Friday, September 26, 2008


At some point in our lives, we all can be rude or hurtful. I'm sure we'd all like to stay in our little bubbles and think we're the nicest thing since cheez whiz on cinnamon swirl bread with olives. That would be lying to yourself.

Here's what you do if you need to apologize.

1. Realize you need to apologize. This might actually take an hour. Sometimes when someone has told you that you've hurt their feelings: realize they may be right before you become defensive. My first instinct is to turn it on them and say "Oh yeah... well..." That's not going to get you far. Be quiet. Rephrase what the person just said to you. Tell them you need to think about it if they're standing there looking at you with their mouth open waiting for an apology.

2. Again, repeat what your victim has said. And say "Oh I didn't realize I hurt your feelings. I'm sorry."

3. That's it. Don't give yourself an excuse. Don't give them an excuse. The sorry is enough.

Swim Team

Fosston is so lucky to have a swim team. They've been having swim meets every weekend since school has started. I've decided I want to join the swim team.

I long to feel the cool water rush across my face and watch the reflection of my arms underneath the water. I love rhythm of breathing of the freestyle.

When I was in high school, we didn't have a swim team of course. Swimming was the only sport I was good at. I long to be on the Swim Team.

I can see myself lined up with the other girls cheering my team mates on. I can see my not so perfect dive as I get used to the water.

Do you think they'll notice a thirty-four year old chubby mom wearing one of those two piece swimsuits with a skirt?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My favorite compliments

I'm a compliment whore. I thrive on compliments. They give me the feedback I need to hear. On the surface, I'm a modest person willing to give others credit, but on the inside, I want to hear what a great job I'm doing and why you think I'm great. I'm not saying this is a good thing. It's not. It's pride, and it's very unchristian of me.

Before I went back to school, I was a para. I worked in a preschool room. Paraprofessionals work one on one with students who need that little extra help. I loved it.

Now, as a teacher, I have paras in my room. Little by little, I've been noticing the paras smiling at the back of the room and nodding their heads.

Yesterday, I showed another teacher tube video to my seventh graders. At the end of the fourth period, one of the paras stopped after class and told me that she really likes my teaching. She really liked the video!

I was on cloud nine.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Don't Laugh at Me

This week at school, I've been teaching a Bully Unit based on a unit my cooperating teacher in Thief River Falls taught last year. I found an article on bullying from and printed it out for them. We used a reading strategy called SQ3R and read the article and discussed bullies in school and on the internet.

After reading the article together and demonstrating how to use the SQ3R method, we discussed bullies and what to do about them. Some of the students were brave and shared how hurtful it was when they were the teased. Some of the bullies apologized to their victims. I was a little overwhelmed with their reactions.

One of my favorite teaching strategies is to find a video that connects to the theme of the lesson of the day. Today, I showed a video of Peter, Paul, and Mary's "Don't Laugh at Me."I love the video, and it brings tears to my eyes almost every time I watch it. I noticed tears in some of my students too.

Monday, September 15, 2008

It's just wacky...

It's been a while since I've blogged about my trusty physical therapist Krystle. Last month, I went to my last appointment. She graduated me. She said I'm cured. She also wrote a prescription for a retainer.

Last winter, I had my wisdom teeth removed. It looked like an easy deal. I decided to have my dentist remove them himself. I wanted to save some cash.

The first time I went in, I had my right side removed. My dentist whistles a lot. He sings as he works on my mouth. As he pulled my crazy tooth, the whistling stopped. He couldn't even hum a tune. I saw a small look of panic in his eyes. My dentist encountered a problem when one of my roots was wrapped around my jaw. He had to finish what he started. Afterwards, I ended up with an infection.

A month later, I had my left side removed. I ended up with another infection I can't even talk about. It was a nightmare. A creepy gross nightmare. Let's just say all the hygienists came and took a lookie inside my mouth. They had never seen anything like it.

Ever since, I've had TMJ... Chronic tension in my jaw. At first, I thought it would go away. I thought I talked too much.

Krystle noticed my funny jaw movements in our sessions. I told her about my wisdom teeth ordeal. She mentioned the retainer.

Today, in class one of my students called out;

"Hey what's up with your jaw? 'Cuz it's all wacky"

Friday, September 12, 2008

Where'd the Hot Teacher Go?

The other day, I was sitting in my room correcting papers at my desk with my door open. I could hear students bustling on their way to class. One student called out to another after looking in my room;

"Dude, where'd the hot teacher go?"

