Continually Renewing Myself!


I have to keep renewing my mind because I was beginning to show signs of burn out after less than 2 years. I will be the first to admit that I have one of the hardest jobs. It’s in a low-income, high crime area. The children have behavior problems that are challenging at best. I get up some mornings and don’t feel like going to work because I know that it is going to be so intense.
A couple of times I have felt like walking right out the school and not returning. However, I know that I need this job to do silly things like paying the mortgage and buying my children food and clothes.
Even if it weren’t for that, I promised myself that I would quit teaching if I felt like I was feeling the past couple weeks.
Ya’ know what, I really thought about it because I got to the point where I didn’t care as much. If I couldn’t have pulled myself outof that funk, I would have. Thankfully I really sat down and thought about what was really important. I had to ask myself if I was going to let one student make me give up my dream of being a teacher. My answer was a resounding no. No one person is worth giving up your dream for. So, I made up my mind to renew my mind. I told myself to remember why I wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to make a difference, and I have. Renewing yourself/your mind constantly is a must if you’re going to live in this world.
Until next time people!

Parent From Hell vs. The Teacher!


**Warning- this post is a little long**
I, the teacher who cannot take anymore.
Debra, the parent from hell who believes everything her child says.

fire_and_brimstoneTwo people. Two very different situations. Yet, we are forever bound to each other. Why?
We’ve been able to see things from each other’s perspective. I have to say, though, that I have always been able to see the parent’s point of view, but had simply ceased to care. I was so overwhelmed that I just wanted everything to be over one way or another. Whether it was me quitting, the child moving to another school, etc.
I know that connecting with Debra is divine intervention. I talked a little bit about it last week (in this post) when I wrote about how she told me off.
N-e way, we’re sorta’ going through the same thing, but we’re on opposite ends of the spectrum.
This is what I’m going through: Absolute hell with one of my students who is the student from hell who also has the mother from hell who will literally curse out someone in a minute. She will do it in front of anyone (including Kindergarten students).
This is what Debra’s going through: Almost the same thing, but in reverse. She’s going through h*** with her daughter’s IEP team. In this case she is the parent from hell and her daughter is the student from hell who the teacher wants out of the classroom. I say this is divine intervention because I almost never talk to her. When I do we just “happen” to start talking about her problems dealing with special ed.
I had to set her straight. I told her that every child, at one time or another, lies; that she couldn’t believe everything her child said. I asked her how she feels now that she sees it happening to a teacher that she knows.
What good came out of this? After our little heart to heart, she’s able to see things from a different point of view- the teacher’s. You see, to Debra, the teacher was the enemy. She was the parent from hell who would go up to the school talking very loudly, ready to fight the teacher because she believed every single word that came out of her child’s mouth.
That’s what changed her mind!
Until next time people!

From Vision To Application!


children-writingI’ve written about this before, and I’m going to write about it again. I have a problem getting my students to apply the information they know down onto paper. They don’t have a problem visualizing or verbalizing it. They have a problem with the application of the information- the writing. I’ve tried many things. Mathew has given me some great ideas, but I would like more. Do you have any ideas? I ‘d like to know about them if you do?

What A Difference A Day Makes…


Well, it hasn’t literally been a day, but you get what I’m saying, right? It was just a litle over 2 weeks ago that I was ready to quit my job because it was so stressful. Now that I’ve had time to stop, think, and reassess the situation, I am renewed.
Once again, I have renewed my mindset. I don’t want to quit anymore because I’m ready to face my problems. There’s no other way. I’ve found that if you don’t face your problems, they will continue to bug you until you do fix ’em. That could possibly be a long time. I don’t have time or the patience for that. Even though it’s initially hard, i’ts easier in the long run.
Until next time people

Healing Me!


Yesterday, as I walked around in pain, I decided that I was actually going to put my foot up.
As I walked around in pain, I thought about that stupid trip to IKEA where I walked around that huge, hulking, giant warehouse space that would make me tired on a normal day, without a broken toe.
As I walked around in pain, I thought about how I have been in total denial about my toe being broken.
As I limped up and down the stairs, I thought about how I need to get it together and sit down and heal. So, I’ve taken off for two days. I’m actually going to do like I wrote in a previous post and take it easy.
So, until next people!

