Friday, September 27, 2013

Another Present

Well, it's Friday! Hallelujah, amen. I love the Five for Friday linky, but I am not joining today. I know, sad. But, I have the most important story to tell.

It happened yesterday at recess, and since I was at school working for 13 hours yesterday, I just had no gumption to tell it last night.

My students love to give me recess presents. Remember that story from last week?

If not, go read it and pay attention to the present about the frog. That particular present giver was at it again.

So, yesterday, Mrs. Jones and I were enjoying the wonderful fall day. We watched the children slide. We showed the children our donkey that had returned. We "played" with the children. We talked to each other.

As we were gearing up to blow the whistle, we hashed out again our afternoon math lesson. While we were pumping each other up a disturbance was heading our way.

In the form of a running boy. Smiling ear to ear.

When he was at close range I noticed he had something in his hand, and in less time than it is taking me to write this, I comprehended that the "thing" was a mouse.

EEEK! I was up and running the other way. About 30 feet away. To the other side of the 4 children (who were sitting because they were caught jumping down from the top of the calf fence).

Pretty sure that before I left Mrs. Jones' side, she screamed (like a loud, city-girl scream).

Then she was yelling at the poor kid (yeah, right, poor kid) "go throw that in the woods, NOW!! GO!! RUN!! GO NOW!!"

I never screamed. I ran fast, but I never screamed (that I remember, and Mrs. Jones hasn't corrected me either).

I watched the part about throwing the mouse in the woods from the safety of 30 feet, so I was pretty sure I wasn't in danger.

Then one of the four kids asked me, "Mrs. Bartel, are you ok?" She may have never seen me run before. I answered "no," but offered nothing more.

After the mouse was in the hedgerow, I corralled that "poor kid" and ushered him to a restroom, all the while repeating "DO Not Touch ANYTHING!" Then I watched him wash his hands with soap and water.

He looked defeated. Now I felt a bit sorry for him. He was in trouble, but didn't know why.

Until he told his story to a third grader headed into the restroom. All smiles. "I was holding a mouse."

Next stop, office. Please tell the principal, secretary and science teacher what you did. As he told his story, I got some more details.

1. He was in the barn. (Off limits unless with an adult, he was not with an adult.)
2. He saw a mouse.
3. He thought it looked fuzzy.
4. So he wanted to pick it up and pet it.
5. When he picked it up it was stiff.
6. So he brought it as a present to his teacher.

I enjoyed watching our principal go from smiles at the beginning of his story to stern lecturer at the end, with an admonition to go wash his hands with soap and water. The science teacher offered hand sanitizer to the kid on our way out.

I was smiling a bit. Probably because I had not had to deal with the mouse (thank you Mrs. Jones), or with lecturing the kid on the dangers of dead animals (thank you Mrs. Principal), and because it is a bit of a funny story from 30 feet away.

After seeing him to the restroom a second time, I headed back out to see if Mrs. Jones was ok. She was fine, maybe a little shook up. I said "you screamed like a city-girl" she defended herself saying, "he shoved that dead mouse in my face!"

We hashed the story a couple more times. to anyone who would listen (and the poor kid was doing the same--he stopped in the kitchen to tell the cooks!) and finally headed in to our math lesson.

What I wonder is... What present will he find next week?

P.S. That frog from last week??? Even after Mrs. Jones and I BOTH told him to put it in the flower garden, that frog made its way into my classroom. Until I saw it and sent him outside. 20 years from now, will he be a zoo keeper?

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Monday, September 23, 2013

Positive Monday

It is important to me to be positive. To find the good in people, things, experiences.

This does not always happen, but I try.

Posting about positive things is good for me. Thanks, Sarah (she blogs at Permanently Primary). She has a weekly linky that I'm joining today.

1. I did not throw up today. 

What you wonder?

I got silly with my class at recess. On the merry-go-round. It was hilarious!

One sweetie gave me advise for how not to throw up. She said, "close your eyes." I didn't like that one.

She offered another suggestion. "Scream, really loud." I did that and it felt pretty wonderful. When was the last time I screamed, just for fun?

After what seemed like 5 minutes (but was it really more like 1.5 minutes?) I tried to get off. But the merry-go-round kept going faster. And no one was pushing. Very confusing!

Ok, managed a jump off. Staggered to the left, nearly fell down, laughed at my self and hugged my little sweetie who got off with me.

No throwing up.

