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Monday, June 30, 2008

What are you reading?

Hey everyone,
It's time once again for INTERACTIVE MONDAY!!

My question today is What are you reading this summer? If you're like me, you're often too busy to read anything good during the school year. So when the summer months come around, you try to cram in everything that you've been missing for those nine months.

I just finished reading a Steve Martini book called The List. It was pretty good. Before that, I read a borrowed Philip K. Dick book called Martian Timeslip. That was all right, but sort of boring.

I'm going to the beach in a couple of weeks, so I'm looking for some suggestions on what might be good to take along!

So what have you read recently that is good? Or what are you planning on reading soon that you've heard good things about?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Moving up the ranks

My blog is evolving! (Which, quite frankly, is a lot more than I can say about my students from this past year.)

Back in November of last year, Learn Me Good was operating at an Elementary School level, according to this web site.

However, I just reran the numbers, and Learn Me Good has jumped up to the Junior High level!

blog readability test

TV Reviews

Carnival in Joisey and a special offer

The current edition of the Carnival of Education comes to us direct from the Jersey shore, courtesy of Where's the Sun? There looks to be plenty of great articles listed there, including my post (and poster) on Get Caught Reading.

I also want to point out a special offer that I'm running especially for teachers. I have a little notice at the top of my page, but in case anyone hasn't seen it, I want to go ahead and formally announce that I am more than happy to offer a "Teacher Discount" for any educators wishing to purchase Learn Me Good. Online and in bookstores, Learn Me Good costs $16 (plus shipping and handling if you go the online route).

I will send you a copy directly for only $10, plus shipping and handling. Added benefits to this offer include me signing the book (if you wish) AND a really cool bookmark to go along with it.

To take advantage of this offer, just send me an e-mail -- -- with the subject TEACHER DISCOUNT and include the address that you want the book sent to.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Semi-profesional development

This week's Mr. Teacher column on is about something that is familiar to anyone who is a teacher.

Continuing education. Professional development. Boring summer classes. Whatever you want to call them, they are the required hours for the privilege of keeping your teacher certification.

Why is it though that teachers in those classes tend to act like the trouble students that we complain about?

Check it out, and see if you agree with my assessment.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Surreal Class

It occurred to me last week that it has been a long, long time since I have done a question for INTERACTIVE MONDAY. As I was having that thought, an easy question came to mind as well.

Looking back at the just-concluded school year, what was your most, or one of the most, surreal moments? I define a surreal moment as something happening that makes you just scratch your head and wonder, Did that really just happen? How bizarre!

For me, one such moment came toward the end of the school year. A student had enrolled in my class in late March, so he had only been around for about a month and a half when this happened. Nevertheless, this kid was truly a Chris Farley, John Candy type. A very large, happy-go-lucky, let-me-entertain-you type of kid.

The totally surreal moment came one day after recess, when my class was lined up to take their restroom break. As was usually the case, the boys were being louder than a high school heavy metal band. Suddenly, I hear this kid say to another boy, "Hey, you know those Subway commercials?"

Then he starts singing the jingle that goes with these Subway commercials, the ones for their five dollar foot longs.

"Five... Five Dollars... Five Dollar Foot Looooong..."

Then the REALLY surreal moment came along -- all of the other boys in line started singing the jingle along with him! So suddenly I've got this line of about 10 boys all singing about five dollar foot longs, and doing the accompanying hand motions.


OK, YOUR turn! Let's hear all about your most surreal moments from this past school year! Just leave them as a comment!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

My very own infomercial!

Hey folks,

Mister Teacher here! Well, of course, I'm here, it IS my blog after all. But that's how I start out my new promotional video for Learn Me Good over on YouTube -- in classic Billy Mays, late-night infomercial style!

Please pass it on to everyone you know! Maybe they'd like to order a copy!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Even MORE summer plans!

This week's Mr. Teacher column on is the final chapter of what I am calling the "summer vacation trilogy." I've done a column on what my kids are doing over summer break. I've done a column on what I myself am doing over summer break. This week, it's my column about what other teachers are doing over summer break. (Unfortunately, my editor wouldn't let me stretch the series on with what some zoo animals are doing over summer break, what the Diet Coke delivery guys do over summer break, or what Kiefer Sutherland does over summer break.)

Thank you very much to everyone who participated and let me know what their plans were for the next few months.

Also, a very special thanks to Happychyck, who posted a very generous review of my book, Learn Me Good, over on her site last week. If you still don't believe ME when I say it's a pretty good book, take HER word for it!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Get Caught Reading!

