Tuesday, December 18, 2007


Jonathan(kindergarten) is wandering around the cafeteria with a napkin, looking at the floor during breakfast:

MR.BOWERS: Hey, Jonathan, go sit down.
JONATHAN: I'm looking for my snot. I sneezed.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Teegerstrom's Crib

The 5th graders were working on adjectives and I came up with a game that I call "Imaginary Cribs" styled after the MTV program where celebrities show off their houses. In my game the kids have to get up and describe their bedroom--and act like they are in their actual bedroom-- using as many adjectives as they can and as they walk around, they can't bump into anything that they have put into the empty space.

After we finished, I told them that next time we will play the game where they can make up a fictional "crib" and tell us all about it. Here's what Teegerstrom had to say about that:

TEEGERSTROM: We get to tell about our imaginary house?! YAY! I'm going to tell about my wizard temple!

No one in the class was the least bit surprised--including me. That's how Teegerstrom rolls.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Like a Dog

MR. BOWERS: Hey Jorge, why are you yelling at Trevion?! What's going on?
JORGE: It's because he was yelling at me first!
MR. BOWERS: When someone is yelling at you, you don't just yell back! You have to try to figure out why they are so mad and make sure that they aren't mad at you. They could just be mad at something else. If a dog was angry and barking at you would you just start barking back at him? NO! If a dog is angry, you start trying to calm the dog down so you don't get bit--or get away from him. Next time, treat him like a dog!

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Double Apostrophe

We have had many children with an apostrophe in their names in the last few years. De'Mandre, K'yhana, Andra'Nique and even Ja'Kayla and Je'quaylin.

Now, for the first time ever at our school, we have the double apostrophy: Rae'Aja'Nique!

I think that is Aw'some!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Bus Ride Home

The city bus is a little different on the way home. Yesterday, I was at the bus stop and I was on the phone with the mechanic--he was right in the middle of explaining the $1000 repair he had done to my wife's truck--when the bus rolled up and I got on.


The bus had just come from the middle school that some of my former students feed into. The bus was so loud--like a school bus--but with adults in long faces mixed in. The bus driver just ignored all the screaming kids. It was one of the wildest things I have seen in a long time.

At least now Karina's truck is fixed and I can once again drive to school. Oh yeah, as I was waiting for the bus, my principal drove past and gave me the "thumbs up" as if I was being a good cicizen and trying to save the planet.

The Crack

I was walking past John Paul's first grade class today while they were in P.E. and he was sitting there on the ground with his pants down so far that his crack was showing. I asked him, "Hey, John Paul, are you going to be a plumber when you grow up?"

Without hesitation, John Paul jumped up and started pulling up his pants and said, "Ok, ok." I asked, "Why are you pulling up your pants?" His reply, "It's because plumbers wear their pants down low."

So do rappers. I guess he's heard that one before.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Bus

This morning I rode the bus to school because my wife's car was at the mechanic. I fell asleep on the bus and missed my stop. I decided to use this opportunity to teach the kindergarterers a lesson on problem solving:

MR. BOWERS: This morning I fell asleep on the bus and I missed my stop. I was far away from my school. How could I solve this problem?

NICHOLAS: You could have not falled asleep on the bus.

ANSWER--I got off the bus and called Coach Reed to come pick me up!

Friday, November 30, 2007

5th Grade Campout

This is my first year to teach 5th graders. Apparently our school district has a 5th grade campout every year where the kids spend a week out at a lake learning about stuff (I'll find out what they learned when they get back). Our principal went out there to visit them yesterday and the counselor told him that our kids were the most respectful and polite kids he has ever had! I guess we're doing something right!


My First graders were entering the room a little noisily:

MR. BOWERS: All right you guys, settle down. I don't want to have to change your grades from "E" Excellent to "S" Satisfactory. Earlier today one little girl would not calm down and I had to change her grade all the way down to "U"--


Monday, November 26, 2007


I used to teach this quiet girl named Morgan and I found out one day that she makes puppets at her house. She makes them out of paper bags. I asked her if she wanted to bring them to school one day so that her class could use them as their puppets when we got to that lesson. She brought over 100 puppets to school! I was very impressed. I got a letter from her today:

Hi Mr.Bowers. This is Morgan from 4th grade! I am in 7th grade now! I miss you sooooooo much! You were such an awesome teacher that made my confidence boost alot! I still make puppets and other things too!
At my school, we are doing a school production of The Wizard of Oz! I don't have any major parts but i will have to dance.. D: I'm not much of a dancer..
Anyways, I just wanted to say that I missed you! Have a wonderful time and be great at everything you do!

Makes it all worthwhile.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Last Journey

I found one more Journey to share. This one's written by Danna (4th grade):

First you see yourself on a subway. Then the subway comes to a stop and you can't open he door so you decide to knock it over. The subway starts and you throw yourself out of the window and end up in the middle of nowhere, so you just walk around but you find out you are in a cardboard box, so you just walk around in circles and end up in Las Vegas. You explore the place and see a man drinking wine and singing so you run over to the man but instead you run into a room--just a room with no furniture, just a window and a door. You look out the window and all you see is a tree and a lake. You decide to open the door. When you open it you get covered by macaroni and cheese. You taste it and it tastes like wood chips so you spit it out and swim out of the macaroni looking stuff and you end up inside a closet and find yourself shrinking smaller, smaller and smaller.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Jonathan is a 4th grader and he is pretty pathetic. He plays in class and doesn't listen to the teacher and all of his classmates are tired of him acting up.

When his class did their Imagination Journeys, he could hardly think of anything to write and when he did finally get to work, it was about ten words and it was about a wrestling video game. Also, his handwriting was horrible--large letters like chicken scratches--like a first grader would write. Later that day I pulled him aside in the lunchroom:

"Hey Jonathan, I gotta talk to you man to man--not teacher to student. You know that writing you did today in Drama? Well, it was horrible! If you ever want to send a note to a girl asking her out on a date or something, she would laugh in your face! You need to get that handwriting in check! I mean it! You need to work hard in school and quit playing around!"

The next week he came to Drama, I about flipped out when he handed me a paper with every letter in the alphabet written twenty times each in really nice handwriting! I was so proud of him, I really propped him up. I also gave him a new pencil with one of those cushy things that helps a tired hand and also one of those erasers that you stick on the end.

The Journey Continues

Here is Austin's (4th grade) Imagination Journey:

You are standing next to an elevator. You are in a room with no doors and no windows. You decide to press the elevator button. You get on the elevator. It is empty. The doors close and the elevator descends, you start going down. You go faster and faster and faster and faster and faster and faster and faster until you can't take going any faster. Then the elevator stops and you get off and you are amazed by what you see. In front of you is a tower that is so high you can't see the top, but what makes it fascinating is that it's made of pure gold. Suddenly, you fall through a trap door!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Another Journey

I may be posting several of these kids journeys. Here is an offering from Joseph (4th grade) who came to our school in second grade because his family evacuated New Orleans after Katrina:

You wake up and you are in a palace. They have three doors. You choose door two and when you walk in you see Soulja Boy and he says, "Let's do the Soulja Boy dance called 'Superman'". When you do the dance, water comes gushing through all sides of the wall. Then you try to swim for the door, but it's locked. You try to look for some windows but there aren't any more. Then you see The Hulk bust through the door and he's just standing there letting out all of the water. Then when all the water is gone he tries to stomp his ten-foot long foot on your face but you keep on running. Then when you hop out of the busted door and run outside there were cops all over and they thought you broke into the house and they brought you to jail and you try to run free and they catch you.

