Monday, June 22, 2009

Hold On

Summer time generally means nannying if you are (give or take) fresh out of college or still cruising in it. I had the opportunity to have a dinner and movie date night with my nanny kid on Friday night. He paid =) Well, I think he had some help from his parents, but regardless, I didn't lose any cash.
We decided on the obvious choice, Night at the Museum. Excuse me, the first one was so great that they made another one, so it was actually Night at the Museum 2. We cruised home from a baseball practice so he could change out of his smelly stuff. I yelled up to him to let him know we should probably get going.
"Hold on, I just need to check my email real quick," was the answer yelled to me from the staircase. This answer would be typical for my father about a business deal, myself because I am currently job searching and basically anyone else who is older than the soon-to-be fifth grader I just heard it from.
What would he even have in email account? Updates on Zac Efron's latest hairstyle? If his next game was home or away? Someone selling him life insurance?

Nope, turns out he was checking to see if a cute girl from his grade had discovered yet that he had email. =)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Five Dollar Footlong

Some classrooms have pets. Usually these creatures are furry, caged, and can fit into one of those balls where they can cruise at their own speed around a flat area. The child I nanny for had some of these pets in his classroom over the last few weeks. His classroom had two rats. They were being studied for science. Kids could watch their every move and document it- aka observe them.

At the end of this science unit, I am assuming the teacher was thinking how to best get rid of these rodents without simply unleashing them into the unknown of urban St. Paul.  The teacher decided to have a contest to see what student would take them home to keep as pets. 

Two students won. After one week, one rat had already seen the light and left not only the school building, but also, left this world. Devastating news for a ten-year-old. Good news for exterminators and the parents who had to clean up the rat poops and chase the rat-ball down the stairs as it bounced from stair to stair in a state of hysteria.

The other rat had better success in its new home. My nanny child reported that after one week of being in its new place, that the rat had grown! The rat made an appearance at school to show off his new bod.

I asked how big the rat had gotten. He wasn't quite sure, but thought he had a good comparison to help me visualize it.

"He was probably as  big as six-inch sub from Subway. Maybe a little bigger, but not as big as  a footlong." 

He then proceeded to show me the gesture from the Subway commercial (where the people hold their hands out and say five-dollar footlong and then motion to the size). 

The only thing I could do with this image was to imagine a rat just kicking it on a bed of white hoagie and relaxing in a mess of mayo.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Can I Have the Definition?

First, say the following word out loud: pianist

Then, try saying this in front of twenty-five eighth graders without any inappropriate comments.

Finally, when you have the second group of eighth graders that same day, preface this word with the following definition: someone who plays the piano

Monday, April 27, 2009

NASA Time Travels

It's hard to get students to settle down when they enter the classroom. Questions like, "How many number one hits does Miley Cyrus have right now?" and "Who found hair in their hot lunch?" flood the airspace. English isn't always the most exciting subject, aka it's not science and they do not get to make exploding volcanoes to learn about adverbs, and getting them to be quiet can be tricky. I have found the solution to this problem, and it has to do with candy.

Everyday, the students come into my classroom looking for the trivia question I have written on the board. Sometimes they have something to do with the English language, and sometimes they have nothing to do with it.


English- What organ in your body stores food, and is also a part of speech? (your colon)

Nonsense-What country is Rihanna from? (Barbados)

If a student can answer it correctly, they get a piece of candy. Lucky!!!!!!!!

Today, my question took us out of this world in the sense that it was about space. Usually kids try really hard to answer these questions because if you answer it correctly, you win. This did not happen today.


Who was the first woman to travel in space?


Harriet Tubman

(this is incorrect, so do not take notes on this section)

My Comment: " I didn't know the Underground Railroad used time travel as their mode of transportation."


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Pungent Abbreviations

Assignment: Teach the rest of the sixth grade class about abbreviations. Give them some examples so they can become more familiar with the topic. 

No where in the directions did it say they must teach the class about abbreviations that would be specific to their age group. However, one group went above what I asked for by including this in their presentation.

Picture 25 middle schoolers, right back from gym, learning about abbreviations. The example written in the biggest and brightest writing is: B.O.

We all know what that means, but it is confusing when the full term is written: Body ORDER.

Hmm, I guess they are trying to master two things at this age: Spelling and Smelling.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Group Project/Group Prayer

When teachers assign group projects, they put themselves at risk. There is the risk that students won't be able to work well with one another. There is the risk that markers will be launched across the room during work time. There is the risk that students are more interested in entertaining the opposite sex than making a skit about adjectives.

The biggest risk is that students will finish early; finish early and have lots and lots of time on their hands. Time to do what? Time to fling rubber-bands at one another, time to gossip about the Jonas Brothers, time to harass every other person in the classroom. Welcome to the life of teaching middle schoolers. 

So, in order to combat the risk of students reaching the point of having 'extra time', I decided to talk with them before the last class day to work on their projects. We talked about what steps should go into the project, how detailed their skits and songs should be, what their class activities should be like etc. I then asked the students what they thought they should be doing if they had extra time. I was looking for them to say work on something for another class, read or practice their skits. Something along those lines. 

The answered I received?


Sixth graders can be so holy and yet, so off task. 

Sunday, March 8, 2009

magic locker tricks

 Sometimes Fridays are the craziest day of the week. Sometimes kids are forgetful. Sometimes kids are so small they can fit into their own lockers. Sometimes all three of these things come together to create an incident.

Fridays are really chaotic in the second grade. First, on Fridays you are not only a teacher, but also the manager of a prize store. Kids that have earned 'happy tickets' during the week are able to buy priceless prizes at the store. Kids can become the proud owners of stickers and leftover Mcdonald's toys or even score lunch with the teacher. This event makes the end of the day a little busy and a little crazy. 

Friday folders need to be passed out after the manager shuts the door on the prize store. These folders contain all of the essential information about 'another week in second grade' and parents rely on their appearance at the end of the week. The process of getting these folders into each students' hands can be tricky when they are trying to get their winter gear on to race home and watch High School Musical.

One particular student, the smallest in the class, always seems to be missing when this chaos breaks out. I noticed at the end of the day that his folder was still on his desk and that his backpack and body were nowhere in sight. Teachers really like to leave on time on Fridays. Students like this make it hard to reach that goal. 

I popped my head out into the hallway to see if he was out there, maybe at his locker. I asked another student if they had seen him and then something happened almost on cue. Have you ever seen in a movie or TV that classic moment when the dad wakes up, has his coffee in his hand, opens the front door, sort of stretches and looks around and then grabs the newspaper? Well, that is sort of what happened to me. 

As if on cue, the student proceeded to emerge from his shut locker. He sort of looked around, not responding to me calling his name, grabbed his stuff like the dad would grab the newspaper, and walked back into the room.