Yes, I’ll Play

On what was our 697th inside recess, this little guy approached me with the board and hopeful eyes. I waited.

‘Mrs. Hays, would you like to play with me?’

‘I would love to play with you. You know I am really bad at this game, right?’

He smiled. ‘I don’t care. ‘ And we began to play.

Soon, others joined us. I won the game. Another little guy offered to play so they could get better and beat me next time.

My goal this year was to say ‘yes’ to kids more than I said no. Just to play, paint, jump rope or push the swing when they asked me–just say yes. All they want is my time–a few minutes here and there–of me.

That I can do. #goalmet #justsayin’


How Important is a Name?

My whole life. It’s just my name. No big deal….

But seriously. I have worked for this district for 24 years and this happens on a regular basis. Today it was at a conference.

It’s just my name. And it is hard to spell–bonus since my last name is spelled correctly this time–and I get it. BUT….that sinking feeling I had this morning when I picked up my name tag is a feeling I would like to avoid.

Is it important? I think so. I would want it for a kid in my classroom so I think it would be….oh I don’t know….respectful….kind….courteous….and this list could go on and on.

But back to this question: Is it important? I think it is. I think it means that no one cares enough to double check to see if they have spelled my name correctly.

And that boils down to relationships. #justsayin’


I love cookies. I love to make cookies. I love to eat cookies. I love to share cookies. If cookies were a love language, they’d be mine.

It seems as though I have forgotten how something as ordinary homemade cookies can offer me a few moments of peace in a world filled with anything but peace.

For years, I made cookies every Sunday night during the school year. In the summer, we had them on Thursdays. Now I make them most Thursday nights or on Friday mornings before school–you know, because #cookiefriday.

When I started #cookiefriday with my class, I really thought it would just be that one week. Then it became a weekly tradition. Then I thought it would only be a one year gig.

This year I needed the tradition.

I needed the respite from the world that making cookies gives me. It’s methodical. And rhythmic. I am reminded of simpler times in my life–times when I took for granted that life would always be that way. At times, I am reminded of grandmothers and great-grandmothers. Of packing lunches and birthday treats. Of friends.

When I make Amish sugar cookies, I am reminded of my father-in-law and his love for his family. I miss him.

When I make snickerdoodles, I am reminded of a young mother of 3 whose heart was so sad that I didn’t even know it until much later when she told met that those random cookie deliveries meant the world to her. That they saved her.

When I make cut-out sugar cookies, I am reminded of my dad. For years, I had no idea that he loved those cookies and one Christmas I discovered his love for them. Now if I know he is coming, I make plenty for him to take home with him.

Making cookies of any kind, evokes a memory of someone for me. And offers me comfort. Although those cookies are often times a gift of love for someone, they really are about me and what I get out of making them.

Making cookies has healing powers for me. #justsayin’

Some Days….

Last week I planned a project that I thought would be fun and get us through the last week of February. We were going to make models of the sun out of paper mache.

I prepped the kids.

I had a plan.

I had a you tube video.

I had thought and thought of all the things that could go wrong.

But just like every good plan…there’s a glitch.

We covered the tables. I went to each table and put a cup of flour in a good sized bowl. I let the kids put their hands in the flour. This was amazing to me. They liked the sensation of their fingers in the flour. They played and played in that flour. I went to each table and poured 2 cups of very warm water. The mixing of the paste began. Oh my! Let the descriptive words fly!

Within about 30 seconds, my eye was drawn to a little boy who was flapping his arms and flying around our classroom. He was flinging paste everywhere! He had covered his arms in paste and he was squealing like a stuck pig as he flew around our room.

Needless to say, I lost my teacher ish on him. Not my finest moment as an educator or a person. He was done for the day.

Later, I apologized to him and then to the whole class. He was generous in accepting my apology. I still just felt horrible.

The next day I again apologized to the class for my behavior. I shared that I should have anticipated that it would be sensory overload for him. A friend looked me in the eyes with a reassuring smile and gently said, ‘It’s OK, Mrs. Hays. It happens to all of us. We forgive you. We all make mistakes. It’s how we learn.’