On a side note; one girl named Miridiat wrote that, "...an octopus swims by and grabs you by its specticals".

Imagination Journey

Once a year I will take the 4th graders on an Imagination Journey where they will act things out as a group while I narrate. Then the next week, they will write their own journeys and I will read them while they act those out. Every once in a while I will get a really strange journey:

Written By DeMarco (4th grade)

Monkeys and robots are fighting in space and you are on the monkey's side. You start to shoot the robots, but the robots are out numbered. A monkey bites you and you turn into a monkey and you scream, "Oo-ohoh!" Then you tell them to take you to their master. Then they take you to Monkey Zilla. Monkey Zilla swings you around and around and you get sick and he starts laughing at you when you throw-up. Then he ate you and he had no organs and he had long toe nails. Then Dracula came to kill Monkey Zilla and he turned into Monkey Zilla Dracula.

Needless to say, the kids had a wonderful time acting this one out!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Should've Kept Your Mouth Shut

I walked into the Chess Club's meeting and challenged Christopher to a game of Chess. Christopher was the best player in the school and had even beat up on most of the kids in the city in his age group.

I pretty much just know the rules of Chess and have no strategies or tricks--I just play.

After about five minutes, Christopher makes a move and then immediatly gets all frustrated with himself and says, "Aw, man, you won."

Before I could even question him he is rattling off, "Now you're gonna move here and then I will have to move here to block you and then you will move here and have me in Check Mate".

My response: THAT'S RIGHT!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

No Rules Day at Wal-Mart

While discussing the importance of rules, I gave this analogy:

Let's imagine that it's no rules day at Wal-mart. We walk into the store and the greeter says, "Welcome to Wal-Mart. Today there are NO RULES!"
SWEET! First thing I would do is go get a bike and start riding it around the store! I have always wanted to do that! What would you guys do?

-I would go and play with the toys!
-I would get some money!
-I would eat at the McDonalds in Wal-Mart!
-I would throw the footballs!
-I would get me some movies!
-I would steal everything in the store!

OK that all sounds fun--if it was just us. However, if there was a no rules day at Wal-Mart then you know everybody and their dog would come out to the store and get in on the fun.
If I was riding my bike in the store and a bunch of little kids were running around--what could happen?

If I was playing with some toys and a bunch of older kids came up and wanted to play with the same toy as me, what might they do?

If I was getting some money out of the cash register and other people saw me doing it and they decided that they wanted that money too, then what could happen?

It might be fun to have a no rules day, but you see, rules are necessary for the safety of all of the people.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Top Kindergarten Occupations

Every year I ask the kindergarteners to act out what they want to be when they grow up and the other kids try to guess what it is. A couple of years ago, Melissa was doing what looked like mixing chemicals so we guessed "scientist"--only to find out that what she really wanted to be was "bartender". Here are some of the top things kindergartners want to be when they grow up:

Wal*Mart worker
Power Ranger

Friday, October 26, 2007


MR. BOWERS: Trisha, that was a good answer, did you already know it or did you think about it?
TRISHA: (a pre-k student) I tinked it.


LESLIE: (A kid in pre-K.) Mr. Bowers, I know what catsup's made of--"
MR. BOWERS: What's catsup made of, Leslie?
LESLIE: Potatoe!

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Hampster

(Taylor, a third grader, raises her hand at the beginning of class)

TAYLOR: (In a matter of fact like voice) Mr. Bowers, my hampster died!

MR. BOWERS: I'm sorry. Did you bury him in the back yard?

TAYLOR: (matter of factly) We made him this box and we put some of his toys in it and made him a little bed with some tissue...and...well it just happened this morning...(here come the tears.)

MR. BOWERS: Oh my goddness, I'm so sorry, "Yall, listen up, her hampster just died this morning!"

(Everyone kind of gives these honestly sympathetic whimpers and those sitting next to her instantly comfort her an she gets herself together)

MR. BOWERS: Hey, you know what I always do when my wife starts worring about our turtle dying someday? I just say, "(I bust out a beautiful song...) It's the circle of liiiiiiiife."

THE CLASS: Yeah, that's right!

MR. BOWERS: Taylor, did he have a good life while he was with you?


MR. BOWERS: Did you feed him and take good care of him and play with him?


MR. BOWERS: Did you ever let any cats chase him or anything?

TAYLOR: (laughing a little) NO!

MR. BOWERS: Then he had a better life than most rodents!

At this point we all laughed and this seemed to really comfort Taylor. Then we all had a really nice time interviewing each other as if we were inventors.

Not A Lazy American

During a lesson on RESPECT, I gave the following example:

"This summer my wife, my cousin and my brother in-law were in the Philippines and we went to this lake way up in the mountains. At the lake, these two Filipino dudes were selling rides across on their Banka boat; which is like a canoe. We noticed that there were 2 extra oars to row with. Now, class, what would they think about us if we didn't help them row the boat? (CLASS: That y'll were lazy!) Not just lazy, but lazy AMERICANS.

Now, see kids, in some other countries, people recognize Americans right away. The way we dress, the way we act, how we talk, how we carry ourselves...To some people, Americans are thought to be lazy--and in many ways we are! We eat too much fast food; we watch too much TV and many of us--including me--are just a little bit overweight.

We wanted to show those Filipino dudes that we weren't lazy, so we helped row the boat across the lake to the waterfall.

Now, at first it was fun, but it took us about 20 minutes and we worked very hard. We were doing our best to keep up the same pace as the man in the front of the boat. I was sweating and my arms were on fire! It was so hard!

When we got to the other side of the lake, those two guys looked at us with RESPECT because they knew how hard we had worked.

I want you to know that just like I was working hard to get some respect for my country, you have to work hard at school to get respect for yourself, and for your family! If you are lazy at school and don't behave, that reflects poorly on family and your mom and dad because it’s your mom and dad who first teach you how to behave and they are the first ones who tell you what is expected of you at school."

KAITLYN: Mr. Bowers, I went to a lake before!
MR. BOWERS: (sigh)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Greater Than/Less Than

I am teaching the 1st graders the concept of greater than/less than like in this example:


I will have the kids come up with a choice for their class like; whoever likes pizza, go on this side of the room and whoever likes spaghetti go on the other side of the room. Then the kid counts the groups and stands in the middls of the room and makes the "greater than" sign with their hands towards the larger group.

So, it's finally Kevin's turn. He is the last one. He has participated in all of the other kids' surveys and has had all this time to think of what his question is going to be.

KEVIN: Whoever likes to draw art go on this side of the room and whoever likes to run around in their underwear go on the other side of the room.

I went to the underwear side of the room which made our side have 10 to the art-sy side's 9. Underwear WINS AGAIN!

Friday, October 12, 2007

He's an Umpire!

I had this Pre-Kindergarten kid in my class who is missing his two front teeth. One of his classmates told me he was an umpire. You know, because it is close to Halloween. Get it? Because of his fangs. Get it?

