snow day.

In all my 23 years I have never once been granted a day off from school due to snow. Well today was my fisrt, and boy do I feel that my childhood was quite deprived.

I was able to organize EVERYTHING and prepare for the big move (down the street). Productive days are amazing.

It may have posed quite an inconvenience as I try to help my children learn as much as they can to have a day off from school- but this week I actually have to be in ABQ with both of my assistants for a Pre-K Institute, so it managed to work out that this week was just for re-teaching skills anyway! And plus, yesterday I discovered that my afternoon class has been coming along with learning their letters, so I feel comfortable letting a day go to waste due to snow. PLUS- have you ever tried to keep 40 active 4 and 5 year-olds inside due to bad weather? It can get pretty ugly- they need their outdoor play, snow days are good for Pre-K.

Nico said something funny yesterday....

Nico: Wow, I like your hair- who did it?
Me: I did!
Nico: Oh cool!

Ha ha, and it was only pulled back into an elastic headband. He's so cute.



I should be putting on my bright clothes for the Adopt-A-Highway community service project.... but I'm going to take a quick minute to blog since it has been so long.

Thanksgiving break was just fantastic. Enough said.

I have a page of delightful quotes from the week that I can't wait to post! But I think my favorite quote was when Izabell ran up to me, hugged me and said "Ms. Toll, I love you so much!" See why I just love my job?

I wish I had a million dollars so I could give my kids books for Christmas. I feel like they need some great books to read over the break. They love story time and I would love for them to have some great story time moments with their families. I need to start a book drive for them maybe. Hmm....

I have big dreams to create my own Children's book..... so maybe that will be a start.

Hasta la vista.



I love every little detail of my job. I loved setting up my classroom as I anticipated the first day of school- from the 3-D reading tree I constructed out of butcher paper to each little name tag that I had handwritten, laminated, and taped down to the desks. Then I loved the first day of school, meeting all my awesome kids and handing tissues to all the teary-eyed parents. I love meal times, when I get to sit and talk to them about kid stuff like Transformers or a day at Grandma's house. Then there is the excitement of a Monday, when I get to introduce a new letter to them and their tiny little hands create the loudest and most exciting drum-roll you could have ever imagined. And I look forward to their magnificent dance moves that they bust out when the class is rewarded with a dance party. Everyday brings something new and it never gets boring, I always have something to laugh about, or be excited about, and sometimes even cry about. I love my job because I get to spend my days with 40 of the coolest 4-year-olds on the planet, and I love getting them ready for Kindergarten... and the rest of their lives.


Today's best quote:

Nico turns back to me as the other kids are rushing to their cubbies (to get their jackets so they can play outside) and says "Ms. Toll, you're a good teacher..." and as he turns to walk to his cubby he turns back and says "...in the whole wide world."


From my PD's (Nicole) E-Blast :) :) :)

Inspirational Words from the Field

4-year olds in Brittany Toll’s classroom began their day with a reminder of their Big Goals. Before they went over the letters and letter sounds they were learning, they recited why they are learning their letters….

“Because if we can read, we can do ANYTHING!” Students then went on to name the myriad of things they wanted to be when they grew up:
A doctor, race car driver, teacher, astronaut, etc.!

It was a goal-driven classroom in action! Because of her ability to invest and motivate her students and the obvious goal-driven atmosphere in her classroom, Brittany has been nominated as a model Pre-K classroom in GMCS…way to go Ms. Toll!


"Oh I'm so happy!"

On Tuesday I was observed in my class room. I introduced the observers as "Kindergarten Spys" who were coming to see if my class could really be smarter than kindergartners. The observers stayed for a bit and then left after the class went to recess. When my students came back in Danielle came up to me and asked "Ms. Toll where are those kindergarten people??" and I said "Danielle, they're gone. They found out that we are smarter than the kindergartners!" I have never seen a child's eyes get so big, I would have thought Santa and Hanna Montana just walked in behind me with a bag full of cookies. She then gave me the biggest hug EVER and said "Oh I'm so happy!"


when words just aren't enough....

A random collection of pictures from pre-k.... and I love how Bria ( 3rd picture) is reading the "Pre-K Times" newsletter that I send home to the parents. :)


On Friday Izabell came in and said "Ms. Toll close your eyes and hold out your hands!" So I did as she requested. She came over and put something in my hand and said "Okay now open your eyes Ms. Toll." It was a cardboard cut out of a My Little Pony character. She also held two other cartoon cutouts in her hand and told me "This one's for Nico and this one is for Isaiah." Oh my gosh it was so aweeesome. I taped it up on my walls and my day had officially been made at 7:25am. I have no idea why this was so special but it really was.

Later, we were talking about the letter D and words that begin with it. I was trying my hardest to come up with as many words as possible off the top of my head- by the 7th word I was struggling and so I said "diary." All the kids said "eeeewwww..." and I said "No you guys, not that!" and Nico chimed in "Yeah guys, not diarrhea!"

After centers the kids were crrraazzy! None of them had cleaned up their area and they were running all over (and trust me they totally know better). I had to give them a "sad face" on the board and then I told them that their behavior was unacceptable and only babies act like that. later Dominique came up and hugged me and said "I'm sorry we're babies Ms. Toll." Aw man, I felt so bad. I didn't mean it like that. :( But it was pretty sweet that she apologized (essentially) for her and her classmates behavior.


love love love.

I love, love, love my 3rd graders in the after school program. They are just awesome. I just felt the need to express that.

Last week Nico and Dominique were talking to each other about getting married. I asked Nico when him and Dominique were going to get married and he said "When we grow up!" I asked when that would be and he held up two little fingers and said "In two minutes." Ah, young love. Ha ha.

On Friday we had our Halloween party. I had covered up the board and the alphabet that we use to reveal a new letter every week so that we could have our "pin the nose on the pumpkin" game in that spot. Jonah walked in and was freaking out about the fact that the letters were gone, his mom had to assure him that it was okay, that the letters weren't really gone.

I love love love my job and hopefully can keep doing it for a looooong time.



I still have a slight cold, but I'm doing much better.

I just got home from school, Parent/Teacher conferences all dang day long, and 36 of my 40 parents showed up. Long day. But I'm full of fry-bread and chili thanks to RVE.

Today I saw one of my 3rd grade after school boys and I just love him so much. He's one of my most favorite human beings in the world. When I saw him I asked him what he did with the haunted house we made last week out of milk cartons and he said "I put a candle in it" and I replied "Oh how creative of you!" and then he said "yeah, and then I gave it to my auntie." What a cutie.

My kids are doing so well, I love them so much and they are all learning so much. I loved hearing all of the positive things their parents had to say and how much they love school. I enjoyed doing report cards (even though it took for stinkin' ever) because I was able to really reflect and see how far the little critters have come in just 9 weeks. And how much more well behaved Larry is. How kick butt Kodi is at knowing his letter and letter sounds. How Oliverio and Nayeli speak so much English. They really all are such amazingly intelligent little beings.

This week:
-Pumpkin disecting
-Pumpkin bingo
-Pumpkin Town, The Ugly Pumpkin, Pumpkin Soup, The Haunted Ghoul House, 16 Runaway Pumpkins and several other delightfully festive books!
-Green Monster Gack
-Dancing to The Monster Mash, Thriller, Shake Your Bones, and other totally awesome spooky jams.

Snow on Wednesday.... oh crud.

Ta ta.



...and yes, the sick kind.

Today when I was reading to my afternoon class Danielle barked at me "Ms. Toll, stop talking like that! Talk normal!" as she was refering to my scratchy squeeky voice that by the end of a day full of calendar math, centers rotations and two read alouds was on it's peak of awefulness.

I politely smiled at her and said "I'm sorry, I can't talk normal, I'm sick."

"Ohp." she replied.

But what I really wanted to say was "Remember last week when you sneezed in my face, and Konnor coughed in my ear and down my neck, and Angel spit toothpaste all over my arm as I reached to turn off the faucet? That is why I can't talk normal. That is why my body is a swimming pool for germs."


B cause I love you.


New Student.

I figured it would be no time before my school filled my one extra spot left vacant after Jessica moved away.... however I really did not prepare myself.... but maybe that is also because I had not been given even a minute warning.