2. DWTS!!!!!

I had no idea that another season of Dancing With the Stars had started. Tonight after dinner, and a family walk, my younger son led me to the tv and showed me. WHAT??? I missed last week. Bummer. But thankfully I am watching now. And every Monday and Tuesday from here until the finale.

Perhaps I will now leave school at school on Mondays and Tuesdays, so my evenings are free to watch dancing.

What's positive with you today?

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

Five for Friday, September 20 (or 21) Edition

I really do not like being late. Early 15 minutes is ok, but late makes me feel so bad. Being late to this linky party makes me sad, but I did not want to miss another week.

Thanks Doodle Bugs for understanding that sometimes I just cannot get myself to post on a Friday night. Thanks for letting me be late to the party.

My day on Friday...

1. A Bee-you-ti-ful drive to school. At 6:50 am. Low clouds, but sun trying to shine through. Lovely. And great music on the radio.

2. A boy that enjoyed teasing me at recess. 

3. Collecting data on our favorite flavors of ice cream.

4. Putting our data into a graph. And discovering the "difference."

5. A block party for dinner. Food. Fun. Fellowship with my neighbors. Oh how I've missed my neighbors these last five weeks.

Happy weekend friends! My plans: Soccer game. Feed the calf (newly named Freckles). Plan and prep for "Apple Week." Be outside in the crisp autumn air.
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Thursday, September 19, 2013

My Presents and A Plea

One of the perks of being a teacher is the presents.

I don't get many, but the ones that I do get are heartfelt and mean so much to me.

Today I got four presents. All at the recess after lunch. And I took pictures of them, so you can enjoy my presents also.

My presents.

1. First present.

We spent many minutes looking at our "new" chickens. They arrived yesterday afternoon. Some of us were pretty sure we were witnessing an egg being laid. 

2. While near the chicken coop...

A gathering of four boys found this lovely, big, juicy (I'm guessing), crunchy (another guess) grub. They were poking it with twigs. Observing it closely. Discussing if it was a grub or centipede. Contemplating if it was poisonous. What a great conversation to overhear.

It reminds me that I want to read Roxie and the Hooligans to my class as our next chapter book.

3. A frog.

He wanted to keep the frog. I was such a kill joy when I said "No. Go find a home place for it and let it be FREE." It is cute. But if it pees on you, won't you get warts? Hope it kept it's pee in!

4. Feathers.

The feathers and frog happened almost simultaneously, so I missed some of the feathers, because I just needed that frog to be free. I think the feathers were going home for a present to someone there. Sweet.

My plea.

I need ideas to teach and practice sight words in first grade.

I have every list of sight words imaginable, but what to do to teach?

Flash cards? Boring.

Create games? Who has time?

And each kid needs different words.

Will someone please come over this weekend and set this up for me? 

I have an aide and 20-30 minutes that I can dedicate to this every day. Does that help?

Thanks bunches!!!!!

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Monday, September 16, 2013

Sight Words and Adjectives

One reading focus we have this week is ways readers read words.

Today I zeroed in on sight words.

There are 100 words that our district says the first graders need to read and spell. But oh so many more need to be read.

Remember, I teach 6 and soon to be 7 year olds. They like to play. Have fun. Be tricked into learning.

Bring out the stuffed animals--they EAT it UP.

Enter Lizard the Word Wizard. He says we need to remember, practice and read sight words quickly.

It was fun. He will travel to the other first grade class tomorrow (I don't have my own lizard, boo hoo) but sometimes he may come back to visit us.

Starting Freedom Week was a bit ok. Sharing facts about the constitution was alright, but thinking of adjectives for our country was fun!

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Farm Story

It has been a while since I've had a good farm story to tell. Until now.

This cutie arrived at my school yesterday morning.

He is a two-week old bull calf. We will bottle-feed him until he is on grain. The whole school will care for him, but he is a K and 1 project. We will make sure he has food in the barn (for the chore group to feed from), keep up with vaccines, feed him in the afternoon, and then sell him when the time is right.

You know I know a lot about teaching (I think). But farming? Not so much. I know as much as anyone has told me.

Late yesterday Mrs. Jones asked me to give this cutie his last bottle of the day. Sure did. Used the wrong milk replacer. Thought I was making the calf sick on his first day at school. Uh-oh.

But, no worries, this morning he was fine.

Mrs. Jones trusted me enough (she sure is a crazy one) to ask me to give him a bottle this afternoon. 

I got to school just before the storm. There was no time to go inside and get my chore boots, so my only foot protection was flip-flops. Duh, I know better, but the storm, I didn't want to get wet.

