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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Dr. Seuss never wrote about a duck

So at my school, there's a huge hubub about Dr. Seuss' birthday on Friday. Seriously, more precedence has been given to this event than any standardized test in recent memory. I won't go into all the details, but what really irked me today was that we were sent an email that had an attachment, a certificate saying ___________ from __________'s class participated in Read across America.

In that email, we were asked to pass out one of these certificates to each student on Friday after reading a Dr. Seuss book (oh, and it HAS to be done at 10:00; no other time is acceptable -- but that's another matter).

I don't know if the intention was that each teacher would use their own personal computers to print out the required number of certificates, or if the thought was that we would all bum rush Kinko's to get the copies made, but most of us turn in our copies to the work room to be made. (We used to have the power and authority to make our own copies on the school copier -- but that's another matter.)

So, thinking to myself that it was pretty ridiculous for every teacher in the school to turn in the same copy request for the same certificate, I took it upon myself to respond to the email (and of course, I replied to "ALL" because that's just how I roll).

This is the email I sent:

The certificates will be copied and provided to our classes, right? I imagine that Dr. Seuss himself would have said something like:

It makes no sense that I can see
To have each teacher come say, "Please?"
You know the numbers that we need,
To pass out so that we can read.

Thank you,


I then sat back and waited to be congratulated on my wit and/or reprimanded for my insolence.

Towards the end of the day, our principal sent out an email saying that teachers did not need to worry about submitting copy requests because the suggestion would be taken that the office print everything out for us.


This was followed ten minutes later by a correction email saying that because a couple of teachers had already submitted their copy request, we would all be required to submit our own copy request.


And THIS, I think, is why Dr. Seuss never wrote a story about a duck. Too tempting to use a child-unfriendly rhyme...

Monday, February 27, 2012

March Madness (a little early)!!

Howdy folks,

There are still a couple of days left in February, but I'll be honest. I'm itching to get March Madness started! So I'm having a little sweepstakes, and 3 people will win a prize!

On or around March 14 (AKA "Pi Day" to math geeks like myself), I will select 3 lucky participants, all of whom will win a "gifted" Kindle copy of Learn Me Good or Learn Me Gooder. If you don't have a Kindle, that's ok! You can get the Kindle app for smart phone or PC. And if you already have Learn Me Good and Learn Me Gooder, then I'll "gift" you a copy of another book (equal or lesser value).

Here's how to win:

There are 2 ways to get an entry, and everyone is allowed to get one of each type of entry each day. (In other words, go for TWO entries every day!)

1) Get someone new to follow Learn Me Good on FaceBook. They need to leave a comment here on the LMG page telling me who referred them.

2) "Share" the Learn Me Good post of the day. This is easily done by clicking the (duh) "Share" button underneath a post, which will place it on your own homepage.

I hope to have millions of entries by 3/14! Good luck!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

EEHHHHHHH, Thanks for playing!

Here was an actual conversation in my room today...

Me: What are the types of energy that we talked about yesterday?
Student 1: Light!
Me: Good one!
Student 2: Sound!
Me: YES!!
Student 3: Energy!
Student 4: Heat!
Me: Heat!
Student 3: ENERGY!
Me: Are you really answering with that, or are you just cheering on everybody else?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Great Whodunit of 2012

We had Monday off (President's Day), and I took yesterday off for my birthday. So today was my first day to go to school this week. Thankfully, my room was not in shambles, my supplies were not all gone, and no animals had been sacrificed (at least not visibly).

However, a mystery presented itself early on in the morning, and I'm doing it the honor of calling it a mystery ONLY because I had to painstakingly piece together exactly what had happened in my absence, and it took way longer than necessary.

Friday, I had assigned science homework, and so there was a stack of papers on my desk this morning. As I went through them to see who had not turned one in, I took note of the missing papers. I called about 6 kids up to my desk to ask why they hadn't turned anything in. One of those kids told me that he HAD turned something in. I let him look through the stack, and he pulled out one that had a girl's name on it. When I looked REALLY REALLY closely, I could see that this boy's name had indeed been written at the top of the paper and then erased.

