Tuesday, September 30, 2014


It's time for a new scintillating feature, in which Lee and I take matching photos of unexpected stuff.  I bet you never thought of a spoon and razor.    Let this be a message to you.  You can look forward to next #TwinTuesday now.

You're welcome.

So, since it's #TwinTuesday, it's clear I made it through Monday, and now I have to really get my act together and be productive.  I need to get the independent reading mini projects graded.  I just want to assign all As.  That's fine, right?  It seems fair.

Monday, September 29, 2014

The Two-Stringed Morin Khuur

I've been thinking about boredom.  It seems like, compared to 30 years ago when I was little, kids have more access to instant stimulation.  If you find yourself with nothing to do for a moment, and you're uncertain of how to proceed, you can just pick up a device and watch or do something that somebody's already made.

One reason I liked our camping trip was that there was time in which boredom could creep in.  And then, silliness and fun ensued once the children developed their own game.  Sure enough, there have been several studies about boredom breeding creativity.  Here's one.

This makes me wonder about school.  How can we harness the power of boredom there?  Without being, like, boring?

Sunday, September 28, 2014

What What

We did it.  We camped.  I cooked over the fire.  There was minimal fighting and whining.  We made priceless, precious memories, people.

I came home and madly tried to catch up on life here, what with the laundry and the lesson planning.  Looks like I might make it through the week.  We'll see.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Tonight's the Night

The boys and I are going camping this weekend.  We'll be staying in this very tent.  Right now I have to pack the car.  There are a lot of supplies needed for a weekend camping trip.  I'm thinking it'll be the best time ever, but I'm also thinking I should lower my expectations.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Joiner

I'm going to be honest and say that some of my sixth grade colleagues have found it slightly amusing that I'm making the kids sing in advisory.  They may or may not be making a little bit of fun of me.  This includes my teaching partner, KK, who is also my neighbor and with whom I team teach at least once per week.

We're already aware of our differences.  I'm the warm, fuzzy, and goofy member of our pair.  She's more of the no-nonsense type.  The partnership works.  We click along.

But, she clearly wasn't into the advisory singing.  She may have even laughed in my face.

But then.  BUT THEN.

I had the great idea to invite that second grade class in which my students used to sing to a sing-A-LONG with the sixers.  We could each teach each other a song and then sing a song we all know. Maybe read some poems together too.

(Okay, yes, I got this idea in Third Land, the best place on earth.)

All of a sudden, KK, whose son is in said second grade class, was all, "I want to sing too" and "Can I join the singing?"

You see how this goes.  It's all fun and games until you want in on the party.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

You Get a Thumbs Up

You're probably wondering what happened when I implemented my new advisory format on Monday.  It was the one where we sing folk-type songs, read a poem, and then go about our business.

Well, it was awesome.

I told the kids the plan, handed out the three-pronged folders in which we'll keep the songs, just as they do in Thirdlandia.  One guy was like, "It's flashback to second grade!" I got some deets, and sure enough, the second grade teachers are loving the singing.

"What about after that?" I asked.  "Didn't your classes sing in third, fourth, or fifth?"

No, they said.

NO?!  Well, it's a good thing we're singing in sixth.

We loved "Building Bridges."  We even got it into a round.  I think we'll practice it again on Friday.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Dip, Dip and Swing

It's been fun to be back home with these fine gentlemen.  I think they missed me only a little bit, but now they're happy to have me back.  While I was gone, Mac began speaking about himself in the third person pretty much exclusively.

"Mackie wants breakfast," for example.  "Mackie loves Mama," is a favorite.  Yesterday he said, "Mackie hates Extended Day," which is not true and caused me inconvenience.

Sheffie does not speak about himself in the third person, which is delightful.  He's mad at me about continually making him sit in the back (because I care about his safety and don't want him to DIE), but generally that doesn't impede his pleasantness.

Monday, September 22, 2014

All of Our Voices

It's time to hit the road and go back to school for another Monday.  It won't be Thirdlandia, and I'm going to miss those little citizens.  They'll just continue to do their work, and I won't even get to be there.  They'll tell their news at morning meeting, and I won't get to hear it.

And yet.  The sixers will do their work, and I'll be right along side them. This is a fact that brings me joy.  I even decided to copy Dr. H's morning meeting format for my advisory group, so today when my ten homeroomers come in, we'll sing a song I learned in Third Land.  It's a tune we can all enjoy, celebrating the connections between us.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Secondhand Sports Coat

All weekend Lee and Husbandman have been telling me about famed Swedish hip hop sensation Movits!  Basically, I couldn't wait to see Movits!  We saw lots of other bands first - The Revelers (5 stars), Full Set (3.5 stars), Aurelio (3.5 stars), Las Cafeteras (4 stars), Mames Babagenush (5 stars), and even more.

