Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Enough Of This



I thought I was going to throw up all over the place when I read this. As much as I detest almost all forms of social media, this is like taking the stratum of people who are actively engaged in social media and slicing off the bottom 41% and just feeding them to my hungry jaws.

I am sorry if you find yourself jealous of other people who are posting pictures of themselves having fun, but the fact that you would actually admit to it just shows that you have no pride.

If you resent the fact that your friends are happy, then that says far less about them, and it says far more about you.

All of us (me and you parents) are a part of either Generation X or, in some wiser and elder cases, the Baby Boomers. I really hope whatever your kids' (and my students') generation ends up being called is way smarter than this 41% of the Millennials. From what I've seen so far, I am not without hope.

Iron Men

Okay, this one isn't exactly a holiday video, but I'm still sharing it, because it makes me so darn happy.

We worked hard today at getting the kids ready for BizTown and more. In fact, I chose not to give the kids any homework other than their reading and to study for Caesar's English. 

Everyone have a great evening.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

For the Working World

Oh, man. Please click here and watch this video from ATTN:.

This is absolutely, 100% true. You don't know how many students I've had come back from the high school and tell me how good it was for them. It's incredible with insane opportunities that you don't get on many college campuses.

But I also have so many students come back and tell me of the difficulties they've had because they live in a place where so many people are academic superstars and they just don't feel that way, or that they struggle to keep up with everyone else, not because they aren't skilled, but because they aren't skilled in the right way.

This shows how it could be if everyone got the opportunities that are appropriate for their skill set. I am all for this as a teacher.

The Cosmic Jumble

Here is an article that was sent to me this evening. As a person with dyslexia, people often send me articles and book titles about the subject, but this one is really pretty well told. In fact, it calls to mind conversations I've had with other people who are dyslexic--someone who actually understands it.

This is not meant as a guilt trip to everyone, but as I was telling the class the other day (and as I've told friends many times), there is nothing more frustrating than when someone, upon hearing that you're dyslexic, says, "Oh, I know what that's like! I mix up letters all the time!" Nope! You do not understand what it's like.

I post this only to let parents of kids I have, have had, and also the parents of the kids that I tutor that this gives maybe the best idea of what it's like, and that they have hope and a future ahead of them.

I leave you now with my favorite quote regarding dyslexia (and ADHD) in any book I've ever read:

"The letters float off the page when you read, right? That's because your mind is hard-wired for the ancient Greek," explains a fellow camper, gray-eyed Annabeth. "And the ADHD--you're impulsive, can't sit still in the classroom. That's your battlefield reflexes. In a real fight, they'd keep you alive. As for the attention problems, that's because you see too much, Percy, not too little. Your senses are better than a regular mortal's...Face it. You're a half-blood."
--Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief

Making Sure Everything Registers

Tonight the kids have a couple things for homework: writing checks, deposit slips, and filling out their check registers. I told them if they get confused, to look back at their previous work. If they've been following along, they have plenty of examples of how to do them in their books already. Other than that, they have a quick math page that follows what we did in class today. I gave the kids a lot of examples for both of those things.

Talk soon. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

A Busy Day At the Office

Today we discussed the following from the laundry list:
  • Procedural Speeches: I told the kids I wanted them to all have three ideas for these by Wednesday. The speeches will be given during the last week before break (December 12-16). I sent home the rubrics with the kids this afternoon. 
  • Science: Today--okay, honestly, during the last twenty minutes of school--we talked about the moon phases, and we will discuss them more tomorrow. Anyway, as you saw from the kids' homework tonight, it involved looking up the moon phase today and filling it in on the homework page. 
  • Writing: Today in class, we also collected the kids' writing projects as much as possible and started to make them coalesce into individual chapters. We will be typing them up this week and next during our time in the computer lab. 
  • Caesar's English: As you also saw tonight, the kiddos received a new list today for a quiz that will be given this Thursday. Make sure to study with your child a little bit each night, because Thursday will be here before you know it.
  • Check-Writing: We have been practicing check-writing like maniacs over the last several days. Well, except for today. Today we had no time. Tomorrow, however, we are going to make the time to practice this (and deposit slips and check registers) more tomorrow and Wednesday. This is in preparation for BizTown. In fact, we are even going to have a quiz on Thursday regarding check-writing. 
I hope everyone had a great day, and looking forward to a great (and full) week ahead. 

