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Saturday, January 30, 2010

H is for Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is what any public school teacher has no chance against. Okay, at least me. 
Sure, we've got art, p.e., music, field trips... But horses at school? Nope. 

I found out this morning that I'm losing one of my students to a charter school. Her mother called me THIS MORNING to let me know that she sent Miss Drama crying on the bus for her last day TODAY.  Talk about no warning.

I greeted Miss Drama at the door with my hands on my hips bracing myself to calm her fears and give encouraging words. She looked at me with her usual look and said, "You know, don't you." (It was a statement, not a question.) I said yes in a tone that was supposed to make her feel brave and started on my good-bye speech when she cut me off...

Ms. Drama's wise words to me: "Ms. Buckler, I will really and truly will miss you. But, when I heard they have horse-back riding there, I decided I might as well give it a try."

I can't compete with that. Horses are way cool.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

C is for Cooties

Cooties are strangely missing from my classroom. When did cooties go away?! I haven't heard that word in so long. For those of you who who need a reminder, cooties are what boys have. They do. It's been scientifically proven (although I won't state my source).

With all the talk of Valentine's day and who is giving who what valentine in my class and who's going to the dance and who will dance with whom and...(blah, blah, blah!), I am surprised we get any work done. At one point I said "Everyone gives everyone a valentine or we don't do it at all!" Today this is what I heard:

Ms. Peepers: (four kids down the row) Pssst! Do you like New Kid? I'll tell him if you want me to.

Sweet Heart: (giggles) I'll tell you later.

Apparently later was at recess on the slide...

Sweet Heart: Not really. But he is kinda cute. (giggles)

Ms. Peepers: Yeah. Kinda. (giggles) Oh, there's this guy I know who is soooooo cute...But....he's in first grade. But he is sooooo cute.

I had to jump in at this point. So this was my response: "Girls! Go play and stop talking about boys or I'm going to cancel Valentine's Day!"

I have learned many things about having a boyfriend in the second grade:
1. Sometimes they don't even know they ARE your boyfriend.
2. You can switch boyfriends with a friend whenever you want, as long as both of you agree.
3. If they do know, they are required to sit by you at lunch and walk by you in line.
4. You get to tell them what to do or else you tattle on them to the teacher.

Oh, and every once in a while, there is a boy that is brave enough to talk about and recognize his 'girlfriend', but of course they all deal with it the typical way:
1. No matter what, deny you have a girlfriend when anyone asks, especially another girl.
2. Willingly switch girlfriends for their cuter friend.
3. Sit by them at lunch and walk by them in line, but make sure to pull their hair/poke them/step on their shoes/(insert any other mean thing).
4. Do what the girl says so they don't tell on you to the teacher.

I admit, I did have a 'boyfriend' from the second grade until the day I moved away in the fifth grade, but I'm pretty sure I thought he had cooties the entire time and I'm almost 99% sure I did not flaunt our relationship until the fourth grade when he was fought over by me and my BFF. And I know that until the fourth grade I thought boy friend just meant a friend what was a boy. What is with all this starting so young now?!

I may start planting notes around the room in child-like handwriting with messages like: "Boys have cooties", "Cool girls don't have boyfriends till the 3rd grade", and "Boys like girls that listen to their teacher and do all their work".

Maybe we'd get a little more work done. Am I just cold-hearted?! You can be honest.

(P.S. I always loved you more than her Ryan...)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

D is for Data

Data is what we collect on our students all the time. ALL THE TIME. Raise your hand if you think data is about as useful as lips on a chicken.

Yes, data is needed to drive instruction, but taking away instruction time to do all the testing is just plain silly. I'd like to say that all of my students make some sort of progress, but maybe just not enough to reach those highest targets.

So, it has been bothering me that after (and because of) all this data collecting, I don't have time  to just sit down will all the kids and just read a book. For fun. What happened to the time for a good ol' read aloud?! So yesterday I thought "What the hay! We need a break" and pulled out the farm-themed books (at least it went along with this week's theme)  and chose one of my favorites: "The Perfect Nest". This book requires many voices.

The chicken says things like "Hola, Mama!" and "¡Caramba!". The duck says, "Bonjour, Maman!" and"Sacre Bleu!". And best of all, the goose says, "Howdy, Ma!" and "Great balls of fire". And, of course I give them all the proper accents. Well apparently, this book was the talk of the lunch table, because the little darlings who were out of the room during my infamous reading asked if I could possibly read it again. So what did I do? I gathered them on the carpet and did all the theatrics again. They were rolling on the floor laughing. Hopefully, they got a little of the culture/language education and moral that was intended. If anything, we got a break to just enjoy school.

I'm just saying that in a perfect world, school would make us all feel like we did in those ten little minutes today and we could find more time to "just have fun". The data can wait. It's just numbers anyway...

Thanks for letting me vent my frustrations.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

L is for LaLa Land

Lala Land is where some kids go instead of school. I know every teacher out there can name at LEAST one kid every year that is often off in space. Don't get me wrong. Every once in a while we need a mental break, I get it. We all do it (well, of course I don't space out with any of you guys).  But, when a kids is always "gone", how do you teach them?

I don't mind it when a kid is so wrapped up in a book that the world could crash down around them and the don't notice. In fact, today, Braids was reading her new Media Center book and ran smack into a pole. (This led me to the reminder...Don't read and walk...It's dangerous!) That didn't bother me. But when it's ALL THE TIME and NOT because of A BOOK it drives me CRAZY!

