‘Lick Them! No, check the internet!’

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I think the title says it all…and all 4 classes of 5th graders said something similar today. How would you collect data to prove your point? Check the internet. Teacher wants you to use something more tactile…LICK IT! Makes perfect sense, right? Right!

So what is it that society is portraying to our kids? I can’t tell you exactly why they want to lick an igneous rock and a fake flower…but the addition of iPads or laptops to every class and the fact that over half of my 80 students own nicer smart phones than me might have something to do with their responses.

You want to know the worst part? They don’t feel the need to READ and learn to RESEARCH so my “What are YOU Reading Wednesday” turned into ‘just read what’s on the board…the words are spelled correctly there! And no, modern technology is not available!”

Someone, please, tell me that you’ve managed to write copiously and read some amazing works of art. Revive my hope!

Have a blessed night.

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50 Years of “If I Was…”

The amazing play/movie musical Fiddler on the Roof ran for the first time in the year 1964. 50 years later, we’re still humming along with Tevye and his lot. I will admit that I have sung and danced a few times to the soundtrack from this story…and played my flute to the sheet music more times than that!

My Dad, a church of Christ minister and Biblical Studies Professor, has sung and shimmied Tevye’s famous lines in front of many different types and ages of audience…and has quoted the nightmare scene as well! My daughter, when she was an infant, spent a night in which the only time she would stop crying was when Fiddler was playing. As you can tell, my family has a history with this great production.

So when I was given a free copy of the 50th Anniversary Edition Script (with sheet music) in exchange for an honest review, I was worried that it would fall short of the show. Scripts, sheet music, and books often fall short when we already have that visual in place in our memories.

Luckily for me, the book exceeds expectations by a large margin. The illustrations and cover are gorgeous, the book is well put together, and my prior knowledge only enhances the experience of reading such a heart-string tugging story.

If you get the chance, watch, read, and listen to this great story whether for the first time or the fiftieth, and take a moment to appreciate the beauty, history, and effort that have molded together to bring a people and family to life. Then give a little shimmy and kick your legs up, the fiddler is at it again!

I give this book 5 out of 5 dragons!

First Snow Fall

“The first snow of the season!” Lexicon Grant crowed, wading through the 6 inch accumulation with glee. “I am SO READY for this!”

“Watch out,” Thessy (short for Thesaurus) Grant warned the hapless Lucas mere seconds before a wad of wet  slid down his cheek. “Your girlfriend lives for winter and snow ball fights.”

“Thanks,” Luke grimaced and swiped at his face with a mittened paw, “I thought her competitiveness was mostly left on the courts.”

“Nope,” Thessy grinned and side stepped calmly, once again allowing a large snow ball to hit Lucas in the face. “She holds the record for most snow balls fired of in a single minute.”

“How many is…” SPLAT. Another one.

“23.”

“Grea…” BLAM!

“Maybe you should move.”

“She likes a moving target,” he grumbled. “Good thing she’s cute.”

“I heard that!” Lexi taunted, “Just wait until we teach you paint snowball laser tag.”

“I miss summer.”

Thankful Thursday

This should be Writing Wednesday but I forgot my computer yesterday so here we are, yet another week with a wonky schedule and no discernible organization. *Sigh* welcome to my life.

So here we are, a chilly Thursday in November wherein I should be writing feverishly. Instead, I am kind of sort of writing during the ten minute journaling sprints my students do in each class each day (5 days of 4 5-10 minute journaling times a day..but my students are not independent enough to allow me to just WRITE). My two stories are coming together nicely, which is pretty awesome since there are details in the second that I haven’t found out yet because of the first. *Another Sigh*

And reading, did I mention reading yet? No, well here it is. Our school principal has challenged the elementary as a whole to read a combined 45,000,000 pages. If we reach that goal by December 18th, she will kiss a pig. We are all excited about this prospect! To further their chances of seeing this happen, we are about to start reading in class again. I am planning on reading aloud Tim Tingle’s “How I Became a Ghost.” If you haven’t read any of his stuff…DO IT! He is an amazing author and wonderful man…did I mention that its National Native American Month and he writes about Choctaw Folk Tales? Yeah Buddy!