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Checking It Twice

This week, as normal, we will have to have a pretty packed week. We will have to do a little bit of space science, Social Studies, a hearty helping of BizTown, Math, some quotations, Caesar's English, and writing like crazy.

I have one group doing a book club, everyone else working on something else for reading, and everyone will also owe me a reader's response in their journal this week.

This week, we will have a quotation marks quiz on Wednesday (not very long), and then on Thursday, we will have a check-writing quiz (we are going over all of this in class) and a Caesar's English quiz.

Don't forget that on Friday, we are going to BizTown! ALL of the students should look professional that day, as if they are really reporting to a day at the office.

FYI: Tomorrow after school, I have a staff meeting, so don't look for a post early on. I have a busy night as well, so it may be late tomorrow night before I get a post up. 

Talk soon. Everyone have a great week!

Joyful and Triumphant

Well, as we close out our nice long weekend, I thought I would post a Christmas favorite in a timely mournful manner.

Florence Henderson was a true Hoosier icon and a classy lady as well. My sister and I grew up watching Brady Bunch, and I have shown myself to be quite the Brady Bunch trivia master (I even faced off against Kyle's sister Kaitlyn, and she is pretty formidable herself!). 

While many will know her possibly from the Indy 500 around here, to me, she will always be Mrs. Brady. On Indiana's 100th birthday, I'm sure many people will remember one of our favorite Hoosiers.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Greyhounds and Puppies

As a part of my "Dojo Daily Advent Calendar", you ought to watch this one too. You won't be sorry. The British have the best commercials. I'm sorry, America, but it's true.

Way to go last night, Greyhounds! So many former students on that team (from class and tutoring...): John Keen, Trevor Scott, Ross Abdellah, and Tyler Trent to mention a few. Congratulations! And you all have a couple more years to go yet, too (well, except Trevor--but way to go, Trevor!). Great game, guys!

Wish I could say the same for Purdue today, but at least it was a great game too. Between Carmel last night, Purdue v. IU today, and Ohio State (sorry, THE Ohio State University) v. Michigan simultaneously, it has been quite the gut-wrenching weekend of football.

Count in Thanksgiving, tree-trimming, and then the outside lights and stuff like that today, and it's been a pretty darn busy "restful" weekend. Tomorrow, it will be time for paper-grading and planning for the week ahead. Hard to believe that one week from now, BizTown will be a thing of the past. I always love that day.

We have a lot of material to cram into the next three weeks, but I will do my best to make it as painless as possible. 

Friday, November 25, 2016


This is by far the best Christmas special ever made, in my humble opinion.

Hope everyone is having a great Black Friday full of holiday decorations and leftovers.

Thursday, November 24, 2016


I am thankful for Area 51, its family classes, the specials teachers, school secretaries and nurses and staff members, Mrs. Haberfield's first grade class, volunteer parents who make our trips possible and bring us special days and teacher lunches and make copies at the last second, for the custodial staff, for happy kids, for the hard work that students put in every day, and for parents who sing along to the Traveling Wilburys.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Harvest Is When I Need You Most


What a good Tuesday we had yesterday...

First, we had another guest reader (college kids home for Thanksgiving this week, you know), Mr. Eric McDougal. Eric is a kid that I tutored for years after working with his sister at Camp Tecumseh, although I don't think that connection had anything to do with it, really. It was great to have him come in, and the kids asked him many questions about his time playing soccer for the University of Evansville.

We took an all-bonus quiz for our Words of the Day yesterday, which I actually tried really hard to make fun.

Finally, we were treated to a great party by our awesome room parents: Mrs. Delaby, Mrs. Swallow, Mrs. Strines, Mrs. Conley, Mr. Turney-Bozell, Mrs. Brink, Mrs. Pradeep, and Mrs. Mock, who was the head honcho of all the fall parties. With so many parents there, this was definitely my least stressful room party to date.

I hope everyone has a fantastic holiday tomorrow and a very restful few days before we all come back to get ready for BizTown, plus all the other business to get to before we can get to closing out the semester.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Home For the Holiday

I was very happy yesterday to have an old friend--a former student--back in Area 51 for a little bit as my guest reader. George Pippen is now a student at Wabash College. We had a good time sharing how he used to sit right next to my desk, and also, during a Q&A session, shared some of his greatest injuries on and off the hockey rink.

