Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Nativity Story

We read Luke 1 today in class, well, we started to. We only made it up to the part where Mary gets to Elizabeth's house before it was time to stop (actually, we went over our religion time). They really wanted to start the movie today and convinced me that we could watch the movie up to the part that we'd read about in the Bible today.

They were so in to the movie, we watched the whole thing today, haha, big surprise right? I had been pausing it to explain a few things, historical/cultural things the movie did well. As expected, some of them were frustrated at how often I paused the movie. They wanted to keep watching! But then they'd have questions too, so it was fine. About a half an hour into the movie (it's 1:40min), we'd reached the part we'd read up to in the Bible. And they wanted to keep going. In my mind, I'd already kind of thought to just keep watching, but they thought they had to convince me.

"But Miss H, we should watch it all today so we can keep the movie fresh in our minds."
"We already know this story! We talk about it every year!"
"Plus on Thursday when we finish reading the rest of the Bible chapters, we'll be able to make connections to the movie."
"And we'll give up our read to someone round!"

So I was convinced. We took another bathroom break and they gathered up their hats and coats from the coatroom (It's cold on the floor! There isn't much insulation in my classroom) so we all bundled up and settled in. Another teacher told me she had heard my kids in the hallway this morning gushing over what a good teacher I am and how I'm the best teacher in the world since we got to watch the whole movie today. Oh kids are funny!

Sigh. I'm glad they enjoyed it so much. That movie is so good. I love it. It might become my new Christmas tradition to watch it every year.

Monday, December 11, 2017


I've been on a mission lately to find plain white socks with no other colors on them. They're nearly impossible to find! All the socks I found at Walmart had gray heels and toes or were mostly white except colorful writing across the toe parts. Tonight I stopped by Dollar General, hoping they'd have what I needed. Whew! They did! Having 11 kids in my class is almost the perfect number. I got six pairs of socks, one sock for each kid plus one for me to do as an example.

We're turning the socks into snowmen. I found styrofoam balls this weekend, we'll use a roll of toilet paper for the body (on sale this week at Cash Wise!), and color toothpicks/glue on buttons/tie leftover fleece for a scarf. Presents for parents.

I was impressed with the 5th grade problem solving skills today. The 7/8th graders were gumming up the works when the 5th graders came back at 1:00 to bring the bells down from our room to Miss S's. The older kids were sprawled around the computers working on a powerpoint, but they sat too close to the table for the girls to get the cases through. One lifted hers over the table. She had a little one so it wasn't too bad to lift. The other ones had larger cases though, and didn't think that would work. One girl said, "Here, shove them under the table!" She was tiny enough to squeeze past and the case was short enough to slide under the table right to the door. Perfect.

My old couch was reunited with its twin this weekend. My farmer helped me move it to my friend's apartment and she was very excited to get a larger couch for her to stretch out on. Now I have space in my living room again! Time to put up the Christmas tree... After running errands after school tonight I didn't have much time, so the tree is still in the box. Maybe tomorrow night my apartment will become more festive.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Papers, Papers Everywhere

Oh my, my desk is a mess! Papers everywhere! I don't even have piles. It's just one big blob of papers haphazardly sliding all over the place.

It's been a busy week, and there hasn't been much time for correcting. Both the 7/8th graders and the 5/6th graders took a test. They've been bugging me to show them their grades. I finished the 5/6th graders' test, but only got halfway through the 7/8th graders', so those papers are in limbo. They had a project due too, so all of those papers are scattered around. Then there are the spelling tests and handwriting and other various worksheets... blech. Lots of correcting to do this weekend. At least I have a super comfy couch to sit on while I do it!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

The Truth about the Big Bang Theory

Ohhh today was a GREAT day! Yesterday we learned about the Big Bang Theory in science class, which made them think about the tv show, so we listened to the theme song to dissect what the lyrics all mean.  This morning, a few of the kids came in SUPER excited to tell me that they'd been rewriting the lyrics on the bus so it fits creation!!! They told me what they had so far and asked if they could work on it at school.  "Sure! You can do it right now. Or even for Writers Workshop." "We can?!" They were even more excited. Then they had the idea to have the whole class sing the song. Then we had the idea to make a video of the class doing it! Then we had the idea to turn it into a class project!