Last week, someone on a teacher chat board had posted a link to this page offering a really cool set of posters. The site is run by the AAP (Association of American Publishers), and from it, you can order up to 12 posters of celebrities "getting caught reading." The celebrities range from TV characters to sports stars to politicians. The posters are free; all you have to pay is five dollars for shipping and handling. Also, there are a lot of other posters that aren't available for order, but which ARE available for download.

To whet your whistle, I created my own poster. Don't worry, the real ones are much better.

Friday, June 13, 2008

I are the Champions, my friends!

Let it be known -- I am officially a television game show champion!!

I totally rocked the competition, and I won a lovely package of parting gifts (no money though :( )

The show will air some time in July, on the Veria channel on the Dish network. So if you get that package and that channel, stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The 175th Carnival of Education: Game Show Edition

Hello everybody, and welcome to the 175th edition of the Carnival of Education. Thanks to last week’s host, The Education Wonks. It’s not too late to check out that carnival before firing it up over here.

Before we get started, let me explain the theme of the Carnival this week. On Thursday (tomorrow), I will be a contestant on a brand new game show here in Dallas called Whatta Ya Think? It will probably air sometime in July, though very few will see it, as it is on a rather obscure channel.

But at any rate, it's put me in the mind frame of more well-known game shows. Therefore, I invite you to put on your Camouflage, pick up your Remote Control, and go on a veritable Shopping Spree of blog entries. Who knows -- you might just find yourself Queen for a Day.

Denise of Let's Play Math appears on the classic game show $10,000 Pyramid to tell the story of a shakeup of faith in the old Pythagorean society. Her post is titled An Ancient Mathematical Crisis, and you really should take a straight diagonal line to get there.

Currently appearing on The Moment of Truth, an (aspiring) Educator talks about the dangers of plagiarism in schools (as well as politics), and what teachers can do about it.

AwayWeGo points our attention to several worthy contenders for the hot seat on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? Check out her post, Other Peoples’ Money. Is that your final act of embezzlement?

Scott McLeod of Dangerously Irrelevant appears only halfway ready to host his own version of 1 vs. 100 with his post Top 50 P-12 Edublogs? Look at the list, and you will see several familiar names, including History Is Elementary and So You Want to Teach? If only Scott would extend his list to the top 100,000 edublogs, Learn Me Good might actually join the mob!

Gary Stager seems to think he’s in the speed round of Scrabble, as he scrabbled together 5 different posts to submit, all within 10 minutes!! In my ever so humble opinion, the most interesting were The Surge Against First Graders and Coming to a Classroom Near You! (Was anyone else NOT aware that showing Aladdin in the classroom was illegal??)

Mark Montgomery of Great College Advice has some words of wisdom for prospective college students who find themselves low on funds. In his post The SAT, the ACT, and “Test Optional” Admissions, Mark tells students not to worry if their test scores are not super fantastic—there are some colleges that don’t even look at those scores. They’ll still get a chance to appear on Cram – night after night after night.

Larry Ferlazzo is playing Let's Make a Deal with his class, giving the audience some suggestions for keeping discipline in More about Maintaining a "Good" Class. But do you have 3 safety pins, a rubber band, and a pack of chewing gum in your pocket?

Changing channels, we find Rockapella singing the theme to the classic Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? On today’s episode, Shan Siddiqi of Globally Rational offers his take with Encouraging Isolationism: Americans and Geography. He complains, “Apparently, we don’t know anything about the world. This is why the rest of the world looks down on Americans… geography is no longer an important part of our school curricula. How do we expect to succeed through globalization if 90% of our youth don’t even know where Afghanistan is?”

The bus driver seems to be encountering a lot of wild jokers, so let's just place him on…um, how about, yeah… The Joker's Wild. Read Behavior Issues and Parents and see if you don't recognize nearly every single one of the character traits that he's complaining about.

Diego is making the case that the mothers and children of the FLDS compound in Texas do not belong on Family Feud; rather, their feud is with CPS. Read A Child's Letter and see if you agree.

Ana of Reading Coach Online is protesting The Match Game. At least, she is against matching children's books up with proposed age ranges. While the idea sounds good on paper, Anna brings up some interesting points in Age Guidance for Children's Books… No Thanks! “It may discourage readers or embarrass others: A child who is interested in dinosaurs may excitedly pick up a book about them only to put it down quickly once he realizes it’s a ‘baby book’.”

Time for the 2 Minute Drill! You know the drill I’m talking about! Tweenteacher informs us in The Seventh Affliction that teachers have to choose their time carefully every day when it comes to suppressing a certain bodily function.

Those with an ear for music will want to flip over to Name That Tune, featuring Music Essay -- Writing with Tune, presented at CustomEssays. Three notes, baby, that’s all I need.