George was one of those kids that I knew would become some kind of leader one day. I honestly remember telling him on the last day of school that he would be either a teacher or a coach one day, because when he talks, people listen.

I'm glad that this week we had a whole crew of people home from college and eager to come in to read, and I'm really happy that one of the ones who was available was Geo.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Space Cases and Tycoons

Well, we have a productive, but still somewhat fun, couple of days ahead before the Thanksgiving holiday.

This week, we will get caught up on some math that some people are not getting, hope to keep our heads above water with the BizTown material, watch at least part of a very cool Nova documentary on the moon landing missions of the late 60's and early 70's, and yes, work on writing and quotation marks.

I was able to run around really quickly to take each group's picture before we went to the Palladium the other day. These are those frantically-taken photos. I am thankful that so many of my students looked very nice for the trip to the symphony that day.

Hope you all have a great week--including Turkey Day!

Must Have Done Something Right

Friday was a really fun day in 5-1.

First off, it started off well when I was able to just drive right through 116th and Gray without having to take the big detour. I should have known then that it was going to be a pretty good day from the get-go.

My class was awarded their first Big Triangle for their behavior on Thursday (ask them what that means if you don't know). Friday wasn't quite a big triangle, but it was a favorably sized shape for sure.

We worked through a lot of BizTown stuff, but we still have some work to do. The kids were amazed by how much grown-ups have to go through every time they write a check or make a deposit, although I have to admit that it's not quite as complicated as it used to be.

The class took a Quest in Math, and we did a nice little review before taking it.

Finally, our day ended with the hardest Two-Minute Mystery ever--and for the first time ever, a student got it. Congratulations to Grant. As he was saying the answer, I thought, "Is this really happening?" Let's just say that Grant has an uncanny knack for puns and the vanishing Americans.

This week, I have a couple of guest readers lined up--the kids are home from college!

Talk soon. Looking forward to a very abbreviated week. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

The Ice Cream Truck That Came To Woodbrook

It was kind of funny yesterday after school to see Mrs. Shearman and Mrs. Helgeland walking around the building looking like Good Humor ladies, playing fun music and selling items for United Way. Both of these ladies have good humor for sure, and they really got into their roles. Thanks for helping us all Live United, ladies!

This Morning's Theme is "Drive"

The joy that came from flowing right through the intersection at 116th and Gray this morning allowed me to glide right over the fact that someone is in my parking spot.

Send in canned goods for the food drive next week! Don't forget. We have been reminded, so I am now reminding you! Go through your cupboards and see if you can't spare a couple.

Talk soon. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Good Question

 This article came from I thought it was really good, and these questions are really good. If you get any answers, I'd love to hear them!

The article in question is entitled "15 Questions to Replace 'How Was School Today?'"

 The Questions

With slight wording modifications, these questions can work with children of all ages:
  1. Tell me about a moment today when you felt excited about what you were learning.
  2. Tell me about a moment in class when you felt confused.
  3. Think about what you learned and did in school today. What’s something you’d like to know more about? What’s a question you have that came from your learning today?
  4. Were there any moments today when you felt worried? When you felt scared?
  5. Were there any times today when you felt disrespected by anyone? Tell me about those moments.
  6. Were there times today when you felt that one of your classmates demonstrated care for you?
  7. Were there any moments today when you felt proud of yourself?
  8. Tell me about a conversation you had with a classmate or friend that you enjoyed.
  9. What was challenging about your day?
  10. What do you appreciate about your day?
  11. What did you learn about yourself today? 
  12. Is there anything that you’d like to talk about that I might be able to help you figure out?
  13. Is there anything you’re worried about?
  14. What are you looking forward to tomorrow?
  15. Is there a question you wish I’d ask you about your day?

Tips for Asking Questions

How and when we ask these questions makes a big difference in the information we receive from our kids. First, you don’t want to ask all of these questions on the same day. You might ask one or two. After a while, you’ll figure out which ones elicit the most meaningful responses. You’ll want to ask during a time when you have the ability to focus so that your child feels they have your full attention. With my child—and in my household—dinner and driving in the car are optimal times for these conversations.
Now these conversations have become routine. My son knows that when we drive to school I’ll ask him what he’s looking forward to, if there’s anything he’s worried about, and if there’s anything he wants to talk about with me that I might be able to help him figure out.

