Friday, September 30, 2011

Third Annual RSVP

As we do each year, I gave the students a writing prompt today to get a baseline of their writing skills. Their pieces will be scored holistically by the whole staff using the state rubric. We'll give them another prompt in early June to measure their progress for the year.

The topic today was the same as the last two years:

Your principal wants to invite a celebrity speaker to your school. Think about the celebrity you would choose to speak; then write a letter to persuade your principal to invite this person. Be sure to include convincing reasons and details to support your choice.

It's always fascinating to see who the kids want to invite. This year it was a runaway three-way tie for most wanted:

President Obama
Michelle Obama
Selena Gomez

A couple of other folks had more than one or two votes, also:

Lionel Messi
Taylor Swift
Nikki Minaj
JK Rowling

And here are the rest, in no particular order:

Rupert Grint
Lady Gaga
Bridget Mendler
Neil Armstrong
A member of Seal Team Six
Michael Jordan
Barbara Park
Suzanne Collins
Wendy Mass
Jeff Kinney
Lisa Leslie
Ali Zafar
Demi Lovato
Troy Aikman
John Cena
Victoria Justice
Stephen Strasburg
DJ Pauly D
Wiz Khalifa
Justin Bieber
Jeff Dunham
Ringo Starr
A dolphin trainer for the movies
Diego Forlan
Bruno Mars
Morgan Freeman
Stephen Curry
The Washington Nationals
Barcelona Soccer
The cast of The Vampire Diaries
Kobe Bryant
Philip Pullman
Jane Goodall
Ziggy Marley
Johnny Depp
Tim Hightower
Santana Moss
Chase Utley
Kevin Durant
Janet Jackson
The KoolAid Guy
Rick Riordan
Matthew Gray Gubler
Big Time Rush

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Larceny, Petty and Grand

I had my writing group tonight, such an agreeable island in the roiling weeks that have marked the beginning of the school year. In order to prepare for our meeting, though, I had to find time to plan and cook a meal, not to mention, to write. I needed something fast and good for both tasks, so here is what I did:

I started by using one of my sister-in-law's recipes, (CORRECTION: one of my sister's recipes), roasting chicken thighs, shredding the meat, and tossing it with pasta and pine nuts. I also lifted some lovely imagery and a pretty intense and emotional relationship from the first stanza of the poem Like Riding a Bicycle by George Bilgere and worked it into a couple of paragraphs of fiction.

Original? No. Successful? I think so, and it was a fun evening.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Building Relationships Through Mayhem

When I prepare to present a common text to my sixth graders, I always look for that one little thread that if pulled gently might unravel just enough so I can wrap it around the kids and then tug them in closer, closer, until they are making all sorts of personal connections to the writing we're looking at.

Today we read the poem Where I'm From by George Ella Lyon, which is an annual event, but what I've finally realized is that there is one image in that poem that unlocks the students' lives more than any other:

I am... From the finger my grandfather lost/ to the auger

We begin our analysis of the poem with words that are unfamiliar to them, and someone in every class always brings up "auger". As they start to understand what a gruesome event she is describing, the kids often physically cringe, but when I explain that this is an example of one of those stories of misfortune that every family has, suddenly we are all wrapped in a web of mishap and almost everyone wants a chance to share their tales of injury and near miss. At the end of the discussion, not only do they like the poem, but we all feel much closer, too.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Held After Class

Tonight was Back-to-School-Night which I'm pretty sure is dreaded by all educators. For myself, I have to give the same overview five times in a row, and try as I might, I cannot come up with a way to make it anything more than ten minutes of rushed talking. I think I sound competent, though, after all these years, but sometimes I wish it were more of a conversation than a presentation.

But I must be careful what I wish for. Long after the last class was dismissed for the night, I found myself in conversation with a very enthusiastic parent. Clearly impressed by some part of my talk, he chatted on about his own reading and his own writing in what might have been a pleasant enough exchange were it not for the hour and the purpose of the event.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Gotta Get Down on Monday

5am, waking up in the morning
Gotta be fresh, gotta go downstairs
Gotta have my coffee, gotta pack my lunch.
Hearin’ NPR, the time is goin’
Tickin’ on and on, time rushin’
Gotta walk the dog,
Gotta get out to my car, Gotta drive to school,

Yawnin’ in the front seat
books are in the back seat
Gotta make my mind up
Which way should I go today?

