Sunday, November 19, 2006

Tis the season

I recently spent time partaking in one of my favorite activities....browsing books. Not just any books, children's literature. It's the season--the book fair is in town!
There's something about book fairs that always bring me back to being a kid. Do you remember that excitement of knowing that soon you'd be let loose in a room full of books with money to spend and no one to tell you what you had to buy? I remember clutching my money tightly in hand, choosing more books than I could afford than agonizing over which ones to buy before finally narrowing it down to the one or two I could get. My, how I loved the book fair at school.

Now I get to watch my students go through this same process. It's still just as much fun for me too, because I get to create a teacher wish list, and am lucky enough that I often get many books purchased for me by my students. Of course, I also get to shop. This year I managed to buy books for Russ, my nieces and my student teacher.
There is a problem with the book fair....yes, there really is. Now they offer other items. Things that kids naturally gravitate towards. Things that teachers roll their eyes at and say "Why do they put these things at the book fair!?!" Yes, it's true, I am turning into one of those people who wishes that their students didn't buy erasers that look and sound like screwdrivers, pencil toppers that don't actually sit on the pencil, pens with fuzzy head tops that just get in the way....these are the things that I end up confiscating and hiding in my drawer.
So here is my message: Books! The book fair should be about books! Don't buy toys! Buy books!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Umm....WHAT did you say!?!?

Today my student teacher was in the midst of a spelling lesson on making words. The students had a bunch of letters in front of them and they were given directions to switch around, add and remove letters in order to make new words. Now that you know the background, here is what I overheard while working at my desk:

Student Teacher: OK boys and girls, now that you spelled city, take away the c and add a t.
I'll give you a minute to think about that....yup, that's right....
Student A: tity??
Student B: Tity! I got it, it's tity!
Student C: Tity!
Students D-I: Tity! Tity! Tity!
Me: Miss R, aren't there more directions?
Student Teacher: Umm yeah, boys and girls, take away one of the t's and add an n.
The word was supposed to be tiny.

I held my laughter in all the way down the stairs, and into the office. Where I promptly told the entire story to a colleague with tears running down my face.

Saturday, November 11, 2006


Recently, at a school sponsored parent-teacher gathering, we ran into people we haven't seen in awhile---spouses. Actually, the last time we socialized with many of these spouses was at a wedding this past summer when we were in the throes of fixing up our house and every day was a new adventure. So it was basically all we talked about. And there was a lot to say. This summer it seemed like something new was happening every day. I remember when Russ and I would spend the evening checking off all the things we had accomplished that day.
Then work got in the way. Russ got a new job, school started, open house happened, then conferences....not to mention contract he's in the middle of report cards while I'm gearing up for them. Housework has stalled. (Stalled sounds so much more hopeful than stopped, don't you think? Stopped is Stalled means it will restart again. At some point. Hopefully sooner rather than later.) Anyways, you can guess what happened at the party Friday night. Everyone asked about the house. Here's how the conversations went: (yes, plural. This one conversation was repeated at least four times, with some variations.)

Friend: So, how's the housework going?
Russ or I: Well.......(long pause) it's going. (Instantly jump into a bit of a defensive mode) You know, we got so much done this summer, basically redid the whole kitchen, and now, with school and everything..... (voice trails off) Well, we haven't gotten much done lately.
Friend: (Aiding us in justifying the fact that there is an ever increasing list of work to do) It's so hard with school.
Russ or I: Exactly. He got the new job, and had to finish off the old, it was hard. And she's been so busy with the contract. And lately it's just been all about the leaves! (Launch into a side track about raking that lasts a minute.) We'll get to the work. We're thinking Thanksgiving will be a good time to get some work done.
Friend: That's a great idea. Then you'll have some days off.

You get the gist I'm sure.

We left the party feeling exhausted (of course, it was a Friday night after all) but also strangely motivated. No, we didn't rush home and pick up our screw driver and paint brush and get to work. But we did start talking about a serious plan to get moving on some of the projects. If the leaves would just stop falling, it might actually happen!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The great leaf debate

Last weekend, we attacked the leaves that have been collecting on our lawn. Well, actually, I attacked the leaves with some enthusiasm while Russ cursed. Everything. The leaves, the trees for having so many leaves, the wind for shaking down the leaves, the quarter acre lot our house sits on for collecting so many leaves.....(Keep in mind the poor man was sick, but he honestly wasn't outside for more than an hour, while I spent considerably more time raking and hauling. Actually, he only came outside after I started using his brand new blower. Presumably he was checking on me to see how it was going--it wasn't--and ended up taking over and using the leaf blower himself. Which I happily gave up for my good old fashioned, wooden rake.)
At one point while raking, in an effort to distract him, I started asking him his opinion on the leaf debate: do you rake a few weekends in a row, collecting the leaves that have fallen, or wait until all the leaves all fall before doing one huge raking session. He was too miserable and cold at that point to really participate though so I never got a clear cut answer. I brought the question up at school and half of my male colleagues (that would be two men, I do after all work in an elementary school!) thought you should rake a few weekends in a row.
After the ordeal we went through last weekend (there are, no joke, mountains of leaves threatening, with one swift gust of wind, to come through the barbed wire fence onto our yard again) I'm inclined to agree with them.
And the worst part is, we still aren't even halfway done with raking our yard, so we'll be out there again this weekend. Raking and hauling. Hauling and raking.