On Thursday, we took our end of module assessment in math.  I had kids working at the rainbow table who needed extra support and kids working on their own around the room.  

I had kids who were in tears.  I stopped everyone and reminded them that we do not cry over math.  We cry when our grandma dies or our dog is sick.  A little guy pipes up to add it’s OK to cry when you have an injury and there is lots of blood.  WE DO NOT CRY OVER MATH.

I am alternating hanging out at the rainbow table and circulating the room.  As I stoop to help a little person, I hear a screeching voice shout the words, ‘STOP PEEKING AT MY PAPER!’

Suffice it to say what followed was not my finest 15 minutes.

Upon immediate reflection, I realized I had made a terrible mistake. Upon further reflection, I realized I had not listened to what my little person was saying.  I had not asked enough questions.  I had acted irrationally.

Here is where I could list all the reasons I did what I did.

It comes down to this: When I am asking too much of my kids and myself, meltdowns such as this occur.

Today I asked for forgiveness and was granted grace by a 7-year-old girl who has the heart the size of Texas.  #justsayin





Some Days

Today was quite the day.  I had to be at school 30 minutes sooner than usual.  I had to present to staff. I had a few moments to breathe before I had to pick up my kids.

My kids were on fire when I picked them up from the gym.  Not on fire in a good way.  It’s never a good thing when the morning supervisor wishes you a hearty GOOD LUCK in her most sarcastic voice as you pass her.

Everything took ten times longer than it should have taken.  Everybody needed to talk at once.  The math lesson was completely ridiculous.  We lined up and ran a lap.  We drank water.  Tattletale on tattletale happened.  I chucked it and we went to recess.

Life was somewhat better when we returned.  Or so I thought.

We headed to lunch.

Lunch helped us. We read aloud. We went to centers.  We are transitioning to the fluency part of our day when a girl randomly looks at me and says:

‘Mrs. Hays, what’s that thing you are wearing called?’

‘A dress.’

‘Uh. Yeah. I like it.’

Thanks.  And the day went from there.  #justsayin’

Some Days


I headed down 5th street towards my errands.  2 blocks from home, a red truck pulls out in front of me going. point. five. miles. an. hour.  Ohhhhhhhhh.  I am lucky enough to follow the red truck for about 10 blocks.

I wanted to be mad.

And yet, moving that slow allowed me to see all things that are blooming in the world. I also was able to see how beautiful the day was with the sun shining and the wind blowing.  And people were out walking.  And waving.  And smiling AT ME.

No mad feelings can happen when that much joy is in the world.

As I pull into the DG (Dollar General–I live in a small town.  We have about 3500 people in our county) there are 4 people mosey-ing out of the store.  There are no empty slots for me to pull in to–I must wait for them to find their car, unload their cart and return it to the store.  Only then do they all load into the car to leave and I can park my car.

I wanted to be mad.

And yet, waiting for them gave me time to see that this foursome was made up of 2 adult children whom had brought their aging parents to the DG.  My heart swelled with love at the sight of this foursome–they were strangers to me, and yet, in that time I saw what I hoped would be my future.  My adult children caring for me in a patient and kind way.

No mad feelings can happen when that much love is in the world.

I head to the grocery store where I was greeted by a young man who had seen me pull into the parking lot and was waiting with a cart all ready to go just for me.  He had a hearty, genuine welcome for me.  I had hope in my heart for the future of this world .

Slow down, People.  Look for the good.  It’s out there.  #justsayin’


**Update to yesterday’s slice….today when I drove by my friends house he was there!  I didn’t see him at first, but my daughter saw his little face in the window.  I was able to leave the sack of goodies with him and some homemade cookies as well.  I am pretty sure the electricity is not on–yet–but he was well.  I will check on the electricity tomorrow–it is not cold here, thank goodness.


