I have a bad habit of getting easily distracted when my little charges enter the classroom each morning. They will be handing me folders, asking questions, sharing some important tidbit of news that I HAVE to know right that moment, or making sure that I see their show and tell for the day; all at the same time.

I remember one morning about fifteen years ago when  this morning routine  took a very unusual turn. I was so intent on making sure that I was counting each child as I took attendance, that I wasn't really paying attention to what one student was asking me. He stood beside me asking if he could show me his show and tell for the day. Without looking up from my attendance book, I said sure and kept focusing on checking the roll. The next thing I knew, kids were screaming and  bugs were hopping all over me. I looked up in shock, slack jawed, only to have a cricket fly in my mouth. It startled me so much that  I fell off my low rolling stool trying to swat them off of me while I spit  out what I could of the lone critter who was trying to make its way down my throat. Lets just say that I hope I never have the pleasure of tasting one of those crunchy little critters again.

If I had paid attention, I would have seen that the child was tugging at the lid as he asked me if he could show me his bucket of crickets. I am talking about a bucket the size that fried chicken comes in. His dad was an avid fisherman and had bought a bucket for him at a local fishing shack the day before so that he could bring them in for show and tell.

By that time, other teachers and parents were making their way to my door to see what all of the commotion was about.Within minutes, they were joined by my assistant who had been on bus duty and the Assistant Principal! They all rushed in to the sight of kids  running around  screaming and me sitting on the floor swatting bugs. What a way to start the day!

I am happy to say that not only did we get to hear them chirp that morning as the fisherman dad hoped, but they continued chirping for months. Crickets are very good at hiding in nooks and crannies!

Wouldn't you think that I would have learned my lesson about too much early morning multi-tasking after that particular day? Not I  responded the kindergarten teacher!

I got this comment from a parent on Tuesday when I blogged about Grandparents Day.

You would probably hate me in real life.
I'm the mom who never shows up for anything. I hate "
facetime" at school. I have tons of facetime with my kids after school.
The grandparents, though, can still be seduced. I'll send them your way.

 I had to look twice to make sure I read it right. I hope that any parents that put in "facetime" in my classroom do it for their child, not for me. Parent involvement and attention is a form of acknowledgment for your child!

Research shows that children do much better in school when parents communicate regularly with teachers and make efforts to become involved in the school. Even if it's only once a year, and you have to take a half-day off from work to do so, I would recommend that you do it. Come and spend time in your child's classroom, or just have lunch. I see my students get so excited when they see their parent in our classroom. It sends a very powerful message to the child that you care about her as well as her education.

In most schools, you don't need an excuse to visit the classroom. Just ask the teacher if you can come in to volunteer, join the class on a field trip, tutor, or just come for a special event.

In the short time I have been a part of the blogging world, I have been so impressed by Moms like Adrienne, Debbiedoos, ~J, Shell, Debbie- Single Complicated, Velvet Over Steel, and Kelly who blog about helping in the classroom, going on a field trip, or just having lunch with their child. I wonder how they would respond if you asked one of their children if the "facetime" made a difference. Adrienne and Velvet have blogged about how hurt their child was at the lack of involvement in school activities from an absentee Dad.

Tomorrow night I will have my annual party for my class in my home. We will have pizza, juice boxes,  and special activities. The boys get to play in the tree-house we built for our daughter when she was little and play ball. The girls are going to get a manicure.  Then we are all going to watch a movie. I wonder how my little charges would react if I told them " Sorry.....no party! I have plenty of facetime with you during school! I don't need anymore."

Let me throw that question out to all the Moms  and Dads out there. What do you think about "facetime" in the schools?

As hard as they try, cafeteria managers often have a hard time getting hot lunches to appeal to the masses. I remember one year that the Central Office administration in my public school system decided to serve breakfast for lunch hoping to increase the number of students buying lunch. They created what looked like a corn dog by putting sausage on a stick and wrapping pancake batter around it. before cooking it The bread was supposed to taste like a pancake anyway. The very first time it was served in our cafeteria sticks in my mind.

