Oops.  I was supposed to pick the three random winners for the Parts of Speech pack . . . but instead, I drank a glass of wine, had some cheese and crackers and salami and grapes for dinner, and watched an episode (or three) of Sons of Anarchy.  To be perfectly clear, I was against Sons of Anarchy from the beginning.  It just didn't seem like a show I could watch.  Because I'm a girl and all that.  So the hubs watched all four seasons by himself while he was traveling and gallivanting all over the world this summer on super long flights.  And after lots of cajoling and arm twisting (his, not mine), I finally agreed to watch the first two episodes.  

It was a really bad idea.  Now I'm hooked.  Even though parts of it are super gross.  But I love the idea of it.  And the story lines.  And I've always been partial to big, bad dudes with tattoos.  (My hubs is big, but not exactly bad.  As a matter of fact, he's a rule follower so much that it can bug the heck out of me.  And he doesn't even have one tattoo, but still.)  We're trying to watch all four seasons before the new season comes back on in September.  So, people, I'm really busy around these here parts.  Obviously.  

Winners of the Parts of Speech pack:

Thanks for being interested . . . I really appreciate it!  Jill, with the wasp sting:  I'm totally willing to give you a pack, too, because I have a wasp sting story, too . . . but I don't have your email!

The Parts of Speech cards are still on sale.  :) 

Onto the FAQ.

I've had some recurring questions lately so I thought I'd take this opportunity to answer them.  The opportunity being that the hubby is busy figuring out if the Dodgers are going to get all those Red Sox players . . . and suggested we wait before we start the next episode.  

1.  With all those kids (30 with 32 the max), do you have an aide?

Ha!  Hahahahahahahahahaha!  Ha!  


Crazy talk.

I used to work at a Title 1 school and I had an aide for an hour or so each day.  Francine.  She is wonderful.  We still keep in touch.  And she knows Fran from Kindergarten Crayons!  REALLY!  

Now I have me, myself, and I.  I can have a student teacher almost every year if I wanted, but . . . I don't.  I've had 2 1/2 in my entire 15 year career.  I have a hard time giving up control.  And I get jealous.  Like, awww, man, SHE gets to read that book to them.  Or SHE gets to make butter with my kids (which happened two years ago, and that's all my kids could ever talk about no matter how many times I told them I bought the whipping cream, and that it was MY tupperware container,  and I planned the activity . . . my therapist and I are still working through that trauma).  It's just really hard for me to have a student teacher.

I've also been known to hide certain books when I have a sub.  I want to read certain books.  I don't want a sub to.  So the sub is usually left with . . . um . . . let's see here . . . the sub usually gets to read . . . oh, I don't know . . . a page out of the dictionary to my class.  Or something like that.

No aides.  Just me.

And parent volunteers - but that's a whole 'nother can of worms and I'll save that for a different time.

And some of you commented that you have 34 students!!!!!!!!!!  Holy mack!

2.  How many recesses do you get?

Keep in mind I'm in California.  And we don't have specials.

We get four.  

There's a ten minute one before school starts.  Except the kids aren't exactly allowed to play.  They can walk around.  But the swings are closed, and the jungle gym is closed, and the grass is closed, and no balls are allowed.  They mainly stand there.  Or play with pretend balls.  Or they jump over their backpacks.  Or they play four square.  I'm not sure if they're really allowed to play four square so I look the other way when I have that duty.

So let's say we get three recesses.

Morning Recess for 15 minutes.  (We take turns being on the Duty Schedule.  You can read about that nightmare HERE.)

Lunch Recess - we get a duty free lunch.  It's 45 minutes.  I know.  I know, I know, I know.  But we don't have specials, and we have no money, and I can have up to 32 kids in my class.  Hiccup.

The kids eat for about 20 minutes and then noon supervisors watch them on the playground for the other 25 minutes.

Last Recess - 15 minutes in the afternoon (about an hour before dismissal) that noon supervisors cover for us.

