Saturday, December 18, 2010

Aunt Bess and Uncle Traber

Only one person in the whole world uses those names for us. It's our niece, Audrey. Audrey is four years old and we've know her about a year now. Carter's wonderful wife Robyn, is her mom. She is affectionately known as hurricane Audrey.

The nickname is completely one of love. She has endless energy, asks ongoing questions, and never gets tired. She can fake cry with the best of them, and is generally tons of fun. Today I picked up our super-smart niece so she can ride to Missouri with us tomorrow.

It's 6:33 and i'm beat. After three hours in the car handing her every writing utensil I own, answering about 3 million questions, and stopping four times, I felt like I had been put through the ringer. Then we got to Edmond and the fun wasn't over yet. We got our nails done at my favorite pedicure place and Audrey choose Christmas colors. She wanted the lotion and hot rocks and specifically asked for a massage chair. She then read me all the signs in the building and did subtraction problems with my toes.

She asked a little too loudly, why there were boys in there, and why all the people working looked the same. I was too tired to run the one errand I needed to, and stopped by McD's for some quick dinner. The guy at the window gave us two chocolate milks, 'cause she is just too cute'. She had to call and tell Miss Tammy(my MIL) all about the extra milk. She came home and painted while she ate her cheeseburger.

I made it home and she promply went with Uncle Trabor to the ice cream place. Our goal is to run her out of energy... it hasn't happened yet. Thank goodness I'm dropping her off with my inlaws at lunch time tomorrow.

It must take super powers to be a parent. Aunt Bess is plum out. Spongebob Christmas, here we come.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Home Free

I made it to Christmas Break. I can't believe this year of 3rd graders is half over. So I'm home to Missouri, free from grading, students, and waking up early. But not free from schedules.

Saturday- Pick up Audrey from Carter, Pick up Michael from airport
Sunday- Drive home/ Cooking with Mom
Tuesday- Howard Christmas & Stafford Christmas
Wednesday- Dinner with Tom and Angela
Thursday- Silver Dollar City Christmas
Friday - Rumker Christmas (immediate family)
Saturday- Trevor & Beth Christmas
Sunday- Twyman Christmas/ See Carissa at church
Monday- Leave for Ski Trip
Friday- Trev flies back to OKC
Saturday- Rumker Christmas (extended family)
Sunday- Beth Returns to OKC

any takers for Monday...haha

Monday, December 13, 2010

Howard Happenings...

I really do live the life of a boring grandma most of the time, not that I am complaining. Here are the latest things of note in my life.

1. I am forcing my students to finish their benchmark tests (tests to see what they have learned this nine weeks) in two days. Last time I stretched it to four days, and that was a huge mistake. We'll see how this time turns out

2. Ezra had leg surgery around 3 weeks ago. He hasn't been showing any discomfort, but has still not regained use of his right hip. Until today. I caught him touching his foot on the ground! This is exciting, it means I didn't put my pup through surgery for no reason. (He had a fused hip from birth)

3. There our 4 school days left until Christmas Break

4. I am doing laundry in preperation for our Trips to Missouri and Colorado. This is usually T's job, but he's working extra this week.

5. It's so cold on our apt that the tv won't turn on. We are using a radiant heater (I think that is what it's called) It heats our apt really well, but it take a bit to get going.

6. I just yelled "Trevor!" at Samson. oops.

7. Trevor and I got our ski coats for our ski trip. 16 dollars each at Ross. I'm excited.

8. I spent the entire day yesterday baking Christmas cookies/candy that I then gave away, without eating any.

9. I'm really glad my grades are all in, so this week we can do Christmas Crafts. I will say this, 3rd graders like a good Christmas craft better than 6th graders.

10. I know I lead an interesting life... you don't have to tell me :D

Saturday, December 11, 2010

14 Days til Christmas

There are 14 days until Christmas. Two weeks. Two weeks and my MIL decides she's going to cancel our Christmas plans. I'm not sure why. Maybe she's mad about something, maybe she'd rather see her new grandson. Maybe I'll never know why. As crummy as it is for her to do that, there are still some VERY exciting things happening around Christmas.

14. Break from School!
13. Sleeping in late
12. Seeing my grandparents in Kansas City
11. Seeing my grandma in Conway
10. Seeing my brother, who is flying in from NY
9. Going to my parents house for Christmas Eve and all of our Christmas Traditions
8. Spending time with friends in Missouri
7. Spending time with my husband
6. Christmas Presents
5. Christmas cookies
4. Christmas Pajamas
3. Being Lazy
2. Going Skiing for the first time
1. Remembering the reason for this season isn't any of the above

Thursday, December 9, 2010

the Looonnngggesssttt day of my life

Today was the longest day of my life.

I sat through the same Christmas Program 3 times. I was at school from 8-8. I didn't have a break from my students all day.

One of my students stole my chocolate
One of my parents asked me if I needed a drink
One of my boys kissed a girl on the cheek
I met one of my student's mom, grandma, and great grandma. (who looked younger than my grandma)

I drank two cups of coffee, two cups of tea, and a sonic diet dp

I'm going to bed.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A List

1. We are on day 5 of no hot water. This is because of as gas leak in the main line in our apt complex. They had to shut the gas off...and we're still waiting for it to get turned back on. I heated water for a make-shift bath last night.

2. Because of this, we decided to move ahead with meeting with a realtor.

3. Mine and Trevor's second nephew was born this week, Connor

4. For the first time, we aren't going home for Thanksgiving. I have mixed feelings about this.

5. I always know it's time for a break from school when I start to contemplate other occupations.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Guess whose Birthday is tomorrow???

You're right! Trevor's! Man, I seriously got so lucky when I married this guy! So, In honor of my big man's 24th birthday, here is his list of 24 interesting facts/best qualities/things you should know.
(in no order)
1. He's the middle kid...and a very middle kid. He's a total people pleaser..which words well for me.
2. He loves his family, oh man he loves them! He is probably the best child ever.
3. He is very outdoorsy. He loves to hike, climb, and fish. I wish he could do it more often.
4. He's smart! Mr. Science himself, I don't even understand the coarse descriptions anymore.
5. He's a hard worker. He works hard at his job and takes pride in his good job and happy customers.
6. He loves his puppies. He sings nightly to Samson and Ezra in bed. He is so excited to see them when he gets home, and asks how they are when he is at work.
7. He is flexible. He lets me dress the dogs, he lets me buy the groceries I want, he lets me pick what's on tv, most of the time...
8. He knows a little about everything...taking after his father and father-in-law
9. He loves the holidays. He loves the food, family, and tradition that go along with this time of year.
10. He get embarrassed when he gets bragged on. Or when people bring attention to him. His cheeks turn red.
11. He smiles more than anyone I know. His smile is my favorite thing.
12. He is funny. He keeps me laughing most of the time. Even if I'm so mad, he can make me laugh.
13. He keeps me focused on what's important. He reminds me that tomorrow will come, and we will be there together.
14. He tries his best. He is the best husband to me, the best student, and the best son
15. He is a closet nerd
16. He is younger than me and I'm fine with that.
17. He's never knows the right thing to say, and will admit it.

18. He likes to travel, and is the perfect person to balance out my scheduled self.
19. He's a great friend to many
20. He doesn't ever bring up the faults in people.
22. He is a perfect balance of strength and openness
23. He tells me he loves me many times each day. He's never afraid to tell me how crazy he is about me.
24. He's Mine!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Out Of The Mouth of.... me

It's been a while since I updated you on the crazy things that I say..on an hourly basis. So I payed attention today of what came out of my mouth. enjoy.

- "You may say, "no Thank-You" if you don't want to have this snack. No we are not choosing what snack we get. Yes, I know this is America. Yes I know you are free."

- "Where do you want to go? Huh? Where? Look at me while you speak. Okay, even if you have to 'wiz' you must ask to use the restroom. If you 'wet yourself a puddle,' it's going to be a big mess to clean up, and the other students might laugh. Well please quit dancing around and grabbing yourself, and just ask to be excused."

- "Why did you kick Helayna? Okay, Why did you hit Helayna with your foot? Does she know your dad? If she doesn't know him, how does she know that he is fat and dumb? That doesn't make any sense. Please keep all your body parts to yourself. Yes, even your belly.

