Wednesday, December 9, 2009

And the debate has started. . .

Yesterday my 2nd graders were finishing their Christmas bags (so I could get them filled - I hate that part!) and I heard them start the classic is Santa real or not debate. The debate was between Sweet Girl and Tough Boy. I was so surprised to hear Tough Boy yelling, "He is too real!" Apparently Sweet Girl said something else so he replied, "If there's no Santa, how do you explain the North Pole?" Well? How do you? Lol! Too funny!

Monday, December 7, 2009


Last week I found a new way to make snowmen ornaments and decided to give it a try. The directions sounded pretty simple and fun. I think they turned out pretty cute! Each child needs wax paper to make their snowman on. They make they body out of glue - yep, just plain old glue! Drop in either paper or googly eyes, a nose, buttons (real, paper, beads, or pom-poms), arms (paper or pipe cleaner), and a piece of paper clip for a hook to hang them. Let them dry - takes a day or two, and presto - snowman ornament! I did have to go back on some after they dried and add a little more glue to the back to secure the pipe cleaners and beads. The paper ones were fine.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


My 1st graders were working on the letter l. We discovered the sound l makes and what it looks like. We sang a song about l with a lazy lizard. We all knew the sound and the letter - it was going great! Or so I thought. To close our lesson, we had a new sound card (with the letter and a picture to represent the sound). I read a clue about the picture and the kids guess what it is. I reminded them of the sound l makes and that our picture will start with that sound. Then I read this clue -
I am a scaly animal who might live in a desert or a rain forest. I am often green or brown, but I come in lots of colors. I look a little like a snake with legs. What am I?
One boy is so excited to answer, waving his hand around. I call on him. Yes? What do you think it is - remember, it starts with /l/. His answer? A cowboy. Really? A cowboy??? Does it look like a snake with legs to you??? I can't even say, "Good guess!" because - he's not even close!!! I just walked him through the clue asking if each part could be a cowboy and if cowboy started with /l/. Oh dear. Back to the drawing board!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Insects and Incest

My first graders were working on the /i/ sound today. We have a story called Injured Insects that we look at and find all the words with the /i/ sound. One of my darlings raised her hand to tell me an /i/ word. I'm happy she's excited to share and call on her. "Incest!" Oh dear. What have I taught today?! The other kids were smiling and nodding. I decided she was really trying to say "insect" and we practiced saying that word. Hopefully she won't go home saying Mrs. Z taught her about incest today!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Great Pumpkin

I love the Charlie Brown special, It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. Since it will be on TV tonight, I decided to read the book to some of my classes and told them they can watch it on TV. I'm reading the book to my 1st graders, who are really into the story. I stop to ask what the dog's name is again. One of my little darlings answers, "Snoop Dog!" Umm, close! But so far away!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Letters from Home

I've been having problems with A from last year. She's now in 3rd grade and still disrespectful and rude. Yesterday she was rolling her eyes when I asked her to do things and groaning. A refuses to try to read. She just gives up. I give them lots of individual support, but she still refuses to try. On the rare occasion that she makes an effort, she figures out what we're doing. So she is capable. I sent home a note to mom about her eye rolling, groaning, and lack of effort. I told mom that I know she can do the work but just refuses to try. I received a note back from mom today. I thought I'd share (I didn't edit her note) -

I suspect their are conflicts with your personalities. I've met you. You can be a little tart. I will remind A of her responsibilities as a student and a child and I will continue to stress to her that she attends school to Learn however I would Like to stress to you that you could be a little more patient with her and change your tone. She is a very astuele individual, and She can since your dislike for her.

I think I am one of the most patient teachers here. A has been disrespectful to every adult she's come in contact with at our school. Everyone knows who she is because of this. A also had another teacher calling mom yesterday about her behavior with 2 other teachers! She was nice to them on the phone. Last year mom did hang up on a teacher for calling about A though. I showed the principal, assistant principal, and counselor. I wanted to be sure they knew what was going on with this parent. They all read it and laughed. They all know A and know the huge attitude A has. None of them had anything to tell me to fix - I'm glad they know this parent and how I am!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sonic & DonorsChoose

Sonic has a new program called Limeades for Learning that will provide grants to U.S. public school teachers to fund classroom projects by partnering with a wonderful organization called This September, SONIC will donate more than a half million dollars to fund classroom materials and inspire learning. All you have to do to help is buy any Sonic drink and then log on to the Limeades for Learning website. You pick you favorite project (maybe one called Wildcat Book Attack) and enter in the code on your drink.

