Schoolhouse Rock vol. 59: Happy Birthday to the Teacher

My kids made me a birthday book, and it is the cutest.

Thanks Jill for making that with them!  You are the best!

The prompt was: “If I could give you any present in the world, I would give you a…”

and these are some of their responses:

  • A party
  • donut cake
  • A package of sweet tarts
  • A heart and a cake
  • rainbow fish
  • chocolate candy
  • a bike
  • a mailbox
  • a new pompom because one is lost
  • a blue dog who is also red
  • more homework for you to give us, so we can learn
  • a baby dragon
  • a big jewel
  • my heart
  • a blueberry chocolate cake
  • a strawberry cake
  • a sucker where you put it on your finger like a ring
  • a puppy!
  • new shoes
  • new shoes and a new dress
  • toys, candy and presents and hearts and candy
  • a big strawberry cake
  • a heart
  • a bunny
  • an x-box and x-box live so she can play games with me
  • chihuahuas – a mom and a baby
  • candy

This picture of my birthday party looks surprisingly similar to my actual birthday party…


Schoolhouse Rock vol. 58: Bucket Lists

Today was the 100th day of school.  I actually branched out and tried new things.  Good job, self!

First off, I googled image searched, “100 year old people” and I made a powerpoint to show kids what they will look like when they are 100 years old.  They were really taken aback by how “crumpled” the people’s faces were.  They were devastated when I told them that is how their faces would look one day as well.

Here are some of their predictions for what they will look like:

They are going to be some creepy looking old people…

I decided that in addition to making a picture of what we will look like at 100 years of age, we should probably make a class bucket list of the things we would like to accomplish in life before we turn 1oo and our faces “are all crumpled.”

So, in no particular order, here are our goals, dreams, and future aspirations which we hope to accomplish before we are 100 years old:

  • be a mailman
  • be a cop
  • play baseball for the MN Twins
  • be a superhero
  • watch ninja turtles
  • see the Avengers
  • Be a white angel
  • graduate from high school
  • go to college
  • play for the Timberwolves
  • learn how to do karate
  • become a mouse
  • get a pet cat
  • be a zookeeper
  • learn how to learn in here
  • learn how to be grown up
  • learn how to be a military man
  • learn how to count to 60
  • be a store man
  • be a mermaid (somehow this shows up in everything we do in kindergarten)
  • go to lots of places with my family
  • be a king and a princess… if that makes sense…
  • be a football player
  • open a bakery
  • learn how to wrestle

Well kids, I hope that your dreams come true.  Please report back to me in 50 years and let me know of your progress in becoming a mouse.

Schoolhouse Rock vol. 57: Love Is…



One of my favorite things in kindergarten is hearing kids’ thoughts on love when Valentine’s Day comes around. Photo on 2013-02-12 at 16.14 #2

The following is their answers to the question:

What is Love?

Photo on 2013-02-12 at 16.14 #3

Love is: 

  1. I love my parents.
  2. Hugging people.  And when they are sick you can give them hot coffee.
  3. Sharing valentines.
  4. Give a hug.
  5. When you give valentines to someone you love.
  6. Hearts and a present.
  7. All about your heart.  Your heart is like Valentine’s Day because it gives joy to people.
  8. Sharing.
  9. When I hug my cousin.
  10. That you love your mom.
  11. It’s like you hug your mom.
  12. I love my mom.  I hug her.
  13. When you love someone you give them a present.
  14. I give candy to mom.
  15. It means I love my mom.  When she is sick and goes to the doctor I bring her balloons and flowers and a note.

    Photo on 2013-02-12 at 16.10

    I’m not sure if you can see their crowns, but I’m pretty sure this family is royalty.

  16. If you hug someone.
  17. I give valentines to my mom.  She sleeps and I put it in her drawer.
  18. giving hugs.
  19. My sister hugs me.
  20. My family.
  21. Loving people.  I love my mom and my sisters.  I don’t have a dad. Photo on 2013-02-12 at 16.13
  22. Telling your brother that I love him.
  23. About loving your mom and your dad.
  24. Friendship.

    friendship on a beach?  friendship in jail?  ???

    friendship on a beach? friendship in jail?

  25. Where you love your family.

And… this year’s winning response:

Love is about giving people a heart and hugging dad and mom and you can probably shovel for your dad so he can rest if he is too old to work.

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.”

generous hearts

christmas donationsThe kids ministry at Hope Community Church, where I attend, decided that it would be awesome to collect Christmas presents for the kids at my favorite orphanage in Uganda.  I went to all the Sunday school classes and shared a little bit about Rafiki Africa Ministries and showed a short video with all the kids in it, and invited the Hope children to bring presents for the Rafiki children.  The kids were all super excited about it, and had lots to say.  I loved their enthusiasm and was so encouraged by it.

But the moment that touched me the most is when I was visiting the first grade class (who I taught last year in Sunday school and adore them all) and after we took a picture for a Christmas card, one little girl came up to me, took a bracelet off her wrist, and said, “Do you think the orphans in Africa would like my bracelet?” and without hesitation, she put it in our donations box.

I loved so much that this sweet little one’s heart immediately was so filled with love and generosity, that she gave up a bracelet off her wrist.