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Waiting for the Anger

I have come to a realization. Some kids will not cooperate with an adult until the adult becomes angry. I can ask kids politely to get quiet several times and get no cooperation, but as soon as I raise my voice and show them that I am angry, they will get quiet right away. Sometimes I will pretend to be angry just to get them quiet, then quickly return to a polite person and continue teaching. When I yell at them, they get quiet for a few minutes, then the cycle starts over again--like they forgot how mad I was a few minutes ago--and I start asking them to get quiet again nicely--until I get angry again--AAAGGGHHH!!!.

I asked some of my classes if that's how it is at home and--guess what--it is. Their parents can't beat them, so they yell at them. I told them how it was when I was a kid:

"See, when I was a kid, if the teacher or parent got mad, that usually resulted in a whoopin'. You don't forget about a whoopin' in just a few minutes. You usually remember that for the rest of the day--especially if getting a whoopin' at school meant that you would get another whoopin' when you got home. The pain and humiliation of getting a whoopin' would sometimes cause you to behave for even a few days."

Sunday, October 07, 2007

One Man Show

A first grader was actin' a fool in his class and his teacher said, "Joe, are you putting on a little one man show over there?" Another kid in the class was heard saying, "That would be a pretty boring show."

I thought it was funny. I don't know if it really is or not. Sorry if it's not.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The Year 2066

That is the year that some of our 5th graders will turn 70. When the 5th graders figured out the year they will turn 70, one of the kids said, "Wow! 2066! There will propably be flying cars!" I remember thinking that about the year 2000 when I was a kid.

Some of the kids I am teaching were born AFTER 911. Some of these kids are awesome, but some of them are, like, wow. I just don't know.

I still believe that the future is bright. Even the worst class at my school has a majority of well behaved kids in it--it's just that the ill-behaved kids are way louder than the others.

The kids who do have it together are REALLY smart. I am so impressed with the way some of these kids think.

Imagine what kind of humor and creativity comes out of a 10 year old who grew up in a world where "The Simpsons" is on every day after school. When I was 10, I propably wouldn't have even understood most of the jokes on that show. Although, I can't complain about getting to watch the Buggsbunny Roadrunner Show--that was the BEST TV SHOW EVER!!!

Your Brain is a Butler

I was talking to the kids about CONCENTRATION. I told them that concentration is when you are thinking attentivly. I taught the word "attend" by using the example of a butler.

A butler will attend to your every need. He will wash your socks, fix your food, get you toys--what ever you need, he will do. I told them that when you concentrate, you brain is like a butler to whatever you are concentrating on.

Martin (1st grade) said, "I have a butler--my mom and dad--they cook for me!"

I also told them that they can be butlers for their teacher. I know their parents told them to do whatever their teacher tells them to do, so in a sense they are butlers for their teacher. I also told them that their teacher will never tell them to wash her socks!

Friday, September 21, 2007


Just for the record--C.J. (kindergartener) was NOT taped to his seat!

However, C.J. was having trouble staying in his seat and I WANTED to tape him to it. I decided to take a chance. I know C.J.'s mom and I hoped she would approve of what I did, but I want to make it clear that he was NOT taped to his seat. I laid a piece of tape across C.J.'s lap and told him to imagine that he was taped to his seat. The deal was, If my class ended and he was still "taped down" then he would recieve a sticker. C.J. was very excited to try it.

He succeded.

I would like to take full credit for this idea, but I actually heard about it a long time ago when I was training to be a teacher. I heard that you can do the same thing with a piece of string if you are worried about being sued, but like I said, "I DID NOT TAPE HIM DOWN!!!!!!"

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

A Good Leader

This morning I saw Hannah (3rd grade) tying a kindergartener's shoe. Then, I saw her walking with her to make sure she made it o.k. to the cafeteria. Next, I saw her sitting with the kid at breakfast. Then later at breakfast, I was cleaning up a mess near where they were sitting and Hannah offered me her napkin to help clean up the mess.

I told all of this to a group of 5th graders as an example of leadership. I want them to be leaders for the younger kids at our school. One of the 5th grade girls remembered that when she was in kindergarten, she was lost and a 4th grader helped her find her class. She says that she never forgets that time. I asked her if she knew the 4th graders’ name and she didn't. It made me so proud of that kid--even though I didn't know who it was--I knew that it had to be one of my students at that time. I almost cried--but that doesn't make me a sissy--just a sensitive tough guy, right?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

I Learned to Drive in Kindergarten

I am trying to teach the kindergarteners to walk in line. I compare it to when their parents are driving:

What happens if someone cuts in front of your mom in traffic? Does she honk at them? Sometimes. Does she say, "I'll show them!" and ram her car into theirs? NO! You have to be like that in line. You can't just shove another kid outta line just because they cut in front of you! You have to "honk" at them. Tell them, "Please don't cut in front of me."

Sometimes when your mom honks at people, they are rude to her. Sometimes when you tell a kid not to cut in front of you, they will be rude to you. You will learn that there are rude people all over the world, there's not much you can do about that. The rude people will learn their lesson the hard way. Someday they will be rude to their boss and get fired, or they will be rude to a policeman and get in trouble. You can teach them a lesson in kindness. If a kid sticks his tongue out at you, you just smile and wave at them.

At this point Jalen raises his hand, "If someone honks at my mom, she gives them the fanger!"

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

That's Gotta Hurt!

I walked into the classroom after all of the kids had entered the room. Joseph, a third grader, was doubled up on the floor with his hands around his mid-section. I asked him what was wrong and his response was, "He kicked me in my journals!"

Thursday, August 30, 2007

New Vocabulary

"Do we posta?"

translation: Are we required to?

example: Mr. Bowers, do we posta bring a pencil to Drama Class?

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The First Metaphore of the Year

It's only the second day of school and I have already busted out a new metaphore.

Tony is a new 4th grader at our school and he, "don't trust nobody," and he is "tired of my teacher always telling me about her rules". I tried to tell him why his teacher is trying to get him to "run with the herd".

Your teacher is a cowboy. She is driving her herd across the country and trying her best to protect them. What happens if one of the cows tries to run away from the herd and get off into the canyon? There could be rattlesnakes, coyotes, scorpions--who knows what else! What do the cowboys do when one of the cows runs off? They go and rope 'em and bring 'em back to the herd. That's what your teacher is trying to do, she is trying to protect you and keep you safe and teach you how to be independent. Now go and be a good cow.

Tony said, "I don't get it."

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Where Have I Been?

In the Philippines with my wife! We had a family wedding to attend so we saved up our money and hit the road--or the air--whatever. Anyway, I have many stories to tell, but just one today.

The town where my family lives is in Dumaguete in Negros Oriental on the Island of Negros in the Philippines. In the town is Silliman University and the it has a school for all ages--starting in elementary! (I might just have to move there to teach for a few years.) The school is the best in the country for learning English, so most of the people in the town speak it pretty well--which worked out great for me!

One day my wife, brother-in-law and I were walking past the elementary school just as it was letting out. Of course, I was pretty much the only white guy in the town so I was used to all the kids freaking out when they saw me walking around, however I was surprised when one of the little Philippino kids started talking to me. She looked to be in about 2nd grade:

LITTLE PENOY: Hello, sir, how are you?
ME: I am fine.
LITTLE PENOY: What is your name?
ME: I am Mr. Bowers, what is your name?
LITTLE PENOY: My name is Margarette, it's nice to meet you.
ME: Nice to meet you too!

