found a bear den!  Only, it wasn't really a den, it wasn't big enough for a bear, and it was completely unoccupied.  That didn't stop the imaginations!

We hacked several fallen logs to smithereens with our little shovels...yay for wet, rotting, crumbly wood!

There were plenty of opportunities for climbing, balancing, and scaring the teacher!

Unfortunately, the only pictures of the kids investigating with magnifying glasses has too much detail of their faces, so I can't post them here.  

What a great way to spend part of an afternoon!

PS--Check out the short update on the cookie baking endeavour, found on the previous blog post...

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Joys of a Small School...

One of the unique things about teaching in a small school, located in a small community, is that teachers have the opportunity to interact daily with many students who are in many different classes. This year, for example, in addition to teaching all subjects to Kindergarten and Grade One students, I also teach P.E. every day to Grades Two and Three and Music once a week for Grades Seven and Eight. I was one of the sponsors for the flag football tournament two weeks ago, which involved 22 hours of driving (round trip), four hours on a ferry (round trip), three hours waiting for the ferry, multiple stops at gas stations/stores/etc, and camping out with the entire team at my Mom's place over a four day period.

*side note* Whenever possible, do long trips with a group of kids who are accustomed to the mantra that "if we miss this ferry we have to wait at least two more hours"...they know to keep their bathroom/snack breaks really fast. Man, that part was easy! Even stopping at the mall with a bunch of teenagers was easy! Nothing like living over four hours away from the nearest big center to really increase the amount of desire amongst everyone for some "big city shopping!" Also, EB Games is a wonderful babysitter. I dropped my collection of boys off there, told them not to leave, and did a ten-minute whirlwind tour of the bookstore, chocolate shop, and Starbucks. Fun times!

*back to the point* The trip was actually very fun, and quite painless, and tonight the football team is having a scavenger hunt party. Sometime in the next hour I expect groups of students to be converging upon my apartment to bake cookies, eat cookies, and deliver cookies to someone else, before heading off on their next task.

Why am I saying all of this? Why am I rambling on with atrociously long run-on sentences? Here's why. I love teaching in a school system where this is all "ok"...where I don't have to worry that someone is going to flip out about their preteens stopping at a teacher's house on a Friday night (with their drivers, of course), and where we can enjoy time spent in and out of school with a variety of people. Don't get me wrong. The system in which I work has it's downsides. Major downsides. The community in which I live has it's downsides, too (*cough* over four hours to the nearest bookstore *cough*). But, I get to bake cookies with the big kids on a Friday night. Awesome!

Now to end with the funniest Kindergarten moment of the week!

Small boy, "E", sticks his juice box and straw in front of my face and says "Open It."

I, obviously, respond with "E! You need to ask me nicely!"

He flutters his eyelashes, looks endearingly at me, and says in his most convincing voice... "will you please open my juice box, Sweetheart?"

I die.


Grade Seven and Eight students learned that it's not possible to make cookies "bake faster!", and had to be deterred from trying the "turn the oven up to 500 degrees" method...too fun!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Midweek Madness

It's amazing how one little thing can throw off an entire week. For us it's Week of Prayer. That means that the first half hour of every day is over in the church for assembly. Sounds good, and they've been enjoying the meetings, but it means that the routine of the day is different. Routines being as crucial as they are, this is a bad thing! We'll survive for one more day, then have a three day week next week...then a long weekend! Woohoo!

Joke of the day: Why do we carry umbrellas when it rains? Because umbrellas can't walk!

Non-Joke of the day: What do you get when you combine a sunrise at 8:26am, dark clouds, heavy rain, a migraine, a couple of burned out lights, a change in routine, and cranky children? Grumpy Teacher.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I'm baaaack!

It's amazing how one messed up summer can drastically change all plans. Yikes! That said, with the school year well under way again, I'm finally ready to get back to blogging. What better way to do so than with humour?

First: Student wails, caterwauls, shrieks, giggles, and generally makes a huge ruckus for no apparent reason. What does any sane teacher ask the student to do? Stop the noise, of course! How did this charming student respond? "But teacher, I'm just making a joyful noise to the Lord!" I didn't pursue it.

Next: Knock, knock? Who's there? Toilet. Or, monkey on the toilet. Or, any other possible attempt to get away with using bathroom words. At lunch time. *sigh*

Then: M says "Teacher! O pinched me!"
I say "O, why did you pinch M?"
O replies "He told me to pinch!"
I say "M, why did you tell O to pinch you?"
M replies "Because I was spanking her."
I didn't pursue that, either.