So when I say "we got all our recesses today", I mean my day was nicely broken up and the kids did not stay inside.  With me.  And ants in their pants.

3.  How tall are you?

For my newest readers:  I am 4 foot 11 inches.  It used to bother me, but I'm over it.  I can even take staff picture day now.  That used to bother me, too, but I'm over it.

On staff picture day, they make us line up from tallest to shortest.  So all of the talls argue and measure back to back against each other to see who is the tallest - it's an honor.

And all of the smalls argue and measure back to back against each other to see who is the shortest - and it's not an honor.  It's embarrassing.  Every year, someone shouts, "Kristin, go to the back of the line!"  I'm not trying to sneak into the middle . . . I just had to say something quick to a friend is all.

Our staff has not changed in at least 4 years because of budget cuts and no new hires, etc.  But we STILL measure back to back against each other, and someone pats our hair down, and we have to take off our shoes because her flip flops have a half-inch foamy heel and that's not fair . . .  STILL.

And every year, it's the same.

I'm the shortest.

Even though I feel taller than a couple of the smalls.  But they're five feet and five feet one, respectively, so I guess I'm wrong.

I'm told I'm proportionate which makes me look taller than I really am.  

It's the little things that hold a person together, you know.

4.  What is your favorite kind of pen?

I like a really old pen that I can't find anymore.  It's called a Uniball Vision.  I love the way it writes.  I used to have a set of them in different colors, but now I'm down to my last black one.  I take it back and forth from home to school with me.  

If a Bic is cooperating, I'll like it, too.  But I prefer a gel-like pen.  Inky.  But not gross inky. 

That's all, folks.  I can't think of any other questions you've asked me recently.  I'm sure I'm missing a couple, but that just means I have an idea for another post in the future.

I leave you with a question . . . Do you like having student teachers?  Do you hide books or activities from subs?   


  1. I LOVE Sons of Anarchy! I watched all 4 seasons last year, and I can't wait until I can watch the 5th season live next month!

    Jax is so hot!

  2. I had my phonics flashcards from subs - because otherwise they used to go missing in my last classroom!! ... and student teachers are good if they're awake... not so good if it's like having another child in the class.

    I had one student teacher have a break down in the class - she sat there crying whilst a bunch of confused 4/5 year olds asked her why she was sad!

  3. First of all...you are HILARIOUS!
    I also don't like having student teachers because I get super jealous...I'm an only child so I think that's where it stems from. I like being the center of attention and affection sooo...it doesn't work for me.

    I give the sub a book we've already read before. That way...the kids can participate but know that I read it with the best voices!

    I'm a horrible person.

    A BLT adventure

  4. My boyfriend watches SOA! He's really into it. I've seen a couple episodes. If I started from the beginning I could probably get hooked!

    Creating & Teaching

  5. I agree about books and subs!! My hubby is big, but the only "bad" thing about him is his ability to not do laundry correctly! lol
    JenniferFirst Grade Blue SKies

  6. I'm not big on student teachers either. Control issues here too! Love your FAQs. Too funny!

    Swimming into Second

  7. I have never had a student teacher, but I think I would like it. My giant class has no help either, but we do have a daily 30 minute special. You crack me up and I shall dub you "small, but mighty!"

    Chickadee Jubilee

  8. Uniball Vision!!! Those are MY favorite pens! Seriously, they are the best pen ever! And they sell them at Staples still, in all sorts of colors! But, they are quite spendy. Doesn't matter-I LOVE them too! :)
    Kerri B

  9. My husband love Sons of Anarchy, but I just can't get into it. I have never had a student teacher, but I think I would like to have a student teacher. I rarely ever miss (maybe 1 1/2 days in 5 years), but I wouldn't like the sub to take over and read my books. :)

    Elizabeth L.
    The First Grade Jungle Room

  10. I had a disaster of a student teacher last spring. He left half way through. That made it easy to not get jealous, because, yes, I do get jealous easy. However, it opened up a whole other can of worms.

