Yesterday morning I was making some copies before school in the copy room.  One of my early students, Aria, popped in to throw something away in the trash can, and the headed back to beforecare.  I turned back to the copier after saying "Good morning" and heard an odd noise.

"Boi-oi-oing! Boi-oi-oing! Boi-oi-oing!"

Now, I hear all kinds of noises from the copy machine, especially when it's cranky and decides to eat my papers, but certainly nothing like that.  It definitely wasn't the fax machine, and nobody was around who might have any kind of boi-oi-oing device.  Weird.  The facilities manager walked in but he didn't seem to have heard the boing-ing.

A few minutes later, the facilities manager came up to my classroom, bearing a gift he had found especially for me when he went to move the trash can.

It was a rather alien-looking bunny, and the source of the annoying boing-ing.  The bunny has a hair-trigger (a hare-trigger?) and even the slightest movement will set it off.  Apparently it was too annoying a toy even for a kid.

The boing sound, though, had been actually quite fitting as a sound-effect for Aria popping into the copy room.  There are some kids who enter the room with a boing.  Pretty much every morning, I practically hear a sound-effect when Michael makes his entrance.  "Boi-oi-oing!  I am now here!"

I now have an actual sound that will probably play in my mind each time Michael materializes for the day!

Do you hear a boing! when any of your kids step into the room?


I've certainly gotten my share of notes from students over the years, but yesterday was a first.


Tyler has recently been learning how to email, and wrote to me last night to ask about a tough homework problem after first inserting a lengthy string of tiny little pictures.  This is roughly what I took his email to mean:
Yes, whenever technology is involved in the asking of homework questions, things get a little wacky.  Children don't exactly know what to make of voicemail, and treat it as some sort of hybrid between a spoken conversation and writing a letter.

A few weeks ago I got a phone message from Asher who had forgotten to bring home his spelling words.  He explained the situation on my voicemail, made his request, and closed with the level of formality he clearly felt was appropriate to the medium.

"So could you print off my spelling words and send them to my house?  Sincerely, Asher."

Yes, he spoke the word, "Sincerely."  It was terrific.

Something about speaking on the telephone caused Kamari to invent his own rules as well.  Namely this: When reading aloud a homework problem over the phone, one must read very carefully and must verbalize the commas and periods.

"Number four says, 'Write how many tenths are shown COMMA then put the decimals in order from least to greatest.' "

I felt quite sure that he was reading the problem aloud exactly as it was written.
(And by that I mean, "Little pictures that look like cake are fun.")

No Offense to Children

Ahhh.  Spring break.  A time to stop and relax for a minute, to succumb to germs as soon as I do stop and relax for a minute, to visit with friends and family, recover from the germs.  Check, check, check, and...working on it.

It's also the perfect time to go through my list of quotes from kids and dig out something good.  I make sure to jot down overheard comments right away and then file those to pull out on one of those days for a little laugh.
What I've pulled out for today are a couple of "no offense to children" moments.  Sometimes you've just gotta tell it like it is--even if that means bad-mouthing your own fellow youngsters worldwide.

During book club one day a few weeks ago, I was glad to have my clipboard handy for jotting down one of Lucas' comments.  The kids were discussing the book Superfudge and the antics of its various characters.  Those children--always up to somethin'.  When they were discussing one surely child-caused predicament in the book, Lucas declared, "No offense to children, but children aren't as intelligent as adults."  The other children in the book club group didn't seem to take offense.  The adult in the book club group grabbed a pen.

Whatever Lucas' declarations of the intelligence of children, I will say one thing about kids.  They are messy.

One day recently, a spill of food appeared near but not quite in the trash can during lunch "clean" up.  While I generally get a few eager helpers to volunteer to clean up someone else's mess, and I appreciate this, I almost never get someone taking responsibility for having caused the mess...

Darien volunteered to lend a hand with the mashed potatoes and peas and we both knelt down to attack the spill with some paper towels.  I figured we would share in a little head-shaking at those sloppy eight-year-olds and reminisce together about how children used to be back in the good ole days.

"Kids these days, huh?" I said to Darien, sure he would appreciate the utter hilarity in my ironic comment.  Get it?  I'm talking to you as if you're a grown up, too.  Darien, however, failed to share my lament.  Instead he, well, took offense.  "I'm one too!" he exclaimed.  Perhaps I should have started with a "No offense to children....."


It happens even the best of parents sometimes.  Meant to get to school on time but....."We found Carli's hamster dead."

And it happens to bloggers too.  Meant to get a new post up but......"Brother peed pants."  Oh, no--wait.  That's another one from the "Best Tardy Excuses" archives.

Can you tell which excuses are which?  All are real, by the way.

Parent's Tardy Excuse or My Blog Non-Posting Excuse?

1. Cleaning bathtub
2. Hair trauma
3. Monday!
4. Had some Arrested Development episodes that weren't going to watch themselves
5. Brother had to poop at 8:30.
6. 2 tantrums before 8 am
7. Didn't feel like it
8. Dog jumped in car.
9. Too busy reading about possible government shutdown
10. Glove controversy
11. Nice weather
12. Nothing sufficiently hilarious happened.
13. We were up late.  School is early.
14. Got out of normal routines during standardized testing week
15. Incompetent, unreliable parents
16. Doin' stuff
17. Low morale

Actual tardy excuses from school:  2, 5, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15
Actual blog non-posting excuse: 1, 4, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16
Both: 3, 17

(Thank you, McSweeney's, for the list format idea.)

Do you have any great excuses you've gotten?

Let Me Make Sure I Have This Right

Recess?  Or special project?  Recess?  Special project?

It's really a no brainer for most kids.  Even when presented with the opportunity to do something pretty cool during recess, very few things could be worth staying in for.  

Last week I asked during morning meeting who might be interested in helping to stain some paper using tea to make it look sufficiently 1790-ish for a history project.   Faced with the options of a) raise hand right now to sign up for something cool that I just heard about and want right now vs. b) think ahead to what I will want in four hours, lots of kids chose based on "right now."  Many hands went up, including those of eager helpers who would ultimately become far less eager when 12:30 actually rolled around.
Raymond was torn.

Recess?  Or special project?  Or....both?

As we were transitioning from morning meeting back to tables, Raymond came up to me to clarify a bit more about the timing of this project.  "Is it during recess?" he asked.  "Yes." I explained.  "If you wanted to do the tea you would do that instead of recess."  Raymond took in this information and went back to his table.

During snack, Raymond came up to me again.  "If it were after recess, I'd do it."
"I have no doubt you would, Raymond." I replied.

Math came and went and still Raymond was wrestling with the choice between the two very enticing things happening simultaneously.  He was also still desperately trying to find a way to enable himself to do both.  Raymond clearly thought that if he asked enough times or in enough different ways he might influence my extremely poor scheduling decision.

"Do the tea-stainers get their recess later?"

Sadly, the answer was no, and Raymond really would have to choose between the two. 

He opted for recess.

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...