It’s Monday, Monday
Who isn't down on Monday?
Everybody’s dreading the new week, the new week
Monday, Monday
Gettin’ down on Monday
Everybody’s dreading the new week.

Plannin class’, Plannin’ class (Yeah)
Gradin' work’, Gradin' work’ (Yeah)
Work, work, work, work
Dreadin' the week

(YouTube Video sensation to follow)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Instant Grat

I must have written before about how I like to read the NY Times (or any other) Book Review with lap top or iPad at the ready, able to put any book of interest on instant hold at the public library. Well, such convenience has reached new heights with my Kindle App. Now I'm able to instantly download a preview of almost any book. (I know, right?)

The problem? It takes a little self-discipline not to go ahead and just buy the good ones, instead of doing what I should, and putting them on my library list. In fact, I don't think I've resisted once.

Check out We the Animals by Justin Torres. Beautiful and disturbing, I read it in one sitting.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Greetings, Earthlings

We have a lot of family birthdays coming up, and so we spent a good chunk of time card-shopping today. Overall, it was a little frustrating: that perfect card seemed elusive for all four, although in the end, I liked what we chose.

The notion of greeting cards is an odd one, though. What are we looking for when we set out to purchase what is essentially an over-priced piece of printed cardboard? Is it simply a concrete symbol, proof of the fact that we value the person and the occasion? Or is there more to it, perhaps some outside validation of our thoughts and feelings?

If anything, the internet will be the death of the greeting card. Never mind the thousands of e-cards available at the click of a mouse, but the world wide web can "validate" almost any experience you might have. Just google your problem, your symptoms, or even a phrase describing what you did today, and you will find hundreds, if not thousands of fellow humans who describe something eerily similar.

We are definitely not alone, but we're not very special either, are we?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Please, Sir, I Want Some More

There's something about food that brings out a bit of the writer in everyone. As an example, I offer a few observations from the current sixth graders:

If you don't like pizza, you don't have a soul!

My Favorite food is is deep south out of the pot homemade lick the spoon chili.

I like to go to MCdonalds on Sundays with my cousin and play outside with my friends and I ask a lot of questions about things just to make sure.

I love any food, as long as its not veggies or some sticky gooey thing.

I love dogs, if I get a Mexican dog I will name it Taco, because I love tacos too.

And finally...

Have you ever been to the krispy kreme factory-store? It is really awesome- you can see the donuts going through the glazing fountain and stuff like that. I'll post something in creative writing about the factory....

The Trials of Donut-dom

I wiggled. I tried to get myself out of this uncomfortable rounded shape. I felt as if I had a hole in me, but, looking back, I realized I actually did. Me and the other lumps of dough rode on a black Ferris-Wheel-like thing, all the time coming closer and closer to a hole. If this wasn't enough embarrassment, humans stared at us as were exposed as pieces of dough.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Boss of Me

I ran into a neighbor of mine this morning while I was walking the dog. She had her dog, too, and so we continued on home together, making small talk as neighbors do. When she asked about school, I gave her a brief report on some of the frustrations of the first three weeks of the year, and then I returned the question.

This particular neighbor works at the capital, so I ended my inquiry with, "Things must be kind of hopping up there, eh?"

"It sucks," she answered bluntly. "I honestly do not know how so many idiots were ever elected to office." She paused and shrugged. "Maybe they were just trying to get them out of the neighborhood."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Okra Dokey

Today my students and I read the poem Knoxville, Tennessee by Nikki Giovanni. It's a good beginning of the year common text because it has so much sensory detail in it. It is also written in a child's voice, and the entire poem is a single sentence. I always like to challenge any student who is willing to try to read it all in one breath. Sixth graders love that kind of thing. They also enjoy talking about the images that resonate with them, and so today we talked a lot about barbecue, homemade ice cream, and okra, which I've discovered is a bit of a litmus vegetable. Kids from all over the world are familiar with it, but many of their peers, also from all over the world, are not.

Here's the poem:

Knoxville, Tennessee

I always like summer
you can eat fresh corn
from daddy's garden
and okra
and greens
and cabbage
and lots of
and buttermilk and homemade ice-cream
at the church picnic
and listen to
gospel music
at the church
and go to the mountains with
your grandmother
and go barefooted
and be warm
all the time
not only when you go to bed
and sleep.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


This morning, a black and white cat crossed my path. It flashed across four lanes of traffic barely avoiding my front tires and then disappeared into somebody's backyard. It was close enough that I was trembling a little at the next light so relieved not to have witnessed its injury, let alone caused it myself.