Food for Thought

A new little person joined our school family in mid-February.  Admittedly, I wasn’t overjoyed at the addition to my little school family.  It wasn’t my turn.  It was somebody else’s turn–only it’s never another person’s turn.  I had a lot going on in my classroom it wasn’t fair to this little person to add him.

Nobody listened.  Nobody heard.

Except Someone did.

It has been my feeling for quite some time that God places the kids I need in my classroom each year–not the kids who need me–the kids I need.

He has a plan for me.  He wants me to be more.

Placing this little person in my care upset our apple cart.  The second day he was with us I heard one of the friends lean over to him and say, “We don’t do that here.  You need to stop.” Later, another friend, while in reading group with a different teacher, told him “We don’t do that in The Hays Team.”

Both friends were gentle and kind with the words they shared.

He was in chaos.  He wanted to be hugged and loved.  He was hungry. I hugged him and there have been times when I have been VERY firm with him.  I fed him. I loved him. On his third day with me he dropped the information that ‘George’ had taken the long, long, long way home.

“What does that mean? The long way home?”

He replied, “Well he went on Wednesday to get something and he hasn’t come back.” Quick calculation: Wednesday was 5 days ago.


On his fourth day with us, George returned.  Only to leave again with his mom’s money. And he knew how much George had taken for ‘gas’.

“He sure drives a lot, Ms. Hays.  He must have a lot of places he needs to go.”


On Wednesday of this week he informed me that he was getting a new house.  It was behind Wendy’s.  He was very, very excited because this was a ‘nice’ place.  On Thursday, he was pretty sure they would get to sleep in the new place.  On Friday, he let me know that they had not slept there because George was gone again with the truck and they could not move the beds.

Today I picked up things a 6-year-old boy would like to eat: peanut butter, jelly, bread, cosmic brownies, Cheetos, Pringles and Oreo’s.  I also stuck in some cheese crackers, trail mix and granola bars.  My plan was to drop them at his new place.

I did not find him at his new place.  Twice. I checked his old place.  Twice. No sign.

I will check again tomorrow.  #justsayin’






As I working with kids at the rainbow table, other kids were reading together, reading alone and I can hear a small group having a conversation about the book Dinosaurs Before Dark.  There are 5 kids around the book.  2 have read it and are showing the other 3 kids passages from the book.

They were holding their very own book talk.

I think nothing of the conversation.  We talk about books all the time.  We share books.  We LOVELOVELOVE read aloud time.  I could read aloud all day. (Heck, I could read all day.  Oh wait.  I think I have done that in my lifetime.)

Kids rotate in and out of the rainbow table.  We get our work done early and head out for extra recess.  It’s Friday afternoon after a LONG week and I am in lala land.  We are the only class on the playground.

I can hear kids talking about Jack and Annie. Same 5.  They are re-enacting scenes from the book.  They have created a game surrounding the book.  They are pretending to hold a book in their hands and are spinning around and around and around until they land in dinosaur time.  Some of the kids are dinosaurs that Jack and Annie are chasing all over the playground.

They proceed to play for 30 minutes.

There are no words to describe how I felt as I was watching this whole scene play out.  I am still just amazed what went on during that recess today.  As we were heading into the building, I could hear them making plans for Monday’s recess.

Moments such as this are why I show up each day to teach kids. #justsayin’

Made It!

I made 30/31 days writing this month!  GO ME!!

There were days I wasn’t sure I had anything in me to write and days I couldn’t decide which story to tell and days on days of paying closer attention to the life around me so I could write.

And then there were days like today.

I sent my kids to lunch and headed to warm up my lunch.  I have taken about 2 bites when the secretary sticks her head in and says those dreaded words every teacher hates to hear:

‘You have a puker.’

Up I go to retrieve his things so he can head out for the day. Dad is on his way. As I make my way into the nurses station, I see my friend sitting up looking fine.  Just. Like. He. Had. All. Morning. I gave him the usual questions…are you ok? how long had you felt bad? And so on. He gave me the stink eye.

When I picked my class up from lunch, everyone let me know that our friend had puked.

