It's March 24th.

It's Tuesday.

March 24th.

And you will not believe what one of my girls decided to tell me today.

On Tuesday.

March 24th.

As in . . . eight months into the school year.  We get out June 4th.  We barely have any time left to do anything except a) have half the class act depressed because they don't want to go to second grade and b) have the other half act so excited for summer vacation that they're kind of hurting my feelings.

This little girl decided to tell me this important piece of information today.  I won't say the date again but, let me tell you, it is way way way too late to receive this tidbit.


I was at the back table stapling paper bag people to paper bags (I think I have plans to blog about paper bag people tomorrow, but I don't really know now because of what this little girl told me and now I'm all discombobulated.).

Like I said, I was just stapling paper bag people to paper bags, minding my own business while my kids were working away and enjoying each other's company, and this little girl came up and said to me, all nonchalantly . . . 

Oh, by the way, Mrs. Oldham . . . 
You've been spelling my name wrong.

To which I said, Oh please, little girl, ye are but six years old, how do you even know how your name is spelled?

And she said . . . Really, you have.  I spell it like this.  And you spell it like that.

And then I think my mouth fell open.

Then I said, Well, sputter sputter, but, sputter, well, the office must be wrong and I just copied what they gave me EIGHT MONTHS AGO BEFORE THE SCHOOL YEAR EVEN STARTED.

Let me check, I said.

I went to the computer to log onto our Information Software Whatever System and the whole time I was praying and praying and praying inside my head that I was right and she was wrong and she has no clue how to spell her own name and had just decided on this particular day to change the spelling of her name because ha! wouldn't that be fun? And while we're at it, I'd like to be called Piper instead of Kristin.

And after I logged on (which takes forever because you have to enter your password multiple times to get past all of the security and your password has to have numbers and characters and capital letters and lowercase numbers and has to be super long), do you know what I saw?





I thought I was going to be sick.


And she shrugged.

It's okay, she said.

And then she pretty much skipped away.


I am dying over this.


But, in my defense, her name is not what you would call a normal name, such as Jane or Sue or Pat or even Lola, and the way it is spelled (right or wrong!!) does not match the pronunciation of it.

But still.


I have never ever ever ever done this in my entire teaching career and I have been teaching for 18 years.

Does this mean I am too old to teach?

Do I need to retire?

I mean, SERIOUSLY?!  WHAT IN THE WORLD?  I might as well just keep spelling her name wrong and take a picture of her in front of Mother Bear.





Five for Fraturday

Happy Saturday!  Happy Spring!  We are having perfect weather so we took Murphie to the park this morning with some coffee and beach chairs.  While we were there, a family came with two little puppies and the puppies were so so so cute.  One was a blue nose pit bull (let's not get into it, shall we?) and the other was a boxer.  Murphie did a little sniffing and then went off to hunt bees while we got to know the family.

The family didn't like me very much.

I don't know why.  I only tried to take one of the puppies home with me.

I've been going to Jon's every Monday after school to read to him.  His second grade teacher, Maria, and I go together.  Jon makes requests for books and we oblige him, of course!  

Elephant and Piggie are his favorites, along with Robert Munsch books and anything seasonal - St. Patrick's Day, Easter, etc.

This Monday, he wants me to bring a Junie B. Jones book!  You don't have to ask me twice!  

Speaking of Junie B., I read them in order (as I've said before) and we just got to First Grader At Last.  My kids have taken to bringing their own copies and following along while I read out loud.

When I show the pictures in the book, everyone who has a copy also holds up their books so we can all get a good look.

On this particular day, I had about 8 kids following along.  Plus kids sitting nearby lean over to see, too.  I love it!

One of my moms told me how much her son loves reading Junie B. books (he is one who also follows along) and how surprised she is because he is such a boy's boy and doesn't like anything whatsoever having to do with pink or princesses or girls or anything.

I told her Junie B. is magical.  And universal.

And, anyways, boys should have to listen to stories about girls and vice versa, but I'm not going to get into all that right now.

