Thursday, December 22, 2011

Game Day

Finally, the last day of school before vacation is finally tomorrow.  We'll be spending the morning writing Thank you notes, and designing 2012 calendars, but I'll be giving the kids some time for playing strategy games.  Some of the games are not easy for second graders, but I love the games that encourage thinking!  These are some of my favorites:
Yahtzee
Jenga
Apples to Apples
Scrabble
Battleship
Chess/ Checkers
Mancala

What are your favorite strategy games? 
Do the kids get to play in school?
Sally

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dangling a Carrot When Your Brain is Fried

My brain is in need of a vacation!
We're working all the way up to the 23rd of December.  The kids are totally fried and aren't getting much done at all.  I'm working hard to keep things fun and keep them interested in what's going on, but I feel like I'm fighting a never ending battle.  It's weeks like this that make me feel like I should have been a dentist. (I've had lots of practice this week at "pulling teeth"!)

My experience has taught me to always have some sort of a carrot to dangle.  This week, it's the class party.  I've always found it best to have that party the day BEFORE the last day of school.  I have always found that once the party is over, the children are amazingly calm on that last day.  They've been told all week that they have to EARN the winter party on Thursday.  Today wasn't great, but they've promised tomorrow will be better, and they will earn that celebration!

I have all my kids bring a gift for the classroom.  They can bring books, craft materials, consumables, games, etc.  I've been doing this for years, and I've always found the children bring some great stuff for the class!   They take such pride in what they bring, and they want to use the stuff for the rest of the year.  I have each child open one gift, then all the other children give a chorus of thank you, since the gift is for everyone!  Of course I have a few extra gifts on hand, so everyone will be sure to have something to open, even cute little younger siblings who are visiting.  The rest of the party consists of checking out the new stuff and trying a few things.  And, of course, music and dancing!

I also give each child a book and usually some little token. (This year it's a kaleidoscope.)  I couldn't imagine NOT giving them a gift, they're practically the most important people in my life! 

Sally

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Band aid or Lasso?

Band aid or Lasso? Here are a couple of cute tricks to help the kiddos remember when to use apostrophes and when NOT to!
Do you have students who use apostrophes for everything that ends in s?

I remind my kids to think if the apostrophe works as a band aid or a lasso.  If it doesn't, it's not needed.

I don't claim the band aid story.  My students gave it to me, but it
sure is clever!  They told me the apostrophe is like a band aid in contractions.  Since the two words were squashed into one, some of the letters popped out, and the band aid is needed to heal the spot where the letters popped out. Of course, this story has evolved, and now I tell them certain letters were "surgically removed". They really enjoy saying "surgically removed", so I enhance the story to keep their attention! I also mention that the surgery doesn't hurt at all, in fact, it tickles!

I do claim the lasso story as my own.  When teaching possessives, I make sure the kids know the word "possess" means to own or have something.  I'll get into stories of rodeos, telling them how cowboys throw their lasso and claim their cattle.   I show them pictures I've googled of cowboys and lassos.  In a possessive, the noun with the 's owns the following item.  I even get into turning the apostrophe into a lasso and circling the next word.  They practice this on their whiteboards (I'm a whiteboard fanatic!) and love to draw the lassos. 


Naturally, if the word they're thinking about doesn't need a band aid or a lasso, they shouldn't be using an apostrophe. 

We know how these little stories help the children remember.  After 35+ years of teaching, I have lots of little stories and "tricks up my sleeve".  Recent brain research shows us these little stories help make the connections in the brain so the children can build their knowledge.  Plus, it's fun!

One of my favorite resources has this Band-Aid/ Lasso theme. Click the image or click HERE for the link!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Ladybug Picture Book Award

Here in New Hampshire, we have a really cool activity in the month of November.  Children (K - 3) from all over New Hampshire get to vote for the Ladybug Picture Book Award!

