Simple Sunday – How Much for the Cat?

The boys set up a store in our living room this morning to “sell” their snap block creations.  Using the tickets they gave me, I purchased three items, then paused and asked, “How much for the cat?”


The cat was not for sale.

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How do you Plot Your Lions?

In our classroom, we have been working on data collection and graphing.  We have spent time using tally charts, frequency charts, pictographs, picture graphs (also referred to as scaled picture graphs, just to make life more confusing), bar graphs, and line plots.

As an end of the chapter check point, the students were asked to identify graphs and charts as well as transfer data from one type of graph/chart/plot to another graph/chart/plot.  On the identification portion of the activity, they were given a word bank, a box containing a variety of graph/chart/plot names, that they could use to match with the correct data collection tool.

One of the students had correctly matched up the graphs/charts/plots with the vocabulary names for these items.  She did, however, misspell the line plot.  In very neat handwriting she had written, lion plot.

It made me laugh.  I circled the word and drew an arrow to the correct spelling of the word, but she received full credit for her lion plot.

Line and Lion Plot Collage

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Parenting Fail – Soap vs. Shampoo

Somewhere along the way Husband and I neglected to successfully define and differentiate between the two body washing products used in our house – soap and shampoo.

This was only recently discovered, and quite by accident.  You see, both boys got haircuts last weekend.  Cody just had a trim and some layering as he wants to continue to grow it out.  Carter, on the other hand, got it cut quite short.

The first post haircut shower, Carter’s hair, short as it was, still managed to tangle.  It was maddening, impossible – but there it was.  It was also dry to the point of being almost brittle.  It was only after I specifically asked him exactly how he washed his hair that the soap vs. shampoo parenting fail was revealed. 

Carter, who is about two weeks shy of his 9 year old birthday, has been diligently washing his body with shampoo and his hair with Irish Spring deodorant soap.  Nine years, nine! Oh, how I hang my head…

I have always wondered why Carter’s hair has had a propensity for tangling – now I know.

On the bright side, at least his hair does not sweat!

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Simple Sunday – A Mini Vacation

Today felt like a mini vacation.  Yesterday we completed a long list of errands and tasks, leaving today open for fun.  We went to the Phoenix Zoo, followed by lunch out, and finally ice cream, before finding our way home.

While the zoo offers many attractions, the boys found a stone frog statue that entertained them for quite a while while Husband and I sat on a bench in the shade.  We are members at the zoo, so I felt no rush to remove them from the frog to see live animals.


Cody joined us on the bench for a while, but not too long.


Even though we did not actually accomplish much and it is early in the afternoon, I am as tired as this sleeping monkey (although not as cute). 

Sleeping Monkey

The boys have decided to take a splash in our pool so perhaps I will lounge poolside and check for holes in my eyelids (an expression my dad was fond of saying) while Husband keeps an eye on them from his perch up-top our outdoor patio table, where he is busy installing a new ceiling fan.  Apparently he still finds it necessary to be a bit productive. 

But not I.


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Bad Joke

In my classroom, we end our day with about ten minutes of a share, telling, or joke.  There is a sign-up list the students use to maintain some order in the process.  Many of the students lately have gotten into telling jokes.  Some are pretty darn good and I try to remember them so I can tell Cody and Carter when I get home. 

I say try because I usually don’t end up remembering them.

This week a student stumped the entire class with this riddle:  what word stays the same when you take away the first, last, and middle letter.  I will get to the answer in a minute.

After dinner, I remembered the riddle and told it to Husband and the boys.  They did not know and wanted me to tell them.  I told them I would let them think it over for about 20 minutes.  This caused much groaning and complaining.

Perhaps in retaliation, Carter busted out with one of his many joke books.

carter:  What is the hardest part of skydiving?

husband: Jumping out of the plane?

carter: In a disgusted voice, No poppa!

me: The ground!

carter: Yes momma!

I am good with kid jokes.  I don’t know if I should be proud of this or not.

Carter tells a few more jokes (what’s black and white and black and white and orange?  Two skunks fighting over a basket ball.)

Not to be outdone, I chime in with a fart joke that was told in my classroom (one I gently suggested to the boy may not have been the most appropriate of topic choices (but secretly I was fine with)).

me:  What is the best place to fart?

Cody, as if on cue, lets one rip and Carter laughs and answers “here?”

me:  No!  A gas station!

Carter in a voice filled with what sounds like exasperation and shame that I am related to him says, “Oh, momma!”