- " It doesn't matter whose face is the darkest. No it doesn't matter whose arm is the darkest. Yes, I know that I'm the lightest in here. No, it doesn't bother me"

- That's called a vein. No, I'm not sick. I know you can see it thru my skin... why? You can see it through my skin because my skin is lighter than yours. No, that is not racist...that's simply a fact.

- Please name an animal that is a vertebrate. No, an orgasm is not a vertebrate. I think the word you are searching for is organism.

- Please put your leg down off the desk before you show me that you can flap your belt strap. Why? It looks awkward. Why? Because people don't usually swing their hips while their leg is on their desk. Put it down now. I don't care if it stretches your leg muscle. It looks weird.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

sorry 'bout that...

Thanks to the modern day convience of facebook, I was able to apologize for something that happened a little over 25 years ago. It went a little something like this:

Dear L,

Sorry about that mess I made in your car, but thanks for attending my birth!


Wouldn't my mom be proud? She taught me such good manners! Now if you're completely confused as to what just took place, let me give you the very short story. L is the best friend of my birthmom. My birthmom's water broke in her car. A few short hours later, I entered the world. Through facebook all was made right. ahhh I feel much better.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

As if

As if working a full week with 23 third graders didn't make me tired enough...

Today my apartment demanded my attention. Now, the one benefit to this is, it doesn't shout 'Mrs. Howard!" least not where I can hear it.

Now the dishes, laundry, and various boxes around my apartment were calling things, demanding to be cleaned, moved, or wiped. All week I had ignored them, but today they ganged up on me!

So, I decided to see to them all at once, something I'm used to from working at school.

Laundry thrown in, Bread maker filled and turned on, dishes started.

Boxes taped together and filled; while those three things were working by themselves. I could draw many illustrations how this is like my classroom, but I'll save you the pain.

So now I hear the humm of my dryer. I can smell the cinnamon rolls rising, and my dishes are drying in the dishwasher. My living room looks a bit better than it did hours ago.


Monday, October 25, 2010

Adventures of the Hows and Borches

Dear Fall Break,

I counted down to you for at least two weeks, knowing you would give me temporary relief from the day to day challenges of teaching third grade. I was certain that during your glorious 4 days that no one would call me Mrs. Howard. I knew that no one would ask me to repeat directions, and that no one under my line of vision would require my attention. (except for one perfect nephew, who doesnt count) Fall Break, you didn't let me down.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

a short Rant.

Nothing in life drives me my CORE…then mediocrity…or the people who are fine living with it. Now I’m not saying that every day must be a huge life changing adventure, but people that are complacent, or allow others to dictate their entire life get me riled up.

I believe the biblical word is luke-warm. I understand a bit why being luke-warm was frowned upon. I’ve heard a lot of lessons taught about the original meaning of the lesson ‘be hot or cold but not luke-warm’.

I look at people who I see making huge life mistakes, but who are living, really living life. Even though I don’t condone their choices I’m glad that they taking an active role in their life.

It bothered me when 6th graders just blindly repeated and acted on what others told them. It gets ridiculous when adults do the same thing. I just want to scream at them. Probably wouldn’t be a good choice.

All summed up, life is short. Live where you want to live, work where you want to work, love who you want to love. Serve others. Be true to yourself.

*Disclaimer* I tried to leave the spiritual side of the way I see this topic out of this specific post, or it wouldn't be a 'short' rant. :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Mean Mrs. Howard 6th grade, I almost NEVER had to be mean. 

I guess after 7 years of school, my 12 year olds had their fair share of strict teachers, so walking in my room was a breath of fresh air.  I liked to treat my 6th graders with respect, dignity, and lots of love.  They responded well to this, and for the most part rose to the occasion.

But in the third grade, MEAN Mrs. Howard it is.   By mean, read strict.  By mean, read unyielding. By mean, read stubborn with expectations.  

There are a few reasons why I have to refer to myself as Mean Mrs. Howard at certain points in the day.  I compare myself with Viola Swamp.  
1. Third graders don't have a 'chill switch'  (6th graders understand "chill")
2. Third graders don't understand the difference between 'work together' and 'copy'
3. Third graders argue with each other even when asked to stop
4. Third graders don't have political correctness yet. They comment about teacher's fake hair, fatness, pimples, butt cracks, etc
5. Third graders forget what you've asked them to do, about 5 seconds after you ask
6. Third graders need reminding of all procedures, even though it's the 3rd month of school
7. Third graders go home and tell their parents everything, even if it's not true
8. Third graders throw fits
9. Third graders cry...a lot
10. Third graders have more drama then 6th graders

So for all these reasons, there is little flexibility allowed in my room.  There is more sitting and working quietly, there is more re-doing when papers are labeled wrong. There is less group work, there are less games.  Some day they are going to be awesome 6th graders. 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Saturday Mornings = love

1. Drink coffee
2. Drink more coffee
3. Feed the dogs
4. Garage Sales
5. Put new Scentsy in warmer because Lindsey's coming
6. Eat lunch at Hideaway
7. Walk around Hobby Lobby
8. yet to be determined....

No grading, 8 year olds, or people to call me Mrs. Howard today..! 

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Finding a Balance

I need some amazing teacher to tell me how to find the balance.

1. The balance of the student that distracts VS focusing on the other 20 kids
2. The balance of how to let teaching be a job VS giving the students all they need.
3. The balance of teaching the information for the test VS teaching them productive life skills
4. The balance of asking for help VS figuring it out on my own

If anyone knows the teacher who can tell me the answers to these questions....please send them my way! 

Sunday, October 3, 2010

taking the time..

to be thankful.

instead of wishing my eight year olds would instantly turn 12...I'm thankful for a job

instead of wishing Trevor would graduate from Pharmacy School tomorrow....I'm thankful for our growing marriage 

instead of wishing it was Summer so I could stay home...I'm thankful for the beauty and coolness of Fall

instead of wishing that someone else would clean my house... I'm thankful that I'm able to

instead of wishing, I'm pausing.  Taking the time to see what's important and thanking.  

instead of yelling at Samson to quit barking.... I'm getting myself off the couch to go play fetch

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Lesson Learned

While leading a class discussion with my 3rd graders the other day on proper computer use I was taking suggestions.

"We don't listen to music on the computers." "We don't log onto youtube." "We stay on the website we are supposed to." "We don't look at other's computers." "We keep our headphones on." "We try our best."

and it went on and on and on...

Then I called on Alexis.  Little, sweet, loving Alexis. Who has a lisp. 

Mrs. HOW-ward, we don't get on google and look at pithures of naked people, white?  
My bruther does tha-at 

oh dear. No Alexis, we never get on Google with out permission. Sorry I asked. 

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dear Jerome

Dear Jerome,

You have stretched me more as a teacher, than any student in the last two years.  You can make me feel angrier, happier, and prouder faster then I ever knew possible.  You came bursting into my classroom on the second week of school and reaped havoc on my stable classroom environment.  You refused to work, refused to stay in the classroom, refused to follow any rules. You stood up to other teachers, the principal, and everyone in the office. Several teachers pegged you as a gang kid. 

I didn't listen to any of them.  I saw your insecurity, your low confidence, your newness.  I didn't know what to do, you challenged me.  We talked endlessly in the hall, drew pictures of what you were mad about, and slowly, slowly broke down some of your frustrating walls. 

At the end of the first month of school, I was beat. I asked everyone who would listen how to reach you.  I want more for you then for you to stay in my room. I want to you learn.  I want you to read independently,  I want you to feel confident in math.   After countless incidences with other teachers in the building, I crouched down, looked you straight in the face and told you that I would not ever give up on you.  I meant it.

Something changed that day, although I didn't know it yet.  It took a week more of you trying my patience, seeing if I would hold true to what I told you.  I would count to ten and join you in the hall, I honestly told you your options over and over when I felt like yelling. I let you lay on the floor when I felt like forcing you to stand and talk.  I gave you space, respect, and stability. I gave you a snack to take home for dinner. 

Last week you joined my team. You told me. For the first time you kept your word. A glorious 6 days have past and not once have you failed to turn in your homework, or run around my room, or yell out while I was teaching.  You make me smile when you give me the 24th hug of the day or when you wear around an "I love Mrs. Howard" post-it on your shirt.  Your laugh is so contagious.  You sharpen pencils for me. You pass out germ-x before lunch and hold my hand in line. 