Logan. Logan showed up at my door in his crisp khakis and Hawaiian style button down shirt. This kid was not afraid of the first day of school, or any of the 19 unfamiliar faces glaring back at him. He sat right down in the empty chair and immediately started talking to the other students. My assistants and I were really nervous. We have created such a great class culture and my students are learning so much, we figured it would take a lot of work to get Logan up to the same level as the other students. But he's a little angel. Full of character and jumped right into routine with no problem! He even knows most of the rules already! He also picked a good 1st day to come.... since it is Friday FUNday! We put shaving cream all over the tables to practice writing our letters and I read a Ms. Toll Favorite Friday book. I am really excited to have Logan in my class!

Oh the shaving cream. I don't think I have laughed so hard in quite a while. The students were dying of laughter as I shot shaving cream all over the tables. They loved it. Then when we had a race to see which table could make the shaving cream disappear by rubbing it in the fastest the roar of laughter began again. And now I have learned a valuable life tool..... you can wear a 4-year-old out by asking them to rapidly rub shaving cream into a table. Exhausting!

Favorite quote today comes from Donald. As we walked down the hall he looked up at me and said "Ms. Toll, I really like holding your hand."

I enjoyed a great ending to the day as Ms. Britney, Ms. Shelly (my assistants) and I cut out construction paper leaves for a project and talked about how we are all freakishly obsessed with scary movies. I love them both.

I get to see "Where the Wild Things Are" tonight and it has been months since I have gone to the movies.

Good day. Good night.


new love.

Okay, so the pre-kinders are still my #1s.... but I have recently just discovered a favorite for 2nd place... 3rd graders. I love teaching the after-school program on Tuesdays because I get the 3rd graders. They pretty much rock my socks.



Nico asked me this question 3 times today: "Ms. Toll, can I have a hug?" Although replace the words "can I" with "caiy" to make it sound more authentic. Then twice he asked me: (once during circle time and once during story time) "Ms. Toll, can I sit by you?" and when I told him "yes just sit right here" he said "No! On your lap Ms. Toll!"

When I was explaining to the class that today was Friday, and that on Monday they would get to learn about a new letter Larry called out "Ms. Toll, you're killing us!" I'm taking their little malleable brains to their max levels and I love it.

Nayeli pointed to the heart on my wrist and asked "Ms. Toll, why did you color on yourself?" I'm so proud of her, she only spoke Spanish when she came into my classroom barely 2 months ago!

Isaiah was at the listening center on Wednesday and somehow the CD player got switched to radio, so he called out to me and said "Woah Ms. Toll, Somebody messed it up. It's on a crazy song!" So I went over and set it back on CD and he told me "I liked it." Wonder what it was....

I'm so excited to dissect pumpkins with the little monsters next week!


best jobS (with a capital S)

Favorite quote of the day: Nico was sitting on my lap as we were reading a story. He looked up at me for a few seconds and then asked "Ms. Toll, have you  been married already??"

I love getting to work with the after school program. I have a blast working with them and helping them provoke their creative sides. Today I had three classes of 3rd graders, they are so big. It's quite difficult for me to step out of my pre-k zone and entertain them. Best feeling ever: Richard told me :"This is a fun class, I wish I can be here everyday." And it was in the most polite and sincere way. Melted.

Now that I have two jobs I can say that I have the best two jobs ever known.


"Hey I know you...."

After being out of the classroom for 5 straight days (due to training sessions) it was a little difficult to slide right back in. But oh it was so nice to see their beautiful little faces.

Today the pre-kinders seemed to be a tad bit off, but who can blame them, so was I. It felt odd.

Since today was Monday then that meant it was time to reveal a new letter to the tiny smarties. I was going to reveal their 5th letter to them.

I don't expect them to know how to properly wipe their boogie dripping noses. I don't expect them to be able to reach the water fountain without using a chair for height. And I also don't expect them to remember that on Monday's we learn a new letter, I mean it's only the 5th letter, routine is a slow and steady process for them.... but oh how I need raise my expectations...

Seferino: "Ms. Toll, are we going to learn a new letter today?"
Me: "Yeeessss!! Of course we are going to learn a new letter today... do you want to??"
Seferino: "Yes I do. I don't like T anymore."
Me: "Oh, well, why? What did T do to you?"
Seferino: "It shot me in the head with a laser."
Me: "Oh, well then I can see why you don't like T then."

Try to disregard the last part of the conversation- they are creative and imaginative little beings that need to express the little worlds that revolve inside of their heads. But oh my goodness, they actually look forward to learning a new letter (or maybe it's just the fun drum roll they get to do before the reveal) and they manage to remember the previous letters! I am too proud of them.

I'll end with this quote:
"Hey, I remember you.... you're Ms. Toll!"


and there it goes.

life just became suddenly more difficult.

it seems that in my time of need it is quite difficult for the most important pieces and people to be there for me.

the choice that i have made to be a part of what i am doing has now officially gained control of every component and element of my simple little life.




g00d day.... mostly.

Yesterday was overall quite fantastic- though it was terribly l0000ng... and it didn't make it any better that I locked myself out of my apartment when I got home with my keys and phone inside.

Bethia told me: Ms. Toll I missed you (referring to my absence from the classroom last Friday).

I found out that I get $3,000 to spend on purchasing new items for my classroom. I was also give a Lakeshore catalog and I felt like I was 8 and it was the "Toys R Us" Christmas catalog. Magical. I can't wait!

Our IST came into my classroom to make sure I was doing everything that I should be and she said she was so impressed! She has a "plus and delta" form that she filled out and gave to me and she said that she ran out of room on the "plus" side and the "delta" side was left blank. :) Sometimes I feels as though I am doing everything wrong.... but I guess I'm doing ok.

The after-school classes began and I had 3 40 minute classes full of rambunctious 3rd graders. They were so much fun (most of them....). I am really looking forward to this extra job. Side note** Even the 3rd graders pass gas.... yucky.

After 4 days of being away from my pre-kinders I really missed them. But today and the rest of the week I have state pre-k training in Albuquerque so I wont get to see them again until Monday... I will miss them terribly.

The worst part of my day yesterday? One of my students had her last day, and I wasn't even informed that it was her last day until her mom told me when she came to pick her up! Whhhhhhhy couldn't she have told me sooner? I wasn't ready to lose one of my lil' ones. Jessica will be missed A LOT.

More pre-k training in the a.m. so I am off to pre-k dreamland.....


Home Visits.

Friday my kids had their first day of class without me. I was informed that Nico was quite upset that I wasn't there. I was told that he removed himself from the carpet during circle time and all he would say was "I want Ms. Toll." Aw... they really DO love me.

I had the pleasure of visiting 6 of my students' homes today. It was very neat to see them interact at home.

Angel is much more well behaved in class, it was funny seeing him with no shoes on. I forget that my kids don't wear shoes 24/7, I guess it's just like when they forget I don't stay at the school 24/7. I also learned that Angel has a pretty big crush on on one of my assistants, so cute. Angel's mom also showed off his baby books, which I enjoyed looking at.

Madison, Kiera-Rae, and Danielle were being so shy. It's was super strange. Kids are funny. It was also funny seeing Madison in her nightgown.

Jonah waited outside for me to come all day (or so his mom said), and sure enough he was still out there waiting when I pulled up. He pulled out an encyclopedia from a bookshelf and started showing me "S" and "P." All the letters we have learned so far. What a cutie. Jonah's mom also told me that he came home and told her he was upset because I was not there on Friday. =)

Poor Kyli was sick and napping, so I didn't get to say "hi" to her, but it was very nice talking to her parents. I can see where she gets her manners from.

All of the parents were so nice and welcoming. I really enjoyed talking with them one-on-one outside of the classroom. It's a little strange to me because many of the parents I work with are my same age.

I will be conducting home visits about once a month and I'm looking forward to the other 32 trips I will be going on.

I have missed them so much, it has been 4 days since I last saw them.... I can't wait to see them tomorrow....


Happy Brittday!

Happy birthday to me. :)

Birthdays are so funny. I managed to be come a whole year older today. 23 is quite grownup. I told my kids I was 104, so now I'm technically 105. To them I'm just old. They have no conception of how old.

A great day for cupcakes.



love. lOoOve. love.

"Yes Dominique?"
"Do you love me morer now??"
"I love you more everyday Dominique. Of course I do."

I love the way little Katrina's mouth corners point down. She always looks grumpy or angry, but in fact she is a sweetheart.