Oh, and the answer to the riddle…

EMPTY    becomes   EMPTY      M T




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Traveling Sideways

In our classroom today we were suppose to be comparing two different texts with similar themes.  The story today was of a boy named Carlos who started out really wanting a particular breed of dog.  As the story progresses, the boy finds out by working at an animal shelter that it is not the breed of the dog, but the dog’s personality that truly matters.  We were going to compare that to the drama of King Midas and his wish for the golden touch but we never made it that far.

Instead the discussion of blanket judgements and preconceived notions ensued.  Pretty heavy stuff for a class of third graders.  We talked about how dangerous these ideas can be.  We nitpicked the wordage one uses when talking – how saying “my religion is the right one” is so very different than saying “I believe in my religion”, (believe it or not, this was an example from a student, not one of mine). 

One boy commented that such thoughts can spread.  Another brought up racism.  And yet another tied in human’s fears and judgements of sharks to the ugly practice of cutting off their fins and leaving them to drown – all for a bowl of shark-fin soup.

I am pretty good at traveling sideways with my class.  There is a time to stay on topic and a time to know that the destination of what I call sideways travel, is more important that the preassigned learning objective that is neatly tied to a common core state standard. 

Today we traveled sideways.  And it was good.

Although at one point we did travel a bit too far when one student tried to tie in seeing a seal sunning itself on a beach with the shark topic.  She held up her arms, one arm up and out and the other crossed over her face, to mimic the sleeping seal.  Upon seeing this, a boy piped up, “So the seal was dabbin’?!?”

Image result for a seal dabbing

I had to turn my back on the class so they could not see my muffled laughter.  When I turned back around, I nudged the conversation back to Carlos and his dog.  


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Simple Sunday – Easter Birthday

Today Cody turns 11.  It is the first time since his birth that Easter falls on his birthday.  The next time this will happen, he will be turning 22. 

Happy birthday sweet boy.  You are amazing!

I re-post his birth story every year on his birthday.  As you read it, simply replace the “six years ago” with “eleven years ago.

It still gives me chills to read.  He was born too early and the experience has impacted my life, changing so much in how I view and interact with the world.

p.s. – if you have never read it before, don’t worry, there are no gross details.  It was an emergency C-section and both Cody and myself were knocked out during it.


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“The Cubs are on a roll in the replay of the game!” exclaimed Cody shortly after he had just seen them lose to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

I simply shook my head, smiled, and agreed with him.

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My Towel

My Towel

My towel does not travel

on the days that you are gone.

Instead it hangs upon the wall

face looking blue and long.

It wants to see the bathroom

from a new and different view.

Oh how sad my towel is

Oh, how it misses you!

~To Husband~

Husband has been out of town this week for work.  This has caused a great disruption in my morning, after-shower routine.  Our bathroom does not have the typical towel rack, a space where more than one towel can hang together or side by side.  No, our towels have to travel from one hook, that is close to the shower, to a different hook that resides across the room from the shower.


Normally after I get out of the shower and dry myself (and the cat) off, I walk the four steps across the room to where Husband’s dry and yet to be used towel waits.  I remove Husband’s towel from its hook, put mine in its place, and then walk the four steps back across the room to hang Husband’s towel on the hook closest to the shower door. 

But this week there is no need for such traveling towels.  This morning as I replaced my towel on the same hook I took it from, this poem formed in my head.

My towel is looking forward to your return Husband, and so am I. 

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AzMERIT with a Side of Chocolate Cake

The next two weeks are AzMERIT weeks in our household.

In case you do not live in Arizona and as such are lucky to not know of what I speak, the AzMERIT is a statewide standardized test that is given to all students once a year, covering English Language Arts, Writing, Math, and in the higher grades, Science.  It requires the students to enter their answers on a computer, to focus, and stay quiet and in their seats for hours at a time.  It is high stakes and it starts in third grade.  When they are eight.  Eight. 

Apparently students who are not protected under an IEP or other individualized education program and who do very poorly on the reading portion of the text, may be held back.  I say “apparently” because I have not actually seen this happen or have heard of an actual student that someone I know knows, be held back.  But that is not saying too much as this is my third year teaching and my first one in a grade level that actually has to administer the test.

Yes, it is a time of anxiety.  The students are stressed.  Their parents are stressed.  The teachers are stressed.  The whole thing is just no fun.

And so I soothe the little ones, who are taking it for the first time.  I soothe their parents who email me of tears and upset tummies.  I soothe my own two children who at the breakfast table yesterday were in tears.  All over a test.  Ugh.

This week in our house we are using the AzMERIT as an excuse.  An excuse to eat leftover chocolate birthday cake as an after school snack.  We deserve it, we say.  We have worked hard. 

So we soothe ourselves with chocolate cake and wait for the AzMERIT to be over.  

I am concerned that we might run out of cake before we run out of test…


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