Sunday, February 26, 2012

pregnancy progression

Baby Freeman will be here any day now. More accurately, Baby Freeman will here any minute now. I cannot believe how quickly this pregnancy has progressed. It is crazy how big I thought my belly was and how big it actually is now. Baby Freeman, your arrival is much anticipated!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

DC highlights

Our trip was months ago, but here are a few highlights:

Yes, that student is impersonating my pregnant self.

Bad Attitudes R' Us--Now open at Monticello

Future UVA Students

Where is Napoleon?

Lincoln Memorial all to ourselves

Korean War Memorial

DC Cupcakes anyone?

Apparently, this young man did not have enough spending money so he resorted to playing his harmonica and begging. No big deal.

National Archives

New MLK Memorial


Obviously, I have not been posting with the same regularity or frequency intended; however, life is going on in the classroom and there are some stories to tell.

For example, this was the answer to a test questions that was recently turned in:
Q: What advice did Cosimo de Medici's father give him on his death bed?
A: "the advice given to Cosimo by his father was to stay away from paparazzi and reporters."

Really!? Because I thought we were studying the Renaissance!

I shared my distress with a colleague and she wisely replied: "Cosimo's father was probably appalled at seeing a previous incident on TMZ and didn't want that happening to Cosimo again, thus inspiring the profound bit of insight on staying away form paparazzi and reporters."


A few days ago a seventh grade student "called" a certain red pencil as they were being passed around for grading. I quickly jumped on that: "Excuse me. You will not be calling anything."
The student's witty response was: "What if I have to call my mom?"

We recently started our poetry unit. As much as I enjoy teaching poetry, with 7th and 8th graders it can often be similar to pulling teeth. In an attempt to teach the students how to break the poem down and analyze it, we read the poem several times looking for different things. After the first reading, I always ask for the basic/literal/surface meaning of the poem

Me: Ok, what is happening in this poem? What is this poem about?
Students respond like clockwork with a barrage of answers: "Death!" "God!" "Jesus!" "Life!"--none of these answers have anything to do with the poem.
This is where I stop and remind the students that we are not in Sunday School, and trite, one-words responses will not work.


Tuesday, November 1, 2011

focusing on the funny

I have a boatload of very un-fun work to tackle before the end of the week and out departure for Washington DC! Feeling very not motivated and filled with fatigue, I have decided to focus my attentions on the funny.

First, mispronunciations have been rampant in my classroom this year. I often repeat new words or foreign names multiple times and have the kids repeat after me to ensure they to don;t sound ignorant later, but there always a few that slip through.

1. Clergy is sometimes pronounced cler-GIE as in rhymes with Fergie.

2. Magellan is pronounced MAG-a-lin almost like Mary Magdalene. That is rough for the first person to circumnavigate the globe.

2. Today, Richelieu, Louis XIII's infamous, Machiavellian Cardinal, was pronounced rick-a-loo as in rhymes with "get a clue". Ouch!

When talking about the students packing list and dress code for the DC trip today, I had a male student ask if he could "bedazzle" his uniform. I told him that he was allowed to but that no one else in the class was. It was a wonderfully hilarious moment.

I think that is all the funny that I can come up with for the moment. Alas, I guess I will have to get to work.

Sunday, October 23, 2011


In Texas, the temperature is mostly in the 70's and 80's which means that it is fall, finally! The other night I decided to make a favorite fall-ish meal: tomato soup and grilled cheese.

For the grilled cheese I took the traditional approach of using whatever kind of cheese I had in the refrigerator, but this time I added arugula because a life without arugula is a life half lived (lesson leaned in Italy). This is my favorite tomato soup recipe. It is simple to make and the flavor is perfect.

Grandma Belle's Tomato Soup
2 cups tomato juice
2 cups milk
4 T. butter
4 T. flour
1 t. salt
1 t. pepper
1/4 t. soda
1/4 cup finely chopped onion

Melt butter, add flour and stir. Add tomato juice, soda, and onions. Cook for 5 minutes. Add milk. WHen thoroughly heated, season and serve.

classroom for 1 just begun

One of the most exciting thoughts about having a baby is that it is like I am starting my own classroom complete with curriculum, books, and field trips. Our pal. Charlotte Mason, talks at length about the importance of a child's atmosphere or environment for growth so as a teacher, I have had a lot of fun planning this new space.
The room has a long way to go, but here is a start. I purchased the bedding a few years ago on super sale at Pottery Barn Kids with my mom. Now it is just a matter of filling in the blanks i.e. paint color, reupholstering the glider and ottoman (purchased on Craig's List for a steal of a deal), curtains, and piecing together the rest of the decor and artwork.

bedding fabric

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

things that ought not be said so many times

Below is a list of things that I find being said by me or a student way too many times. It should not be legal.

1. Me: "Stop grunting!"
I do not know what the deal is with middle schools boys and grunting/animal noises, but it is out of control. I do not like it. It is very unnerving.

2. Student: "I would _________ if Baby Freeman weren't here right now."
Usually the blank is filled with an action verb like "hit you" or "throw this." My response is usually something along the lines of "Baby Freeman thanks you, but let's just not do that in general."

3. Me: "I am sick of your pencil games!"
For some reason this year has brought with it much drama with writing utensils of all kinds--pens, pencils, mechanical pencil parts, lead, etc. There is swapping pencils, stealing pencils, more than I can keep up with honestly.

4. Student: "Mrs. Freeman, your stomach is so big. I think it just grew."
I don't quite know how to respond to these comments yet. For so long, comments about having a large stomach were strictly forbidden and offensive to the extreme, but now they are a fact of life. My, how one's perspective can change!

5. Me: "Start channeling the 9th grade, please!"
This is my response to any childish or foolish action that belongs in first or second grade yet has snuck into an eighth grader's repertoire. I have told my students that I am genuinely concerned for their well-being in high school if they cannot step up their game a little.

6. Me: "Sticking out your tongue? Are you serious right now?"
Ok, so I have only said this once, and it was today. But the fact that I had to say it even once to an eighth grader is too much, and therefore, makes the cut.

While funny from a distance, I would challenge anyone to find the humor in the moment.