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!