School Week Round-Up: Week Thirty-Seven

This was the last week of school.

Lessons: 
This was the week I gave students the closest thing to “free time” they ever get when using technology: a menu of choices with the ability to ask for more choices that I might have been unaware of or forgotten.

Except there was an element that we had never had before.

Chickens.

Okay, so if you follow me on Twitter, you certainly knew about the chickens already. I think I’ll write about them in more detail in their own post. But to summarize, I had my afterschool science group set up and study an incubator. The program ended the week before the chickens were due to hatch. I kept the incubator in the computer lab so when chicks hatched, we livestreamed it using Periscope so everyone in the building could see without issues. The chicks hung out in my room until the last day of school (today). Another teacher took them to her father, a farmer, who will try to provide us with fertile eggs in the future so we can repeat the activity.

And it did sort of work out, class management-wise.

 


Support:
 One of the more techie things I did this week was DJ the end of year carnival. I’m really glad I solicited requests in advance, firstly because it’s clear I am not very aware of what music the kids are into lately. Secondly, because I was able to find clean versions of some songs that were requested.

Things I Did Well: Everyone I was responsible for made it to the end of the week healthy. Even fourteen chicks.

Things I Will Do Better: Friday Caitlin left Tuesday Caitlin a heck of a lot to do. Friday Caitlin feels some guilt. But not enough to have actually done more.

Cold Prickly: Lots of physical damage this week. I’m talking about folks in the building, not the technology. The person who wore the “I Survived Field Day” shirt on Field Day ended up in the emergency room before noon. This is not a joke, but she did turn out okay so it’s still kind of funny.

 

Warm Fuzzy: Doesn’t get much warmer or fuzzier than this. Happy summertime!
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School Week Round-Up: Week Thirty-Six

This was the second-to-last week of school. Next week, we lose a lot of structure; we have field day at both our elementary and the other one in our city, so that will disrupt both building’s typical schedules. Each grade level will have at least one field trip; third grade will have at least two. And the last day of school is our End of Year Carnival. So there will be more flying by the seat of one’s pants this upcoming week.

Lessons:
So I usually let students have free time* during their last computer lab class of the year; invariably I seem to promise it in a weak moment of classroom management earlier for some reason or another. So, some classes already got that this week, because I will not have them next week (because of field day or field trips). Most classes did not, though.

*Free time is not actually free in my classroom, because when you tell students sitting in front of internet-connected devices, you don’t actually want them to do whatever enters their head. Like doing a Google search for “play Five Nights at Freddy’s” which is a game you have to pay for and that they cannot install on the computers without admin privileges, which means that they click on an ad that says they can play it for free, except it’s not free, and the cost is that some janky website adds an extension onto Chrome without prompting, and then the kid gets pop-ups about hysterectomies that they don’t understand on multiple levels.

Yeah, that really happened once. I was so mad. I specifically told that sub not to tell the students they could do anything they wanted, and he basically told the students they could do anything they wanted. It was over a year ago and it still irks me.

Anyway, instead of truly free time, students get a menu of choices that they can explore independently. Most of those choices are websites that they find engaging anyway because there are games, but a couple are actually programs on the computers themselves.

Support: Lots of physical damage this week. I think some kids or teachers are stacking things on top of Chromebooks.

Things I Did Well: There was one weird day this week where I had a sub so I could attend a training at our school admin building. But then, the training only lasted through the morning. But when I went back to school, it turned out they were short a sub anyway, so I was going to let my sub remain in my room and I was going to cover this other person’s class. But then our receptionist went home sick (something really atypical for her). So then we combined the class I was supposed to cover (very small class) with another very small class, and I ended up covering the office for the afternoon! Whoa. On one hand, I can see why they don’t just put any sub there – too much risk of a negative interaction. Then again, it didn’t get nearly as hectic as it sometimes does. I was actually able to use some of my natural abilities (knowing where all 320+ kids in the building should be at all times) combined with the training I was just at (it was for an add-on to our gradebook I used to access rosters). I actually got a lot done. Not just covering phones and giving out ice packs either, there was also stapling, so you know I’m hardcore.

Things I Will Do Better: We had a Right to Read themed week going on, and I missed the memo on things like Epic Hair Day and Pajama Poetry Day. Fam, you know I’m all about this stuff. I really gotta engage better with building-wide initiatives.