Spinning the Wheel of Fortune (and praying the whole time) was the Scholastic Scribe. With Toto, I’ve a Feeling We’re Not in Kansas Anymore, she tells us what it was like to be SC_R_D SH_TL_SS while sitting in the basement of her school with her students while Mother Nature threw everything she had at the school. Care to buy a vowel?

As a warmup for my shoot tomorrow, I appeared on Greed. (Hey, if I can tolerate some of my students, I can certainly tolerate Chuck Woolery for an hour.) On the last day of school, despite watching videos, having extra recess, and having pizza for lunch, my kids kept asking me, "Where’s the party?"

Strange New Teacher presents a clip of middle schoolers playing To Tell the Truth. In Learning from the Experts, she gives several examples of suggestions that kids have given to their teachers to help them improve.

Learners Inherit the Earth has a problem with Teach for America. In the post Sustainability Meets True Commitment, she states, “TFA encourages its members, many times from the very start, to look at teaching in high-needs schools as simply a stepping stone to something better.” If I'm reading her correctly, she's wondering why TFA is hyping Deal or No Deal, when it should be promoting It's Your Life.

The Hall Monitor lends her opinion that high school seniors should NOT be contestants on Double Dare. In her post Senior Pranks Gone Awry, she tells us of the latest pot of hot water students find themselves in. (Where’s the green goop, folks?)

On a similar note, Matt from Scholar’s Notebook wants to ask a few high school seniors, “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?Their recent actions would suggest otherwise…

Matthew Ladner revs things up on Holy Rollers and assures us that Catholic Schools Can Survive. He had me hooked with the intro picture of the Blues Brothers meeting da Penguin…

Meg of Simpson's Paradox loves the fact that her kids are finally starting to learn the Lingo, and seeing her kids In the Same Boat. Meg, please be sure to give my best to the lovely cohost Shandi Finnessey. And give her my number. And ask her to call often. And really talk me up as a great guy. And tell her a restraining order just isn't necessary.

Poor oldandrew, he was booked on a classic game show, but as he recounts in Lesson Observations, there was most definitely no Love Connection. Back in two and two, Andrew.

The Price Is Right for children in India, or at least it WILL be, once The Right to Education Bill, 2005 passes into law. It’s almost like winning the Showcase Showdown!

NYC Educator found himself off to a great start on Chain Reaction, moving from chalkboard to whiteboard, but since then, the technology seems to have passed him by.

Matthew Needleman was sitting at home watching Classic Concentration, but what he saw disturbed him. Some of those kids just CAN’T sit still and concentrate for such long periods of time! Let them get up and move around!

The Science Goddess is getting sick and tired of ALWAYS seeing Whoopi Goldberg in the center square on Hollywood Squares! She asks why people can't branch out from the edge of their rut?
Carol at Bellringers hopes that, as the last teacher to leave her school last week, she will indeed be the Winner Takes All.

IMC Guy has a list of his end of year reflections, and it should be readily apparent that Win, Lose, or Draw, he has grown this year.

Ted has the Password for recent college grads on how to use those skills to get a job. Check out his Ultimate Graduation Resource List.

Is it any wonder that Betty feels like she is the Weakest Link? She wants to learn all of the technology that The Thumb Generation has at its disposal, but she can't always find a tech instructor to teach her.

On the next channel, we have a similar challenge in Beat the Geeks, featuring Teacher in a Strange Land, who wants to figure out exactly what good a Kindle is.

If Wink Martindale’s face wasn’t Botoxed beyond belief, I think he’d be steaming mad right about now. The Tempered Radical – a mere contestant, mind you! – is trying to get Wink to change the name of his beloved Tic Tac Dough to, get this, Wiki Waki Dough! Good luck with that one, Bill…

When a graduation ceremony has reached 100°, there are 185 students to walk across the stage, and a guest speaker whom no one will remember tomorrow is droning on and on, is it time to bang him off of The Gong Show? Jeff thinks so.

For many above average students, classroom instruction is mere Child's Play. OverwhelmedMom says why not let them skip ahead to the next topic?

The Dragon Lady gives us 10 Signs That You’re an Urban Teacher. Sign number 11: You feel like you’re playing Russian Roulette, all day, everyday.

Hank advises everyone to stop by for some pointers on teaching your kids to Show Me the Money. Come to think of it, has some pretty nifty columnists

In New York City, teachers find themselves on (or in) Jeopardy! because of some new, unclear regulations on student abuse. Woodlass states, "So when I hear things like people being brought up on charges for raising their voice, I say there’s a huge difference between doing that to cause fear and doing it to get the kids to tone down the volume."
I'll take Ridiculous Arbitrariness for $800, Alex.