I'm not sure how it's done in the other schools in New Hampshire, but in my school, all ten books that are nominated are read to the children by various adults from the school and the community.  (I had the chief of police read a children's book in my classroom, the kids were totally fascinated!)  All of the books nominated are new picture books, so the children get a chance to hear a nice variety of new literature.  I let the children have a copy of the sample ballot so they could write notes after each book was read so they could make an informed decision when voting time came. 

Well, the votes are in, and the winner is... Memoirs of a Goldfish written by Devin Scillian and illustrated by Tim Bowers.

I think it's a great learning process for the kids.  They hear some great literature.  This year really showed them a wide variety of writing styles, too!  Then of course, the children are learning the democratic process of voting and making an informed decision.  Plus, they got to meet some of the key members of our community who came to our school to read to them.  (That alone shows them the value of reading!)

Be sure to check out this link to see the other nominated books and how the voting went!  It was a great experience for all!

Sally

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Celebrating With a Freebie

I have some reasons to celebrate.  In the last week, I have past 300 Facebook Fans, and over 800 Twitter followers!  Naturally I'm pretty excited about that, so I thought I'd celebrate by giving you this freebie I did with my class today!

Click my cover page to download 25 pages of homophones for the children to illustrate.

My students did a fabulous job with this activity today.  They had some fun, and really proved their understanding of the different homophone pairs!

I'm so grateful there are people out there who appreciate what I have to say.  Thanks so much!
Sally

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Dabbling in DIBELS

Last week I went to a two day training period for DIBELS Next.  DIBELS Next is an assessment program for early readers.  It stands for Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills. 

We learned how to deliver every part of the test for every level.  Typically the assessment is given 3 times a year:  the beginning, the middle, and the end.  Different levels are given different parts of the test.   Teachers are able to Progress Monitor children who don't meet benchmarks.  The best part?  All the materials are available online for free.

The tough part?  It takes about 10 minutes per child at my level.  The tests are given individually.  The tricky part is finding time to do this while keeping up with all our classroom responsibilities. 

But it's a wealth of information!  This is the first time in years our school district has used any kind of assessment that is standardized.  The older children have the state mandated tests, starting in third grade, and we've had the unit tests from the reading program we use.  DIBELS will be giving us specific information concerning what our students know (or don't know) about reading.

Why is this good?  Because it tells us specifically what we need to teach the children!  (I suspect you already knew this!)  With all the testing we've been forced to do over the past few years, it's a pleasure to have an assessment tool that helps us figure out what we need to do. 

DIBELS doesn't necessarily tell us what to do to raise the scores, but there are tons of resources,  many of which we explored through the 2 day training. 

So, I've started Dabbling in DIBELS.  During the last couple of days, I've Dibbled 4 of my students.  It's a little late for the beginning of the year baseline, and a little early for the midyear assessment, but I'm just practicing giving the test.  (And getting information about my kids!)  Honestly, there's not really anything I didn't already know about these kids, but it's valid information that I can bring up at meetings and share with parents. 

So far I'm happy dabbling in DIBELS!  Whatever keeps them reading!

Sally

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Reflecting Upon the Brain Workshop

I'm a naturally reflective person.  As a teacher, I reflect upon every lesson I teach, constantly thinking about how it could have gone better.  That's usually a good thing, but sometimes I make myself crazy thinking about things.  And I do tend to be hard on myself.  That's one of the harder things about being a perfectionist. 

I presented a workshop yesterday on Brain Based Learning to other teachers in my district. It was kind of a rushed day, since I was at DIBELS training at another school in the district earlier in the day. We got out with plenty of time, but I didn't want to get back too early since I din't want to interrupt the substitute. Since the workshop was due to start in my classroom at 3:30, I needed to be in my classroom by 3:10 to set up on time. Unfortunately, several kids are still there at that time, waiting for their bus, so I had no choice but to enter the classroom with all my workshop stuff. 

