Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Breaking Bad

It happens so quickly.  One minute you are on a rigid schedule and in constant motion, planning, teaching, helping, collaborating, copying, talking, reading, etc. and the next you are sleeping in until 7:30 (and, yes, that's sleeping in for me), planting flowers mid-morning, taking walks, making sun tea, and eating lunch whenever you want.  Just like that.  Summer happens.  No more school bells ringing, or meetings, or bunches of kids calling your name every second of the day.  

There is no denying that the last day of school is somewhat bittersweet.   For kids it can be a difficult day because the routine they've established and the teacher that they have spent hundreds of hours with is going to be gone from their daily routine.  For teachers it's a difficult day, because, well because, they are trying to contain excited, anxious, emotional kids.  It's sweet for both students and teachers because they have days of sunny freedom stretched before them.   

Every day last week, I had students weepy and, yes, even out and out crying because school was coming to an end.   We've worked hard for ten months to create our classroom of learning and it is pretty sad to know that it will be dissolved in an instant.  Former students, and parents of former students stopped by my room to thank me and wish me a great summer.

It's been two days since we went on summer break.  The weather has been perfect.  I've started reading books for pleasure again.  I've called friends to set up lunch/dinner dates that I haven't seen since September.  Travel plans are in motion.  I'm already feeling rested and renewed.  It's a wonderful feeling to not have to think about school for weeks at a time; it's so all-encompassing during the year.  

My blog will be on summer break also. I learned a lot this past school year.  I learned that I can be a blogger and I successfully published 177 blogs. I learned that being positive can truly make a difference.  I made a few new BFFs at school this year!  :)  Best of all, I know that next year will be even better than this one, because I have the power to make that happen.

Thank you everyone for reading the blog this year.  I was always so excited to see people from all around the U.S. and the world reading my posts.  I hope in some small way, I helped you feel more positive about your day.   I don't have definite plans to resume my blog in August, but I think I'm leaning towards another year of writing, as I know it contributed to my overall year of positivity.   

So, I'm going to go pour a glass of fresh brewed ice tea and grab my book and head out to the deck to enjoy the sun and the breeze.  Because I can do whatever I want.  

It's summer.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Ode To My Third Grade Class - 2013

My very first year teaching, I wanted to come up with a end of year tradition, of sorts, to do with each of my future classes.   As my first year came to a hectic end, I racked my brain to think of something I could give to my students that would encapsulate our year together. Always an admirer of Dr. Seuss and his funny, quirky poetic style, I figured that was it!  

My first year, I somehow managed to complete all the reports and checklists I had to do and even managed to pen a personal ode to my class.  I gathered them together that final day, fighting back a few tears, and nervously read my poem to them.  I wanted them to like it - no love it - but I wasn't sure of what their reaction would be.  As I read the final lines to the still group of little kids, I looked over the paper and saw my own tears mirrored in their eyes.  We were realizing that our time together was over.  

One year, on the last day of school, one of my little fifth grade boys arrived and presented me with a very special gift.  He had stayed up late and penned "Ode To My Fifth Grade Teacher".  It's still the best gift I have ever received. 

Every year since that very first one, I have written a poem, which I always call an ode, to my class of students.  It is unique to each group of students and includes special moments from each year that we shared together.

My first ode was three pages long.  This year it is ten pages.  

Ode To My Third Grade Class - 2013

I can’t believe it’s June,
This year has flown by,
Seems I just said hello,
And now it’s time for good-bye.

I remember your faces,
As you walked in the door,
To begin your 3rd grade
In Jeppson, room 24.

Each day you arrived,
And sat in your places,
Learned the routine,
And met some new faces.

You got down to work,
And you learned some new things,
Now on to fourth grade,
And all that it brings.

You all were so eager,
When I tried something new,
You asked lots of questions,
And smarter you grew.

Every day I looked forward,
To seeing your faces,
Hearing your stories,
Sometimes tying your laces.

We organized math workshop,
You all did your best,
You practiced and studied,
And did well on your tests.

You inspired me to blog,
About my fun days at school,
Staying positive every day,
Became our new rule.

Weekly CEO’s led us,
To music, Spanish, and art,
Although you sometimes got talkative,
And had to restart.

You learned to write in cursive,
And received smelly stickers,
And now when you write,
You know cursive is quicker.