Cold Prickly: At least four of our chicken eggs are total duds, meaning no chickens inside. They looked the same when candled at Day 15 as they did at Day 5 – clearly all white and yolk inside. A couple more eggs look to me like they developed somewhat, but not as far as others. Whether that means they are developing slowly or late, or that they started and stopped, I don’t know. But we are definitely not expecting all twenty eggs to hatch.

Warm Fuzzy: We are expecting more than half the eggs to hatch still. And, I was worried about whether or not I’d be able to find homes for chicks, but I think I’ve got it covered! One local farmer even offered to take chicks and, in exchange, provide us with fertile eggs in the future! Then take chicks, and in exchange, provide fertile eggs again later on. Eggs and chicks in perpetuity! Who cares which comes first!

School Week Round-Up: Week Thirty-Five

 

It’s definitely feeling like May up in here. A lot of teachers are using their personal days before they lose them, and so our building gets a little more subby than usual at times, particularly Mondays and Fridays. And indoor recess in May is a goshdarn travesty. (This is me, shaking my fist at Mother Nature.)

Lessons:
So I wanted to do something with my classes that tied in with the curriculum from 4-H my afterschool group is using. So I plotted out an open-ended project where students identify a problem or challenge for animals, then come up with a high or low tech solution for them. It involves brainstorming, research, creativity, design, and communication. The only actual requirement is that they create an image of their idea, then write a paragraph explaining it. Some students are writing about endangered animals, others about pets. One student is writing about his own pet, describing the steps his family is taking to identify what they suspect is a food allergy causing their bulldog discomfort. A pair of students started working together on deer; one found the PETA Kids website on hunting, one found an online hobby magazine that lists positives of hunting. Their ongoing disagreement is surprisingly polite as they bounce ideas off each other.

Unfortunately, I took two afternoons off this week (instead of taking one whole personal day). So I didn’t have my Tuesday or Thursday third grade classes. Tuesday was already a week behind everyone else due to the PD day we had the week before. Then, I found out that I also have to do day-long trainings outside my building next Tuesday and Thursday too. So, I will not have them again this week either. (Not something I knew when I planned my personal time off, I assure you.) And that means I won’t have my Tuesday or Thursday afternoons again until… the last week of school.

These classes are also sometimes challenging in the classroom management department; I don’t think a sub could lead them through an open-ended assignment, not without additional support. It’s too much. Or rather, I bet a sub could lead them through, but I want my sub to keep coming back so I won’t ask her to. So I am planning alternate lessons that my sub can do with these kids.

Support: Actually I got really excited when I came back after time off Wednesday, because a sub left a note describing a computer issue a student had. “He figured out to do X,Y, and Z, and I let him, and it worked – I hope it was the right thing to do?” Yessss. A sub who is comfortable enough to let kids try troubleshooting and trust their results. Hearts and stars forever!

Things I Did Well: I got my sub to pick up all this week, and at least one day for me next week. (I am really not super thrilled about missing so many school days in the last month of the year. I think it’s possibly the worst time for subs and sub lesson plans!) I had never met her in person before Tuesday, but I know she picked up for me before. In fact, she remembered that I left her a paper mug and a K-cup of hot chocolate. I joke that I like to roll out the red carpet for subs, because their job is like mine but also harder in some ways. (Maybe easier in some ways too, but it’s not important for me to focus on that.)

Things I Will Do Better: I did not budget my time particularly well on Tuesday, so when my sub came, I didn’t have lesson plans written out. So I scribbled out the schedule and told her about Google Classroom, but I didn’t actually leave the detailed document I would have liked her to have as a safety net. I did better for Thursday. But, I need to do even better next Tuesday because I’ll be gone all day. Yipes!

Cold Prickly: I was the person in charge of giving all the make-up standardized tests. I thought the last one was Wednesday, for a child who had been sick for a week and then came back. He wrapped a day later than most because he had two parts to make up, plus the day he came back there was a class field trip. And who wants to miss a field trip to take a standardized test? If that were me, I would definitely be wondering what my classmates were up to instead of concentrating on math. So we postponed his makeup so he could go on the field trip, which is a reasonable thing to do when you have the time.

But then another student had to make up both parts, and showed up on Thursday to take tests, and it was a bit of a schedule blip that I hadn’t anticipated (no one could have, really).