So there I was, so impressed with this little kid speaking such fluent English, when my wife says to me, "You know her teacher probably tells the kids to practice their English whenever they see an American!"

Suddenly I had flashbacks of my 8th grade Spanish classes.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Wade is this really cool kid who I may never see again. I have known him and his two brothers and sister for two years now. His real dad is in prison and he lives with his mom and step dad. His step dad got arrested and now his mom can't afford to pay the rent. She works at Wal-Mart and they just don't pay enough to cover a three bedroom apartment.

Wade wants to drive trucks when he grows up and he even has this card collection of truckers and their rigs (like baseball cards). He keeps the cards in a binder and always has them with him. He says that he is going to be a good father some day because he has learned from all the mistakes of his two previous fathers. Most of all, he says that he is never gonna drink beer.

Lines of Symmetry

I did a cool lesson on symmetry in summer school last week. I put a long tape line in the middle of the room and divided the kids up into two groups. One group would make a disign with their bodies on one side of the taped line and then the other group would have to create the same design on their side of the line. I would then take a picture of the kids using a digital camera and show it to them so they could see if the pictrure that they created had symmetry. It was a big hit with the kids and I think they actually learned what symmetry was.

Friday, June 08, 2007


Today is my first day of summer school. This new kid walks up with his mom and she is telling me at the door what a bad kid he is. I quickly get him as far away from his mom as possible.

The funny thing is, the kid is not so bad. He does good work. He makes a few jokes. He seems intelligent. Then lunchtime rolls around. He has somehow pinpointed the group of kids who ARE the "bad" ones in the class and is sitting with them! I couldn't believe it! He is like a magnet!

I told his mom after school--and the kid--that he's not as bad as she thinks he is. The problem is that he’s just not a good friend picker.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Summer School Blues

I'm only subbing in summer school this year. I kinda messed up during the application process for teaching summer school and ended up just getting a substitute position. I guess that's gonna be ok, because I will enjoy the days off.

I am a real chicken because I only signed up to sub at my own school which will be so much easier because I already know all of the kids. More importantly, the kids know me and they know that I don't play around when it comes to horsing around in class--at least THEY are not allowed to horse around! Hey, it's summer school!

Actually, I really do buckle down in summer school. I almost work more on self control with the kids than anything else. If the kids who are in danger of repeating are the same ones who are getting in trouble for not listening, then the problem is not always with their skills--just their control. My first day is this Friday. 2nd grade--my specialty!

Summer school is like an all-star game for the class clowns. You can have five class clowns all in the same room! I have to really go back to basics with some of them:

A couple of summers ago, I taught this one kid to actually raise his hand in class--a skill he didn't pick up in kinder or first grade.
I once taught a class of 2nd graders to walk in a straight line! I took 30 minutes, but we got it!
I will teach some of them to say the words, "Please don't do that, it bothers me."
The other kids will work on saying, "OK, I'm sorry."
Instead of hitting back, we will practice saying, "Hey! Why you hittin' me, huh?"

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Bad With the Good

Right after a good week of kids coming to the school with good news about how they are succeeding, the last visitor was kind of a downer.

Two fifth grade boys came by and delayed me from getting to my car on the last day of school, telling me some of the newest corniest things they had done in the past year at their new school. Luckily they delayed me just long enough for Desiree to come strolling up.

She is fresh off of failing the 7th grade. She looked pretty bad. Her eyebrows were all painted on and her hair was dyed and faded. She was happy so see me, but she seemed a little ashamed when she told me the news. I talked to her and her friend Kailyn (another former student still on the right path) for about 15 minutes and then took them to see their 4th grade teacher and get some encouragement from her.

From evertyhing she told me it has been a rough year and she says she is very regretful. I hope she means it. Her Dad's path and mine cross occasionally and he told me she was having a tough time, but I thought that meant that she was getting B's or something, she was a great student in elementary. Next time a parent tells me something like that, I will take them more seriously.

Friday, May 25, 2007

MJ's Dad

I would see MJ's dad up at the school quite a bit while his kids were here. His mom was always up here helping out as a valuable PTO member. His dad would be kinda cheking things out. He used to say, "If I was having a house built, I would check on things while they were building it. Making sure it had a solid foundation and everything. I am doing the same with my kids."

Thursday, May 24, 2007


Today I heard that MJ mentioned me in his speach as Valedictorina of his 8th grade class of about 150 kids. I was blown away that MJ had earned that honor. As you know, I teach Drama, however, there was one year that I just taught 2nd grade. I had a class of my own. MJ was one of my favorites--and he was a mess at times.

He used to get so mad that he would turn into The Hulk! He hated it when he would lose his temper because he usually cried at some point during his rage. I told him one day, "MJ, if you get really mad and feel like you're gonna 'Hulk out' then you have permission to run out of the room and go hug the tree outside the classroom." See, my room was outside in one of the temporary buildings and I wanted him to release his anger on the tree instead of his classmates. He used the tree several times that year--usually because he didn't get a 100 on his spelling test.

He cried when he couldn't figure something out and felt like it was the end of the world. I remember the day we studied maps. I had him draw a map of a toy truck that he had, viewing it from above. He finally got it.

I taught him Drama in kinder, 1st, 3rd and 4th grade also so I was able to really watch him grow up. I went to several of his football games and taught both of his sisters. He has great parents--so friendly and they don't put up with any mess from any of their kids.

I know that he earned the Valedictorian title, because he was, without a doubt, the hardest working 2nd grader in my class.

Friday, May 18, 2007

They Don't Even Remember Space Jam

I was talking with some 4th graders about getting into a good book and enjoying reading when a Kindergarten kid name Owen walked by. I asked Owen to show the 4th graders how well he could read. He pulled out his book and started reading. One of the 4th graders (Shane) was very impressed with his reading skillzzz and asked him who his teacher was:

SHANE: Who is your teacher?
OWEN: Mrs. Johnson.
SHANE: Oh, I know this kid in there named Jordan. Do you know him?
OWEN: Oh yeah, Jordan's cool! He even has his name on his shoes!

(I about lost it. Shane did too, he got it immediately and we both bust out laughing.)

OWEN: No, really, his name is on his shoes right there (He points at his shoe).

Thursday, May 10, 2007


Reza is this little guy in 3rd grade who thinks the world is against him. He is always on the defensive and getting into arguements and telling on other kids. Today we were practicing some songs for the end of year performances and he was sitting behind this really tall 3rd grade girl.

REZA: (in a very angry voice) Mr. Bowers, Mary is trying to block my view!
MR. BOWERS: No, Reza, GOD is blocking your view! He's the one who made Mary so tall!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Barbara is Smiling

So, I was talking with some of the other teachers and it just so happens that I am not the only one who has noticed a change with Barbara. Coach Reid said that he wanted her for the track team because she was the fastest girl in the school and she wouldn't be on the team. The Music teacher said that she was having trouble getting her to participate in class--she was refusing to play her recorder (remember those crazy flute thingies). We talked to her classroom teacher and found out that Barbara wasn't doing her homework and was not focusing in class.