More Suggestions

The following can help your conversations be positive and powerful:
  • Don’t interrupt. This is a good rule for any conversation, but especially if you want to get a lot of information out of a kid.
  • Ask for more. Simply say, “I’d love to hear more about that...” Or, “Can you expand on that a little?”
  • Ask about feelings. After a child describes an experience, ask, “How did you feel in that moment? What did you notice about your feelings?”
  • Validate feelings. Whatever your kid feels is normal and okay. Let them know that. Feelings are okay. Tell them this.
  • Tell them it’s not okay for teachers or kids to be unkind or mean. If they tell you a story about a teacher who yelled or disrespected them (regardless of what they said or did) let them know that it’s not okay for an adult to treat them that way. Same goes for how they are treated by other children.
  • Thank them for sharing with you. Always appreciate their honesty and willingness to share the highlights and bright spots, as well as the difficult moments. This will fuel their confidence in telling you more.
What questions bring about the most conversation between you and your kids?

Among the Stars

In class today, I taught the kids about space, the stars, ancient astronomers, and gravity using notes that I wrote during my first year of teaching. Back when we still thought Pluto was a planet instead of a comet.

Yesterday, we did the same thing, only using the globe and my iPhone's flashlight. It turns out it's not our proximity to the sun that controls the earth's climate, it's the tilt of the axis at different times of the year.

We had a really great day today, which was even better--somehow--than yesterday. Today, we managed to get our last Daily 5 in for the day, learn about astronomy, learn about quotation marks, learn about Christopher Columbus (not even his real name) and find out that people knew the earth was round about 800 years before he set sail to "prove that it was round" (not even true).

The kids have done well the last couple days, and the next week and a half need to be exactly as good if we're going to get all of our BizTown business under our belts.

I hope everyone has a great Friday and stays warm this weekend.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The Sound of Music

We were a well-cultured crew today. I am pleased to say that 5-1 was much better behaved than the group behind us.

Ride Of the Valkyries

I have to say that I was extremely impressed by the students' behavior at the symphony today. In all of the hubbub of getting back to school and getting to work, I kind of forgot to tell the kids that. I need to give them an extra big shape for today.

I'll post some pictures from the symphony later on. I didn't get too many--they kind of shuffle us in and shuffle us right back out again--but it really is always a cool little field trip.

Homework tonight is the meaning exercise, the page for Economics, and then lastly, the Social Studies take-home test is due on Friday.

Talk soon!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


Don't forget that tomorrow is the Symphony at the Palladium. The kids should look nice!

Also, tomorrow is picture retake day.

That is almost all I know right now. It's been a long day, and it's still not over. Hopefully more news tomorrow.

Have a good night!

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Greatest Speech Ever Told

I hope this gives everyone--EVERYone--hope.

Over the past week, I have felt both the pain and the hope in the world, in the United States.

Keep in mind that this speech will give us all hope.

No matter how many times I watch this clip, I never fail to realize how prescient it truly is. The "technology that is meant to bring us closer together" that actually "brings us further apart" is crazy in how accurate it is--50+ years before Facebook.

It's not even funny.

Before My Parents Were Born

Word has it that Luna, the planet Earth's very own moon, is closer now than it has been since 1948. Perhaps it zoomed in just to make sure that the Cubs actually won the World Series (because that is the most wacky news within the past two weeks), said, "What the heck? Are you sure? Wow. I am going to start backing up again... Let me know when everything is back to normal, okay?"

Seriously. I hope everyone got a look at the Supermoon. Because tomorrow, we are back to normal. At least that's what I'm telling myself.

Smiles All Around

This afternoon, Mrs. Mitchell, Mrs. McClatchey, and a few of their students came down to the fifth grade pod to tell our kids about the Peer Buddies program. Mitchell and McClatchey are the teachers for the Lifeskills classes, and they were seeing who was interested in being a part of the program.

I was very happy to see our very own Brooke O. up there talking about her experience with it, and giving a very real explanation of what it's like to help out with the students of the Lifeskills class. It takes a special kind of person to do that. I have always said that I really respect those who work with Lifeskills kids. My parents used to teach Sunday School to this population when I was a kid, and that is one of the many things I admire about them.