I thought of the time I once saw a friend take a rock and crush the skull of a mortally-injured mouse that her cat had grown bored of and abandoned in the driveway. Certainly, I had seen death with my own eyes, and many have died on my behalf and even at my demand, but I questioned then whether I personally could commit such a violent act of mercy, and I wondered the same thing today.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Next Time, Just Ask

So much has been written about changing the basic parameters of education without consulting teachers and I have neither the time nor the desire to address that issue here and now, but indulge me by considering the following.

Our school system has been undergoing a huge technology upgrade the likes of which I have not seen in the 19 years I've been teaching here. Such an improvement could be so exciting-- personally, I love technology, and who doesn't appreciate making things easier? Since we came back to work at the end of August, though, the promised enhancements have been overshadowed by delays and problems, and most of what I've heard from my colleagues is a variation on the question of Where are the benefits in these changes, again?

Part of the plan is to give every teacher a lap top, configured for school use with limited capabilities outside of our network. They were shooting for convenience, I'm guessing, but think about entering hundreds of grades without a number pad.

See what I mean?

Sunday, September 18, 2011

And Just What Was it that Made all the Difference?

As we ran some errands today, the Sunday drivers and general weekend road congestion began to grind on my nerves. Stopped at a light I considered our usual route, and since the thought of the stop and go traffic at a certain point was almost too much to bear, I decided to take another, hopefully less traveled, way. Not so far from home, we remembered another stop we had to make, and my mental GPS was recalculating when Heidi said, "That was a stop sign back there."

"Not for me," I laughed just before the whoop whoop and flashing blue and red pulled behind me.

"I'm sorry I missed that Stop sign back there," I told the cop when he walked up.

"How did that happen?" he asked. I don't think either of us was prepared for the long rambling explanation I provided about the confusing placement of the sign as well as what I was thinking at the time of the infraction, but hey, he asked. He shook his head and took my license and registration back to his cruiser. In a little while he returned with the dreaded clipboard. "I ran your information," he said, "You have five points on your record."

"How did I get those?" I asked. "What did I do?"

"It's five positive points," he told me with raised eyebrows. "That's good. Are you sure you're all right to drive?"

Clearly I am with all those points, I thought, but I actually said, "Yes. I promise I'll be more attentive."

"Then get out of here," he waved his hand, "No ticket today."

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Always Leave Them Wanting More

Last week, one of my students posted about the weekly web show he does with his buddy and sister. We broadcast live every Friday night at 8! he wrote and gave the web address. As it happened, I was sitting in front of my computer a little before 8 last night, and so I navigated over to the site. Even before its official start time, the webcam streamed a lot of activity as the three of them prepared for the show, moving bicycles and other stuff out of the way of their set in the garage. As they worked, they chatted and spat at each other, as kids do; this time it was mostly about why someone was so mean, nuclear bombs, and what Mom said they had to do. All of a sudden a huge blurry face appeared in the screen and then disappeared. "Oh my gosh we have two live viewers!" an excited voice announced. "Somebody else is watching!" he said, and then the feed went dead, replaced by a test pattern.

Oh, how we crave that audience, and still we panic when we see them.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Introduce Yourself

This week marked the beginning of Write Here Write Now, the web-based portion of my sixth grade English class, and so once again the end of the day finds me in front of my computer clicking through hundreds of student posts. A friend of mine and I collaborated six years ago to create this secure online community where our students could use writing both formally and informally to communicate with their peers. Now in its sixth iteration, WHWN has been tangibly different every year, inevitably shaped not only by the personality (and size!) of each group students, but also by where the two of us grown-ups happen to be professionally and personally.

One of our main premises has always been to encourage students to write by giving them a place and an audience. The first assignment is for each kid to write at least two paragraphs introducing him or herself to the group. When they finish, they must read and respond to some of the other kids. Then they can post to other topics of their choice, including music, sports, and pets. What I always love about this writing is how surprising and revealing it can be. Reading through their initial posts, I learn an enormous amount about my students both as writers and people.

