Here's to Hoping for Diffendoofer

"We've taught you that the earth is round,
that red and white make pink,
and something else that matters more
We've taught you how to think."

Man, these words have inspired me all week. This past week my students and I dove in to everything Dr. Seuss. We've written, researched, read, and experimented with Theo Leseig in mind, but it was this book in particular that has had my wheels turning all week.

If you haven't read this book I'll give you the short. These children go to Diffendoofer School and it's AWESOME. They love their school so much. Their teachers, cooks, and janitors all are BURSTING with pride and having FUN! They adore their teacher Miss Bonkers. She does crazy things to get them learning-- like cartwheels -- and sometimes even teaches goofy things. One day -- the principal comes in and tells them that they are going to have a STANDARDIZED TEST and if they don't pass their school will be torn down. Everyone is worried, except for Miss Bonkers when she simply reassures them that --
"We've taught you that the earth is round,
that red and white make pink,
and something else that matters more
We've taught you how to think."

We've taught you how to think. I loved that.

I've just been so inspired through this story and how it so accurately parallels the school system these days, so as we got lost in Dr. Seuss fantasies I got lost in one of my own.

What if I had my own Diffendoofer School?
What if we (teachers) could just teach our kids without stressing about fitting it all in?
What if we could do cartwheels and get loud without worry?
What if we could dance/sing/fellowship instead of worrying about instructional minutes? What if we could pray with and over our students when we felt like it, or when they needed it?
What if kids could show us what they know through portfolios, projects, or interviews versus a standardized test that's only conducive to a fraction of the class?
What if teachers were assessed by something other than a single test percentage with fear of losing their jobs?
What if we could take as many field trips as we needed to show kids there is a purpose to what you're learning?
What if we could decorate our room with beautiful colors and posters without the fire marshal making us tear them down?
What if we could correct our students and help mold them without having to get ten documents signed to protect us from law suits?
What if we got paid enough to be able to buy materials and supplies without worry, or better yet, what if our state/nation managed money well enough to supply needed materials and supplies for us?

Needless to say -- Dr. Seuss has me dreaming this week. I have so many hopes for the future of education and I have so much, personally, to work on. I want to be a Miss Bonkers. I want my kids to love and adore me. I want them to know they are more than a test score. And above all else, I hope I've taught them how to think -- because life is so much more than doing well on an assessment.

By the way -- the kids pass their test with a 100000000% and they save their school. :)

Happy Dr. Seuss Week, everyone.


Civics Project Success

This past week we rapped up a culminating Civics Project. The first week back after break we read, in the Wonders reading series, a story about a girl named Clementine who used her talents to help others. Since one of our civics standards focuses on our civic duty to help others, we decided we would do just that. Here is how our project unfolded. 

1. I introduced the big idea -- we would be working as a non-profit business to collect canned goods for the local food pantry.

2. I revealed the four departments of our business.

  • Inventory Managers - Talented Mathematicians 
  • Communication Directors - Well Spoken/Outgoing 
  • Customer Relations - Talented Writers
  • Graphic Designers - Talented Artists/Creative
3. The next step was one of my favorite parts -- instead of my kids giving themselves jobs. Their classmates anonymously wrote down what talent went with each student. I was amazed at the thought that went in to this. Their lists looked very much like my list! Also, the kids felt very special after I revealed what their classmates thought their talents were. 

4. The first day of "work" everyone had a job. 
  • Inventory Managers - Made a chart/Organization system for all of the food that would be donated. 
  • Communication Directors - Made a list of possible donors to contact
  • Customer Relations - Wrote a blanket thank you letter to go out to all donors
  • Graphic Designers - Worked on a flier to be sent to all possible donors 
5. After the initial jobs were complete we worked every day for two weeks doing the following: 
  • Inventory Managers -- Collecting and graphing food 
  • Communication Directors - making announcements and delivering fliers 
  • Customer Relations - writing thank you cards 
  • Graphic Designers - Designed thank you cards to give to customer relations team
6. On our last day we reached out to an affiliate at the food bank to come accept the donation and planned our presentation. Our inventory managers worked on a final count, communication directors worked on speaking parts, our graphic designers worked on a welcome poster, and our customer relations team finished last minute thank you cards. 

When all was said and done it was a HUGE success. I strongly believe that students retain things when it's real world and meaningful. I hope they remember this project for years to come. 


Girls Night In: Clothing Swap

So, since my sweet pea was born I haven't done much for myself, mainly because I'm typically in bed by 9 p.m., however, when I received an invitation to a "Clothes Swap" I had to accept! What an awesome concept! 

The gist -- everyone brings in clothing and accessories that they are tired of, have outgrown, or under-grown. (I wish.) You have snacks while browsing through everything and then pick a number when everyone is ready. When your number is called you go and get one item you want. You do that until everything is gone -- or in our case for about five rounds. At that point we all agreed we could just have a free for all. Below are some pictures of how everything was set up by our hostess, Hannah. 

There was even more, I was just too busy shopping! 

So my mindset going in was to find clothes that I can wear right now (16 weeks postpartum) to work in while working on losing my baby weight. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

7 pairs of dress pants, 13 shirts, and 1 dress -- most Ann Taylor or The Limited

As if the free wardrobe wasn't enough, all the leftover clothing was sent to a local charity. Thanks to these lovely ladies for a wonderful girls' night and to Hannah for hosting!