Finally: We took a field trip to the local police station. A wonderful time was had by all, the students all behaved, no one got tied into the restraint chair (though they did ask), no one was left in jail (again, they asked), the students were thrilled to find out that prisoners get to eat Eggo waffles for breakfast (and wanted to become prisoners, themselves!)...and the officers mostly kept straight faces. Why is this important? Here are the questions that I dropped off ahead of a warning! I felt that they deserved to know what sort of things they were in for, and was actually very pleased that the kids remembered so many of them so that I could watch the reactions!

Kindergarten-Grade One Questions to ask the Police Men and Women
1. What do prisoners drink? (Around here? Nothing suitable for students, haha.)
2. Do Police Officers go to jail?
3. Do Police Officers get tickets?
4. What do prisoners sleep on?
5. What do pregnant prisoners sleep on?
6. What do prisoners eat?
7. Do Police Officers take care of mean animals? (Fortunately, I was able to redirect this one when the officers looked worried about having to talk about their answer!)
8. How and where do prisoners go to the bathroom? (One little darling sniffed the jail cell's sink, to see how clean it was. Who does that?)
9. Do on-duty officers sleep in the station?
10. Do Police Dogs get bathroom breaks? (NEWS UPDATE! Police dogs are trained to go before a mission, and then just "hold it"! If dogs can do this, why can't five year olds?)
11. Does Port Hardy have Police Dogs? Nope! The nearest Police Dog is two and a half hours away.
12. How does the Police boat catch speeders?
13. Do Police Officers deal with people who break the law by taking their boats too close to the whales in the water?
14. Where do officers store their gear? In lockers, like the big kids at school.
15. Where do Police Dogs stay? With their trainers.
16. What do Police Officers do when people are shooting?
17. Do bad guys in P.H. throw people to the whales to get eaten? No.
18. Do Police Officers get bathroom breaks when they are on a mission?
19. In the olden days, where did Police Officers keep their horses? In their barns.
20. Do Police Officers get in fights with each other?
21. Do Police Officers get bathroom breaks? (Clearly, this was VERY important!)
22. Do Police Officers take care of people who are in danger?
23. Do Police Officers kill dangerous animals who are attacking? Not unless they have to.
24. Do Police Officers save animals from danger?
25. Do Police Officers find fossils?

Then, these unexpected gems came up:

26. Can you use your cell phone to call heaven? No, the long distance charges would be expensive.
27. Can you use your cell phone to call hell? No.
28. Why do you have a wheel chair with a seatbelt? (That was the chair with restraints. The officer froze up, I thought fast and told the students that sometimes prisoners forget that it's in their best interest to just sit still and behave...just like students sometimes forget that it's best to just stay in time out and be still. The officer looked very relieved. Hahaha...)
29. Do you get to eat lunch?
30. Will you shoot me with your gun?

The officers only choked once. I had to step out once to laugh, and repeatedly ensured that I didn't make any eye contact with the adults in the room.

Gotta love the little ones!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Roller Coaster

This has been a summer of emotions! Big ups, huge downs, and everything in between.

I'm down to only a few days before returning to P.H. and have way too much still to accomplish.

Will I make it? Today I think so, tomorrow, who knows?!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Summer! Or, "My Rebuttal to Those-Who-Believe-That-Teachers-Have-Summers-Off"

Well, look at this! It hasn't even been a full week, and here I go posting again. Woohoo!

I am so excited to only be teaching two grades this coming year: Kindergarten and Grade One. Yay for revamping the elementary end of the school! Suddenly, school life seems manageable again! Granted, I have absolutely no idea how many students I might end up with (due to tuition incentives and a public school in town closing)...but at least I know what I'll teach!

I'm also excited to have my Math, Language Arts, Science, and PE course overviews ready to go, my thematic units planned out by month, and all of the subjects planned for the year (I just don't have all of the learning outcomes/official stuff attached to each). I have to get my "theme boxes" filled with all of the resources and supplies for the different units, but that will be fun. Hours of work, but fun. I'm also hoping to get to my actual lesson plans for the first few weeks of school.

I have to buy the school supplies for all of my students, as they really aren't available up on the North Island. Unfortunately, without knowing how many students to buy for, this will be a challenge! I'm hoping to hold out until Teacher Appreciation Days in August at Staples!

