Sunday, November 29, 2009


Last week when there was talk of snow, I honestly was sad. This may seem weird and maybe it's because I don't have any children of my own, but when they said it might snow over Thanksgiving Break, I was a little disappointed. There's something about experiencing the first winter snow with the class. I stop whatever we are doing and we go over to the window and just take it all in. And after about thirty seconds to a minute, we are back to our learning...but standing there watching the snowflakes come down with them is just another bonding experience I get to have with the class. And knowing that there's a small chance for flurries tomorrow, I look forward to standing there again with a new group of second graders.

Cute things from students

I was trying to explain the prefix tri to my students and more words popped into my head, so after asking them about triangles and tricycles, I thought of trimester. Then the word trinity popped into my head and I asked them if they knew what that meant. Blank stares and crickets chirping...I decided to help them out..."You know, God the Father, God the Son, and God the..."

One of my students said, "Sister?"

I just had to smile and laugh inside and of course share with my readers!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What are your thoughts?

I read this in a book last night and would like your take on it...I have mine, but sometimes I feel that I don't quite "get it" sometimes when it comes to literature and symbolism.

"To see coming toward you
The face that will mean an end of oneness is -
Far more than birth itself-the beginning of life."

- Holly Roth

Thanks to all who comment!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Making the Blog

To understand what occurred in the classroom, you need some background knowledge. Many years ago, I took broken crayons and melted them into multi-colored crayons using my oven. We also have been discussing nouns in the classroom - singular, plural, common and proper, and when to add -es.

Now, you are caught up to speed.

I had pulled out the bag of multi-colored crayons for another teacher to use and the students in our classroom wanted to use them. While we were waiting for everyone to finish a page, I let them color the back of a paper while I met with a student at my desk. And so began a conversation among the students.

"It's a cray-on." (emphasis on the -on) said one outspoken student.
Another student disagreed, "it's crayons."
And another student couldn't help but join this conversation. "It's crayons."
The outspoken student responded with, "They're all mixed together, so it's one."
The extra student said, "Yeah, plural." (meaning it should be crayons, not cray-on)

About this time, they (meaning most of the class) noticed me grinning like a Cheshire cat at their conversation and frantically writing. One of the students blurted, "You just made the blog."

The students are becoming aware of me spying on their conversations. I honestly do not spy just to gain funny conversations, but do you realize the magnitude of their conversation? They are processing what we are talking about in our classroom and bringing it into other conversations. To discuss if something was plural or singular was great! I love their conversations because their voice matters in the classroom.

I really do think that teachers often miss the best teaching tool they have in their classrooms...their students. They are filled with wonderful ideas. Today, I made some of the students explain terms and homework assignments to others that weren't listening the first time...not as a punishment for the listening students, but to make the students who weren't listening aware that they can go to their peers as a resource. I am not the only resource in the room.

Can't wait to see what these treasures continue to discuss in the future!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I've read before that the audience of writing needs to be established for students. I never fully understood this until I found out that I have a student that reads my blog. Don't get me wrong, I am so glad that this student gets a chance to read what I write. It reinforces that I have an audience. But now I realize that by having an audience, I rethink some of my writing. I am hoping that by giving my students real audiences for their writing, they will also rethink some of their writing and will write with a purpose, with an audience in mind, with something more than just writing on a whim.

Currently, we are writing like an author and will send our writing actually to her. Can't wait to see what these young writers create!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Learning to see them for who they are...

Today was a sweet day! One of my girls was absent on Thursday when our cadet teacher's last day was. After she read the morning message and I gave her some more instructions, she came back with her head hung down. Wondering what caused her to be in a horrible mood already, I questioned her. She didn't say anything. I knelt down on my knees to really look into her eyes. She broke into sobs and said that she missed our cadet teacher and didn't get to say good-bye. I assured her that our cadet teacher would be back to visit and we would be able to send her things. She then knelt down on her knees and kept crying about missing her. Then, gathering her wits, she looked at me and throwing her arms around me said, "Well, at least I still got you." Made my heart melt!