I can't wait to see what the rest of the school year holds for you.  I'm so proud of how far you've come.  I tell you every evening when you leave that tomorrow can be the best day of your life. and I believe it.
Mrs. Howard


This photo (taken 6ish years ago) is of my dad's family.  From the left you have Aunt Terry, Dad, Meme, Poppy, Aunt Peggy, and Aunt Diana.  This is the way the usually look.  We are missing one brother from this picture, but considering I've only met him 3 times in my life, I consider this picture to be pretty complete.

So Meme... I guess she was called Me-Ma until I came along..I (in all my baby cuteness) decided she was mine. I would say the phrase "me  Me-Ma."  Eventually I dropped the end syllable, and it stuck. 

Meme is, how should I say it, senile.  She loves to tell me the same stories.  I laugh each time. She also can't hear so great anymore, so I have to yell in order for her to hear me.  She just laughs when she can't hear the story, so I'm never sure if she thinks I'm funny, or she didn't hear me.

She also hates help, but needs it. Help going up steps, or getting up from church. One time in a wheelchair, from a surgery, Poppy forgot he was 'driving her' and let her slide alone on the ice. I think it had an effect on her...

She is a terrible cook, but loves to fix us dinner. I always say she is my 'box' grandma. My favorite foods at her house are powered doughnuts, pre-made sausage, and pickled beets.

She made me a tea towel once, in my wedding colors. She was so excited and asked me over and over if I noticed something different about it.  I was thinking..ummm you stitched the angel with blue hair and brown wings??? When she pointed out they were my wedding colors, she was so proud of herself.

She cried at my wedding the moment she realized she was walking down the aisle to "Cross my heart" by George Strait. She was the reason I picked the song, she LOVES the guy.

She loves to tease my Poppy about his many other girlfriends at church.  I tell her to put a pocket camera in his shirt so she can keep an eye on what he's doing.

Meme loves Trevor. Whenever we were dating and I would tell her I was coming for a visit, she always would ask me if he was coming before committing to being home.

Anytime I call their house, Poppy always gets Meme on the phone before I can continue my conversation. She loves to listen and know lots of family news so she can pass it on. She always tells me around 4 times that she loves me before I can hang up.

When I was little she assumed I loved Tweety Bird because my cousin, around my age liked him.

She had surgery today to tie up her bladder... she came through with the grace she handles every life situation..laughing and surrounded by those who love her.

Meme, I know you said you only wanted to make it to 80...but you're at 82 now and I'm thankful for those two years, and the ones to come. 

(Meme in Pink)

Friday, September 17, 2010

You're too white for that...

Having a class that is primarily not Caucasian kiddos, I get told a lot that I'm too white for things.  


Things like that. They aren't being rude, just honest. I am too white. :) 

But until yesterday, I didn't know I was too white for Ranch Dressing.

We all had our veggie snack with ranch and a few minutes later, I noticed that all my dears had white residue on their chins, cheeks, around the corners of their lips.  I heard a couple of them asking each other if they had it/got it off. I mentioned that I didn't think I'd ever got ranch on my face.  Then one of my students raised their hand, "Mrs. Howard your face is to white to show ranch dressing.'  


you know what. I think she was onto something.  I felt dumb for not realizing this before. 

then... she sealed the deal. "Mrs. Howard, I bet you've had ketchup on your face before.... (thinking to myself...yes) but ketchup doesn't show on my face."

So, I'll stick to ranch....cause I'm white enough for it :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

band-aids make everything better

So two side notes.
1.  I think I broke my pinky
2. People who I talk to regularly know the frustration I go through with on a hourly basis with Jerome

So my third graders LOVE band-aids.  They really do fix EVERYTHING. 

so today, I asked one of my students to hand me his skateboard he was playing with. Without meaning to, he smacked the skateboard into my hand, namely my palm near my pinky.  And without meaning to, I flinched and said 'ouch!!'  So my kids asked what was wrong... and I told them my pinky was hurt.  So I started to continue on with the lesson.  Jerome, who has been sitting quietly *SHOCKER* at this point, gets up from his desk, chooses the smallest band-aid from our box, and comes over to put it on my hand.  He takes my hand and turns it over, and asks where it hurts.  I showed him my swollen pinky, and he placed the band-aid on and asked if it was better.  :)  I told him it was a lot better and thank you.  It just goes to show that even when I'm at my wits-end with him, he has a good heart.  A band-aid healed... my faith in him. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010


So this year I have the challenge. The challenge that makes the teaching stat about teachers not making it more than 3 years...yeah..he authored it. 

So besides my minute by minute documentation, frequent phone calls, and trying every strategy known to me, and the other teachers around me. He continues to try me as a teacher. Yet, I love the kid. Weird huh?

So as much as I'm frustrated..and to the point of getting prego JUST so I can have a few weeks off, (KIDDING)  I am so thankful I am teaching at HP.

Office write-up 1: Principal talk, called mom, came back and talked to me with the Principal
Office write-up 2: Call and note home to mom, out of class for the rest of the day
Office write-up 3: Mom called in, picked him up gathered work and suspended tomorrow.

I love discipline that gets progressively worse! Thank you Mrs. Dr. C!

Your ever-faithful 3rd grade teacher, 
Mrs. H

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Good things about this week

1. it's already wednesday
2. i get to see a Bluejays game on Friday and maybe some of my GUES friends!
3. it's already wednesday
4. my defiant student has only been in the office one day
5. the parent that came and stayed ALL day, was actually helpful
6. i still am very thankful for my principal and HP staff
7. i have a fridge full of diet dp at work
8. this Sunday I'm going to missouri for a 12 year old birthday party x3
9. i just ate chinese take-out
10. i'm at home with my husband for the first night this week
11. i am healthy
12. it's already wednesday
13. next week i have a 3 day week
14. the how's are going to the borch's tomorrow!
15. i'm not too far behind on grading
16. i have a good family
17. my puppies haven't been going inside much lately
18. my dishes and laundry are caught up
19. i got to talk to my grandparents today...who are SO funny
20. i have a job

Monday, August 30, 2010

All my favorite things..

This weekend, I got to do all my favorite things!

It all started with camping with my TH and our friends.
The B's and the H's spent an awesome weekend at Lake Arbuckle in their newly aquired pop-up. I think I've been spoiled. I love tent camping, but there is just something about sleeping in air conditioner that gets my heart. So we cooked over an open fire, sat around the camp fire, walked to the lake in the dark, slept, ate again, went fishing, and ate lunch and packed up. It was relaxing, perfect fun.

When we got back from the lake, I drove to Guthrie to eat dinner with my favorite teacher friends. It was nice to catch up, hear about school stuff, and vent a little. Teaching away from these two is super hard for me. It's SO great to see them! I think all 3 of us are ready for 6th graders again... :)
My weekend ended with a little baking with Ashley. I messed up my clean kitchen and loved every minute of it. We tried to make each cupcake a different color. They tasted good and were very nice to look at. She tried baking some in ice cream cones. That worked, but in my opinion it made the cones taste stale. Lesson learned.
All in all, the perfect weekend!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The KEY step

A conversation I had with my class, and Ms.C's class today.

Ladies. We all know that using the restroom is a part of each day. I would just like to remind you of a key step. It's actually the most important step. You must sit down on the toilet. Now I know this sounds like common sense, but if you forget this step, bad things happen. Bad things like poop on the floor. (insert kid laughter here)

Yes folks, poop on the floor, two days in a row. Glad I got to witness it. If I didn't have pups I would have been much more offended.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Duggars and Chinese food

Warning! This post might be offensive. Then again, if you are reading my blog, you're used to my straight forward talk. So here it goes.

What do these two pictures have in common?? Well. One a picture of Asia and the other, a long skirt both describe each of the substitutes I worked with today!

Yes. It gets better. BOTH of the experienced HP 3rd grade teachers had to take off today, not of their own choice. So I was left the lone ranger. The lone expert of 2 weeks. Yep. It was a good idea. I walked into the first subs class before school and she had her VBS supplies to manage the class. Take a guess which picture that describes. She was not wearing any form of deoderant! She had grand plans, which I knew right off the bat wouldn't work.

