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Monday, May 27, 2024

Weekend

 Friday was the last day of school.  I said good-bye to my class and I cried a little.  My sweetest boy cried and that about did me in.  He also slid a dollar across my desk at me.  I said, "You already gave me a gift yesterday!"

He insisted I take it.

We went back and forth and I finally decided to respect his desire to be generous and I took his dollar bill.

One of my girls grabbed my arm and walked around the classroom and said she loved it and pointed to the sign on the wall and read, "Everything you don't know if something you can learn."

It was like she was imprinting it all on her mind.

Some of the girls sat down on the floor and said, "We won't leave!"

When the bell rang, they lingered and I hugged every one of them, one by one.  My little guy who gave me so much trouble threw his arms around me and said, "I love you!"

It was hard to say good-bye.

We had more good-byes at the end of year teacher brunch.  Some of my dear friends are leaving and I can't imagine school next year without Emily, our special ed. teacher, who is moving to a new school.

That afternoon I finished my WGU orientation.  It was kind of a hassle and I hope the hassles don't continue as I continue with my degree.

I think Adam hopes they don't continue too, because guess who gets an earful about my hassles?

Saturday, Adam and Mark went with me to my school and spent hours building my new desk and drawer units.  It was very kind of them.  While they did that, I emptied three bookshelves and moved them and rearranged the contents onto two of them (I'm getting rid of one bookshelf).  On the one hand, it seems like getting rid of storage is the wrong move, but on the other hand, I have too much stuff and so less storage will keep me editing.

The rest of the weekend was lovely.  I worked with Marie Louise on family history.  When she came over, I said, "I'm in the middle of a soap opera."

She said, "Oh no!"

I said, "It's your family, not mine."

We unraveled a whole situation with a child being born whose mother was a "visitor" according to the census while the wife was still alive and living elsewhere.  A son on the census belonged to the father and visitor. Then the father married the mother of the second batch of children after the wife died five years later.

We just entered it all into Family Search, hoping they'll work it out in heaven.

We had dinner on the deck in perfect weather and my yellow roses from Nevada are blooming.  Liliana came as well as our kids and it is always so nice to have them.

Today we are doing the Memorial Day cemetery rounds and I couldn't be happier about it.



Friday, May 24, 2024

Grateful Friday

I feel very grateful today.  

Today is kind of the last day of school, but I don't know why we actually call it that when the day is so ridiculously short.  Yesterday felt like the last day and this is a little bit of fluff the next day for reasons beyond my understanding.

We will have a fun faculty party though.  I have no idea what we'll be doing, but I know who is in charge of it and I therefore know it will be fun.

I took my crayon initials I had made for my students and they were thrilled.  It makes me happy to make them happy.  My sweetest boy had told me the day before when I said I had a gift for them, that he would also have a gift for me.

It was a trophy, made out of tinfoil.



He is more often than not very solemn.  He said, solemnly, "It is a trophy that I only give to the best teachers.  Guess how many teachers I have given it to before this?"

I said, "How many."

He said, "Zero."

He also gave me a personal invitation for recess:


He meant it was the World Cup.  It was mostly some kids in my class against some kids in Miriam's class and those kids take soccer VERY seriously.  They have gloves they share for the goalie to wear.  They run around yelling GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAL when they score and they fall very dramatically when they get bumped.  I had recess duty, so I couldn't watch the entire World Cup, but I checked in several times.

Another student brought me a picture his mom had painted for me.


She gave me the bottom picture after our field trip to the butterfly biosphere last fall and the turtle is reminiscent of our aquarium field trip.  She was a chaperone at both field trips and is just so kind!  I told her son, "Thank you!" and "I love it!"  

He said, "Oh...my mom painted it."

(I also messaged his mom a thank you!)

Right before lunch, a student gave me this necklace to untangle.  It reminded me of the Gordian knot, but I tried my best to emulate Alexander the Great.



It took me a good part of my lunchtime, but I untangled it!



While I was untangling, the assistant principal came and told me that during the 6th grade graduation that  morning, one of my former students had mentioned me in his speech.  He said, "Mrs. Davis taught me cursive and it changed my life."

That just cracked me up.  I guess that just goes to show that you never know what will be life changing!

I saw another 6th grader in the hall and he said, "If I knew then, what I know now, 3rd grade would have been so easy!"

That is the goal.

During lunchtime, Miriam's husband brought some steak he had grilled for her class.  They also had watermelon and an ice cream sundae bar.  Miriam came and told me to come and get some steak.  It was hands down the best steak I have ever had.  Miriam and Nate go to the world championship for grilling and they are amazing.

I told them I had some fruit snacks for my class and they don't even expire until May 24.  

Nate said, "Fruit snacks that haven't expired yet are a delicacy!"