Of course, the kids that were left gave me a wonderful greeting.  (You'd think I hadn't seen them in years!) Then I needed to chat with the sub, who was also going to be there the next day while I went to the rest of the training. (I was glad about that, she's great!) Needless to say, I was barely ready when the other teachers arrived. 

It was a small group, just 5 teachers. Most of them I knew, and they were from all levels. I had snacks, water bottles, handouts, a selection of books about brain research, and, of course, several copies of my Elementary Matters business cards.

The presentation went very well. The other teachers liked the material (who wouldn't, it's fascinating stuff!) and particularly seemed to like my "Brain Jeopardy". 

Of course, being a reflective person, there are a few things I'd do to make it better:
  1. I like to have music on when people enter. (I do this for my students often, too.) The kind of music that makes you feel good. Upbeat, with a bounce to it. I had planned to have one of my bouncy Christmas CDs on, but just didn't get to it.
  2. I had snacks, but didn't have anything to put the snacks in. I dug up some cups in the classroom, so they could put Cheese Its into plastic cups. Next time I'll have nice bowls or containers for the snacks, and napkins!
  3. As I do often in class, I had too much material, and didn't finish it all. Of course, it's such a wide topic, and there's so much I want to share. Next time, I'll just pick the most important parts and go into more detail. 
But, all in all, it went well. I got this email this afternoon:

This afternoon a HS teacher came into my office to tell me what an excellent workshop you ran yesterday. She wished more teachers (especially from the HS) had come. She used some of what she learned already today in her classes. Great job!

So, I guess I'm happy about that!

    Sunday, November 27, 2011

    My Favorite Holiday Literature

    I brought my box of holiday books down from the attic this weekend, and now I'm getting excited about sharing some of my favorite holiday books with my students. Reading to the children is my very favorite thing to do as a teacher, and this is a great time of year for it!


    Nutcracker Noel by Kate McMullen is one I can't read without getting choked up.  The story itself isn't that emotional, it's just the special connection I have. When my daughter was little (6 years old), she had a role in a professional production of The Nutcracker. The role that Noel has is pretty much the same. I get choked every time Noel steps onto the stage with the fog and the snow and becomes part of the magic.  It gets me every time.

    Speaking of The Nutcracker, I found this version of the story by Susan Jeffers to be a beautiful picture book version of the famous story.  The story is somewhat simplified, but contains the key elements that make this story such a classic. The illustrations are gorgeous, and you can't miss with a story setting called The Kingdom of Sweets! 


    Peef the Christmas Bear is a heartwarming story about a special bear that Santa made who accompanies Santa once a year on his special trip.  As we all know, the true desire of any bear is to be loved by a boy or girl, so Peef has a difficult decision to make.  The look on the children's faces as I read make this book priceless. 

    I make a point to read The Night Before Christmas on the last school day before the holiday.  Jan Brett's illustrations are as beautiful as Clement C. Moore's famous words. You just don't hear descriptive language like this anymore!  ("The moon on the breast of the newfallen snow gave a luster of midday to objects below."  When I explain to the children that's about the moon reflecting on the snow, their eyes lighten up with the visual!)

    Of course, I don't actually read this book.  I don't need to look at the words anymore, I can recite the whole thing by heart, I've read it so many times!

    What are your favorite holiday read alouds?

    Saturday, November 26, 2011

    My Favorite Holiday Activity

    My Favorite Holiday Activity: Do you have an activity that works so well you bring it back every year? That's how I feel about this freebie!

    Do you have a favorite activity that you've used year after year, that the kids love, you love, and learning happens every time?  That's how I feel about this activity.  It's about classic literature, classic music, and reading/ listening comprehension.


    Every year I have the children listen to the music from The Nutcracker.  They talk about what's happening in each section of the story, and illustrate.  Somewhere between the drawing, the music, and the conversation, the brain is focused and happy!

    The activity is available at my TeachersPayTeachers store.  It's a summary of the ballet version of the Nutcracker story.  Just click the Nutcracker to get there!

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    Did you check for S.P.U.N.C?

