Knock Knock

Happy Saturday!  Five more days . . . I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.  The hardest part is that I just want to have fun with my kids and the darn curriculum keeps getting in the way.  

As a matter of fact, the Curriculum Cops visited yesterday.  Luckily, two things happened.

One:  we got a heads up on the morning announcements and for once, I actually paid attention could hear what was being said.

Two:  my partner knocked on the wall.

This is code.  When I crack the code, the message is clear:  the Curriculum Cops are on the way, they have just left her room, or she sees them in the near vicinity.

When we went to lunch, we disected the knock.  Here's what happened:

We both had parent volunteers in our room.  There's a difference between my partner and me.  She didn't want her parent volunteer to crack the code.  When she saw the Curriculum Cops nearby, she said to her class, "I forgot to say hello to Mrs. Oldham.  I'm going to knock hello on the wall."  Knock knock.  Her parent volunteer smiled and remarked about how cute we were.

On MY side of the wall, I heard the knock.  But I thought it was a kid fooling around.  So I ignored it.  

Back on HER side of the wall, she said, "And I'm also going to tell Mrs. Oldham to have a nice day."  KNOCK KNOCK.

I heard THAT.  Immediately, I said, "Boys and girls, I think Mrs. So and So is letting us know that the Curriculum Cops are on their way.  Let's knock back so that she knows we got the message."

KNOCK KNOCK.  My parent volunteer said, "Love it!"  (No code for her to crack, whatsoever.  Therein lies the difference between my partner and me.  She is professional and I am not.)

Scramble, scramble.  Rustle, rustle.  Chair falling over.  Snorts and giggles.  "Places, everyone, places!!!!"

Perfect first graders.  Perfect teacher.  Enter the Curriculum Cops.

Inspection lasted about five minutes.  When it was all said and done, we passed with flying colors.  Well . . . except that two of my art projects (elves and gingerbread men - what else?) were confiscated and later labeled "Blogging Contraband".

One of the things that keeps getting in the way of Fun in a First Grade Classroom is testing.  And part of it is my fault (I know, I know!  Just throw me in the Curriculum Correctional Facility!).  Our second grade team gives a weekly Houghton Mifflin story comprehension/grammar/phonics skills test.  And through some dialogue and team building exercises, the first grade team decided that we should start this habit around Theme 5 so that our kiddos are prepared for this in second grade.  Plus, Theme 5 has ACTUAL stories, instead of a cat that sat on a mat and THAT'S ALL THAT HAPPENS.

I just started these last week.  And I have been lazy a quick thinker twice.  Instead of giving the test on Friday, I wait until Monday.   I re-read the story to them, we review the skill, and then we take the test.  And honestly, after I get through the Spelling Test on Fridays, (keep your eyes on your own paper, move to the back table, I said no talking, sit down please, what do you mean your pencil broke again,  can't you wait to go to the bathroom--we're in the middle of a test, stop poking her, hold on--I have to answer the phone, who is making that sound effect, stop drumming, are you EATING your pencils?) I'm just too tired to give another test.

I don't know if you can use these or not, but here is Theme 5, Week 1 and Week 2.  I have to confess that I don't have Theme 5, Week 3 yet because when I created these last year, Week 3 fell right before Christmas break.  And we didn't take a test.  Or pick up a pencil.  Or do any kind of work at all.  And I knew that's the kind of day it was going to be so I just DIDN'T MAKE ONE.

Theme 5, Week 1

Theme 5, Week 2

Two things before I go sit my lazy butt on the couch clean the house and start laundry and do those progress reports . . . 

First, how cute is that police officer clipart up there?  I love him and wish the Curriculum Cops were that cute.  I found him through Erin of Eberhart's Explorers who found this clipart over at MelonHeadz Illustrating.  She has tons of clipart for free and they are all just as cute as that!!!!!

Second (and last), 199 people have entered my giveaway for the $10 giftcard to Target over on Farley's blog for the 12 Days of Christmas.  The 199 thing is bothering me because I feel it should just be 200.  If you haven't entered, please go enter so that it's not an odd number anymore.  I'm starting to get hives over the oddness of it.

Click here.

While you're there, check out all of the other great giveaways going on, too! :)

All right, have a nice Saturday!!!!  :)  Five more school days, five more school days, five more school days . . . 