Remember our class spider,
Who propelled down his web,
Suspended over a desk,
Almost landed on a head.

Remember reading on the back carpet,
And listening to others share,
Reading new literature,
Becoming more aware.

You learned about Michigan,
Our fascinating state,
Remember “HOMES”
To help you name all the lakes.

Remember our class coins,
And filling the jar all the way,
It earned you some free time,
To head outside to play.

Remember to indent,
The paragraphs you write,
You don’t want to give your next teacher,
A terrible fright.

Remember our buddies,
Little kindergarten friends,
You read to them & helped them,
On you they could depend.

Remember on Friday,
Perfect planner you could earn,
I was always so picky,
And sometimes even stern.

Remember the announcements,
And our speaker being broken,
Was difficult to hear,
The words being spoken.

Remember I (heart) math,
It’s really not so bad,
Use your problem-solving skills,
No reason to get mad.

Remember punctuation,
Is a very important thing,
So let’s not eat Grandma,
(that’s a whole ‘nother thing!)

Remember introductions & conclusions,
Edit your work when done,
You’re all better writers,
Each and every one.

Remember iPads, and Netbooks,
In the classroom to use,
For math practice, writing,
And sometimes whatever you choose.

Remember chess on Fridays,
With a partner you’d play,
The Chess Lady taught you,
Playing chess in new ways.

Remember pancakes freshly made,
And syrup that we tapped,
Ate so many for breakfast,
That we all needed a nap.

Remember this summer,
To read and review your facts,
So you don’t arrive next year,
Already off the tracks.

Remember looking at maps,
On the back carpet floor,
Filled with interesting places,
You’d like to explore.

Remember Newton’s cradle,
Force & motion in action,
Remember inertia and gravity,
Friction and traction.

In science you learned,
About geology and sound,
Animals and light,
What goes up must come down.

There were many math problems,
Fractions, measurement, and more,
Don’t forget to practice your math facts,
What is 7 times 4?

Remember the Beatles,
And the Happy Birthday song?
remember some of the tattling?
Can’t we all just get along?

Remember “No markers!”
They just look a mess,
They don’t make your artwork,
Look its very best.

Remember making “Cootie Bugs”, 
For working together,
Remember before recess,
We’d often check the weather.

Making your thinking visible,
With routines like CSI,
Making connections and wondering,
Always asking why.

Remember our field trips, 
The nature center and farm site,
To Lansing for one whole day,
You all were so polite.

Remember “Take 7”,
A break and a snack,
Sometimes missing the buzzer,
too much yakity-yak.

Remember Making Meaning,
Hearing books being read,
Talking to your partner,
Sharing what they said.

Remember cleaning your desks,
How’d you fit all that in there?
Remember me reminding you,
Don’t lean back in your chair.

Remember “7-up”,
At the end of the day,
You all had such fun,
When you were able to play.

Good behavior could earn you,
A ticket or two,
For treasure box Thursday,
Oh, what will you choose?

Thank you for laughing,
At my jokes that were lame,
You always played along,
And we made it a game.

Every day you arrived,
And got right down to business,
Some days we had fun,
Others seemed rather endless.

You picked me flowers at recess,
Drew me pictures at lunch,
And as the year continued,
I liked you a bunch.

You laughed at my jokes,
And clapped at my art,
You’re such a great class,
You’ll always be in my heart.

Always trying so hard,
Always giving your best,
Be it writing or spelling,
Or yet one more test.

You called out, “More recess!”
I demanded, “More work!”
But every once in a while,
I threw in a perk.

Some candy, extra recess,
Reading, or such,
I knew that you needed,
And deserved it so much.

You learned so much this year,
But I learned from you too,
I’ll take each of you with me,
And whenever I feel blue.

I’ll think of you humor,
Your smiles, your great questions,
Your silliness and stories,
Your helpful suggestions.

Each of you taught me,
In your own special way,
How important we each are,
And now, I must say.

Believe in yourself,
Work hard but have fun,
Your life is just starting,
You have just begun.

Each one of you is special,
Unique and so smart,
Be it math, writing, science,
Social studies or art.

I wish you the best,
Follow your dreams, you’ll go far,
No matter what you do,
Stay whoever you are.

I hope you’ll think back,
On 3rd grade some day,
And remember the good times,
We had here at Way.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Another Viewpoint....