Well, my friend Spacey is always in LaLa Land. It must be an amazing place because he's there ALL THE TIME. I ask, "Spacey, what is two plus four?" Spacey replies after I snap in front of his face and wave my hand, "TEN!" and does not care that he is wrong, wrong, wrong! My teammates often remind me, "Just keep swimming! Just keep swim-ming!" (But Dory on Finding Nemo is so much cuter, how can you get frustrated with her? And I'm pretty sure she passed the 2nd grade.)

We have also discussed putting blinking lights on our head, making random beeping noises, and letting the kids hold a remote in their hands...Maybe, just maybe, then they would pay attention (but probably not). I'm thinking that one day, I will set up video conferencing and "teach" my kids while I'm sitting at home on the computer. Do I need permission for that? Even in the name of scientific research?

Friday, January 15, 2010

W is for Wildlife

Wildlife is what you encounter when you teach in a portable. First of all, I have to mention the nice patty left by a not so wild 4-H animal between Mrs. Burn's and my portable...Not sure which of our lawns the cow was trying to fertilize.

Today was full of critters:

Giggles: Ms. Buckler! There's a lizard!

Ms. Buckler: Oh on the window? He's just looking in to see what we're learning.

Giggles: No on the computer!

Ms. Buckler: Oh is it that Geico Gecko? What site are you on? (We do have to be careful, you know)

Giggles: NO! Ms. Buckler! There is a real-alive lizard sitting on top of the computer!

Ms. Buckler: AHHHHHH! Cheeky! Get it! Get it! (Cheeky's permanant job is pest removal..future job prospect I think.)

(At this point, all the kids rush over to see, while the lizard sits in either boldness or fear. Of course, Cheeky gets it and grabs it by the tail. And, of course, the lizard and the tail become two separate things.)

Girls: (screaming)

Boys: I'll get it! (crashing into each other)

(Finally, Freckles picks it up properly by the middle and walks to the door.)

Ms. Buckler: Good job, Freckles. Put it outside!

(Freckles goes to the door and then proceeds to chuck the lizard like a baseball far, far away from the room. We had a short talk about hurting and helping animals.)

After that we had a fly that would not go away and then an "alive bug" that had to be swept outside. I was also informed that there was a "HUGE!" cockroach sitting on the ramp railing.

A co-worker's child, and my former student, ran up to me this afternoon with something in her hands saying, "Ms. Buckler! Look what I found!" I promptly ran in the other direction. She says, "Ms. Buckler! It's just a ladybug!" (Sigh of relief from me...All my students past and present know I love ladybugs.) That one was nice. And, sitting at a red light on the way home, another ladybug lands on my windshield. Good luck heading my way? Yeah, right.

Let's not even mention the potential bugs that could be crawling in several students' hair. (Insert your own head scratching in here. Sorry.)

And they want me to get a class pet!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

H is for Helping

Helping is what we all need to do right now. Being in a Title 1 school for my five years of teaching, I have seen so many families that need help. Children are our business (and futures) and helping them and their families is just one more part of the job.

I know that when I was a child, my house burned completely to the ground. If it wasn't for the loving, selfless people that helped us, I would have had a much different childhood. I can't even begin to imagine the childhoods of those kids in Haiti.

Children are children no matter where they are. Here in our schools or down in Haiti, they depend on us. I'm doing what little I can by donating to some charities that help those children. Don't forget to also send up your prayers.

Monday, January 11, 2010

P is for Patience

Patience is what you need on the first day back at school after a 19 day winter vacation.

There are pros and cons to this first day back, however. The kids are used to sleeping in late and going to bed way past their bedtimes...which means they're too sleepy for most of the day to get into trouble. (However, they are too tired to actually pay attention during lessons, too.) They are also bored out of their minds from entertaining themselves all day for 19 days. I purposely and randomly said "underwear" and "boogers" just to see if they were awake... (I got a few piddly chuckles.)

Highlights of my day:

Ms. Buckler: Mr. T.V., did you take your "medicine" today? (for ADHD)

Mr. T.V.: Yes, I took two.

Ms. Buckler: Two!? Are you supposed to take two?!

Mr. T.V.: Yes (with a "duh" look on his face)...One Claritin and one Flintstone.

Ms. Buckler: Oh, that explains a lot...Carry on.


Ms. Buckler: So what is 3 tens plus 4 tens?

Class: chatter, chatter, chatter... (during a lesson mind you)

Ms. Buckler: Ladies and Gentleman, I think that after 19 days away from school, we are forgetting that we don't talk at the same time I am talking. I know you're excited to see your friends, but we listen to learn. Don't forget, I'm the Queen of the classroom and when I talk...YOU BETTER LISTEN! If you need to ask a question, you raise your hand and wait to be called on. Get it? Got it? Good!

Ms. Chatterbox: (After waiting patiently with her hand in the air) Who is the King of the Classroom?

Ms. Buckler: So what is 3 tens plus 4 tens....?

They really are cute and I actually did miss the little buggers. I can't lie. I heart the second grade.

P is for Patience.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

S is for starting

Starting is what people do in January. Should I start a diet? (yeah, right) Should I start an exercise plan? (puh-lease). Should I start to do something about my stress levels? Yep. So, one of my solutions (or resolutions) is to find a way to vent. I am going to write about some of my random frustrations/observations/thoughts with an "abc" theme. Feel free to laugh at or with me as I go.