    For example, his body odor.


    Across the Hall in 2nd Grade

  11. That's a lot of kiddos. I have this book called the Teeny Tiny Teacher that I read to my kiddos at the beginning of the year and it reminded me of your blog. Teeny Tiny Teacher

    You Might Be a First Grader...

  12. I want to hear about your days as a student teacher (since I will be one soon). I can only imagine how comical your reminiscing post would be. I hope I can be as great of a teacher as you one day! =)

    Pixy Stix and Teacher Tricks

  13. I agree with Ash, let's hear about your days as a student teacher! All of these comments about teachers not liking student teachers is making me very nervous to start my practicum in the B.Ed program this year! :(

  14. My fav pen these days is the B2P. Bottle to Pen. Recycled water bottles made into a FABULOUS writing utensil. I seriously love the way they feel in my hand and how they write. I pick mine up at WalMart and Staples.

  15. I cracked up about you hiding books from subs. I usually leave out books I'm not that crazy about for a sub to read :-) I have only had one student teacher in my 20 years of teaching because I too am a control freak & get jealous. Thanks for the laughs this morning!

  16. I don't have an aid...but my max is 18 students so I can't complain. I always choose which books to leave out for the sub :) I'm a snob like that, lol.

    ♥ Kimberly
    The Learning Tree

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. I don't hide things from subs (I just only leave them EXACTLY what they need and way too much too actually get done so there's no time for improvising)- but I can see the student teacher thing.


    Just in case.

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

  19. Hi! I enjoy having a student teacher , but I still hoard favorite books or we do my favorites together. I do not like yuckky interns, last year I had a "one day/week" Guy and I almost called him mr creepy out loud- not good. I only give subs easy stuff, except one. She was an aide at my old school about 15 years ago, we have the same birthday and we just have always clicked. I tell my kids that we are best friends and we have the same birthday so there is NO way they can get away with anything even if she chooses to do things different than me and she has my permission. Case closed, besides the part where she is awesome... It works every time. good luck with your gobs of kids.

  20. I'm guilty! I too hide the good books from subs.
    In my 32 years of teaching first grade I've only had one student teacher. We are to far out in the sticks from any University. I was lucky I got a good one!

  21. Kristen, this is going to sound ridiculous, but I have to ask-- have parents complained about the lack of specials? Is it a statewide dilemma? I'm here in the midwest; even my tiny private school has specials (well, the teachers take the specials as duties, mine is art) and I know the parents of public school students would be up in arms if specials were removed.

    I am excited to see what you have in store for your sweeties this year!!
    Chrissy at Read Write Sing

  22. Hi Jill with the wasp sting here, you don't have to send me a pack, I'll buy one.

    I don't like having student teachers, I am the jealous type also. I also don't like to rope in (I live in cow country) the behaviors after the student teach leaves.

    I leave my subs very specific instructions with the books she can read with the plans.

    I want to hear your wasp story so drop me a line.


  23. As a sub, I'm loving reading the comments hahahaha.

    I always bring my own books with me (in case I have teachers like you, just kidding!!!)

    Most teachers set out the books they want me to read. One of my besties lets me choose any from her shelf cuz she loves me!

    Journey of a Substitute Teacher
    Endless Pinabilities!

  24. Wow, that's a lot of recess time. I'm in California too and we don't have specials. We only get mid-morning recess and after lunch recess. But here's the really great thing. NO DUTY!! We are duty free. No before school, after school, recess, or lunch. And if we had busses, we wouldn't have to do that duty either!!

    Coloring Outside The Lines

  25. I leave specific books for subs to read but I figure I can always reread if the sub reads it. I share my kids with a special ed teacher and I try to let her read to them, too.
    I have had student teachers but it is a lot more work to explain everything. I am happy to share, though. I would like to teach student teachers, actually.
    You crack me up. Glad you are over the trauma of the staff pictures (which we need for...??? In case we forget where we work??? or so we can frame them above our couches?? Kinda bizarre! My friend is short and she has worked at our school the whole time it has been open and we have the staff pictures from each year out in the hallway-she is always in the front row.