I do have another grant I'm trying to fund through DonorsChoose and would love any support - either by voting for my project or donating! I'm trying to restart our 2nd & 3rd grade book club and need books for my students. Many of them can't afford a new book and I really want them to be able to keep their book. My proposal is called Wildcat Book Attack.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Wild Week!

This week has definitely been exciting - not in a good way though! Monday we were out for Labor Day, but since then - phew! Glad I'm not an administrator!

One of our kindergarten teachers fell Tuesday and broke her knee cap. The ambulance had to come take her. She had surgery and will be out for a while.

Yesterday the 5th graders found ants and roaches in their gumbo! So gross! Lunch was tossed and they had to find something else to feed everyone so it was way behind. The health inspector came out for a visit. They couldn't figure out where the extra protein came from because the kitchen was clean and no other bugs were found. They think that maybe it was in the rue. All of our testing results for 2nd grade were lost when we synced the palms. Ugh!

Then today the police were called on one of my students from last year. Apparently he wanted to run away from school and kept attempting it!

Sure hope tomorrow is a dull Friday!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Moment of Silence

I was doing bus duty after school yesterday. My group of pre-k through 1st graders were sitting and talking. Along came a 4th grader shushing them and asking for a moment of silence. Another teacher and I couldn't figure out why he wanted them to be quiet. Then we saw him point. A funeral procession was going by. Ahh, how sweet of him! Of course, now I'm turned toward the funeral procession laughing because I couldn't laugh at him!!

Today I was testing 1st grade. I asked the child who came out what his last name was. "Weirdo." I'm very confused and look at my list. Oh, he must have said "Rideaux!" It rhymes by the way.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Welcome Back!

I hope everyone had a wonderful summer! I'm in week 2 of school. Last week went pretty smoothly - I'm ready to start pulling my kids again! I've already had a few come ask when they get to come to me again. We start testing everyone this week which is no fun!

Here's a little info on my job if you need it. I am a reading interventionist and pull struggling readers K-3rd for extra help. Yes, one of the dreaded "special" teachers - not sure why they call us special; we seem to not be valued much. I tend to get irritated when my classes are cancelled to cover for someone else. I am one that actually does my job and stays late to finish everything! It takes time to plan for 45 different students, keep up with all their documentation, and test them every other week, not to mention actually getting materials all ready for them! Plus lunch duty, before and after school duty. I really do enjoy my job.

I don't have any cute stories yet, so I'll leave you with one from one of my friends. Her son started kindergarten this year. When he came home from school, my friend asked him how his day was. His response? "Good, but my teacher talks too much!" Love it!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Up on the Roof!

Today our principal is spending the day on the roof! Our kids - especially 3rd & 5th - did so well on the TAKS test, she said she'd spend the day on the roof. Our campus will be recognized again next year! The kids are loving it! One said in an interview to the news that they're excited she's on the roof because they can do whatever they want today!

For the record - I managed to climb up to deliver her book and back down with her computer bag without falling!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Well this is a first!

Friday I went with 1st grade on their field trip. I had a great time. Those kids sure made me feel good about myself! They all cheered while I bowled and talked about how good I was (I'm really not at all). Then came the highlight of my day. We went to the park and I was playing basketball with some of the kids. Anyone who knows me is already amused. I'm 4' 11.5" just to give you a picture here. As I stole the ball away and held it over my head to keep it from the kids, one yelled out "Mrs. Z, you're TALL!!!" I have never heard that in my entire life!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I Like Your. . .

I hear this frequently from my kiddos, "Mrs. Z, I like your _______!" Could be shoes, hair, skirt, necklace. But today? I walked by a kindergarten class carrying some paper and money another teacher had given me. I hear, "Mrs Z, I like how much money you have!" Her teacher and I cracked up!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I've kept Ping-Pong Boy in from PE the past 2 days. He's been extremely disrespectful and argues with every little thing I tell him. So he's been writing sentences about respecting adults. He's come up with every excuse to not write - I'm sure you've heard them - the famous "I have to use it" or "my pencil doesn't have an eraser" or "I think PE is over" to the original, gross excuse of "I have boogers in my nose." What?? I didn't ask this! And how does that keep you from writing? Eww!!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Lunch Duty from _____

We all know how much I love standardized testing. So when I had lunch duty with 5th grade (blah!) during the big deal science test last week, I was just so excited. I'm sure you can just picture me skipping off to do mt lunch duty! Ha! So the kids were ready to relax and I was more than happy to let them. But they had to come in acting crazy.