Wow - I sure am touching upon some hot topics today.

It was Teacher Appreciation week at school and our PTA moms put on another amazing luncheon for us!  Our theme this school year is Super Heroes so they went that theme - we had Super Hero Sandwiches (Jersey Mikes), Super Soup, chips, salad, and amazing desserts.

The sun was in the wrong place and I couldn't get a good picture on my iPhone to save my life so you'll just have to picture how cute they made everything.

Each day, we also had snacks in our lounge -- breakfast items a couple of days, cookies and brownies another day, and on Thursday, we had four different types of popcorn to snack on.  It was a really fun week!  You know if you give me food, I feel loved.

We love our PTA - they are tireless in their efforts to make our school a better place to be.


My kids crack me up when they read my Spring plays for Advanced Readers.  I love hearing them read the play the way I wrote it in my head.  I did not coach these boys - they didn't need me at all, obviously!  My class absolutely loves these and want more.  

I really want to make another set for them - I just have to find the time.  

Or I need to stop watching TV.

Or sleeping.

I'm working on Just Fold! Mini Books for April - I am determined to have these ready for my kids before mid-April.  

Believe me, they let me know that I'm behind on things all the time.  

They also let me know when I've forgotten to do things.

Or if I have a new mole.

Or if I have something in my teeth.

Or if I look like I'm even shorter today.

If you have something you'd like to see in the April mini books, let me know!!  I'd love suggestions.

And that's all.

Enjoy the first weekend of spring!  :)


Early Finishers

I have to say that I was a tiny bit sad that there was no Talk About It Tuesday yesterday.

To make up for all the sadness, I watched Vanderpump Rules, the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, and Nineteen Kids and Counting.  Those three shows didn't make up for it entirely so I think ice cream is in order tonight.  This is clearly an need to have ice cream type of situation and it's not an I just want ice cream because it tastes good type of situation.

I thought I'd show you what some of my kids are doing when they finish their work early.

You might call these kids Early Finishers. 

Or you might call these kids Hurry up and finish this as fast as we can because we want to win the contest that Mrs. Oldham says we're not having, but surely we are, there must be a contest of some kind, and we are going to win win WIN, we are the first ones done!

Either or.

In all reality, my kids don't have too much extra time to do anything, what with all the standards and daylight savings time and field trips and recess and Go Noodle and math and recess and not getting trash into the trash can but taking extra care to get it right next to the trash can.

But, in the rare instances that they do find they have some extra time, they can come on over to our Writing Center which houses some extra activities that reinforce concepts we've been working on such as sight words, addition, subtraction, grammar, etc. 

It's in the Writing Center because I had room for it in the Writing Center.

There is no other reason than that.

I modeled my Early Finisher activities after Hadar's All Done, Now What pack!

Her pack is awesome and I highly recommend it.  I am using all of her activities, but I'm also switching them out with some others as we head into the end of the year.

In order to easily switch out the activities, I just numbered my sticks and shelves. I didn't come up with that idea - my friend, Heather, did.

The top shelf is for paper and has nothing to do with the early finisher stuff.  I just happen to be one of those teachers who believes in letting her kids draw if they choose to . . . I'm not going to get all into it right now, but I do have a philosophy about it.

Yes!  ME!  I have a philosophy!

Anywho . . . 

Kids turn in their completed Early Finisher activity to the top shelf.  I like to keep it all separate from our regular classwork.

My students pull a stick and grab the corresponding activity.  I'm not too picky about this -- if they enjoy the activity, they can do it twice.  If they want to pick a different activity, that's fine, too.

Basically, I'm hands off when it comes to this part because in all actuality, it doesn't really matter.  But my kids love love love to pull sticks so there you go.

My only real rule is that they can only complete one per day.  I want my kids to read and work on Tile Math and whatever else, too.  We have lots of other stuff to do besides paper and pencil.  So only one per day is allowed.

This is a snapshot of some of the activities that were available a few weeks ago.  There was subtraction practice, ABC order practice, searching for sight words, working with our word wall, and filling in a 120 chart.