Thank you to another guest blogger (especially these final days of the school year).  This guest blogger is a kindergarten teacher (1st year) who also worked as a permanent sub in our building.   This wonderful teacher also attended our school as a little one!  I've never seen her without a bright smile on her face!  My class was buddies with her class this year and I got to see her in "action" with her kids.  She's a wonderful, caring, and enthusiastic teacher - and it's only her first year!  I can tell the students adore her and I look forward to working with her for many more years to come.  

It is two o’clock in the morning and I can’t sleep.  With only three and a half more days of school, things are winding down.  My student MAP forms are complete, report cards are done but my mind keeps going.  Perhaps it is the excitement of summer break just around the corner or maybe it is saying goodbye to my little ones that I have been with for 172 school days.  As educators, we know the importance of routines for our students.  Switching math from before to after lunch can quite frankly turn the room into a chaotic mess.  The students are used to eating lunch at the same time, going out for recess at noon and their lives are about to alter for almost three months. 
Our students are more intuitive then we give them credit for.  They feel that change is coming and show their anxieties in different way; becoming more emotional, acting out, showing a lot of affection, etc.  As educators, we have to remember the impact we have made on these little beings lives and understand their uncertainties. 
Maybe our students are not the only ones stuck on routines.  Our daily routines as educators are about to change drastically as well.  More time for laundry, organizing our lives, lunch dates.  Though it may be more fun, we are also so used to our daily routines.  It is scary to think of change, even if it is just for the summer.
After writing down my own anxieties and uncertainties, I hope to sleep better knowing I have made a huge difference in the lives of 21 little minds.  The next few days will bring laughter, sadness, frustration and excitement.  In the end, students and teachers alike are sharing the same emotions and trying to let go of a wonderful year of learning and growth.  Enjoy the last couple days with the students you helped shape and teach.  Listen to them, share with them, and continue to guide them.  Then maybe next Monday night we will all sleep better.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Does This Make Me Look Fat?

In an elementary school, birthday treats abound.  There is hardly a day that goes by when I don't have a little visitor enter my room, friend in tow, to present me with a cupcake, cookie, brownie, or other grand confectionery.  My students always become very excited when they see a birthday visitor arrive.  This is because, I don't eat my birthday treats.  I don't throw away my birthday treats.  I place them on my desk, in clear view of the students, and at the end of the day I give away the treat to a student.  I tell them that I will look for a student who is doing their best throughout the day and award them the sweet treat. Secretly, I keep a checklist of students I give the treat to so I can make sure and give one to each of them before year's end.  

Today, by 1:00, I had received not one, but two delicious treats:  a chocolate cupcake with
white icing and sprinkles and a chocolate chip cookie.  Yum.  

When the students became too talkative (which they always do this time of the year) or when they couldn't walk quietly down the hallways (again, no can do this time of the year), I reminded them that I had some yummy treats just waiting on my desk.   It bought me at least several minutes of silence.  A welcome respite on these final days of school.  I'll take it.

With the stress of these final days, I was tempted several times to pop that cupcake or cookie into my mouth.  But I knew if I did that, I would need to explain to my little darlings what had happened to the treat, as they know exactly what treat is sitting on my desk.   Earlier in the year they asked me why I didn't eat the treats myself.  They couldn't get their head around the fact that I could resist eating a sugary treat, that had no doubt been manhandled by numerous tiny hands.   

So the two treats sat there until the final minutes of the day.  

"Who is going to get the treats?" a couple of them shouted as they jostled for position in the line by the door.  

"Well, obviously no one who is shouting or jostling around by the door," I replied.   They giggled.  

"What's jostling?" asked a little one standing quietly in the back of the line.  

"It's exactly what you are not doing.   So you get to pick one of the treats!" I instructed him.

He raced to the desk looking back and forth between the cupcake and the cookie.  What to do?  What to do?    

Before he could make up his mind, I turned to a sweet little darling standing by her desk.  "Would you like the other treat today?" I asked her.  

In a split second she was over at the desk with the still undecided boy.  They talked back and forth for a few seconds and then each hand grabbed a treat.   They made their way to the doorway, each holding their prize carefully.  One day, a "treat winner" had unfortunately dropped his right in the doorway at the end of the day.  Lesson learned.  

"How can you not eat this?" asked the smiling girl, holding her cupcake up towards me.