First one girl bought another girl's pizza for $1. So what did the other girl have left for lunch? Pudding. Yes, pudding for lunch and taking the big deal science test!! Then the same girl who now had 2 pizzas tried to buy half of another girl's pizza for 50 cents. This is where I caught them. Gave them a lecture about sharing food and germs. And threw in how they needed their food to help their brain work for the big deal science test. Turned around and there they are, trying to sell the pizza again! I'm trying to remain calm - they are testing - so I tell them no selling food at lunch. Turn around again and there goes a pudding cup sliding down the table - to 2 pizza girl! Like she needs more food! Another lady on lunch duty grabbed it and threw it away.

So I'm thinking the rest of my lunch duty would be calm, right? WRONG! A group of boys raise their hand. I walk over and tell them I didn't want to hear any tattles. They insist, so I ask what the problem is. Oh, just another boy has a razor. WHAT?? I pull him aside and he denies it. I ask why 4 other kids are saying it then. Told him to empty his pockets. And what do I find? Not a razor. A pocketknife! About 4 inches long. Ugh. He says he just brought it to peel his orange. What in the world was he thinking?? Not to mention another boy in 5th grade was recently suspended for having a pocketknife, so they KNEW better. Of course I take him to the office. And here I was trying to not upset them during the big test! I went back and told the other boys they did the right thing by telling me.

While I was dealing with the pocketknife boy, two other boys decided to be totally disrespectful and make fun of the other lady on duty. They mocked her and wouldn't line up or close their mouths.

So on this lunch duty, where we wanted to have a calm, relaxing lunch for the kids testing, we end up with 3 referrals. What a lunch. I was so happy to have my 2nd graders back! We've only had one referral all year with them!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Another Reason to Hate Standarized Testing

I hate this time of year! The teachers are stressed, administrators are stressed, but worst of all, the kids are stressed. We have kids cry, not come to school, and throw up. Every time we administer the very important test, there is a child who throws up. Never fails. Should a 3rd grader really be that worried about a test?? I feel so bad for them, but so much rides on them passing THE TEST. Some kids just can't take all that pressure.

And now for the answer to the clues in my last post! They were describing a dog! The fag should have been fat - I had the child read it to me!

Friday, April 24, 2009

What am I?

I kept an eye on my neighbor's 2nd grade class while she ran to the little girls' room today. They were writing about something. Who can figure out what they were describing?

My _________ is 500 pounds.
My _________ is 60 feet tall.
My _________ is fag (yes she wrote that - I'll tell the real meaning later!).

I'll post the answer later!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Did this really just happen?

I had a parent flag me down in the hallway. It was Tardy Boy's mom. She asked me if Tardy Boy was at school. Umm, yes, he is. How do you not know that?? Yes, she was home. I know she works nights, but she was looking for Tardy Boy - 2nd grade, and his siblings in 5th, kindergarten, and pre-k! You would think getting 4 kids off to school would be important and she'd know where they were! Then she asked me what he was wearing and if he looked ok. Oh my.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fools!

I love April Fools Day! The kids (and my husband) are so gullible, I just have a great time! Here's what I pulled this year.

This morning when the hubby got up, I told him the dogs had pooped in the garage and it smelled bad. He was not pleased thinking about cleaning that up!

Before I left for work I rotated the image on the computer so it is now upside down! I love it! Just as I finished this post, I got a text - JERK! Ha, guess he went to check his email!! He said he's getting a cramp in his neck!

On lunch duty, I told 2nd grade they had come in too noisy and would have no talking the rest of the week! They all fell for it! Of course I told them the truth and they spent the rest of lunch trying to trick me.

One 1st grader did get me. With the oldest April Fool in the book - there's something on your back! Of course, I had no trouble believing them - I was in the lunchroom with 1st graders! She was thrilled to trick me!!

Anyone have any good tricks for me next year??

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Quick Tip

We had Parent-Teacher conferences this week. Usually, I'm lucky to get 5 parents and I teach about 45 kids. Since I'm not their child's classroom teacher, many don't think to come see me. I've asked the teachers to tell them to come see me, told the students to send their parents by, and stuck notes in their report cards. Nothing worked like my new idea. And it was so simple - why didn't I think of this sooner? I made a post-it note telling the parents to come see me and gave them my room number. The teachers stuck them on the front of the report cards. I've seen 24 of my kids' parents!!! I'm doing this every time!

Friday, March 13, 2009

I Just Can't Spell!