The second sub was lost and couldn't find the school. Mostly due to a language barrier. I started her class out for her. When she did show up, she wrote how to say my name in her little dictionary. How-werd Yes. True story. I'll let you guess which picture describes this sub.

So I will leave you with the thought, we are working in a high poverty, low education area that has great kids, great kids with discipline and learning problems. Our kids are different from VBS and Asia. It was a LONG day.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Out of the mouth

I was talking to my mom on the phone today. She used to be a third grade teacher, so we are in the same ball park these days. She asked how it was going, I told her a few of the things that come out of my mouth during the short 8 hour school day.

Yes, it is important to put your shoes on before you go to the bathroom.

Whose shorts are laying over here?

Did you wash your hands? No? Well then please just raise your hand, don't pat me.

No writing with highlighter is not allowed. Why? Because I can't read it. No, I'm not too old. No one can read highlighter. You can? Then please read what you just wrote for me. You forgot what it says already? Ok, then let's try pencil

Please don't kick in the hall. or the classroom. please just don't kick

Why are the scissors in your mouth?

Why do you have 4 gluesticks on your desk? You were making a bridge? Can you please finish your construction project later and do your math? You don't know what construction means? Well ask your mom when you get home. Yes your auntie will be able to tell you as well. No, I dont want to know where your mom is right now. Please finish your math.

Please don't karate chop your homework. Because its hard to read in two pieces. No, it doesn't help if you staple it back together. Please put the stapler down.

Please remember to raise your hand if you need to tell Mrs. Howard something. Yes? You don't need to tell me that you are going to drop a number two. You can just ask to use the restroom. Yes you may use it. Hurry back. Okay, well if it takes a while it's okay, please just return to class when you are finished.

Lordy, help me. How many days until May?

Friday, August 20, 2010

drop by please

At the end of today, I got an e-mail from my new principal.

I'm so glad you're here! Drop by this afternoon after school if you have a few minutes.

Her name isn't really MDC, I'm just calling her that. Mostly because those are the initals for the what the kids call her. She is a Dr., But they call her Mrs. Dr. C(her last name)

I would have to say in the last two years of teaching, I've never got an e-mail (let alone a birthday celebration) from a principal that was just to me. AND it was a nice e-mail...she's glad I'm here!!! So I went to see what she wanted.

I have so much respect for this wonder leader. She asked me how my first week went, if there was anything I needed. (she then provided the chalk holder, extra smart board marker, and extension cord I needed!!)

She went on to assure me that her door was always open, if I needed ANYTHING and reinterate that her whole job was to be 'my personal servant' to help me be successful. She wasn't there to judge me or tell me how things should be done. If I ever needed her to come in and work with a small group, or just needed to vent. She was my gal.

Both MDC and the assistant principal Mrs. I are wonderfully positive ladies. I respect how the juggle the job of discipline and encouragment. I love how they walk in my room in the morning just to make sure they know all the kids names. I love how they sit in the lunch room and check to see if the kids know their lunch numbers, and reward them when they do. I love how they teach our 5th graders how to fold the flag, and how to come in the younger rooms and be role models. I love how they run around with walky=talkys so they are prepared for their duties, yet out of the office. I admire how the paper work gets finished but no one seems to notice when. I love that in the first week and a half of school I've had more interaction with my principal in casual ways then I had all of last year. I couldn't be happier with where I am.

Its true when they say, the beginning of every great school is great leaders.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The day from....

Today was the day from YOU KNOW WHERE!

The honeymoon period is over. I don't know the first thing about class management of 3rd graders. For one thing, if you get on to them they cry! But if you don't get on to them, they are out of control! They talk more than my 6th graders would ever dream of! Anyways, I came the closest to yelling as I have in my 3 years of teaching. We had to play a group building game instead of continuing with Math. I had to stop Reading Workshop early because they couldn't stay on task. By the end of the day, I was ready to pull out any remaining hair, cuss, and quit teaching forever.

Then I got home..

and this was waiting for me. In my facebook messages.

Mrs. Howard!!!! Hey! :D Jr. High was good. I miss you. No teacher here is as awesome as you. Thanks for getting us ready.

Now if any of you out there know this young man, you know he is too cool for school, pretty quiet, an amazing writer, girl crazy, and just a good kid. He is extremely loyal to his friends and most of the time is in a daze from his meds.

I wrote him back, telling him that I was glad he enjoyed Jr. High. That I knew he was ready, and to have a great year. It's because of things like that, I deal with these days...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Birthday Week

You may have heard..I had the BEST birthday ever!

It was more like a week.

It all started with a quick trip to Missouri. I love going home when I get to see a few of my favorite people that I don't get to see often. This list included: my long-lost favorite cousin, VRum, my Grandma Nina, Carissa, my parents, my inlaws, and the Hefleys. Wow! So many people that have had an affect on who I am today...

After a great weekend, Monday night Trevor and I went to Shawnee to see Lindsey and Matt! Lindsey and I have been getting together for birthday lunches for a while now, but her new AWESOME husband changed things up my cooking me dinner! Steak!

Tuesday! My actual birthday! I woke up and got ready for school! It was a first on my birthday. Wow, HP really outdid it. I was announced over the intercom in the morning, donned a crown, was told Happy Birthday by practically EVERY student and faculty there. At lunch they served a birthday cake.

After cake. I went back to my classroom and these were delieved from my secret pal and husband.

Later that day my students enjoyed cupcakes. We ended the day doing my favorite subject:Science!
I came home and took a nap before going to dinner at Zach and Brian's. They cooked me a 2nd birthday dinner! I spent the rest of the evening at home with Trevor, enjoying his last day off work. If my 25th year is anything like the birthday itself, I can't wait!


Thursday, August 12, 2010

Third graders..

Today I officially began my third year of teaching. In a lot of ways it was like my first. New grade, new school, new classroom.

Third graders are needy.
Third graders give lots of hugs
Third graders draw you heart pictures
Third graders take longer to do everything
Third graders can not have down time
Third graders need to practice everything
Third graders can not read very directions very well
Third graders like to use markers
Third graders like to show their teacher their finished work
Third graders like to save their snacks for later
Third graders like to sit on the floor and play games
Third graders are not like 6th graders

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I need to..

get some smartboard skills

shave my legs

go to bed early

feed Ezra and Samson

figure out who I'm going to see when, this weekend

enjoy this very moment because I'm not behind on grading...yet

be thankful for how helpful Ms. C and Ms. S are

on another note...I've just recently noticed that I call all the teachers at HP by their first name. Now, I'm taking 65 year olds, 40 somethings, and teachers within a decade of me. I have no idea why I made the switch, maybe it's this birthday that's coming up. 25 some how gives me permission to address other adults by their first name. So, if you're someone who's has encourage me to start using your first name...I think I can now... :)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The best class in the THIRD grade

ten things about today

1. I woke up wondering if I was out of my mind for switching to younger kids. Could they be self-sufficient? Would they need entertaining every moment of the day?

2. I got to school and had to walk thru the cafeteria because the back door where I usually enter was locked. They cafeteria ladies were actually NICE. I didn't get my head bit off, instead I got welcomed!

3. I had to check people's enrollment status and bills to verify with names of parents. It was an odd feeling to look at someone elses' bills and asking if they rent or own their own house. I felt intrusive

4. I was pleasently surprised by how supportive and enjoyable the parents were. Most of them appeared at my door with at least 4 kids total and appeared to be my age.

5. These kids are a lot more excited about school than then ones I'm used to.

6. My feet and knees hurt froms standing all day

7. I took my lunch to school instead of eating an effort to save money and eat healthier

8. I appreciate the helpful, friendly teachers at HP while missing my favorite teachers in the world who are at GUES...I wonder if that will ever change

9. I could not be more thankful for my new principal, who is truely the GREATEST

10. I learned how to send orders to the district print shop, so they will make all my copies for me, and then deliver them to my room!!!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


5 reasons I don't want to be 25

1. Its pretty close to 30
2. It's an odd number, I like even numbers
3. I'm as old as the parents of my 3rd grade students...
4. I'm not in my early twenties any more
5. I feel like I need to think about having kids in the next 5 years

3 Reasons I want to be 25
1. It's another year I get to spend with Trevor
2. I get to make all my own decisions
3. I'm a year closer to owning my own home

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


I found it interesting that when interviewing this summer one of the questions that was asked was, 'What do you expect from your administration?'.