  26. Wow. I can't believe you have that many kids with no help! I have 18 kinders and sometimes it feels like 30...but I don't know where I would put that many kids! We have specials everyday but we only get one recess. And we have to go outside with them. So if I don't want to sweat, we play inside. I have had one student teacher in 14 years and she was fabulous. I don't want another one, I'm stingy with my kids, plus no one could be as wonderful as the one I had. And I do have a secret book stash and if someone finds it when I'm out...complete meltdown when I get back. They're MY books. I read them the right way. No one else can do it right...you know how it is. :)
    Kristi (in TN)

  27. This comment has been removed by the author.

  28. Hey! You are from Cali too.....so curious where in Cali! I teach in San Ramon which is NorCal. We have three recesses....two are recess and one is lunch....we get 45 too! But....we also have 3preps....and only 26 in a class....I feel so lucky after reading your post! Where are you? And.....what do you think about the Emily and Jef rumors!?

  29. LOVE SOA! We have a secret little club at school who meet in the copy room to discuss the weekly happenings!! I'm from central Canada(although I currently live up in the north surrounded by forest) and school seems so different up here! In our whole province, everyone up to Grade 6 gets recess. I think it is mandated. There is the morning outside wait before the bell at my school, but there is no supervision out there. We have two 15 minute recesses-one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Our lunch is 55 minutes. Every school does their recess duty differently, but generally it is shared amongst the staff. At my school we end up doing 1 duty day per cycle(we run on a 6 day cycle). What are specials? I'm assuming that means music and gym and stuff? We have one prep a day, where the kids usually go to either music or gym. Again every school is a little different, but the province mandates a special number of prep hours a teacher is supposed to get. Our preps are about 40 minutes per day. I don't know what I'd do without them or recess! Sometimes that does not seem like enough!! As for subs...we have terrible subs in our district(since we are way up north, it's hard to find certified teachers as subs..anyone can be a sub), so I don't really let them do anything important at all!!

  30. Wow! I feel bad about complaining. We have 3 hours of specials plus I have at least 1 hr of help a day.
    I have never had a student teacher. I considered it this year but changed my mind. I have had subs read one of my favorite books to my kids but I just retread it to my kiddos. Since the kids knew it was one of my favorites they humored me and acted like it was their first time hearing it. Luckily, I don't have subs often. Last year was the first time I had a sub and that was only because I had a baby over the summer and he was sick a few times. I HATE to call in sick. It is so much work!

  31. I'm California too, but I don't know what specials are? So I guess I don't have them! We have 4 duties a week!! It's not fun I complain every time and my first graders usually have to remind me when I do have duty! Last year I had Lindsey who was so smart and had my duty schedule memorized so she would stand at the door with my vest and whistle:) I'll miss that girl! So I think you might teach in my nephews district?? They had to stay in last week because of heat, I had that too when I was a kid in San Berdo!!

  32. I'm California too, but I don't know what specials are? So I guess I don't have them! We have 4 duties a week!! It's not fun I complain every time and my first graders usually have to remind me when I do have duty! Last year I had Lindsey who was so smart and had my duty schedule memorized so she would stand at the door with my vest and whistle:) I'll miss that girl! So I think you might teach in my nephews district?? They had to stay in last week because of heat, I had that too when I was a kid in San Berdo!!