"Well, just think about it.  If I ate every single birthday treat that came to my class, plus the birthday treats all of you bring in for your birthday, I would be as big as a house!"  I said.  And I stretched my hands out wide from my sides.  I puffed my checks out.  

And as the bell rang, they walked towards the doors laughing.

And I, pulled from my desk drawer an Almond Joy bar.  After all, I have all summer to exercise.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

If Students Ran The Classroom

Wow!  With less than six days left in this school year, things are definitely a bit c-r-a-z-y around school.  The kids are trying to be good.  They are trying to do their assignments.  They are trying to remain calm.  But, geez, summer is just around the corner. It's so close you can almost taste it.  Sleeping in.  Staying up late.  Hanging out with Mom (or Dad). Playing with friends, neighbors, brothers and sisters.   Swimming. Playing. And a lot of the "F" word ----- FUN!  Believe me, the teachers are not immune to this either.  There's a lot of eye-rolling and hands thrown up in the air.   We are completely and officially worn out every day by noon with all the anticipation.

Today was our last day with our kindergarten buddies.  Now, kindergarten buddy day is right up there with Halloween or Valentine's Day. It's exciting.  It's fun.  And the third graders love seeing their little friends.  So, as I reviewed our daily schedule with the kids as I do every morning, when I came to "Kindergarten Buddies", they all squealed and clapped their hands in excitement.   The problem was we had six hours and ten minutes until we got to that point in the schedule.  They must have asked me seventy-five times today about buddies.  

"When are we going?"  [I point to schedule on board]
"Are we gonna see our buddies today?"  [Nod.  Frown.  Point to schedule on board]
"Is this our last time to see our buddies?"  [Nod.  Make sad face in agreement]

Now repeat the above over and over and over and over and over......

Finally, 3:10 arrives.  I pick the little ones up from gym and we head to the kindergarten hallway.  It's so cute to see them interact with their little friends.  They hold hands and hug and laugh.  The third graders help their little kindergarten friends color and read to them and play games with them.   Today, I brought in some Popsicles to celebrate our last time together.   They were all so polite. 

"Thank you Mrs. Jeppson,"  I heard over and over.   And then I watched the third graders open the Popsicle for their little buddy.  The big kids and the little kids licked their Popsicles and their tongues and lips turned red and purple and blue.   They giggled as they stuck their tongues out at one another and made funny faces. 

Next we headed outside to play.  Now this is always a treat for the third graders because they get to play on the "little kids side" of the playground.  Of course when you are on the "little kids side" all you want to do is make it to the "big kids side" of the playground, but once there, you only want to go back.  It's a vicious cycle.   So, my kids were happy to be back playing with their buddies.  I watched as they ran and chased one another and climbed and jumped and pushed each other on the swings and had the time of their life.  

Before long, it was time to go and we bid our little buddies good-bye.  We headed back to our classroom and it seemed everything was in chaos. I stopped at least five times on our way back and even used my sternest glare to try and get them to stop chatting so much. When we got back to our room, they were all over the classroom. They were to the right of me. They were to the left of me.  I looked across the room and saw one student on the floor.  Two were trying to get a drink from the drinking fountain at the same time.  At least five were trying to get my attention to relay their "cute buddy story" to me.   With only eight minutes until the bell rang, to get us one more day closer to summer, I gave up.  Three kids had been poking my arm and trying to get my attention to ask if they could play 'Seven Up'.  

"Yes.  Yes.  Play away," I said, in a rather loud voice.  "But you can decide who is supposed to be up and run the game.  I'm tired."  I threw in a yawn for added effect.

They looked at me and looked at each other.  And then, rather silently, seven students (who were "up" the last time we played") lined up at the back of the room.  One of them announced in a clear, firm voice:

"OK.  If you want to play, close your eyes and put your thumb up.  And don't peek!"  

And with that, fourteen little heads went down and fourteen little thumbs went up and the seven students walked around, sneaking up on kids to gently tap their thumb and then race back to their spot at the back of the room.    I stood over by the door.  Silent.  Watching.  Could they do it?  Could they run the game by themselves without problems, arguments, etc.??  

And then one of the seven said, "OK.  Eyes open.  Raise your hand if you were tapped." 

And I'll be darned.  Seven hands went into the air.  They were running the game all by themselves.  And they were doing a pretty good job so far.  

Another one of the seven began.  "[student name], who do you think tapped you?"  