Ping-pong boy (a 2nd grader) was working on the computer directly in front of me this week. I glanced up from my small group to see how he was doing. He should have been typing out a word the computer said. Instead, he had typed a s s. He saw me looking and frantically erased it. I called him off the computer to sit by me until my group was finished. Then I asked him why he typed that. His response? "I was just trying to spell as!" Sure you were. That's why you were looking over your shoulder to see if I was looking. And he could spell both words just fine when asked.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

I See a Pattern

Today I was standing in the hall as we were getting kids back from a break from The Test. One student in 3rd grade started talking to me.

T: Mrs. Z - is it always like this?
Me (totally confused): What?
T: You know, mean, nice.
Me (still confused): What are you talking about?
T: Well last year I had a mean teacher, this year I have a nice one, so next year. . .
Me (trying not to laugh): Who's room were you in last year?
T: Mrs. D and this year I have Ms. L.
Me: Oh, well you know Mrs. D's sister-in-law teaches 4th grade. Maybe you should have her!
T: Nooooooooo!

I loved how he was so worried about this pattern!

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I can't believe how disrespectful kids are! Every day at least one child argues with me. Usually about something I saw them do. I don't get it. I would have never even thought about arguing with an adult, especially when I was totally wrong!

Today was my limit with one girl in 2nd grade - I'll call her A (for Arguing Girl!) Here's how our morning went when she walked in about 15 minutes late.

Me: Oh A, you're here. I just marked you absent.


Me: Yes, you were. I'll change it to tardy.


Me: Um, no. You just walked in the door.

A: I was in Mrs. B's room.

Me: Right. So you weren't in MY room which makes you absent from MY class.


Me: I see that you are here now. Get your folder and get to work.

I gave her the clue for the mystery word of the week. They know it is a verb and has 3 letters. The clue was "I am faster than walking." The answer is run. She guesses runing (running). I won't take that since the clue says 3 letters. I just put them up if they don't get it right and move on.


Me: No, it wasn't. Come to the table to get started.


Me: No, A. It is not. Why are you arguing with me?


Me: Yes, you are.

A: No, I'm NOT!

Me: A. Stop yelling. You can stay with me during PE to write sentences.

She started bawling. This wasn't the end of the mess. She carries on and on. I finally told her give me her mom's phone number that she couldn't remember until I was on my way to the office to get it. Then I tell mom about how A argues with adults constantly. I go through our morning with her. Mom says, "I really don't think she was arguing with you." I gave up.

Anyone figure out how to get these kids to stop arguing with adults? Mine students never win an argument. They end up in trouble, but don't care. They must get their way at home by doing this!

Friday, February 13, 2009

20 Questions Answered

I have a teenage helper with my CCD kiddos. She usually comes in after drill team practice. Wednesday she came in dressed to perform at the basketball game. The kids were so impressed.
Miss Ashley, you have makeup on!
Miss Ashley, your hair looks so pretty!
And my favorite -
Miss Ashley, you look like the American flag!
I cracked up! Her school colors are red, white, and blue.
This was also the week Father John came. They were pretty well behaved. We found out he likes chocolate chip cookies, the color blue, he love Jesus, God is his best friend, he prays, he doesn't have a wife, he like dogs, is allergic to cats, he doesn't have a Play Station (Father Michael has a wii though) and he likes songs, but the alphabet song is not his favorite. There was even a question about flowers dying in the Ice Age. He looked at me like where did that come from!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Who is Father John?

That was my question for my kindergarten CCD class last night. I got the best answer ever - from a 6 year old!

He's a guy who loved Jesus very, very, very much so he became a priest and works for God.
I loved it. We were getting ready for next week when Father John comes to visit our class. I had them come up with questions to ask him. Here's a few -
Do you love Jesus?
Is your favorite color yellow?
Do you love God more than anything?
What do you do if you forget what you're saying during mass?
Where do you like to eat?
What's you favorite part of being a priest?
Did you always want to be a priest?
It should be interesting next week when he comes!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tardy Boy

I have a student, Tardy Boy, who is - I bet you'll never guess - always tardy! He has my class from 8:30 - 9:10. Tardy Boy isn't just a little late, he strolls in around 9 or 10. Every day! Of course Tardy Boy is struggling in reading (or he wouldn't be in my class), but he is one of my lowest students. He's in 2nd grade and doesn't know all his letters, much less what sound they make. I don't know how to get him to school. His mom has been to court, I've talked to her about the importance of my class, principal and assistant principal have talked to him, I reward him for showing up on time, I've kept him in from PE for being so late, and I'm out of ideas. She promises to get him here, but doesn't. Just for an idea of how much he misses my class, in the last 15 days of school he has missed 7 times and been late another 5. So 3 days he was on time. He has been less tardy this week, but still about 45 minutes late for school. Tardy Boy is so frustrated in his class because he is so far behind. I'm so frustrated with this parent. Last year she withdrew him for about 3 weeks. He didn't go to another school. He was helping clean the house. WHAT?? But yet mom says she's concerned about his progress. Argh. Any ideas are welcomed!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ahh, a work day!