  1. I am first HAH!!!
    you crack me up!!! is it 200 yet? my school has a secret code... our secretary uses the intercom system
    it can make various sounds so she uses 3 quick beeps to ALERT us all that some big wig is on campus lurking!!! this is funny because 2 lOOOOONG beeps is for the custodians to come to the office because there is some MAJOR clean-up somewhere!!! so everytime the 3 beeps are sent out...our custodians report thinking our secretary beeped for them.... so the lurkers have NEVER caught on!!! HA HA HA AH-SOME

  2. No fair...9 more school days...9 more school days (insert big sigh here)
    Good luck on your last days!

  3. So funny! We have "runners" go around and tell us if someone important is on there way around the building.

  4. Although we have no curriculum cops, panic sets in during testing in April.

    What happened to the elves and gingerbread people?! Surely you had attached a writing project to all of them--right (lol)?! Goodness, how are children going to learn to navigate scissors and glue in appropriate ways if they are not given opportunities to use the supplies? And not just in the art room? (seriously)


  5. Hello Kristin-Dear!

    First, please read paragraph 4 at:

    Do you send It to them?

    Second, I once beat the CC at their own game. I knew we weren't "visit-worthy" one day. So I put the "Testing. Please Do Not Disturb" sign on the door. I could see the odd looks on their faces as I spied on them from between the window blinds. Then they shrugged and walked away!

    I think I told the kids I was testing a hypothesis, or something like that. HaHaHa (please say this with a sinister tone!) But I'm pretty sure a few savvy sixth graders figured out that I was trying to outwit (or hide from) someone!

    Happy Saturday!

    Finding JOY in 6th Grade

  6. Are you for real? I need to know who in the heck are the curriculum cops??? Like your principal? Someone from your district?

    No one has EVER even came into my classroom to see what I was doing.

    I'm pretty sure my principal hasn't even come in. If he did, I'd think something was wrong.

    Am I lucky or what?

  7. Your post has me cracking up... Who are these mysterious "curriculum cops"? Wow... our principal comes in and mostly looks at our teaching skills, not to see what exactly I'm teaching. I think she trusts that I will do what I am supposed to.

    That said, wouldn't I love a little knock on my wall if she was headed my way. You've got a great co-worker, there!

    Kendra at Light a Candle

  8. Boo on curriculum cops. But I like your signal. I think it could be useful for other things, too...maybe I should write a secret code for my neighbors to use as well.

    The people who come into our classrooms don't want to see a core curriculum - they want to see us and the kids working our tails off, so I'm usually okay. :)

    But we do have fire safety police who look for things hanging from the ceiling, lamps, candle warmers, and food in the classroom. (I don't know why fire safety people care about food, but they do!) I just re-placed the lamps and the Scentsy I had stuffed into unused lockers to hide them from the fire police yesterday. We passed our inspection, so we can go back to being dangerous with fire again. Yay!

    Buzzing with Ms. B

  9. What a great idea! Love the secret knock! How did your things get confiscated???

  10. 5 days?!?!? You lucky duck! We have 9 days left, ugh that feels like FOR-EV-ER (Think The Sandlot when saying that)! Love your posts, they crack me up! Also thanks for the clip art info... I am a bit, ummm, err, addicted to clip art. Hello, my name is Lauren and I am addicted to clip art!

  11. THANK YOU so much for the assessments!!! I will be using them after break! We have 7.5 more days to go... I think I can, I think I can!

  12. I feel the SAME way about spelling tests! Math tests too for that matter. "Stop going ahead. Yes, I know you think you can read the directions at the bottom. " Thanks for the HM tests. I should probably be doing this as well. But I really don't want to. Our CC have only come once this year and apparently 1st grade was singled out as lacking. She did not like that we were all doing different things (seriously, I thought we were over being on the same page) and I quote, "Where is the rigor?" Um..it was 9:15, we were doing calendar, etc. Luckily my principal just rolled her eyes and told us to keep doing our thing. Maybe I need to give my team a knocking tutorial...
    Thanks for making laugh as always!
    FInally in First

  13. I can totally appreciate this post! Ours our formally called "walkthroughs". However, I think we will informally now change the name to Curriculum Cops. Ours has to do with our district being on improvement (not having met AYP on state assessments). It has not been a pleasant experience. Last year many teachers were switched around to different grade levels for no apparent reason. The best answer we can get is that you grow the most when you are most challenged. It really makes you want to invest your time, money, and energy into creating things for your grade level to build your resources! I spoke to someone about this and compared it to an athlete. Yes, Tim Tebow is a great football player (athlete) but we don't put him in another sport and expect him or his new team to do well. Yes I am a good at 1st grade (teacher) but moving me to a different grade level doesn't mean that I will do as well there. But of course being a teacher, I will give it my all! Maybe this only happens in small towns and I shouldn't expect to get to teach the same grade level until I retire! Thank you for a great blog with great ideas (since I got moved to a new grade level two years ago). It has really helped to have blogs like yours to read!

