Max’s Words by Kate Banks

Letters make sounds

Sounds make words

Words make sentences

Sentences make paragraphs

Paragraphs make stories


That is what I tell my students. This book basically echoes the same sentiment.
Max’s Words (2006), written by Kate Banks and illustrated by Boris Kulikov, was a real treat. My students totally got the concept of words making sentences. I have an activity planned for them that compliments the book. I cut up some sentence strips and placed them in a bag. Their task is to make sentences just as Max and his brothers did in the book. So, on to the review.

Max’s brother Benjamin collected stamps. He asked his brother for a stamp and his brother said no.
Max’s brother Karl collected coins. He asked his brother for a coin and his brother said no.
Max collected nothing. He wanted to collect something, so he decided to collect words.
He collected small words, big words, words that made him feel good, words of things he liked to eat, and words that he cut out of magazines and newspapers.
Max discovered that once he put the words together, he could make sentences. He discovered that if he changed them around, the sentences changed.
If he put the words this way, he got:
A blue crocodile ate the green iguana.
However, if he put the words this way, with the same words, he got:
The blue iguana ate a green crocodile.
He was intrigued. He began experimenting with the words. Soon, he didn’t want Benjamin’s stamps or Karl’s coins. He was happy with his collection. After awhile his brothers want to play with his words. What does he do?
Well, I guess you’re just going to have to read it for yourself and find out.
I highly recommend this book. It would be especially good for Kindergarteners to get the concept of words making sentences. I am on my way to the library to pick up the sequel “Max’s Dragon.” I hope it’s just as good as this one.


Instant Replay

I have been replaying this movie over and over in my head. How could this scene have turned out differently. Is there anything I could have done differently? Could I have headed this off? Could I have just let him strike terror in the children in my class? Was I supposed to let him do whatever he wanted and not worry about his education?
What was I supposed to do???????

I Got It From My Mama!

will-i-am-ave-cover2That’s the name of a song from, former frontman for the Black Eye Peas. We are not, however, talking about the same things. He’s talking about something a woman’s got from her mama-her body. I am talking about something different that I got from my mama- my temperament, my way of handling things, my general way of being.
Let me begin by telling you a little bit about my mother. She is a very passive and docile person. Well, not now, but she was when I was little. She had a very co-dependent personality. Consequently she was in three abusive relationships.
I’m not like that. In fact I’m the opposite. However, I do have some of my mother’s ways. During the counseling session, a very painful memory was dredged up. It was of my mother leaving my father when I was nine. I love my dad (God rest his soul), but he was horrible to my mother. Things were pretty bad. That’s when my mother said enough was enough. She called the police and we were given 5 minutes to get whatever we could and leave. I was able to grab one change of clothing. I did not have time to grab any toys, no schoolwork, nothing. I remember feeling so alone.
My counselor took me back to this painful memory to clue me in to the reason I act the way I do; particularly my situation at work. She told me that I have every right to feel the way I do, but that I could have handled things with a little more finesse than getting to the point where I didn’t care whether I lost my job or not.
The counselor told me that the way I handled it the way that I did is because the way my mother handled things that fateful day when I was nine years old- almost thirty years ago. This is one of the reasons I feel the need to be in control. When I feel out of control, I want to run, just as my mother did that day.
I had no control of the situation at work. There were too many variables. That’s why I felt so uneasy. That’s why I reacted the way I did.
The memory, though painful, was very cathartic. I felt such a relief. I am beginning to understand me. This is what I need to heal myself and get over this traumatic experience. That’s all I have to say for now, but I will write more as I learn more.
So the journey begins

Lifetime Movie Of The Week Starring Leila

I am the Lifetime Movie of the Week. You know those cheesy movies with the same formula of girl meets boy, boy turns into psychotic killer. All through the movie, the woman is begging and asking for help, but since the psychotic killer is smart enough to leave no marks after he beat the hell out of her, or threaten her when no one’s around, or just generally play mind games with her that only she is a witness to, no one will pay any attention to her.

Yeah, that’s the movie. I’m a part of it. In fact, I’m the star/victim. The title of it is “The Parent From Hell.”
If I were the student in this case, this would be playing out totally different. But, since I’m just a lowly teacher who makes jack, then my concerns aren’t important. I told the police officer when I was trying to make the report that he wouldn’t take, that what he was saying is that I have to have something physically happen to me in order to get something done. Well, what’s the point of that? That’s too late. Saying sorry to my husband and my children as my dead body is wheeled out of the school is not the way I want this to play out. Ideally, I would love to go back to my job, but that’s not going to happen because I would never feel safe there again. I couldn’t stay after school and clean my classroom with the door open anymore. I couldn’t go to the parking lot without looking over my shoulders anymore. I couldn’t just walk past anyone without feeling a little bit of paranoia because I don’t know who’s in their family. Have they just let this go or are they just lying in wait until they think I’ve forgotten about it? Will I see it coming? or Will I be putting my things in my car one minute preparing to leave for the day, while I’m meeting my maker the next minute.
If I went back to the war zone, how would this play out? I’m not sure I want an answer to that question!!!!!!!!!!