Meeting Micah

At the birth of my most recent nephew, I reflected again on how fast time flies. Let me tell you—meeting number eighteen was just as exciting as meeting the first one. Holding that precious bundle for the first time and gazing into his big blue eyes which fill up his face, I am reminded that life truly is a miracle. I can't help but think of all that lies ahead for Micah. Welcome to the world, little one.

Micah and his two proud parents


School project

After my series on mascots, I was tickled to discover a project that one of my students did for a language assignment on photo editing. I thought it was worth sharing. (I love mascots!)


The halfway point - part 2

The local newspaper had holiday essay contest. I decided this would be a great project for the students. They disagreed, but I reminded them that composition class–like life–is not fair. I tried to provide an incentive by reminding them that the winner would receive a $50 savings bond. "What's a savings bond, Miss Tiefel?" They weren't too thrilled with the explanation, preferring crisp greenbacks in their hands. The requests to watch a movie in class continued, but I persevered with my whimsical idea that education is more important than entertainment. Winter's right around the corner...is there a glorious snow day in my future? Nope.

The finished holiday essays are sent off to the newspaper. Congrats to Joey, who took first place in her age category! The fifth and sixth graders began writing business plans in composition. To my pleased surprise, most of them loved this project so much they lobbied to skip reading class and just work on composition. Some of the seventh and eighth grade students informed me that they have formed a Miss Tiefel fan club. I am suspicious that this is a plot to manipulate me into in-class movie watching. Eau Claire receives 22 inches in a record snowfall, but this icy bounty arrives over a weekend. Foiled again. I was blown away by the amazing number of thoughtful Christmas gifts from students and parents and I enjoyed having a Christmas break for the first time since college.

All of my students began prepping for a second round of research papers for the school's history fair, which takes place in February. I began prepping myself for endless questions about sources, citations and bibliographies. We started a sci-fi unit in literature class and I decided this was the perfect time to watch a movie! They are beyond thrilled. We watch the first half of Tron. The students laugh at the 80s hairstyles and clothes. (What's so funny about that? I thought they looked awesome.) Oh, and in the longest, coldest month of the year, here's the ultimate irony: I still haven't had a snow day.


The halfway point - part 1

I spend a few hours each day sharing my life-long love for reading and writing with fifth through eighth graders. At the beginning, I couldn't imagined how I would even describe the experience, but since Friday marked the end of the second quarter, I thought I'd share an update from the first half of the school year.

The first week, the seventh and eighth grade literature class read Charles by Shirley Jackson. I spent the next two weeks hearing the students use the word "fresh" to describe impudence. I am bombarded by constant requests to watch a movie in class. I begin to wish for a snow day.

I discovered that one of the great secrets of the universe is getting students to turn in their work on time and listened to a chorus of collective groans when I assigned a research paper on a historical figure. While I had a rather loose interpretation of "historical figure" and allowed reports on Evil Knievel and Les Paul, I drew the line at Prince Poppycock. (I didn't recognize the name, but I felt pretty comfortable making that judgment call based on that fact alone.) I continue to be bombarded by constant requests to watch a movie. Is there a chill in the air?

I read some poetry with the students and during the discussion, I heard the thought expressed that "old people" should not go barefoot. When I probed for details about how old is OLD, I am chagrined to hear them say  "40." I promptly tell the students that I hope they are still going barefoot when they're 80. "Eww. Gross, Miss Tiefel." The school had a fall party with a wild west theme. I dressed up as a pioneer woman, but according to some students, I looked like a pilgrim instead. The seventh and eighth graders continue to beg to watch a movie in class. Is that a blizzard in the forecast?

Check back tomorrow for the second half of the post. :)