We were talking about calling her mom and telling her all of our problems. I suggested we bombard Barbara with a meeting with just her and Coach Reid, the Art and Music teachers and myself. We did it. We told her how we all have noticed a change in her behavior and that we all knew that she could do better and that we all have known her since 2nd grade and that we thought she wasn't doing as well as she could. (How about that sentence!) She admitted that she needed to do better. We beat around the bush for a while and talked about ways she could improve.

The Music teacher thought that doing her homework on a regular basis would be a good place to start. I asked her if she thought she could improve on her own, or did she think she needed some help. She wanted help. We asked her if she wanted to talk to the counselor and she said that she did.

Turns out her Dad left the family recently. We checked in on her and she has been doing her homework and she has been trying harder in class. Barbara says that the best thing now is that her teacher is not getting on to her as much.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Drama Club DONE

Man! What a month! I have been trying to put up my latest Drama Club production. Tonight it happened! I am so worn out. The kids were great and the parents loved it. I wish we could do it again and again but the end of the year is so crazy and trying to get the stage is almost impossible.

The coolest part of the show was the food fight. Right when one of the kids yells out, "FOOD FIGHT!" I started playing some music from "The Matrix" and all the kids started throwing imaginary food. At the right moment in the song, all the actors switched to slow motion as a kid with a pie runs out on stage (in slo mo) and hits the Coach in the face with it! They really pulled it off.

My favorite line in the play (and I wrote the play--i had to, there were 26 girls and only 2 boys) is said by the main character, who is a bully, after she gets in trouble for starting the food fight:
"Sometimes I feel so bad for my mom because nothing ever goes her way. I guess I am afraid that nothing will ever go my way either."

I know, it's kinda sappy, but the girl (Avery) really pulled it off. She was a real star tonight!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

I Smile Too Much

I have known Barbara (4th grade) for about three years. When she was in second grade, she wrote me a story and I praised her and let her read it to the class. She participates in my class and has always been a very good Drama student.

A few months ago her big brothers were picking her up to walk home with her and it was raining. I gave them my umbrella to use and told them to just let Barbara give it back tomorrow. The next day Barbara gave me the umbrella back and told me, "My brothers said that you are TOO nice." I asked her what they meant by that and she didn't know. I didn't think anything more about it.

Today we read an old poem, "The Spider and the Fly" by Mary Howitt. The poem is about a spider who tries to trick a fly by being nice to her and stuff like that. I told Barbara that that is probably what her brothers meant that day when I loaned her the umbrella. We started talking about it and I said, "Even though you know me, if I ever offered you a ride, you shouldn't accept it because you don't know me that well and I would have to have your parents permission." She said, "I wouldn't get in the car anyway because you smile too much. I don't trust you. I don't like how you are always smiling all the time. Why are you so happy?" I told her, "What do I have to be sad about? I had a pretty good childhood, I went to college, I have a job that I love, I have a beautiful wife--wait, I know why I smile so much--I don't have any kids!" The class laughed and we went on with the lesson.

After class, I asked her if that was how she really felt. She said yes. I told her honestly, "The reason I smile at people so much is because they usually smile back at me. When a person smiles back at me it makes me feel good about myself and it makes me feel accepted. I'm sorry that I make you feel uncomfortable.” She kinda grinned and I let her off the hook. I never thought smiling too much would be such a problem.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Smelly Stamps

When a kid does something really good, I give them a stamp on their hand. Sometimes I use the ink pad that had the good smelling ink, like bubble gum or cotton candy. Whenever I start giving out the stamps, some kid will usually ask, "Are these the smelly stamps?" If they aren't the ones that have the cool flavors, I will reply, "Yes! These smell like ink!" or "Yes! These smell like your hand!"

Well, today as I was giving out the stamps, Ivan (4th grade) asked very slowly and inquisitively, "These stamps have some kind of stench on them?" I told him how funny he was and he replied, "I usually don't think before I speak. That's why I'm so funny."

I told Coach Reid about his question and how funny it was and he said that everything Ivan says to him is like something an old Englishman would say. I agree. I have known this kid since kindergarten and he has always had a very dry sense of humor.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Not That There's Anything Wrong With That

MARY: Mr. Bowers, Kayla said I was gay!
MR. BOWERS: Kayla, why did you say that?
KAYLA: Because she had her arm around Melissa.
MR. BOWERS: Well, were you trying to give her a compliment like, "Hey, you're gay! I'm gay too, let's be friends!" Or were you being mean to her and teasing her and trying to hurt her feelings?
KAYLA: I was being mean.
MR. BOWERS: Then that is bullying, and that is unacceptable. So what needs to happen now?
KAYLA: I'm sorry, Mary.
MR. BOWERS: You know Kayla, I have a whole bunch of friends who are gay and it would really hurt their feelings to hear that you were being mean like that. I hope you don't do that anymore. Now you two kiss and make up.

(I really told them to shake hands--but the kiss and make up part really makes the story funnier!)

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Bananas have opened a new door at my school. A new door for jokes! They have been serving bananas in the cafeteria like they are going out of style. So many of the kids don't even eat them! I don't understand. Bananas are great. I got on the microphone in the cafeteria and made this announcement, "For a bunch of kids that act like monkeys, you guys are throwing away too many bananas! EAT YOUR BANANAS!"

Sometimes I will pick up a kid's banana and answer it like a phone, then I will change my voice to try to immitate the kid who has the banana, "Yes, this is Brian...hello mom...yes I am eating my lunch...what? my banana? Yes, I am planning to eat it...ok, mom, I love you too, bye." Then I'll tell the kid that their mom wants them to eat their banana.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

First Day Back After Easter

breakfast in the cafeteria

MR. BOWERS: Everybody QUIET!!! Did anyone see a chicken running around here in the cafeteria?" (everyone is silent) "Because there are some eggs here on the floor, so, either there is a chicken in the cafeteria--or a pig! Now, whoever left these messy eggs on the floor needs to come clean them up."
ISAAC: Maybe it was the easter bunny!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

All Sports

Got a new kid today and he told me that he was from Houston. I asked him who his favorite football team was. He said, "The Texans". "Good answer!" I said, and gave him a football card of one of the Texans' players. After receiving the card he looked up at me and said, "I also like the Astros and the Rockets."

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

You Tell Me What This Means

Nicole (1st grade) said, "Mr. Bowers, my mom said that I can't be by no boys or she gonna have to take me to the doctor and get surgery on my belly."

I don't even wanna know.

Special Powers

Jenni (1st grade) came up to the Music Teacher yesterday and told her that she prayed to Baby Jesus and asked him to grant her special powers for her birthday tomorrow. She wanted the power to turn into any animal--including a dinosaur, a lizzard and even a unicorn. Unfortunatly today is her birthday and she was not granted those powers. She did, however, have a quarter behind her ear!

Monday, April 02, 2007

All Growns Up

When I started teaching, this kid was in 2nd grade. I taught him Drama in 3rd and 4th grade. I got a letter from him today.

Hi everybody! This is Kevin and I was your student in either my 3rd or 4th grade year which was 8 or 9 years ago before the turn of the century. Gee, has it been that long? I just wanted to let you all know what was going on and what happened to me after I left Askew.

After a rocky middle school section of my life where I went to Shadowbriar, Paul Revere and then I escaped to WestBriar Middle School, my older brother Brian passed away in July of 2002. My family and I miss him dearly and are glad that the enzyme that he was missing is finally undergoing clinical trials this spring.