    Whenever my children have completed some written work, I always tell them to check it for S.P.U.N.C. before passing it in. 


    What's S.P.U.N.C?  It stands for Spelling, Punctuation, Use of words, Neatness, and Capitalization. 

    I suggest the kids do a "finger read" as they double check for each part of S.P.U.N.C, that really helps them figure out if they left out a word or wrote something that usually makes sense.

    Sometimes I'll remind the kids to make their work S.P.U.N.C.Y. 
    What does the Y stand for?  Your very best work!

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Thanksgiving Freebie

    Here's a freebie for Thanksgiving!  
    It's a "old Maid" type game for children to practice their +9 math facts.  
    My kids love this game and practice it over and over! 
     Just click the link for the freebie!
    Thanksgiving


    This one's not a freebie, but it's one of mine and my students' favorite Thanksgiving activities.  
    Thanksgiving


    I'm big on getting the kids to do the illustrations.  For one thing, I'd prefer they be creative rather than me. For another thing, as they illustrate, they're internalizing the knowledge, getting it to stick! (There's plenty of brain research out there to back this up!) It's a strategy I use often, and the kids love it, too!

    I read a couple of stories lately to the children about the first Thanksgiving, and we talk about it.  Sometimes we do a Guided Imagry activity to get them to really think about what it was like to be there. 
    I've even shown a couple of videos.  (Try these, from Scholastic!)

    I like to round things by giving the children an opportunity to illustrate the story.

    I always play some classical music while I let them illustrate.  It lets the creative juices flow.
    This is a perfect opportunity to see if they've learned what I want them to learn! It's also a nice keepsake for the children to remember the story, and share with their families on Thanksgiving Day!

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    Whatever Happened to Patriotism?

    When I was growing up (in the 50s and 60s), there was a lot of patriotism in our part of the world.  Everyone knew all the patriotic songs, and knew the rules about how to respect the American flag.  They were proud to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and loved a patriotic parade.  We were proud of our country and showed it whenever we could.

    Kids don't have that now. In fact, many adults don't have that now.  I wonder why?

    In fact, people often show a lack of respect for our country.  They are quick to criticize what's going on in our country and criticize the people in charge.

    Now, I admit, there's a lot that's not right with our country right now.  People can't find jobs.  Taxes keep getting higher, and people are angry about everything these days.  It's not a good time in our world. 

    But I know that the basis for our country is so strong, that somehow we will get past these hard times and move on.  These are the words that our country is based on: 

    "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, 
    that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

    I can't help but get all sappy when I hear those words.  Does that still happen with anyone else?

    On this Veterans Day, I particularly think about how much I appreciate living in the USA.  I'm Proud to be an American.  Are you?

    Thanks, Veterans!


    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    10 Key Points About the Brain

    10 Key Points About the Brain: Here are ten key points from my research on brain based learning that have helped me as a teacher in the classroom.
    As I've mentioned on previous blogs, I'm fascinated by how the brain works, and have done a lot of reading about brain based learning. 

    I'm giving  a workshop to my peers on Thursday, and I'm going over my notes. These are some of my key points:
    1. Students can only take in 2 - 4 chunks of information per sitting. These sittings should never last more than 4 - 8 minutes.
    2. Students need frequent review and reflection time for these chunks to become part of the long term memory.
    3. The brain is a parallel processor. That means the brain needs to have more than one process happening at a time, such as seeing and hearing, or talking and moving. If only one thing is happening, the brain becomes bored and seeks other stimulation, such as daydreaming.
    4. The brain needs to make associations and find patterns. We need to help students use prior knowledge in order to remember what they are learning.
    5. Engaging emotions will help learning along. Emotions are key to memory.
    6. Engaging the students socially will also help the brain. There should be a variety of large group, small group, and pairs. Independent work should take up less than 50% of the child's time in school.
    7. Engaging students physically is another hook to learning. Finding ways to connect the learning to moving will ensure learning.
    8. Music is magical. It connects us emotionally and helps the memory.
    9. Practice does not make perfect, but good practice makes better. Practice can make learning harder if the practice is inaccurate.  Feedback is essential. The best feedback is real, honest feedback.
    10. Exercise and movement are essential to learning. Phys Ed, recess, and other forms of exercise ensure the brain will get sufficient oxygen.   