The Dr. Who In Me! Part 2


One of my students, Ty, has been refusing to do work and is bothering other students. It was a minor annoyance. However, it’s been happening everyday. So, I knew that I had to do something about it. So, I began my Dr. Who-like talks again today. Just in case you’re not familiar with Dr. Who, it’s a British sci-fi show. In the show, he always comes up against seemingly insurmountable odds. Yet he always triumphs; All without a weapon. He always managed to disarm his foes with his weapon of choice– his words.
Last year, I began using my words (of encouragement) to build my students up. I used break time to walk and talk with my students, under the guise of them helping me (which they love to do). I learned their likes and dislikes. I slowly gained their confidence to build up the trust. They worked. Once I started spending time with them, the undesirable behaviors slowly began disappearing. I have to remember what works for me, so I can keep doing it. This little technique right here, almost always works for me. I’m going to keep doing it.
Until next time people!

That’s What Friends Are For!


I just came from a friend’s house who helped me out so much. I kinda’ knew what to do, but just couldn’t get there. We chatted over sinfully rich butter cake while we completed our work. I would not have been able to do it without her. I am realizing that no man is an island. Everyone needs someone at some time or another.
Now, thanks to that friend, Danika, I will be able to proudly present my work on Wednesday-my completed work.
That’s what friends are for.

High Frequency Word Game!


My mentor teacher suggested this to me. I used it, not knowing how it was going to work, and was pleased with the results. My students loved it. It’s so simple. The way that I was doing it in the beginning had begun to get boring. So, at my mentor teacher’s suggestion, I had them stand up and gave them the rules of the game- get the word or sit down basically. They really want to win. I guess I underestimated their competitive spirit. As we were finishing, a couple of my students said, “Man, I really gotta’ study now. I wanna’ win!”
I love it. So, my students copied them down on index cards that clip onto their chairs. This is what they take out when someone unexpectedly shows up in the classroom and I need to talk to them.
It’s working out. I’m happy about that.

What Was I Thinking?


What I was thinking? I don’t know! I asked myself that question as my throbbing toe told me that I shouldn’t have even tried it. What did I try?
I tried walking around IKEA! IKEA of all places; as big as it is. Why am I acting like I don’t have a broken toe? I thought the pain was all in my head, but about a quarter of a ways through the store, I realized it wasn’t. I couldn’t wait to get out of there. It seems like it took forever. I vowed that there would be no more IKEA for me until my toe heals.

Never again!

If You’re Gonna’ Steal…(pt. 2)


mooseWell, it happened again. One of my students stole another one of my books. Again! I wrote about it in a previous post. I had been looking for it since I returned from Christmas break. I was stumped. The mystery was solved today when my student, By, told me that he had a book just like mine.
“By, are you sure that isn’t my book?”
“No, no,” he weakly protested. He continued to deny it for another two minutes until I told him that I knew and he knew that that was my book and that I wanted it back tomorrow.
He said okay, but that his little brother wrote in it. Needless to say I was p.o.’d. This really makes me want to stop bringing my own personal books. They are always stealing from me.
They could steal other things. I guess if you’re going to something, I guess a book is a good thing to steal. Even though it’s a bad way to show it, it shows that he really wanted the book. I guess that’s a good thing. He wanted a book, but he just didn’t go about it the right way. Hopefully I will get my book back. Truthfully, I don’t even know if I want it back. When is enough enough? At what point do I stop giving my all when it’s taken for granted?

Punctuation Takes a Vacation by Robin Pulver


punctuationPunctuation Takes a Vacation (2004), written by Robin Pulver and illustrated by Lynn Rowe Reed, was a fantastic little book that I used with my class to really hit home how much they needed to use punctuations. When I read this, I also played the punctuation game. This is how it works- the students receive four index cards each, with which they write a period on one, an exclamation on one, a comma on another, and finally a question mark. When I read the book, I instruct the students to hold up the appropriate card. If I’m reading a sentence with an exclamation point, I exaggerate so they students understand that the exclamation point is used to show excitement. Similarly with the comma, I over exaggerate the pause. Finally, I created a worksheet with sentences from the book for classwork and from the OCR story we’re working on for homework.