Those were the words I needed to hear. Thanks, Sweet Friend, for being a very wise 7-year-old. #rockstar

Day One

Last year my class was tough.  TOUGH. We just couldn’t come together as a school family.  I had exhausted my bag of tricks so one Friday in September brought homemade cookies to school and called it ‘Cookie Friday’.  I thought we could have cookies and milk and just visit.  It took 15 minutes.

I saw a change.  The next week when Thursday rolled around, a friend called out, ‘TOMORROW IS COOKIE FRIDAY!’ Um. Ok.  And thus a tradition was born.  We had homemade cookies every Friday, except one–I bought Oreos, and we spent time together.  And we came together as one family.

It’s what a tradition does–brings us together.

Kind of like the Slice of Life Challenge…just sayin’.





This was on my desk yesterday morning when I returned from one of the bazillion things I did in and around the building before the kids arrived (also was late because I had to go to the grocery store to buy eggs so we could make brownies in class):

Inside were these two items:

‘Bookmarks!’ I exclaimed. ‘I needed new bookmarks.  Thank you!’

So three thoughts: This mom listened when her son said he wanted to something for someone else.  They worked on a plan together. And they did something together.

I got the best smile and the biggest hug from a little boy with a true heart for others.  And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is why I show up every day to teach kids.  Just sayin’.

Question of the Day

This was our question of the day on Monday:

And here are our responses…..

It was hard.  I had kids who could not think of  a thing they did to help someone.  I had kids who said they did not help anyone.  I told them we must change that starting now.

They are sososo helpful at school and I want them to share that gift outside of school.  I shouldn’t be the only one who benefits from their kindness.

It looks like I might need to help with some spelling of words.  Just sayin’.


Gentle and Sensitive

I made it to Mass with a few minutes to spare this morning.  I used those minutes to pray for each child in my class and to think about the day ahead of me. I hoped that the peace that I was feeling would stay with me for the rest of the day.

Mass began at 7:30 on the dot.

Today’s reading was Isaiah 42:1.  Perfect. It’s exactly what I needed coming off of a week long spring break.  And Fathers homily was less than 30 seconds long.  But the message was GINORMOUS for me:

‘Be gentle and sensitive to all you encounter today.  Gentle and sensitive.’

Wow.  Just sayin’.


Isaiah 42:1

Here is my servant whom I uphold,
my chosen one with whom I am pleased,
Upon whom I have put my Spirit;
he shall bring forth justice to the nations,
Not crying out, not shouting,
not making his voice heard in the street.
A bruised reed he shall not break,
and a smoldering wick he shall not quench,
Until he establishes justice on the earth;
the coast lands will wait for his teaching.

Thus says God, the LORD,
who created the heavens and stretched them out,
who spreads out the earth with its crops,
Who gives breath to its people
and spirit to those who walk on it:
I, the LORD, have called you for the victory of justice,
I have grasped you by the hand;
I formed you, and set you
as a covenant of the people,
a light for the nations,
To open the eyes of the blind,
to bring out prisoners from confinement,
and from the dungeon, those who live in darkness.

No Comment

Turns out you have to have your commenting turned on in order for anyone to comment.  HOLY SMOKES WHY AM I SO DUMB.  So again–just like in life a person has to be open to comments in order to get better.  Thankfully a friend in the blogsphere tipped me to my problem!  Thanks for your help!


I made it 14 days.  Some days were easy.  Most days were tough.  I told myself it didn’t have to be perfect. I just had to WRITE.

I made it 14 days.

Then I was crazy busy.  And crazy tired. CRAZY TIRED.

I stopped.

There wasn’t anyone reading what I wrote so what did it matter? It seems weird that I felt this way because I don’t write for anyone but me.

Not one comment in 14 days.  Why did this bother me? In the over-reflecting that I do on a regular basis, I was reminded that this is how a kid could feel at school when no one calls him by name…or when no one asks how her weekend was….or when no one wants to sit with her at lunch….or play tag with him at recess.  So no comments were a good thing for me.

Will I keep writing? Sure.  I’ll even tag this one and will try to finish the month strong.  Readers or not.

And tomorrow? I will make eye contact and call him by name.  I will ask her how her weekend was. I will look for the lone person at lunch and join them.  I will play tag at recess.

Just sayin’.