Monday, September 29, 2008


My class got to do a fun science experiment on Friday called Gloop. It is a mixture of glue, water, paint, and borax. We did it to show the change in matter from a liquid to a solid. The kids had an absolute blast and I am hoping they learned something from it too! The only bad part was that I let them all take some gloop home in plastic baggies and when I asked if they had fun playing with it over the weekend, I heard some horror stories. One girl said she left it (out of the baggie) on her bed and it left a purple blotch on her sheet. Another girl left it on her couch and she said her mom took it away and made her scrub the couch. A boy said his mom threw it away. Several other children said they left it out and it spread off the table and onto the floor. These parents must have hated me!!! 

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Just a Little Advice

So I haven't done anything too exciting lately, but I did have open house night at school which made me think about what kind of parent is ideal to a teacher. For what it's worth here are my top ten things a parent should or shouldn't do/be to be on the teacher's good side. 
Disclaimer: None of my student's parents read this blog, so I'm not trying to get anything out of this. :)

Ten: You can walk your child to the door (or not) on a daily basis, but they don't need you to unpack their backpack, clean out their desk, sharpen their pencils, and do their morning work for them. Independence is sweet!

Nine: Just sign their folder/planner each night please, so we know you have checked behavior, etc.

Eight: Do sign up for conference nights so we know you care, but if your child has no issues, don't stay for 30 mins. or more asking what more we can do for your child. They're fine!

Seven: Don't believe everything your child tells you. Believe me, most children lie when they know they're in trouble. Tears don't necessarily mean they are telling the truth. Do stand up for your child but listen to our side too. (Can you tell I've experienced this one a lot?)

Six: Smile and wave when we see you. It's just nice, plus we know you aren't mad about anything.

Five: Do homework with your child so you know what we are doing in class, how much they know, and so you can supplement what we don't always have time for in class. Plus, it's a good chance for you to play a little, "Are you smarter than a ________ grader?" with yourself. 

Four: Whether your child is in trouble all the time or is a perfect angel, their teacher will just plain like them better if you send in gifts. Sad, but true. Christmas, birthday, teacher appreciation week, and end of the year are all good occasions for presents. Oh, no mugs or candles PLEASE! I could line my classroom in mugs and candles. (If the mugs are filled with something really good, we'll accept them happily. Suggestions? Gift cards to anywhere, teacher supplies, children's books, flowers, and chocolate. 

Three: Be patient with us. Don't think that we are bad teachers if we forget to send home one homework assignment, answer one note, or are a bit behind in returning work. We have a whole class to think about and get about a thousand interuptions a day of little fingers tapping us with a thousand different needs.

Two: Teachers love compliments too! If you thought a project was really awesome, tell us! We work really hard to make learning fun and worthwhile, and we do worry if parents think we are doing a good job. Don't wait until the end of the year to tell us we are the best teacher your kid has ever had, or that they loved coming to school everyday. 

One: Okay, this one is the biggie. I feel very strongly about how a parent volunteers. Do volunteer in the classroom in whatever way you can, but don't overwhelm us by making you more work than you help. If you have little kids, offer to cut stuff out at home or come in for big parties or events. If you just have to be there more often... tell the teacher what kinds of volunteering you are comfortable doing, but let her/him tell you what they need done most. Don't tell the teacher you will be in every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 8:00 to 11:00. We will work around your schedule and probably don't need your help three days a week. We don't want to feel spied on, so when you are in there, smile a lot and give sympathetic looks to the teacher when a kid (or the class) is acting out, instead of judging. I love volunteers... just not that much...sorry. 

There you have it. Ignore me or take some of it to heart, but I swear teachers talk about this stuff! I'm just trying to make life easier for parents and teachers alike. By the way, I do know that there are some bad teachers out there and that is really hard. You have to do what is best for your kid! 

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

Monday the 8th was my birthday and it was a really nice one! I feel like as I get a bit older, I really don't care about having a party or some amazing day. I just want a good meal (that I didn't have to cook), a few fun presents, phone calls from family and friends, and to not have to clean. My students were really cute in trying to be good for my birthday. When a kid would act up, about 5 others would yell, "HEY, BE QUIET! IT'S MRS. HARRIS'S BIRTHDAY!" Because, you know, that really helps. One mom even brought in a cake and flowers and I got a few other little gifts and cards from students. Chris and his parents took me out to a Japanese Hibachi place called Tokyo. It is sooo good! His mom also made me a cheesecake and banana bread. We came home and I opened presents. Chris had gotten me roses and gets extra points this year for my gift. I have to get the benefits from being married to a guy in the jewelry business right?
Chris got me this ring and it is awesome!
Here we are at Tokyo. (A thanks to my grandma who's birthday money paid for my new shirt!)
Me with my presents. I got some beautiful jewelry and stamps from my parents, a cool serving piece from my sister, some gift cards from Chris's parents (including to my fav. store, Banana Republic), and some great cards and spending money from grandparents. A huge thank you to everyone who made me feel loved on my birthday! Here are some cute cards I got from students. The first I thought was hilarious, and given to me by a student I had last year! Sorry, I couldn't figure out how to make them go the right way!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Welcome to my Job

If you are 7 years old, taking a test in school, finish writing your answer and are waiting for the next question to be read, what do you do?
a) sit quietly 
b) reread the question to make sure you got it right
c) daydream
d) figure out that pencil topper erasers can act as suction cups all over your face and share that knowledge with your 7 year old neighbor who copies you.

You guessed it, choices a-c are WAY too normal. Choice d is what I saw while walking around my room during a reading test. I am not allowed to post pictures of my students on the internet, so I cropped this one because it is too good to pass up. I know I shouldn't condone this behavior, but I couldn't help busting up and taking a picture. The other boy had them on his cheeks, neck and chin, but pulled them off when I whipped out my camera. As you can see, this child is not shy. The part I should have taken a picture of is the suction marks about 10 of my students had after removing the erasers off their bodies. That's right, welcome to my job.

Golf & Girls

Despite the slightly suggestive title (I am now realizing), life has been pretty typical lately. Here are a couple updates. On labor day Chris and I pretty much just hung out at home until the late afternoon when I gave in and rode along in the golf cart while Chris enjoyed his most favorite thing in the world. I had fun once Chris started playing better a few holes into the game. He is not fun to golf with when he isn't hitting well! I don't think my little, "It's just a game!" comments helped much. Oops. We saw some fun wild life while on the course though. 

I love turtles! This one hid inside his shell when we came near, then ran (for a turtle) really fast towards the water as soon as we drove away.
We saw these creatures by the water and are pretty sure they are river otters. They were so cute!

Of course, more of my buddies, the sand cranes. Chris told me this one has a broken wing from a guy that got mad after a shot and hit another ball really hard which ended up hitting the bird and breaking his poor wing. Bummer! 

Last night I got to go to my friend Toni's for a girl's night (hence the golf and girls title). We had a good time talking, eating, failing miserably at Dance Dance Revolution, and enjoying time with each other.