Now on to the review. On the hottest, stickiest day the class had ever seen, right in the middle of a lesson about commas, Mr. Wright mopped his forehead and said, “Let’s give punctuation a vacation.”
The children cheered and headed for the playground to cool off as the punctuation marks stare at each other in disbelief. They feel so unappreciated. That is when they decide they should take a vacation and let everyone see how much they really need them.
What do you think happens after the punctuation take a vacation? Well, I guess you’re going to have to read it for yourself and find out.
I’d give this book ****/***** stars simply because I thought it could have been a little longer. I would have liked more examples for my students. I did remedy that by creating a worksheet to go with the book. It would have been much easier if the author had thought to do that, but you can’t have everything. I would say this book is appropriate for 2nd grade and up.

I Made My Choice!


I made my choice regarding my placement. I’m staying. I have been looking at things all wrong. I need to take the focus off the way I’m feeling and take the kid’s feelings into consideration. I’ve had a few days to think and weigh the situation. I have decided to stop acting like a big fat baby and face my problems head on. No matter how badly I want my problems to go away, they are not. They need to be dealt with. I knew when I accepted the job that it was not going to be easy. I chose to take it anyway. Now, I have to deal with the consequences.
I am so happy that I have great support, of else I wouldn’t even consider going back. We’ll see how this goes. Join me on this journey, won’t you?
Until next time people!

Two Days Off!


I called today for a same day appointment and was disappointed to learn that since I possibly had a break or sprain that I could only go to the emergency room. Well, that’s not good. The co-pay is $50 vs. a $10 co-pay for an office visit.
N-e way, I went to the emergency room, got a boot and two days off from work (to boot! (pun intended!). I don’t know how I’m going to manage the stairs. My classroom is on the 2nd floor and I have to go up and down them all day long. Oh well, I don’t have to go back to work for two days. I’ll figure it out by then. I have an 8:30 a.m. orthopedic appointment, so there goes the sleeping in that I’d planned.
So, until next time people!

She Told Me!


“Nobody told me that the road would be easy.
I don’t believe he brought me this far to leave me.”

I have been feeling abandoned by God, as of late. My situation just seems so impossible. How am I supposed to help my students who live unbelievably hard lives that would traumatize an adult? How am I supposed to help them when I am still learning the programs that I need to teach them? I know how. I’m supposed to continue doing what I’ve been doing- giving my all, even when it doesn’t seem to be working. I’m supposed to keep the faith.

I’ve mentioned before that my life reminds me of songs and movies. This particular case is no different. While visiting one of my sisters who was talking to an old family friend, Debra, I was reminded of an old gospel song I used to hear when I was little. (Some of the lyrics are above). Since we were both kinda’ talking to her, my sister put her on speakerphone. Anyway, I eventually ended up talking to her. We were able to help each other.
While I was talking to her, she happened to mention the problems she was having with her daughter’s IEP team. I was able to advise her on her problems. She, in turn, was able to advise me on mine. Actually, told me off, is a better way to put it.
I was telling her about my problems, expecting sympathy, when she laid into me. She told me that I needed to quit complaining and thinking negatively about my situation.
“Be the you that I know you can be,” she said. You can do this. I know you can. Those children need you. They are dealing with horrible situations. Who knows what their home life is like; if they’ve been abused, physically and mentally; or if they just saw their mother beaten up. Whatever!
God sent you there, in the trenches, for a reason.
“But it’s so hard!” I complained.
“So!” Nobody ever said it was going to be easy. You knew when you chose special ed that it wasn’t going to be easy.
So, get it together and do what you know you need to do.
I know she’s right. I know that I should stay and help these children, but I just don’t want to. I want something in my life to be easy. But, I guess nobody told me that the road would be easy. I don’t believe he brought me this far to leave me. I have to believe that or I will simply go crazy.
Debra sure set me straight about a couple of things. I know that I have to make a decision soon regarding my placement. What it will be, I don’t know!

Hurting Me!


I am in pain right now. I was so excited about the party that I got up @ 5 a.m. this morning and tried to put up the tables by myself. I knew that it wasn’t a one person job but I’ve done it before, so I didn’t think it would be a problem. Well, this morning, there was a problem… when the table fell on my pinky toe and broke it. The funny part is that it didn’t really hurt when the table fell on it. It starting hurting after I elevated it and later tried to get up and walk on it. That’s when I felt it.
Normally I would just lay down and act like a little girl, but I have cooking to do. Today is my Valentine’s Day/Anniversary party. There’s no time to rest. The show must go on!

Happy Valentine’s Day/Anniversary!