Let me give you an example; this particular little girl seemed pretty average until I read her intro.

some times when i feel like the world is ending, i will drag my fat cat over to the widow( this is the part were it gets really dramatic) and look and him and i will study how his sea blue eyes are so sea blue and how his long, gray, tail seems to tick to the rhythm of the clock. And when he yawns I check and see how many teeth he still has. 

How extraordinary is that! But, really-- that's the point. Who isn't an incredible individual when they have the opportunity to show it? Lucky for me, it's my job to give kids that chance.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


Today was the day when my old homeroom kids came back on a quick errand to pick up their IB Binders so that they could transfer them to their new seventh grade digs. It is always a bittersweet day for me: there I am working hard to build relationships with my fresh group of sixth graders when their predecessors come busting in the door, so familiar and with all that awkward newness out of the way. I am always so happy to see them and so sad to see them go.

This time there was a twist on that old story, though. All of last year's kids asked if they could stay for a bit, and of course I was delighted to have them. They sat in the extra chairs, chatted with their former classmates, and even joined in on the activity, helping the younger kids who had taken their places with their pinwheels for peace. For a few minutes my homeroom was a warm blend of the past and the present, and I couldn't have been happier.

When the bell rang, and my double-sized group of students set off into their days, I smiled when I heard a bunch of the sixth graders tell each other that they were coming back next year, too.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011


Every year for the last four or five, the two sixth grade teams at our school have put on a picnic on the first Friday afternoon for our new middle schoolers. This year, the one-two punch of Irene and Lee left our fields a bit soggy, and so the event was re-scheduled until today. The students took a reading test in the morning and then were treated to an hour and a half outside to play and eat hot dogs. The weather was warm and sunny, the grill was hot, the chips were crunchy, and the watermelon was sweet. There were screams of glee from the playground and friendly banter on the soccer field and basketball court. Although the day was not without a misunderstanding or bruised feeling here and there (probably inevitable with 250+ kids) it went off without a hitch and we were cleaned up in under 10 minutes. Not bad for 15 public employees.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


When I was a kid, I loved everything about the game-- the dusty orange field, the bases scuffed in with the heel of your shoe, even the schoolyard pick of the players. I loved the line of players that formed behind the backstop; in batting order we crept slowly forward until we were nearly at the right baseline. I loved the call of the pitcher, How do you want it? and the response of the kicker, Slow and bouncy! or Fast and smooth. No one ever wanted it fast and bouncy, although such a delivery might have set up a mighty, mighty kick that soared up and over the infield, defying gravity until at last it arced down and to the ground. Then there might be the solid thump of the soft red rubber ball and that little puff of rust-colored dust into your eyes when you caught it in the cradle you made of your arms and then held on tight to keep it from bouncing away, because you knew it was almost impossible to make a play from way out there, although it was kind of fun to sprint forward and fling that ball directly at the runner just hoping to hear the satisfying thwump of the tag and the chorus proclaiming, You're out!

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Little Friendly Advice

Of all the things I've learned as a teacher, there is one that continues to amaze me. People do not listen. Just because words are coming out of your mouth does not mean that they are being registered by a single ear in the room. Small group, large group, one-on-one, whatever-- do not take it personally; do not get frustrated; as ridiculous as it may seem to respond to the most sincere question that you literally just answered, try to remember that your voice is but one stimulus in a world exploding with sensory details, and the difference between focus and distraction is all in the brain of the beholder. Scolding such an inquirer will not ensure increased attention in the future, probably the opposite, so therefore check for understanding as frequently and as patiently as possible, stay on message and repeat as necessary, and whatever you do? Remove the phrase "dumb ass" from your vocabulary.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

First Weekend Back

Yep. They still go by really fast.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

105 More Shopping Days

Just the other night I had a moment of seasonal passage-- the first commercial of winter. Oh, it was a cozy, animated little production full of warm light and bundled-up kids, and although it did not inspire me to run out and buy tissues for those inevitable cold weather colds (here they come!), it did almost make me want to fix a mug of hot chocolate and enjoy it right there, ignoring the drone of the air conditioner and early September heat and humidity. The fireplace was looking quite welcoming as well.

Thus also began another countdown: How many days until the first Christmas commercial? It can't be long!

