• What the kids say...

We are studying 3-D shapes (spheres, cylinders, cones, rectangular prisms, triangular prisms, pyramids, cubes).

Mrs.  S. (holding up a 3-D shape): Can anyone guess which shape this is?

Student:  A rectal prism?

I was doing a reading assessment with a child.  One of the questions after the reading is:  "Why do you think the author wrote this book?"  (It's about a little girl on her first day in a new school.)  The child's response: "To make a lot of money."

After reading the first book in the Henry and Mudge series (This book is about how much Henry wants a brother or a puppy.  Henry is an only child.)  I asked the first graders:  "Is anyone here an only child like Henry?"  One little girl raises her hand so I ask her, "Have you ever wished for a sibling or a puppy like Henry did in the book?"  She replies, "Oh, yes.  I ask my parents all the time for a little brother but they always say no, they're done.  But other people always offer me their naughty little brothers and I am tempted to take them because I just want any kind of little brother!"

I was helping a student finish his mother’s day project. He worked so hard and diligently even though writing is hard for him. Last thing to do was sign his name with a marker. “Oh no!!! I messed up!!” He exclaimed. He wrote the first letter of his name backwards. With a marker! “Here let me help you fix it.” I masterfully turned the backwards part of the letter into the second letter. He looked up at me and smiled. I said “ There you go! Aren’t I smart?” He retorted, “Nah. Just lucky.” Ouch.

I got an Apple Watch for Christmas and I'm still learning what it can do. I recently found out in the middle of my math lesson, when I posed the question "What is 18 + 3?" to my students. Many hands shot up, but before I could call on anyone, Siri piped up from my wrist, "Hang on. 18+3 is 21" and we all burst out laughing!

You've been waiting for this one...Today was the perfect day to have an impromptu lesson on fog. So I talked about the warm air colliding with the cold ground air and they were right with me..."So it's a like a cloud forming near the ground" said one first grader. To keep it going, I said: "...and clouds are made of...?" In unison, they shouted: "COTTON!" Which prompted another discussion of what clouds are made of and I think I burst someone's balloon when one child asked, "Soooo....you can't really sit on a cloud?"

Each child takes a turn posting the weather for the day. Today's weather reporter posted rainy and I asked him if he thought it was warm or cold today. His quick reply: "Well, it's warm in my pants over here."

I said good morning to my assistant and told her that her hair looked very pretty today. "Today is my husband's birthday and I got up early to make him a special breakfast, but he wasn't hungry. So I blow dried my hair instead." From the audience of first graders, piped up one young man: "Aaaannnd...that was a biiiiiggg birthday surprise for him."

On library day, the students put their returned books on a rolling cart and two students "drive" it to the library first thing in the morning. I joke with them, asking to see their licenses before they can move the cart. Today's six year old played along and told me he doesn't have a license. So I said, "Uh oh, the police might get you on the way!" To which he replied, (with what I am sure was a wink and a grin!) "That's only if I don't get them first!"

There was a speckled pattern on my dress today. First thing this morning a student greets me: "Mrs. Shoffner! You look like a Hatchimal!" I reply "Is that a compliment?" Another kid chimes in: "Yes! Hatchimals are so cute!" And another: "She's not a Hatchimal, she's a Teachimal!"

I read a "Joke of the Day." Here it is: "What's the magic word for getting rid of a scab?" Little girl shouts out: "Pick it!!" But the joke book says, "Scabracadabra."

"My mom's birthday is this weekend and we are going to her favorite restaurant to celebrate! Olive Garden!" Next day: "Mrs. Shoffner I have bad news. Mom says we can't go to Olive Garden. It's too expensive. But don't worry, we are going to her second favorite restaurant instead!!" Pause. "Taco Bell!!"

Conversation with a little girl whose grandpa had an accident and her dad had to travel to help care for him: "Daddy has to go to help because grandma has a pathetic leg and can't do much." Pretty sure she meant "prosthetic."

I asked my students for some ideas for a birthday gift for my husband.
"Deodorant is always a good idea," said one little guy. Happy Birthday, Dan. Hope you enjoy your gift!

