All Children Should be Removed from Society from 6th-8th Grade….


February 4th, 2011

…and then carefully reintegrated into society.

I am strongly advocating that we completely remove 6th-8th graders from everyone.

Everywhere.

Put them in their room, in front of a computer tutorial.

Slip food under the door, along with a toothbrush.

And some deodorant.

When they are in 9th grade, they can come out….

…IF….

If their hormones are all back in place.

If they have stopped rolling their eyes.

If they are done with the awkward phase.

If they have realized that the every adult on the planet does not actually hate them.

If they have realized that while life my not be equal, it is fair.

If they stop using phrases like “O.M.G” and “Don’t get a harry back about it.”

If they realize that yes, sometimes, it is your fault.

If, and only if, they accomplish these things, they can go to high school.

(We’ll see how things work out. I have a feeling, they may need to be removed until they go to college, but at this point, I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt.)

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Just a note: This is not directly related to my kid. This comes from 5 years of teaching at a K-8 school, 3 years leading Jr. High Youth Group, and now, having one in my house.

Sometimes, my class is cute.


February 3rd, 2010

We started learning about Community Helpers on Monday. We’ve been learning about the different jobs people have, what they do, tools they need, all that fun stuff.

Today, as we came in from recess, there was a Marine also waiting to get into the building (our school is on the third floor of a huge office building). He was dressed in his dress uniform and as he waited for us to pass he looked like he was standing at attention. My students were in absolute awe. Once we were all inside and starting up the stairs and he was out of sight, the questions started: “What’s his job?” “Is he a community helper?” “Can I be that when I grow up?” “Is he real?” “He’s so cool!”

We had to stop on the stairs (because kindergarteners can ‘t walk and talk at the same time) and I tried to quickly answer their questions. While we were there, the Marine passed us going back down the stairs with whoever he was picking up. As he passed my class decided to speak up. A couple kids called out as he passed, “You’re a Community Helper! Thank you! You’re doing a really good job!”

Hope it made him feel good to know that a bunch of kids think he’s a pretty cool guy.

Oh, and the questions, didn’t stop for the rest. of. the. day. I’m thinking I need to find a Marine to come to my class and talk to the kids about their job….

Class Rules


January 6th, 2010

At the beginning of the year we created the rules for our classroom. According to Responsive Classroom, class rules should be entirely student generated. But in kindergarten when you ask a group of 5 year olds what the rules should be you get this list:

  1. Don’t hit
  2. Don’t push
  3. Don’t kick
  4. Don’t punch
  5. Don’t run
  6. Don’t yell
  7. Don’t slap
  8. Don’t bite
  9. Don’t throw things
  10. Don’t be mean
  11. Don’t talk
  12. No running
  13. No spitting
  14. No fighting
  15. No being mean
  16. No yelling
  17. No shouting
  18. No being loud
  19. No wrestling
  20. No stealing

And that’s the shortened version. When I let them start suggesting rules I usually get close to 50 or 60 “don’t's” and “no’s”. That’s a whole lot of things we aren’t allowed to do. And an insane list to remember.

So, I have to start tweaking the list to a more positive wording and narrowing it down. There is a long conversation which is mostly me saying things like “Hitting and kicking and punching and slapping and hurting other people is something we godn’t want to do. So can we make the rule be “Keep your hands and feet to yourself?” And I’ll be honest, in the end, the rules end up being the 5 rules that I use every year in kindergarten. (1. Keep your hands and feet to yourself. 2. Share. 3. Listen when someone else is speaking. 4. Walking feet. 5. Be respectful)

And every year in January we re-evaluate and re-write our class rules. Since we have to spend the first week in January re-learnign the whole routine anyway, might as well start fresh with new rules.

So today we sat and made the long list of ideas for rules. However, I told them none of the rules could start with the word “don’t” or “no”. I wanted all positive language. I wanted the rules to state what we could (and should) do, not what we couldn’t do.

I was seriously impressed with their list. If they suggested a “don’t” rule, the rest of the class immediately corrected them – YOU CAN’T SAY DON’T! – but after the shouting, they gave the student a chance to rephrase their idea.

The list included:

  1. Be best friends
  2. Be good
  3. Listen when people talk
  4. Be nice
  5. Be kind
  6. Be helpful
  7. Be respectful
  8. Tell the truth
  9. Walk
  10. Take care of the toys and books
  11. Only dig and build with sand or snow
  12. Share
  13. Have fun
  14. Learn
  15. Say please
  16. Watch where you are walking in line
  17. Cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough (this one made me laugh out loud. Earlier this year, I had over half my class hit with H1N1. I had them hand-santizing and going through tissues like good little germ0phobes. At least they were paying attention.)

