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’.



It’s hard to be tired, Friends.

If only I could make the adults charged with the care of this little human understand that he needs more sleep than he gets each night.

Turn off the video games.

Turn off the TV.

Get a warm bath and a small snack.

Grab some books, curl up and to read to him.

Let him be little.

If only.

Today he fell asleep to my reading aloud ‘Little House in the Big Woods’. I let the kids have their coats, etc to lay on as I am reading aloud.  We turn off the lights and just relax. Kids BEG for this to happen each day.  It’s 20 minutes of our day–and quite frankly it’s one of my favorite parts of our day. They miss it when we don’t do it.

Today he slept for an hour in that position. 60 minutes. He did not move. I checked to make sure he was still breathing.

The other kids were so so so kind. They cleared the area and just let him sleep.  They used their soft voices to continue doing our math block. When he awakened, they checked to see if he felt better after he rested. (he also had carpet imprint on his little face)

He was a new man.

Tomorrow is a new day. I can bet you that given the chance he will nap again tomorrow and the day after that.

If only. Just sayin’.



What Are You Thinking?

Do you ever ask yourself  ‘what did I learn? How do I feel about what I learned? What else could I do?’ ‘What am I thinking?’

Nobody gives me a grade for my work. As an adult who teaches kids nobody says to me ‘that was A work, Mrs. Hays’ or ‘Wow. You’re grounded. That was a C and we don’t get C’s!’

I don’t have to stay inside or stand on the wall at recess because I didn’t understand what I was supposed to do the first time. The principal doesn’t put my name on the board in the lounge when I haven’t turned in my report on time. My mom doesn’t get an email detailing every single transgression I have made during the day.

Why do we do these kinds of things to kids?

I am an over-reflector. An over-thinker. An over-questioner. I annoy people with my opinions.

We gotta make some changes, people.

Start asking kids, ‘what did you learn? How do you feel about it?’ Start talking with kids about their thoughts.  Ask ‘what is confusing to you?’ and listen.  REALLY hear what that kid is saying.

Time, people. We gotta take time.

Scrap the worksheet.  Get rid of the grade. See the kid as a human. We are intelligent adults.  We know the right things to do with kids.

Let’s do them.  Just Sayin’.

Least Favorite Phrase

‘What module do you teach money in?’

‘We don’t. It’s not in our standards. It was moved to second grade.’

Eyeball rolls.

‘What about time? What exactly do you have to teach about time?’

‘Well our standard is to identify time to the half-hour and hour. Why?’

‘They don’t know it.’

‘All of them? How many are we talking? Also, keep in mind that there aren’t many analog clocks in their worlds. Many kids are using phones to check the time, a microwave or some other digital clock. Experiences with analog clocks is limited for many of them.’


As I sat in the discussion, I realized that many of my colleagues, including myself, were implying that our discussion topic ‘wasn’t their job’.

How did we get here?

Later, I heard the words come out of a colleagues mouth–‘that’s not my job’ as we were discussing how clean her room was now that her wing had changed custodians. I was heartbroken to discover that we have come to the place in our lives that helping others, doing some extra and offering grace have become ‘that’s not my job’.

How did we get here?

It’s my least favorite phrase in every aspect of my life. At home with my family, at school with my kids, at school with colleagues, and as a board member on a local board–it’s my least favorite phrase.

How did we get here?

I find myself thinking ‘that’s not my job’ when I am tired. Or frustrated. Or when I really want to stick it to The Man.

Then I remember how I felt when I helped someone because it was the right thing to do.  When I paid for the car behind me line at a fast food restaurant, when I picked up trash in the hallway, when I vacuumed my room because the custodian had been scooping snow for 3 hours and when I offered to make someone else’s day easier by helping them. I feel amazing–I smile more. I laugh. I find the joy when I help others. Sure it seems it’s about them but in all seriousness–it’s about ME.

My attitude. It’s the one thing I get to choose and change.  Just sayin’.



He showed up in my room.

I knew he was bummed.

And I knew why. Because I was bummed.

I assured him that it will be OK.

I assured him that he could be proud.

People knew that he would still love us no matter what the outcome was.

I assured him that it wasn’t a no–it was a ‘not yet’.

Be patient–I assured him.

We’ll be OK. Just sayin’.