In the afternoon we cleaned out desks.  I had a list of where to put everything they found inside their desks.  It was on my overhead for all to see.  I even read it aloud to them and pointed to every destination of folders and textbooks and papers.

About half of them just got to work and cleaned their desks.

The other half asked me over and over, "Teacher, where do I put this?"

I would say, "Look at the board."

I thought I was going to lose my ever loving mind, but we survived it.

One of my trouble makers had had a difficult morning and was skating on very thin ice after an incident at lunch recess.  He struggled really hard in the less structured days of the past week.  Even though the office told me I was supposed to give him zero more warnings, I gave him a few. When he couldn't stop messing with other people, I called the office and Matt came and got him.  Matt had another student, a first grader who is also on the behavior struggle bus, in tow.  The first grader happens to have the same name as my student and he said, "Hey!  It's a party!"

(Aside:  no teacher at Bonneville will ever name a child that name.  That name is dead to us and that is science.)

Matt said, "Yes, it is."

And they went merrily down the hall.

Finally, whether or not I feel busy enough this summer, I have been given homework.

My students, past and present, are insisting I watch Thelma the Unicorn on Netflix.

And don't you think I won't.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Not yet

 

World's Best Third Graders

School is weird this last week.  

The schedule is irregular and my students want to know what exactly is happening and when and it's a little fluid because I don't always know.  That doesn't do much to satisfy them.

Yesterday we had the dance festival (see above).  We had two performances.  The early morning one was for the school and parents and the afternoon one was just for parents and we had to march on and off the stage and back to class in a very regimented way and third grade had our parachutes and different ways to enter the stage than everyone else so people (the aides who had been deputized to keep everyone in line) were kind bugged by us, but our parachutes had a big wow factor and we felt entitled to buck the rules.

Also, how is the dance festival so exhausting?  Maybe because it involves over 500 children and they are ready to amble in any direction if you let them.  In the morning when it was time to go back inside, I was sitting on the side furthest from the school.  Matt made the announcement for students to go back to class. En masse, my students turned to me. I pointed for my students to go back to the classroom and they all crowded towards me.  They were each carrying a chair and it was regular gridlock.

I had to fight my way through the 4th graders to get to the school side of my herd of third graders so they'd follow me.

When we were lining up for the second performance, my student who doesn't speak English and bless her heart NEVER knows what is happening, lined up with the students who do tricks at the beginning.  I had someone ask her if she was doing tricks.  She said no.  I told them to tell her to go back with the rest of the class.

She went back to the classroom and sat there quietly alone and missed the entire second performance, thinking her teacher had sent her back to sit in the classroom alone.  I felt terrible!  I had my sweetest boy talk to her and apologize for the miscommunication.  She smiled and he said, "She said it was OK because she is home alone a lot too."

Ugh.

I've never had a student I can communicate less with!

In between the performances we did some math and writing.  They did a tiny bit of silent reading and I finished reading Ramona and her Mother to them.  They loved it and drew and colored and cut and pasted and made a tremendous mess while I read.

Everyone is organizing their classrooms before and after school.  We have this checklist we have to have people sign.  The librarian has to sign we have returned all our books.  The lunch lady has to sign we are paid up.  The secretary has to sign that yes, indeed, we have a key to our classroom.  A fourth grade teacher and I were doing it together yesterday and she said, "This is the most bizarre way to spend 30 minutes, walking around getting these random signatures."

She's not wrong.

There are a few teachers leaving the school and when I walked past their rapidly dismantled classrooms after school yesterday, I felt sad.  I felt sad because I'll miss them and I felt sad for them that they are leaving that school I love so much.

Maybe someday I'll be ready to pack up and go, but not yet.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Team mom

Yesterday was field day and the difference between field day for them and the track meet when I was in elementary school is vast.  This is SO much better.  

(Says the girl who came in last in every race.)

They play fun games and everyone participates and has a good time.

In the afternoon, the 6th graders play kickball against the teachers.  There are always plenty of teachers to play and I sit on the side with my class and any other random classes whose teachers are playing kickball.

And it's not that I'm old (although I kind of am).  It's that I don't want to play.  I wouldn't have wanted to play when I was a kid, but the great part of being a grown up is you can say, "No."

My students asked, "Teacher, why aren't you playing?"

My answer was very simple and honest.  "I don't want to."

A sixth grade teacher brought me her sunscreen.  She said, "Will you hold this?"

I said yes.

The PE teacher brought me his lanyard and keys.  He said, "Will you hold this?"

I said yes.

A sixth grader, who used to be my student, handed me a pile of candy (the PTA was selling candy) and asked, "Will you hold this?"

I said yes.