Today is my anniversary. It is also the day of my annual Valentine’s Day party that simply everyone wants to attend. Here’s some pictures of past Valentine’s Day parties.

100_3630These are the tables that I rented in my dining room. There are three of them. So, I was able to host four other couples-Ricky & Annette, Saudia & Wesley, Erick & Cheryl, and Diane & Sly. A great time was had by all. The gifts in the window is lingerie for the men (wink, wink)

100_3642Saudia & Wesley w/Dakota in the background.
100_3646Erick & Cheryl

Getting Ready For My Party!


I am getting ready for my big Valentine’s Day/Anniversary party tomorrow. I rented the tables earlier. They will be delivered shortly. I have this little theme going on- my colors are red, black, or pink. So, there will be one red table, one pink table, and one black table, with the chairs and the chair covers with bows. To complement the tables, I got a dozen balloons- 4 red, 4 pink, and 4 black. I am so excited. I am decorating the house right now. I have red and pink bulbs that I am going to hang from the ceiling in my dining room, as well as various heart decorations.

I purchased decorated take-out containers from Michael’s that I’ve filled with various chocolates for the chocoholics. I have chocolate covered fortune cookies, love coupons, and love lotto lottery tickets.
I also purchased some candy in a cute little bottle labeled Love Potion that I will include with the various naughty gifts I’ve bought. I am so looking forward to tomorrow. I’ll post pictures on Sunday. Bye!

Have You Ever Heard Of Lindamood-Bell?


lindamood-logoHave you ever heard of Lindamood-Bell? If you have, then you’re one step ahead of me before I started @ B.N.U.
For my Intervention class, I was required to visit one of their centers. While there, I had the privilege of observing some of their instructors in action. The instructors and the methods were fantastic. One of their instructors, Darlyne, was very patient, but firm with the child she was tutoring. There was nice rapport between the two.

So, what is it and who uses their services?
Well, it’s an intensive teaching methodology founded by Patricia Lindamood and Nanci Bell. Those who use is are usually well to do, as the services are very, very expensive. The centers have come under fire for their pricey-ness, but I say that it’s well worth it. Talk to any parent of a struggling child who’s been to the centers and been successful and you’ll have your answer.

One thing good for me is that I felt totally validated since I use some of the same teaching methods and strategies they use.

Their results are quite impressive. If you’d like to learn more, click to find out more.

Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing® (also known as LiPS®)
Visualizing and Verbalizing for Language Comprehension and Thinking®
Seeing Stars®
On Cloud Nine®
Talkies®

They make the claim of bridging the gap between student’s potential and their performance. The kicker is that they actually do. Again, if you would like to know more about it, here’s the link: http://www.lindamoodbell.com

I Now Know What’s Wrong With Me!


Lately I’ve been such a slacker. I know I’ve said that before but I really mean it this time. I haven’t written down my lesson plans in about a month or more. I really don’t remember how long. I even misplaced my T.E. and wasn’t too worried about it. I could have gotten another one, but just wasn’t that motivated to do so. I have been feeling an overall “kiss my ass” kind of feeling. I knew that I could possibly get a bad Stull evaluation, but didn’t care. I knew that I could get written up for not turning in my lesson plans, but didn’t care. Like I said, I have had a general feeling of… I don’t know what. I just know that I was tired of caring when I seemed to be the only one. I was tired of trying to help people who didn’t want to be helped. Tired to trying to do the right thing when I seemed to be punished for it.
However, after talking to my mentor teacher today, she made me feel so much better. I shared with her that I just didn’t care like I did last year when I was intent on saving the world. Well, that was last year when I thought it could be done. Now, I don’t! The only thing I want to do this year is to make it through the year and possibly get a job in another location that doesn’t have as many behavior problems. I just want some peace. I want something in my life to be easy. I want not to have to deal with something like this every year. I am tired. And this is only my 2nd year of teaching. How do I move on and past this as I get my second wind? I don’t know, but I’m going to do it because this is what I want to do. I am living my dream. This is what I went back to school for.
So, as usual, I digress; back to the lecture at hand. She made me feel much better when she told me that she knew what I was going through. She said that I was discouraged because I didn’t feel like I was making a difference.
“Okay, that’s true,” I said to her as I thanked her for not making me feel like I was a total slacker who’s about to have a nervous breakdown.
So, I now know the reason why I’ve been feeling the way I’m feeling. Once you know what they problem is, you can do something about it. Now, I know what my problem is so I can begin to work on fixing it. Thank you Jesus and Hallelujah!