Boggle is also a choice and I'm here to tell you that I switched out the letters and my kids now have a C.

Yes.  I will take a bow.  Thank you.

There you have it.

The End.

Now I think I need to have some ice cream as an appetizer.


Five for Fraturday

To put into words how happy I am that it is Saturday is way too hard.

Let me just say this.

I haven't been home for the last three weekends.

I am not going anywhere this weekend.  Unless I'm allowed to wear pajamas.  And bring my ice cream and wine.

I was so busy this week (we're getting ready for Open House at school, plus a Field Trip, plus it was windy . . . and if you teach in California, then you know the wind can throw anyone for a loop) that I didn't even have a chance to take pictures.

So my Five for Fraturday is just going to be words.

The words are going to be about this weekend, and not the prior week.

I'm breaking all the rules.

Steve and I planned all week for our Friday night evening at home.  The planning involved food, as I'm sure you were already aware and don't need me to tell you.

We decided on appetizers.

I posted a pic on Instagram and Renee at Fantastic Froggies commented that "Appy" Fridays are the best.

I wish I had come up with that.

We had bruschetta (I could live on bruschetta), mozzarella sticks, and mini meatballs.  

Plus wine, of course.

We watched a documentary called The Wrecking Team which was about music, but not at all about Miley Cyrus so I was pleasantly surprised.

I was in bed by 9pm.  And by bed, I mean asleep on the couch.  And by 9pm, I mean 8:30pm.


This morning we have plans for breakfast paninis (I wonder if I should make this into a foodie blog or a weight loss blog) and then we are taking Murphie to the park.  Steve has decided Murphie needs to learn how to play Frisbee.

She already knows how to play soccer and basketball so I guess this makes sense.


I'm going to catch up on some schoolwork.  Isn't that what weekends are for?

I need to enter grades into my grade book, prep some banners for Open House, buy snacks for Open House (I always have a snack table), stuff Homework folders, finish prepping my spring plays for Advanced Readers (I only prepped three of the ten plays and my kids went nuts for them and asked if there were any more - they love Murphie and Milo as much as I hoped they would!), and then I need to look at my list and see what else there is to do because this is just the stuff I remember off the top of my head.

The other night Steve and I were in the In and Out drive-through (I love their fries lightly well done -- delicious!!  And there I go talking about food again!) and I was watching all of the workers running around cooking and flipping and making and ringing up sales and taking orders and whatever else their particular job was (they alternate), and I actually thought:

It might be nice to work at In and Out.
When I got off work, I wouldn't take anything home with me.
And if I did, I would just eat it!

I am reading two books.

I have no idea where I am finding the time, but it is true.

My friend, Natalie, recommended the book One Thousand White Women: The Journals of May Dodd (someone else likes long titles like I do!) and it is really good!  I woke up in the middle of the night one night this week and couldn't fall back to sleep and so I started reading it.

DUH!  THAT'S where I find the time.  In the middle of the night like other normal people.

I am also reading Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World:  Finding Intimacy with God in the Busyness of Life (another long title!) during my morning devotional time and it is also really good.  The chapters are kind of long so I can't read a chapter a day, but I do recommend this book if you're looking for something along these lines.

Last, I need to catch up on Reality TV.

Currently recorded are:

Vanderpump Rules
Real Housewives of Melbourne, Beverly Hills, and Atlanta.  (NEW YORK IS PREMIERING SOON!)
Total Divas
19 Kids and Counting
Sister Wives

And those are just the ones I'm willing to cop to.

What are you reading, watching, prepping, eating, doing this weekend?



So this post is coming to you about three weeks late but, nevertheless, here it is!

I have had my Boggle board up since the beginning of the year . . . and just recently introduced it to my kids.

I know.  

Nominate me for Teacher of the Year. 

I got all the letters from The Teacher Wears Prada
and they're a freebie!  
Thank you!