So the start of our day was planning out this project. We nominated people to be lyric writers, a few screenplay writers (to turn it into acting), a few prop masters (to build scenery if needed), some singers and some actors. Oh man, it was all we could talk about all day. AWESOME!

In religion, we reread Genesis chapter one and the lyric writers took notes to add to the song. It was so good. So. Good.

Afternoon recess we went outside to play in the snow. Kids were skating on the ice and rolling in the snow mountain. It was great to see them so lighthearted and enjoying themselves so much.

Sigh. A great day.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017


Our read aloud book has a super genius main character who keeps her smarts a secret because she wants to 'be normal'. The truth comes out and when she's feeling particularly down about the way things have been going for her, one of her teachers (a librarian) asks her, "Why do you think you are so smart?" We had a good class discussion about that, how God gave each of us talents and what we should do with them. I said I have a connection to that librarian because I am excited to see what my students (past and present) will do with all the talents I see in them. Then my kiddos wanted to know what I think their talents are.

So I turned it into an English lesson! Some other teachers had given me the idea for a neat teacher gift to their students. They have the students write three positive adjectives that describe each classmate.  Then, secretly of course, the teacher puts them into a Wordle (a picture made of words where words used more often appear bigger than the other words) for each student and frames them. That's my plan for Christmas presents this year. Now to find 11 picture frames...

Couch update: As requested by my students, I showed them a picture of my couch. They thought it looked super comfortable, but it's not the same as the ones their families got.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017


My couch came today! It's my first furniture purchase, ever. All the other pieces I have are hand-me-downs or are from family members, which I of course love, but I thought my couch could use an upgrade. I picked out a big chocolate brown one that feels like you're sitting on marshmallows.

There is another home basketball game tonight at school and I had to duck out right at 3:00 so I could be home for the delivery guys. My kids wanted to know if they could stay in our room after school before the game, but I told them not today. Then of course they wanted to know why...

Two of them think that I bought the same kind of couch their parents just bought. Maybe it is. I told them I'd take a picture to show at school tomorrow. It's a lot bigger than I remember. It fits along the wall where my old couch was, but there isn't room for my blanket rack anymore. I'll have to find a new place for that. It will be easier once the old couch has been brought to its new home (a friend of mine claimed it to match hers). This couch isn't as cushy as I remember the one in the store being, but I suppose this one just needs to get broken in a little. Who knows how many people sat on the one in the store?

Monday, December 4, 2017

Solar System

I've been blowing lots of minds lately. Outer space is a super hard concept for 5th and 6th graders to understand... it seems like they get it, but then they see how big space is and how small Earth is compared to it, and they just get lost.

They want to talk about aliens and life on other planets and details about the sun and galaxies. All things we'll talk about later on in the unit, but they want to learn it RIGHT NOW! Too bad I don't have an invention that will put information directly into their minds, like a sponge soaking up all sorts of stuff. They'll just have to be patient I guess!

There are basketball games vs. Janesville tonight and as usual, the girls are using my room to change. They all remember me from last year and of course Joe too. As they looked around the room, checking things out, one said, "What? You let them write on their desks?!" (referring to their names written on their desks with sharpie markers... my version of a name tag. It never peels off!). The Janesville girls were even more shocked when I revealed that I was the one to write on the desks. So I explained how it works and how you can erase the name tags by writing over them with a dry erase marker. Then they wanted to see a demonstration. So I complied. Yep, it still works! Their minds were blown.

We have a big meeting at church tonight. Well, maybe it's not big, but I've been dreading it ever since I heard about it. It's called a Reconciliation Meeting and it's for congregation members to basically hash out everything they're thinking and feeling about the church. I wrote down a few notes on what I plan to say (positive things in support). One positive that's come from all this is that my students and I have had some decent discussions stem from this meeting. They're all on the supportive side of things and even wrote down a few notes for me to pass on at the meeting (if need be). They're pretty sad that some people in the congregation don't like certain things that are being done/certain people who work in the church. They said they'd be praying the meeting goes well! And they want to know who the nonsupportive people are, but I won't tell them (I don't know all of them myself even) because I don't want them to think less of those people. Which led to a discussion about reputations and how we view people.

Well, I'm going out to watch the girls play. I got to see the last three minutes of the boys' game and my students have been asking me nonstop if I'm going to watch them play. So, here I go!