Wednesday, December 20, 2006


We've been learning about writing letters in class. First, I wrote them a letter. Then they wrote me letters. Then I wrote them each letters back and they identified the parts of the letter. Then we wrote a letter together. Then they wrote letters to Santa.

Here are some excerpts from their letters to me (as written):

"You my favrit tesher. You make me get smart every day. Every day my bran get bigger. this is my favrit class. I love this class so mush."

"We rad a book. Sometimes it is hot in the class room."

"Ms. H- gives us homework. I love homework. I like homework to do at home. Ms. H- is a good techer."

"I like going to the movies with Ms. H- but she said on Sunday on the 10th but I can weight until Sunday."

"I want to be a funny people. We have air so we can breeth. I will come to school. I will gives some milk."

"I will give Ms. H- a car. I will give Ms. H- a dog. I love school so muth. I will fix Ms. H- ded cat. I will be a nis boy and I will sta on sup sr every day" (super star behavior)

"Ms. H- like to play with us. Sometimes she put an A at us. I like her shos."

Coming soon... letters to Santa.

I'm Is Proficient

(J- was in my class last year.)

Me: "How did you do on your 9-week tests?"
J: "I'm is proficient!"
Me: "'I'm is?'"
J: "I... are... proficient!"
Me: "You... are."
J: "I... am."
Me: "Good..."

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Christmas Assembly

We had a Christmas assembly on Thursday, where the Kindergarten presented. Kindergarteners are cute and all, but they should never be the focus of an assembly. Their memorization and performance skills are... limited. But it was pretty cute, and kept mostly to the cutesy-Christmas stuff, although we did delve into the Scripture and definetely got to hear a few songs about baby Jesus.

But what else could I have expected? I still find it completely inappropriate for the school to be doing anything religious without either including various religions (still iffy) or just avoiding religious altogether. As I said at Thanksgiving, not everyone everyone is a Baptist. And not everyone attends church. The principal keeps reminding us (in the wak of the abuse scandals) that we can't do anything to a kid that we "wouldn't want done to our own kids." Well, I wouldn't anyone to try to instill religious beliefs that were not my own into my children.

The first grade will be presenting the "Spring" assembly. After the Christmas assembly, it dawned on my that this meant the "Easter" assembly, which in turns means we're probably expected to talk aobut the rising of a certain J. C. I don't know how the first grade teachers will respond to this. We have two teachers who fall into the church-going Mission Baptist crowd, but the other two don't. I am not particularily religous and I oppose any religious instruction or celebration in secular schools, and one of the other teachers is a Jehovah's Witness, so she doesn't celebrate things like birthdays and holidays. However, I'm pretty sure all 4 assistants are part of the MB crowd.

In the meantime, I'm looking for "spring" songs and possibly some lifecycle skits (maybe we can act out the hungry caterpillar book?).

Sunday, December 10, 2006

How Many Wreaths is Too Many Wreaths?

It's a little hard to see in this picture from my camera phone, but this house has 3 wreaths in every window...


We were able to go bowling instead of to the movies, and the two children that I managed to bring seemed to have a good time. We were bumper bowling, and it's really hard for the stronger person not to win at bumper bowling, but I managed to come in last through a concerted effort in our second game.

No Movies for You

It's take-a-trip-with-the-teacher Day. So I called the movie theater so that I would know which movie we were going to, in case parents asked.

The movie theater has gone out of business. Sh*t.

There is a movie theater in Clarksdale, where I live, but it doesn't show movies in the afternoon, and, from what I've heard, it's not a safe place to go anyhow. Besides, it only has 2 screens and it doesn't waste them on kid movies. The next closest movie theaters are over an hour and half drive away. One in Oxford, MS, where Ole Miss is, and one in Greenville, MS, the biggest city in the Delta and the 6th biggest city in MS (at about 40,000 people).

So I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Bowling, perhaps? Evidently there is a bowling alley in Clarksdale, and I know there is one in Cleveland, but I don't know if they are open on Sundays. The other option, I guess, which is the current forerunner because I know it is an option, is to take the kids to get ice cream and then just go to the library in Clarksdale. But it really seems kind of lame compared to going to the movies.

Last time we went to the movies, someone asked if my kids had ever been to the movies before. I think about half, if not more (you can't really trust what first graders say) have never been. Now that there is no movie theater for them to go to within an hour's drive, I expect that number to plummet. I feel like it is a slap in the face to the people who thought the Delta was improving, even a little bit, to lose the only movie theater in the area. Cleveland is supposed to be a city that is maintaining, if not growing, because of the college. But I guess that is not the case.

Friday, December 08, 2006


The other TFA teacher at my school, who taught at the middle school last year, was suspended for 2 days this week because she pulled a hysterically laughing child who was rolling on the floor in her room out into the hallway. The mother wanted to sue for child abuse, which makes me nervous because the sister of the offending boy is in my class, but since the child was not injured in any way, no dice.

The superintendant even admitted that the teacher is a good teacher, with high test scores and very few discipline problems. The problem, it seems, is that she is white. The black teachers at my school can (unofficially) paddle, swat, push, pull, curse, threaten, and pinch. But when you are white, you had better watch yourself.

Another "incident" happened the same week that the TFA teacher pulled T- out of her room. This one was with a black teacher, who actually did hurt the child. And her punishment was almost exactly the same as the punishment for the white teacher who didn't hurt the child at all. The upshot is that behind-closed-doors paddling/pinching/cursing out has now been officially ordered to stop. The principal, they reminded us in two long faculty meetings, is the only one who can paddle (or otherwise injure or insult small children.)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Always, Sometimes, Never

One of our math benchmarks is "explores sometimes, always, and never events." After we had discussed some as a class, I had my students write and illustrate one sentence on an Always-Sometimes-Never paper. These were the responses...

We do not play in the classroom.
I do live in a house.
I will always take my shirt off when I get in the bath.
Butterflies always fly in the sky.
I always have a chin.
I sit on the blue team.
My teacher teach me.
My mom bake cookies every week.
I always have a name.
I can read a book.
I got a eye.
I have hair.
I always learn at school.
My sister's name is Marisa.

I go to my grandma's house.
My mom makes some cookies.
My teacher takes me to the movies.
Sometimes I read the chart.
I go home after school.
I go to school.
I am going to throw up.
I have a chain.
I pull my shirt off sometimes when I get home.
I miss my Dad.
Sometimes people like to get in the pool and sometimes people don't.

I never eat worms.
I have blue eyes.
I can't walk on a horse.
I never eat R-.
I fly in the air.
My friends don't live with me.
Mrs. Butler never fly in the hall.
I never hit C-.
Never play with that dogs because it got fleas.
I never take my shirt off when I go to school.
I eat a big bug.
I never bite my arm but sometimes I do.
My hairs are green.
I play in the mud.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Pillow Party

The Pillow Party was a tremendous success. I only had to discipline one student, and that was just for excessive talking (she had to sit at her desk for the second half of the party.) We only had one cocoa spill (K-, of course.) My fabulous students shared their pillows and blankets with those who had not broght any, passed bags of popcorn around, and picked up the carpet without being asked afterwards. They were a little chatty, but it was a party, after all.s