That’s my little slice of the pie for the moment…tell me about yours! I look forward to hearing about NaNo word counts, plot bunnies, new reading experiences, and the random ice cream headaches.

Have A Blessed and WARM day!

A History Lesson

“After my family left Faronia,” Professor Al began, “And before our banishment had ended, there was a group of brave and powerful creatures who sought to find where we had gone. In order to do so, the created the Dria Ot Wisdome A’ Scrib. When translated directly from the ancient language, this means Grove of Wisdom and Scribes…or the circle of trees built by the powerful and educated seekers.”

“And what did this grove do?” A sarcastic student quipped, “transport them to you in the supposed human world you speak of so often?”

“No,” Aliphonsore huffed at the young student who’s recent growth spurt had left him much larger than the fairy dragon instructor. “I never saw them. But neither did anyone else. They went in to their special grove and did not come back out.”

“Did they die?” A fairy girl in the front row leaned forward excitedly, her eyes glowing at the thought of intrigue. “Or did they go somewhere no one else knows about?”

“Well let’s put it this way,” A deep and laughing voice intoned from the doorway, “Their bodies were not in the grove afterwards. So who knows what happened to them!?”

“Headmaster!” Aliphonsore flew over to bow and wink at his former king and now school headmaster, Ferdinand.

“Hello Professor,” Ferdinand inclined his head and surveyed the classroom full of suddenly attentive young learners. “I trust everything is going well today?”

“Yes sir!” Al’s voice squeaked.

“Great, I have some visitors for you then!” Ferdinand turned and motioned through the stone doorway of the classroom, “Ladies, come on in! I think you’ll find today’s lesson an interesting one.”

And there they were, walking in the Faronia Inclusive School’s classroom number 7, the humans in whom his students had almost completely refused to believe in.

“Where should we sit, Professor?” Jason asked with a wink as he took in the old-fashioned stone room and large tables, “We brought paper and pens so we can take notes like good students.”

“I think you already know the answers to this one!” Al laughed, the twinkle returning to his eyes as he gazed happily at his friends. “Just pick a spot anywhere!”

“Now then class, as you’ve probably already guessed by their lack of wings, these are my human family members. Introductions can come later though because as you all know, this is a history of Faronia’s Secret War class and we are learning today about what?”

“The Grove of Wives!” A zealous student called, trying to look cool in front of the foreign crowd.

“Close!” Al pointed a supportive paw at the student in question before motioning for more answers, “Who has the full name for me? Come on!”

“The Grove of Wisdom and Scribes, or Dria Ot Wisdome A’ Scrib.” Jane finally answered when it became painfully apparent that no one else would. “Where 5 wise men disappeared forever, and where Lavinia the ageless still stands guard over magical trees and the knowledge of the worlds.”

“And you guys thought I was making it all up to keep you bored in class,” Al wiggled his eyelids and wrinkled his snout at the students. “Lavinia, the beautiful and gentle Guardian of the Grove is a wise and ageless dragon, kept alive by magic bestowed upon her by the wise men and the grove itself so that she can protect the secrets and keep seekers safe from harm.”

“How do you know this?” A small voice piped up from the back, “You’re just a teacher.”

“Just a…” Al took a deep breath, “I am a teacher now so that what we learned on many an adventure can be passed along to you lot, and those who come after. And I’ll have you know that we’ll be having tea with Lavinia this coming Tuesday evening. Just a teacher…” Aliphonsore continued to mutter and growl, the smoke of his frustration becoming evident through his nostrils and even his ears.