Dude, she's in Korea.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Ms. K, the Saint in Korea

All day, my students have been telling me how much better Ms. K. was, and how, she never made them do any work like everrrrrrr........

I replaced Ms. K. She took a position in Korea. She is there now.

I told them they should write her a letter, and I liked Ms. K. too.

Their mouths dropped wide open.

"But, you never met her."

"Yes, I did. When I was hired, I came one day and met her. She told me you were the best students in the whole world, and she didn't know how she was going to survive without you while she was in Korea."

"Really? Wow."

Of course, I lied.

Monday, September 8, 2008


Tomorrow is primary Tuesday. It brings me back to September 2000 when I wheeled my Grandma Shirley down to the community hall so she could vote for Mark Dayton. Weeks a head of time, Grandma made my sister and I promise we would go down and vote at primaries to be sure that Mark Dayton would be the Minnesota Democratic Nominee for United States Senate. Looking back, how could anyone resist a seventy-five year old dynamo with oxygen tubing in a wheelchair?

Grandma told me about Mark Dayton's bus trips to Canada. Grandma was convinced that Mark Dayton was the answer to her and her friends' prayers. He was sincere, honest, and he cared about the cost of medicine. It seemed like everyday the commercials got her excited. Anytime we would call with news of her great-grandchildren, she would bring up Mark Dayton and the hope he offered Minnesota, the United States, and the world.

Grandma died in January 2002 almost seven years ago. Tomorrow, J. Bird and I will be election judges for our township. As I count the votes of my neighbors, I'm going to remember wheeling my grandma down to the community hall casting her vote for her hopes and dreams.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Mahna Mahna

Today in Homeroom, we were doing mad libs. Some of the kids decided to use Mahna Mahna as their exclamation. They even used it as a noun in places and a verb in some places.

When I started singing the Mahna Mahna song, they mouths fell open.

"How do you know this song?"

"Ummm it was on The Muppets. Didn't you ever watch The Muppets?"

There faces were blank.

I sang it some. They sang along with me.

"Where did you find this, if you didn't watch The Muppets?"

They looked at each other and smiled;


Thursday, September 4, 2008

This is My Town...

This video was made last fall concerning our school's science program. The sixth grade teacher, Mrs. Salberg, specializes in Science. The fifth grade teacher, Mr. Mueller, specializes in Social studies. Together they came up with this Glacial Ridge program for the kids at our school. This will be Natalie's first year with the program. She's thrilled. Mrs. Salberg is her hero. Mrs. Salberg and Mr. Mueller are my heroes too.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

How Does an English Teacher Marry a Rocker...

This morning at class, I told my students that Jason used to be in a band. Evidently, this is a big deal.

"How does a teacher marry a rocker?"

"What do you mean? Teachers are some of the coolest people around."

"You don't look like a teacher who'd be married to a rocker."

I passed them a picture of Jason.

"He does look like a rocker. Wow you're married to a rocker."

First Day of School

Yesterday, I had my first teaching day. It was just me and the kids. Their assignment was to complete a reader's inventory. One kid sent it back to me and said; "No thanks, I already know what books I like to read."

I handed it back and told him it was worth ten points. He groaned and went back to his seat.

Today, we wrote Bio Poems. (Biographical Poems) We also listened to Jessica Andrew's Who I am and discussed tasers. (I'm still not sure how that came up) I can't wait to get their biographical poems back.

Psst... Can you keep a secret? I found a new awesome website. I think I'm in love. The only thing is that these video websites suck up all of the school's bandwith. So, I'm not going to flash it all over school. I need that bandwith baby.

Now, just to get my projector ready with speakers.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Seventh Grade Orientation - Meet the Students

Thursday Night, we had Open House up at the school. About sixty seventh graders and their parents filled the commons area. Mr. Strom told them all the ins and outs of Fosston High. I listened carefully, I don't even know this stuff.

7th graders came in and greeted their friends. Some had dyed their hair pink over the summer. They were thrilled.

Meanwhile, I took pictures upon pictures for the yearbook. 7th graders started to line up because they thought they needed their pictures taken.

While Mr. Strom talked about their first year at Fosston High, parents worriedly filled out their forms. I could read their minds... They were thinking of their first day of Seventh Grade. They were thinking of getting lost, or being the only one to bring a purse around the school.