Oddly enough, after last year at GUES, I've thought about it. It's amazing what a change in principal helps you notice.

My simple answer to this question was school wide expectations for behavior. I have no problem with the independance to achieve the desired result the way each teacher sees best.

I feel like with out a united goal there is no goal at all, or every teacher expects different behavior and outcomes which can confuse students and cause problems between staff.

Today at HP training we chanted and cheered the districts mission statement. I am so excited to see if this makes a difference in student behavior and school pride.

So this year I pledge that:
When a young person enters my school they will be SAFE
When a student enters my room they will be CHALLENGED
When a student leaves they will be READY

Cheers to a new focused year!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Bluejay turned Cowgirl

After my first day of technology training for the Mid-Del district, I'm super excited! They have so many more resources that I can see myself using on a daily basis. Smartboard, Airliner, Document Camera, Edusoft, an awesome gradebook, online benchmarks etc.

I've also met some incredibly welcoming people. Each teacher at HP is so friendly. You literally can't walk by a classroom without the teacher inside coming out and chatting. It's really a breath of fresh air.

That being said, I miss the quirks of my friends at GUES. I feel like the farther I get into my teaching career at HP the less I will remember some of my first teacherfriends. So here's my attempt to capture them for myself for the years to come. Names have been coded :) Kinda.

LR- Mrs. Professional. Always in control of her demeanor. Helpful in a mature way. Keeps her emotions in check..except when in teaching meetings. Hard to explain things to, but just because she had put so much thought into her stance. Leader

JG- GIGI! Never met a person she didn't like. Very nurturing. Tries hard to keep up with new things. Always willing to take on a challenge. Legend. Vanilla coke Lover

CL- Tough nut to crack. Friendly when you make the first effort. Very knowledgable but not very understanding. Passionate about high standards. Old School

WK- Always walking fast. Helper to the brand new. Pulled in many directions. In the office voicing opinions. Strict

BK- Quiet in big groups. In control of her kids. Mature for her age. First a mom and wife and new home owner. Flexible

HJ- Artistic. Fun activities. Best wall decorations. All around teacher. Innovative ideas. Fair. Does what is best for the students. Hard-working

RL- Grouchy but loveable. So Funny. Thinks the world is out to get her. Worksheet queen. Retired.

Now, I know that I left off a certain two if you two are reading this...its because I know we will remain I'll get to see your amazing personalities all the time! And feel free to help me add to my list. :) See you two Friday.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A tail of two pups

Introducing: Ezra Merle Howard
We've been looking for a brother for Samson for quite some time. Samson loves to play with any other dog. (more than any other dog likes to play with him) We thought if we had a 2nd dog, they could entertain each other. Especially when school and work start up again. I hate for Samson to have to stay in the room all day by himself. Plus, when he does this, he sleeps all day, and then wants to play all night. read:unhappy dad.

Here are the brothers together. They warmed up to each other faster than Ezra warmed up to our apartment. He was used to being kept in a small cage at the pet store. He happened to be at the pet store a few more months than Samson stayed there. We think that might be why he took a while to warm up.

Last but not least, the happy Howards together. Yes. We are done getting puppies. Two is a perfect number for us. (at least while we have no backyard)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

positives and negatives

Three weeks from today I start a new job. I am thrilled and sad, worried and excited. Here's why

The negatives:
new set of rules, paperwork, and other information that comes with changing districts
not knowing anyone who I'm going to be teaching with
not teaching with the teachers I've grown to respect and enjoy being with
i will miss those pesky 12 year olds, i adore
i won't see former students as often
not knowing what exactly to expect from 3rd graders

The positives:
closer drive
awesome administration
excited staff (the other teachers in the building have been calling to welcome me to the team)
neat student population
new and exciting challenges
not having to deal with certain, ahem, higher-ups I didn't enjoy at my last district
getting to be a more well-rounded teacher

Monday, July 12, 2010

Not Me...

I am not obsessed with reading blogs of random moms that I have never met. Their parenting styles don't intrigue me...I don't even want kids

I have not gone to Staples to buy things at their cent sale 3 times in 24 hours

I have not purchased over 75 packs of pencils and 75 folders...spending my own money on things my student should provide would be dumb

I am not going to get up early tomorrow to take boxes to my classroom. They are not currently sitting in my dining room, on a planet rug. I always keep my things neat and orderly.

I have not currently gained back those 7 pounds I lost for an upcoming wedding. I'm responsible for what I eat.

I did not just spend the day spoiling my niece. Taking her to the pool, park, pedicure, and shopping all in one day would have just been too much. I try to maintain balance in everything I do. I wouldn't go overboard.

I am not currently sitting in the pj pants I've worn every day this summer, and if I was I would certainly wash them at least once a week.

I did not talk 6 different people into going to Staples to buy me dry erase boards. Just because the limit is two per household. I would not break rules of a store.

I have not taken a break from blogging for the last few weeks because I had nothing positive to say. I always look on the bright side, no matter what life throws at me.

Friday, May 14, 2010


So yesterday I had a first.

It was the first time one of my students has been on national tv.

Yep. National. The Ellen Show, to be exact. If you're a 12 year old girl, you may have heard of him. His name is Greyson, and two years ago I was his teacher.

And now, two years later...he's being called the next Justin Beiber. I take no credit, only pride. You can check out his Ellen appearance below.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Moms cubed

Mother's Day is right around the corner. As I had my students write their moms or other important women in their life a nice note, I started thinking about my mom. Her name is Karen. It roles off the tongue right away, it's something I don't question. However, as that is rolling off my tongue my mind jumps to my birth mom, the woman who blessed me with life, Suzanne. Shortly after that, my wonderful mother in law, Tammy makes her entrance on my subconscious. So here's to the three moms in my life. If I wasn't a big sissy, here's what I would tell them.

My Mom-
I think you are selfless- the things you have up for me over the years, I know I don't know the half of it

I admire how you finish what you begin, whether its a book, a project, or a job you always tie up the lose ends

I'm thankful you're a trend-setter, I know that grandma and grandpa didn't vocalize their love very often, i'm so blessed that you told me all the time how much you love me

I admire your bravery. The guts it took to not only give me up for adoption, but to carry me for nine months inspires me.

I love how you don't every apologize for who you are. It makes me realize that what I think of myself matters far more, then what others think.

You have taught me how to support my husband. Your dedication to G and what he loves and wants to do, helps me stand by Trev and support what will make him happy.

The 'ma'
I admire your compassion. The way you care for those in need is such a strong testimony to me to have a heart for those who need a boost

I think you are strong, your desire to hold our family together makes me proud to be a Howard.

I think you are fun! Your zest for life makes you very exciting to be around.

Love your daughter,

Saturday, April 24, 2010



I have had 3 students to date with the first intial h. yep. hard to keep straight. I'm going to name this one Helen for the sake of keeping it straight.

So when H joined my class last week, you probably read my confusion, anger, and semi (very semi excitement)

This week she humbled me.

Background information: My class has "adopted" the severe/multiple special education class. My kids don't know that title, we refer to them as our buddies. There are 7 students in there. 6 boys and 1 girl. The boy buddies are so much fun. They dance like Michael Jackson, offer big hugs, and are so funny. The girl buddy has a few more challenges. She is nearly unresponsive that we can tell, to what we are doing. So weekly we read, do crafts, and help them celebrate holidays/season. It has been a truely rewarding experience for my 12 year olds, and I hope for their class as well. I wish I had a whole post on why I choose to have my students volunteer in this way, but I don't. So I will wrap it up by saying, it make them better children, friends, students and people by forcing them out of what is comfrortable and really showing them how fortunate they are.

