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’

On this Monday….

I am thankful for…..

a snooze button.

waking up to only one notification from Twitter about the craziness in the White House.

purple nail polish.

two little girls who magically turn 5 today.


not needing my winter coat.

the forethought to pack a week’s worth of lunches yesterday so I could write this morning.

the George Winston station on Pandora.

17 little smiling faces that I will see later this morning.  At least I hope they will be smiling.

friends who are family.

being able to walk outside with no coat, gloves or hat.  Can you tell I hate winter?

health insurance.

this Monday.  May it be a glorious and peaceful day for all.  #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’





Red Shoes


As I entered the hallway this morning, I was greeted with that distinct clickety-clack sound high heels make on a tile floor.

As I looked down the hallway expecting to see a grown-up, I was greeted by a smiling 7- year-old wearing the best shoes ever.  Winter coat, gloves and these shoes.

Later I would see her and realize she was wearing exercise pants with a matching top–that did not match these red shoes.  And she was proud.

And so was I.

She wore them all day…and she ran at recess and she played basketball and she played the star wars game and she went about the day as if the whole world should be wearing red shoes.

And you know what?  Maybe we should.  #justsayin’




Today when my wrist vibrated I knew it wasn’t an ESPN update.  It wasn’t CNN telling me that something else ridiculous had been said out loud by our fearless leader. It wasn’t a snapchat.

It was our accountant.  Answer?  In the split second it took for me to locate my phone I decided I would answer.

Yikes.  His news wasn’t favorable.  We owe 4 digits to the IRS.  WHAT!?!

I thought I was going to cry.  And I did cry later.

Apparently when your kids graduate from college and get real jobs you are supposed to make changes to your ‘STUFF’.

Adulting is hard.  #justsayin’

One Little Word

I have been thinking and over thinking and thinking and over thinking about life.  Probably because the over thinking is who I am and more likely because this is the year I turn 50 years old.

50.  So many people are mortified by that number: I am not.

I am amazed by that number.  I had no idea I would live to be 50 years old. Who knew that there would be so many things that would be different from when I was a kid?  And yet, so many things are still the same.

When I was choosing my one little word, I thought about what I like to do–not what I am good at or can do at the drop of a hat….what do I like to do?


I like to write.  Nothing fancy, nothing to write home about (LOL’ing at that) or anything that I would send off for publication.  Just writing.  I like to write my name, I like to write notes, I like to copy quotes, I like to practice my handwriting, I like to write about food, I like to write about my daily life, I like to write thank you notes, I like to make lists.  I like to write.

It became clear to me that in my 50th year of life my one little word is: write.