In high school, I participated avidly in music, being on Westside's drumline for 2 years and in the Jazz Band up to this my senior year. I have also been an actor in Westside's Varsity Theatre Company for my Jr. and Sr. year.

So, this year I was applying to colleges and I was trying to figure that out. And I sent out all these applications and I got in to a bunch of places and I'm really excited because I found out where I am going to school next year.

About a week and a half ago, I got into my first choice school, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, AKA MIT. I'm really psyched and I plan on studying Bioengineering and maybe even joining the ski team or the crew (rowing) team.

I actually had my app. deferred from applying early and after sending them a lot of info about this project that my friends and I finished in late January, and several love letters, I got in.

I just wanted to let you guys know how I was doing and to thank you for all the support that you gave me at an early and critical age. Without the solid foundation that I got at Askew, I would definitely not be the same person that I am today. The encouragement, academic and otherwise that I received in addition to the remarkable instruction from you, my elementary school teachers is a testament to the hard work that you put into your profession. Thank you. I couldn't have done it without you.

Early on, you all taught me to challenge myself and think outside of the box for a solution. You pushed me to discover creative solutions to what otherwise may have been standard problems. I remember wondering where I would be in 8 years at my 4th grade graduation. Well, now I sit here on another milestone, 11th in my class of 556, having gotten into the school that I feel is the best fit, and I wonder what's next.

As to that, I will let you know. But until next time - I hope to visit before I leave - I would like to genuinely express my thanks and appreciation for the time and effort that each of you put into educating the 9 or 10-year-old version of me. The 18-year-old that speaks to you now is truly grateful.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Comic Book

Today a 3rd grade girl came up to me and gave me a comic book that she had written about me. I wish I could show you the illustrations--they are CLASSIC!

and the anarchy students

written and illustrated by Jordan Shaw

One day Mr. Drama was driving his car and BAM! He'd crashed into two trucks carrying salad with dressing and a doughnut truck with icing creating a radioactive chemical that gave Mr. Drama super powers. He was so sorry instead of calling 911 he flew the two men to the hospital and paid the bill. He believed in Democracy and Conformity. He worked at a school named Askew Elementary, he was of course the Drama teacher.

The next day he found some students trashing the school cafeteria! He zapped them into perpetual detention and talked to them about levels A, B, C and D...that showed them!

The students soon became Mr. Drama's friends, many did. Soon there were only two students to work on. Shadow and Irsala. The students were very devious. They loved to bully others. They once gave a swirly to a first grader!

That's there Mr. Drama came flying in. Mr. Drama! That's right! Now stop and serve the price! NO! And they took off! Freeze ray Mr. Drama said. Irsala and Shadow remaned freeze to this very day.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Oh, Brother

Be nice to your younger brother. My older brother was a real jerk. He would hold me down with his knees on my elbows and drool spit down to my face. He would trip me, scare me, tease me, make me cry, beat me in every game, never let me win, make fun of me to his friends, tell on me, blame me, make me so mad that i would throw things at him. He made me so mad one time that I threw a potato at him and broke the microwave. One time I threw a rock at him and busted his head open.

Nevertheless, he was my hero and I would follow him around like a puppy. He could do no wrong in my eyes.

Now, I find out that he is the "anonymous" person who has been getting on my nerves for the past year here on this very blog. I am so mad!

At least I now know that my big brother cares enough to read what is happening in my life. Thanks Bro!

By the way, I used to "boo" you at your football games! So there! Take that!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Khalil Moved

The cycle continues. I don't know where he moved yet. I didn't even get to say goodbye--which is usually the case. I hate that about my job. Some of the kids will track me down and say goodbye when they are about to move--at which point I will pull a quarter out of their ear or give them a sticker or something and give them the ole, " be good and remember what I taught you..." speach.

Many of the kids don't even know they are moving. It just happens.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Useful Things Kids Can Do

The Music teacher told me this story today. She was passing around some of the instruments to the kindergarteners and she decided not to pass around one of them for fear of it getting broken. Isaac said, "I know why. It's like when you go to the fridge to get your dad a beer and you drop it and he gives you a whoopin." Several of the kids nodded in agreement. Just out of curiosity, The Music teacher asked, "How many of you get beer out of the fridge for your dad?" About half of the class raised their hand. She told them to tell their dad to get his own from now on. One of the kids shouted out, "My dad lets me get his wine for him!"

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

By Celine

There was ones a little gril who was scred on her frist day of School the frist class she went to was Drama the teacher who tote the class was very NICE to her and hername was Celine and the teachers name was Mr. Bowers but she called him Mr. Big dog.

By Celine

Baste on truestory
in Kindergarten

(Celine is a third grader--she gave me this note today in the cafeteria.)

Monday, March 19, 2007

Don't Be Sad--Yet!

We were racing to see which first grader could read their high-frequency words the fastest. These are words that they have to know in order to get to the second grade. The test is about a month away. Victoria was sad because she didn't know hardly any of the words. Here's what I told her:

"Hey, Victoria, come on, don't be sad! You're only in first grade. You aren't supposed to know all of these words yet. Now, in a month when you take the test, if you don't know the words, and you don't make it to the second grade--THEN you can be sad, but don't be sad until then, it'll only make the words harder to learn. If any of you other kids care about Victoria, you should help her learn these words so she will still be in your class next year."

She calmed down and actually did better the second time she tried the words. I think she was just so nervous that she couldn't focus. Some of the other kids in the class who were doing well with the words started helping her practice them right away. I love it when kids help each other.

Friday, March 09, 2007

When Khalil's Class Jumped

I forgot to tell this one from the Jump Rope for Heart Day. When Khalil's class came to jump, he was at his worst. He kept running into the bushes to try and hide so he wouldn't have to take his turn. As you can guess, this caused major problems because when you have a class of 5 year olds, you need to be watching all of them--not just focusing on one kid. Finally I was able to get all of the kids rounded up and sitting down so I could go get Khalil and make him stay with the class.

He was mad about something that happened before he got to my station. I figured out what it was.

KHALIL: I'm moving!
MR. BOWERS: Well Khalil, wherever you move, they won't allow this sort of behavior.
KHALIL: Yes they will!
MY. BOWERS: Didn't your brother get suspended at his school? See, they don't allow disrespectful behavior at any school.
KHALIL: I'm moving to high school!
MR. BOWERS: And what are you going to do there?
KHALIL: I'm moving to high school where they go let me have my snack!

At this point I had to get back to the rest of the class because they were fighting over who gets to jump first--which leads me to another trick I have:

When I see kids fighting at the front of the line, I ask everyone in the line to turn around and I make the end of the line the front. Then I applaud the kids who were fighting, "You kids in the back are unique. Most kids fight to be in the front of the line. I admire you. You are so considerate that you really want to be at the back of the line. Good job!"

Jump Rope Skillzzzz

I was amazed with myself! We had our Jump Rope for Heart day at our school. I was in charge of "Alphabet Soup" which is where the kids jump rope to the alphabet and see how far they can go before messing up. Then we do it while saying each letter twice. Finally, we do it while saying each letter three times. I was able to do all of them--at top speed! The kids were all blown away with my skill. I am kinda heavy (kinda) but when i was a kid I was an awesome jump roper. I was surprised that I could still do some of the same tricks as when I was a kid.

