Friday, May 27, 2011

the countdown is over!

Yes, and summer is here! This year, my colleagues found some really creative and fun ways to countdown to the end of school. One fellow teacher gave me post-it notes numbered from 50 all the way down to 1 to countdown the last days of school. Today's post-it read, "WooHoo!"
Another fellow teacher helped me count down the last days of school with a line from one of our favorite shows each day--Sister Wives! Today's line was absolutely classic: Kody (the husband of 4 wives, for those of you who do not watch the show) on his daughters playing with Barbies, "The girls fight over the mommy dolls because they have four moms. [To Girls] Now girls, take turns playing with the daddy doll."

These creative countdowns made the end of the year come much more swiftly. And now, we can rejoice that summer is here!!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

the park revisited

Rumors of a time when the art teacher told the eighth graders she was taking them to the park to pick up trash then took them out to lunch at Dickie's BBQ Pit instead spread down from last year's eighth grade to the current eighth grade class. In the spirit of equity and justice, 8th grade students pleaded all year for a time when they too could go to "the park." But it couldn't be that easy. There needed to be a little bit of trickery involved.

This year, the art teacher and I coordinated. I came in with my mean face and insinuated that I needed to talk with the 8th graders. Then the art teacher stormed into the classroom on a rampage about how every year it was the same problems with eighth grade students thinking they were above the rules because they were the oldest. She even broke out the faltering voice/fake cry. Then we marched the whole class down to the principal's office. After a telling them that we were sick of their shenanigans and the fact that they probably couldn't even spell shenanigans, we told them we were taking them to the famed "Park." It was truly a remarkable ruse. All the performances were Oscar-worthy, except my own--I almost started laughing much to my chagrin because the kids were totally buying it.

It was a wonderfully carnivorous afternoon at "The Park."

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

culinary art

While I never condone children playing with their food, I must admit that I was impressed to find these two unique and creative pieces of edible art in our dining hall.
I call this one Two Paths Diverging in a Yellow Wood.
Media: mashed potatoes, broccoli, breading

I call this one The Man with the Chocolate Earring. I think the hi-lights in his hair really set this piece apart.
Media: Chicken patty, spinach, gravy, potatoes, maraschino cherry, and chocolate pudding accents

Monday, May 16, 2011

Texas history = mirth

"On the Texas History trip, there was a lot of mirth."
- Seventh grader's vocabulary sentence after Texas History Trip

The sentences my students write for their vocabulary homework never lie. (Seriously, they are surprisingly candid in those assignments.) Our annual Texas History Trip was 2 weeks ago and was full of mirth and merriment, as usual. Here are a few of funny pics I am submitting as evidence of mirth and the good times had by all.

iPhone on the Battleship Texas--just like in World War I

State Congressman's office
Like my hair?

malcolm is in the building

After studying the Civil Rights movement this year (always a hi-lite), I was reminded of one of my most hilarious classroom moments:

Last year when we got to this lesson in our history text, we were talking about Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X and their differing ideas on integration and how racial equality should be achieved. Our book featured this very well-known picture of the leader of the Black Panthers:
Sure enough, I look up from the text and this is what mine eyes see:
Borrowing one of his female classmates' glasses, this student was able to recreate Malcolm X's look very convincingly. I laughed out loud. Who says middle schoolers are too old for costumes in history class? And to my great surprise and merriment, Malcolm even came back to visit at a later date.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Of all the playground equipment available, swings are clearly superior. I love to join my kids on the swings when my shoes permit. Here are some recent swinging shenanigans:

"Who is going higher?"
"Take a picture of us, Mrs. Freeman!"
"Wha' happen'd?"

teacher accessories

Above are some of the tools of a teacher's trade which I do not think are employed in any other professions.

1. A Whistle: This is used mostly in the physical education department. I resisted acquiring one of these for many years under the misconception that whistles were for lower school teachers, coaches, and animals. Boy was I wrong! The whistle is an essential part of getting the attention of many students especially out of doors. I I only use mine when we go outside after lunch but have frequently been caught wearing it around long after it is needed. I have even made it all the way to Target with it on after work. Not a good look outside of the classroom.

2. Red Pencils/Pens: I have these on me at all times when an editing hand is needed or in case some papers in need of grading come to the surface. I rely on them daily and love it.

3. An Attendance book: We are still old school and fill out and turn in these little green books everyday. I secretly love this no-nonsense activity. I wish that other professional could share this small joy.

homework. . . . i just can't help myself

This weekend was the long awaited seventh grade Texas History Trip. This year I have been surprised to find that my students have been surprised when I have assigned work at times they do not want/expect (i.e. Spring Break, etc.). In spite of the fact that my favorite hobby is to make my students' lives miserable by assigning as much homework as humanly possible and though I promised them that the only time they would not not have homework in my class was before a trip, I decided to assign this very special seventh grade class some homework anyway.

Here were their assignments for over the weekend:
- Have fun and learn something on the Texas History Field Trip
- Meditate on and pray for self-government

I actually made them copy these down in their assignments book before leaving.

With the exception of a few weak moments, I would say that they fulfilled their assignments pretty well.