Hurried, got the bottle ready (used the correct milk) and took it out to the guy.

He was hungry and an eager drinker and not ready for the bottle to be empty when it was. He started toward me asking for more milk. I do not know how to talk to bull calves. I am no calf whisperer. How can I tell him no more milk?

I had anticipated that he might come asking for more milk. So I had a plan. Jump on the fence and climb over before he starts to head butt me or push me down to the ground.

Perhaps I have too many city-girl stories going through my head about bulls. 

In any case, I made it out of the pen the easy way--over the fence, not through the gate. And then I had time to laugh at myself.

He must be ok, because we are going to have children caring for him.

I've got some more farm learning to do...

One more picture. This was yesterday, when he was calm and laid on the ground for his whole bottle.

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Sun Comes Out

Not rained ALL day. Two inside recesses.

But, the "sun" shone on me today.

1. Before school even started 5 girls came to me and asked if they could sing a song for me. You know, one we've been singing with the guitar, and "reading" out of our songbook. They started "Twinkle, Twinkle" and I grabbed my phone! Gotta get a picture. It was lovely!

2. Eagle Eye came to visit. My kiddos (some of them) are having trouble remembering to read ALL the letters in a word. So I pulled out a beanie baby and taught. Thanks Julie @ First Grade Critter Cafe! Eagle Eye now sits on a shelf, watching us. Reminding us.

Later in the day, as I was reading aloud from My Father's Dragon, I goofed on a word. Little friend gasped and said, Eagle Eye is not pleased with you! I fixed my mistake and then friend said, now Eagle Eye is happy, you read it by the letters.

I'm bushed. And now I can go to bed smiling, because after 14 days I see promise. The promise of great things to come.
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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

WOW, it's Wednesday!

My friend, Emily, at Curious Firsties is throwing a party. I can't seem to stay away from parties.


So, what has gone unexpectedly well for me? That is the question she has posed for those of us attending her party.

I have no pictures, so a list it is...

1. I felt sicker today than I even did on the weekend. Allergies turned into a cold. What makes that wonderful? Here's why...before school even started Mrs. Jones came to my room. She was wired on energy drink and an awesome class project idea. Her enthusiasm rubbed off on me, and as we went to pick up our students, I knew it would be ok today.

Really, truly, I went through 1/2 of a box of Puffs (no generic touches my nose, not even Kleenex), sneezed a couple dozen times, and still we (my kids and I) had a great day. After school I saw my face in the mirror and could not believe it--white like a ghost, but still smiling.

2. On a whim today I asked my kids "How do we read?" (I wish I had a picture of their answers). They came up with great answers! Not even prompted by me! What I remember: use the sounds, start at the beginning, read ALL the letters/sounds, if the word is long--break it into smaller bits. There are 3 more that I can't remember. I think tomorrow we will attach some drawing to the idea, ala Emily's post today.

3. Supper is super hard at my house. Busy people, hungry people, picky-eating people. Tonight was a simple pan-fried chicken thighs, garden green beans, and local gala apples. The boys both had seconds on the chicken and said it would be ok if I made it again (like in every week, until they tire of it). Amazing! WOW! 

Yep, a good Wednesday, with some surprises. I knew about this linky early in the week, but didn't want to plan ahead for it (like I do for Five for Friday sometimes). To have three wonderful events, and the thoughtfulness to recognize them, is better than words can describe.
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Monday, September 2, 2013

Positive Points and Currently

Two wonderful linkys on a day off of school! Both look fabulous, and I don't want to choose just one. 

Sarah at Permanently Primary started a linky on Mondays. To focus on the positives in our school lives. This is just right for me on so many levels.

The only rule is to make sure my positive points are school related. Let's get started.

1. My K and 1 team is fabulous! We laugh, we cry, we plan, we rejoice, we enjoy and we just plain love each other. What a blessing they are to me.

2. My first graders are amazing. They are totally responding to Whole Brain Teaching. 

3. One little guy (who may be considered high-maintainence) has woven his way directly into my heart. This will be important as we are going to be spending a lot of time together over the next 9 months.

I might be able to go on and on, but let's leave it there for now and move on...

To Farley at Oh 'Boy Fourth Grade and her monthly Currently. Love the Currently. I meet new friends and catch up with old friends.

I think I don't need to explain very much about my Currently.

If you link up, remember the rule of 3. Comment on the two ahead of yours and the one behind. Share the comment love.

Happy Labor Day everyone! Enjoy your day off!

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