In the past months, I've heard about students of mine who have gone from the Peer Buddies program at Woodbrook on to the Best Buddies at the high school, and I even have one who is president of Champions Together, a group at the high school who supports Special Olympics activities through the high school, creating athletic events for special needs students.

I encourage everyone who is at least a little interested in this to give it a shot. It could change your life in a way you didn't even expect. If not, then it's all good. But it's at least worth a try.

Look Sharp

This Wednesday we are going to the Palladium to hear the Carmel Symphony perform their annual concert for the kids. This is a cool little trip, and we will be back by about 10:30 or 11:00. I haven't told the kids this, but I do expect them to look nice that day. We are not going to a tractor pull; we are going to the Palladium.

I handed the students a take-home test for Social Studies chapter 4. I would like to get another chapter in before winter break, because we are behind. I always have students who ask me if they are allowed to take their books home for a take-home test. The answer is always of course.

We have picture retake day on Wednesday before we leave for the Palladium, so if anyone needs to have their school picture retaken, it will be the perfect time because they will surely already look nice, right?

Thank you today to Mrs. Brooks who watched my class while I attended a meeting about the writing curriculum.

I gave the kids a piece of Economics homework this evening. It is a paper that they have to read and answer in complete sentences. All of the information needed is right there on that page!

Hopefully everyone has a great Monday evening. Will talk to you soon!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Supernatural Super-Serious Supermoon

The Veteran's Day program on Friday was a nice way to spend a Friday morning, especially after such a long week. I have to say that this is the first Veteran's Day program I've been to where I haven't spent the entire time having a long heart attack. It was a bit of a relief in the end--unexpectedly--to have had the fourth grade take over the job of putting it on. They did a great job, too!

This week, we are going to continue (and begin in earnest) our learning about economics for the upcoming trip to BizTown. Expect to see some homework coming home nightly for at least this week, most likely more. 

I hope everyone has a good week this week. Everyone look up tonight and tomorrow night to see the Supermoon. Let's hope this one stands for a turn for the better.

To Read Is Good

Don't forget that this week is our school's Scholastic Book Fair! This is a wonderful fundraiser that makes our kids more literate in the long run--in theory, at least.

Mrs. Strines and company have been working hard to bring us this event, so thank you not only to her, but to all the volunteers who are helping out.

Our class visits the library on Tuesday morning at 9:30.

I Saw the Sign

On Thursday morning, the students were treated to a special lesson given by our own CHS cadet teacher, Miss Sami. She is fluent in American Sign Language, and she used this expertise to teach a few things to the class. I thought it was really interesting how the structure of the sentences is different than our spoken English.

I always like it when we find out what everyone's specialty is. Because of the timing of our schedule, she only taught this to my Math class, but it was fun nonetheless.

Thank you, Miss Sami!

Friday, November 11, 2016


Happy Birthday to Marissa!

We were happy to celebrate Marissa's birthday today. What can I say about Marissa? She is one of the most patient and kind people in 5-1. She always wants to do her absolute best, and she expects great things of herself.

Marissa never has an unkind thing to say about anybody. She is a good friend to anyone, and always lends a nice, thoughtful balance to classmates who are more impulsive. When I am looking for someone to give an answer that has been thought-out and reasoned, I can always call on Marissa. She puts care into her work, which is so wonderful for a teacher to see. You should watch her work with her first grade buddies. It's like she's a natural at helping them become better little people.

Marissa, I hope your birthday was an incredibly special one. You deserve it, not only because you're a wonderful person, but because of what you give to 5-1 every day. We are a better class because of you.

Thursday, November 10, 2016


Just yesterday, I was telling my math class about this kid. About how, when he went to the middle school, he had a teacher who taught him a different way of adding fractions. I stole it, and as a result, I teach that to my students as a possible way to add and subtract fractions.

Of course, this got me a little off topic. I tutored Eric twice a week for I can't even remember how many years. Any time he got a problem wrong (because he would try to solve them in his head), he would have to do push-ups. Any time he got them right, I would have to do push-ups. At the end of every session, we would sit there and pump out push-ups. He would always end up on the floor laughing because he said I made a wheezing sound when I did them. (By the way, we were the only two members of an organization called Pump-A.--the Push-Up Math Problem Association; a name created by Eric. You see his smile up in the picture? When he laughed, it was a lot like that, only much squintier.)