Back to H. So every week we read on Tuesday and Thursday. My students take turns working one on one with the buddies. They don't have the same buddy every time. Since their are different skill/cognitive levels I like to switch it up. It is almost always easier to find student who wants to work with the boys, since like I said they are very high funtioning and responsive. H who has been in my class just one week, volunteers to work with the girl, "Summer". I didn't get a chance to talk to her when she was finished reading, to be honest, I didn't think about it in the busyness of the day. Yesterday when we were making our pieces for our class quilt, H was finished with hers. She asked if she could make another one...I said yes. She then began embroidering a heart with the letter "s" in it. When she was finished she asked if she could go give it to Summer. So off she went to give her gift to Summer, a girl who might not show she was recieving anything, who would not thank H, who wouldn't be excited or wrap H in a hug. It was true selflessness. To give without asking anything in return. What an honor I have, teaching such an awesome 12 year old.

on to other things

With testing officially over!!! (it was the longest week of my life) I get to move on to OTHER things!!! I'm very very very very excited.

This is the reason I love teaching. I love to teach students things that transfer directly over to their life now. I like to use the curriculum and make it relevant. Teaching life things like citizenship, honestly, hard work thru my 7 core subjects is a challenge I enjoy.

So good bye test prep, hello Novel Studies, The Real Game, Fun Science Experiments and Guess Speakers!

p.s And just a little new student H.... Well things are going smashingly!

Friday, April 16, 2010

POed or proud?

Today was a day.

I've been sitting here mulling over it since school was out at 3:15. I still don't know if I have the words. Today started like every other Friday. Until 8:30, around ten minutes after the bell. Our principal, walks in my room. This is a semi-rare occurance, especially without notice.

She broke the news to me, that I would be getting a new student.

Before I was actually a teacher, I wondered how teachers react to this kind of news. I always am a bit thrown off. I never have been excited when the principal comes to bring this news. It throws off the day, you have to find new books, a new desk, and it changes the dynamic of your classroom. I have been fortunate in my teaching career that I haven't had students leave my class, and now only 4 to date join it.

So back to today, I should mention I already have the highest count in my grade with a whooping 26. So when I recieved news that I would be getting a student who has now been in 3 different classes this year, been suspended, lived in ISS, and is generally disrespectful and unruly, I was less then excited. I was actually mad. Ticked. My friends will attest. I didn't understand why me. I have the most kids, the most kids with emotional disorders, tons of IEPs, students who don't speak English! I am stretched thinner then I ever imagined. So adding one more student to the mix who will need lots of attention frustrated me. So I went through the day wrestling with whether I should be super mad, or kinda proud. Having parents fight to get their kids in my class is kind of flattering...(that was vain, I know)

So I've decided to look at it like this, what doesn't kill me will make me stronger and everything happens for a reason. I like a challenge. I will make these next 29 days of school the best days of school this student has experienced. I won't fail her. It is not her fault for this situation we've been put in. I hope when I look back on this post at the end of the year, the end of the decade, right before I retire....that we had success. Here's to the next 29 days.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

He came around...

I've never had a student like Seth.

He is extremely bright, extremely sarcastic, and extremely hard-headed. Did I enjoy him every moment at first? Nope. Was I patient with him every moment? Nope. Did I see his potential? Nope.

I will be the first to admit, I judged him wrong. It was at the beginning of the year, and we butted heads all day. (now, I know that I'm the adult, and he should respect me, but that's not Seth's way) For this young man, respect is earned, not given. I called his parents a couple of times, and no matter what I was telling them he did- from hitting a girl on the head to cussing and everything inbetween, they kept telling me I was going about it the wrong way. They said, you are either on his team or against him. Get on his team.

Now to any educator, when parents tell you what to do, it's sometimes taken the wrong way. I didn't like being told that I was failing with this student. Were his grades good? yes! Could he pass the state test? yes! But my success wasn't measured by scores. I want it to be measured by Seth taking interest, getting involved in class, and enjoying learning.

I'm not just any teacher, and I like a good challenge.

Slowly but surely, I took interest in Seth. I learned his likes and dislikes, I tried to see his strenghs and focus less on the distractions and sarcastic comments. And guess what...I did it!

I saw Seth today interact with a student in the special needs class with a huge smile on his face. Earlier this year Seth would have been either sleeping or reading while I talked about this volunteering oppertunity, but today...he raised his hand.

As I watched Seth work with Jesse, helping him glue, color, and bend the pipe cleaner for his butterfly, about how Seth is like that butterfly.....coming into himself beautifully.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

While Mrs. Smith is in here...

Today I had about ten minutes to kill before another teacher was going to come teach my class a lesson. Being the world's best teacher, I always have something productive planned for my students, just in case we ever have down time. ... not.

Considering their previous behavior, I asked them to fill in the blank:

While Mrs. Smith is in here....

here are some of their answers

...I will not pick my nose not punch her in the face not throw a banana at her not act like we are acting now
...raise our hands before talking eating pickles not embarass Mrs. Howard

This activity went over with such astounding reviews, I lead a similar activity at the end of the day. It was called give a tip. Here are some tips from the smartest 12 year olds on the planet.

-don't try to sneak up on a skunk
-don't put a lite fire cracker in a beer bottle
-don't take a shower with your cell phone
-don't forget to do your friend's homework
-don't scream into the phone when your mom calls
-don't eat pancakes naked

Yep. My job is interesting.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Someone is coming to Visit

Sammie is coming to visit!
Samson is excited!

Lindsey is coming with Sammie
Beth is excited!
hurry up friday....

Friday, April 2, 2010

Oh the things they say:

Direct quote:

From the assistant principals daughter:

"Teachers don't get kids. Well, except Mrs. Howard, she's all up in kids a good way"

From one of my students:

"1985 was a long time ago, like 40 years"

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Crap Happens

There once was a pup named Samson. He lives a simple life, with his mom and dad. He has a friend named Sammie.

All was going well in his world. He napped, ate, and played. Until one day, when out of the blue...

he found himself wearing this cone.

Friday, March 26, 2010

All grown up.

Today, about 3:20 strolls up, my first year student K.

Now, normally I wouldn't be surprised to see her. She comes to see me often.


Up walks this teenager. complete with linebacker style eye line
invisable braces
straighten, hair sprayed hair

I almost didn't recognize her...
it was the hands in the hair shouting Mrs. Howard
it was the tie-dye shirt
it was the K walk babies are growing up :(

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Recess Duty

I have recess duty this week with Mrs. M. As much as I like spending time with my friend, recess duty is not my idea of fun.

Things I've been told/handled so far this week:

1. A boy telling me he's going to f'n beat up another boy.
2. A boy punching another boy in the balls....for coming up to him and saying roar
3. A girl spanking another girl with her belt
4. A girl with a cell phone out taking pictures
4. "I'm a purple pony" then gallopping off
5. A boy double fisting flipping off Mrs. M

Yes. 6th grade is too old for recess.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Top 10: Spring Break Edition

10: Knowing when Samson wakes me up at night, it's okay because I don't have school the next day

9: Not grading, and not feeling bad about it

8: Getting a much needed break from those I see all day, (students) and fitting in time with people I don't see often. 

7: Taking short or long naps, at any point in the day

6: Getting to try out new recipes because I have time to cook. Also, getting to go to the grocery store in the middle of the day, when there aren't many people there.

5. Getting to enjoy being outside at the park, digging for a garden, walking Samson. Sun is so good for my soul.

4. Rubbing it in certain people's faces who have jobs that don't get Spring Breaks

3. Spending alone time with my husband, while we are both awake

2. Getting to see my family! Mom, Dad, Ward, Tammy, Carter, Robyn, Meme, Poppy, Aunt Terry: Loved seeing each one of them! 

1. Spending time by myself: relaxing, refocusing, reenergizing 

**3 days left in my Spring Break. I think come Monday, I'll be super teacher again :) **

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The longer I am in Public Education...

I know what you're thinking. Two years isn't long to be in public education...

I know teachers who have taught more then 30 years.

But in truth, I've been in public education since I was 6 and entered the big K. Except for a 4 year bout in a private college, public education is all I have known.  

My roles in public education have changed from student to teacher...a small change if you ask me. 

In my 20 years in public education a lot of things have changed.  Discipline, Motivation, Testing, Theories on Learning.

....where is she going with this? Well, after being on the teaching side of public education for two years, I'll tell you what I think...

-More time is wasted redirecting then teaching
-Discipline is a joke, because the administrators are afraid of parent retaliation
-Kids know more now about things that are beyond their years
-Kids are skipped over, either intentionally or unintentionally because of their behavior
-There are hours in my day, where I'm not permitted to teaching because kids are receiving other services
- Learning is put on the back-burner to testing
- Morals don't count for as much as they used to

So this short list, comprised off of the top of my head leads me to have this conversation with my TH. 

