Schoolhouse Rock vol. 54

“Miss K, did you know that Justin Bieber is my cousin?”

“Oh wow!  I did not know that.  Did he come celebrate Christmas with you?”


“Oh, what did you get him?”

“A bouncy house”

“Neat.  What did he get you?”

“A princess doll.”

“Ok then, back to talking about Martin Luther King Jr…”

Schoolhouse Rock vol. 53

This week has been a mildly entertaining week in kindergarten.

First off, I started a page on TeachersPayTeachers – a website where teachers can buy classroom resources created by other teachers.  I’ve sold a couple of things, and so it is exciting and fun and new 🙂  If you are looking for some classroom resources, feel free to check it out here.

Secondly, I have a lot of kids who have some speech goals, and the other day I had two of them at my guided reading table.  We were reading a book about baby animals.

The page said, “This is a kitten”

Student 1 read: “Dis is a titten”

Student 2 responded: “it is NOT a titten.  It is a TITTEN!”

And I just thought, “Seriously kiddos?  Do you hear yourself?  You can’t say these sounds either!!”  It made me laugh quietly to myself.

Thirdly, I was walking over to the carpet where all the kids were sitting, and they were all pointing at a little boy and shouting, “He’s eating something!!!!” and I said, ‘What are you eating?” and he pointed to crumbs on the floor where a cracker had been dropped and stepped on and said, “But it is food!”

Fourthly, I already told my facebook friends about it, but yesterday a little girl showed up wearing so so so many sparkly sequins on her skirt and shirt, but paired this dazzling ensemble with a flannel, leggings, suede boots with fringe.  And a tiny bow in her hair.  It was really incredible.  Let her be a fashion inspiration to us all.

And finally, I was working with a group to make a thinking map comparing Children’s Day to Birthdays, and one little boy said, “D——————” (that is my way of saying he said some long jumble of sounds that started with a D.  Not that he was swearing) and I said, “What??” and he repeated himself.  And I said, “What?” and he repeated again and now the other kids in the table to were also repeating it to me.  And I could understand no one.  One little boy, exasperated, shouts, “he SAID, “DINOSAUR RACES!!!!” False.  Eventually I figured it out… he was saying, “decorations.”

Africa Part 2

If all went according to plan, I went in to work early this morning and got to skype with my little Ugandan children.  I’m so excited to see their sweet faces.  Thanks technology!

But you know what I’m more excited for?  To see their sweet faces in person.

That’s right folks – I’m going back.

Africa Part 2: coming summer 2013 🙂


London Layover

Friends, if you haven’t had the chance to visit London while jet-lagged, low on sleep, emotionally unstable, and in the middle of the summer Olympics, you are missing out!

We had a layover in London this August on our way back from Uganda.  Rachel and I had both been to London before, but it was a new adventure for Jessica, and I had only been 10 years ago in the winter, so it was mostly new to me as well 🙂

We dropped off our stuff in the yotel in the airport (which was awesome) and headed in to see some fun olympic-ness.  Mind you, Jessica and I have been in Africa for 2-3 months at this point and have seen no Olympic coverage.  In fact, at one point when the Olympics were starting, we asked the Ugandan staff if they ever watch it on TV.  They responded, “The Olympics are on TV?”

London was super visitor-friendly during the games (not that it isn’t otherwise – I just thought they did a great job for the Olympics).  There was plenty of clean sign-age and plenty of friendly Brits ready to help you.  We walked to the Olympic park and see it.  We couldn’t get into the actual park area because we didn’t have tickets to any events, but we could still see the stadium from a short distance.  We also are pretty sure that we saw some Russian athletes.  So that’s neat.

We enjoyed gazing on Big Ben while eating our first non-African meal of… McDonalds (we tried for something else, but we had no cash and no one else wanted our credit cards…)

We also rode on the London Eye, which was cool for a lot of reasons.  First of all, when I was in London back in college, the London Eye was closed and so I have a picture looking sad with it in the background.  Secondly, it has beautiful views of the city.  And thirdly, we discovered that we could see down into the beach volleyball stadium!  I mean, obviously we were too far away to really see anything, but it was still exciting.

To round out the adventure, we headed to the Tower of London to see the Tower Bridge with the Olympic rings on it. We were SO tired at this point that we didn’t think we could make it (I envisioned crawling to our destination at one point).  But I’m glad that we did, because it was the highlight of our evening in London.

With much more effort than we’d been led to believe, we made our way back to the Yotel, showered, and got a couple (literally a couple) hours of sleep before catching our flight back to America.

And thus, Africa Part 1 is officially concluded.  Thanks for coming along for the adventure!

for Nina

About a year ago, my blog was featured on Minnesota Moments, which is what it sounds like: a Minnesota magazine.  The article featured ten different bloggers from around the state.  Audrey Kletscher Helbling, the author of the article, just contacted me to let me know that another blogger featured in the article, had a recent tragedy in her life and their family needs all the prayer and support they can get.  Click here to read Audrey’s blog post sharing the story of what happened.


Schoolhouse Rock vol. 52

Well friends, we are definitely back from winter break.  I am back from being under the weather.  And the kids are back to saying HILARIOUS things. 

I wish I’d had a notebook to write down all the things they said today.  

We are studying traditions, and this was our discussion of the 4th of July:

“Friends, does anyone know who’s birthday it is on the Fourth of July?”


“Actually it is our country’s birthday.  What country do we live in?”


“When do we celebrate the 4th of July?”


“Um…. July??”

“Which day in July?”

“The third day?”

Skip ahead to the end of the discussion and I of course shared all about my sister’s phobia of fireworks (she doesn’t like the loud noise) and I told them she celebrates the 4th of July by sitting at home and watching fireworks on her TV with the volume turned down.  The kids all thought that was ridiculous and one girl said, “You should get a new sister!” and I said, “Don’t worry, I did.  I got a new sister named Rachel.  She likes fireworks.” and the student with a sigh of relief said, “OH GOOD.”



Zebra Crossing

So we are driving around in Kampala one day, and I see a sign for Zebra Crossing.  I am reminded of the many deer and other animal crossing signs we had back home, and for a split second allowed myself to hope that I’d see a zebra crossing the road.  Then I realized my foolishness and understood that zebra crossing was referring to the pedestrian cross walk.

But a month later, on our nature walk at Lake Mburo, we did see zebras crossing. IMG_3246 copy

and zebras eating.

and zebras running.

and zebras walking.

and zebras playing.

and zebras drinking. IMG_3227 copy

(click on any of the pictures below to see them bigger)

After our nature walk, we headed back and showered and packed.  I should probably mention that this was the view from the shower: IMG_3350 copy

If our safari had to end, this was the perfect way to do it.

(well, truthfully, this is the way it really ended.  which is still kind of perfect because these cattle are everywhere in Uganda…)

IMG_3359 copy

Thanks for safari-ing along with me and Rachel!  We’ve loved sharing our Uganda roadtripping adventures with you.

And thanks to Joseph and Rafiki Adventures for taking us on the trip of a lifetime.

Little Pep Talks

The beginning of 2013 has been a little rough, and not just because winter break ended and I had to go back to work.

I have had a vicious little cold. My kids have been doing a lot of think pair shares so I can make a mad dash to the Kleenex box.

Fortunately, my EA is the best, and she has my back when my fuzzy brain thinks that not having time to make copies is tear-worthy.

Additionally, my cough drops are the best. Their wrappers are covered with little motivational speeches.

My cough drops tell me things like, “give yourself a high five” or… “Your middle name is tough.”

I will let you read more gems for yourself.




sorry kids, you’re gonna have to turn your heads for this one…