There are many stories I could tell, but one of the better ones is when I walked in to tutor, and a bird flew into their house. We spent about the next forty-five minutes trying to catch it and get it out. The solution involved a blanket.

Anyway, during reading time this morning, I received a text that Eric had died early this morning in a car crash. He was 20.

Words fail.

I can still picture his handwriting.

There is nothing harder for a "fixer" to be in a situation like this--when the problem is impossible to fix. I know it's not about me, but it's all I have right now.

Laundry List

The kids may come home with something to finish up this evening, but I haven't assigned any new homework other than Math.

We went over our checklists earlier (why didn't I think of a checklist fifteen years ago?), so everyone knows what they have due for tomorrow, including their bookmarks.

I hope you all have a good Thursday evening.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Sun Came Up the Way It Always Does

Once again, we had a pretty great day here in 5-1. The kids worked hard, we finished quite a bit, and I ended the day happy.

I love it when we just have a normal, regular old good day that surprises me.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Smells Like Teen President

As I said, we spent today doing things and watching things that were meant to make me feel better about the future of our country. Reading through Facebook earlier, I really saw nothing but hate today. Well, I also saw a whole ton of people who told everyone that they voted.

I felt we (the students and I both) needed a day full of uplifting, hopeful messages to counterbalance everything we've had exposed to us over the past few weeks and the next few weeks.

No matter what happens, we are going to keep on plugging away in Area 51.

Silver Lining

We had a good day with the researching and writing, we did a GCL, we did a Jumpstart, and then for the better chunk of the morning, to lift my spirits on this gloomy day, I wanted to do something to give me some hope for the future. I showed the kids some videos about engineering--the kind with bridges made of Legos, Rube Goldberg Machines, teacher inspiration, and so on. There is still another one I would like to show tomorrow or some time in the near future.

At the end of the day, I revealed the kids' jobs for BizTown. It should be fun to watch them throughout the process of getting ready for the big day.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Preparing the Workforce

Well, the jobs have been assigned for BizTown. As I told the kids, 100% of the students want 10% of the jobs, which will leave 90% of them disappointed.

And yet, as I also told them, all of the jobs at BizTown are great! I told them that, although everyone can't be a photographer, beverage manager, or reporter (yes, somehow those are always the most popular ones...I swear I'm not making this up), it will be every bit as much fun to be the HVAC technician, the file clerk, or the human development specialist--whatever that means. BizTown wouldn't make jobs that aren't good, otherwise they wouldn't get schools to go there anymore.

And by the way, the team of Vahle, Stemnock, Loeffler, and Carter were by far the quickest and most efficient group I have been a part of for this job. I, for one, hope no one messes with this team supreme come next year.

As for the rest of the day, well, we researched our pants off today, they organized their notes, we got some Daily 5 in, we started TGF book four, and I want to thank Mrs. Davis and Mrs. Helgeland for watching my class from lunch through to the end of the day so that I could be in on the meeting for the job situation. Oh, and we started chapter five in Math. This was a great day all in all. I ended it feeling pretty darn good.

Hopefully you have too.

The News For Now

5-1 Checklist 11/7-11/11

These things are due by Friday when you walk in the door:

  • Monday’s GCL
  • NewsELA: Robot Smeller
  • Tuesday’s GCL
  • Jumpstart 5
  • Wednesday’s GCL
  • Questions about “Phyto-Power”
  • My bookmark signed by a parent/guardian

I am giving one of these to each of the students today. I told them that they may want to add things to their checklist if needed. 

I also handed back some papers that weren't so hot. I told the kids that if they received something that they would like to do over, and I wouldn't blame them, that they needed to bring it back to me NO LATER THAN TOMORROW.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

The Quarantine

One thing I forgot to say earlier is that yesterday 5-1 was a cesspool of coughing, sneezing, and sniffling. I did have the kids pump hand sanitizer before we went to see our first grade buddies, but man, if your child didn't have a cold before yesterday, they are immune if they don't have it now.

I hope everyone is recuperating* this weekend.

*Word of the day from this week.