Friday, September 9, 2011

I Gotta Hand it to Them

I have a traditional first week of school assignment that I'm rather fond of. I always begin the year by informing the kids that we are going to write every day, but I reassure them that it will never be anything they can't handle. In fact, to prove it, I tell them we are going to start with words, just words, and build our way up from there.

Their task this week is to come up with 30 nouns and/or adjectives that describe them in some way. Oh, I tie in their independent reading right away, too, encouraging them to "steal" specific nouns and adjectives from other writers by looking at how these published authors describe the people in their books.

When the lists are completed, the students trace their hands on a piece of paper and then scribe the words they have chosen along the outline. The last step is to decorate the hand, cut it out, and mount it on construction paper for display.

This simple activity provides enormous insight into their classroom skills and their work habits, and the products end up being a wonderful snapshot of each student-- their hands, their designs, their words.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Just as Able

We have a student with low vision on the team this year, and of course he has several accommodations to make sure that he can see the instructional materials we are using. He needs bigger print and enlarged images, so the vision specialist laid in a supply of 11 x 17 paper to use in the copy machine. That's double the standard size, however, and there's nothing like a ginormous piece of paper to make you stand out in a group, which is the very last thing this student wants to do. For the majority of kids, sixth grade and the transition to middle school is all about fitting in, and developmentally, that is quite appropriate.

Maybe it's my own worsening presbyopia, but last week when I was reviewing the documents that I would need for the first days of school, I made a decision that rather than enlarging the handouts I had, I would reformat them so that he could read them, and then I would use that version for everyone. Not knowing him, it just seemed the safest thing to do to begin with, and it's worked out fine so far. So today, when I mentioned that to the other teachers on the team, they jumped at the idea.

Our social studies teacher told us how he had pushed a larger copy of the map aside, unwilling to use a different worksheet than the other kids. "It's too bad," she said sympathetically, "but I LOVE the bigger maps-- they look so much better, and they're a lot easier to work with."

"Why don't you use the 11 by 17 paper to make big maps for everyone?" someone suggested, and our strategy was sealed.

I feel good about it-- a larger format is certainly not going to hurt anyone, and who knows how many kids a bigger font and a simpler design might benefit?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cross Your Heart

Another thing I like about having taught in the same school for so long is the number of siblings of former students I get to have in my class. This year is a bumper crop. I have a number of kids whose brothers and sisters are in 7th grade, 8th grade, or high school, and it's fun to use the inside knowledge I remember of their families to build relationships today. A friendly face and a familiar word go a long way when you're a stranger in a strange place.

I think the farthest the family ties go back is to 2001. I have the brother of a student who was actually sitting in my classroom during the attacks on September 11, 2001. Our school is about two miles from the Pentagon, and we all heard the explosions when the plane made impact. Obviously, it's a day I will never forget.

But the kids we have now were infants then. They have no memory of a pre-9-11 world, but nor do they have any memory of that day. To them, the events of that day will be history that they must make sense of in the context of what they hear, what they read, and what they learn.

That day was one of the dividing lines in history. Like President Kennedy's assassination, WW II, the Great Depression, there are events that shape and separate us, sometimes by century, and sometimes by generation, and as a long-time teacher, that well-earned truth, like the events of 9-11, is something that I'll keep with me.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


One thing I always have enjoyed about teaching is finding out what kids like and dislike; I get a kick out of knowing what's in and what's out and what's cool and what's lame. Being in the know with 11- and 12-year-olds may not seem that important, but it can definitely be a revealing lens on our society. Kids that age are forming their opinions based on so many factors: parents, siblings, peers, media, etc., and in some ways they are the canaries in the coal mine when it comes to trends, both superficial and important. Of course, that's one of the reasons why critical thinking is such an important component of education.

But I digress. What I really wanted to report this evening is a surprising movement I detected in today's first-day-of-school-getting-to-know-you conversations. I was shocked, shocked, by the number of kids who hate soccer. They are not merely neutral or disinterested; no, friends, at least 10 students independently reported that they actually detest the game itself.

What this means for our civilization is for others to decide, until then, I will continue reporting from the front lines.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Secret Lives of Students

Don't let them tell you that they dislike school. Here's a little evidence from the summer bloggers:

12 hours until school starts again!!!!!!!! OMG! So happy for tomorrow.

tick tock tick tock I can’t wait to go to school. I can’ wait to go to school. Feels so close and feels so far away.