We were outside during the all-day steady snow. One little boy said, "Mrs. Shoffner your hair is all white with snow! You look cute. Like a dog." I was thinking 'how charming,' until he added that last part. But I do love dogs, so I'll take the compliment!

Teacher: "What rhymes with 'and?' Cool kid: "manned." Teacher: "Manned? What do you mean?" Cool kid: "You know, I manned up. Now I'm tough."

In the folktale, someone was looking for wisdom. Teacher: "What is wisdom?" (no responses...showed them root word, 'wise.') "How do you find wisdom?" Student: "Go to school." Another student: "Read books." Another: "Go on the internet." Teacher: "Just living for a long time brings you wisdom." Last child, a girl: "Well, I know for me, I was just born with wisdom."

Teacher: "Wow, that was really smart! What did you have for breakfast?"
Student: "Cereal!"
Teacher: "What kind?
Student: "Mini-weeds. They're good for you."

We focused on the spelling word, "have," and generated a list of sayings with the word: cats have nine lives, don't have a cow, have it your way, have cold feet, have the blues, I have a secret, etc. All very common...then a voice pops up from the back of the group, deep and growly: "We have the beef!" With raised eyebrows, I repeated "We have the beef? Who says that?" Several first graders in unison: "The Arby's commercial!!!"

I was telling a student that my daughter ran a marathon last weekend. She was amazed that anyone could run 26 miles. Knowing her dad is tall and athletic, I asked: "Isn't your dad a runner?" Her quick response: "No, he's a lawyer."

First grader's reply to "What did you do this weekend?" ...."I undecorated my tree."

Little guy after math today: "Mrs. Shoffner, do you know why I did that whole page wrong? I was exfused."

This made my day: First graders were working in their math books with a partner today. Two hard working students come towards me with serious looks near the end of the work time. The boy was nearly hyperventilating. Said he: "We...we...we...did all this work and we just realized that I wrote in her book and she wrote in mine! Oh no! What can we do about it?" I took the books, smiled and ripped out the pages, switched them and stapled them into the correct book. Eyes wide, said he: "That's it! Problem solved! By a great mind!" This is why I don't retire...

I called a child over to work with me on a very overdue assignment.  As I showed him how to color in a large space more efficiently, he said, "Now this is what I like.  TEAM WORK!"

We play an elimination game to decide who gets Dr. Porkchop next.  All of the children stand up and the child who had him the day before chooses a name out of a cup and then asks certain children to sit down until only the one who gets him is left standing.  For example, children say, "If you are a girl, sit down."  "If it's your sharing day, sit down."  "If you are wearing boots, sit down."  "If you have black hair, sit down."  "If you are wearing glasses, sit down."    One particular child said, "If you have a utensil in your hair, sit down."  Since no one had a fork, spoon, pen or pencil in their hair, I suggested that perhaps he meant "a hair accessory?"

Question on a math pre-assessment:  "How many inches are in a foot?"  First grader raises his hand during the test:  "I'm not sure how to answer this because people's feet are different sizes."  Smart young man.  (Yes, I will teach them how to use a ruler!)

One little girl was absent for several days due to a stomach virus.  When she returned, she informed us that everyone in her family had had it.  The next day, the woman from the Red Cross came to explain the Pint Size Heroes Blood Drive that would soon take place at Corl Street.  She told the children that adults can give away some of their blood to help sick people who need it.  As she was distributing a flyer for the children to take home, this little girl pipes up:  "I won't let my dad touch it.  He's very very sick, you know, and he might get germs on it."  The woman raised her eyebrows.  The little girl continued,  "I come from a long line of sick people."  The Red Cross woman was speechless.

The first graders sit in sets of four or five desks, facing each other or next to one another.  They often work together in these groups.  Sometimes they are asked to do their own work and not converse with their set mates.  If they wish, they may move to a private spot so that they are not distracted by others around them.   One day, a boy whose work folder was full of semi-finished assignments was asked to focus on completing some of them.  After a while, he raised his hand and asked, "Can I move to a private spot?  These girls are attracting me."