Then in our morning meeting, students had to pick out the most important part of Edward Tulane (as we refer to it) and I was shocked at their ideas. Granted I got a "when she coughed up blood..." (some boys never mature), but other ideas were amazing.
- Edward and the stars because they kept coming back
- Edward on the ocean floor
- Edward getting thrown into the ocean
- Edward on the doll shelf
- Edward on the shelf and the doll saying, "You disappoint me" (My mouth almost dropped when one of the boys shared that.)
- Edward being found
- Edward being thrown into the trash
- Edward being found by the hobo
- Edward dancing for Sarah Ruth

I am so thankful that I did read the book to the class. I was afraid the boys wouldn't get it. I was afraid that they wouldn't understand the meaning behind the book. I was afraid they wouldn't fall in love with Edward. I am glad I took the chance.

Same girl from above brought a book that connected to a poem that we had read in our class. I promised I would read it at morning meeting and time got away. I promised her I would read it before lunch. She came to me and told me that I had broken my promise, not once, but twice. I vowed to not do it again. I made her number six on our to do list in the afternoon and I did not break my promise again. We read it together and it brought up a great conversation.

And of course, the end of the day is always great when they leave and we do our high five or hug. I am always shocked when I get the hugs from the boys. They come quickly and the boys don't say anything, but it warms my heart to the very center. The class is not who I had last year (almost all of those students come back every lunch recess to give me hugs), but this class is one that I am learning to love for who they are. And don't we all want that?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I had a sad moment today with a student. I noticed he had many pages of work in his desk. As I took them out and started to hand them to him, I asked him why he hadn't been completing them. He said, "I don't want to." Now before you huff and puff, reader, I thanked him for his honesty. When I asked why he didn't want to do them, he replied with, "I don't like school." My heart breaks...

I pulled him to my desk to have a more private conversation and because I know he struggles in school, I asked if it was because he doesn't understand it. He nodded. I told him that as he did only two pages tonight (rather than make him do all), whatever he didn't understand to circle and we'd do it together.

My heart hurts for a second grader who tonight doesn't enjoy school. I've been praying this year for God to work on my heart with some of these students (simply because there are so many who need extra support and I'm running out of hands) and tonight, God has answered another prayer. My heart is soft towards this child, not hard. I hope to give this child a love for learning, not just school.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

They got it!!!

I only have five girls this year in my classroom. Which makes the little fights and disagreements that girls get into even more dramatic. They don't have many girls to choose from to partner up with or to even chat with (because apparently the boys are still kind of icky to them) if they have a problem with another. Knowing that some of them were upset with others, I took matters into my own hands and delivered special invitations for lunch in the room with me.

After letting them talk a bit, I finally brought up that with having so few girls and knowing our feelings can often get hurt, I helped explain how they could apologize to each other and accept each other's apologies. One of the girls took it upon herself to apologize for rolling her eyes at another. She accepted her apology.

Another girl looked at me and said, "Miss Cathy, do you remember those mean looks I gave you at the beginning of the year?" Uh, yeah, I did. I simply nodded and said, "Yes." She then proceeded to say, "I'm sorry." I told her I accepted her apology. So sweet! I never expected an apology from the girl, but am so very blessed that she understood enough of her actions to be grown up enough to say she was sorry. It was such a sweet moment that I will not forget for a long time!

They continued with a few more apologies and acceptances. I am hoping that this will spark better understanding among them as the year progresses.

I am inviting the boys next get their ideas on how to get them to work harder. What can I do that will help them? They might have some great ideas!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Shoulder to shoulder

Tonight I realized that our past does truly impact our present. I never really knew why I didn't like standing shoulder to shoulder with people at church until tonight. I adored both people on each side of me. It was me. When we began singing, I just kept wondering, "What are they thinking of my singing voice? Am I on-key?" Where does this anticipation come?

Journey with me to middle school. I was in choir (cause it was cooler than band) and we were doing a 50s medley for a concert and I loved the songs! So much in fact, that I recorded myself singing them at my dad's...because there wasn't much else to do there on the weekend.

Fast forward to college - we were playing old mixed tapes that we had made and I stuck in one of my tapes...yep, you guessed it. It was playing and ended up turning into me singing (I honestly didn't remember that was on there - I thought I had recorded over it.) Well, my roommates (although they didn't mean to) had a great laugh to my dismay. I was mortified.

