Tuesday, January 29, 2008

1st of all

Over the last few days I've kind of settled into a somewhat set schedule.  I help two third grade classes, then a first grade class, then I have lunch/recess duty, help out a few non-English speaking students with their English, supervise the third grade during a computer program, help with after-school tutoring, and go home.  I kind of like it.  It's always an adventure.  The first grade, however, has provided me with my most entertaining/patience-trying moments this week.  I think that's due, in large part, to the fact that they have the attention span of a gerbil or small kitchen appliance.

One youngster, as we were in the throes of a riveting worksheet, looked at me a moment and said, "You're hairy."  And that was all.

I was wearing an anti-smoking bracelet the other day.  One of the girls asked me what it said.  "Smart. Sexy. Smokefree."  I told her.  She replied, amidst her giggling, with, "Sexy's gross."

Rock, paper, scissors is still a popular method of decision making amongst the 6-yr.-olds.  Only the girls have changed it to "Rock, paper, BRATZ!" *shudder*

Also popular with the kiddies is that timeless activity of giving yourself an arm-hickey.  Right on that soft skin where you're elbow bends.  Mostly because that's the only place on you're arm you can really reach with your mouth.

I never thought I'd say this in my career,  moment - "Get your hand out of your pants."

Interesting moment of my week.  I'm amazed at the perseverance of social stigmas.  We were doing a worksheet where they were working on capitalizing titles i.e. Mr., Mrs., etc.  They were supposed to match the title with the picture.  There was a woman, then a man, then a woman doctor.  I'd point to the woman and say, "Is this Mr., Mrs., or Dr.?"  They'd say, "Mrs."  Then I do the same with the man and almost without exception they'd say Dr. before Mr. - fascinating.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Life and Times

Reason 2938 Erik is my favorite student -  I was helping in their classroom just before lunch.  They were working on an art project and I was practicing MBWA (I did learn something in college!).  In my lack of alternative activities I started singing the Fraggle Rock theme song.  Much to my surprise Erik joined right in.  Words, tune, even the claps.  I love that kid.

Ashley, in the 3rd grade, has a boyfriend named Trenton - also in the 3rd grade.  He's the same kid who zealously questioned the christianity of his classroom.  I found out about Ashley's BF from a coworker.  Shortly thereafter I saw Ashley in the hall and said, "Ashley, you have a boyfriend?"  To which she replied, "Keep it shut!" and abashedly headed back to class.  I said, "Who is it?"  She looked put out, but in an amused way and said, "T-R-E-N-T-O-N."  Both of them could do better, but they're in 3rd grade, so really...

I almost said something to Ashley about her lack of respect, but then again, I initiated the conversation and clearly it was instituted as a friend-to-friend interaction, not a teacher-student interaction, so I couldn't exactly blame her.  Besides, I was highly amused by the whole thing.

I had a boy talk with some of the 3rd grade boys. They were wrestling at recess and I noticed that they were kicking, so I said to them, "Hey guys, let's have a talk. It's probably OK that you're wrestling. I'm not gonna say it's OK, but I won't stop you. However, kicking is never OK." At this point a couple of girls had joined in on the lecture, so I told them they needed to leave cause we had to talk about boy stuff. I continued, "There are certain parts of your body that don't respond well to kicking." One young man chimed in with, "Yeah, like your wiener." I acquiesced. Anyway, we had a good chat, and I think they'll be OK.

Friday, January 18, 2008


I was an emergency sub for a 4th grade class. They were rather talkative. At the end of the day I was reading a story about the history of the pretzel. I told them that they were free to finish coloring the map they were working on while I read the story or they could sit quietly. I don't know that either of those things occurred. So, about two sentences into the story I said, "If you guys aren't quiet, I'll test you on this story." They weren't quiet. Following are the questions and my favorite responses.

1 - How long ago were pretzels invented? (About 1500 years ago)

50 or 1000 years ago
A lot of them

2 - Where was the first Pretzel Bakery in the US? (Pennsylvania)

Bakery Shop
The Great Salt Lake
West Jordan
In 1998

3 - Why were pretzels first invented? (As a reward for children who memorized their prayers.)

Because they were good.
Because everyone liked them they decided to make them.
To choo on and to eat.
It was invented.

And the ultimate:

I don't know
I don't know
I don't know!!!!!
Choclet mlik and pizza.

Yesterday I was "adult supervision" for the Panda 200 Club activity. The Panda 200 Club is one of those behavioral incentive things. If the kids do certain things, things happen and they get a chance to be a Panda 200 winner. If you're a winner you get to do things like eat pizza for lunch with the principal etc. This time the activity was sledding followed by hot chocolate and cookies. So I got paid to go sledding and consume sugar with kids. I don't think I can ever say it enough - I love my job. Look how much fun we had!

This picture makes me feel old. But then I remember that I went sledding and crashed with the kids. I even had to tell some of the kids to chill out and just have fun, so I don't feel that old.

Even the principal got in on the action!

MMmmmmm....Hot chocolate and cookies.

And this last one is of an animal figurine that sits in the Read Naturally lab. They told me they named it after me. Normally I'd feel honored. But with this guy I just wonder, "Why did they name the goofy, psychotic-pink, pseudo-pooping bunny after me?"

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Holiday spirit 365

Today I took the second grade on a bear hunt. And I was a good guide. I must say that it was a bit intimidating when my boss randomly announced that I would be reading a book to the second grade as I walked in the door. But it was fun. We read the bear-hunt book, and then we went on a bear hunt - and they loved. And ok, I loved it too.