Along with those, I've been down to Montana while Mom defended her Masters' Thesis, spent a small fortune at book stores, spent another small fortune at fabric stores, and made a baby quilt (well, it still needs to have the edges bound). I've made a running trip back to P.H., spent time cleaning out my classroom, re-did my apartment (thanks, in most part, to Mom's hard work!), and divided resources to send all of the Grade Two materials to the Grades Two and Three teacher.

I have my new classroom blog up and running, our new travelling buddy off on his first adventure, and lots of little projects lined up for the summer (doll quilts, new curtains for the classroom, etc).

Did I mention Camp Meeting? Yep, Mom and I are leading out for the 3&4 year old division again (yay!). We'll head down next week to clean out spiders and mice in preparation for all of our little people.

I have to take two courses this summer. Neither one holds a whole lot of interest for me, but they are required. *sigh* At least I am able to challenge the exams! I just have to do a lot of studying.

It's been busy so far, and the summer is only going to get busier.

Teachers' Meetings, August 24-26. during this time I will be labeling pencil boxes, markers, crayons, pencil crayons, erasers, notebooks, duotangs, waterbottles, and everything else which will go on the student desks. Each. And. Every. Crayon. Seems ridiculous, but saves a lot of hassle later on.

Race up to P.H. for an intense five days of reorganizing and setting up my classroom, prepping for all of the students who will (hopefully!) have registered, packing up the school supply kits, photocopying madly, laminating like a maniac, slapping name tags everywhere, labeling everything in the room so that students see real language at work, tripping over the horrible carpet in my classroom (unless, by some miracle, it's been really repaired or replaced. That, however, would mean hauling everything out of my room and then bringing it back in), and then racing back to Kelowna before Friday, September 3.

Labour Day weekend is my cousin Danielle's wedding (for which I am official coordinator). Then, race back to P.H. and get back just in time for school to start on Tuesday, September 7. There will only be a month of consistency before I'm racing back to Kelowna for my brother Shaun's wedding to Sarah (for which I'm helping to make the cakes, taste tests and such to be done in August)!

I'm tired just looking at the list! My saving grace is that so much of the studying, course outlining, label-making, supply sorting, and quilting can be done outside. In the sun. Or, in the shade. In the mountains. At the beach. Without getting up at 5:00am.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Meet Blackberry

I'm looking for classrooms for a small black bear (stuffed, of course) to visit over the next school year. Blackberry would like to visit students of all ages in their classrooms...all over the world, preferably! His adventures will be chronicled on my classroom blog and will also be tracked on a big map in my classroom. This year I will be teaching Kindergarten-Grade One. Let me know if you are interested!

Blackberry's picture will be posted...but I think that I may have left him in Port Hardy! It might be a few weeks before you get to see him!

Link to my Classroom Blog

Sooooo...this whole blog more often thing isn't working so well for me. I've now set my cell phone alarm to remind me to post! *sigh*

That said, I've set up a classroom blog. It will involve pictures and details about what's happening in my classroom. It's going to be a daily blog...enforced! I will be using it to keep parents informed. As it is going to include pictures of my students, it will be set to "private" once the school year has started. Feel free to check it out before then, and to request access if you want it! :)

Many of the postings will be duplicated, minus the specific student details and pictures, on this site.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


How do I encourage myself to blog more frequently? What would it take to get more stuff up on this silly page? Perhaps I should set a "blog now!" alert on my cell phone, every week or so. That might help.

That said, it's almost summertime! Woohoo! One more day!

Friday, February 19, 2010

A Rant...

Dear _________________,

When you come in for an unplanned and unscheduled "observation" on the first day back after a four day weekend (which was immediately preceded by 100th Day and then Valentine's Day celebrations, please remember that what you see is neither normal nor typically considered to be "acceptable" in my eyes.

Please do not comment on the disorder (or disaster) in my classroom. Don't "suggest" that I have my students help to clean up periodically throughout the day. Trust me. I pick my battles. This was NOT the day for that battle. Most days we have clean-ups before recess, lunch, PE, and after centers. Most days we have a routine.

Please do not pick up workbooks from the (admittedly messy) piles. Honestly, they are none of your business. Telling me that it appears that I am behind in leaving "teacher tracks", and that prompt corrections/responses are vital in primary grades is a given. What you do not know, because you didn't ask, is that I check the work carefully as they do it, making corrections as we go. The fact that I am behind in leaving stickers on pages is regrettable, but more regrettable is the fact that you didn't check to see if the answers were correct. Also, when there are incorrect answers on the page, it's probably because I was dealing with one of my "strong-willed" students. Again, it's called picking my battles. One page with wrong answers will not kill anyone.