I love when little Bria who hardly talks says something to me. He voice is so sweet and pleasant.

I love when Seferino lets me know that Larry is still in the bathroom because "you know... his tummy might not feel good."

I love when both the a.m. class and the p.m. class sing the parts of the songs that don't have words as if the words were "we were werno we wer wer wer..."

I love that Adam always has to sit right by my feet when we read stories under the reading tree.

I love that when I tell the students to "catch a star and hold it super tight in your hands on your lap" Rhiannon holds her hands so tight for the entire remainder of the day.

I love how proud they are of their precious art work.

I love that even though Paige still doesn't talk she does know the letters we have learned and will say them to me in private.

I love when Nayeli runs up behind me and pinches my hand and then runs off.

I love how Danielle stills calls me "Ms. Tall."

I love how well behaved Angel has become.

I love Isaiah's Spongebob windbreaker jacket.

I love how the kids look in their super star reader glasses (star shaped sunglasses with the lenses popped out of them).

I love my job. Even though I have been consistently sick since day 2. Haven't missed a day yet.


Week 5

Things seem easier. But the lifestyle is daunting. I don't like being alone. Making dinner for one. Seeing friends on the weekend only. Eating breakfast alone. Waking up and going to work when the sun hasn't even come out yet. Packing the same lame-0 lunch every single day. It is getting old, and it's only been a little over a month.I wonder how I will feel next week when I start teaching art after school for two hours.

I do enjoy the amount of free time I get to read though. And the rain... all the time.... rain....rain....rain... so pretty. A cat would make things a lot better that is for sure.

But again, I love my kids. They are my most favorite thing in the whole world and I am very certain that there is a reason why I am here. This pre-k stuff is kind of like my "calling." I still just kind of wish I knew what I was doing. And I wish I knew more about what was developmentally appropriate. Sometimes what I say is waaaaay over their head, or way too easy.


Me + Art = Love

1.) Ooohhooo hooo I am so excited! I will be staying at school for 2 more hours Tuesdays through Thursdays to teach art and I couldn't be more pumped up about it! I will be working with 2nd through 5th grade, not the little guys, which is actually going to be quite refreshing. I have slightly forgotten what it is like to be around adults (more like semi-adults, but anyone older that 6 is basically and adult to me). Plus, art and Pre-k are totally two of my favorite things in the world, so I will get to teach both on a weekly basis.

2.) I love when my little ones run up to me and hug me. Some do it several times a day, and some cannot leave the class without a hug from Ms. Toll. I love the little boogers so much. I feel so honored and privileged to play a significant role in their awesome little lives. I just hope that their future teachers see how lucky they are to have them in their presence as well.

3.) I can't believe I'll be 23 soon.... or to my 4-year-olds "105." I am in this awkward age where i feel old and also still really young. It's quite strange.

Hasta la vista y0.


Valuable Time

Time is indeed valuable for my pre-kinders. 3 hours a day really sank in with me this weekend. I will have to use every second for learning and not let anytime go to waste.

I introduced this proposal to them on Monday, and they were (to my surprise) very excited to make sure that no time was wasted. So for the last two days we have wrapped up with student comments on how our day went and what may have happened to waste valuable learning time. Nico has had insightful comments to share both days...
Nico: "I get upset because some people don't clean up when the timer goes off. That just made me really sad (his tone was so meaningful and the feeling of disappointment in his classmates was easily detected)."
Me: "Is this because spending extra time cleaning up takes away from your learning time?"
Nico: "Yeah, I'm really sad about that...."
Nico: (Still clearly very upset) "People still don't clean up right away. I get so mad. I get so sad. It drives me nuts! And then the class gets a sad face. They waste my time. I put my books away today, but not everyone cleaned up."

I extremely admire Nico's desire to learn, and even though he may be also very guilty for contributing to wasting learning time at other points in the day, I at least know he is conscious of the concept and I think I will see a big improvement from him and the class in just a few short days. This makes me happy.

Some other interesting comments from Monday and Tuesday:

Isaiah to another classmate: "Don't do that! You're gonna make me turn into Spiderman!"

Nico: "I like you're pretty dress Ms. Toll!"

Adam: "The doctor took my laughing out (while pointing to his throat)." "No he didn't" I said. "Yes he did," he said, "that's why I can't laugh at movies."

Cierra: (This week we are reading a book called hands, I asked the students who they might think the hands pictured on the cover belonged to and this was her response) "Those are man hands 'cause they have hair!"

You know this really is the very best job.



Letter Pp: Check! :) Every single little one can write it beautifully, identify it and give the sound, and 1/3 of them can give a word that begins with the sound. Reading here we come. We only have 25 more letters to nail down.

Counting to 20: Check! What's next?

Love Ms. Toll: Check!

Ms. Toll loves: Check!

I'm so excited! My students are off to a fantastic start. I can't wait to watch them excel.

My teacher salary is saving for this:



blurbs in type.

In between goals is a thing called life that has to be lived and enjoyed. ~Sid Caesar

This blog will be random and have no theme. Blurbs in type. Well actually, I suppose that would be the theme "blurbs in type." That's bittersweet. In one sense I totally managed to theme this blog without even meaning too, kind of neat. In the other sense I can't seem to escape structure and organization, I'm a prisoner. Grr.

I have my good days and my bad days. Today was a pretty good day.

I forgot to consider yesterday that as things become more of a routine they do get easier. A semi-plus.

Seferino told me his name changed. When I asked "to what?" he replied "Underdog." Later, when we were discussing what sorts of things we can do because we are big kids he said "fly." I asked him "how?" and he said "because I'm Underdog, I just can." Whoops, I forgot he morphed into Underdog overnight without any physical signs of change at all.

After school abuse training made my stomach churn for a while.

Why do I become obsessed with songs and burn myself out on them to the point where I wont appreciate them for a good 5 years? With the exception of only 5 songs. Right now I'm on a play list repetition. I'm doomed to skip these songs when they show up on my iPod in shuffle mode sooner or later.

After "Countdown to Blastoff" Dominique turned to Izabell and said "Oh that was pretty fun!"

The kids get Pp. It's awesome! They know it so well and they just learned it yesterday, the little boogers really impress me.

I love my kids. I'll never be able to say that enough.



dragging feet.

Since my institute for TFA my immediate response to "how's TFA/ how's your job?" would be "intense, it's the most intense thing ever." And it was and still is "the most intense thing ever," but part of me felt like that was always something I had to say. The response that I needed to give because that was what other TFA peeps would say or that was what people would expect. In reality it was the most intense thing ever, but I knew it was what I needed to do and it was my job/life, so day-to-day I really didn't think much of it. Also, at that point I knew it was only going to be for a few weeks, the end was in sight.

Now things are more routine. Now when I answer the question I can't even find words to express how difficult it truly is. Not just "Teach for America" but rather every single thing. Living alone. District requirements. Student needs for 40 different dependent kids. State Pre-K requirements beyond what one might expect. School requirements. Parent requirements. Mentor program requirements. Classroom set-up requirements. IEP requirements. Day-C. PPVT. Personal needs. Extreme debt and living pay check to paycheck. Wal-Mart of Gallup (don't ever go there if you are already stressed out). Sleep. Food. Human interaction. Time. Family. Boyfriend. My list could go on forever. And the end seems so far out of reach. Even Wednesdays feel so far away from Fridays.

Stressful and demanding. Challenging.

But on a lighter note: I wish Us Weekly published a magazine for Pre-K at Rocky View Elementary school. The love triangles are out of control.

All last week there were several love triangles going on between Savannah and Adam and Shobi. Words were exchanged. Hearts were broken, It was out of control.

Today was Savannah's birthday. Shobi told me that he got her a card, I imagine this is to win her back since she has recently developed a love for Adam, and Adam has about 3 or 4 girlfriends already in the class. I will be sure to keep you eager blog readers in the loop as to what develops with this. Stay tuned.

Smile of the day: Donald was coloring his pizza math book singing these exact words "9111 shorty fire burning on the dance floor....9111 shorty fire burning on the dance floor....9111 shorty fire burning on the dance floor...." and on and on. =]


3 days of pure bliss.

"Ms. Toll (insert '...' or '??' or '!!!' here)" count for today: Oh I at least heard my name in one of those forms about 94 times.