Merry Christmas, Rafiki Kids – know you are loved by these kids in Minneapolis who have never even met you.

Schoolhouse Rock vol. 46: election edition

Our fifth grade hosted a great mock election today for the kids at my school to go and vote.  But this meant that we’d better talk about what voting is, what the president does, and who the candidates would be on the ballot.

I talked to the kids in my group for centers in place of a guided reading lesson (which was a bit of a bummer since I was hoping for a repeat of yesterday’s kid that read his entire book in a British accent).

I started out showing them a picture of the White House and asked: Do you know what this building is?

  • The light house!
  • It is so beautiful and big!
  • It looks like an apartment.
  • It is the United States of America.  There are 10 bedrooms there.
  • I saw that building in Ohio!
  • I saw it at my grandma’s.
  • I saw it in Africa.
  • My mom doesn’t even know what that is.
  • That’s called the White House?  My house is called the Green House!

Who lives in the White House?

  • Orock Obama
  • Robama
  • Obama lives there!  He is the Pressiman.

What do you think is in the White House?

  • Money
  • Tables
  • The president, of course!

What does it mean to vote?

  • It means to go on vacation.  (I wish!)

Do you live in the United States?

  • No.
  • No.
  • No.
  • Yes.
  • No.
  • No.  I live in a house.

Friends, we all live in the United States of America

  • We do????

What does the president do?

  • Protects the house
  • Eats food
  • The president had computers to do somethings
  • If a bad guy comes here, the president click the thingy and say to the kids, “Go sit down and be safe.” (apparently the president has a national intercom system for lockdown drills…)
  • He helps people.  Keeping dogs and kittens safe.
  • He teaches people about letters and words and how letters make sounds
  • Presidents clean stuff.
  • Presidents go to sleep.
  • Presidents are rich.
  • You can be king of the world.  The king is the guy with a crown.  He rules the world.
  • Presidents run for Student Body President.

What does the president talk to people about?

  • Presidents speak to people about bad things.  Like people getting dead.
  • Presidents go out to people and talk to them about stuff.  They talk about spirits.
  • He talks to people about things that are happening in Minnesota
  • He talks to people about furniture.  And people who work and play together.
  • I think he talks to people about being more better.  And how to take care of their little kids.
  • I see the flag!  I know the speech to that flag!  (I asked her to say it).  Silence…

On the topic of filling out a ballot and only voting for ONE person and getting to vote for who you want to vote for, not who someone else tells you to vote for:

  • You can’t force someone to do what you want.  That’s called forcing.
  • President Obama is the best because he helps people learn.  President Obama is black and he likes people.  He’s always been our president.  And George Washington. He’s the goodest person.  He says good things.
  • I’m gonna vote for Mitt Romney because he’s the nicest.  He’s got a nice shirt, and nice hair.  And because he’s never been president

And in conclusion: The White House is of course near Mount Rushmore, so that the president can be close to all four of our other Presidents.

And kids, remember that if you are having an election party, be sure to hang out patriotic mistletoe and say the pledge if you happen to stand under it at the same time as someone else… 

Schoolhouse Rock vol. 45

We are sharing our projects we made about community helpers.

I wish that we had our presentations on videotape for you to see.  Except that would break all sorts of privacy laws.  But seriously it was hilarious.

There is the child who made a bakery project and told me that when she grows up and has her own bakery, I can come and work at it.  I asked her what my job could be.  The answer: “You can get me all the things I need.”  I did some negotiations and in addition to this role of assistant to the head baker, I also get to be on sprinkle detail. Score!

Another child made an elaborate school scene.  The unveiling of the project included me nearly breaking the shoebox and people glued to popsicle sticks.  The unveiling was made complete when in the midst of my juggling her project and struggling to open it up properly, we caught sight of the giant Michelle Obama magazine cut-out in the front of the classroom diorama as the teacher.  Winning.

However, my personal favorite project was the student who brought in a small pink box with two mermaids in it.  I’m sure you will agree with my roommate’s feedback on this project: “I can’t even count the number of times I’ve thought that mermaids don’t get enough recognition for helping the community.  Glad somebody knows what’s up.”  Although not everybody was convinced.  While the kids were waiting for bussing to begin, I heard a little girl say, “Mermaids are NOT community helpers.  Do you see them back there [on the communities bulletin board]??? No.”

Schoolhouse Rock vol. 44

Sometimes, even if you have been teaching for 8 years, you just make rookie mistakes.

Rookie Mistake #1 – not thinking through the answer before asking the question.

Today I thought I would be a good teacher and take advantage of the few minutes between using the bathroom/washing hands and heading down to the lunch room to practice some rhyming. (You know, rather that ignoring the children and let them go wild for 3-5 minutes, like I usually do).

So I looked around the room for some inspiration and said, “I’m thinking of a word that rhymes with…. door.”

Answer #1: Whore!

I didn’t want to repeat it so I just said, “Nope, that rhymes, but it isn’t my word.”

The next three children who answered also suggested “Whore!” As if it was a brand new idea. (really kids???) Finally I had to break down and loudly say, “My word is not whore. Please stop guessing that word.”

Lesson learned:

Don’t try to sneak in learning opportunities. Just let the kids sit and socialize…

but on the bright side, they are learning to rhyme! Yay!