And now we are to present day. I think some part of me still is nervous that the person next to me will be laughing as I am belting out in pure adoration of my Creator. There are just some songs you have to can't hold it in. I just don't want to be known as the person people don't want to sit by at church because of the way they sing.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The ins and outs of Fall Break

I recently had Fall Break...not only was it wonderful, it was relaxing! I checked out some books, watched some movies, took was great!

On Saturday, I went to Chicago with a friend. It started off with a stop at a VERY nice McDonald's near I-65. As I was going to the bathroom (sorry...), I heard a voice, "Mommy? Mommy's gone." I knew it was going to happen. I just waited for it. Sure enough, here comes a head popping under my stall door. All the time, I was saying, "Not your mom." This didn't stop the young boy. He came all the way into my stall! All the way. I, AGAIN, said, "Not your mommy." After he left the stall, I told him to wait and I'd help him find his mom. Turns out, mom was at the counter ordering food. I guess her little boy has walked off before by the look on her face as she dragged him over to the table with his siblings.

But this wasn't the end of the fun. As we parked the car, I noted we were on parking level 3. We realized that as we entered the stairwell that you cannot exit through another level. Only the bottom level. Duly noted for the future. After a great time shopping and spending time with my friend's friend, we made our way back to the parking garage. Thank goodness we had brought our ticket from the garage. We paid at the terminal and were short three dollars. As we called the intercom for help, the lady kept repeating the same question to us. Turns out we weren't waiting long enough for silence to respond back. We made our way into the elevator, I pressed the level three button and we walk out. Walking down the stretch to the opposite side where we parked, we noticed that the car wasn't there. We were on level 4. Knowing the stairwell locks you in, we walked around on the floor of the garage. We come to the next floor of small compact cars and now we are on level 2. Where's level 3? It was like Harry Potter and the invisible train station.

We had seen a man pop his head around the corner and as we made our way to where we thought the car was the man disappeared. I made sure my friend had her keys out (I know that I have watched way too many Law and Order shows.) and the guy popped around the corner again. Turns out he worked there (thank goodness) and he asked us if we were missing our car. The thought did cross my mind that the car had been stolen. He had us go in the stairwell (he had keys) and took us to level 3 (which I still don't know how we missed it) and to our car.

Does the adventure end there? No...

We pulled up to the cashier to get our extra three dollars. The lady wasn't there. We pressed the help button again. She came out and after filling out some paperwork, we finally got the three dollars. We pull up to the mechanical arm and NOTHING. After backing up and pulling forward, it still wasn't working. We put in the ticket showing that we've paid and since we have now gone over the 15 minute grade period, we owe another 6 dollars...thankfully, we didn't have to pay that. The lady tried again to raise the mechanical arm and still NOTHING. By this time, another car has pulled up behind us. She had to back up. Our car moved over another aisle to see if that arm worked and of course it didn't. Another lady pulled up and said to the lady, "I didn't get all of my change back from the machine." Ha ha...welcome to our world! At this time, five other cars are now there and to inform them, I decide to get out of the car to let them know what's going on. Chicago people are not nice. I thought they would have been thankful to know why we had been sitting there and not moving...but not many people smiled and no one said thank you.

Twenty-three minutes later, the parking garage attendant had to use her keys to manually raise the arms...why did this not happen 15 minutes ago? The five cars that had pulled up were now going to be able to leave. Our parking garage moment was finally over. I guess I could go on about how we then got lost in downtown Chicago trying to find our way back home (we didn't have the directions in reverse to get back), but that wasn't as funny as the other events. I mean, how many people get stuck in a parking garage for 23 minutes???

My friend and I had a good laugh and promised to write the story...we both teach and know that this small moment will be great to share with our classes.


I received in the mail on Friday some necklaces I ordered. I love them! Some of them I ordered for my small group girls and others I ordered for myself. They are beautiful!!! And cheap! If you want to support a cause and order some great jewelry, check out By typing in Makenna when you check out, part of the money you spend goes to support my friend's daughter who lost her life after only six short weeks. Her story is here.

This is the necklace I wore today.

Please, take some time and look through the website. Any pendant you buy can go towards Makenna's research fund! And if you buy any, please let me know. I'd love to pass on to my friend that her daughter is still making a difference!!!