Me: Babe, What do you think of homeschooling?
TH: Ugh...those kids are weird.
Me: Why do you think that?
TH: Because they have no social skills
Me: Do you think our kids will have social skills?
TH: Yeah
Me: Do you think they will come from school, or us
TH: Us probably
Me: So, besides social skills, do you have any other opinions
TH: not really, Why?
Me: don't judge me, k? I want to homeschool our kids
TH: Huh?

So this conversation has led to many more. Right now, having kids seems light years away. But when I do have children, I would like to homeschool them (until they are about 8 years old) for various reasons..I can narrow it down to 4 (in order from most important)

1. I want my children to have a solid foundation in reading and math skills
2. I want my children to think of learning as fun and exciting
3. I think I can teach my children most effectively and efficiently 
4. I don't want to be on a rigid 8-4 schedule 5 days a week. I want learning to be woven into our day.

There are quiet a few other reasons...but those are the main four.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


It's official. They've flipped.

two days before spring break and we have flipped...

erasers at our classmates
each other off
our books upside down
paper on the floor
our chairs over

and I've flipped open each workbook and assigned them lots of busy work.

Monday, March 8, 2010


Today I found out my childhood best friend's dad died.

Hilary and I were the best of friends from 2nd grade until high school. We met as 8 year olds, when she moved from California to Missouri. The teacher, our favorite, sat us next to each other. I didn't know how to say her name, after I asked her, she asked if I wanted to play at recess. We started and just never stopped. We had a unique friendship, built on our specific strengths. School came easier to me, art and style came natural to her. We spent years planning the rest of our lives as friends, bothering our younger siblings, hating boys, and complaining about school.  As friends often do, our lives took separate paths.  There's not a year of elementary school or Jr. High that Hilary doesn't stick out in my mind. She was a great great friend.  We spent summers swimming, playing sports, and having adventures. Her dad was a big part of that, coaching our teams, helping us build things. He was always up for a good time. 

Today when I read on Facebook that he had passed away, it hit me really hard. How could such a joy-filled, energetic man be gone. He wasn't old, he's MY dad's age. I called my dad. I told him I loved him. 

Hil, know you're dad's legacy lives on by all of us, who took the extra time to tell our fathers what they mean to us today. You're in my prayers friend.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Top ten things I would tell a teacher candidate

Top ten things I would tell a teacher candidate 

10. While student teaching, pay close attention to how your teacher disciplines. Ask if you can listen in when they talk one on one with a student, when the call parents, or any other situations where a teacher has to handle a student’s decision one-on-one.

9. Decide early on how you are going to reward/punish individually and as a group. Finding this balance will make your room run smoothly.

8. Don’t be afraid to change things mid-year. Communicate with your students that they are a part of their flexible class, and that you all will learn and adjust together.

7. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your principal, especially as a first year teacher, they are their to help you.

6. Trust me that you are not a miracle worker. You can give your 110% everyday, and you will still have students that are not motivated to learn. This is not your fault. Don’t let it eat you alive.

5. Don’t try to grade everything. There are ways to assess without looking at EVERY SINGLE answer on each page. Be creative in your assignments to give the students variety AND make it easier on you.

4. Implement a no tattling rule the first day. Unless they are injured or in danger have another way for them to “tell”.

3. Start each day new with each student. This is tricky, but if you can leave each day with the mindset that tomorrow is new, your frustration level with each student will be less.

2. Find a stress-outlet.  I write my “teaching happenings” in a blog and have three teacher friends that I vent to. No one is perfect, the key is releasing the hardships of teaching in a healthy manner. I try not to take it home to my husband because he doesn’t understand.

1. Keep parents on your team! Do what it takes. I try to make each parent that walks in my classroom feel like his or her student is the most important child in my classroom! People often tell me I’m too full of energy. This does not come naturally, but if I can win those parents over with my first impression, my year will be easier. Get to know each of the students and add those little tid-bits in to the conversation. If the parents can see you really know their child, they will bend over backwards to help you!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Longing for the Beach

Certain things trigger my longing for the beach.

The beach is tied for my favorite place on earth.  The mountains share the coveted first position.  It's weird how they are extremely different, but both make me feel more alive then anything else. 

When I am stressed at school, there is a poster in my classroom of the beach. It has some inspirational saying on it, but I can't even tell you what it says.  I just look at the poster, imagine myself laying there, cold drink in hand, reading a great book.  I love the way the sun feels crisp on my skin as I absorb all those sun-cancer rays.   It's the epitome of relaxation. 

When I see picture of myself on the beach, or a movie with the beach I long to be there, in the sun, listening to the water. Napping on the beach is good for my soul.  

How I wish I could zap myself there. 

Friday, March 5, 2010

I'm the biggest dork in this room, thank you.

  I try to instill in my students this one fact: I am the biggest dork in the room.  By implementing this, I insure that none of my kids get made fun of, because if anyone gets made fun of, it's me. I try to model the correct way to handle people poking fun at you, by laughing right along. 

I tell my kids this all year, so when I came in today with a blacking, swollen, cut eye they wanted to know what happened.

I fought a door knob and the door knob won. 

I'm pretty excited for when it turns green.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It's the little things...


So the reason I am posting this picture is, I'm so excited for my roommate! I was looking for a picture of us, that I love...and the first thing that came to my mind was this vacation.  After we graduated from college we took a girls vacation to FL. (This happen to also be the summer of my wedding)
We got to spend a blissful week on the beach! Oh how I wish I was there now, and not in Oklahoma.  Okay. On to the excitement.  So....a few weeks ago, my roommate got engaged! Now, the whole story of us ending up being roommates is a pretty neat one. We both were thinking of getting new roommates at the same point in our sophomore year. We also both happened to be in the same class education class. So at the end of class, Lindsey asked if who I was rooming with next year, and so it began.  There could not have been a more perfect fit. I have been blessed blessed blessed with her friendship. 

It is possible I might be more excited about Lindsey's wedding then my own! Literally, I am so happy for her, for Matt. I can't think of anyone who deserves a great guy and life! So with this on my mind...I'm so excited for her dress trying on tomorrow. 
Roommate, I know that we no longer live together. But you will always be my roommate. Hope Matt is okay with that.  I'm so glad we get to share the joys of


One thing that is different about my teaching theory this year, is my view on parents.

Last year, I figured:  Hey, the kid's making good decisions, decent grades. I don't really need to talk to the parents.

This year, I figured: The more the parents know the more they can help me. 

Case and point: I tried to keep my parents very up to date on what is going on with test prep. 

-I want them to understand percentages, number of questions and what kind of questions.
-I want them to understand what will happen if their child does not pass this test.
-I want them to know what to practice. 
-I want them to know where their child is currently standing

As I've found out: education is bliss. 

Being kept in the loop, my parents have not let me down! The students are practicing extra, at home. They parents are offering incentives and consequences. Staying in the know, has given them something to talk to their kids about!

So thank you parents, our test scores went from 8% passing to 68%. We couldn't have done it without you. Now, let's make the next 20 days, really count!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Full moon?

I'm pretty sure there is a full moon in the next few days...or a storm coming in

My day was completely insane. Some days I walk out of my class feeling like a success, but today I felt like somewhere, I messed up. Maybe I wasn't tough even on them, maybe they don't respect my authority.  

Those days are few and far between, but they leave me feeling drained. 

Today my students would not get quiet. I waited, and waited. I counted. I assigned extra work. I didn't yell.  

I'm not really a yeller. I especially make it a point not to yell in my class. I like my students to notice when something is really important to me. I feel like if I yell all the time, it all seems the same. I like to save raising my voice for when it really matters. So today, I didn't yell. 

Maybe I should have yelled, or kept them in from recess. I don't know. I guess that's part of being a second year teacher. I wonder if it changes after you've been teaching 20 years. 

Sunday, February 28, 2010

1sts and everys

Things that happened today, for the first time ever:
1. I mopped poop off the floor
2. I rode to KS and back in the same day
3. I went Geocaching with Samson

Things that happen every weekend:
1. I wake up before 7 am
2. I fail to grade papers
3. My kitchen starts the week in a mess

Friday, February 26, 2010

New Students...a reflection

Yesterday I got a new student. New students are common after breaks, and near semesters, but fairly uncommon this time of year.