    Thanks for helping me organize my thoughts! Wish me luck on Thursday!




    Sunday, November 6, 2011

    Cancer Awareness Link Up

    Cooperative Learning 365 is having a link up.  All you have to do is be someone who has experienced cancer, or cares about someone who has experienced cancer, and you can link up! 

    You can also download her lavendar ribbon for cancer awareness.


    Sally

    Saturday, November 5, 2011

    Thank you. Veterans!


    Wow, I am so grateful for out veterans!  They preserve our freedom and protect our country.  I've been looking for the perfect activity to help the children appreciate those brave men and women.  I've spent the afternoon searching videos, and have several I want to show!  I've narrowed it down to a couple:

    The one on the left gives a nice collection of pictures of various soldiers performing various duties, accompanied by a powerful song.


    This one is a good one, as it uses voices of children.  It has good visuals, and lyrics on the screen so the children can sing along.

    The lyrics are in a language the children can understand.  Very child friendly!


    If I can get through this song without crying, this video gives a nice connection of visuals of soldiers and the USA.


    Speaking of "can't get through it without crying," I thought I'd read my favorite book for Veterans Day.  I've read this every year, and I am amazed every year by the look on the children's faces as I read.  It definitely touches their emotions!


    Thank you Veterans! This blog post has several videos, resources, and ideas for teaching the importance of Veterans Day, including this freebie!I've made a couple of activities:  this sorting activity, and this writing activity.


    I believe this holiday is far too important to ignore.  And that's not just because it's 11-11-11, although I think that's pretty cool, too!

    It might also be time to review this activity from Sept. 11th on Heroes.

    Americans, what are your plans to celebrate our Veterans?

    Wednesday, November 2, 2011

    Brain Facts

    I just love learning about the brain!  Here are a few interesting facts I've learned from this site:

    The brain weighs about 3 pounds. 

    Reading aloud to a child promotes brain development.

    The capacity for many emotions is present at birth.

    The brain uses 20% of the body's oxygen.

    Stress has been known to alter brain cells and brain function.

    Memory is formed by associations, so if you want help remembering things, create associations for yourself.

    Lack of sleep may hurt your ability to make memories.

    Music lessons have shown to considerably boost brain organization and ability in both children and adults.

    Isn't this stuff fascinating?  There's a lot more at this site, which is where I got these facts.

    What does all this mean to us as teachers?  Well, it means that children need enough sleep and plenty of oxygen. (That means exercise!)  It means we may need to work at creating associations for the children to remember what we're teaching them.  It means that music lessons help the children learn. 

    We probably already knew most of this, but it sure is great stuff!

    Saturday, October 29, 2011

    When Fun Is Allowed

    Yesterday, I read an article, Solutions When Recess and Play Aren’t Allowed from The Cornerstone Blog.  It was about children going without recess and play time.  Interestingly enough, yesterday was the day for our class Halloween Parties. (Yes, we're still allowed to have them!) 

    Since it was an exciting day, as well as the first snow here in New England, I knew the kids would be wild.

    Of course, I've been teaching a long time, and I know just how to handle kids the day of a party:  you convince them they have to earn the party!

    All day long, they'd talk about the party... how much longer?  Where will we have the party?  What will we do?

    Every time I saw something non-educational, I'd remind them they had to EARN the party.  They pulled themselves together and gave me their very best!

    Every single child completed their written math work on time for the first time this year.

    I went out of my way to make sure the party was worth working for.  We had healthy food, games, music, and lots of laughter.  Lots of happy children!