But Movits!  There would be towel-swirling, jumping, familiar beats that carried from song to song without unnecessary variation.

Lucky for me, we ended our Lotus experience with Movits!  I got really into it.  I danced super hard and laughed my head off at myself.  Perfecto Movits!  Bravo! and Encore!  Same song, different verse!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

His Fate is Yet Unlearned

I've received some important feedback from Lee.  It seems she's been dissatisfied with my blog.  Specifically, she feels that I lag in posts.  My publishing frequency is inadequate.

She has a fever.  And the only prescription is more blog.

I feel like this is something Pronto would say, but I'm also going to say it: I can understand how someone would crave more Savvy.

That's Not Good

I'm here sitting across with Lee and Husbandman.  Seriously!  Isn't that crazy?  I'm sitting in their living room with my feet on their couch and drinking their coffee.  Yesterday, I went to Thirdlandia with Dr. H., and I'm so flipping serious: It's every bit as fabulous as I imagined it to be.

There was singing, there were lit circles, there were multi-paragraph essays written by every single 8 year-old in the classroom.  There was this genius system for readers' workshop where the kids had choices and accountability.  Basically, Thirdlandia's population is sublime.  I recommend this place heartily.

I tried to help a little in there, but I was pretty useless.  One thing I tried to do was coach a little guy on not sneezing so disruptively, but he said, "I cannot do that."

Oh, well.  That's why we leave things to the experts.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Slide to the Left

Here are two cute kids at the finish of the Minneapolis Bike Tour.  It was another 16 mile ride.

I rode with Shef on this beautiful fall day.  Dan rode with Mac. Unfortunately for Dan, Mac cried for miles 3-6.  I'm not sure why he was crying because this bike tour was actually his idea.  "Do you want to do another bike tour?" I asked.  "Yes!" he said.  "I want to ride with Dad this time."

But then he cried for awhile.  Later, he decided to continue.  Of course, at the finish, he was proud and pleased to have done it.  So I rewarded him with fro yo.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Step Together Step

We had that curriculum night last night, and then this morning I had my yearly physical at 7am.  When the nurse called to remind me, she said in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS that I should fast for 12 hours before.  This really bummed me out for many reasons, including the fact that I couldn't have coffee in the morning after doing curriculum night the evening before.

But, I mostly followed the rules (except I ate and drank until 10pm because of curriculum night).

Come to find out when I got to the appointment that the doctor was all, "Oh, I don't need a cholesterol test this year, seeing as you're in fantastic shape and have healthy habits."  That might not have been the exact quote, but it's the exact message.  I fasted for nothing at all.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Knock on Wood

It was curriculum night.  Sometimes when I do public speaking, I'm totally charming and at ease.  Maybe 1-in-5 times, I get all flustered and red and breathless.

Sadly, the latter happened during my first presentation of the evening.  Damn!  I'm hoping the parents viewed me as endearing rather than spastic.

Later, I completely recovered, and I think I made a good impression.  I'm still bummed because I wanted to be perfect all night.  Oh well.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Uh. She's a Beast.

Two tidbits from today:

First, my barre teacher went crazy with insane workout moves.  Whenever I decided to kind of give up, she would somehow telepathically know and yell, "Don't even THINK about it!!"  Those moments reminded me of labor.  As in, labor and delivery.

Second, I got home from barre and was greeted by Crabby Mac.  He was very upset that Dan said he couldn't have dessert without eating at least one vegetable.  You can imagine how excited he was to then participate in mandatory violin practice.

At the end of it, it was clear he needed to go to bed.  "You need to tell Dad goodnight.  You haven't been very pleasant with him this evening."

"But I'm not very pleasant ever," he said.

Saturday, September 6, 2014


You might think that you have the world's greatest colleagues, but I'm pretty sure you don't.

Because I am the one with the world's greatest colleagues.  This may sound extreme, but I assure you, I only say this because it's true.

We just got back from sixth grade camp, where we bonded with our amazing new students.  We played hard, and we laughed hard.  We're pretty much ready for a stellar year.  Maybe that's my motto this time around?  Be stellar?  I'm not sure, yet, but I'll think about it.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Mexican Lasagne Fail

Shef expressed interest in Mexican Lasagna for dinner.  I searched recipes and found a delicious one from that chef Nigella lady.  Very fresh and healthy.

Did Shef want fresh and healthy Mexican Lasagna?

No, he did not.

"I like the kind at camp with the chips inside."

He wants Mexican Lasagna made with Doritos.  Of course.

"Okay," I said.  "Next time I'll search a different recipe."