Archive for November, 2011

November 30, 2011

4th grade quotes

by stryson

There are two boys in my first period class, fourth graders, who are quite funny naturally… and who have been striving to get in my quote notes often of late. (They realize I write down quotes; they certainly don’t know what I do with them, other than laugh to myself.) Here are some beauties of late.

First, boy #1 found out that he needs to not consume dairy for a month; it has something to do with allergy testing that he is receiving. He comes in that day and announces to me that his life is over, because, “If I don’t get my Cinnamon Toast Crunch in the morning, I’m nothing!

This same boy had a strange comment after I gave an example for the word etcetera, wherein I listed a whole bunch of objects I own that are orange. (Orange is my favorite color, and the kids know this.) At the end of my giant list, this boy announces, in a spooky storyteller voice, “Legend says that Mrs. Tryson’s bones are made out of orange.”


And boy #2 gave me a bit of a clever response this morning. The exchange went as follows:

Me: Have a seat.

Boy: Thanks, Mrs. Tryson! I’ll sell it for a million bucks!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: my job is not boring.

November 29, 2011

Reading updates

by stryson

Moving has cut into my reading time! I’d planned to be done with my 50 book a year challenge by this week, so that I can spend December continuing to work my way through Ulysses, but such is not the case. Today, I finished my 47th book. I’ll be lucky to finish the whole challenge, at this rate.

This challenge is a Goodreads phenomenon. If you’re interested, the group is here, and my posting is currently in the P-T section. When I finish, it’ll move to the finish line section. I completed the challenge two years ago, but skipped last year in favor of reading harder, longer books – which is when I began reading Ulysses.

The book I finished today was called Robert and the Class President. Clearly, it was a book I was reading with my students in school. As far as plot goes, the book is mediocre, but it does provide some opportunities for lessons on multiple meanings of words.

On the other hand, we’re reading a completely not mediocre book in my sixth grade class – The Great Gilly Hopkins. The kids are loving it, and we’ve gotten into some really great discussions so far. Gilly is so full of sass!

In my personal reading, I’m working on two books at the moment. The first is The Pilgrim’s Progress. This book was written in the 1700s, and it’s an allegory about a Christian making a pilgrimage that’ll end in heaven/the promised land. I’d gotten interested in this book because I’d heard it mentioned in other books. I seem to remember it coming up in Little Women, for example. (Side note: today is Louisa May Alcott’s birthday!) The other is called Queenmaker, which is a historical fiction novel about Michal, the first wife of King David of Israel.

I’m not truly concerned about reaching the fifty book goal for the year, but I am disappointed that I couldn’t finish as early as I’d have liked. I’ll be doing the challenge again next year, but I may break in December/January to finish Ulysses as planned, regardless.

November 22, 2011

The Giving Tree

by stryson

We do something called The Giving Tree at my school. Families and teachers can sign up to donate gifts to disabled children at a local facility. With each sign-up, the facility gives a list of suggestions for gifts, especially since many of the children are severely disabled, thus needing gifts that may be appropriate for a much younger age than they are.

When this year’s gift tags were passed out, the kids were, as usual, looking at each others’ to see what these kids were asking for. Suddenly, one of my sixth grade boys starts ranting about how this other child’s card said that the kid wanted a phone. He went on and on about how expensive cell phones are and how rude it was for them to ask for it if people were giving the gift anonymously. I went over to check out what was going on, and immediately saw the communication breakdown. The child in question was an infant, and the first gift suggestion was a mobile, as in the toy that hangs above a crib with dangling objects. However, my student saw mobile and thought mobile phone.

We all had a good laugh when that was cleared up, and my confused student felt quite relieved. Can you imagine if the student assigned this child actually bought the phone?

November 21, 2011

Anything to avoid homework

by stryson

Me: Take out your homework assignment pad.

Student: Quick, everybody! Act dead!

There are some days I think I should get crankier about student outbursts, but they’re just so funny.

November 20, 2011


by stryson

Last Monday, one of my fourth graders was talking about his twin sister, who goes to a different school. One of his classmates, after discovering that they were twins, asked, “So she looks exactly like you?”