Let me start by saying I don't like the name of my day. Work Day. Like I don't work everyday?? (For those of you who aren't in education, a work day is a day the kiddos don't come and teachers finally have a little time to catch up on everything that piles up for months!)

Anyway, here's all I wanted to accomplish today -

  • Get ready for Tuesday's classes

  • Get all objectives for the week typed and filed for easy access

  • Complete 3 RTI packets

  • Clean off my junk table

  • Gather materials to give a mini training for 6 different grade levels of reading teachers

  • Clean off computer table

  • Type up inventory sheets for 2 take home literacy bags
  • Catch up on my MRT paperwork

So what did I accomplish? The ones in green are ones I did off my list and red are things I did, but weren't off my list.

  • Drink coffee and check email.
  • Check evites from party I'm planning.
  • Email people about party.
  • Start RTI paperwork!
  • Get distracted and take things to be copied for the week to workroom.
  • Stop by friend's room on the way back.
  • Post some books she gave me on paperback swap.
  • Back to RTI paperwork.
  • Hmm, I have new email!
  • Oh, someone requested one of these books! Wrap it up to mail after school!
  • Oh yes. RTI paperwork!!
  • LUNCH!!!!
  • Finish one packet! Whoo-hoo!
  • Reward myself with checking a few blogs.
  • Must get stuff done! Get objectives typed!
  • Good job - look at a few more blogs.
  • Pull material for tomorrow.
  • Start cleaning off junk table.
  • Interrupted by assistant principal and principal - they want to see me. This can't be good.
  • Get informed that one day a week I have to cancel one of my classes and part of another to tutor 5th graders in reading. Never mind that pesky grant that pays my salary and states I'm only to work with k-3rd.
  • Found out it starts TOMORROW!
  • Spend the next hour trying to find materials to use with 5th grade.
  • Figure out a way for my class to still be taught (I'm borrowing a student teacher - won't she be thrilled?) and inform teachers of this change.
  • Finish cleaning junk table since I'll have 5th graders at this table now while my 2nd graders use old table.
  • Change clothes to go to gym.
  • Try to prepare for for 5th graders.
Oh - I thought I'd add that I was given 1.5 hours for lunch, but only took 20 minutes to make up for my ADD moments! So, not the best "work day" for me!! I did get things done. Just not all I wanted!

Friday, January 16, 2009


On lunch duty with 2nd grade today, N had an interesting insight. "I'm not sure if I'm a vegetarian or not. Sometimes I can't finish all my meat." They crack me up sometimes!

I've noticed I work with several families lately. I guess they've noticed too. I redid my schedule recently and added a few new students. My few first grader told her teacher, "Well it's about time, she works with everyone else in my family!" Cute, but it also makes me sad to see so many brothers, sisters, and cousins struggling to learn to read.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Pink Throat

The other day one of my 2nd graders came into school and I noticed her older sister wasn't with her. I asked where she was and was told she had "the pink throat." Apparently my girl had "the pink throat" over Christmas. I saw their mom after school - the sister has strep throat! Love their descriptions!

Monday, January 5, 2009

What do your cats do when you leave?

What happens when you leave 2 cats at home without letting them open their Christmas presents?

Sorry for the bad pic - it's off my cell phone at night. In case you can't see - there are overturned gift bags, tissue paper, many toy mice, and cat treats scattered all over my living room floor! They had a great time! This morning, I moved our hassock to do the wii fit and found another bag of treats! They managed to open this one though! When I put it up, Max (the black cat) came and stole more treats! So, which one do you think is the ring leader?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Back to Reality

Well, I guess I have to go back to school tomorrow! I've loved sleeping in and staying up late. I enjoyed visiting family and friends. Too bad I was sick from the day after Christmas until - oh yeah, I'm still sick! Great way to spend the holiday! Well, I did get lots of rest and reading done. My mom took great care of me. I'm feeling better, just not 100% yet. Tomorrow will be a long day of redoing my schedule based on testing we did before break. It's always fun working around 13 teachers' schedules!

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday!