Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Leo, Jake for short

If you walked into my classroom right now, you wouldn't even know it belonged to me. At least that's how I feel every morning at 7:12 when I unlock my door. My classroom looks like it's been taken over by a mad scientist the past few weeks, which if you know me, know that's totally not the norm. But I actually don't hate it. And my kids are obsessed with the fifty two and a half Science projects we have going on so I guess they can stay. Even if they leave me questioning my identity every morning.

My Math manipulative book shelf has been taken over by our Potato Heads. I water them twice a day and send up about 300 prayers hoping the grass seed will sprout and they'll actually grow hair.

Day 10 - we've finally got some sprouts!!

On top of my filing cabinet we have the beginning stages of a taco garden. No we are not growing actual tacos, much to my kids' dismay. But we are growing the vegetable ingredients for tacos - lettuce, tomatoes, jalapenos, and cilantro. I water these and send up a few additional prayers that they'll continue growing.

Shout out to Growums, the coolest interactive gardening kit ever. 
Seriously, if you're a teacher or a parent or know little kids or even just get excited about animated veggies teaching you how to grow their family members, check them out. 

My back counter used to house work station materials. But those have been crammed into a cabinet to make room for our celery stalks, sitting in six cups of colored water as we watch the leaves change colors. (This one's a little fool-proof and require no extra prayers for success.)

Notice the purple leaves in the back? Pretty cool.

Oh, and to make room for our new class pet, Leo the turtle.

Ahh, nothing like Springtime in First Grade. 

In case you can't tell, we're learning about plants and animals. And what better way to build understanding than to give the kids real-life hands-on experience with said plants and animals? This usually wouldn't be a problem....except I'm really anal about messes (I know, I know a weird trait for an elementary school teacher) and I have the blackest thumb you'll ever see. 

Literally, I kill every plant I come into contact with. Last year, during our plant unit one of my kids brought me an aloe plant with instructions from her mom that it was "very easy to take care of" and "there was no way I could kill it". I brought it home over the summer and by August it was shriveled and dead. kids are helping me through this flaw and they believe in my ability to change. Meanwhile I'm having anxiety attacks daily about killing one of their plants and breaking their little hearts into a million pieces.

Leo is whole other story. Animals I've pretty much got figured out. I kept a fish alive in college for almost two years (RIP Bartholomew) and Willow and Roxy seem to be thriving.

Speaking of Leo...I'm becoming kind of obsessed with him. I never ever thought I would have a class pet. Wayyyy too much work. But then one of the Kindergarten teachers needed to find a new home for him (because he was way too much work) and my kids had earned all their compliments so it felt like it was meant to be. We adopted him last Wednesday and obviously had to give him a new name.

The only way to make an important decision in First Grade is Rock, Paper, Scissors, or to bring it to a vote. Because Rock, Paper, Scissors gets a little tricky with 20 participants, we voted. The kids gave three options to choose from: Leo (as in Leonardo from the Ninja Turtles), Jake (as in one of my kid's dad's name), and Tom (because "it starts with t-t-t-t like t-t-t-turtle"). 

Leo and Jake tied. For the record, I wanted Leo to win because the Ninja Turtles are cool. So for the tie-breaker I had one representative from Team Leo choose a number and one representative from Team Jake choose a number. Coincidentally, Team Leo guessed closer to the number I was thinking of therefore our turtle become Leo. 

But have no fear - in an attempt to comfort Team Jake for loosing, one of my kids quickly pointed out that Leo could be his real name but we could sometimes call him Jake for short. Like a nickname. Because Jake is obviously the perfect nickname for someone named Leonardo.

And that my friends is just another day in the life of First Grade. If you're not jealous of my job, you should be.

P.S. Two more days until Spring Break. Boo-ya.


  1. Okay, we never did anything like this when I was in 1st grade. You're officially the coolest teacher ever.

  2. You are the coolest ever. The Leo/Jake story is the best thing I've ever heard. Teacher of the year right here folks!