“I believe we should all learn two valuable lessons from today,” Anna jumped up and faced the diverse crowd, knowing that no matter where they are from middle school students are all incredibly similar. “Number One is that Professor Al is teaching you valuable lessons on history and life. Number Two is that no one is ‘just a teacher! We all have other pieces to our lives that allow us to do our jobs well. Now please gather your things and quietly file out of the room. I am sure that we can safely say Class Dismissed for today!”

The PaperCut of DOOM! (bum ba BAAAAAH)

*Disclaimer: This is based on an actual discussion held today in my full of testosterone 2nd hour 5th grade Science classroom. I do not believe that I would have written this story without having had these boys ask this question…

“Mrs. Robbins,” Toby yelled, hopping up and down with one foot balanced in his seat and the other precariously hitting the floor/books/anything else in his way, “I have a question! MRS. ROBBINS! I HAVE TO ASK YOU SOMETHING!!!”

Sighing and shaking her head at their continued inability to follow procedures, Mrs. Robbins turned from passing out papers to stare down Toby and his two hangers-on, Bill and Hunter, who were following his lead with waving arms and blank faces. “Toby,” There it was, THE VOICE, the one that made her sound like her mother and scared the vast majority of her students. Somehow though, these three boys were oblivious to its power.

“So like, in this movie I was watching last night, hahaha, so they like used a piece of paper to make a throwing star and like, huhuhu, killed a bad guy with it,” Toby rushed to get all of his words in before Mrs. Robbins went ballistic. “Could that like, hahaha, could I like make one of those?”

“I suggest that you don’t try,” Mrs. Robbin’s had now switched tactics and her deadly calm and soft voice made even the two non-speaking buffoons back off and go to work on their papers.

“But like, I made one. See?” Toby held up a poorly folded paper star and proceeded to laughingly jab it at his own throat. “OUCH! Mrs. Robbins, I cut myself!”

“Its just a little paper cut,” Mrs. Robbins said stoically, “I told you to stop.”

“Yes ma’am,” Suitably sobered, Toby returned to his own work, rubbing sub consciously at his sore neck.

The next day, the red place on Toby’s neck had not gone away but instead was looking a mite bit angry. By week’s end, the paper cut had become infected and by the next Monday, Toby was admitted to the hospital. With proper care he was released by Wednesday, just in time for a pop quiz!

The moral of the story? Teacher probably does know best!

Writing Wednesday

I know, I know…it should be “What are you Reading?” and there should be a post from Sunday with a short story…I’ll bring it soon, I swear! But this week has seen some major changes for me. Including the fact that NaNoWriMo has begun AND I have changed our classroom around so that MWF is writing and TT is all Science. Hopefully this will help my students really learn their work instead of rushing through to get to something else.

That being said…I’m barely able to read my lesson plans right now. We walk, we hit it hard, we write, we NaNo, we switch classes and do it all again. When I go home, I’m working with my daughter, grading, or collapsing half asleep in front of the television. Is it good for me? No…do I enjoy it? YES!

Now then I want to know what you are WRITING this week! Are you a NaNoWriMo(er)? what is your novel about? Do you need a buddy? You can add me for funsies and see what a slow loser I am this year…I am writerbaby13 (woot woot!)

If you are not a writer, but love to read, then give me that! What are you READING? What suggestions do you have for me? If I have some time I’ll be reading “Rump” By Liesel Shurtliff. It is billed as the “True story of Rumpstiltskin” so I’m sure its going to be good!

Whether you are a writer, a reader, or a procrastinator (or all three like me!) this week is marking a lot of changes and differences across the board. Weather is suddenly turning moody and strange, students and friends are doing the same, and we all of the sudden (In America anyway) feel the need to proclaim a daily thankfulness.

So here is one for you to take home with you: I am thankful for each and every one of you. If you regularly read my blog, have just begun to follow me, or randomly ran across this on your way to someone else: I am thankful for you! I hope that you have a Blessed and wonderful day.