Anyway we officially have less than 20 hours until school starts!! I’m going to be counting down every second of this whole day. But right now I’m taking pictures and deciding which outfit I should wear tomorrow. 21 HOURS AND 2 MINUTES REMAININGG!! AHAHAHAHAHAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!

And there's plenty more enthusiasm where that came from.

Now, if only I could muster some!

PS Check back with me tomorrow, odds are good I'll be much more optimistic. Transitions are not my strength.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Who's Your Daddy?

Fans of the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Milan, are no doubt familiar with his sidekick, Daddy. A rescued pit bull, Daddy became the lynchpin of Cesar's pack, and because of his even temperament, he often helped show the unbalanced dogs just how it ought it be by modeling the desired behavior and energy.

Heidi and Isabel spent the last couple of days with a dog named Lucky. "She can't do any tricks!" her owners assured them. "She's even afraid to pee in the dark!" They underestimated the power of the pack, however, (and of course, treats). It wasn't long before Lucky was sitting and shaking and downing and upping and yes, even peeing in the dark. That Heidi is pretty darn good with dogs.

"Isabel was a huge help!" Heidi told me when she was recounting the events of the weekend. "You should have seen how she guided Lucky just by doing the right thing."

I nodded. "You know what that makes her, right?"

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Queen of the Dolphins

The name of my sixth grade team is the Dolphins. Upon entering my classroom and seeing all the dolphin swag, people often conclude that I am a big fan of those sea mammals , but the truth is, that while I like them fine, they're not really my favorite animals. Still, I've been immersed in things dolphin for the last ten years or so, and I guess a bit of affection for those friendly, intelligent critters has rubbed off on me, not to mention knowledge of them. I know a lot about dolphins. So I was a little taken aback the other night when a student's dad approached me at the open house. "So you're the Dolphin leader," he said. "I was trying to figure out what that might be."

I smiled. "Well, a team leader..." I started helpfully, but he interrupted me.

"Oh,I know what a team leader is," he told me, "but what do they call the leader of a dolphin pod?"

I was stumped. "Good one!" I said. "I'll have to look that up and add it to my resume."

Too bad there is no such title.

Friday, September 2, 2011

My Work May Be Done Here

I spent some time this evening catching up with the summer blog I set up for my former students in June. I've been struggling a bit trying to decide when I should cut it off, if ever. Their interest will naturally evolve to other writing pursuits, and so I wonder if I should just allow that arc to play out over time.

I'll have to change the name of the blog, of course. "Summer Bloggers" won't be accurate for much longer. But what title will? "Tracey's Former Students" sounds a little awkward, although "Dolphins Ten Eleven" is kind of dashing, especially with its fuzzy cinematic allusion and all. (And now I'm imagining George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Julia Roberts in my class.)

Anyway, I'll wrestle with this dilemma a few more days or even weeks. It seems cruel to cut the kids off before they have immersed themselves in their new seventh grade reality. Plus, I'll confess to some personal pleasure at having kept up with these folks over the last few months. It's been nice to know of their vacations, summer camps, triumphs and injuries all.

Just tonight, a guy posted the big news that his parents are expecting a baby in January. That event has rocked the world of their 12-year-old formerly only child, but as consolation they're letting him name the baby. (!) (I try not to judge.) So, he did what many others of his generation might-- he put out a call for suggestions on the blog, and let me tell you friends, he got a lot of replies. Heck, I was tempted to respond myself, and then I thought about it. A child may actually be named as a direct result of one of my class projects.

I think I've done enough.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I Detect a Trend...

I came home from our annual sixth grade open house all ready to write. It was a really positive night-- good energy and great kids had me looking forward to next Tuesday, the first day of school. Beyond that, though, I knew just what I wanted to write about: how the preservice week had been fraught with problems and all the attendant stress and negativity, but how all of that fell away, almost like magic, when the kids arrived. Yeah. I was going to write the heck out of that, but the more I thought on it, there was something about it that seemed almost too true, so I searched the archives and I found what I wrote just fifty weeks ago.

Eerily similar, right?

So that had me thinking. It's such a cliche to say that the stuff that happens outside the classroom is what unnecessarily complicates teaching, but anecdotally? Lookie here. Just because it's a cliche, doesn't mean it's not a valid concern. Perhaps the opposite is even true.