Circle Time:

Me: So what do animals wear?
Payton: Covers that will cover their bottoms.

Me: What would you be if you were in the circus?
Kodi: SPONGEBOB!... so I could do this: waving and twisting side to side saying "Hiiiiii!"

I over heard this conversation go down:

Angel: Katrina- if you see a mosquito just stay still. Or else it will bite you. Katrina I'm telling you the truth.


Isaiah came up to me with the pail of chalk and asked "Ms. toll can you draw sumfin for me?" So I drew a pretty decent version of Spongebob for him, and then he requested Patrick, and so I drew that too. As I was drawing another little boy came up and touched Isaiah's curly "Will Smith 80s style" hair doo and Isaiah snapped this at him "HEY! Don't mess wif my hair. I like my hair like dis!" Keep it real Isaiah, keep it real.

Angelina came to tell me about Shobi allegedly smacking here, and this was exactly how she said it: "Dat boy in da scarwey shurt hit me like dis (acts out how she was hit and points at Shobi in his scull and cross bone Ed Hardy like t-shirt)!"

But oh my goodness. 3 days of adult conversations. 3 days without snotty noses. 3 days without wiping up split red juice from the floor. 3 days without Nayeli following me around while clenching the the back of my shirt. 3 days without the dreadful smell of 4 year-old farts lingering in a stuffy classroom. 3 days of not having to listen to the "Counting to 20" song or "Count Down to Blastoff!" 3 days of sleeping in past 5am.

But oh how I will miss them dearly. Pathetic little lover I am.



My favorite line of the day:

As Kodi was walking out the door and down the hall he said to his mom: "I like Ms. Toll... she's cool."

My heart is still a puddle in my chest.

In circle time Nico was sucking his thumb and Payton told him "Don't suck your thumb Nico!" and Nico quickly responded "Hey don't be the boss of me!" ...it was funny for some reason.

One thing I have noticed the kids are REALLY good at: Fake phone calls on a toy phone. I mean it's simply amazing. They really sounds like someone is talking back to them on the other end. I just wonder what kind of stuff goes on in those little 4-year-old brains. One day we'll cut one open and find out.

As Julianna was eating her ham and cheese sandwich that she had packed for lunch (mom packs her lunch everyday since Julianna is really picky) I noticed she put her multi-colored My Little Pony fruit snacks inside her sandwich. Yeah, mom wasn't kidding, but that's just plain strange.

I found out that one of my students has lice. Yes lice. The one nasty thing I managed not to get while in elementary school myself. As soon as her mom told me, I couldn't walk fast enough to get into my classroom (out of mom's view) and drove my nails all over my scalp scratching relentlessly (yes, I just used TFA terminology to describe my paranoia of of lice). Her mom told me "you might want to take a look at the other girls hair." Right. Since that's totally what I'm getting paid to do, inspect for lice. Not to mention I'm totally trained in lice examination (it would have been nice to use a "sarcastic" font here). My job. Uh......

Scratch ya later.



Me: Sit criss-cross-applesauce Donald....
Donald: I can't cause I'm wearing this pant-skirt (pulling at his wind breaker pants).
Angel: Ewww....
Me: Uh.... I think you can still sit criss-cross applesauce.

Me: Nico! Look over here, it's a grasshopper.
Nico: (Attempting to step on the critter) ahhh!!!
Me: No Nico!! He's nice, he's cool. Let's look at him.
Nico: Why wont he hop anymore?
Me: Because you broke his leg.
Nico: Oh... I like him.
Me: Larry, some look at this grasshopper.
Larry: (Slams his big foot down) *squish*
Nico: What happened?
Me: He got squished.
Nico: Oh.

Nico: (Aysha walks by) That's my girlfriend!

I love my job. But I have to admit, I miss being in Las Cruces with my boyfriend and Zeta sisters. One bedroom apartments get lonely.

I can only watch so many reruns f America's next top model.... I can only drink so much chocolate milk.... and I must limit the number of times I check my Facebook to only 41 times a day.

The base coming from the low rider parked outside my door is driving me insane. The ice cream man really drives me insane. Everyday, it never fails. Even in the rain. Ug.

Lonely is getting lonely.



Yesterday a cat magically appeared in our classroom after art. I was sad when the janitor had to take it back outside. It is the friendliest cat I have ever encountered, and it's a lil' baybee kitten with half a tail and white stripes on top of orange fur.

Today he came back! And was playing on the playground with the kids! I wish I could have a pet because I would have scooped him right up and taken him home with me. Luckily, I can rest easy knowing that Mrs. Campbell (the sweet Pre-School teacher) is taking him home. I'm so happy!

My kids are so awesome.

Yes they are.

They are.

They are.

They arrrrreee.

They are so pumped to do kindergarten work and beat the kindergartners at our school. Hee hee oh man, I wish my life consisted of me just wanting to beat a kindergartners.

Teaching is hard. There, I said it.



Another Friday, that means happiness. Kids are a looooot of work. I will miss them so much this weekend, but I will enjoy the time away.

Sefe said to me "Ms. Toll did you know that it hurts to get a tattoo cause they stick a little needle in you!" I imagine this comment was prompted because Larry had his shirt pulled down below his shoulder so that he could show off his ultra cool lick on tattoo. It was hilarious indeed.

When I was drinking coffee Izabell said "Ms. Toll do you drink coffee cause you get Migraines cause Granny drinks coffee for her migraines." One of these days I really need to meet this "Granny" person.

Some circle time quotes: Yes, we're sill talking about dead animals, we have moved on from cats and dogs to more exotic pets now- Asyia told us that her turtle dies, and Payton told us that her cat died, along with 2 other children. Nico shared that parrot ate his rocket. Hmm....

I really wish I could share a sound clip of my kids saying "participate" it's friggen adorably awesome.

Savannah hasn't been in school since yesterday.... which makes me wonder.... Yesterday was Michael Jackson's birthday, is she taking to time off in observance? I wouldn't be too surprised. :)

I'll be spending my weekend in Las Cruces. Then one more week only till Labor Day... hallelujah! Next I'll be counting down the minutes to Thanksgiving!



I was so impressed by my little critters today. The a.m. class can successfully sing a song that counts to 20. And to think, they are only required to count to 5 by the time they are out of here. :) Now their minds are set at beating the kindergarten classes and knowing the things they learn.

We're making progress, but we have a long way to go. I finished testing my kids today. All but 3 are very far behind. Some children have the age equivalent of 2 year olds. To think, their first year in school and they are already behind. One little girl has the age equivalent of a 6 year old though, that was really exciting! I can't wait to see how much they grow this year.

I also learned that my school is in one of the lowest income areas in the district.

Memorable quotes from the day:

Me: Konnor.... please take your shoe out of your mouth.

Me: Kodi, do you have news to share?
Kodi: Yes. Spongebob.
Me: What about Spongebob?
Kodi: And Patrick.
Me: Yes, Patrick is his friend. Anything else?
Kodi: And Mr. Krabs.
Me: Yes, Mr. Krabs owns the Krusty Krab.
Kodi: You know Spongebob?

Hunter: On weekends I sleep forever!

Hunter at snack time with his Goldfish crackers: Mine are space fish!!

Payton: Ms. Toll your hair is all bushy.

Angelina: My dog is dying.

Donald: Matthew didn't break his anymore.
Me: Who's Matthew?
Donald: Matthew's my sister, he's big.
My thoughts: Concerned.

Jessica: I killed a mouse cause it was naughty, and then I sweeped it away.

Quotes from Shobi:
Shobi, holding up the bumble bee coloring page and a yellow crayon on his way out the door: I'm gonna take this and color it in my car, I'll bring this (holding up the one yellow crayon) back tomorrow. :)

Shobi: Bumble bees don't need a mouth, just a breathing thing.

Shobi: My dog is still not dying.

Shobi, in response to an ELL student in our class: Snake Eyes doesn't talk either, just like her.
On a heavy note. One of my favorite students (I know, they are all my favorite)came to class right after his mom's funeral. It was so sad. I comforted him and I think it helped him, but it doesn't change the fact that my heart is broken. He reminds me so much of my brother Chewy, I love him so much and I want to make sure the best things in life happen for him. I think I may have cried as much as he did today.


Today's topic? Unfortunatey it's still "dead dogs"

....and now I have both the a.m. class and the p.m. class talking about dead dogs in circle time.