Warm Fuzzy: So many warm fuzzies this week. First, when I took off Tuesday, that meant I wouldn’t be there for the afterschool program. I got another teacher to sub for me, but the leader of the activity was actually a third grade student. He had pitched some ideas for the afterschool group over the past couple weeks. I shot a couple down because they were too expensive, too time-consuming, or too dangerous, but he didn’t give up. Finally he found a video of a science demo on getepic.com that seemed doable. (In fact, it is something I did years ago at a different school.) He put together a shopping list of materials, I got them for him, and he led the activity in my absence (with adult supervision). He also got rave reviews! I’m so proud of him!

Also, when I was on my way to school on Wednesday, I decided to go through the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru to get a treat. (Wednesday is the one day I consistently drive my car.) The line was long (what do you expect at 7:30am?) so I was rocking out to some tunes. When I got to the window, the person said, “You can go on forward, the person behind you is going to pay for your order.” WHAT? Usually it’s the person ahead but okay! Every time my day got a little rough after that, I reminded myself about the kind thing someone did for me, and adjusted my attitude accordingly.

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Snow Day (Let’s Talk About Zelda)

I was really surprised to answer the phone at 6:15 this morning and hear the announcement that today would be a snow day for our district. I was surprised because we had school yesterday when just about every other school in the county had off. And today, very few other local districts have off (some have two hour delays).

I am going to try to grade some assessments (something I struggle to force myself to do, more than doing dishes even). But, I am also going to play more video games than I probably should. Specifically, I will play Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild on the new Nintendo Switch.

We got this game the day it came out (my spouse and I are both big fans of the franchise; in fact I proposed to him with a Zelda-patterned cross-stich with a ring sewn on). My husband had to go out of town that weekend, so I got quality time on the system first.

And

I

love it.

Firstly, the Switch. It’s much smaller than the Wii U, and you can switch it from being hooked up to the TV, to being more like a handheld console. I prefer playing on the big screen, but it’s cool to be able to have it smaller, so that my husband can catch up on Hulu shows. I even took it to a family dinner to show my twin sister (also a big Zelda fan). It’s still just as lovely to behold on the smaller screen, it’s just smaller. And even using the smaller screen, you can set it up to multiple different controller configurations so that you can do however you prefer. (I like to hold the Joy-Cons by themselves in each hand; my husband likes to use them in the Joy-Con grip.)

Next, the game itself. It really seems very compatible with my gaming style, which is reckless. I tend to rush headlong into circumstances without planning much in advance; then, if I utterly fail, I observe how I fail so that I can base future planning on that. (My twin sister, by contrast, is cautious: she made it through Ocarina of Time without ever dying.) This game does not overly punish rashness; it autosaves frequently and does not force you to save at particular points. There are many situations where, instead of killing you outright, puts you back to your last safe moment with reduced health.

There are many challenges in the game that you can choose to face in different ways. Often there are items lying around, or characteristics of the environment you can use to your advantage if you think things through. You also get some abilities early in the game that you can creatively apply in many settings.

My husband and I are benefiting from watching each other play. For example, I solved a puzzle using the stasis ability and arrows; when he came on the same one, he happened to be out of arrows. Rather than retreat to gather supplies, he managed to find another way to solve the puzzle. I remembered his method the next time I faced a puzzle, and made sure to try other angles than I normally would at first. I don’t think I’d be doing half as well if I wasn’t playing in tandem with a different person who doesn’t do the same things I do.

I also like that there’s not a strictness to the storyline. In previous Zelda games, you had to accomplish goals in a particular order. This is not the case in this game. Yes, there are certain plot points that only get triggered after certain other things occur. Yes, there are enemies you can’t actually beat until you get the right weapons, armor, or power-ups. But the game doesn’t actually stop  you from trying to do things that you’re not equipped to handle. I think an abrupt “game over” screen is how the game designers chose to teach the player that it’s okay to run away from some battles.

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As for the content of the storyline, I think I’ll save that for another post, one with spoiler tags.

 

 

A Little Wind Beneath My Wings

Almost nothing invigorates me more than when grown-ups outside our school take our kids seriously.

Our school district uses a vendor assessment system called i-Ready to track our students’ growth throughout the school year. Generally students spend about an hour on math lessons and an hour on reading lessons on i-Ready per week. We do a lot of incentives, like teachers giving raffle tickets for each lesson passed and then doing a drawing for a special lunch with the principal.