I Hope I Can Get a Sub!


I asked three subs today if they could take my class tomorrow. They said no. Two of them were new subs so I took a chance that they didn’t know Nu. However, being at the school for the day was enough to discourage them from taking my class. “Okay was all I could say as I sighed a sigh that spoke volumes.” I hope the class doesn’t get split up tomorrow. But, ya’ know what, I can’t worry about that. I have to take care of myself before I can be any good to them or anyone else. My body is starting to break down. I am burnt out. I really need a break. So I am taking it. Tomorrow I am going to sleep in. I deserve it.

My Little Bookworms!


David, Phillise & I just returned from the library. I had a hold on a couple of Junie B. books for Phillise. When she received them she was so happy that she actually let out a little sound of glee. While we were there David asked if he and Phillise could look around. While looking around he found a book that he liked so much that he sat down and started reading it to Phillise right there. I was so proud of my little bookworms.

Pleasantly Surprised Me!


Color me surprised! Pleasantly surprised! My Principal and AP called me into a meeting that I thought was going to be a load of crap that actually turned out to be very productive. They told me that they were working to get the child out the school, but until then that I needed to deal with him. They also said that they were going to help me. Ya’ know what, once I thought about it, they have been.
I thought they weren’t, but they are. I guess it’s only so much they can do also. The one good thing is that they are helping.
Thank God!

Exhausted Me!


I am so exhausted. I have not been getting enough sleep ’cause I am so stressed out over Nu and his behaviors. Even though I know that things are winding down, it just seems like too much sometimes.
I’m so tired I’ve been thinking about taking a week off. I’ll see how things go!

I Discovered That I Am A Personalizer!


What is a personalizer? Well, it’s someone who personalizes, of course. Okay, seriously, according to the dictionary, to personalize means to cause something, especially an issue, argument, or debate to become concerned with personalities or feelings rather than with general or abstract matters. Quite a mouthful, I know. What it’s basically saying is that I take my student’s behavior personally. I talked to the school psychologist who told me that I need to stop personalizing my student’s behavior. I know that it’s irrational and I need to stop. I know that she’s right, but I don’t know how to stop doing that. Does anyone know how to do that? Please let me know! I need help!

Guess How Smart I Am- Celebrity edition


donald_sutherlandGuess how smart I am? Well guess! I am so smart that I met Donald Sutherland in 1993 when I didn’t have a clue as to who he was and told him that he looked like Sean Connery. Yep, I sure did.
In his defense, he’s quite handsome. He has piercing blue eyes and a great smile. The only thing. He has to be about 5’3. I’m 5′ and he was just a little taller than me. But that’s neither here nor there. That was a totally stupid thing to do. I really am very smart!

That Lockyaw Issue Again!


Yesterday, after returning home, I had to take a nap because as usual I was exhausted since Nu ran amok allll day long. He became upset because he couldn’t have his way. So, he ran around the classroom and started fights with 6 of my students. I tried to tell them to ignore him, but what child or adult, for that matter, can ignore someone who’s hitting them? So, needless to say, the children were fed up. I couldn’t send him out because he has worn everyone on the campus out and no one else wants to be bothered by him.

Anyway, on to the point of this post. Taking my cue from Norman & his archenemy Lockyaw, I decided to calm down and have my other students do the same. It only worked for some of them because, after all, they are only 8-12 years old. However, it did work for me and my assistant. Usually, one or both of us get mad at him, which only serves to make him happy and stronger like Lockyaw.

I put on some classical music and ignored him while I cleaned up the classroom and prepared for dismissal. All the while documenting everything he did. I know that he is on his way out, but it just cannot come soon enough for me!

Quick As A Cricket by Audrey Wood


Quick as a Cricket (1982), written by Audrey Wood and illustrated by Don Wood is a cute little book. It’s been around forever. I’ve actually had it since the late 90’s when Sam & Dakota were little, but was not a teacher at the time, so, of course, I didn’t think about using it to teach similes and metaphors.
quick-as-a-cricketI read this book to my class. We are working on metaphors and similes, so this book came in very handy. The whole book is full of metaphors and similes. Once I read it, the students totally got the idea of similes and metaphors.