Today I can hardly move I am so sore.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Kinder All-Stars

Kinder went on field trip today and left behind kids that did not pay or lost the trip because of their behavior. I had those kids today. It was like an All-star game for bad behavior. A select group of kids. The wildest from each of the seven classes of kindergarteners. Jajuan hit me in the back. Khalil told me to shut up, called me a fat head and pulled a hair out of Coach Reid's leg. Evan tried to stuff David's sweater down a drainage pipe. Coach Reid and I had them running sprints outside on the track. They never got tired! It was like they wanted more and more! My energy ran out and they overpowered me. It was the longest forty-five minutes I have ever experienced. Gotta go, here come the second graders. hooray.

Tattle Tales

MIGUEL: Mr. Bowers, Chinoso called me a dummy!
MR. BOWERS: Well, are you a dummy?
MR. BOWERS: Then go tell him, "YOU'RE WRONG! I AM NOT A DUMMY!"

He did it. Chinoso was so surprised.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Simile and Metaphore

The other day, the kids had to tell the rest of the class a non-fiction story that happened to them. I told them that to make the story more exciting I wanted them to use some simile's and metaphores. Kiante (4th grade) had this story to tell:

It was the day after Halloween and I was getting ready for school. I put some candy in my backpack to take with me and then I got in the shower. When I got out of the shower and went back to my room, I saw my mom trying to get some candy out of my back pack. She was like a racoon digging in a trash can.

I love it!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A New Snack

The Kindergarteners were eating their snack and Owen offered me one of his fruit gummy type snacks. It was wonderful. I asked him what they were called. He looked at the package and said, "It's just called Variety Pack."

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Troy is a cool kid that moved here at the end of last year. He and his family were Katrina victims and ended up in Houston.

Troy wanted to learn to whistle really loud like me. I am a really loud whistler. I learned to whistle really loud in 5th grade, so whenever a kid asks me to teach them how to whistle, I always tell them that they will learn to whistle in 5th grade. Our school only goes up to the 4th grade so I never have to teach any of them to whistle! (Next year my school will be getting 5th grade--that'll be fun.)

Anyway, Troy was very persistent, so one day on the track I showed him how I learned to whistle. I told him that he will really have to practice and he can't practice around a bunch of people or he will bother them. I learned at a pep rally where no one cared how loud I was.

A few weeks later, Troy came up to me and said that he got it! We went outside and he blew out this really loud whistle! I decided to show him how to do a referee whistle that I can do. I told him that it will take him a long time to learn it. He came to me the next day and he could do the referee whistle too! I was so proud of him, I told him, "Troy, see, you can do ANYTHING! You just have to practice!" He was so happy and so proud of himself.

Friday Troy’s dad got arrested. Monday he didn't show up to school and then the papers came to check him out. He and his family moved back to New Orleans. I will miss Troy.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


This kid named Shane (big time trouble) was sitting on the stage kicking the railing and the railing was coming loose from where is was attached. He was mad because a teacher told him to go sit out because of his behavior. He got really mad when another teacher, "told him to sit down when he was already sitting." I started talking to him because he was breaking the railing. He got all upset and shouted, "I'm tired of this school!" I just said to him, "Well if you can find a school where they let you destroy property and yell at teachers, then please, move to that school!." AAAAGGGHHHH!!!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Ride of the Tiger

We were working on fictional tales in class today and the kids had to tell stories about things that happened to them--that didn't really happen to them. The game is called "Tell Me About The Time You..."

I asked a third grade girl named Rachel to tell me about the time she rode on the back of a tiger. She told how she was running for class president and to get votes, she rode on the back of a tiger. She said that it was very fun. It was even fun when the tiger ate her foot--(then she paused to think for a second)--because it's fun to watch tigers eat!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Sometimes First Graders are Funny Too

Katy, a first grader, was standing in line and stated, "I feel like I just ate a hamburger with catsup and mustard." It was only nine-thirty in the morning so I asked her the obvious question, "What did you have for breakfast?" Her reply, "The skins of a muffin. I didn't want to eat the blueberries."

I told this to her teacher and her teacher said that Katy is always cracking her up. She said that one day a girl in her class was standing there with her arms folded and Katy went up to her and asked, "Are you doing the margarita dance?" (She really meant to say "Macarena")

Thursday, February 08, 2007


Whenever a kid comes up to me and says something like, "Mr. Bowers, Bobby hit me" or, "Mr. Bowers, Kelly pushed me." I will say to them, "Did you ask them why they did it?" If they say, "No" then I tell them to go and ask them, "why?"

Usually the other kid says something like, "Because you hit me first" or "Because you cut in front of me."

If someone came up to me and hit me I would usually know the reason why they did it. If I didn't know why they hit me, I would want to know.

I always tell them that hitting or pushing is no way to solve a problem--even if the other person hits first. I want the kids to start settling their messes by communicating with each other.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

That Crazy Teegerstrom

The activity was a about character building. The assignment for each child was to come up with a character and an emotion. Then, I would give them a line to start a monologue with.

Teegerstrom (grade 4) came up for his turn. The character he came up with was half-ninja-half-wizard. AWESOME! What a great idea for a character. I am surprised there hasn't been some kind of movie with a half-ninja-half-wizard character. His emotion was anger, but he told me that it was really revenge.

The line I gave him to start his monologue with was, "Do you know me?"

"Do you know me? Well I know you, you are the one who killed my Sensay (sp?) Now you will pay!"

At this point he quit speaking and started doing this imaginary fight with lots of magical sounds and fantastic moves. I imagined him throwing stars with one hand and using his wand with the other. At one point he allowed his character to be thrown across the room, then he came back and defeated whoever he was fighting against. Even though he didn't have much of a monologue, he earned trememdous applause from his classmates--and from his teacher.

Monday, January 29, 2007


The owner came to pick up the dog. It turned out that she was a Bullmastiff. Whatever. She was a monster dog. The kids are still abuzz.

I still don't know how the dog got on the loose but here is the info I do have:

According to the owner she is less than a year old and she is around 80 lbs. Her name is Zena. She has one of those micro chips in her neck to identify her. She has tags, but they keep getting lost (probably they get knocked off as she is jumping over whatever fence is keeping her). The owner says that she is very playful.

Whatever. She is a monster dog in the memories of these children! I love it!!!

Dog in the Cafeteria!

So, I am standing outside making sure that the kids don't run to class this morning, and suddenly about fifteen of them come bolting out of the cafeteria being chased by a giant monster dog with markings kinda like a black tiger! It ran past the kids and made its way around the track. All of the kids were screaming and running--it was crazy. I thought for sure one of the kids was going to be eaten.

Ronisha's big teenage brother chased the dog through the mud--in white pants-- and caught her. Julie from the office came over with a leash. Julie is one of those "rescue a Greyhound" type people so she'll know what to do.

The dog is just a puppy (maybe a year and a half old), but it stands at least three feet tall--it's huge!

The best quote was from Bryante, a first grader, who was not afraid of the dog, "That dog was only trying to lick us."

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Drama Club '06

Well, I have started another Drama Club. I kinda made a mistake during the audition process. I got a new monologue book this year and I guess the monologues that I gave them to memorize were shorter than the ones from last year because I had 28 kids do the work and memorize them as opposed to only 13 from last year. That is still a pretty low number considering the fact that I gave monologues to more than 300 third and forth graders.