My teammie, Heather, came up with the idea to have a Boggle board above our sinks because it was kind of a wasted space, and she thought maybe we could make words on our way out the door (never mind that we're just trying to get 32 first graders out the door somewhat quietly and in some kind of a zig zag line that resembles order and classroom management proficiency, and who really cares anyway, let's get them to recess so we can pee and have a snack) . . . my other teammie, Laurie, and I thought it was a brilliant idea and promptly copied her.

We even copied Heather's idea of hot-glue-gunning clips to the butcher paper.  Look how easy it is to switch out the letters!  No stapling or velcro or any such nonsense!  Just clip!

And I have changed the letters precisely eight  six  three  two   well, I'm going to change out the letters very soon.  Really.  I am.  I have big plans for it.  We might even need a drum roll.

Heather also thought of the idea of having a basket to hold the letters right next to the board so that we wouldn't have to search for the letters and they would be easily accessible.

See?  I have absolutely zero excuses.  Those letters are going to get changed the day after tomorrow.  Wait.  That's Saturday.  Those letters are going to get changed next week!  Yes!  For sure!

To introduce this to my kiddos, I grabbed one of my handy dandy $1 pocket charts (thank you, Denise, who shipped some to me all the way from Florida!) and filled it up with some letters while we were all together on the carpet. 

There is not enough room for thirty-two of us by the sink.  Believe me, I know.  

Instead, I had the kids bring clipboards and pencils to the carpet and I taught them how to fill in the letters of their Boggle board, and then we began making words.  

When a volunteer said a word, such as "go", I would actually take the "g" and the "o" out of the pocket chart to demonstrate the word.  We did this a few times and then I didn't need to move the letter cards out at all.  

To say my kids loved this is an understatement.  Even my struggling learners were able to pick out two and three letter words, such as go, no, be, hut, etc.  My higher kids even found one of our student names!  

I now have it as an early finisher option . . . and it is quite popular!

See?  I really could be Teacher of the Year  Month  Day Hour.

The Boggle Board is really self explanatory, but if you have thought about having one in your classroom and you're on the fence, I'm here to tell you to do it.

We are loving it.

Even if we do keep making the same words over and over and over and they keep begging me for the letter C.



Kids these days.


You can find some FREE recording sheets {HERE}.

Do you Boggle?


Talk About It Tuesday

Well, this is it.

It has come to an end.

Last night was FINALE NIGHT!!

The episode opened up with Chris back in Iowa, walking across snowy land apparently going . . .  absolutely nowhere.  It's not like he was walking to a Starbucks.  Or an Albertson's.  Or an Olive Garden.  Or to an actual person.  But he did look introspective and I'm sure that's what the camera wanted to capture.

Whitney was the first to visit his family.  Whitney was all in, telling Chris how much she loved him and kissing all over him.  She walked into his parents' house and BAM!  She just started talking and laughing and greeting and meeting and socializing and Hello, you might not know it yet, but I'm your new daughter-in-law, and I'm your new sister-in-law, and I love him, and I'm going to get choked up during a toast and make you fall in love with me whether you want to or not.  

And that's pretty much what happened.  

His dad was teary-eyed during her toast.

His sisters fell in love with her and said they would miss her when she left.

When Whitney sat down with Chris's mom, she pulled on her heart strings by telling her the sad story of losing her mom ten years ago which made Chris's mom want to pick her up and rock her back and forth like a baby.

I mean, Whitney nailed it.  It could not have gone any better.

Whitney is very well spoken.  Just saying.  I'm thinking she needs a blog.

So then Chris talked to his dad and his brothers-in-law and it was edited in such a way that he knew Whitney was the better choice, but that Becca was more of a mystery and the girl that he couldn't get, so, of course, Chris wanted Becca.  Of course.  

You can't act like you like a guy and expect him to like you back, Whitney.  Hello?  This is from the Junior High Love Handbook, Rule #37.  

You cannot act like you like a guy if you like a guy.

It is precisely the reason I play hard to get with Steve every single night by watching reality TV in bed while he watches the History Channel on the couch!