Having already said my piece to the non-submitters, I kept the boy with me and called for the girl whose name appeared on the paper, wondering if it was worse that she had tried to cheat or that she had done it so lazily. She looked at it and informed me, "I didn't do that, that's not how I write my name."

Thus began the long, arduous detective work. I sent the girl back to her desk, figuring she was innocent of forgery (if not neglecting her homework). I asked the boy who could have done this, and he told me that he had passed his work in to a girl that sits at another table. So I called HER over to talk to her, and she told me that she had not picked up his paper, it was 2 OTHER kids.

It really muddles the water when your "eye-witness" doesn't have all of his facts straight.

I then had to call the 2 new suspects over and have a big pow-wow about who really HAD picked up the papers. Ironically enough, neither of these two kids were this week's "Administrative Assistants" (we can't call them "Helpers" anymore) whose names are written nice and large on the board.

These two kids confirmed that the other girl had NOT picked up any papers (while the forgery victim just looked perplexed -- is there an equivalency to racism going on here? He thinks all third graders look like one another?), and they also admitted to erasing the boy's name and writing a new name.

As far as crimes went, this one had the perpetrators and the opportunity, but there didn't seem to be a motive. Just random foolishness, something that seems wildly rampant in my class this year.

As to where the time disappears to and why we never seem to have any time for FUN stuff this year... well, that's no mystery.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Birthday party!

Hey everyone, it's my birthday! WOOHOO!!

And for this special day, I have done a few things. Number 1, I have taken the day off from school. Yes, my neighbor down the street said he was going to picket my house because of this, but even teachers need a mental day off occasionally.

Secondly, it is my quest to finish the 2-liter bottle of Mountain Dew before tomorrow, when Lent begins, and I give up soda for 40-some days.

Thirdly, I am using my final 2 days of FREENESS from the Amazon Kindle program to set the price of Learn Me Good down to $0.00. I know that many of you have already read my book, but please please please pass this on to everyone you know who might be interested in having a free Kindle copy.

Now, I'm off to swig some soda!

Monday, February 06, 2012

The earth, it is a-changin'

Last Friday, as a brief prelude to our upcoming unit in science, I gave the kids a paper that had 2 claims on it.

#1: The surface of the earth IS constantly changing.

#2: The surface of the earth IS NOT constantly changing.

They had to choose a claim and then support their claim by writing evidence and examples. Reasoning and justification -- NOT two of my students' strong suits.

I was looking through their responses and just had to share. I should note that before I turned them loose, we did talk a bit about what "surface" meant, and how that applied to the earth. How the earth was a sphere (even though many said circle) and that the surface of the sphere was the outside, the ground, the part we walked on and could see. This may have influenced some of the answers...

Here is a sampling from those who chose Claim 2 (NOT changing):

- I have seen the seasons and there is always grass and dirt every year.

- Yes, because there are not new stuff around the earth.

- Because it is not moving it is not changing colors and the earth it's not going up and down.

- The earth is a sphere and never going to change to another shape.

- The earth is not changing because it just stays on the same place it never does something different. It doesn't spin around the sun the sun is the one spinning around the earth because the earth doesn't move. (Galileo opponents would be so proud!)

And a few from those who chose Claim 1 (Surface IS changing):

- The surface of the earth is changing by the different people that are coming to the united states of America.

- Yes, because the grass is green and it changes to brown sometimes.

- Where we live is on a circle (Not reasoning AND totally opposite to what we talked about beforehand)

- In earth all the days some people start inventing new things like the scientists invent things by doing experiments in the museum.

- Changes from the outside of the earth some are night some is day that changes the earth.

- The earth is changing because they building new apartments.

And ONE kid who actually explained it properly:

- New plants form and the ground cracks when there is an earthquake. When an ocean dries up it turns into a desert changing earth's surface.

There seems to be a LOT of room for learning in this unit! Can't wait!