Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Oh the Drama!!!!!

My class has a penchant for the dramatic. (and, truthfully, so do I, so I may be partly to blame. oh well) Nothing is ever stated, nothing is ever just said. Instead, we have to yell, exclaim, shout, demand, announce, proclaim and broadcast each and every item. I am glad they are so enthusiastic, but I am certain that if this level of hysteria over everything continues, at some point I will probably have to bring in fainting couches for the Sarah Bernhardts of the class. Maybe I can get a bulk discount. Today's drama, which was relatively minor, went something like this:

"Mrs. Lewis? I have red spots all over my arms! And they're getting bigger!" (Which she did and they were)

"Mrs. Lewis? I just fell (at recess) and cracked my head on a rock and now I'm bleeding."

(Two girls nose to nose, both yelling and crying)
"I did not punch you! You are a liar!
"I am not a liar, you are horrible and mean and I hate you!"
"I'm telling! You are the liar!"

and no post would be complete without a moment brought to you by Drama Boy, who yesterday looked at me and said "You are WRONG!" Today was a better day.

Drama Boy: "Hey Mrs. Lewis! Did you know that I went to Animal Kingdom with my mom and we went on the Yeti ride and it looks nothing like it does on tv and its way scarier than I thought it would be and did you know that Yeti's are real it's true I saw one but on the ride they are much bigger and I thought that it was going to get me but then I realized I was on the ride and it can't get me but I want to know where they live and do you know because I need to find out and I need to go to the media center to look it up.'K?"

And then we had to get under our desks because there was a tornado drill. And another class was with us. Yeah, Wednesday. Sigh.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Chaos Part Deux

I believe I left you all at Wednesday of last week. Go HERE if you would like a re-cap.Then came Thursday. At that point, we were back in our room, but if you re-call, had done absolutely nothing the day before. So we had two days worth of work to get done. We are motoring along, getting our work done. At 9:10, I realize that I had never sent our attendance cards up to the office. I grabbed the bag and sent Drama Boy and Lip Gloss (who happened to be my two messengers) to the office. They were gone an awfully long time. When they come back, Drama Boy has got a bowl of cereal and chocolate milk in his hand. Our rule at school is that if a child does not have time for breakfast at home, they can have it at school. We also allow children who do not have time to eat in the cafeteria to grab a bag that has 2 slices of toast and milk to bring that and eat it in the room. Toast. Which, you know, does not spill. At 8:00. It was now 9:30. The conversation that follows:

Me: Drama Boy, what are you doing with cereal?

DB: I got it from the cafeteria. I was hungry. 

Me: And they gave it to you?(I find out later that there was a misunderstanding, because, at the time, I was livid that they had given it to him.)

DB: Yes

Me: Well, I'm sorry but it is past breakfast time. We are doing writing and if you were hungry for breakfast, you should have gotten it an hour and a half ago when you came to school. ( I know, you think I am awful for denying a kid breakfast when he is hungry but you know what? He could have gotten it at 8:00. Also, Drama Boy tends to think that rules do not apply to him, and he can do whatever he wants whenever he wants. Plus, if he was eating the cereal, no writing would get done. At all.)


Me: You need to go put the cereal on the back table. We are writing.


Me: Now.

DB: (Stands as straight as he can drawing himself up to his full 4' 1",  extends his arm and points a finger directly at me.) FINE! FINE! BUT IF I STARVE TO DEATH IT WILL BE ALL YOUR FAULT!!!!!!!!!!!! (He then throws himself at his desk and weeps copiously. I ignored him.)
He proceeds to build a tower of books over and above his head while still crying. I thought my class was going to lose it because half of them were red in the face from trying not to laugh out loud. The rest of the day passed fairly uneventfully. Then came Friday afternoon.

In the grand scheme of things, Bad Boy was having a pretty good week. Then his mom came to pick him up Friday afternoon. I love his mother. She is awesome. She is totally supportive and really involved. I find out that Bad Boy, who has not been turning in his homework, has been lying to her about having it done already. He has also been lying about his writing and when I dig through his backpack, I find a ton of "correct and return" papers that he never returned. His mother was at a loss, I was at a loss, and so I laid into him. Really, really hard. I have tried to be kind, I have tried to be strict, but he is just being lazy. And I let him know it. I have never laid into a kid that hard before, and I would not have, except for the fact that him mom was a) standing there and b)on the same page as me. I started to feel really bad when he began to cry, but I was determined not to let up. I finally ran out of steam and let his mother take over. The poor kid! But I hope this will get through to him. I feel like if he does not begin to learn about consequences now, he can easily get lost in the shuffle of middle school. So that was the week. I am thankful for a three-day weekend for me, but because we have report cards due, the kids get a four-day weekend. So I won't see them until Wednesday. And when I do, I will give Bad Boy a big hug and we will sit down and talk.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chaos Theory In Practice

Kids need routine. Kids like predictability, and when you mess with that, you better be prepared. Change one element, and it can throw off the whole delicate operation that is the elementary school day. As predicted, this week has, indeed, been one hot mess. Monday, we moved out of our classroom. 24 children lugging backpacks, textbooks, coats, sweaters and recess equipment while their teacher pushed a large grocery cart with books, cd player, computer, paper, pencils and other items. We looked like some sort of deranged parade. Along the way, I lost several of my kids. I'm not sure where they went, but they showed up 20 minutes later.
We settled comfortably into our temporary digs and dismissed from that room. Fine. The next day, we hummed along as best we could. Until the afternoon. When Bad Boy comes back to the room from going to the bathroom and delivering a message to another teacher for me. (20 minutes later)

BB: Mrs. Lewis? I have paint all over my hands.