Even with incentives, many students hit a wall with i-Ready, motivationally speaking, in January and February. They just got burned out, and I can’t really blame them – it’s just how it feels. Teachers ramped up encouragement and incentives, but even they were getting frustrated with repeated issues running i-Ready in Google Chrome browsers.

So when students logged in this morning, they were thrilled to see new games had been added. It was a very different atmosphere in the computer lab! One student in particular named Zakhary was so excited, he said “thank you” to every adult in the room. I said to him, “Actually, we didn’t turn those games on. The people at the i-Ready company did. Want to say thank you to them?”

Of course he did! He was so excited!

He dictated the message and I wrote it down. He held his message and I took a picture. Then, I tweeted it.

Now, even just this much was invigorating for Zakhary. But then, at the very very end of our school day (we were lined up for dismissal), I got a Twitter notification.

Luckily, Zakhary’s homeroom is just across the hall, so right before buses were called I went to their doorway, laptop in hand. His entire class gathered around to see the photo and listen closely as I read out the message. (Having a class quietly listening at dismissal is nothing short of a small miracle, by the way.)

So now not only is Zakhary excited about new i-Ready games, his whole class is excited for him that he was acknowledged by professional adults who created the games. And as a teacher, I’m exhilarated that someone outside our community took my student seriously. I too have a renewed investment in this product.

It’s a little like the zoo project we did last year – it makes a huge difference to student engagement when others are also engaged with them as partners in their learning.

School Week Round-Up: Week Twenty-Seven

Lessons: This week went more smoothly than last week. I got students using Khan Academy again. I used Khan Academy quite a bit last year, actually because I was asked to present about it at a professional development. But this year it seemed like a lot of work, especially compared to websites and resources that were easier to sync with Google Classroom. Then… Khan Academy enabled teachers to import their Google Classrooms. Sweet! It was so much faster to set kids back up this way. The kids even like it a little better than last year, because we’re starting so late in the year, they’re breezing through the things they’ve already learned. I like Khan Academy for a lot of reasons. I like that it allows me to see how much time students are actually engaged on the site, so I can verify who’s likely goofing off. I like that it allows students to state, “I haven’t learned this” or see a hint. I like that it doesn’t let kids exit and start a mastery challenge all over again – it saves their work. (That last one is because some students have perfectionist tendencies and want to get every answer right on the first try – but that’s not a reasonable expectation to have of oneself at all times.)

Support: We use an online instructional system that has lately caused struggle with Google Chrome. It’s especially a frustration for teachers whose students use older Mac laptops that were reimaged to run like Chromebooks. The system is aware of how the browser issues play out and are trying to support school districts who use it. It’s the kind of thing where you have the first thing to try; if that doesn’t work I have a second, or even third thing to try; and if those don’t work, then I reach out for help. I actually taught a third grader how to do the first thing, and he showed his homeroom teacher. So now I’m thinking I could find a couple of students in every class and train them up in some troubleshooting steps, to help out their teachers and classmates.

Things I Did Well:
 I actually had another genuine sick day (slight fever), and the Google Classroom lessons apparently went slightly askew. But, the students are now familiar enough with it that they were able to tell the sub, “If the lesson doesn’t work, this is the backup plan.” (It’s in a Google Doc in the “About” section of Google Classroom.) And the sub trusted enough to go along with it. So I will have to make up a couple lessons for next week, but I’m really proud of my students!

Things I Will Do Better: In reference to the above paragraph, I need to triple check my Google Classroom lessons are posted, er, correctly when I’m sick. Foggy head led to unclear directions. This is why we hate making sub plans!

master-sword-2002961_1280Cold Prickly: My spouse is going out of town this weekend to see our niece and nephew in a play. I couldn’t go because I made a commitment on my side of the family. I’m sad I’ll be missing this.

Warm Fuzzy: A video game I’ve been looking forward to just game out on a new system. So, even though I’m on my own for most of the weekend, at least I get to spend that time with a guy named Link in a land called Hyrule.

The One Right Way to Do Things

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I was grading some papers, and a student wrote about how computers “get infermation quiqlly.” I can’t get past the spelling. Sure, it wasn’t right, but it communicated the point.