The game went on and I watched in amusement.   The words they used were exactly the words I use when we play the game.  They were being the teacher.  They were running their own game.  They were following the rules and playing the game.  They were running the classroom.  And they were doing a really good job.  I honestly think I could have left and they would have called the game, lined up, waited for the bell, and walked themselves out.  There is something to be said for routines. 

I'm thinking tomorrow I'll toss them the social studies lesson and see how they do.  

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

It's Not Rocket Science

I'm not gonna lie to you.  This time of year, with only eight days remaining, can be some of the toughest times of the whole year.  It can also be some of the best.  It's tough because the kids can't sit still.  It's tough because the weather is beautiful.  It's tough because the kids are staying up later and getting into "summer mode".  It's tough because we teachers are completely and utterly exhausted.  It is the best part of the year because I know the kids so well.  It's the best part of the year because some of the pressure is off as we wind down the year, and we can stray from our tight schedules to relax a bit.  It's the best time of the year because the students have grown and changed right before my eyes. 

Today, the kids and I went outside as they tested their straw rockets.  This is a part of our Force & Motion unit and the kids love it.  They build, test, adjust, explain, and have fun creating rockets made from straws.  They figure out items to add to their rocket for weight and learn some scientific concepts as they "play".  Today was the day where we had the "Rocket Races" and each student had a chance to try to blow their rocket and hit a target at a 5 meter distance.  The weather was perfect and the kids were excited.  

I lined up a student to help record distances.  I lined up a student to measure out and mark the test track.  I lined up a student to monitor the box of supplies.  I got to sit back, listen, and watch the students.  One of my favorite things to do.   

"Hey!  Mrs. Jeppson!" yelled one little boy as he ran toward me, straw in hand.  

"Hey! What?" I replied, as he skidded to a stop right up against my arm.

"We are doing rocket science!"  He laughed and said it several other times in case students in the vicinity had not heard it the first time.   It received numerous chuckles and giggles.

"There is no such thing as rocket science," countered another little student.  "My Dad said so," he added for extra oomph.   

And then they looked at me, since I'm the resident expert when Dads are no where to be found.

"My Dad said it's engineering.  For space.  And making space shuttles.  But it's not called Rocket Science," he explained further.  

The boy who had originally ran to me looked a bit deflated.  He wanted to be a rocket scientist.  He wore his safety glasses atop his head, so serious and intent on his rocket building.  The fact that they were using plastic straws, clay, and paper had not deterred him one bit.  I wanted to make sure he continued to feel very important.  

"I think we can call it whatever we want.  And we can be whatever we want," I told them.  "I like the sound of "Rocket Scientist".  It sounds more official.  And way more fun," I smiled at them.  "Now, be off, rocket scientists!  Go build, test, and try!" 
They gleefully returned back to the testing area with their straws. 

As each student blew their rocket, the kids oohed and ahhed and encouraged one another.  When one of the straw rockets traveled an amazing 6 meters, it earned a round of applause from the watching scientists.  Soon, we headed inside, the races over.

Now, it's hard to top playing with straw rockets outside on a perfect, 72 degree sunny day, but I tried.  We gathered at the back carpet and I began reading them an article about polar bears and global warming.  They stretched out and wrote down questions and wonders.  They talked with their reading partner and shared their thinking with the class.  I even dare say, they were quite engaged as they learned about the polar bears losing their habitat due to global warming.   

Near the end of the discussion, one of the little ones began talking in a funny voice and announcing that he was a polar bear. I believe he was talking about not finding enough seals for his dinner.  It instantly reminded me of the A T & T commercials where the guy is talking to little kids.  I started to laugh.  The kids started to laugh but they had no idea why they were laughing.  But if I was laughing, they figured it was time to laugh.

"Hey.. have you guys seen the A T & T commercials with the little kids and the man?" I asked them, still laughing.  "Well [insert student name] reminds me of the little girl who talks like a werewolf...." 
Watch ATT Commercial

Before I could finish, several kids were laughing and adding more specific details from the commercial.  They began sharing the other commercials with each other and soon we were all laughing.  I told them that sometimes the commercials remind me of when I talk to them and we have discussions.  I told them I meant it as a compliment.  That laughing is good for you and sometimes they say really funny things.  

And although it might not have been rocket science, we ended the day, one of our last together, learning, discovering, and doing what we do every day.    