The friend that sat on the right of the puker said, ‘Yeah. I thought..WOW He has a lot of food on his tray! Turns out it was PUKE!!’

The friend that sat on the left of the puker said, ‘I let the lunchroom lady know that we had a ‘situation’ and needed some help.’ (Puke is an emergency in our room followed closely by fire and blood)

Turns out the puker had managed to only puke in his lunch tray.  He didn’t get any puke anywhere else. Impressive.

but. oh. my.

We went to extra recess.  We were so hyped up we had to run it out. And when we returned to the room, we Clorox wiped every surface.

Yeek.  I hate puke.  Just sayin’.


Today I observed my class wearing…..

Fake Ugg boots with a summer dress.

Orange shirt. Orange shorts. Orange socks. All different shades of orange, of course.

Athletic shorts with a plaid shirt.

T-shirt that was longer than the skirt she paired it with.

Tall black socks with long black shorts.

Pink shirt. Pink pants. Pink jacket.

Winter coat with flip flops.

Today I heard my class saying….

Could you please talk quietly? I am trying to finish this book.

We work first, then play.

You have only used your teacher voice about 10 times today, Ms. Hays! And it’s been all for the same person!! (not the best thing I wanted to hear)

I knew you had a treat for us today!

If the word begins with the same letter, you have to look at the second letter. ( and she showed him how to line up the word so he could compare)

I found a dime under your desk.

You cannot do that.  You know that’s not how we roll. (and she stopped to help her friend who was having a rough time)

4 kids having a conversation about how a baby gets food when it’s inside its moms tummy.

Kids singing along to TSwift.

Today I felt….incredibly lucky to be their teacher.







Joys and Concerns

I think I have mentioned that in my classroom we have a family meeting each morning where we share announcements, joys and concerns.

Yesterday we began our day with a bazillion ‘for Easter, I got…’ announcements. As we began to share joys and concerns, I had a little boy who was dyyyyyyyyyying to share.

‘We need to have concerns for our church.’

‘Can you give a little more information?’

‘Oh yes. Yesterday for church we could NOT go inside the building. We had to stay outside. It was dark and cold. I do not know why we couldn’t go in. But it’s bad. So we need concerns.’

‘Do you think it might have been Sunrise Service since it was Easter? Church was held outside to celebrate?’

‘NO! We couldn’t go in for any reason. It’s bad. We need concerns.’

At this point, I concede and offer up good thoughts for our friends church. Another friend who attends the same church, looks at him and says:

‘It was fine when I went.’

I have absolutely no idea what he was talking about.  Still don’t.  But in the spirit of joys and concerns I offered it up. Just sayin’.


What’s In My Bag?

I saw this post over at Write Another One and decided that it would be great for me tonight!

In my school book bag you will find:

an umbrella


smelly markers

glow in the dark rosary

note from a student

a birthday card

zip bag of pens

personal planner

school planner

module 4 topic b/c math notebook

question of the day cards

computer sleeve


spiral notebook

notes of encouragement


assorted buffalo clips

So there’s some stuff in my bag that would make MacGyver jealous.  All that’s missing is duct tape and a stapler.  Oh wait.  I have those things in my purse!





The Den’s

This year I am blessed to have three friends whose names all end in ‘Den’.  Holy confusion, Batman! Much like a mother who must say all of her children’s names before she gets the child she is wanting–some days I have to say all three before I get the ‘Den’ I am wanting.

One sunny Wednesday, I was working with a small group of kids at the rainbow table.  I called for my next group.  All of a sudden I have a little boy at the table that I hadn’t called for.

‘What’s up?’

Dead pans me.

‘Why are you here?’

‘OH! I didn’t hear who you called, I just heard one of the Dens and so I just came on up!’

‘Well you aren’t the Den I need so you can go on back to work, Friend.’

Off he went.  Correct Den comes to the table and we continued on.

**I also have 3 friends whose names end in Ana.  It’s crazy.