I took this review directly from Amazon.com. I was going to write a review of this book, but this just summed up exactly what I wanted to say.
Amazon.com Review
“I’m as quick as a cricket, I’m as slow as a snail. I’m as small as an ant, I’m as large as a whale.” Parents and teachers choose this big square book for the message of self-confidence. Toddlers love it for the singsong phrases and Don Wood’s large, silly, endearing illustrations, which feature a boy mimicking different kinds of animals. At one point, he is pictured sipping tea formally with a fancy poodle (“I’m as tame as a poodle”) and on the very next page he is swinging through trees (“I’m as wild as a chimp”). Whether brave or shy, strong or weak, in the end the young boy celebrates all different, apparently contradictory parts of himself. With a confident grin, he lifts his arms up and declares, “Put it all together and you’ve got ME!”
I found a site that had a crossword puzzle to go with this book. Here is the link.

Lockyaw- The Demon Of Anger!


I love cartoons. I can remember watching one of my favorite cartoons, at the time, Mighty Max. It was a crazy little cartoon with a sci-fi element, of course. I’ll try to make this post short to get to the point (which is about Nu, by the way).

I’ve talked about Mighty Max before in another post. In the pilot episode, the title character, Max, is suddenly visited by a talking chicken named Virgil and a 10,000 year old guardian named Norman who sounds curiously like Richard Moll :). Anyway, fast forward a little to Norman fighting one of his old enemies, Lockyaw, the demon of anger who cannot be easily defeated. In fact the angrier you get, the stronger Lockyaw becomes. Virgil, who knows practically everything, tells Norman that he cannot defeat Lockyaw with anger. He tells him that the more he gives in to his anger, the harder it is to calm him; for you can never fully defeat anger. It always returns; but it can be calmed. After awhile, Norman listens, calms down and defeats Lockyaw for the time being.

This reminds me of my situation with Nu. To me, he is my demon of anger that uses my own anger against me. The angrier I get, the stronger he becomes. When I become angry, he smiles and laughs. Whenever I am calm with him, he doesn’t know what to do. In fact, the calmer I am, the angrier he becomes.

I will learn a lesson from Norman and remain calm in order to overcome this trial. It is not easy, but I will do it. Until the next one comes along! Then it starts all over again. No, that’s not true. If I get another one I will know how to better deal with it.

I Know I Said…


I know that I said that ignoring worked for Nu, but that was for that day. One thing about him is that nothing works that long for him. It is so hit and miss. I spoke with the school psychologist today, she offered up a suggestion I tried today that worked, but who knows for how long. I’ll see if it works tomorrow. Until next time people!

Hey Brown Child!


For the Black History Month program, I have decided to teach my students “Hey Black Child” by Eugene Useni Perkins. But, not all of my students are black, all are different shades of browns, I am going to substitute brown for black.

I will let you know how it goes. Until next time people!

Guess How Smart I Am!


Well, guess? I am so smart that I broke my own glasses on Sunday night while at a friends’ house. It’s not what you think though. It was an accident. You see, I sleep in my glasses, so they’re crooked. Well, I adjusted them a little too much and they just broke right in half. I was so shocked I just sat there and looked at them. I cried yesterday. I felt so helpless without them the past couple of days. Well, today I did something about it. I got contacts from Costco. For $109, I got an eye exam for glasses and contact + prescriptions for glasses and contacts + some disposable contacts to boot. So, yippee, I can see again. Now, I don’t have to pay over $250 for some glasses at LensCrafter.  I love COSTCO.

I Just Kept On Smiling!


Nu has really been off the hook. Especially today. I tried ignoring him, but as I stated a couple of days ago, you simply cannot ignore him. I am at my wits end. I have done all I can. I don’t know what else to do. However, I just kept on smiling. Looking at things from a different point of view really helps. This is not to say that I didn’t feel like quitting today; because I did. The point is that I didn’t. I really felt like it, but I didn’t because I know that nothing too bad or too good lasts for too long.  I have to believe that or will simply go stir crazy.

Until next time people!

Seeing things in a different light!


When this year started, I made up my mind to see things differently. Essentially, I decided to change my mindset. I am the victim no longer. It’s not about things happening to me. It’s about how I handle them. I’m not saying that I’m perfect. I’m simply saying that I’m working on myself; which I know is a lifelong process.

I have been doing a lot of reading and experiencing things for myself in order to bring about the change I seek. Well, while reading, I stumbled upon this saying. I’d heard it before, but now it makes perfect sense and has an especially greater since I am actively seeking to change my view. Ya’ know what? The view is getting better.