“No,” replied the twin. “We’re not that kind of twins. There are two kinds of twins: vertical and the kind that look the same.”

I corrected his use of the word vertical, and he proceeded:

“Right, so there are two kinds of twins, fraternal and symmetrical.”

November 19, 2011


by stryson

So many of my students have large vocabulary deficits that being a walking dictionary is part of my job description. I don’t usually think twice about needing to define a word for a student on the spur of the moment, but every now and then, the word they choose to inquire about throws me for a loop. One such case happened a couple of weeks ago.

Student: What’s a Fitch?

Me: What? There’s no such thing.

Student: No, there is! What’s a Fitch?

Me: I’ve never heard of a Fitch.

Student: I saw it on a girl’s shirt!

Me: Ohhhh, that’s part of a name of a brand, Abercrombie & Fitch.

Student: So, what’s a Fitch?

This is a moment for a facepalm. We eventually cleared it up, but it took several examples.

November 18, 2011

Wednesday Morning Smiles

by stryson

Wednesday morning, one of my fourth graders gave me a very good laugh. He’s often grumpy, and we all gently tease him about it, trying to get him to learn to get over himself and lighten up. Well, one of the kids was telling him something or other that made him very happy, but all of a sudden, he goes “Ow! My mouth hurts!” He pauses, then adds, “I think I smiled too long!”

November 17, 2011

Computer Competition

by stryson

In one of my fifth grade classes, I have two girls that are engaging in a friendly competition. They use a typing program called Type to Learn, and they are each trying to surpass the other in levels, while still completing all the requirements. They’ve been neck-and-neck all year. I don’t mind this, because it’s wonderful to see them so motivated, no matter what the reason. They also refuse to be absent on the day they have me for class. (They have computers one time per week.) In that context, the following exchange occurred last Thursday. We’ll call one girl N and one girl L.

L: You’re never going to beat me!

N: What if you have to go to the doctor one day?

L: I won’t

N: What if I make you?

L: How?

N: I’ll get you an old man.

Me: What???

N: I’ll get L. an old man from a hospital, because maybe he’ll be sick. And then she’ll be sick. And I’ll win!

November 16, 2011


by stryson

My apologies for the dearth of posts lately. It’s been exactly one week since my husband and I closed on a new house! We’ve been working on this for six months now, since it was a short sale, and the seller’s bank was, to be diplomatic, not the most helpful group to work with. In any case, we’ve been quite busy, as you can expect.

Last night, I went straight to the house after school, and one of my good friends met me there. We worked on cleaning the upstairs bedrooms all afternoon, cleaning dust & grime off of the windows, walls, base boards, vents. It’s mind-boggling how much cleaning there can be to do in a completely empty room! My husband joined us after he got home from work, and we rounded out the evening with pizza, eaten on the floor of our empty sun porch, the room with the softest carpeting. I was excited when one of our neighbors saw us through the window, which I’d opened to let out some dust and let in some fresh air, and introduced herself from her driveway. I’m looking forward to living in a neighborhood where people actually socialize!

School continues on, alternately stressful and amusing. Expect more quote posts soon; I have a backlog piling up.

Now I’m off to prepare for a phone conference. We ended up cancelling our parent-teacher conferences because we missed so many days from the freak October snowstorm. However, some parents have requested phone conferences to make up for it. It should be pretty quick and easy, though.

Enjoy your rainy (at least here) day!

November 7, 2011

(Unfortunately) Catchy Songs

by stryson

Parents and teachers of young children everywhere will join me in sympathy on this one: my kids love to obsess about songs. Often, they are extremely catchy… and quick to become annoying. Rather than be genuinely grumpy at the kids about this, as it’s what kids do – I know I did as a child – I try to be overly dramatic and funny about not wanting to hear the song. Unfortunately, this often backfires and makes me hear it more, since they want the reaction, but it’s all good.

Two years ago, the song was Numa Numa.

Last year, it was Friday.

This year…. it’s the Gummy Bear Song.

I apologize if that’s now stuck in your head for all of eternity. Blame my fourth graders.