As one little boy moved down the serving line he started jumping up and down. He kept repeating how much he loveddddddddd corn dogs. I had to slow the child down long enough for him to give the cashier his lunch number. He made a beeline to a table and plopped down beside two friends. "I love corn dogs!" he told his friends. "I mean I LOVE corn dogs!" he repeated with emphasis. He took a huge bite and then a look of utter shock crossed his face. The way he grimaced, I was afraid he wasn't going to be able to swallow it. The children seated on either side of him must have had the same thought because they leaned away from him. When the poor kid could finally speak again, he said "What is this? Ewwww.!! This ain't no corn dog. This is just plain NASTY! Even my dawg wouldn't eat this thang and he eats everythang!" I couldn't have agreed more.

In two weeks, we will be having Grandparents day in our school. It is a really special day where we honor our Grandparents (or a special Friend for children who do not have grandparents. We make books for them, gift them a gift of a silhouette cut by yours truly, and then have a  ceremony complete with a red carpet and podium. We use a microphone and each child gets to come up and read "I love my grandparents because....."! One year a little girl got up to the microphone, looked out at the audience and said "I don't want to do it with people here! Can they leave? She was the exception though as most can't wait to get up and introduce the audience to their beloved grandparents or special friend! We always have a big crowd and parents video the presentation.


This is the book we make for each grandmother. As you can see below, grandmothers range in age from 32 to 90 as far as the children are concerned!

Here is our grandfather book that we make! There is a wide range in age for grandfathers as well!

Here are two samples of silhouettes that I made. I trace each child's face on an overhead, shrink the copy down and then cut the silhouette out of canson paper before I back it on cardstock. We also give one to the parents at the end of the year. Parents really like it and come back and ask us to do older siblings.  Each silhouette is matted individually. I cut these last night.

Yesterday, I got up and felt on top of the world...until I read something someone wrote to me. It was filled with anger. Have you ever unknowingly done something so thoughtless that you unwittingly upset others? It is hard to examine choices one makes and realize that you made a mistake but that is what I did yesterday. My first reaction was to strike back in anger at the unkind words but then I realized that I wasn't blameless. My thoughtless actions had consequences.  I suppose you are wondering what I did. 

I have been blogging for all of two months. I got as excited about it as a kid riding a bike without training wheels for the first time as I started to chronicle my days as a teacher. You could compare my enthusiasm to that of a kid in a candy store when it came to sharing my funny or sad stories about my teaching years with others. I started to get followers which was even more exciting! People actually wanted to read what I wrote. But then, I got greedy. I wanted more people to read my blog so I wrote a message last week  on other blogs saying that if a person would be interested in following my blog, I would gladly follow their blog back. I got a lot of followers that way so I did it again this week. 

Now comes the part of this post that is hard to own up to.  I got another message later  in the day yesterday from a sister in Christ. She kindly but purposefully pointed out to me how thoughtless I had been by posting that message. I hadn't bothered to read anything about her but instead had just left that message. I felt like God was telling me to go back and read her blog so I did.  Here was a lovely woman who is suffering from a rare neurovascular disease that has left her disabled yet she praises God and is thankful for her blessings. She blogs about her lovely daughter, her sweet and supportive close-knit family, and her daily struggles with unrelenting pain. Despite this pain, she has a beautiful spirit to match her physical beauty. Not wanting the good work God can do through me to be hindered by my thoughtlessness, I bowed my head and asked God to forgive me for using such poor judgment and for being selfish.  Then I wrote to both people and apologized. I am thankful for the lesson I learned yesterday despite the pain that it caused me.

Its hard to admit that we make mistakes but I am so thankful that God is so forgiving. I wish each and every one of you that reads this a very blessed day.

Thou, O Lord, Art A God Full of Compassion, and Gracious....Psalm 86:15