We then talked about how some rules were pretty similar and they decided to have 6 rules total. The final list (with barely any influence from me):

1. Be safe

2. Be good

3. Be kind

4. Be respectful

5. Tell the truth

6. Have fun

Now, we’ll see if they stick to the new rules.

Culture in a Culture


December 2nd, 2009

The following is an essay written by a middle school student at my school. It was an extra credit assignment. I didn’t correct any of her grammar and the paper feels very stream of conscience when reading it. Take from it what you will.

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Culture in a Culture

Different people around the world have different cultures. They act different, dress different and their lifestyles is different. But still there are certain people who have more than one culture such as Somalis or Ethiopians.

In addition, taking a different culture and adding it into your life would be challenging. For instance it will be hard to capture and may take a while. So as a result acting upon two competing cultures would turn your life around. It will produce challenges, experiences, and advantages.

Challenges
Islam’s followers face a lot of challenges. A challenge that I really face is that people are acting on stereotypes and depending on terrorism. People see Somali people on the streets and say “well, that’s what Somali people are. They stand on the street killing people and not turning themselves in.” But that is not true. I have never killed anyone and never will. Neither did my dad or my mom. I just want people to get through their head that every person us different in different ways. People look at me like I am going to kill them just because I am wearing my scarf. They smile at me but I could still see in their eyes that they think I am a killer. Maybe they have experiences a bad person and say to themselves that maybe everyone is a bad person. But that’s just how life is and I can’t help it but still.

Every challenge itself produces an experience. Every minute in your life you experience something new. You might take it in a negative way or a positive way.

This happens in my life a lot. I always include this in my life and try it myself. Once day I saw this little girl who was pretty jumping down the street. Her big brother jumped inside a basketball court that was closed. I was curious to see the way he made it inside without harming anyone. I tried to try it myself but a police man caught me and brought me back to my house. That night I felt disappointed. My mom came inside my room and asked me why I did that. I told her how curious I was and from that day on I have a very good background experience on not doing everything that other people do. What people do may curious you but it also taught me that at the same time it might disappoint you.

NaBloPoMo Post #18: I’ll admit it. My kid’s wierd.


November 17th, 2009

Yeah, Lexi is really wierd sometimes.

Tonight she wanted to watch a movie. I told her I needed to think about it.

Lexi: Okay Mom. Let’s Twinkle think.

Me: Um, what’s Twinkle Thinking?

Lexi: It’s like this (starts tapping her finger on her chin) “Twinkle think, Twinkle think, Twinkle think, Twinkle think. Okay, the answer is yes. Let’s go watch the movie.

Me: Um, well the answer is no.

Lexi: (melts down into a sobbing, whinning mess) I’m tired. Read me a story. I want you to put me to bed.

Me: Lexi, it’s 6:15. You aren’t going to bed right now.

Lexi: But I’m sick. I’m tired. I want to brush my teeth.

Me: Then go rest in your room.

Lexi: But I don’t want to rest. I don’t know how to rest. I don’t want to go to bed. I just want to go to bed.

And later that evening….

Me: Okay, bedtime.

Lexi: WHOO-HOO! Bed time! Mom, can you put me to bed, oh please, oh please, oh please?

Me: Let’s go.

Lexi: There’s no more pull-ups.

Me: Nope. No more. If you need to go potty, don’t scream and yell for mommy or daddy, just get up and go use the bathroom. I’ll leave the light on for you.

Lexi: I need to Twinkle think about that.

Me: No. You don’t need to “twinkle think” you need to remember it so I don’t have to change your sheets in the morning.

Lexi: Let me Twinkle think. (proceeds to “twinkle think) Okay. I’m done. That’s a great plan, Mom. You’re the best.

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Seriously, I wish I was making this up. We have bizarre conversations like this on a regular basis.

NaBloPoMo Post #17: A Converstation


November 16th, 2009

Here’s the conversation I had with Lexi on the way home from gymnastics:

Lexi: Where’s the moon? I can’t see it.

Me: It’s probably behind the clouds.

Lexi: But I don’t see any clouds.

Me: That’s because when it’s dark, it’s harder to find the clouds.