    I was thinking back to the article I read before school from The Cornerstone.  In the article, they managed to squeeze in recess time while increasing test scores.  Those who know brain research know that the brain needs oxygen to function.  Exercise helps that oxygen get to the brain.  And we also know that fun is a much greater motivator than test scores!

    I was thinking, I wish we had a party every day!  It certainly has a lot of power!

    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    Marathon Day is Coming

    Parent Conference Days are a challenge! Here's a freebie that will help you prepare!
    Next Tuesday is Marathon Day. Many call it Parent Conference Day. We have an early dismissal day,  then conferences for the rest of the day. I have a 20 minute lunch and no planning period, then I conference until 8:00 at night. 

    I think the hardest part is that I get so thirsty from talking so much, but I don't dare drink much water... that's a long wait for a bathroom break!

    Well, there's also the fact that it's a Tuesday. Usually we have these late nights on Thursdays, so we just have to survive one more day before the weekend. One can always make it through a Friday.
    Parent Conference Days are a challenge! Here's a freebie that will help you prepare!
    Luckily, I have lots of great news to give the parents about the improvements their children have made. They're a great bunch of kids, and are showing lots of improvement in lots of areas.


    In order to prepare, I send home this questionnaire for the parents to fill out. Having the input of the parents ahead of time helps me prepare for the conferences. Click HERE for the freebie!

    How do you prepare for conferences?
    How much time do you have to complete them?




    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Favorite Read Alouds

    I just can't resist a good "linky party", and reading to my students is my very favorite thing to do as a teacher.  So when Swimming Into Second was sponsoring a  Favorite Read Aloud Linky Party, I couldn't resist.
    The hard part was deciding on the Read Aloud.  I've read so many wonderful books to my students over the years, how could I possibly decide on just one.  Well, I hope no one minds, but I'm picking a few.

    Jubal's Wish by Audrey Wood is a beautiful story about a frog named Jubal who goes looking for a picnic with friends on a beautiful day.  It has beautiful, vivid pictures by Don Wood, and a story line that will grab your heart and leave you feeling positive for the rest of the day.  It's one I could read over and over, and you can hear a pin drop when the children are listening to this one!

    Who doesn't love a Patricia Polacco story?  For the Love of Autumn is about a lovable kitten named Autumn, and her owner, a young schoolteacher named Danielle, who loves her students almost as much as she loves her pet.  Clearly Patricia Polacco has had cats, her descriptions are perfect!  It's a charming story, and another one where the faces of the children listening are priceless.
    I always read Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli around Valentine's Day, since the story is focused on Mr. Hatch accidentally getting a box of candy on Valentine's Day.  When he thinks someone loves him, timid Mr. Hatch comes out of his shell and becomes quite lovable. This heartwarming story has a nice lesson for children about earning friendships, and usually leaves me a little "sniffly" when I'm done reading.  Don't wait until Valentine's Day to read it!

    Oh, I could go on forever, there are so many good ones. Be sure to head on over to Swimming Into Second's Linky Party to see some more great read alouds!

    Sunday, October 16, 2011

    The Latest Craze

    The latest craze, I suppose that could mean many things, but to me, it's about Pinterest. 

    Pinterest is like a virtual bulletin board.  You can "pin" anything you see on the internet, and there, you have it saved for future reference.  You can make several different boards with different categories, and you can follow other boards, or pin from the boards of others.

    I've just started "pinning", but it's definitely addicting, and quite handy!

    You need an invitation to get started.  If you would like one, just leave a comment with your email.  If you'd prefer, just send your email to elementarymatters@gmail.com  and I'll send you an invite.

    You'll be pinning in no time! I'd be glad to be your first follower, just go to my Pinterest boards, and follow!

    Of course, my very first board is about Brain Research, but there are lots of other boards, too.  So far, all my boards are school related, but I've seen lots of boards with hobbies, recipes, crafts, gifts, clothes... I could go on.  (And, honestly, I want them all!)

    Enjoy pinning!