He came back for the candy.  I had to track down the teachers who are approximately the same ages as my children.  "Here's your sunscreen."

"Oh, thank you!  I forgot you had it."

"Here's your lanyard."

"Oh wow, I forgot all about that."

Everybody needs a mom and I'm here for it. 

Just don't ask me to play kickball.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Camp day

Yesterday we had the third grade "Camp Day."  First we did math.  Then we had three rotations, each class going to each third grade classroom for 45 minute rotations.  In my classroom, I read them the Berenstain Bears book Bear Scouts.  I loved it when I was a kid and they loved it too.  Then we did a camping art project--a night sky and a tent complete with a little person inside.  Some of them are very creative and some of them should not be allowed within 15 feet of scissors and glue.  

We got through it.

Finally, we went on a "hike" and played a game where I had a pattern for them to cross my rug, which is an array of 30 rectangles.  They had to guess the pattern and work together and I don't have the patience to explain it here, but it was really fun.

In Miriam's class they sat in tents and read by flashlight.  In Hannah's room, they sang camp songs. 

Miriam gave them s'mores and my sweetest boy brought me one and said, "Here you go, Madam." 

It was a fun day.

When Hannah's class was in my room, a boy in her class said he had never been camping and everyone freaked out and I could tell he felt kind of bad.

I said, "I hate camping."  He smiled at me with relief because they turned all their freaking out in my direction because how could I possibly hate camping?!?

I explained how nice my bed was and that I didn't see any need to leave it.

Later they started talking about monsters in the woods and I said, "This is why I hate camping!"

My fellow non camper pointed at me in solidarity and said, "See!?!"  There are only four days of school left, but he and I are now buddies.

In honor of camp day, I wore my pink checked flannel shirt.  Two of my girls decided I looked like the lid of jam.

Nothing quite like being compared to a jam lid.

I guess I could do a lot worse.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Weekend

It was a really great weekend!  

Friday was Art Day at school, which is something I made up for one of the end of school days which are kind of wonky anyway.  We study artists and do some art and listen to music and I love every minute of it.

They did research on some artists, wrote the facts they learned on sticky notes and stuck them in a section of the whiteboard where that artist was named.  Then they did an "Artist Study."  They kept running up to me and saying excitedly, "Teacher!  Did you know....?"



We had some deep discussions.  One girl raised her hand and asked, "Why is the Mona Lisa such an important painting?"

It felt like we were in an art appreciation class instead of a third grade.

We discussed.

They were floored to learn she was an actual person.

When one of them declared Vincent Van Gogh "crazy," we had another discussion about mental illness.  We talked about that not being a kind description just like we would not call someone a name if they had a disease like diabetes or a broken leg.  That led to talk of people they knew who had various forms of mental illness.  One brave girl raised her hand and said, "I have ADHD and I take medicine every morning."  We talked about how sometimes you can't always see what people are struggling with.

Besides that brief foray into kind of a heavy topic, it was a fun day.  They loved it too.  In the afternoon I let them "craft" if they wanted to (their name for it).  I had coloring pages of famous paintings but a lot of the girls used the blank paper I had fanned out on my desk and tape and glue and scissors and created 3D houses.  One of them used a sticky note for a blanket for her little paper doll and it was very clever.

One girl asked, "Is it OK if I read instead?"

Guess what I answered?  (Children asking if they can read is my love language!)

The good day only got better.  Braeden got there from BYU shortly after I got home.

He saw a plate I recently bought at a vintage store hanging on the wall.  He said, "I want to inherit that plate!  Where's a Sharpie so I can write my name on it?"

I said I thought I probably had about 30 more years at least before we needed to start deciding what people would inherit around here, but he persisted like only Braeden can persist.

I told him where to find a Sharpie.

All three kids eventually arrived.  Although we missed Anna and QE, who were still in California, it was wonderful to be together, laughing and talking over each other and just having a fine time.  Before we ate, Braeden FaceTimed with Anna and I loved to hear the wonder in QE's little voice as Braeden panned his phone around the room, "Nana!  Papa!  Emma!  Uncle Mark!"  She was mostly excited to see her dad though.

I looked across the table at my three all grown up babies and my heart swelled several sizes just like the Grinch's.  After dinner we played Quixx (while listening to yacht rock because that is the only way we know how to do it).  Braeden and Mark made me laugh so much I had to lay my head on the table to recover.  

Their aim is to try to make me hyperventilate and they are good at it.

I went to bed before everyone which is me living my best life.

Saturday morning Braeden wanted to mow the lawn for his dad, but Adam wanted him to be able to visit with me instead.  Braeden said, "I will do whatever you want me to, Mom."

Where was that attitude when he was 15 years old?

