Fruit, Fancy, Fish, Fire, Fries, Football....there are a MILLION to choose from.

Today in my guided reading group we were talking about the letter F.  We were brainstorming all the words that begin with the F sound.

I turned to Kayla and asked, “What begins with the fff sound,” using the sound instead of the letter name.  

“FIRE!” she shouted at me, even though I was ten inches away.   I wrote it on the little white board I was holding up and then turned to Steven and asked HIM the same question. 

He shouted with even more enthusiasm, “FISH!”   I wrote that word and turned to Bella with the same question.

“FEET!”  she responded happily.  I wrote the word and turned to Stanley repeating the SAME question.

He thought for a moment.  Then said matter-of-factly, “Did you know that boys pee standing up because then have a PENIS, and girls pee sitting down because they have a vagina?”  

I looked at him for a moment.  “Well,” I said, “I’m pretty sure none of those words begin with an “f”, so you’re gonna have to try again.”

He thought for a moment.  Then he smiled and shouted, “Forrester!”


I’m thinking of teaching the course, “Mastering the Art of the Straight Face.”  Only really, it takes years to master that particular skill.


What day is it? WHAT DAY IS IT???

The children came back from lunch a jubilant mess.  They gathered on the carpet chattering and giggling and quieted after only five attempts at “Class, class, class!”

I was singing the Days of the Week song when Sam enthusiastically raised his hand to get my attention.  I stopped mid-Sunday, Monday – and gave in to his pleading eyes and insistent arm raising.  We’ve been in school for 27 days, and by now I know that he’s a man with a mission.  That arm would have stayed up the whole damn afternoon.

He cleared his throat and shouted with a huge smile, “Ms. Smythe, Austin wants to HUMP Sophie!”

I looked at Austin, who was sitting right next to Sam, and he was smiling and nodding his head.  “YEP!” he said with a smile.

“Austin,” I said slowly, “Do you know what that means?”

“NOPE!” he said with a smile.

“Well, okay then.  Boys, listen carefully…we never say the word hump in kindergarten…unless we’re talking about camels. Okay?  Okay.”

Kindergarten is kind of like dodge ball- sometimes you dodge the balls…but sometimes you catch ‘em.


I try to listen to the teacher.....but am easily distracted.

I looked at the messy counter in the play area and was feeling overwhelmed. I knew when she walked into the classroom on Monday that she would know that I hadn’t unpacked any of the boxes that were piled all over the playroom area.  I had every intention of getting more unpacking done over the weekend, but my other life- my real life- has a way of distracting me when I leave the premises.

The move from the first grade classroom upstairs occurred during the first week of inservice. While I had hoped and prayed that I might be called to kindergarten, I was sure I would find out earlier than that.

Good luck sometimes disguises itself, and most often makes you work for it.

My pre-student teacher is an old friend of mine- the parent of a kindergartener I had taught some 10 years prior.  She is energetic, delightful, intelligent and incredibly organized.  That last trait is one I’ve often wanted.  However, I was missing the day the trait-fairy made her organizational drop.

Jane has tried to help me since the first day of school. She has unpacked an amazing amount of boxes, and moved furniture around into a configuration that makes more sense to a person with an organized brain.  And while I have to admit it was a relief to have such a great amount of help, it’s difficult to not have used your own hands to place your “stuff” right where you think it should be.

I shared with her my feeling that I wanted to finish unpacking the rest at my own pace and in my own way so that I would feel some sense of ownership and memory of where the stuff would land.  She accepted my wish with a smile and an assignment. 

I had to unpack the rest over the weekend. 

I came in on Sunday with every intention of doing just that.  I started with one box, which led me to one shelf, which led me to another cabinet, which led me to another box, which led me to another shelf, which led me back to my desk.  I sat at my desk and realized, four hours later, that it was time to go home. 

I grabbed my purse and walked to the classroom door. I turned off the lights and looked back at the playroom area feeling quite full of myself about all I had accomplished. 

And that’s when I saw it.

The messy counter in the free play area was even messier, if that was possible.   And as I turned to leave I realized that on Monday Jane was going to kick my ass.