  14. Just made my first photo transparency ornament and it turned out great! Thanks so much for the idea. Here's hoping your gingerbread men run away from the curriculum cops. Run, run as fast as you can!!

  15. Who are the curriculum cops and what are they looking for? Evidence that you are teaching to the curriculum? Did they really take your cute art projects??? How sad for the kiddos!


  16. Yikes - I couldn't imagine being "policed" like that. Seriously, I'm wondering - who ARE these people you call "curriculum cops"? Your principal? A curriculum director? Very curious...

    Love your signal...way to work as a team!!!!!

    Crisscross Applesauce in First Grade

  17. I am very sad....I have 9 more days! Just so not fair!!!! I wish it was 5 but it's 9 and I am afraid all of my favorite bloggers will go on break and I will be left with 4 days of no posts....please don't leave me!!!!!!


  18. My principal LOVES walking into our rooms ALL THE TIME without warnings!!!! We are always on our toes! And my AP's office is right outside my classroom!!!!

    Only 5 schools days till break!!!

    Also, wanted to share my new GIVEAWAY
    with you :)
    You can WIN a $20 Gift Card for Amazon and shop till you drop :)

    Come by & enter to WIN!

    Happy Holidays!

    ❤ Mor Zrihen ❤
    A Teacher's Treasure

  19. Too funny! This makes me realize that my teacher neighbor and I need a secret code of our own! Thanks for the idea. I love your blog, I am a new follower


  20. That is too funny! We try and do the same thing but our curriculum cops usualy come at night when we have already left! My friend and I do knock on each others walls to let each other know that our principal is walking around with her "notebook"!

    You always make me laugh because you can say these things on your blog! My principal reads mine! BOO!

    I would love for you to blog about my giveaway again and encourage some of your followers to follow me too!

  21. You are too funny! Love your posts!

  22. Kristin Thank you for the worksheets for Houghton Mifflin Reading. Do you have any others?

  23. Kristin, you are too funny! I love the phrase, "Curriculum Cops!" Ha ha! My mother was a teacher and she and her teaching buddies used to have a secret note that would be sent around with a kid that would act as a runner as soon as anyone noticed that they were around. The note said, "B.A.C." This stood for, "The British Are Coming," LOL! These days, we just pick up the telephone and call each other, or send a text message, ha ha! The text message is the most discreet way. :)
    I don't think my principal reads my blog, but I am always reminding myself that there could be "spies" out there that may report me, so you never know. And I have TEN MORE DAYS, because we have to teach right up through the 23rd. What were they thinking of??????
    Heidi Butkus

  24. Oh my word! I wish I could say I can't believe it, but I know how that all goes. A few years ago, we were a program improvement district. We had people visiting all the time, watching us, making sure we were doing what we were supposed to be doing, following everything to a T. And the sad thing is, test scores went up, but teaching went out the window. Kids were just testing and testing and test prepping and it got crazy. My principal I have now doesn't care what we do as long as we are meeting the standards. We know when people are coming to visit, but they now like seeing us teach outside the box, as long as we are on the standards. We have visits about once a month, but now they are from other sites who want to a Blue Ribbon School. I don't put a lot into that, other than I have worked my @ss off with my kids each year and done what I can do so the next year they are tes ready. Thanks for the tests for HM. I will give my students the one for Moving Day tomorrow and see how they do. Thanks for all your hard work on them! :)


  25. I am laughing so hard... Thanks for this post. I will start banging on walls tomorrow morning... I hope everyone gets it!

  26. Thanks for the laugh! It's been a very long Monday. Your post, a bubble bath, and two glasses of wine have helped! Now on to the housewives :)

  27. blogging contraband?!?! How rude! I got observed by teachers from another school today and they were talking like they have curriculum cops too! Geez, you would think that we would know what we are doing by now?!
    You crack me up!

    -Ms. Thomas

    The First Grade Jungle

  28. OMG, I have never heard of Curriculum Cops. What ever happened to trust and working together. Does this go on in other places. I am from Michigan.

  29. BOO CURRICULUM COPS. and any otherwise bah hum buggers that police our classrooms for signs of any fun or meandering from the curriculum!
    THERE WILL BE NO FUN IN THIS SCHOOL seems to be our theme this year. Good times!

  30. We have curriculum cops EVERY WEEK from Admin. Booooo

  31. Can I pretty please have theme 5 week 3. I use these in my class and they are sooooo helpful!

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