Lexi: I’m not looking for the clouds, I’m looking for the moon. Where is it? I can’t find it.

Me: It’s probably behind the clouds.

Lexi: But I don’t see any clouds.

Me: That’s because when it’s dark, it’s harder to find the clouds.

Lexi: I’m not looking for the clouds, I’m looking for the moon. Where is it? I can’t find it.

Me: It’s probably behind the clouds.

Lexi: But I don’t see any clouds.

Me: That’s because when it’s dark, it’s harder to find the clouds.

Lexi: I’m not looking for the clouds, I’m looking for the moon. Where is it? I can’t find it.

Yeah…that went on for about half the ride home.

NaBloPoMo Post #7: A Love-Hate Relationship with Lilo and Stitch


November 6th, 2009

I love the movie Lilo and Stitch. It’s one of my favorite Disney movies (along with Fantasia, Fantasia 2000, Beauty and the Beast and Newsies). It’s also one of Lexi’s favorite movies. There was a period several months ago where anytime she got to watch a movie she requested Lilo and Stitch. And then, we had to ban the movie.

For those of you who don’t have a need to watch cartoons, Lilo is a 5-year-old with some serious spunk. Funny but packed with attitude. Stitch is an alien genetic experiment that was created to destroy – he is irresistibly drawn to large cities, where he will back up sewers, reverse street signs, and steal everyone’s left shoe – and without the capability to love. But, surprise, surprise, Lilo and Stitch become a family.

Now the reason for the ban. Lilo sticks out her tongue. A lot. And Lexi started sticking out her tongue. A lot. So she was told until she stopped doing that, no more Lilo and Stitch. Well, she did a pretty good job of breaking herself of that habit. So we let her watch the movie again. And, I have a feeling there may be another ban coming soon.

The following is a list of Lilo (or Stitch) things that Lexi does:

1. Throws herself on the floor face down when she doesn’t get her way. (on the upside, it’s a very quiet temper tantrum).

2. We ask a question, she says “no”, we say, “What are you saying “no” to?” She says, “Nooooo!” This is a direct quote from the movie.

3. Draws pictures and says “This is you. This is your anger level. It’s very high.” (This is how Lilo explains Stitches initial rage.)

4. And the real kicker…she destroyed a book last night. Tore a book to shreds. Every single page torn out and torn into long strips and stuffed under her bed. And when asked why she did it. “Stitch did it.”

Update: 5. I forgot this one i posted. Stitch likes to call people “stupid head”.

So, the movie may need to go into hiding again. Which is sad (for me) because it’s one of the few movies of hers that I actually enjoy watching with her.

NaBloPoMo Post #2: Mondays Are Long Days


November 2nd, 2009

I have a few lists of things I want to blog about this month but tonight is not the night to tackle them. I’m tired. Really, really tired.

My hours at work changed and I now leave the house at 6:45 am. Which isn’t terrible because it’s only 15 minutes earlier but still…I really like my sleep.

And Mondays are gymnastics/dance class for Lexi.

And today was also a Children’s Team Meeting for church.

That’s way too much thinking for a Monday.

I’ll leave you with this: (It’s Lexi singing Johnny Cash’s The Devil’s Right Hand)

Lexi’s Song


July 14th, 2009

While riding in the back of the car to the zoo, Lexi made up this song to entertain herself:

Here is mommy. She’s just a little girl and she’s never danced before.
Here is Lexi. She loves her mommy.
Here is Grandma and Papa. They all live together.
Here is Milo. He is little and in his carseat.
And there’s daddy. he has to drive to the zoo.
Look, there’s a truck. It’s a baby truck looking for its mama truck but its mama truck is gone.

What Milo has been up to…


June 9th, 2009

Milo is just over 7 months old. And it’s amazing how much he’s changed in just the short time he’s been home.

  • He’s learned how to grab on to toys and shake and bang them around.
  • He thinks that blowing raspberries with a mouth full of food or milk is pretty funny.
  • He can roll from back to front and front to back. But only one direction so he’ll roll across a room and then we have to turn him around.
  • He can give high-five if you ask him.
  • He’s ticklish. Really, really ticklish.
  • He knows who Mom and Dad are.
  • And he likes us better than other grown-ups.
  • He recognizes Lexi and thinks she’s a great source of entertainment.
  • He’s almost figured out how to sit up.
  • When he takes a bath, he splashes out most of the water.
  • He’s also figured out his own way of holding a bottle.