Remember Remember the Fifth of November

Personally, I'm happy to be finished with this past week. Between Halloween, the BizTown interview day, my sub showing up late on Wednesday and making me miss my doctor's appointment (the whole reason I had asked for the afternoon off), the big day after the Cubs victory, and our Freaky Friday (with the extra-long morning) yesterday. As I said earlier this week, I was "searching for normal", but I definitely didn't find it this week.

I will say this, as off-kilter as we were all week, yesterday was really pretty great for the most part. We had art in the afternoon, after recess, instead of in the morning. We did a math test, then got to work for the kids' final book club meetings if they still needed to have them, then we had a spelling test, some TGF3, First Grade Buddies, and then back for a little bit of much-needed plain old silent reading time before heading to lunch, recess, and then art. I called this last part of the day "Mr. Carter Chill Time" because I didn't have recess duty, and therefore had the rest of the day "off" (yeah right!).

Hopefully everyone is having a good weekend. It's a beautiful fall day outside.

Thursday, November 3, 2016


Sorry for this evening's lack of post up until now. All you really need to know right now for tomorrow has been up for awhile now--math test and spelling test tomorrow. Also, don't forget bookmarks are due tomorrow as well.

The kids have art tomorrow afternoon after recess for some reason. I'm not quite sure why, but when Mrs. West asked if it would be okay, I said sure.

Hope you all have had a great Thursday.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


One good thing about the Cubs being in the World Series (aside from the fact that their fans have been literally waiting their whole lives for this win) is that I can tell the kids why Cubs fans are all over the United States whereas most teams have their fans concentrated mainly around their hometowns, the Cubs fans are from all over the United States. It means I get to explain to them how the Wrigley Company (as in the gum) owns not only the Chicago Tribune, but also WGN. WGN was the very first "hometown" network to become nationwide, which meant that my generation (and probably the one before and after me) grew up as Cubs fans. They sat around in the summer and watched the Cubs every afternoon. Harry Carey's voice was as familiar as anyone's.

This is precisely why, when you go to--say--a Reds game at home, the Cubs fans outnumber the Reds fans. It can be frustrating.

To root for the Cubs tonight would be, for me, becoming a total and complete poser. As a Reds fan, I have despised them for many, many years. But while I can't "root for" them with any shred of pride, I do very much hope that they will get a W tonight.

My good friend Marc (a lifelong Mets fan) said a couple weeks ago, "I won't respect anyone I see wearing a brand new Cubs hat. The one with the front of the bill wearing off? Yes. The one that is filthy and worn at the seams? Yes. But no brand new Cubs hats should be worn." I totally agree with him on this.

It was funny, because yesterday, I had a few students who had watched the 30 for 30 documentary about the guy who knocked the home run ball out of the way back in what, 2003? They asked me if I knew about it. It seems like it was yesterday, but like the last World Series win to Cubs fans all over, this was before their time. It seems like yesterday, doesn't it?

Anyway, as I said, I hope you folks get a win tonight. It will break the Goat Curse (which would give me a chance to talk to the students about superstitions and actual probability) and the Cubs fans will no longer have the "poor poor me" excuse for their obnoxious behavior. (Sorry, but you know it's true. It's a crutch. And I'm not biased at all.) However, for the sake of all the Luke Andersons, Drew Heldts, and all my student Cubs fans in between; for Mrs. Davis, my friend Adam Biddle, my brother-in-law David who has brainwashed my poor innocent niece, and for everyone else who has lived their whole lives in unfulfilled fandom, I really do want you to get this one.

I just can't cheer too loudly while retaining my own dignity.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Searching For Normal

I'm just waiting for a normal day.

It's not the kids' fault, but it was another funky day around here--and I'm not just talking about how the kids smelled when we got in from recess.

Earlier today, we had our BizTown interviews. It looks like it went pretty well from the looks of your comments at the bottom of their forms. Thanks to Mrs. Rodgers, Mrs. Smiler, Mrs. Swallow, Mrs. Halle, and former 5-1 moms who are still awesome, Mrs. Alderman and Mrs. Mindy Fleming for helping out with the interviews. I can't wait for our students to have the experience of going to BizTown; it really will be worth it.

We had our November fire drill and safety drill outside today at the end of recess. The kids are getting better and better about lining up the proper way and getting in order quickly and following directions.

FYI: I will not be here tomorrow afternoon. We will have a sub who is a female, but that's all I know for sure.

Have a good Tuesday.