Mrs. L: Why?

BB: Because I stopped by our room and touched all the wet paint.

OF COURSE HE DID!!!!!!!! But I have to give him props for admitting it. So when the kids were dismissed, I took him down to our room and made him apologize to the painters who now had to re-paint all of our shelves because someone's little fingerprints were all over them. And he did. And so I sent him away. That was Tuesday.

We were told we could move back into our room Wednesday morning. However, the painters finished our room Tuesday night and told that art teacher she could move into our temporary room right away because her room was next in line. Move into where we were. Which we had no idea about. Wednesday morning, I walk in and find her there. Getting ready for her first class. In 20 minutes. Of course, we had PE on Wednesday, and as you know from HERE, on cold days, PE has to be inside. And it was 35 degrees out. So the art teacher, who is, no doubt, a Super-Super Colleague rearranged herself to accommodate us. Because there was no way, even though the paint was dry, that we could have had PE in our room. And this is why:

The kids desks are somewhere under there. No idea where. While the kids were doing PE, I hastily packed up all our stuff, again, and tried dragging it by myself back to our room so the art teacher could get into the temporary room right after PE. It was not pretty. Things spilled. I crashed the cart twice and cracked my shin against it at least three times.
At exactly 9:05 I dragged my kids out of the room with all their stuff. Three went missing again. I found out later they had an unfortunate meeting with the assistant principal. They came back, unscathed, although I later heard that one of my girls told someone to "Kiss my butt", which brought about the meeting with the VP.  We are all assembled back in our room, and it occurs to me that there is no way we can do anything until we put some order back into the room. So we try, but the kids are totally wound up, and I am seriously losing it. As I am about to blow a gasket, along comes an angel. A wonder. A woman whose debt I will forever be in. The fourth grade teacher on my row pops her head into my room and sees the chaos that is the day. She offers to take my kids, and, not only keep them in her room, but do a writing lesson with them!!!!!!!! While her kids are in there too!!!!!!!  I mean, seriously, does it get any more super than that?!?!?! NO!!!! WOW!!!!! So She takes them. For 2 hours. And I take two trustworthy kids of mine and we put the room back in order. She also takes them for half an hour after lunch. I love this woman. I worship at the altar of her awesome-ness. I, of course, will do the same thing for her when she has to put her room back together, but I am still feeling the glow of her kindness.
And that was Wednesday.

The drama of Thursday is coming up, but re-living the first part of the week has exhausted me all over again, and now I must take a nap.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

I AM BAAAAACK!!!!!!!!!

Yes, Friends, it is I. Your wonderful blogger, back from vacation/holidays (holi-daze, really), last week of school/first week back, etc. Needless to say, it was hectic, exhausting, but ultimately great. And so I resume. But be prepared, because the following is a lot.

First things first:
Holiday vacation. To have two weeks off is great. It is restorative, it is restful, and it allows me to re-charge. Truly. The truth is, if I did not have these two weeks off, someone would die. The kids were cranky, I was cranky, and no one was getting along. On my vacation, Mr. L and I went home and spent the time visiting our friends and families, seeing plays and movies, and generally catching up with all and sundry in NY. For the very first time, Mr. L and I were home for the entire vacation, together. Usually, he leaves a day or two after Christmas and I do not return until New Years. This time, we had 11 days to do all the stuff we never seem to have time to do. It was great.

Then, it was time to go back to school. And deal with the hot mess that was the first week.
Now the last time I was in my classroom was the day we let out for vacation. Which means I was just as eager as the kids to get out of there. Needless to say, my room was a mess. "No problem" I thought, "I will organize and clean before the kids come in". Wrong. When I got into my car on January fourth, I was horrified to discover that it was 32 degrees outside. 32. In Florida. Now that may seem like a small inconvenience to some, but for me it is huge, because the rule at school is if it is below 40 degrees, the kids have to come into the classrooms. Now when I was a kid, we always walked from the bus into the room and waited for our teacher. No such luck anymore. Kids are not allowed to be in classrooms without adult supervision, ever! As such, the kids all line up on two central courts in the morning where they are supervised by teachers until the first bell rings. I then usually truck out there to get them. Except when it is cold. Then, the kids have to come inside the minute they get there. In other words, I cannot get anything in my room done, because all of a sudden, my kids are in my room a half-hour before normal. Plus, if it's a PE day, that means that PE is in the rooms. During my planning time. So again, nothing gets done. It has been cold all week. I am already behind.
And then, on Thursday, the painters come in and tell me that our room is going to be painted on Monday. And we have to pack up the room like it's the last day of school.
And move to a portable. (read: trailer)
On the other side of campus.
And we don't know when they will be done.
So instead of reading our new story, learning our spelling words and trying to finish "The Tale of Despereaux" we will be packing up our room. Fun.

P.S. - Stay tuned. Stories of Drama Boy and Bad Boy to follow in the next few days. I just have to figure out how they end.