Anywho, Becca was next and she was sweet and talkative, but not as aggressive in the I will make you fall in love with me way that Whitney was.  

Becca was honest with his sisters and told them that she was falling in love with him, but that she wasn't there yet.  She admitted that she wouldn't move to Arlington until she knew for sure that they would get married and that they would most likely have a long distance relationship initially.

Which meant ABC played very sad, haunting music in the background to show how serious this was.

It was so super serious.

When Becca and Chris's mom sat down, they had a serious heart to heart and Chris's mom told Becca to put her heart on the line.  She told her to take a chance and that it was up to Becca how it was going to unfold.  Becca cried.

Oh, Becca.  You can kind of tell that Becca hasn't been in love before because SHE WAS A GIGANTIC MESS.

The basic summary of the whole first hour is THIS, from Chris's dad:

Whitney is the sure thing.
But Becca is who Chris wants.


Thank you, Gary.

I think we have a new Papa Jay (Sean Lowe's dad) on our hands. 

Seriously, though.  I couldn't have said it any better than that.  Maybe Gary needs a blog.

Let's reverse it, though.  Let's say Becca was the sure thing.  Who thinks Whitney would be who Chris wants?  Raise your hand!


In a weird state of events, Chris went to visit Becca at a hotel in Dubuque, Iowa for their last night before the last rose ceremony.  Which, to me, is so bizarre because I thought at this point, they would have a one-on-one in an exotic location.

Which makes me wonder if Iowa has more to offer than I had previously thought?


Anywho, Becca and Chris had a big ole conversation and Becca just pretty much told him she couldn't make any promises about a timeline regarding moving to Arlington.


Becca talked in circles and said the only thing she knew right now was that she wanted Chris.  But as far as the future went, she wasn't sure.  She couldn't give Chris what he was looking for . . . the poor guy.

Although, honestly, there was a small part of me thinking Chris just wants to take her virginity so I'm not feeling that sorry for him.

But he did cry a little bit so I took a sip of wine while he wiped his nose.

The next day was Whitney's turn to have some one on one time with Chris on his farm.  HIS FARM.

I think if I was either Becca or Whitney, I would be a tad bit upset and wondering where my hotel in Bora Bora was.  And where was the boat that we would jump off of into clear blue water?  And where was the private island?  Huh?  HUH?  Thanks a lot, ABC.

Whitney and Chris harvested corn.

Which is almost exactly the same thing as a resort on the beach in a tropical paradise.

Whitney asked all the right questions (which meant she asked about the corn, and the plucking or the shucking or the what-not, and the this and the that, and who really cares, but that's what you do when you're in love, and it's only later that you pretend to listen while you look up outfits on Pinterest) and she made Chris happy.

Later that night, back at Whitney's hotel, they kissed and talked, and talked and kissed . . . and Whitney just pretty much took her heart out of her chest and gave it to him on a silver platter.

Next, Chris looked at rings and he was still as confused as ever.  He did not want to make a mistake.

The final rose ceremony was held in a barn that had a lot of meaning for Chris and was made to look like it could have come off the pages of a Pottery Barn episode. 

 I'm not kidding.  It was not a barn in the normal sense of the word.  It was amazing.  It was a Pottery Barn barn.

It made me think I could actually live on a farm.

And milk cows at 5am.

And you know I'm not doing anything at 5am, so that's saying something.

The first girl out of the limo was Becca.

Chris said a bunch of nice, wonderful things, and then he let her down easy.  AND BECCA SMILED.  She thanked him.  She said she understood his decision and couldn't respect him any more than she already did.

It was very grown up, let me tell you.  

It was all so easy and mature and not at all how these things usually go.

Whitney was next.  She was a nervous wreck and freezing cold to boot which made her look like a crazy high-strung girl, but it was all okay because CHRIS PROPOSED!

And the music swelled!

And they became engaged in the Pottery Barn BARN.

At this point, it was 10:00pm on a Monday of Lose An Hour Due to Daylight Savings Time or Daylight Lasts Longer Time and I was beginning to fall asleep.