Today's fart count: IIII
Today's burp count: I
Today's "I think he pooped his pants" count: I

Some other interesting dialogue from a.m. class circle time:

Nico: I poop in the potty!

Jonah: My dog died.

Kiera-Rae: I had a dream about Ariel!

Izabell: I've been having bad dreams at Granny's. I have to admit I'm a little frightened f this "Granny" character.

Me: Line Leader Lion is Isaiah!
Isaiah: Yeees!!! (...with two fist pumps and all!)

p.m. class:

Me: What's my name?
Daniele: Happy?
Me: No.
Daniele: Spider?
Me: No.
Daniele: Happy?

Student: I touched my dog but him has ticks. (Um.....)

Donald: I broke a nail!

Zoey: My cat Domino died.

Student: I kicked my dog.
Me: We shouldn't kick animals.
Student: I said "sorry!"

Angel: My dog... I fed him... and he had some food.... and he died.

Donald: At Gordi and Titi's house I picked up a cat and it scratched me three times (after that there were at least 5 more students who talked about getting scratched).

Me: You're smart Jessica!
Jessica: I know.

Ta ta for now.


Taste of Tuesday

Cupcakes eaten today: 5 Hallelujah for student birthdays and leftovers.
Fart count: Heard only 2 today, but there were at least a total of 5.

Today I was testing my students individually and as I was with one student I heard "Ms.Toll, Ms.Toll, are you there?? Are you there Ms.Toll??" coming from the playhouse area. I looked up with a confused look and one of my assistants said "Oh one of the student's is just pretending to call you on the phone." Those little stinkers just melt my heart.

My a.m. class unfortunately did not forget about their favorite discussion topic from last week..... dead dogs. I once again suggested that we not talk about such a sad subject in circle time and this was the next response I had "I had a puppy that had two babies, but one baby puppy got stoled...and the grandma puppy got stoled too." ...I give up.

We had two birthdays in the a.m. class, and when we sang happy birthday one of the birthday kids was rolling his eyes the whoooooole time the class sang to him. Coolest kid ever.

For snacks we had cupcakes (duh) and 2/3 of the class chose to only lick the frosting off the cupcake and throw the remainder of it away.... I remember those days.

My Michael Jackson girl (known as Savannah) said "when it's my birthday we gonna have a Michael Jackson party.... but he already died, he's in California now." Wonder what MJ fact or quote or reference she'll make tomorrow?

The p.m. topic for discussion somehow became shooting stars... so Angel told the class "One time I saw a purple shooting star!" which prompted Zoey to rebuttal with "Well I saw a pink shooting star!" and Julianna replied with "I've never seen s shooting star, but I'm going to go camping tonight so I can find one!"

One student shared that she loved her cat, and "he has a blue head and a purple body." I'm concerned.

Donald pulled me aside and said "Ms.Toll when I get big I'm gonna be a rockstar, and play guitar (insert best EVER air guitar impression here)!"

When Angelina needed assistance opening her milk she said "Can you open this?" so I said "What's the magic word?" and she replied "Open it." Future school bully? No way, she's too sweet.

Thanks goodness for my 40 little critters.



Okay, I'm guilty of major procrastination right now.

I set aside Sundays for workdays, and on Saturdays I leave my teacher brain in my overfilled tote bag full of other teacher resources and things so I can enjoy a little "Brittany time." So here I am trying to work. I feel like a 4-year-old right now, more than 30 minutes focused on one thing is not working out for me.

I'm sitting at my desk working on my students "I can" packets and I just so happen to look out my window and what do you know.... I spy one of my favorite students and his mom (okay, who am I kidding, all of my students are my favorites)! The house across the street always has kids showing up for what I assume are play dates, and here is seems one of my students was showing up for that very agenda. I wanted to run out of my apartment is my ratty old Abercrombie sweats and maroon "Teach For America" t-shirt yelling "Isaiah!! Isaiah!!" but I missed them. I also decided in 3.7 seconds that doing that would have been creeeepy because teachers don't have lives, they live at school, they sleep there and eat there and if you ever see a teacher outside of school that is scary and there must be a full moon out and you should run the opposite direction as fast as you can. Then for another 2.9 seconds I thought "oooh, well I can look up his mom's phone number in my book and say 'Look! I'm across the street!" but then that would have been even creepier. Instead, I put on some music and try to focus on my work, despite the fact that one of my darling students is right there! 30 feet away from me, on a Sunday, and I just think it's the coolest thing ever!!

I took the time to write this blog just now not because I felt it would enrich anyone's life but rather to document my first student-teacher encounter outside of school, although this encounter was only one sided.... but it was still so awesome! I also took the time to write this blog because I am procrastinating my work and I feel that an opportunity to do so must be taken full advantage of.

....I also live a good distance away from my school's attendance zone so this is another reason why it's so cool!


Week One- Check.

So this sculpture is me.... read on....


One week down. An unlimited number left.

Fart count today: 5 (3 at circle time, 2 during story time). But those were only the ones I heard, there are 2 more on the list if we count the ones I didn't hear but only smelt.... yuck.

a.m. class:

Payton: "My lip hurts" she says as she pulls her lip down to her chin.
Me: "Well don't pull on it like that, that's why it hurts!"
Payton: "No it's cause I was kissing my cousin..."
Me: "Oh... well... don't do that either!"

Today in art we played with clay and Nico said "look I made a meteor!" ha ha I loved it.

All of the kids keep talking about dying pets when they share news, so I asked them to please stop sharing such sad information with the group and the next comment was this "Ms. Toll my dog had puppies!" "Oh how fun!" I said, "How many puppies did she have?" He replied "4...and they all died." Um.....

When I called on Steferino to share his news he tapped his head and said "hang on I'm thinking!"

p.m class:

Shobi was playing with the clay and said "Ms. Toll look what I made!"
Me: "Oh a big strong muscle man!"
Shobi: "No, it's you!"
Me: "Oh yeah, it is me.... thanks!" Um.....

When we were sculpting our clay I made a cat, so one boy said this "Ms. Toll can you make me a cat?" I said "How about I help you try to make one?" and he said "I can't, I'm just a lil' boy."

Shobi: "Ms. Toll I just ate a peanut butter shamwitch!"

One of my little girls talks about Michael Jackson every day! Today this was my favorite quote from her: "I don't like school because I gotta take a picture in my dress and Michael Jackson and the Beetles."

When I reminded the kids about the ice cream sandwich dance party reward for getting 10 smiley faces one student said "I don't think I'm gonna go to that party." And this was the same student that also called my aid a "weenie." When I disciplined him he cried, and then said sorry. Aw....

I was walking around the room sipping on my Pepsi and one student shouted out "Hey where did you get that pop at?"

At lunch I like to play music for the kids to listen to, so I said "Do you guys want some music?" and they all responded "Yeah!!! Hannah Montana!!" My job is sweeeeeeet.

I was called "Ms. Poll" twice today. That was a first.


Today's name is "Thursday..."

I just woke up from a 2-hour nap. It was fabulous. I also have the beginning signs of a cold :(. I guess I haven't built my teacher immunity yet.

My day was full of funny things that 4-year-olds do.

One of my students threw a major tantrum when I told him he would be moving his apple (a disciplinary procedure) for not coming in from the playground. Then he decided to throw rocks, so I told him he would be moving his apple again. He shouted "nooooooo" and ran away from me on the playground. After chasing him down we walked inside and went to move his apple down the behavior tree. He was not happy about this, so he began screaming and crying and spitting all over himself and the floor. I took him to a quite (and tiled) area of the class room where he continued for another 3 minutes. Finally he stopped and I brought him some paper-towel. He tore up the paper-towel and threw the pieces everywhere. Five minutes later I brought him some more paper-towel and told him that when he cleaned everything up and wiped his spit off his shirt and off the ground he could join the rest of us in centers. I left him alone and he cleaned everything up and was an angel the rest of the day. :) I want to make sure that my kiddos are independent thinkers and doers, and I think we made a smidgen of progress with this little cutie today.

The kids also played that game again that once a student brings up a topic (usually at random) the rest of the class wants to talk about it all day long. In morning meeting "Ms. Toll my puppy died" "Ms. Toll my puppy getted runed over!" "Ms. Toll my grandma died, she was old..." and it went on and on and on all day long, during the story about kindergarten, during lunch, during snack..... on and on!