I was standing in the computer lab today after school and a youngster walked by. He stopped at the door and said to me, "Hey...I like you!" And then continued on his way. What an ego boost! I love kids.

Here are some pictures from the last day of school before Christmas. I would have posted them earlier, but I didn't get them until this week.

Yes, I even beat the girls. I figured for a 6th gradeer it would be only slightly less demeaning for me to beat them than to let them win.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Erik the awful

This is Erik - sans the super-powers and lethal ninja skills. Today he just had a pear.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


I think enough entertaining stuff happens to me at work to merit a couple of posts a week - at least. So, I guess you'll be getting consistent updates from my world. Lucky you. ;)

My Boss to a 3rd grader: Do you know what actors are famous for?
3rd grader: Getting rich.

Last week one little 3rd grader (you'll notice that a great deal of my stories come from the 3rd grade, that's because I spend a lot of time there...and 3rd graders are crazy.) tried to convince everyone she was pregnant. A concerned classmate said to me, "Mr. B, Ashley keeps telling everyone she's pregnant." I reassured her by saying, "Well, I happen to know that it's physically impossible for Ashley to be pregnant, so don't worry about it, now go play."

A second grader came to class Wednesday looking much more...grown-up, than she had the day before. It's amazing what creative uses kids will find for toilet paper.

I have names to add to my list:

3rd grader: I'm gonna follow you Mr. B.
Me: Why?
3rd grader: 'cause...you're cool.

I helped a first grader pull a tooth Wednesday. My Dad would be so proud. We didn't succeed in extracting the dental inhibition because it started to hurt, but we tried. I gave her a kleenex and told her to keep playing with her tooth and it would fall out.

One ambitious young 3rd grader and I had to work on establishing some appropriate boundaries. She likes to call me uncle B and thinks it's fun to climb on me and hug me tightly without letting me go. Normally I'd be ok with this, but we're in school. Plus my boss had a discussion with me earlier that started of like this, "The thing is your young, your cute...and you have a penis." (she uses that phrase quite a lot actually) Meaning I needed to be careful about my interactions with the students. So now I'll give students a quick hug if they hug me and then send them on their way. It's really kind of tricky to remain completely neutral and appropriate when many of the kids heads barely reach my crotch.

Along those lines, The Boss told me today that a sixth grade girl was uncomfortable with a young man who occasionally works at the school as a tutor. Apparently the girl said that he looks at her weird. She said," He just needs to talk to Mr. B, because Mr. B's not like that." So, the 6th grade girls feel comfortable with me. I'm glad they trust me.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A year ago...

Another milestone happened today. It was one year ago today that I set out on my first adventure in the working world. I remember because today is Man Watcher's Day. I can't believe it's already been a year. My how things have changed over the last 12 months. Crazy crazy.

And what milestone blog would be complete without a few moments from my week. Here are the best:

Erik came to school dressed as a ninja on Monday. I think I like him more every day. I'll see if I can get a picture soon so you can see just how adorable this little tyke is.

I was offered $5 to marry a certain third grade teacher. Her class then informed her that she needs to get married because she's lonely - like Picasso in his blue period. They keep telling us we should kiss. I told two of the boys that if they kissed, I would kiss their teacher. They didn't like that idea so much.

The same boy who offered us $5 also said the following to his teacher: "My mom said if my heart beats when I go to the bathroom I have to call her."

An older gentleman that works in the school entered the room the other day and said, to no one in particular, "Wanna see my magic trick?" At which point he proceeded to pull a banana out of his pocket...

Test question in reference to The Emperor's New Clothes:
-Why do you think everyone was quiet during the procession?
-Everyone was thinking "What the heck is he trying to pull off?"

I finally said, "Get that out of your nose."

Mr B.: What did you do this weekend?
3rd Grade Girl: We ate bread.

This was on the vocab wall of a 2nd grade classroom. I don't think it was on purpose, which makes it even funnier:

Friday, January 4, 2008

Saving the world

My favorite kindergarten student came to school today dressed as Spiderman. Nothing but the spandex costume and galoshes. Not only was he a super-hero, but today he was my personal hero.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Back in black...or maybe just red shoes

When you work with children you find yourself saying things you normally wouldn't. Prime example:

This morning I was subbing for a bit in a first grade class. We were on the rug learning about the long 'i' sound (fly, fries, pie etc.) and youngster at the back, referring to the children on either side of him, said, "Mr. B, they keep licking me." So I said to the little cherubs, "Do we lick other people?" And immediately started laughing after realizing what I had just said. My first thought after saying it was "Well, you shouldn't be licking people..."

In the second grade today we gave a group hug to another student. He got a bit upset after the subject of his dead pet rabbit was brought up - by himself. I also shook my booty for the whole class. They love me.

I've discovered my own new form of discipline. I call them chill points. Kids are so high-strung sometimes. I constantly have to tell them to chill out. So I've devised a system. Every time I have to tell the class to chill out, they get a point. If they get 10 points, they all have to pull a card (the card system is what regular teachers use. One pull - changing the card from green to yellow - is a warning, two pulls - from yellow to orange etc. - is think time - going to another class for a bit, three is the AC etc. etc. etc.) This seems to scare them into a sufficient state of submission. I like it.

Also, I spoke with the principal today. She said it doesn't look like the teaching job is going to happen. At least that's what it looks like right now. Supposedly we'll know tomorrow. At this point in my professional life I'm used to the anti-climax of the ladder system.

And I just realized that it was one year ago today that I moved up to Salt Lake City. Happy Anniversary to me. :) (honestly when I realized this my first thought was - It's a milestone, I need to blog about it! ...sad)