So I wasn't exactly all there during the After the Final Rose Ceremony.

I have a few take-aways from the third hour, and a few questions, and then I'm hoping you'll leave me some comments so we can talk about this!

1.  Whitney told Harrison that she did not watch the season unless she was on the date.  I think that's impressive.  I doubt I could do that, but I think that's pretty smart.

2.  Whitney must have said I have confidence in our relationship 14,782 times.

Okay, we get it.  STAAAAAPPPPP already!

3.  I love Jimmy Kimmel.  And Juan Pablo, the cow.

4.  The next bachelorette is . . . 

Well, Bachelor Nation and ABC couldn't decide so there are two.


I don't understand it.  I am confused.  

When the girls came out, Kaitlyn couldn't say one serious sentence . . . and then Britt kept flipping her hair over this way and then over the opposite way so I felt distracted and I just don't get it.

Here are my questions:

Will these two girls both be the bachelorettes for the entire season?  Or, after the first night, will the 25 guys decide who they want to have as the bachelorette and then the other girl goes home?  Is that what Harrison said?

Because if it's the latter, ABC needs to get Jimmy Kimmel to go back to Costco and he needs to buy kleenex in bulk to stock the limo that drives the unwanted girl away.

And if both girls stay, WHAT IN THE WORLD?  Will it just be a watered down version of Bachelor Pad called The Bachelorettes?

I don't know.  I don't get it, I said.

Stay tuned because it will be here before we know it.

May 18.  I've already got mine set to record.




Five for Friday (on a Friday!)


I'm making up for not doing a Five for Fraturday last weekend by doing a Five for Friday ON A FRIDAY this weekend.


I've been trying to get back in the groove after spending the last two weekends out of town (Vegas and Pasadena) which basically means I have a lot of laundry, schoolwork, and cuddling with Murphie to do when I get home from school.  

And then I'm tired.

I mean, I'm so tired that I forgot to record the premiere of the Real Housewives of Melbourne, as in Australia, and I had a pen pal for years and years and years from Australia, and I am secretly hoping she is on the show and mentions me and that Bravo flies me out there, but I forgot to record it!  That's when I knew my tiredness was serious.

So . . . better late than never (I should have done this on Wednesday!!!) but I picked a winner for all of the Spring plays!  

Congratulations, Cindi!  Check your email!  :)

Last Sunday, we showered Hadar with love and presents from her registry!  YAY!  That's where I ate the entire yummy cup of melted caramel that no one thought I could finish.  Yes, I'm still thinking about it.

Hadar looked amazing and beautiful . . . as always!  I joked that she was all spring and light and young, while I was winter and dark and old. 

I told her I was glad I could make her look so beautiful!


We are getting ready for Open House which means we are working on our Pioneers unit.  This week, we showed the kids bits and pieces of a Little House on the Prairie episode called Country Girls (from Season One) so that they could see what a one-room schoolhouse looked like.  Then we pulled out our slates (aka chalkboards from Oriental Trading Company) and let the kids play with them for a few minutes.

They went CRAZY over these mini chalkboards!

They had to share, too, because I only have 24 (which was not a problem back when I had 20 kids) and no one whined or complained.  

I'm putting them in a center for next week.  :)

I just happened to come across these at the grocery store.  I had no intention of buying a bag.  At all.

When I got home, Steve helped me unload the groceries and he said, "What's this?"  

And that's when I realized they jumped into my cart of their own volition and came home with me.

I had to keep them.  Who's going back to the store after you just got home and already switched back into your pajama pants?  Not me.

So I ate them.

And they're interesting.  They're a pita chip.  But they're sweet.  And salty.

It's not a cup of melted caramel, but it's doing the trick. 

Vegas, Pasadena, Palm Springs . . . apparently, I've decided not to live at home on the weekends.

Steve and I are heading to Palm Springs for a friend's birthday.  

I have no idea how I am going to stay awake for the festivities.

I'm sure it will be fun whether I'm sleeping sitting up or slouched over.