Tips for the Budding Actor

Last night was the big performance of our D.C. government play! Let me tell you—you ain’t seen nothin’ until you’ve seen the D.C. City Administrator pop out from a giant government guide. Watch out Broadway! For anyone wanting to make it big in the acting business, take some tips from the third grade.

-For one, make sure to do lots of putting your hand on your hip. This is how you know you’re really “acting.” Putting more feeling and energy into your performance is as easy as increasing the angle at which you thrust your hip.

-Avoid breaking character. Also avoid apologize to the audience. Darius tried both one year in the class play, and it didn’t go over so well. He was flipping through the pages of a fake bill and walking across the stage as he delivered his line about laws. When stage fright hit mid-way through the line, Darius froze, lowered his head, and said, “I’m sorry, I just can’t do this” before exiting stage left.

-There's one more very important tip that every aspiring actor should take to heart. As Marquel pointed out during our last-minute review before the play started: "No burping." Right—definitely no burping in acting.

Memorial Day

Joelle: "What is Memorial Day?"
Ms. Sarah: "It's a day to remember people who have died in a war."
Joelle: "'s when the pool opens."

Inspector General: Superstar

Multitudes of third graders across the country want to meet President Barack Obama. Sure--it would be pretty fantastic to meet the leader of the free world. Just as long as you're home in time to finish your homework. We took a survey the other day designed to generate some hilarious and/or poignant responses for use in the school yearbook. If you could meet one person, who would it be? What's one question you would ask the president? LeRoy would like to meet either "Tom Brady or President Obama because Obama is the president and Tom Brady is the best QB ever."

Many of my students have laundry lists of things they'd like President Obama to accomplish, from ice cream parties at school to laws against guns. They have the standard questions at the ready should he ever pop in unexpectedly to join us for snack. "Is it hard being president?" "How did you pick your dog?"

I'm sure that large numbers of children in the District of Columbia would also not turn down a chance to meet the mayor. Judging by how cool they thought the life-size photo of Mayor Fenty was when we visited his office last week, my students would probably be just a little star-struck to meet the man in the flesh. They'd most likely have similar requests--if Obama won't support the ice-cream-for-lunch cause, perhaps they'd have better luck with the local government. The kids had asked tons of great questions on our field trip, though one did manage to slip past the censors. It was not my proudest moment as a teacher when Dominick asked the Mayor's Federal Affairs Advisor, "Do you have a tissue?"

In decreasing order of elementary school popularity, we now come to the lesser known government jobs. Admit it--you don't really know what the Inspector General does or the term length of the city's C.F.O. Neither did I, until we started researching D.C. government this semester. The relative obscurity of these non-president, non-mayor public officials didn't stop Chloe from developing quite a love for the job she was researching. When asked on the yearbook survey whom she would like to meet, if given the choice of all people who have ever lived in all of history, of all fictional characters ever imagined, Chloe wrote that she would most like to meet Charles J. Willoughby, the D.C. Inspector General. I would be willing to bet that Mr. Willoughby has never been the answer to this question.

We dropped Mr. Willougby an email the next day to inform him of his status as a veritable hero to one studious third grader. Sure enough, his secretary called us a couple of days later to set up a visit.

Just a Nibble

Darnell: “Jonathan bit me!”
Ms. Sarah: “Jonathan, did you bite Darnell?”
Jonathan: “No! Well. I just nibbled.”

Need a Folder

I love notes where the front matter exceeds the content of the note. Well, that and getting mail addressed to, "Garb."

To: Garb
From: Trina
Date: Oct 7, 2004
Time: 1:22
When: evening
Where: at school
Reason: Need a floder

Ms. Garb I need a center floder because my floder is tore if you don’t have anymore can you tell me where you get them.


Why take the time to say two separate words when you could shorten it to just one? "Hand" + "sanitizer" = way too difficult. Derrick has renamed it, simply, "hanitizer." Hey, call it what you want--I just care that you use it. Swine flu is nobody's friend.

I'm Not Really Into Girls

On the heroine in King Kong:

“Her beauty saved her.”

“Was she beautiful?”

“I’m not really into girls—I’m more into Godzilla.”

Every Second

Dear Ms. Garb,
I need much, much more help in math I trie my best to understand how to do my work I need to learn math every sekend and min I really need help with ever subject I relly do.

PS. write back Sincerely

Whatever He Said Happened

Dear Ms. G,
What ever Ronny told you is not true. Anyway what did he say. Let me tell you the truth I was not even in the room when whatever he said happened. Ronny is good at acting out lies.


Teacher Appreciation

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week. Grab the next teacher you see and appreciate him or her! One way to do so, if you're looking for something very straightforward, is to take the Shawn Miller approach. Shawn walked into class on Monday, walked straight up to me--backpack and coat still on--and declared, "I appreciate you."

Certainly, teachers would also feel appreciated by, let's say, a salary raise. However, not all students would agree with this. One year, our morning journal was, "Who do you think should get paid more, a teacher or a professional baseball player? Why?"

A professional baseball player should get paid more because they do more work like practice and teachers just teach. they don’t practice nothing.

For a Clue

Dear Becky,
I don’t like when you sing a song about me. I well be nice to you if you be nice to me.

Well you be nice to me

yes no

for a clue
you could pick yes

Please Don't Tell My Mom

This past weekend, my husband and I found ourselves aboard paddle boats with some children we had just met. After returning the boats, Nate was standing with the 6-year old by the side of the lake as the boy chucked rocks into the water. Perhaps he hit a duck or something, but Nate definitely heard him exclaim, "Shit!" Nate asked, "What did you say?" and the boy scampered off.

Lots of things "just slip out" in the third grade. Oddly enough, the things that are unintentionally released from the mouth very rarely tend to be compliments or math facts. Maybe the curse words that have recently been written in the boys' bathroom also just slipped out of someone's hand....

I did not me to say that I gest slip out my mouth I sorry gest pleas don’t tell my mom


We are NOT Joking Around, Here

This summer I have been getting lots of advice on the impending baby situation that will be happening this fall.   Highlights of this advi...