Please do not tell me that you can see that I have "strong-willed" students in my classroom. I know that what you are really saying is that the kids are out of control. I know! Did you not see my face!?! It is also bothersome that you commented on the fact that you know that students play up when you are in the room (unannounced). I know it, you know it, they know it...don't rub it in.

Finally, please understand that 80% of my class is male. Not only that, they range in age from a young 5 to barely 8 years old. This means that every day is full of strong-willed children doing things that make normal human beings shudder with either disgust, fear, or dismay. Dealing with hitting is a normal part of my day. Rude jokes/words/pictures are part of my day. Tantrums are part of my day. Sometimes pretending not to see things is the best plan. If I occasionally ignore the much-deserved retaliatory punch, it's ok...everyone deserves pay-back sometimes.

Please know that I do appreciate that you noticed that I consistently follow through with consequences/discipline/expectations.

My bottom line is this: Unless you have taught my group of kids, in my classroom, on the first day back from holidays, then take a lesson from me...pick your battles.



Saturday, January 9, 2010

Just call me Mary Poppins...

I don't mean to imply that I am "practically perfect in every way", or that I can magically make children want to clean up their toys. For that matter, I don't have the ability to jump into a chalk picture. However, I have the bag. (Most days I actually have two bags, which get carried pretty much everywhere. Sometimes the items are condensed into only a purse.)

It seems that I have gotten a bit of a reputation in my small community. I am the one who has everything. Occupy 10 or so small children during a funeral? Go to Miss Gerber. Need a band aid while at a hockey game? Go to Miss Gerber. Need a pen/pencil/sharpie/eraser/notebook? Go to...well, you get the point.

For the sake of my own amusement, I am now going to present you with a current inventory of my purse/school bag. This list is in no particular order, except that it's the order of items as they were pulled out of the bag!

*Bigger Bag (contents on school days would also include lunch, and would likely not include my Bible)

-water bottle
-3 granola bars
-half package of M&Ms
-small notebook with lined paper
-copy of "The Very Hungry Caterpillar"
-box of Crayola Twistable Mini crayons
-Bible (The bag went to church today!)
-10 colouring pages (current theme: Noah's Ark)
-3 packages of stickers (trucks, misc. animals, and stars)
-small stuffed dog
-2 Hot Wheels cars (this number widely varies, with up to 5 or 6 cars, depending on the event)
-6 colourful plastic bugs
-1 stretchy lizard
-1 container of Silly Putty (started out as 3, but two were given away)
-Hockey Jersey shaped sticky notes
-2 small pads of sticky notes
-hand sanitizer
-hand lotion
-6 small barrettes
-1 package of Benylin
-1 pair of black socks
-1 pair of black gloves
-pencil sharpener
-cell phone charger
-roll of masking tape
-black Sharpie

*Purse contents

-cell phone
-Bluetooth device
-car keys
-school keys with flash drive
-additional school keys (dumpster, filing cabinet, etc)
-additional USB flash drive
-MP3 player with headphones
-First Aid Kit (Band aids in assorted sizes, polysporin, gauze pads)
-Kleenex Spash 'n Go wipes
-regular Kleenex tissues
-cough drops
-big bottle of Advil Liqui-Gels
-Vicks inhaler thing
-eye shadow
-pressed powder makeup
-2 chapsticks
-nail clippers
-mini Coffee Crisp
-half of a Kit Kat bar
-small felt raccoon (should have left that at church today!)
-long plaid ribbon
-wrist support brace
-2 granola bars
-1 Lindt chocolate
-2 candy canes ( 1 big, 1 little)
-small sticky notes
-empty ziploc bag (handy for when students, or brothers, have garbage to get rid of!)
-glue stick
-bag of change (for children's offerings at church and/or impromptu math lessons)
-4 mini Sharpies (assorted colours)
-1 silver Sharpie
-1 red Sharpie pen
-1 Stainless Steel Refillable Sharpie (love it!)
-mechanical pencil
-blue pen
-7 hair bands
-7 hair pins
-4 hair clips
-list of Bible texts
-1 eraser
-3 safety pins
-1 paper clip
-school phone list

Suffice to say that it is rare that I need something which I don't have or can't replace with something else!