Introduction to centers was crazy. We're going to be working on it. :) Exhausted, must prepare my macaroni and cheese and pizza rolls (nutritious??) and get some sleep, after I lesson plan of course.


Day three, loooong day.

I am so overwhelmed by things. So many things. So much to do. I feel like I will never be able to catch up. I hate this feeling. I have no life, no life at all, my former life is not currently 100% dedicated to teaching.

Are marketing and advertising majors meant to be teachers? I sure hope so, otherwise I'm SOL.

My day started off rocky: I had two grandparents getting upset with me because I wouldn't let their grandchildren into my class room at 7:05 a.m. School starts at 7:45 a.m. and I have to print my lesson plans and make copies of my handouts so there is just no way I can babysit during that time. I was frazzled after that.

But I felt much better when my little darlings arrived. I was drawn several pictures of "Ms. Toll" or "Ms. Tall" (I don't correct them, I enjoy either name =)). That was cute.

When I introduced my little guys to the timer that we would use for centers one kid mentioned that the bell sounded like a telephone, which prompted another kid to say "my mom's phone rings with a Michael Jackson song!" Hilarious.

When we were talking about what we wanted to be when we grew up these were some of the responses:
Doctor- 1 kid
Spongebob- 2 kids
A cat- 2 kids
A shark/alligator- 2 kids
An ice skater- 1 kid
A spaceman- 1 kid
A firefighter- 5 kids
Like Granny- 1 kid
A manager like dad- 1 kid
And several other totally awesome responses. One kid said he wanted to be "white" when he grew up. Uhhh.... I helped him figure out another option. I was very confused and thrown off.

It is so funny that when one kid does something EVERY kid feels the urge to do the same. Like when one girl said "look!" and pulled down the skin under her eyes to make a scary face EVERY kid in the class started doing it. Or when one kid said "Ms. Toll look at my new shoes!" yet again, every kid in the class was showing me new shoes and old shoes.

My kids are getting comfortable, which means they are getting crazy! I need to come down harder on my classroom management.

Overall my least favorite day so far. But one totally humbling high note- I was nominated to have a profile in the Gallup magazine! I'm very excited and I'll post it on here in a few short days! :)


Day Two

I would like to sum up by day by using these hil-ar-i-ous quotes from day two:

Student: "Look, I'm Wolverine!" One adorable student with three crayons closed in each fist sticking our like claws. For a good 5 minutes he did everything with them in there, even after I asked him to take them out. I finally had to take them away from him when I noticed him trying to eat his breakfast burrito with them in but it was leaking beans all over him.

Circle time:
Me: "Let's say our favorite animals!"
Most hilarious responses:
2 Dinosaurs
1 T-Rex
1 Sheep (Who chooses sheep??)

When I sneezed one student said: "Um... you know there is tissue over there" while pointing to the box of tissue.

Student: "UH! I just can't take it anymore" student gets up from desk and walks to door "I gotta check if my mom is here!"

New student told me: "Excuse me- in my other school I had a mean teacher, and he was a guy, and I asked my daddy to beat him up!"
Me: "Um, let's hope you don't ask your daddy to beat me up."

Several students at different times through out the day asking for my attention: "Miss Tall...."

Student: "Why we got to color this?"
Me: "Because it's fun, aren't you having fun?"
Student: "Um, yeah!" and continues coloring. :)

Me to student: "Please do not lick your glasses. Please put them back on."

3 students while at their art class: "Let's put our hands behind our back and pretend we're in jail!" "Yeah!" "Okay!"

I also love when the kids play in the plastic jungle gyms and come out with crazy static infused hair.

Ms. Toll (Tall)


Day One

12 hours and fifteen minutes. That's how long I was at Rocky View Elementary school.

Being a TFA teacher is like being a teacher on crack. Triple the work, triple the expectations, triple the stress, triple the duty. Totally what I signed up for, but not what I prepared myself for.

5:22 am: Woke up. It was still dark. Very sleepy.
6:34 am: Arrive at RVE. It was freeeeezing cold out.
7:17 am: Students begin to arrive. The madness begins.
7:17-8:30am: The madness goes oooooon. And oooooonn. And ooooonnn. Papers. Parents. Kids. Supplies. Lists. OTs. Specials. Breakfast. Rules. Oh my goodness. I wanted to crawl in my shell and leave the madness for someone else.
8:30-10:45 am: Oh my gosh, now I know why I wanted to do this job. And I am sooooo glad I got placed in Pre-K. I may be biased but I think it's for sure the best grade ever!
Circle time: We passed a colored cube around and said our name and favorite food. Best quote of the circle: "My favorite food is spicy chips!" We all stare at the sweet little boy who just spoke with blank expressions.... and then he clarifies "you know- Doritos!"
Draw your favorite thing about your 1st day of pre-k: My favorite quote "This is Ms. Toll." "No I wanna draw Ms. Toll, you can't copy me!" "Well I'm drawing Ms. Toll too!" "Me too!" oh and then "This is a half man half robot!" One girl drew a very, VERY good picture of her riding a unicorn, reigns and all. Legit.
Playground: A talkative little girl, who I wish didn't know my name yet because it's guaranteed that I will hear my name every 30 seconds, sings a song to me. A waaaayyy too adult song for pre-k. I wanted to stop her from continuing once she said "friggin" but I couldn't get a word in. Then there were parts about boys and booty. Uh......
Reading tree: I explain to my fabulous 4-year-olds that the tree is a place for reading and that the parrot is watching over us. "Teacher- that was blown up, I can see the place where it gets blown up at." Uh......
1st Day of pre-k certificates: Yay! They were soooo excited about these.
11:15 am: Do it alllll over again.
11:15- 2:15: Aw, they're amazing. Sweet little kids. And I love when their little voices say my name. I looooove them all.
Draw your favorite thing about your 1st day of pre-k: My favorite pictures "Ms. Toll" :)
Returning to class after playground: The line-up was AWESOME! I went down the line giving every kid a high five... ha ha, but it stopped when one little boy sneezed all over me. Of course I was wearing a skirt, so his snot was on my arms, clothes, legs, and feet. Yes, it was one of those kinds of sneezes. And of course the school only has that scratchy brown paper towel, and so I had to use that to scrape the snot off.
Reading tree: I thought I would fool this batch with the inflatable parrot from the dollar store.... uh.... nope. Another one called out again "Ms. Toll that's filled with air!" I don't get it, they believe puppets which are clearly connected to an arm but not an inflatable parrot in a 3 dimensional tree? Huh?....

Re-cap of the a.m. class: Only two kids with tears that went away very quickly. I was so proud of them. They were so brilliant and I can't wait to watch them grow up. I can't get over how incredibly cute and fun and awesome they all are!

Re-cap of the p.m. class: Only one with tears- but she cried for about an hour. Luckily mom stayed and then we played with puzzles and life was good :). Again, another stinkin' awesome batch of kids. Sooooo cute. I just wanna hug them all 100,000 times.

It was not as bad as I was anticipating. The day went fast. It was looooong.

I love my job.

I love my kids. All 40 of them. Sigh. :) Bliss.


my humble abode.



Mmm.... today I had an apple for lunch.... which reminded me that I am a teacher.... I was even more so reminded of apples and teachers when I read the "August 11" page of my copy of the Awe-Manac: Daily Dose of Wonder and the "Toast of the Day" was:

Here's to the beauty of a perfect apple, a work of art from nature.

Today is an apple day for sure. Life, it all makes sense =) Guess this is my destiny (destiny is a funny word, and I feel funny using it).

Just a few days away from my first day. I have sure been keeping busy:

I had more new teacher orientation today for my school district. It was going well, until I discovered that my water bottle must not have been thoroughly washed and the water I was drinking was soapy. Ug.

I went to the Children's Library in downtown Gallup TWICE today. Charming little place. I plan to read many, many books to my little ones so I gathered up what I could find of "first week of school" themed books. I came up with these:

"Wemberly Worried"- I can actually relate to Wemberly, the darling little worried mouse.
"I Hate School"- after reading this I found it may not be as appropriate as I would have thought, but funny indeed!
"A Good Day"- for reading at the end of the week, followed by discussion of good days in school so far.
"Tiptoe into Kindergarten"- Ooh this one ought to get them pumped for their big goal to be kindergartners!
"Lilly's Big Day"- which is actually not school related, but I find it relative.
"The Little Engine That Could"- inspiration for a 4-year-old, one of my class investment strategies.
"Chrysanthemum"- for the 1st day, only copy left as a GYNORMOUS version.... perfect for little eyes and big imaginations.