I ate lunch with first graders today. The lunch lady, for dessert, gave them frozen peach cups that were tricky to open – the condensation made the plastic seal slippery. Kids stabbed through the top with the end of their spoon; kids yanked the corner up with their teeth; kids flipped it upside down and pressed from the bottom, shoving the slushy mass through the top like a push pop.

In the computer lab, I watched as students went through many of the same routines, with variations. To do a typing activity, some students discussed with one another what they wanted to write. One started at the “last” question and worked his way up. Another bypassed the keyboard by turning on Voice Typing in the Google Doc. Some logged out of the computers by clicking on the start menu and scrolling down until they found the log out command. Others used keyboard shortcuts.

I emailed the other technology resource teachers in the district to ask how they handle a certain challenge (where tech skills meet classroom management). They had several strategies, some building-wide, some on case by case basis, and some methods that fell between those extremes. There was no one-size-fits-all solution.

What I’m trying to say is, I get really frustrated when adults act like there’s only one right or best way to do things. Yeah, some ways will be faster, some more efficient, some more comfortable, some less expensive. But that doesn’t mean other ways are inherently wrong or bad. And yeah, there is probably one best way to do certain things, but I like to let kids try those out and realize why other ways don’t work as well. They shouldn’t have to take my word for it.

“Storytime with Wil”: A Read-Aloud for Grown-Ups

once-upon-a-time-whitley-mdThere’s no shortage of anecdata and evidence that reading out loud to children is incredibly important to developing language skills, and a love of reading. Reading out loud can help improve comprehension, vocabulary, and information processing skills. There are many resources to help adults read aloud to children, or help connect other readers with children, or help children read out loud to an audience of their own.

Do grown-ups benefit, too?

Some may feel it juvenile, but I enjoy listening to things. I derive a lot of pleasure from listening to music, for instance. Podcasts and radio programs are some of my favorite ways to absorb nonfiction text. I don’t listen to audiobooks, but I know many adults who do. Why wouldn’t grown-ups also benefit from read-alouds?

My district took the night off from our usual Twitter chat, so when I was dorking around Twitter at 9pm EST with nothing else going on, I saw a link to actor Wil Wheaton‘s Twitch channel, where he was doing a read-aloud of a Choose Your Own Adventure book. (This is apparently a regularly scheduled event.) So, I clicked.

I don’t often visit Twitch, but it’s a social platform for people to watch videos, particularly snow-white-and-the-seven-dwarfs-aida-hiin the gaming community. (It makes sense if you spent hours of childhood waiting for your turn on the Nintendo, then realized that you like watching other people play almost as much as you enjoy playing yourself.) So, it’s an interesting platform for a read-aloud. But Mr. Wheaton has gamified the experience: when the time comes in the story for the reader to make a choice, observers in the chat make their opinion known about which choice they want to make. (The first few choices I watched were close to unanimous, but when it came too close and fast to call, a chatbot helped tally votes.)

However, there were over five hundred (!!!) folks watching the entire time I was participating. (Can you imagine being a teacher reading out loud to over five hundred kids? Yikes.) Still, that is a lot. There was no way you could reasonably expect to be singled out for attention. But, fellowship could be built between the observers, because the chat function (largely ignored by Mr. Wheaton as he read out passages between choices) was also a backchannel. People frequently reacted to Mr. Wheaton and/or the text, then reacted to one another.

I was impressed with (and enjoyed) the experience. Mr. Wheaton, as an actor, reads with gumption, something that would probably make former costar LeVar Burton proud. The community around the activity was energetic but without some of the negative interactions that can color an online experience. Not all five hundred-some viewers were chatting simultaneously, which probably would have been insane. But many were cracking jokes and so on. It was definitely more geared towards adults than for kids (I’d rate it PG-13 with an extra sprinkle of f-bombs).

While our principal reasons for reading aloud to children is to strengthen their literacy, let
us not forget that it can be fun and community-building as well.

School Week Round-Up: Week Twenty-Five

Lessons: I left school early one day this week to go to immediate care. A colleague took over one of my classes. I thought it would be fine, since it was one of the routine AIR test preps we do. But, I guess there are things that are normal in the computer lab that I take for granted, that really throw off other people. My colleague thought things went terribly! She told me she felt like a failure! Sure, she didn’t do things the way I do them, but she isn’t me. But wow. Really reminds me of how much I take for granted, that comes easily to me, but not to others.