    Sally

    Saturday, October 15, 2011

    Controversial Holidays

    There is a school district that's been on the local news lately.  They don't allow their students to celebrate Halloween in school.  I know, there are a lot of districts that no longer allow Halloween celebrations because of its connection to witchcraft, which many believe is too controversial and offends the beliefs of others.  It's something that teachers have had to be careful about.

    But it's not just about Halloween.  The students at this school have been told they can't celebrate Columbus Day and Thanksgiving as well!

    Check out the news clip on eliminating fall holidays!

    OK, I realize that Columbus was as little shadier than we learned while we were kids.  But he was a key factor in exploration and the Europeans settling in the new world.  He's part of our history.

    But....Thanksgiving?  How can giving thanks be offensive to people?  Are turkeys offensive to people?  Or is it the cranberry sauce?

    Honestly, it's the celebration of these fall holidays that keep the spirits up!  We are so burdened with "teaching to the test" and Core Curriculum and NCLB and AYP... I could keep going, but I won't!   We need these holidays to have something fun for the kids to enjoy while practicing their skills.  Brain research indicates the need to keep learning fun and keep the interests of the learner in the picture.

    Just an example: Search Halloween at Teachers Pay Teachers and you'll notice 1,118 results.  Most of these are directly related to curriculum areas such as reading, math, and written language.  (Check out this gem:  Halloween Packet by yours truly.)

    What do you think about giving up Columbus Day, Halloween and Thanksgiving?  I'd love to hear your opinion!
    Sally

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    Pencil Sharpeners and Other Pet Peeves

    Rachel of Sub Hub asked a question today on facebook, which gave me my inspiration for today's blog entry.  Her comment was:
     Pencil sharpeners are from the devil. Like if you agree. :-)
    She got tons of responses.  Clearly, many people have strong feelings about pencil sharpeners!

    It got me thinking about all the little things we experience during our day that make us the loony people that we are. 

    Obviously, pencil sharpeners are a pet peeve of many teachers.  They are loud, Children love to use them constantly.  They grind away at their pencils rather than get their work done.  Teachers have all kinds of strict rules about when and how the pencils get sharpened. 

    I have a few other pet peeves:

    Staplers:  Why do children have to use a million staples to hold 2 pieces of paper together?  Why do they remove the staples, but the staples never actually make it to the trash?  Why do they add one more page, and another thousand staples? 

    Glue Sticks:  Why do they have to roll the entire stick of glue out before gluing one small paper?  Why don't they roll it back down before putting on the cover, so the cover ends up glued onto the gluestick?  Why do they have to smear glue all over a larger piece of paper to glue a small item on top, so that glue is exposed on all the sides and their paper sticks to the next paper in the pile?

    Standing and Walking in Line:  Why can't they just walk?  Why do they have to turn around while they're walking?  Why do they have to trade places?  Why do they have to start World War III over who is going to be last in line?  Why do they have to fight over who shuts off the lights?  Why can't they walk without touching the wall?  Why can't they walk without touching each other?  Why can't they walk without chanting my name over and over?

    Transitions:  Why can't they move from one area of the room to the other without stopping to chat?  Why can't they move without fighting over space?  Why can't they move without chanting my name over and over? 

    And the final pet peeve for the day:

    Straw wrappers:  You know those little wrappers that come with juice boxes?  They never make their way to the waste basket!  I don't know why, but the wrappers are on their desks long after snack time is over. 

    I tend to overact on the straw wrappers.  I'll say... in a very dramatic voice... Is that a straw wrapper?  The kids know this is a pet peeve of mine so I'll dramatically cover my eyes and start to count...and the kids will scramble to get the straw wrapper into the trash before I open my eyes again.  It's funny how a teacher covering her eyes will get the attention of every child.

    Honestly, by the end of the year all these little things are gone.  I do train them well, so hopefully the third grade teachers have a more pleasant experience! 

    What are some of your pet peeves? 

    Sally
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