Most of these are by Kevin Henkes, and I actually own a copy of "Kitten's First Full Moon" which is by him as well, I have decided that he might be my newest inspiration on my path towards being a children's book author. :) Oh, but sad story, "If You Take A Mouse to School" was already checked out.... I love that classic.

I'm having a hard time sleeping at night- just not used to being alone, I have never lived alone.... it's depressing.

Well, I'm off to continue planning my first week, thanks to the help of a little bible called "The First Six Weeks of School" it's actually not that bad. Some other perks: the support of TFA and the fabulous resource exchange!

1st day of school is 5 days 14 hours and too many minutes to count away!



I would like to complain, using a Shel Silverstine poem...

They don't allow pets in the apartment.
That's not decent, that's not fair.
They don't allow pets in this apartment.
They don't listen, they don't care.
I told them he's quiet and never does bark,
I told them he'd do all his stuff in the park,
I told them he's cuddly and friendly, and yet-
They won't allow pets.


Expensive Art

Oooooooooo I love my newest addition to my humble abode.

My 1st students art work, self portraits except or Esteban (who drew his papa).

I love it!


Home Sweet Home

One bedroom.
Euro style kitchen stove.
Beautiful hardwood floors.
Overstock of cozy blankets.
Lamp lighting.
A fridge that contains: strawberries, Church's chicken leftovers, 2 litter of Pepsi, Flipz, Chai-Latte concentrate, Vitamin D milk and that's it.
No A.C.
Wireless internet (finally).
Grass imitation shower mat.
Gallup landscape out my window.
Memory foam mattress pad.
Limited closet space.
Pleasant aroma due to nightly lighting of candles from Anthrpologie.
Ice cube trays.
Large framed art of Obama.
Silver cake stand filled with Oreos.
Library style collection of DVDs and books.
Adorable kitchen table.
No pet. =(
Art supplies as far as they eye can see.
Pandora "The Weepies" stations on non-stop.
8 "I Spy" books.
Picture frames all over the walls.
My entire jewelry collection beautifully framed in my room (coolest thing ever).

Perfect for Brittany.
....aside from the no pet and no AC.

New teacher orientation next week. Hip hip hooooray! That means that in one week after that the state of New Mexico is giving me 4-year-olds, and I couldn't be more exstatic. Pure joy. More to come when that happens.

Check back as I write in full detail about the craziness that is: Pre-K. Dun, dun, dun!


Kids and Love


Movin' on up ya'll!

What's less cool than Las Cruces? Gallup, NM. Actually I love Las Cruces, and Gallup is growing on me...yeah, I'm kind of in love.

Recent developments:

Planning a YEAR worth of pre-kinder lessons. Woah.

I'm a bit of a home decor monster and now mildly obsessed with junk stores and spray paint. I think it's progressing into a problem.

I have hardwood floors. I do. I do. I do-ooo.

I got my bed today! I think that's actually when you know you're officially stuck somewhere, when the bed is in place (and the sheets are already on).

School starts August 17th. Oh my gosh. My first day of pre-k! =) I like saying that for so many reasons, such as 1.) Duh! It rhymes 2.) It's like.... dejavu! and 3.) HOLY COW I'm a freakin' teacher!

Well, I'm starting to find many ways to apply my marketing degree to pre-k, in a non-brainwash the kids to talk their parents into buying them Happy Meals and Hot Wheels kind of way, but in a "school's totally AWESOME" kind of way.

Well, stay tuned as time narrows in on my FIRST DAY OF PRE-K!!




Did one month really pass by that quickly?

Today's ranking on hardest days of my life? 4 out of 7

I can't believe I actually had to say goodbye to them.

To Esteban who noticed that for the first day since he has been my student that I was not wearing a band-aid over my tattoo (to cover it) and asked me "are you all better Ms. Toll?" while pointing at my foot. Esteban, who continually spoke out and spent most of his time in time out, but is actually an awesome, smart, and freakin' hilarious kid who just needed some dang attention. When I asked the kids to draw a self-portrait of themselves today for me to keep Esteban actually drew a detailed picture of his father, mustache and all. The art work has been an item of pure awesomeness all day.... I want to frame it and hang it in my house, actually, I am going to frame it and hang it in my house.

To Alexis, who has the most adorable and sincere smile I have ever seen. If ever I thought my children were evil all I had to do was look at Alexis and he somehow said to me through his smile "Ms. Toll, please excuse my peers, we're actually really sweet!" Alexis, who could hardly speak English or speak at all when I first met him can now hold conversations with everyone. He's the smallest kid in the class, and I just adore the little darling.

To Hector, who for the first time in a while did not spew projectile vomit all over the carpet 10 minutes before school ended. Oh Hector, who we just found out is lactose intolerant, but it only took us a bean and cheese burrito, macaroni and cheese, grilled cheese, cheese pizza, and several cartons of milk for us to figure this out. The picture he drew me was of him and the girl who sits next to him, Claudia. Hector is one of the happiest kids on the planet.

To Claudia, who told me at least 4 times today "I'm going to miss you Ms. Toll" and then wrapped her little arms so tight around my legs. Claudia, who most of the kids at her table copied off of, and all of the kids in the class looked up to. The self-portrait she drew me is the spitting image of her. With her long black pony tail and ear to ear smile. When I first met Claudia she would hardly speak, and now she is one of our most eloquent speakers.

To Gilbert, Mr. Bubbles. Gilbert, Gilbert, Gilbert. The child who I can say honestly had the biggest impact on me. Starting out Gilbert was out of control. I nearly cried several times in the middle of class. He would completely ignore every command and would rarely respond to his name. He would pull out all the toys and run around the room while I gave instruction. This was a daily routine and I thought I had tried everything I possibly could to get through to him, nothing was working. I felt as though I was at rock bottom with him, and I was just about to give up on him. I wanted to hold him to the same standards as the other students, but I had started to believe that that would never be possible. Thank goodness for great advice and continued persistence. The last week of school Gilbert became a normal student! With some serious behavioral management and hard core intervention Gilbert began to come around. He started responding to his name and ALWAYS sat on the carpet with the other students. His motivation? Well, yesterday it was bubbles. Today it was a pencil. With a close eye and constant praise or discipline Gilbert will do just fine. When I spoke to hims mom today I told her to make sure that his kindergarten teacher did not give up on him. At the end of the day he looked up to me, wrapped his arms in a tight grip around me ( like he always does) and said "bye teacher" I had to use every bit of strength in my body to hold back my tears. What a phenomenal boy. His heart is full of gold, and my mindset has made a complete 180. My sweet Gilbert, I will never be able to repay him for everything he has taught me. Oh Gilbert. "Bubbles!"

To Angel, who never said much, and was somewhat lost in the crowd, but who I know will grow into such and incredible kid. He has a lot of gears running in that tiny little brain, I don't think the world is ready to see them yet, but I think that once the time is right, he wont hold back.

To Ismael, the most polished off kid in the universe. With outstanding manners and the mouth of a tattletale. He has the cutest voice, I love when he talks. I have no fear with him, he'll manage to figure it out. I'll miss his baby blue polo that he wore every single day, and the sparkly little stars that had been stuck all over the collar.

To Dahvyne, my girl. I am so glad that my CMA will have Dehvyne as a student in the fall, so I can hear all about how her brilliant brain is expanding even more. This girl is smart, so smart! Her mom today told me "she's too smart for her own good" and I love it! She has such high expectations for herself and she gets incredibly bored in class. She's going to do big things with her life, I can feel it. Her self-portrait is adorable, minus the mustache she drew on her face after she saw the moustache Esteban drew on his picture, actually, I like her moustache.

To Daysy, the princess. Though Spanish is still her language, she's started to respond to a lot more questions at the end there. She loves anything princess, and also ALWAYS needs her shoes tied. One time I tied her shoe for her, then when she walked away I watched as she untied it and came right back up to me expecting me to tie it again. Kids are silly.