Anyway, I am in the process of writing a play for these kids to perform. I think I got a good one. It is a tale of two households—well, kinda. One house has a kid in it that is pretty good and the other household has a kid who is kind of a bully. You get to see how in the good kids' household, the mom is cheerful and happy. In the bully's household, the mom is, well, not mean, but she is seriously stressed out because of work and the baby and trying to keep it all together, and her attitude rubs off on her kid.

At school, there will be a food fight resulting in the two kids both getting in trouble and while sitting out recess together, they become friends. Then, after school their mom's discover that they used to be friends when they were young and the good kid's mom offers to help out her old friend by keeping her kids after school, thus relieving the bully's mom's stress--or something like that.

There are many parts in the play for my 28 kids. Talking household pets, a grandpa, a bus driver, a policeman (The bus driver gets pulled over because the bully was throwing orange peels out of the window!) the principal, the teacher, two singing cafeteria ladies, the class clown (who is also the main characters' BFF [Best Friend Forever]) and several other kids with their own unique personalities.

I hope this years Club will be as hard working as the last. I will need it to be!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Camera Phone

Khalil was out of his seat crawling around the rug and I had a great idea. I pulled out my camera phone real quick and snapped a picture of him. He froze. I said, "Khalil, come look at this picture. Does it look like the kid in this picture is doing the right thing?" He shook his head. "Now, Khalil, I can delete this picture, or I can forward it to your mom's cell phone . Do you think your mom will enjoy receiving this picture?" Again he shakes his head. I continued, "I'm gonna keep this picture in my phone until the end of class and then I will decide if I want to delete it, or forward it.

Now, I don't even know if his mom has a cell phone--or even more, a phone that you can send pictures to--heck, I can only take pictures with my phone, I can't even send them! I guess if a kid ever calls my bluff and tells me to send their picture, I will just have to tell them that I sent it and if they ask their mom if she got a picture sent to her from their teacher then they will have to explain it.

I may have invented a new way to get after these kids! I might just have to write a book!

btw-Khalil stayed in his seat for the rest of class and I deleted the picture and he got a big smile on his silly face.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

John Paul

I really love it when I get to teach all the kids in a family. I guess sometimes it can be a bad thing, but most of the time it is really cool. I taught John Paul's older brother and sister, but it has been at least three years since they moved on, so I had forgotten that they had a little brother. John Paul is the coolest! He is in Kinder and he is like a perfect mix of his two older siblings.

Yesterday we were talking about helping out around the house without being asked. You know doing things like putting up your toys, carrying your dishes to the sink and picking up your dirty clothes. John Paul raises his hand and tells me that he already helps out around the house. I asked him if his older brother helps out around the house. He replied, "Rarely."

(sigh) kindergartners.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Teegerstrom for President

Teegerstrom is his last name. He's one of those kids that I would describe as OTL (out to lunch). He always has the strangest things to say and whatever he says usually revolves around ninjas, robots or scientists.

He is a bully's favorite target. Luckily, he is in a Gifted and Talented class and there is only one bully--Rodney. Rodney is a very sneaky bully. He always has one eye on the teacher so the teacher never catches him being mean.

I have known Teegerstrom since Kindergarten and this is his 4th grade year. I remember a few years ago he was sad because he didn't like his last name, Teegerstrom. I told him that his last name was awesome because it sounds like tiger-strong. I told him, "You know, a Ninja would love the name Tiger Strong." Then I would say something really cool like, "Now you will feel the wrath of TIGER STRONG!!" He loved it. Now, I don't ever call him by his first name. To me he is only Teegerstrom.

Today, he really impressed me. We were talking about doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do, and how you will know what the right thing to do is. I used this example, "Let’s say you are playing in the yard and you look out and see a little kindergartner standing in the middle of the street looking at a puddle. What do you do?" Rodney raises his hand and says, "You go over and splash him?" You know I was having the hardest time not laughing along with the rest of the class. Well, Teegerstrom raises his hand and says something like this:

"Everyone is laughing at Rodney's joke, but Mr. Bowers is talking about compassion. You know like when you are waiting for a cab and it's raining and you see two little kids waiting for a cab and they don't have an umbrella. Do you just take the cab and let the two little kids keep getting wet? No, you give them the cab and you wait for another one."

Total silence. I was so impressed. I told the class that when they grow up they should look for someone like Teegerstrom to elect as a President. I told Teegerstrom that I was proud of him and that he is now starting to think on a higher level. I told him that I have never heard a 4th grader speak in such a wise way. He loved it, but he kept a serious expression the whole time.

Friday, January 05, 2007

We're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

I asked the kids to tell a familiar story from a different characters' perspective. I used the example of Baby Bear talking about how he came home and found his food eaten and his chair broken and a little girl sleeping in his bed. Some kids would do a different character in the Three Bears and some would do a character from a kids movie like "Cars", "Over the Hedge" or "Beauty and the Beast".

Then Marcellus comes up for his turn:

"I was swimming in the ocean and I seen this thing up at the top of the water that looked like food. I swam up to it and gobbled it up. Then the next day all these boats started looking for me and these two kids were pretending to be me and they got in trouble. Then the next day these three guys came out in a boat and started looking for me and were shooting me with these arrows and I broke their boat and ate up one of the men and then they blew me up."

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Master Yoda is the BOMB!

I can speak first hand on the hottest toy of the holiday season. I always ask the the kids to tell me the best toy they got over the "Winter Holiday". This year there are the usual bicycles, Barbie's and Brats Dolls, however the absolute hottest toy is actually a video game--"Leggo Star Wars 2". I can speak first hand because I also got this game as a Christmas present from my little brother to play on my PS2. The cool thing about being a teacher this time of year is that I can ask the kids for help on certain levels of a game when I am having problems. You know like, "Hey Duncan, how do I get past the Emperor on level seventeen?"

The thing that worries me is that I played this game so much over the break that I am way ahead of the kids at my school. When I ask them about the Jabba the Hutt level, they look at me in awe and say, "I didn't even know there was a Jabba the Hutt level. Wow!"

Now I am truly the master. The kids are so amazed with my gaming skills that they start asking me for help. Finally I get the respect that I deserve. I know how it feels to be Yoda!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Back 2 School

Well, I'm back, but the kids haven't got here yet. Today is a teacher work day. All we do is sit in meetings trying to figure out how to make the kids smarter. I usually get a significant ammount of doodling done during these meetings--it gives me a chance to finish some of the doodling I started in my college days.

The PE coach and I take bets on which teachers will nod off during the meetings and count the number of times one of the speakers says, "in regards to". I think the record is actually 23!

There is always one or two kids that show up on teacher in service days. I hate it. I feel so sorry for the kid and also the parent. The poor kid is feeling all nervous because there are no other kids around. When the parent comes to school to pick up the kid they feel all embarrassed because of the mistake.

One year, a kid actually got up and got dressed and walked to school like he usually does. We couldn't reach his mom because she got a new job and hadn't given the school the number. He stayed at school the whole day sitting in the office. When 3:15 rolled around his mom was even late to pick him up.

Today there was only one little girl who came to school and she was crying in the office. I told her that she had to go home because today is the day that the teachers get the playground all to themselves. I don't know if she believed me but it made her smile.