on my mind…

13 days.
Holy crap.
Must. Break. 2 hours.

Today is a rest day.
But it feels like it should be a running day.



We’ve had a bit of bullying
going on in our 4th and 5th grade classrooms.

So in hopes to clean
my classroom of gossip and dirty looks,
“she’s not our friend” conversations,
and just plain mean behaviors,
I did the only thing I could think of:

I am having each of my students write one
kind and specific compliment
about each person in the class,
including me.

I got this idea from one of
my most memorable teachers,
Mrs. Smith.
She was my 6th grade teacher.
When something similar was in the air
of our class in 1996,
she had us complete the same assignment.

After receiving our compliments,
she compiled a list for each of us.
30 compliments from our classmates, and 1 from our teacher.
I still have mine,
and I smile each time I read it.
I remember feeling noticed and appreciated.

This weekend, I spent some time typing some of 
the compliments that have already been submitted.
I was pleasantly reminded 
how great kids can be
when you give them the opportunity.

Some of my favorites include:
“I love how you’re really good at reading.  I think you should write your own book someday.”

“I think you are forgivable, because if you broke a promise to someone, you would always make it up to them.”

“You were my friend, even when people were mad at me.  I’d like to thank you for that.”

“I love how you act, but I like more how you are a leader to follow.”

“You are always hopeful, because when we play soccer and our team is losing, you always hope for the best.”

– – – – – –
Have I mentioned that I love my job yet?

I love when I’m tricky!

I read to my kids every day after lunch.  
These days, not all kids have the opportunity 
and the treat of being read to.

I’ve made it a point to switch up the genres
every time we finish a book.
So far we’ve read
The Tale of Despereaux 
And Maniac Magee
(realistic fiction)

In January it was time to start a new book,
so I let my kids vote on the genre.
I didn’t give them choices that they were too familiar with:
historical fiction, poetry, or autobiography.

Though not thrilled, they were forced to choose
and they landed on poetry.
Little did they know it would be a genre 
they’d learn to love.

The first day I started on page 1
and began reading the poems in order.
A few days past, and I could see them
pretending they didn’t like them
but they really did.

So then I decided to make it an assignment 
to choose a poem and read it to the class.
As I explained we’d be focusing on expression,
pace, and eye contact with the audience,
they looked at me as though this was my worst idea yet.
But after a few volunteers took a brave leap of faith,
they started to realize how great poetry can be.

It’s February now,
and they have eaten it up!
They giggle. They smile.
They beg to see the pictures.
And they love the snaps instead of applause at the end.

The moment I knew they were absolutely hooked was this week.
I checked out Falling Up

I quietly set it on the whiteboard tray,
hoping someone would ask to read it.
First one girl, and then a few boys.
Now, we’ve got a sign-up list going on.

Then today, music to my ears:
“Miss Friedrich, can we read a poem for the class from this book too?”
I’ve done it again!
Caught ya!  
Loving what you’re learning!
And you don’t even realize it.
I love when I’m tricky.