To Mara, oh Mara. Mara must have a lot of interesting things going on in that little mind of hers, she is always daydreaming about something. I would love to just look inside that little head of hers for maybe 29 seconds. She draws awesome pictures, as any pro-daydreamer should. =)

To Jesus, who says "yellow" in the most awesome way. He's my little vampire with a kick-butt accent, which I still never figured out where he picked it up from. His self-portrait is hilarious too! He drew himself and his little brother, and he drew himself with his mohawk even. He gave me my first ever teacher gift, an awesome pen that has a stand and on top of the pen is a little doll, that is wearing all green (my favorite color) dress and hat, I just love it. This kid is the spitting image of how I hope my children are, he's amazing.

To Rodrigo, who somehow thought I wasn't paying attention when he snuck away from the line and ran back to the play structures at lunch the other day. This kid will be the next Marvel comic artist. I'm astounded by his creativity, I think he draws better than most college students I know. Yeah- he's that legit. He was also the funniest to listen to when playing "who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?"

To Miss Paris, the angel of room 4. She was gift from heaven. A brilliant kid who is so eager to learn and listen. Today she told me she wants to go to college and be a teacher like me. She loved being in that classroom everyday, and made my life WAY easier. Paris is also a spitting image of what I hope my children are. She's just a doll.

To Ebonie, ahhhh, sweet Ebonie. With her long, long dark hair, always in a pony tail. The one who never had to pull her card ever. She made such gains in letter recognition and math, I am so glad that we were able to help her reach her growth goals, but she also worked hard to get there.

To Alejandro, with dimples that made me melt. Alejandro is the definition of a kid. He is a great learner, a great friend, and a great little boy. My day always managed to somehow get so much brighter whenever I saw him, I just loved that little boy. I also hope that my children someday are just like him.

To Eva, a mini-teenager. She loved to talk, and she loved her lipstick. I am so proud of her for overcoming so many things, and drying up her tears every morning wen she didn't want to be at school. She learned and grew and I only hope that she will learn and grow so very much more in the coming years.

To Dayanna, with her little chubby cheeks and sweet demeanor. She sometimes talked to herself, about interesting things, I would have liked to have known why or what prompted that. None-the-less she did a great job in our class and she is a little mathematician!

To David, who has a great personality- but somehow always got shy during morning circle and stuck his face into a stuffed penguin when he talked. He was such a goofy kid, and I loved him for that.

To Edwin, who used to fall asleep everyday with his butt in the air, but now tries so hard to be good and to learn. Today he told me his favorite basketball player is Amare Staudemire, I was impressed. I loved when he wore his bright orange Fubu attire and his bald little head, he's also one of our smallest kids, but somehow has one of the biggest mouths. What a cutie.

I would love if my children had a little piece of all of these children in them.... a litte Claudia with a pinch of Edwin, a side of Jesus, and dollop of Daysy, and smidgen of Alexis, and scoop of Paris and so on. They are all amazing and I love them with every bit of my heart. I'm so blessed to have known them and have them touch my life.

My first ever students. You'll always be my favorites.... but shhh.... don't tell my future classes!


Breakthrough Role (Prepare for extreme use of parenthesis)

My second to last day of institute training and I finally have my breakthrough! Ha! Well, my lesson plan today was my best yet. My kids were super engaged and on task and for the most part adhering to their expectations. They really enjoyed it and I in turn really enjoyed them (but when do I not?).

Today we graphed the number of kids who liked cookies and the number who liked cupcakes, and can you believe this- MORE kids prefer cookies! What??!? Kids these days, they just don't respect the true value of a beautifully crafted dessert! I mean seriously, a mini cake- what could be better??

As for the one month of summer school and the impact it's had on my kiddos? Well that data will be released to my valued readers (all 3.26 of you.... and I say ".26" because I think Phil has only read one post.... but whoa, I am getting way too off task and creating a terribly long run on sentence in this parenthesis so I'll stop after I say "thanks 3.26 of you who read this!!") at an upcoming date so be on the lookout! Okay, sorry to have sidetracked you there. From the way it looks, most of our students have made (get ready for some TFA vocab here.... you ready? get ready!) SIGNIFICANT GAINS! And I mean legitimately, and especially in math! OooOo they be like, so smart and like, such as.

Send me good vibes tomorrow as it is guarenteed I will bawl my eyes out as I send my students home one last time. Oh, I just cried a little right now.



Aloe Vera

I sit in the dark as the aloe soothes my sunburned back. That's what you get for leaving institute and having fun at the beach I guess.

But I sure did miss my kids this weekend. All weekend long I was haunted by echoes of their sweet voices. Things like:

Teacher: "Rodrigo can you tell me a word that starts with E?"
Rodrigo: "Ectorrrrr*!"
His confidence was admirable! In case you hadn't figured it out...no, there is not a kid in my class named "Ectorrrr*" he was saying Hector.... They're just so stinking cute.

Or the classic: "Jyello!" for "yellow."

And I can't forget this line: "I miss pre-school, we got to watch movies all day!"

And I always have to come up with a new line for Esteban when he asks- "Ms. Toll, did mister colorrrr*s call again last night?"

I only have 3 days left with my amazing summer school kids. I'm so sad. I'm going to miss them. The hard part is I can't just add them on Facebook and write on their wall or creep when they add a new photo album..... once I leave on Friday I will more than likely never see any of them again.

Count on tears. Many of them.

*rrrr: represent the spanish rolled R in my blog.


Thank Evolution You Little Demons

One of my summer teaching partners Dan gave me great insight as to why it is we refrain from drop kicking our nose picking kids....I call this his theory, though he will not take credit for it, but I'll refer to it as Dan's theory from here on out.

"It's evolution that kids are cute so that we don't kill them." -Dan Fuchs


Further proof? http://www.rps.psu.edu/probing/babies.html


"W" starts with "D"

When I was reviewing letters today with a group of enriched students I asked on of the students to tell me the letter I presented her on a flashcard. The letter was "W" and while she struggled I asked if anyone could help her. I must say Dahvyne is one intellectual pre-kinder! She blurts out- "that's the one that starts with D" -that's just pure brilliance! Of course "double-u" starts with "D" but actually no right? Because "W" is just "W" not "double-u," of course I did not have the heart to break that news to her- but I mean technically she is right, so I was not sure what to tell her.

What kind of language have we created here where one of our letters actually has a word in it?? I mean really- we can come up with "M" as the name for "M" and "T" as the name for "T" but did we really run out of names when we stumbled upon the creation "W?" So some smart person totally set our pre-kinders up for disaster by naming "W" as "double-u!" And on that note- it seems more like a "double v" if you ask me, but I guess that all depends on your handwriting. But seriously- English is bogeous. However, I am so proud of my super brilliant students!

Just a random thought.... carry on.


"...and I like nachos too!" Week 3

I will be finished in two weeks, hallelujah.

Then I'm off to New Mexico, where I will have my own batch of rambunctious 4 and 5 year-olds that I can't wait to take on!

I went to Denver this weekend for the 3-day weekend. It's so easy to just want to not get back on the plane. It was nice to just be lazy all-weekend long, free of deadlines, alarm clocks, and terrible cafeteria food. But I only have 2 more weeks left of institute... and it's actually not that bad. Plus, I would be devastated if I had to cut out 2 weeks of precious times with my summer school pre-kinders.

Dahvyne is hilarious! We played a game where everyone in the class sits n a circle and says their name and favorite food. I started and said "My name is Brittany and I like nachos!" Then as the circle went by I heard lots of things- bananas, apples, whatever else lil' guys like, but then when it came to Dahvyne, she said "My name is Dahvyne and I like nachos too!" It was so matter-of-factly. I love that little sassy girl.

Edwin said one day in class "I miss pre-school cause all we ever did was watch movies all day!" Lil' punk.

Oh I have the kids in on this hilarious thing. So when I was working with a group of kids trying to get them to learn patterns I told them this awesome story! I told them that "Mr. Colors" called and said they wouldn't be able to make A-B patterns, that he would trick them with lots of colors. They were soooooo into it! I even pretended to talk to him on the phone one day and hung up on him after he frustrated me so much for not believing in my kids and trying to trick them! Oh boy and you can bet they know patterns now! And every day Esteban say "did you talk to Mr. Colors? What did he say?" and Alejandro is always eager to know as well.

Teaching rocks.