Monday, June 3, 2013

Guest Blog

Today is my first official guest blog post!   It comes from a fellow teacher in the district who volunteered a few weeks ago when I posted my blog: Help Wanted.  Unfortunately for me, I didn't get quite the response I had hoped for, but fortunately for me, a this teacher stepped up.  

 I had the pleasure of working in the same school as the guest blogger a few years ago when I was teaching ESL at her school.  My tiny office was located between two classrooms and hers was one of them.  I was always so amazed when I would hear all the excited kids in her classroom.  It was a vibrant room full of learning and thinking.   I was always impressed with her dedication as a teacher.  She's also a real "techie" and I have learned a lot from her over the years.  I can honestly say that I never see her without a bright smile and a positive attitude, so it's only fitting that she's my guest blogger.   So, without further ado, may I present today's guest blogger -----

First, I have to say that I’ve loved reading this blog all year long!  I don’t know if I could have kept up on writing the way Dianne has – and the laughs?!  It’s been the perfect place to pop in when I need a giggle!

It’s so hard to think of one thing to focus on for this guest post.  I mean, teaching is all over the place – just today I was at a soccer game watching a bunch of my girls play.  They, of course, were more interested in my dog than the game once I arrived.  Thankfully, the offer to stay till games end as long as they stayed focused worked like a charm!  (And their coach said that he had been using me coming to the game as encouragement for them to play their best!)  After the fun of the soccer game, I came home to the rather un-fun task of report card writing.  The best thing I like about this last report card is the POSITIVE comments I get to leave after spending a year watching these kids grow!

Oh, yeah, I forgot to introduce myself.  I teach fourth grade at Conant Elementary, another school in the district.  I’ve been there for my whole teaching career, though I bounce between third and fourth grade as needed.  I like both grades – the age of third graders is like no other, and well, fourth graders?  They’re quite entertaining, to say the least!  I used to think third grade was my favorite to teach, but after this year?  I’m not sure… might be a tie.

Since it’s going to be impossible to sum up an entire school year in a few paragraphs, I’m gonna try to use the POSITIVITY thread to weave everything together.  Cause it’s a pretty easy thing to think about positivity in my classroom.  For one, I’m POSITIVE I love my job.  There are so many positive aspects
to teaching, which I like to think they outweigh the less-than-positive moments.  I have a mantra when it comes to teaching that falls very nicely into the positive position.  In fact, this positive mantra is positioned above the doorway in my classroom.  It says “Attitude is everything.”  And yes, even the sign has attitude.  It refuses to hang straight.  It’s got a bit of a personality.
My class this year is quite an enthusiastic group of kids.  Thinkers, they’re called.  Ms. Diem’s Thinkers.  And boy do they think.  They make me think, too, with all the questions they have!  I don’t have the answers to many of their questions, but that’s ok.  I’m pretty positive they’ll be able find the answers in their own time, and will learn more because of that self-motivated process of inquiry.

Fourth graders have such a unique way of seeing things.  They’re on the cusp of that “I’m too cool for that!” mentality, but still have the “my teacher is the coolest!” mindset.  They still love stickers.  And stuffed animals.  They take things very literal, which in turn, leads to some very laughable conversations!  It’s really hard to keep a straight face sometimes.
The most positive thing from the school year?  It has to be watching these Thinkers grow.  They came in as enthusiastic, somewhat boisterous third graders, lapping up all support and guidance they could get.  They sit before me now, more confident, more independent, more knowledgeable, more able to satisfy their curiosities with their newfound ability to research and interact with their world in a positive, meaningful way.  I couldn’t be prouder!

Funny tidbits from 4th graders…
They are endlessly entertained by the fact that when you type an “r” and an “n” next to each other, it looks like an “m” (this always brings out a fit of giggles!)
4th graders like to invent new words, like the fact that the entire class says “present-tat-ing” instead of “presenting”
No matter what book you’re reading aloud, when you get to a cliff hanger, they simultaneously yell “noooooooo!” when you start to close the book. (They simultaneously cheer when you continue reading, too.)
Extra recess is still the best bribe.  Period.
iPads make everything more fun.  Even taking tests.  And writing.

And my favorite?
They’re never too old for a handshake, high-five, or even a hug as we say farewell on Fridays.

By the way, I’m pretty positive you’ll enjoy meeting my class, too.  Check out their blog at  You can follow them on twitter too @MsDiemsThinkers