I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was

Even though you know where the kid is going with the story, it’s usually just best to let it unfold…

4th grade boy: “Mrs. [Computer Teacher], I’ve always liked numbers and doing math. So when I was little, I kept telling my parents that I wanted to be a taxidermist because I figured the “tax” part of the word meant, like, taxes. It wasn’t until later that I meant I wanted to be an accountant. Do you know what a taxidermist does?”

Computer Teacher: “…..no. What?”

4th grade boy: “They stuff dead animals. That’s pretty different than an accountant.”


Hidden Depths

I never cease to be amazed by the things I discover about my students.  Sometimes they’re frustrating, sometimes they’re sad, sometimes they’re inspiring, and sometimes they’re just unexpected.  Take the conversation I had with a seemingly typical third grader today as he was checking out his books.

Me:  You like the Knicks?  They usually put the [local team] out of the playoffs, don’t they?
Third grader (wearing a Knicks shirt):  I usually watch them with my grandpa at my house.
Me:  Is your grandpa from New York?
Third grader:  No.  He’s from here.  So’s my dad. (Walks away, but comes back.)  But he only went to Rio one time and met my mom there.
Me:  So, he was visiting Rio and he met your mom?
Third grader:  Yeah. She’s from Poland. (Walks away, but comes back.)  So am I.
Me:  You were born in Poland?
Third grader:  Yes.

His teacher confirmed this and informed me the kid actually still speaks Polish.  Who knew?

Find Your Smile Again

How do you find your smile?  Forget about too much to do.  Go out to dinner with your best friend and favorite four-year-old.

Make sure it’s a place where you can eat good food outside.  And one that lets the four-year-old play with pizza dough.


Watch her make smiley faces.  They’ll be pretty contagious.


She’ll share mustaches with mom.


Don’t forget the goatee.


Let the laughter ensue.


It will be a good evening.

Recess Success

Highlight of the day yesterday: A student got their leg stuck in some playground equipment. Our principal and assistant principal climbed up, freed the student, then – in suits – slid down our two 20 foot slides to the cheers of the other kids. I wish there were photos because it was both hilarious and amazing.

Generation to Generation

My aunt and her husband are visiting from Texas for a few days, so our extended family got together for some grilled hotdogs and hamburgers tonight.  We ate, shared stories of the old days, stories of missing family members, and laughed.

We’re just an ordinary American family, with roots going back mostly to England, but with a little German thrown in as well.  My uncle’s wife hauled us all out to the yard for photos.  They are just a couple of shots of ordinary people, like you would see in any family album or on any smart phone these days (one’s even a little blurry).  But to me they are special people indeed.

My dad and his siblings.


The next generations, some of my cousins and I.


You hear the best stories from ordinary people. That sense of immediacy is more real to me than a lot of writerly, literary-type crafted stories.  ~Chuck Palahniuk

Write Better E-Mails

The technology department (or at least one of the technology coaches) strikes again.

One would think someone in charge of technology would at least send a doable survey (tech sets the restrictions and “ghosts” them to each computer).  They seem to be having a bad start to the school year.

On the other hand, we had a very nice first day of school today.  I actually enjoyed seeing a lot of the kids after the summer.  Plus, it’s always nice starting in the middle of the week; only two more days until the weekend!

Visiting the Past

Spent some time this afternoon wandering around our state historical society.  They have a really nice building and some pretty interactive exhibits; it’s changed a lot since I worked in their library as a college student in the early 1990s.


The past is a nice place to visit (I did get my degree in history) but I wouldn’t want to live there.