Joanne Jacobs directs our attention to the 12 students who have hit the Jackpot! The name of her post is They Made It! but I like Ride the Carrot Salad much better!

In Do We Write off Slow Students, Loonyhiker asks why should Special Ed students NEED to play Beat the Clock when they might be able to grasp the concepts at a different rate, and possibly in a different way.

Eduwonkette says change the channel. She’s tired of watching Rod Paige and his whole “Houston Miracle” story on Liar’s Club.

John at TLN Teachers Voices has a question: “Is it possible that technology may change all of that and allow families to select schools based on design and ideas that best represent their personal preferences and values INSTEAD of choosing schools based on physical location?” If so, parents’ power of choice would increase substantially – perhaps even to, say, a Power of 10?

On today's episode of Who Do You Trust? J.M. Holland shows us the right way that teachers can deal with pretend guns in the classroom. This in turn can give kids a good starting point for how to deal with REAL guns in their lives.

Mrs. Bluebird thinks the whole idea of teachers having their summers "off" is enough to Make Me Laugh. Check out her rundown of tasks, errands, and responsibilities that make her wonder if she's really on summer vacation.

Over on the TEN blog, there is a Duel going on. Should teachers merely teach, or should they get involved with their students’ lives as would "social workers?"

Darren of Right on the Left Coast is carefully monitoring Friend or Foe. He wants you to know that Communists are supporting Los Angeles teacher groups.

Monique of Instructify suggests that students can liven up a book report by turning it into a Claymation movie. Each frame lasts for only a Split Second.

Over on Win Ben Stein’s Money, it’s dress up as a nerd day! But do elementary school kids need to be taught through example that “nerds” are socially unacceptable? SwitchedOnMom says absolutely not!

Norm decries certain education reform movements that allow top students to leave struggling schools. On a very special episode of Blockbusters, he argues, "Thus, the neighborhood public schools - from elementary through high school – become drained of the very kids that provide the school a somewhat stable environment by shunting the top students to places like KIPP. And by the way, do not underestimate the positive impact these kids have on teacher morale, which is affected by seeing kids succeed."

SharpBrains worries that our kids are appearing far too often on Couch Potatoes, and that they are in fact turning into them. What has happened to play time?

Elementary History Teacher wants to see Obama and McCain on So You Think You Can Dance? Find out why in Education Stance... Education Dance.

For Mamacita, it just ain’t Saturday unless she’s watching What’s My Line? I guess no one appreciates a good quotation like the Mistress of Sheiss.

It's The Sale of the Century over at Steve Spangler's place. See exactly what you can do with 9/10th of a cent of gasoline.

Clix says I’ve Got a Secret… “Teaching is as much an attitude for me as it is my job.

Friends of Dave feel like backers of the "Broader, Bolder Approach to Education" belong on Pass the Buck. See if you agree.

Ryan at I Thought a Think has, unfortunately, hit the Whammy on Press Your Luck. He's come to the realization that he can't be both school principal AND union president. (Don't forget the money! Hee Hee Hee!)

And that's it for our game show marathon! Look for the home game in stores near you, and please, get those pets spayed and neutered.

As always, links to the Carnival and to Learn Me Good are very much appreciated. Next week, the Carnival will be hosted by Pass the Torch. Send your entries to her or use the handy dandy submission form.

On a final note, if you are a teacher with interesting plans for summer vacation, please click here.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Summer lovin' (will) have me a bla-hast

This week's Mr. Teacher column on continues the theme from last week, all about summer vacation plans. Last week, it was my kids' plans; this week, I talk about some of MY plans.

Thank you for those of you who have e-mailed me with YOUR plans for this summer vacation. I'm looking forward to turning those into next week's column. For those of you who haven't written to me, it's not too late! Write to me at and let me know what you're doing this summer -- especially if you're doing something really wild!

And be sure to come back here tomorrow for this week's Carnival of Education!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Get those entries in!

Hey folks,
Today and tomorrow are the last days to get your Carnival of Education submission in for inclusion! There are still lots of you that I haven't heard from yet -- don't be shy!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Take my advice (part 2)

Yesterday, I included a couple of writing samples from some of my kids about what advice they would give to second graders who will be in my class next year. Here are a few more choice examples.

This little girl shared a few of the more memorable aspects of being in my class:

I would tell them not to run in the hall or you will get in trouble if you are in Mr. Teacher's class next year you will probably have a behavior folder with codes that say bad stuff that you do and if you do not come to class with all your supplies you will get a code on Fridays if you have one code you will sit out five min. after specials in the afternoon you will do something in March that is called March Mathness that is fun you have to learn your times tables for March Mathness there is this thing that is called score a multiplication touchdown and you have to make a touchdown to get a prize that is so fun I like Mr. Teacher's class it is fun we do something called math around the world that's a fun game too.

