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.