I have been blessed in my two years of teaching, with the exception of one student who stayed for three days before he pulled a pocket knife, I've got great kids. 

I've had a total 3 "new kids" in my two years. Two of them have been transfered from a difference 6th grade class, and one moved back from fifth grade.  All of them have fit into my class seamlessly. I feel thankful for them being placed in my class, even though the day I get them is always hectic and stressful. 

It's the small things. Really. 

HL, HP, and CW -Welcome, glad you're here, you make our class whole.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

At the end of my rope

I once told my kids that you know you are maturing when you are at the end of your rope, and you display self-control. 

Today I was at the end of my rope...

Hanging on their tight at the end of the day, trying to display self-control but my kids were making it difficult!

- asking tons of repeat questions
-not following directions
- having to redo the same thing 5 times
- saying dumb things, loudly

But I was clinging on....

THEN I came tumbling down.

E, my constant challenge to make sure behavior and language is appropriate, mouths off using racial slurs to one of my sweetest girls in the class.

over a wrinkled up piece of paper. yep. paper.

I got rope-burn on the way down. 

Monday, February 22, 2010


While looking at a practice problem on a test. 

5 + 6 - (4 x 4) 

I asked O,

Mrs. H -What should you do first?  
O- I dunno
Mrs. H- Do you know what phrase we use to remember what goes first?
O- Nope
Mrs. H- There's a's kinda made up..ring any bells?
*blank stares*
Mrs. H- PEMDAS? Please excuse my dear aunt Sally?
O- oh YEAH!

Mrs. H- What comes first?
 O- I don't know.

Mrs. H- Do you know what the P stands for?
Mrs. H- what are these? (pointing to the parenthesis)
O- Parenthesis? 
Mrs. H- yep. What does parenthesis start with?
O- P

Mrs. H- so what do you think the P in PEMDAS stands for?
O- ....Prime?


What I learned at Professional Development

Things I learned at Autism observing my fellow educators:

1. All teachers have ADD 
2. Sitting still for 90 minutes is killer
3. Drawing and Listening can happen, but it's not likely
4. Powerpoint packets double as game boards
5. We'd rather grade papers then be trained
6. When you get teachers together, the back rows fill first
7. Teachers stick in packs
8. I can sleep sitting up
9. A lot of purses get cleaned out
10. If it starts at 8:00, we arrive at 8:30
11. Parents aren't always the problem
12. It's the little things in life that bring happiness, like Sonic
13. We are everything we try to avoid in our students: tardy, inattentive, exclusive, distracting, and we talk during the class.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mrs. Howard, are you sick?

Mrs. H are you sick? 

That's what one of my students asked me yesterday.  

---What makes you think I'm sick? Is it the fact that I can't speak more then 4 sentences without coughing, or I have to blow my nose during the spelling pre-test?  Did I tip you off that I lost my voice during the read aloud?  I can't talk loud enough to talk over you, so I sit by the clock and count seconds until you notice that I'm trying to get your attention.  I guess you noticed because I have been squeezing my head, because of a headache, more than normal.  

---So why don't we have a sub, you ask.  Because dear 6th grader, If I were to get a sub, I would have to plan out many more lessons, make many more copies, grade many more papers then usual. I would also have to deal with more behavior and respect problems, other teachers giving me looks for skipping out on my duties, and a sub that leaves a report telling me you're all hyper, disrespectful, and can't stay on task. Does that sound like something you want to do when you're not feeling well? 

--So I'm here at school today, don't worry you won't catch my cold. You probably gave it to me. I know how to cover my cough, wash my hands, and not share food. I can keep my germs to myself. So please talk a little less, listen a little more, and grab a tissue for me. 

Mrs. H

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Real friends tell

So I've always heard the phrase, real friends tell. Mostly when it comes to telling your friend something awkward or embarrassing.  Like when my husband has a bugger in his nose, or when an 11 year old boy has his zipper open, or you can see panties through a skirt. Things like that. So today I walk into my class and take my coat off.  (It was a cool morning, so I'd had my jacket on til around 9 am)

A few moments later, H walks up to me and says, Mrs. H is your shirt on inside out?  It takes me a moment to realize that she is not trying to pull one over on me. I glance down, my shirt appears the same on the outside and on the inside with the exception the seams show. There is no tag, to other give-aways. Sure enough, my shirt is on inside out. 

I quickly take the moment to teach my students things that only weird situations can bring on. I show them how to handle embarrassment.  I tell H that I planned that to see how observant they are, and begin a contest of how many people mention to me that my shirt is on inside out. She, and all my other students thought this was a great idea. 

But on a serious note, in their lives embarrassing things happen, they and if they can learn to laugh at themselves, other will laugh with them, instead of at them. 

P.S. H was the only person who told me today, that my shirt was on backwards...thanks Mrs. M and Mrs. W!

Friday, February 12, 2010

thoughts about LOVE

With V-day coming up, I've been surrounded by people who either love or hate this holiday. 

Valentine's Day in the 6th grade:  

Today I had 12 year olds receive flowers, candy, and valentines from their significant others. Today I had 12 year olds wear anti-Valentine's Day shirts.
Today I had 12 year olds tell me they loved electronics.
Today I had 12 year olds tell me they loved other 12 year olds.

It amazes me how much love changes as we do.  I remember my first little "boyfriend".  His name is Nick, and we were 6.  I'm pretty sure I told my mom I loved him. And -gasp- I kissed him! 
* I am happy to report that Nick is happily married to an awesome girl, and has a sweet little boy.*

As I grew up, there were boys that I was interested in, but I'm positive I never told anyone that I loved a boy from the age of 7 to probably about 15.  When I was 15 I would have told you I loved around six boys...but only as friends. I truly did.

Then there is Trevor. My love for Trev changed over the years.  It went from a figment of my imagination, to an interest in friendship, to a love of friendship, to a young romance, and now we share a two year of marriage, you're my other half love. 

So two days before the big V, I can tell you this: I LOVE teaching, expanding, investing, and frustrating my 25 amazing 11 year olds, who are experiencing their own level of love.  

And I Love my husband, the most sincere, honest, humble, forgiving, even-keel, funny man I know.  

I can't imagine my life without either!

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Fifty Six

Fifty six = hands in my classroom

Fifty six = more then me and Michael's ages added together

Fifty six = the year my aunt was born

Fifty six = the age I am going to be when I'm eligible to retire from teaching.

I came to this realization today. Years taught + real age = 90.

Fifty six is older then either of my parents. Fifty six is over thirty years away. Fifty six seems so far away. Fifty six.... I don't know how much energy I'm going to have then. Fifty six seems like a grandma age. Fifty six...

By the time I'm fifty-six ;

I'll be finished raising children if I have any
My first students will be 44 years old
I'll have been married for 32 years
Hope, Hannah, and Jacob will be 43 years old
My parents will be in their eighties
David will be 30 years old
I'll own my own house
My student loans will be paid off!

God bless me if I make it to 56.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Old Fart

Our new counselor, Mrs. 'Old-School' was in my room yesterday.  Now, understand I don't have anything against her, well not much anyways. I know a lot about teaching has changed in the last say...40 years... 

Anyway, she is very tough, and likes to make sure the students are doing exactly what she says, and writing exactly what she's written....word. for. word. 

Besides that, she sometimes interrupts then before they are done speaking, and she discourages their individualism, and it's her way or the high way. 

That being said, I'm thankful that she comes once every two weeks, to share a life skill lesson so that I don't have to write a lesson plan, deliver the lesson, answer questions, grade the papers, enter the grades. Okay, okay back to the story.

Mrs. O-S is in my room lecturing about different ways to handle conflict. She is instructing the students to fill in pages in the work book, keep their head up, pay attention, and on and on. Meanwhile, she is walking around the room. As she walks past my desk I hear a psh psh psh psh sound every time she walks.  

Squeaky shoes?

Student playing in their desk?

Student making noise with their mouth?

What IS that noise? I look up to see if my students are playing around, and I notice them covering their mouths, with red faces. Then I realize what is going on....