[Not much in the way of punctuation there, but I'm glad she enjoyed the games we played.]

This next girl was one of my favorites, and she has some tough love to share with the second graders.

From second grade to third grade is hard. All you have to do is have some harder stuff than in second grade. And you might be shy but you just have to get used to it. Remember that you do not come to school to make friends you come to school to think! You come with a smile on your face! Have fun!

[I love that bit about not coming to school to make friends.]

Finally, we have some advice from one of the more behaviorally-challenged girls in my class. She focused on what she knows best.

When you're going to be in Mr. Teacher's class make sure you don't laugh or talk when you're in a table group cause if you do that he will put you where you will sit by yourself. And if you throw a fit in the classroom he will put you in another classroom. And if you be rude or doing mean things like mocking him he will put you in another classroom and call your parents. And plus you need to not talk when work time because he can hear and see you even when he's not looking.

[Excellent advice; it's truly a shame that she never took this advice herself.]

Friday, June 06, 2008

Call for entries

Ladies and gentlemen,

I will be hosting the next edition of the Carnival of Education, next Wednesday, June 11. I hope that all of you, my regular readers, as well as the esteemed visitors to this site, will submit an article for inclusion!

You can either e-mail me your link, or use the handy dandy submission form.

Take my advice (part 1)

One of the last writing assignments that I gave to my kids this week had the prompt, "What advice would you give to next year's third graders?"

I got some really good responses, and I'm going to space them out a little bit over the next couple of days, rather than writing one REALLY long post.

Here's one titled, "heads up second graders next year: the eight steps in third grade."

Hello this is ------- giving you a heads up because in order to earn your highest grades these are your goals, first you have to always do your homework, second pay attention in class and do your work, third make sure you try your best on any test taks test or any other work you do, fourth you have to work hard and really hard for parties that are worth it, fifth on writing samples please try your best like me, sixth and if you don't get you folder signed expect no Friday fun time, seventh and expect no recess if you didn't do your homework, eighth and if the whole class is doing something fun and you're in the corner don't expect it.

[I certainly can't argue with any of those points.]

Here's another, titled, "My Words."

If you're going to be in Mr. Teacher's class I have some tips. Never get a attitude with him. Always bring a sharp pencil. Be prepared for the TASKS and study because you never know if it's new or old mostly it's going to be new. Make sure you know how to add, subtract, carry, and borrow. Because you never know if he will pick you.

Make sure that you stay behavior perfect. Never disappoint Mr. T.

[Amen to that one, brother.]

More tomorrow! In the meantime, teachers, please continue sending me your plans for the summer!!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Where's the party??

Another year done!!!

Oh man, I have been ready for this year to be over since August. And now the summer is officially here!!

Today was the last day of school for the kids, so my partner Ms. Jen Ed and I didn't make them do much work today, instead letting them watch movies, play games, etc. The usual stuff that you would expect to find at a last day of school party.

Except that, apparently, no one realized it was a last day of school party.

After a little over an hour of watching a movie with both classes in the same room, the kids asked me, "When are we going to have our party?"

Then after we had been outside playing for an hour before lunch, they questioned, "Are we going to have our party after lunch?"

After an extra-long recess, followed by games in the classroom before specials class, the kids commented, "I guess we're going to have our party after specials."

I feel for these kids, because I can just picture them in high school and college (assuming they make it that far), hanging out with friends, singing songs, watching movies, drinking adult beverages -- and saying to each other, "I wonder when the party's going to start?"

In other news, there's a great Carnival of Education up over on The Education Wonks. Go by and check it out, and see how many sites you can hit before you realize you're at a party.

Also, please continue to email me with your plans for summer vacation. I'm looking forward to writing an upcoming post about what other teachers (besides myself) will be doing for the next few months.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Is it summer yet??

Tomorrow is the last day of school!!! WOOHOO!!!

Therefore, this week's Mr. Teacher column on is a look forward by my students at their summer vacation. I had them write down some of their plans and expectations for the next couple of months, and I pulled some of the best comments and quotes.

Next week's column will be all about MY plans for summer vacation.

The week after that? Well, that's kind of up to you! I'm hoping to write a column that incorporates OTHER teachers' plans for June, July and August. So if you'd like to participate -- and I really hope you all will -- please send me an e-mail at and let me know where you'll be, what you'll be doing, and who you'll be doing it with.

I'm hoping to hear from all of you!