‘Mrs. Hays, do you wear pajamas?’

‘Why yes I do. Do you?’


Teeheeing ensues.


Oh my.

Pretty hard to take that dad seriously when I see him at the grocery store–or anywhere for that matter. #justsayin’



As we are sitting at the rainbow table (aka–kidney shaped table), the discussion took a strange turn. This is where you insert your surprised emoji face–they are first graders. They are 7. All conversations are strange.

There is a group of us at the table. Two boys, our high school aide, two girls and me. As I begin to hone in on the girls conversation, I hear the dreaded words…..’That’s a boyfriend.’


‘That’s a boyfriend. I am going to have one someday.’

My head spins off and I begin to speak very quickly.

‘You can have a boyfriend when you graduate from college. COLLEGE. Right, J? You can have a boyfriend when you graduate from college. Same goes for girlfriends–COLLEGE.’

J, my aide, plays right along with me. ‘Oh yes. Boyfriends are for after college.’ She’s totally lying here. The girl goes through ’em like they are water.

At this point, a little boy says that he’s not going to college. That you don’t have to go to college to have a good job. A whole conversation ensues about college.

Finally, the second little boy pipes up. ‘You have to go to college AND graduate to have a good job. You do not want to HAVE to work at Wendy’s your whole life.’

Discussion Arguing happens about how much fun it would be to work at Wendy’s. They are 7, folks.

The second little boy waits for a moment as the discussion winds down before he speaks…..and then, this:

‘No. You have to go to college so you don’t HAVE to work at Wendy’s. College give you choices. You get to choose where you work, where you live and what kind of car you drive. College equals choices.’

Mic drop. #justsayin’

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’


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’.





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




Ten Thing Thursday

I borrowed this idea from this Slicer.  It was just what I needed on a long, busy day.

  1. I live about 1.5 miles from my school.
  2. Today I had on one outfit and then remembered our HS girls were going to play in a state tournament game so I changed my outfit to a school spirit outfit at 7:31 when I had wet hair, no make-up and needed to leave for school in 14 minutes.
  3. Cookies are my power pellets.
  4. I could watch basketball all day long.
  5. I can hardly stand to see kids treated unfairly.
  6. This weather has been crazy.
  7. Why are so many of our twenty-somethings addicted to crack?
  8. How many of my school kids are going home to unsafe situations?
  9. My weekend plans are to get my end of quarter grades done and 2 weeks worth of lesson plans done so that I can have a school free spring break.
  10. I have an apology to offer tomorrow to a student.


P.S. I was at school standing in my classroom at 7:55.  Pretty impressive.

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’


Overheard in my classroom…..

“What’s your favorite natural disaster?”

“Well….I can’t decide.  I really like tornados.  I haven’t been in a hurricane but I think I would like a hurricane.”

“What’s yours?”

“A volcano?”

“Well, I might like earthquakes the best.  Earthquakes happen all the time and we don’t even know it.  And earthquakes can cause a volcano to erupt.”

And the conversation continued for about another 15 minutes.

It was awe-inspiring. #justsayin’