Support: I’m going to start at the end: the people who are designated Google admin for our district can shut down the ability to install extensions on Chrome for student accounts. Okay, now the beginning. I have several students who had repeated issues on Chromebooks: they were slow as molasses. Turned out, they had installed several untrustworthy Chrome extensions. Some were intentionally, for changing the theme on Chrome. Others were pop-up ad extensions that probably gave themselves permission to install when students unwisely searched for Five Nights at Freddy’s or something like that.

Things I Did Well:
 Better time management.

Things I Will Do Better: Even better time management!

Uncomfortable Emotions: Instead of Cold Prickly/Warm Fuzzy this week, I am just… having emotions I wish I wasn’t. First, there’s a paragraph on page 1056 in HB 49 that is getting shared a lot between educators on social media. I called my Ohio state senator’s office, and chatted with someone named Anna about it. Thanks, Anna! She told me that it probably won’t make it to the Senate until April, and that it will likely change a lot before then, but their office will keep an eye on it. Then I called my house representative’s office. Well, actually I accidentally re-dialed my senator’s office – sorry Erica! Then I actually did call my house rep, and left a voicemail. They didn’t get back to me. I called again today… and left another voicemail. I have questions and I would like to hear what my rep has to say to them. I am grateful for Anna and Erica in my senator’s office, though.

Also, this week (especially as it was an AIR test-style prompt week in the computer lab) the topic of assessing writing on standardized tests was much talked about this week. There are so many things to consider and to balance – did the student answer a question correctly? Did they cite evidence? Did they write a decent answer, but it doesn’t answer the question? And then, while in the waiting room for immediate care… I happened to catch a particular press conference. I am so disappointed that we seem to be holding eight-year-olds to higher standards of clarity and communications than we do our highest elected official. I hate this.

Our district had a chat earlier this week (optional); the topic was “love of teaching” (get it? because Valentine’s Day?). The second or third question was, “Where do you see yourself in ten years?” I stopped participating because I’m really struggling with that question right now. Gosh, I can’t even see five years into the future. I love the parts of teaching that I love, and I hate the parts of teaching that I hate (the parts that don’t feel as much like teaching). And I know this is a problem I would face in any other career, really. I think it’s a pretty normal struggle to have, actually, in a lot of aspects of life. In the short term, it’s time to re-listen to an episode of NPR’s Hidden Brain podcast. In the medium term, I will be making time for reflection and productive reaction. And in the long term? Time will tell.

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/507930318/507930414

School Week Round-Up: Week Twenty-Three

I meant to post at least once more this week. I did not do well on the self-motivating.

Lessons: I had my second formal observation this week. I think it went well. Mostly, it’s just nice not have that hanging over my head. And, I’m glad we did it when we did it. I was observed Tuesday, with first graders working on Google Drawings/Sheets. On Wednesday, our internet connectivity went all spotty and I had to go with a backup activity. So, thank you schedule gods for that!

Support: I actually did end up taking a sick day this week, but it took one coworker several hours to notice. I had my work laptop at home, and she was sending me emails about issues I was having. I kept up until we bumped up against one I couldn’t fix remotely. That was when she realized I wasn’t in the building.

Things I Did Well: 
I thought I did a pretty good job being flexible during lessons, especially as it was the type of lesson this week where some kids finished right away, and some kids took a lot of time. Somehow we didn’t end up with too much wasted time.

Things I Will Do Better: Keep track of important things. Outside of school, I lost my wallet. But, I didn’t even notice. I only found out because my mother called me. The local police had contacted her (after being unable to find my contact information) to let me know they had my wallet. I must have left it at a restaurant or dropped it while walking home from the restaurant. Somebody found it and kindly dropped it in a mailbox so it found its way back to me before I even missed it. So, happy ending! Still, it shakes me a little. I don’t want to get into a habit of irresponsibility.

Cold Prickly: Betsy DeVos.
bitmoji35935645Warm FuzzyA student asked me to sit with him at lunch. I had noticed in the lunch line that he was really struggling with the behavior of another student who was annoying him. While we ate together, he told me that he can feel when he starts to lose his temper, and he sometimes loses control and might punch or hit someone. The kid across the table told him that when he gets really mad at his brother, he runs upstairs and puts his face in a pillow. So we talked about different ways we could handle anger. We can’t change the behavior of other people, but we can still make good choices for ourselves.