  33. I teach in California as well. Have a boat load of kids (can have up to 34), no aide and 3 recesses, before school, with teacher duty, morning with teacher duty, and lunch, without teacher duty. Our lunch this year is at 11:20 until noon but dismissal isn't until 3:00. Our instructional minutes do not allow time for an afternoon recess. The powers that be whom made that incredibly inane rule have obviously never spent 3 straight hours in a classroom with first graders or the rule would be changed immediately. We just take the kids out for 15 minutes in the afternoon for sanity's sake! We have lots of parent help but you know THAT story. It is a good thing I love my job because they sure make it difficult right? I love having a really good student teacher. I do NOT love having a really bad student teacher. And brother I have had some doozies! I have put any thought of another on hold as I am still recovering from post traumatic stress disorder after my last adventure and foray into Student Teacher Land. I don't do subs. I have a a gazillion personal and sick days because I am too controlling to allow subs in my room. When I absolutely have no choice, meetings, professional development (What is your opinion on that?), I leave very specific instructions and A BOOK. That means 1 single book. And if the sub dares to read another, I have him/her fired! No I don't but I don't like it. I am the jealous type as well! Love your blog!

  34. You made me laugh because I don't want subs to read my favorite books, etc either. I've never had a student teacher for the same reason.
    Finally in First

  35. I totally hide books from subs and leave books I think they "might like to read to the class" with my plans.

    I've lost count as to how many student teachers I've had. In the beginning I freaked about the control issue - but I've figured all of that out. I kind of enjoy watching them get the thrill that I get out of particular lessons and books. The student teachers from CSUF have all been absolutely fabulous and I've loved them all. Not a single lazy one in the bunch. Those girls worked hard, hard, hard. Amazing, natural teachers. But my last 4 student teachers have been having such a hard time getting a job in SoCal... that I can't bear to mentor anymore teachers who may never find work due to mass layoffs and class-size increase!

    Our recesses- exactly the same - except our lunch is 35 minutes - and I make the duty schedule (control freak? Me? What?) - it's fair/not too bad. One week long duty 9 times a year, a single daily duty once a week on the weeks we dont' have the week long duty.

    I've always been in a Title I school and have never had an aide. 14 ELL's last year - probably about the same amount this year (don't have all the info yet) - but I do know that I'm at 31 students so far. Monday is our first day.

  36. btw... I LOVE that you can make me laugh with FAQ... true talent!

  37. I LOVE Sons of Anarchy too! I didn't think it was for me, but Hubs started to watch and then it was all over for me!!!

  38. I kind of wish I was the Jill with the wasp sting but I really don't want a wasp sting so I think I can get over it.

    My cooperating teacher for student teaching sounds like you. :) She did NOT want to give away control at all. I'm glad you embrace it and just don't take student teachers! It's not fun or helpful for anyone if the cooperating teacher isn't into it!!

    Marvelous Multiagers!

  39. I love that you love Sons of Anarchy as well! I'm HOOKED. I absolutely love your blog. It makes me laugh out loud :) I'm your newest follower! Follow me on



  40. I'm so excited I won your Parts of Speech cards! Thank you!!! I have had 3 1/2 wonderful student teachers. I was asked to have one this year but I just had one last spring and I really want to get the year going alone. I would like to have one in the spring after my class is well-trained. I totally get the read aloud thing. I also hide books from my sub who is the BEST read aloud teacher ever. She actually did story time at a local bookstore. I am a big Junie B. fan and I had to leave the room when my student teacher read those books aloud so I wouldn't jump in and take over. Whenever she was absent and I did get to read, my class complained that I wasn't reading it right. WHAT???

  41. Ohmigosh...I have never heard anybody admit that, but I am the same way. I don't like for any other teacher to do cool stuff with my class! Even doing "Christmas/Holiday Around the World" rotations...I want to do the best activites. I want to be the star of my classroom:) (And to the above comment, I'm an only child too...is there a connection, an aha moment?) TOO funny:):)

  42. Uniball pens are my favorite too. I have no problem finding them here in Georgia, so let me know if you want me to mail you some!

  43. Video Link - https://scholarpon.com/how-it-works.html
    Scholarpon launch september 1st get signed up now

  44. So the hubs watched all four seasons by himself while he was traveling and gallivanting all over the world this summer on super long flights. And after lots of cajoling and arm twisting (his, not mine), happy new year 2016 sms

  45. I don't want subs to read my favorite books, etc either. I've never had a student teacher for the same reason. happy new year 2016

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