Upon reflection, I'm almost scared of those content lists! At the same time, I realize that I have a slight scissor deficiency, and might need to remedy that situation.

So, what's in YOUR bag?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Highlights and Lowlights...

This week has been a very up and down sort of week! If you read my post from yesterday, you saw most of the lows. Having to start school again after the holiday was also a low! Sending two of my students to the principal in the first 5 minutes of the day today? Low.

There have been highs too. Today the entire class sat still and quietly for almost 10 minutes while we read a story at the end of the day. Trust me, this is a miracle! (Mom, it was the new book that you sent them. They were THRILLED to get a present from you!) The fact that no one has been late, no one has gotten sick, and no one has gotten hurt is also a high! The kindergartener's lucky day was also a definite high.

There are also the high/low moments. They manage to be both a downer and an upper at the same time. Being told by a sixth grade girl that my hair was "ummm...slightly frizzier than normal" was hilarious! It also sent me to a mirror. Having one of my darling kindergarten students drop her jaw upon finding out how old I am turning this month, and then exclaim in shock "TEACHER! You are YOUNGER than my GRANDPA!" was almost devastating, but also incredibly funny! Dear child, I will be turning 25. That's an "ouch".

Very few things, or people, make me laugh like my kindergarten students. While I love the first and second graders dearly, there is just something about a kindergartener! Today we had this conversation while working on our seat work.

Student 1: Teacher, just WHY aren't you married yet?

Teacher: Umm..I guess I'm just not ready. (What? It seemed like a safe answer at the time. No need to share my point of view on the eligibility of the options here in PH!)

Student 2: What, your mom won't allow it? (Direct quote, by the way.)

Teacher: ... (Really, I had no words)

Student 3: Oh come on, stop being mean to teacher!

Then, just minutes later, we had this gem of a conversation.

Student 3: Teacher! This is a "you" angel!

Teacher: Well, thank you A, that's very sweet of you!

Student 2: There are no teacher angels. That's just very unusual. (Again, a direct quote.)


Even on a rainy, whiny, hectic Thursday, they make me smile!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

A Lucky Day...

I would be very hesitant to say that it was my lucky day. After all, there were many factors against it from the beginning!
a) I watched the Canadian World Junior hockey team lose in overtime last night, putting me in a sad mood (not my fault!).
b) I stayed up way too late (totally my fault).
c) I had to get up early (the alarm clock's fault).
d) I ran out of hot water (ok, that's my fault).
e) I got to school later than I would have liked (mostly my fault).
f) I only had the chance to drink half of my coffee before the other half got cold (not my fault...ish).
g) I had to go pick two kids up at the bus stop two kilometers away from school (not my fault).
h) My students arrived grumpy and hyper (not my fault).
i) We had three temper tantrums in our classroom before morning recess (I hope that they were not my fault!).
j) I forgot my lunch (you figure out where the blame lies).
k) My first kindergarten student arrived 15 minutes early, meaning that I only had a 10 minute break, rather than 25 minutes (not my fault).
l) More tantrums.
m) Staff meeting happens after school.

Wow, that was a rant and a half!

The luck comes in for one of my dear kindergarteners. This converstaion can't be retold any better than in direct quotes.

Student: TEACHER! It's my lucky day!
Me: Oh? Why is it your lucky day?
Student: I learned that I could do something I never thought that I would be able to do!
Me: Tell me about it!
Student: When I went to the bathroom I learned that I could go POO at SCHOOL!!! I didn't think that would EVER happen!

Life must be good, right? :)

Saturday, January 2, 2010


In the spirit of New Years Resolutions, I am going to share mine with you all. Please note that some of them may be more sarcastic than serious (not a surprise if you know me!).

1. I resolve to only make resolutions that I might be able to keep.
2. I resolve to blog more frequently.
3. I resolve to think fewer unkind thoughts about people (please note that I didn't suggest that I might stop completely).
4. I resolve to spend less time watching mindless television in the evenings.
5. I resolve to get out of Port Hardy for retail therapy more frequently.
6. I resolve to eat more vegetables.
7. I resolve to be more patient with stupid jokes made by small boys.
8. I resolve to procrastinate less often.
9. I resolve to actively search for a Masters program.
10. I resolve to begin with the first three resolutions, and then add one more each month so that by July I'll be working on all of them.

Keep me on track! Don't let me give up! Comment on my blog so that I know that someone is reading!