At any rate, here is the saying: In order for your view to change, you have to change your view. If you’re the back half of the horse, you’ll always have a horrible view. However, the view is totally different when you’re in the front. Understand? Just like the song, I have noticed that suddenly everything is so beautiful. I see beauty in everything. It’s all because I have changed my view; the way that I see things. I do see things in a different light.

One song that I am so inspired by is Billy Ocean’s “Suddenly”. Remember that? Way back in 1984? If you don’t remember it, take a listen

Sorry, this video is very old and not that great, but the song is beautiful. Enjoy it anyway!

Mr. Peabody’s Apples by Madonna


** Warning- This post is long**

Mr. Peabody’s Apples (2003), written by Madonna and illustrated by Loreen Long, was the perfect book for my class. Lately, I’ve been having problems with the students being little busybodies and starting stuff. So, when I found this book, I knew that it was simply a godsend. I am so impressed with Madonna’s writing. I read another one of her books, called The English Roses, and was quite impressed with that one also . She has written five books in all. I plan on reading them all, but for now, on to the review.

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One of my students, Tag, is one of the nosiest little people I have ever met in my life. As a result, he is always in someone else’s business. I have been talking to him, but old habits die hard. So, I decided to use this book to communicate my message. Another one of my students, Nu, who I’ve been having much trouble with, of late, also has a bad habit of fabricating stories. I have been talking to him with little luck. However, he responded to this story. Whenever he said something that even sounded like he was going to tell an untruth, I reminded him about Mr. Peabody’s Apples.

The story begins with a very curious scene. You see a bunch of boys on the baseball field. They appear to be fighting. However, upon closer inspection, you can see that they are, in fact, playing baseball. I pointed this out to my students.

“What are they doing?” I asked.

“They’re fighting,” they said.

No. Look again! They’re playing baseball.

“You’re right,” they said, “they are playing baseball.”

After that, we are introduced to Mr. Peabody and his Little League team, who never really won a game, but no one cared because they had such a good time playing.

Readers are also introduced to Billy Little who loves baseball more than anything and also thinks that Mr. Peabody is the greatest. After each game, he would always stay to help pick up all the bats and balls. And when they were finished, Mr. Peabody would smile and say, “Thanks, Billy, good job. I’ll see you next Saturday.”

Then Mr. Peabody would walk home. On his way, he stopped, picked up the shiniest apple, dropped it in his bag and walked away with it. What? Tommy Tittlebottom watched as Mr. Peabody walked away. Without paying!

So, what did Tommy do? He got on his skateboard and rushed to tell his friends. This has to be a fluke. It cant’ possibly happen again, right?

Well, the same thing happened the next Saturday. On the way home, after Mr. Peabody waved to people he knew and they waved back, he went to Mr. Funkadeli’s fruit market, picked up the shiniest apple he saw and dropped it in his bag. That was all Tommy and his friends needed to see. They not only rushed home to tell all of their friends, their parents, and their parent’s neighbor. That was basically everyone in Hapville. So, what do you think happened next?

Next Saturday, no one showed up to the game, but Billy Little who told Mr. Peabody what Tommy, his friends, and everyone are saying about him. This was evident in the people’s attitudes as he walked down Main Street and waved to those he knew. The problem was that some of them didn’t wave back, while some pretended they didn’t even see him.

After Mr. Peabody straightens everything up with Billy & Mr. Funkadeli, Billy runs to find Tommy to explain everything to him. Mr. Peabody tells Billy to tell Tommy to come to his house when he’s finished.

Tommy comes to Mr. Peabody’s house, but Mr. Peabody has a curious request. He wants Tommy to bring a feather pillowcase. Tommy agrees, goes to Mr. Peabody’s house and… What happens after that, you ask! Well, I guess you’re just going to have to read it and find out for yourself.

This book is fantastic. The artwork is out of this world, and the message doesn’t just hit you over the head. It’s very subtle. I had to make my students think about it. You will too once you read it.

I would recommend this book to 3rd grade and up if you’re reading it to teach children about gossiping, being busybodies and such. I’m going to cheat a little on this one and give you a hint as to the ending. Look at the book cover above and think about what they’re doing. What do you think Mr. Peabody’s lesson to Tommy could possibly be?