I enjoyed visiting with him though (which is of course what I picked).  I started to make him a smoothie for breakfast and our blender started smoking and smelled awful.  Braeden went to the freezer and pulled out some chicken tikka masala from Trader Joe's.  I told him he was a weirdo to eat that for breakfast and I said, "You still need to drink this smoothie."  I was attempting to finish it with the immersion blender.  

He said, "I am planning on both!"  He's always been a good eater.  That hasn't changed since he was 15.

Adam and Braeden and I drove to the Draper Temple to meet Emma.  

The garage door wouldn't close so Braeden jumped out to enter the code.   Someone (me) hit the garage door one time when backing out to take Mark to junior high.  Ever since, when the sun hits it just right it won't work from the car.

Entering the code reminded Braeden, "Hey we hacked into your Roku last night."

If there are kids in the world who don't eventually figure out all their parents' security codes I didn't give birth to them.  I don't think Adam and I would be very good spies with our easily guessed codes.

(Braeden also wouldn't be a very good spy because he cheerfully tells us everything he does.)

He said, "If it makes you feel better, Mark didn't think we should do it."

(How does that make me feel better?)

I want to always remember our temple trip.  I felt kind of awful with a headache, we were running late (the whole smoothie incident had set me back in my timing), Adam and Braeden had thought we were doing an endowment session and Emma and I had thought we were doing a sealing session and we had diverse appointments.  Besides that, there were a lot of weddings happening at the temple and no place to park.  Adam dropped us off to go find parking.  The ordinance workers were very kind to us, despite how disheveled we felt.  I explained that Adam was still coming and that I was sorry we were so late, etc.  A kind man looked into my eyes and said, "I'm so glad you're here today.  And you're in the temple!  Just breathe."

We all united finally for sealings and it was wonderful to be in the temple together.  It does feel easier to breathe when I'm there.

We met up with Mark for lunch.  We always have the limiting factor of gluten free options in choosing where to eat.  I suggested Red Robin.  Adam said that was kind of far for Mark to drive from Provo and Emma and I both said, "Mark won't mind."  He didn't.  He would probably have driven twice as far for Red Robin.

Braeden asked our server for the sauce that is kind of orange to dip fries in.  She said, "Fry sauce?"

I said, "Tell me you don't live in Utah without telling me you don't live in Utah...."

Braeden said, "Well it isn't exactly like fry sauce...."

During lunch, the broken Roku code came up and I said, "Braeden took two steps too far."  I told the others about the Sharpie and the plate.

Emma's eyes widened like they do at her brothers' antics.

Mark immediately reasoned everything he would inherit since Braeden would only get the plate.

Braeden said smugly, "But it's a really great plate."

Mark also said, "If it makes you feel better about the Roku, I didn't think we should do it."

(How does that make me feel better?)

There is an absolute audacity to Braeden that probably stems from him being the very center of my universe until Emma came along.  Those were formative years.

He was gathering his belongings before flying home and snapped his name tag under a magnet on the side of the fridge.  He smiled impishly and said, "I'm sure you'll want this."



He wasn't wrong.  I'll take any I was here reminder from our children that I can get.




Friday, May 17, 2024

Grateful Friday

The best news is that Adam is home!  The second best news is that Braeden and Mark are here.  Braeden flew in last night and Mark stayed over so Braeden can use his car--and so he could see Braeden.  

I'm looking forward to seeing Braeden (a little--he's at BYU most of the time participating in a political science event of some description).

Last night Mark and I met at Via 313 for pizza.  (His idea.) It was worth it.  He cheered me up and made me laugh and listened to me.  

I decided yesterday to NOT move classrooms.  I am 10% disappointed and 90% relieved.  It just felt like too much with the end of school and starting my master's degree at WGU and all the things.  I like my little classroom even though the other one is bigger and quieter.  

The advantage of my current classroom is that everything is already put away.

I'm grateful for the change of plans.  It feels like a good idea.

Yesterday, my same boy who was wondering about leg hair walked up to me and solemnly told me it has "been an honor to be a third grader."

He said he doesn't want school to end and I said neither do I!

They're all starting to get a little sentimental.  One girl asked me if I was going to save the pictures they drew me forever.  (In other words, are you going to remember us?)

I am.  I will.

Another girl wandered up to my desk and said dreamily, "I'm going to miss this classroom."

They were maybe more relieved than I am about me not changing classrooms.  It is their room and they don't want it to change.  I made them all promise to come back and visit me.

I love when I open the door after lunch recess and 4th  and 5th graders who used to be in my class try to sneak in.  I tell them to come back and be third graders again.

It's wonderful to become so attached to these hilarious and maddening and brilliant little people.

And they are thoroughly invested in Ramona.  We are on the 5th book in the series and they want me to read more and more every day. 

I couldn't be happier about it.

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