Each day, we study a different letter.  The letters are on cards that have animals on them that start with that letter.   We learn about that animal from information on the back of the card, then learn how to form the upper and lowercase letters and think of other words that begin with that letter.  I begin by asking the children to guess what animal could be on the card before I show it.

Teacher:  What animal begins with L?
Students:  Lobster!  Lion!  Lizard!  Leopard!  Landlord!
Teacher:  Landlord?  No, I don't think a landlord is an animal.  (On second thought, maybe sometimes... ;-)

On the bus, learning the PAWSitive behaviors for riding a school bus, the children were asked why it might be important to stay in their seats and chat quietly while the bus is in motion.
Child (raising hand):  "So the driver doesn't get extracted."

First week activity:  Find someone who is holding the same shape and then spend five minutes talking to each other to find out something that matches about the two of you.  It can be something you can see or something that you learn about the other person.  Overheard (two children, a boy and a girl, discussing what might be the same about them)
Boy:  "Do you go to church because they make you and you don't like it?"

After reading a book about Dr. Seuss and learning that he submitted his books to publishers many times before being accepted, I asked the class:  "What is the word that means a publisher doesn't want an author's book; they turn him away?"
Child:  "Execution?"
Teacher:  "No, it's not that harsh.  It's rejection."

Boy:  "The boys in this class are really fast, you know.  That's why we call ourselves 'The Speedos.'"

Teacher to PSU Volunteer:  "I'm glad you are here to experience the Dance of Joy!"  (only done on days all students return their library books on library day)
Child:  "Yeah, I'm warning you, Miss L, you better back off, Mrs. S. goes a little crazy now."

(students reading:  "No one looks exactly like you.")
Student #1:  "Well, unless you are a twin, like Drew."
Teacher:  "Drew, when you look at your twin, do you think he looks exactly like you?"
Drew:  (thinking for a moment)  "No, not really.  He always has a weird expression on his face."

Little girl running the track, ahead of several boys:
"Mrs. Shoffner, this is very unusual, having the boys run after me!  Usually they are running AWAY from me!"

Just before going out to recess on a rather warm fall day...
Students:  "Mrs. Shoffner, do we have to wear our jackets?"
Teacher to one student:  "Would you go check the temperature for us?"
Student returns, several minutes later.
Teacher:  "What was the temperature?"
Student:  "98.5.  She said I'm fine."
Teacher:  "Where did you go?"
Student:  "To the nurse."

Teacher:  "Did you bring your t-shirt money?"
Student:  "No, my dad said I couldn't have one."
Another Student:  "And if that doesn't work, ask Grandma!"

This one ranks in the Hall of Fame for most considerate six year old!
Child #1:  (running out the door to recess)  "Mrs. Shoffner, would you please tie my shoe?"
Teacher:  "Sure."  (bending down to tie shoe, just outside door, which slams shut just after Child #2)
Amazing Child #2 (to teacher):  (running out the door, runs about 10 yards and comes running back) "Uh, Mrs. Shoffner, D. is in the bathroom and I'm worried that he's going to hit you when he come out that door."
Teacher:  "What a thoughtful thing to say.  Thanks."
D: (opening door ever so carefully)
Teacher:  "And thank goodness D. was being so careful about opening the door!"

This is one of the reasons I love first graders.

Student showing little stuffed, gray dog she brought for sharing.
Teacher:  "Does your puppy have a name?"
Student:  "Yes.  It's on his collar."
Teacher:  (looking at the collar)  "This is his name?"
Student:  "Yup.  His name is State Farm."

The paraprofessional had the students sign a sympathy card for the teacher.
Para:  "What kinds of things are appropriate to write when someone has lost a loved one?"
Student:  "Well, maybe not now, but if I were 50, I'd say, 'will you marry me?'"
Another student:  "Uh, sorry to tell you, but I don't think Mrs. S. is gonna make it until you're 50."

Student showing a watercolor painting over photographs of herself for Sharing Time:  "This is my Andy Warthog style painting that I made at art camp last summer."