This Week’s LOL Moments

I am grading spelling tests, and students wrote sentences for each word. I always explain that their sentences must show that they clearly understand what the word means (i.e. If the spelling word is spoon, they can’t write ”What is a spoon?” They have to write something like ”I eat my cereal with a spoon” to explain the meaning.) So the spelling word was ”believe” and my student writes for his sentence, ”I believe I can fly.” I instantly heard background music (okay, so it was just in my head) from R. Kelly belting out on the Space Jam soundtrack (I confess, that was my childhood favorite soundtrack : )) ”I believe I can fly… I believe I can touch the sky…” LOL

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I teach 5th grade math, so my 6th graders go to other math classes, and another teacher’s 5th graders change to my classroom for our daily 60 minutes of math. I have enjoyed math class this year, especially since it’s been one big experiment while I adjust to the Everyday Math curriculum. The other day, as students are entering and settling into their seats, one of the girls says, ”Miss, I like your shirt!” (It’s a bright purple shirt with ”wing” sleeves. Not sure what else to call them.) I make chicken wings and say, ”Thanks, this shirt helps me to fly!” Another student says in a mock serious voice with his eyebrows at just the right furrow, ”I don’t suggest you jump off a building with that shirt.” I LOLed right then and there! I wish I had a photo of his facial expression to share with you!

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We are working on synonyms for ”feeling” words to help students express themselves confidently (and to grow our vocabularies : )). So the word of the day was ”tired” and I introduced two synonyms during our Morning Meeting — lethargic and exhausted. Tomas and Luis were immediately hooked by the word  lethargic and began repeating it over and over. I described how sloths are lethargic because they move so slowly that it takes them 24 hours to climb up and down just one tree. Just then over the loudspeaker, the daily Pledge of Allegiance began, and all students stood, except Marcelo. About three phrases into the Pledge, Marcelo was still in his chair but his arms were slowly lifting up to the ceiling. In my best quiet teacher voice, I command Marcelo to join us in standing, and he whispers back, ”Miss, but I’m practicing being a lethargic sloth.” Right, so it’s going to take you 24 hours to stand up. LOL.

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I was hosting a study hall of sorts with my 6th graders and another teacher’s 4th graders while our 5th graders were in D.A.R.E. class. The secretaria called over the loudspeaker, and we had a short conversation in Spanish about daily school details. The buzz of busy students stopped, and when I turned to face the class, the latino 4th graders’ jaws were dropped (I humbly confess I love these moments of surprising kids : )). All in that same moment, two latinas literally got out of their desks, hugged me with a huge tackle, and exclaimed, ”Eres puertorriqueña?” (Are you Puerto Rican?) LOL. Apparently my Spanish accent of the moment made them think I share their heritage. ”No, chicas,” I told them, ”I am gringa.” I glanced over at my beaming 6th graders. Oh yes, they are still proud that their gringa maestra speaks the español. : )

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All Time Best Hyperbole

Okay, so I’m biased. This is only the best hyperbole because it summarizes my job so well.

Just in case you need a reminder (I know I did before I taught this): a hyperbole is the use of extreme exaggeration to make a point.

We’ve been having fun learning different forms of figurative language, and today the topic was hyperbole. I gave a few examples (including the classic “He’s faster than a speeding bullet!” Students loved this one — that’s the illustration of the shooter in the photo below. The bullet is already out of sight, and notice how the student added smoke on the gun : ) It’s the little things that make me smile, lol.)

Okay, so I gave a few examples, and then students had to think of their own examples. Tomas writes above, “I’m learning too much my head is going to explode.” LOL I love this!!! He has asked me repeatedly over the last few weeks, “Why are you requiring so much from me!?” with an exhausted look on his face. My response is, “Because I know you are capable of high expectations.” I also LOLed at his illustration below:

Bom = boom. We love creative spelling in my classroom. : )

So there you have it. The best hyperbole ever.

Friendly Competition

The few times I have tried to brave any sort of competition games with my students, I quickly learned that someone’s feelings are likely to get hurt. While I know competition often hooks the boys, I also know I don’t want students to have bloody noses over a review game.

So instead of students competing against one another, we make prefixes and vocabulary words compete.

Prefixes un-, re-, dis-, mis-, and pre- battle over who can have the longest list. When students find a word with a prefix in their reading, they can add to our lists.

Homophones compete for who can win the most stickers. When students find a homophone in their reading, they can add a sticker to the word.

”Daze” is winning!

We hunt for interesting words in our Read Aloud books, and then the words compete for stickers. These words are from The Report Card, by Andrew Clements, and ”admit” takes an easy first place.

I have found that the simple privilege of writing or putting a sticker on our charts is highly motivating for students.