Follow-Up and Stitches (Twice!)

Follow-Up and Stitches (Twice!)

As I’ve gotten older, I have come to embrace the rule that I won’t say anything about someone that I wouldn’t say to them. I wish I could say I’d lived my whole life like that, but I can’t.

In keeping with that, I talked with C’s pre-k teacher and I gave her the link to the article I wrote about our frustrations with the daily behavior chart. While I waited, she read it, smiled at me, gave me a hug and reassured me that ALL the pre-k kids are like that, and not to worry. She even told me something helpful he’d done that day, jumping up and helping move tables back in place after nap time. 

I told her those were the kind of things we needed to hear on the chart, especially those of us with really busy kids. We talked about how the school’s ongoing construction was impacting how the students were moved around the campus, and our shared fear that C would go exploring in those areas and end up in the rafters. 

We chuckled together, and she promised we’d see more positives. 

And then today, Corey ran–and by ran, I mean at top speed–into a cabinet in classroom. 

Several hours and three stitches later, he’d peeled the steri-strips off before we’d left the parking lot AND before the Versed the had actually worn off.

That’s my boy. 

And, on the way home, he picked out the stitches, so he had to go back for round two: more Versed and the non-dissolvable kind of stitches. 

See what I mean? You can’t make this stuff up! 

  

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Pre-K and the Daily Behavior Report

Pre-K and the Daily Behavior Report

My husband and I struggled with the decision to put our youngest child in pre-k this year.  People who know us assure us that it’s because he’s a boy, and we’re only used to girls.  Our little boy, C. is “busy.” And busy is the nicest word we have found to describe our capricious little half-sized tornado.

I started praying for his teacher before we even knew he got into a pre-k class, because we knew teaching him is going to be a challenge.  Trust us, parenting him is no peanut butter and jelly sandwich, either.

Today, I am feeling more protective of him than usual, and defensive for him.  Read on, and I think you’ll understand.

His teacher is highly recommended, and everyone I’ve spoken with has loved her, so I know (hope, pray, expect) that it will get better.

____________________________________________

Dear Teacher,

I’m not sorry for the snarky, desperate note I scribbled on C’s daily behavior log today, but I do feel the need to explain.

I was in a hurry, and took a bad picture. My response reads, "We've been working on this since he was a baby!"
I was in a hurry, and took a bad picture. My response reads, “We’ve been working on this since he was a baby!”

That little boy right there?  He’s mine. He’s our youngest, our last, and the only boy.

He doesn’t look like me, or my husband, but his little brown hands hold our pale ones for evening prayer each night.

When I come home from work, he charges at me, with an exuberant, “Mama!” and slams into me for a fast hug, before rushing off for more playtime.

When he talks about his daddy, his bright eyes light up, and he jabbers with excitement about his daddy’s trains, his daddy’s truck, cooking with his daddy, and swimming with his daddy. He points at my husband and says, “That’s MY daddy.”

And he talks about all six of his sisters, his speech teacher, Overtime at church, his birth mom, his grandparents, coloring, dancing, the movie Home, and riding his scooter.

He loves running, dogs, driving his sisters nuts, and seeing how many things he can stuff into another random thing. He likes building and taking apart, he plays jokes, wants his boo-boos bandaged, is a pro at finding weird places to pee, and he will, at the ripe old age of four, do cannonballs off the high-dive with no life jacket, and laugh all the way down.

He has the temper of a wildfire, and the drowsy snuggliness of a decades-old quilt. He wants to be read to, but rarely can sit still past page three.

He makes the silliest faces, and in perfectly good humor, will ignore you the first 147 times you tell him to go get in his bed. And on request #148, he’ll wriggle down the hall, taunting that he doesn’t like us.  Minutes later, we hear, “Mama, Daddy!  I want YOU!”

We have to set a timer at dinner, or he will play with his food, his sister’s food, the dog, his silverware, my silverware, visit the bathroom three times, and try to go outside at least once.

Dentist’s offices don’t use as many toothbrushes as we do, because they can be used for everything, including disassembling the flush mechanisms on the toilet, brushing his hair, playing with his feet, and any number of ways to annoy his sisters. I’ve already mentioned that? Oh yeah, he’s a pro at getting them mad enough to tell like a dying Ton-Ton on the ice planet Hoth.

But in the midst of all the crazy he creates, he will stop, look up, smile, and blink charmingly at you, like the perfect little angel he could be if he never moved.

So when I get notes from you, every day, saying he needs to work on keeping his hands to himself, I have a hard time responding.

Not one day has gone by since he started walking—and he pretty much skipped crawling–that we haven’t, several times in the span of just a few minutes, told him to keep his hands to himself.   To be still.  To stop that.

He is curious, insistent, helpful, stubborn, and very, very clever. He gets bored once he’s figured something out.

We work on his sitting still skills.  We practice following directions, using routines and procedures, and staying in line. Every. Single. Day.

C. reminds me of my uncle, whose nickname he shares: athletic, really bright, fearless, and hopefully, someday, smart enough to walk the line between adventure and trouble.

I hope he continues to love to learn, and get excited about being in school like his big sisters.

And I worry that if all he hears is that he needs to stay in line, keep his hands to himself, and stop swinging his lunchbox, he will lose the exuberant joy he has when he discovers something new.

And while I know he needs to do all those things in the classroom, and I also know that he needs to hear the good he does too. So do his parents.

So, could you help a mama out, and maybe once a week, find something nice to say about my little boy?

He really is trying.

Thank you,

Mom

Teachers, Timing, and Testing

Teachers, Timing, and Testing

It makes sense to me that if I test my students on the first day of school and the last day of school, that I’d get a pretty good understanding of what they’d learned along the way.

So it always bothers me that the measurements that are used to evaluate my effectiveness as a teacher are done so late after the start of the year.  As we begin the second full week, I have begun teaching both skills and content.  We’ve covered the processes and procedures needed for classroom management, and are on our way through the curriculum.  And yet, no pre-test yet.

As we move further into the school year, it will get worse for my evaluations, because the kids will score higher on sections of the pre-test that we’ve already covered.

This bothers me for a lot of reasons.

First, if I weren’t a high-road kind of girl, I could just show movies, or play games, or do puzzles the first weeks of school while waiting on a pre-test to show up.  Good for me, bad for the kids.

Second, I could tell my kids to Christmas tree the test, thereby guaranteeing lower scores to start with.  But, again, there’s that high-road, and I like the view from up there. And I don’t want to teach my students to skew data.  They’ll figure that out soon enough in the long run.

Third, I really want accurate, timely feedback on whether my kids are learning anything.  To do that the pre-test ought to come prior to the content.  But it doesn’t, it comes when it comes, on it’s own schedule.  I could be really grumpy and point out that the school calendars are published about six months prior to the new school year, but that might be petty, so I’ll keep moving.

Finally, if there continues to be so much money made in education by corporations who are looking for more data to mine, then the tests, the data we need, and the information most prescient to our classrooms will be completely out of our hands.  Oh wait. Haha.  It already is.  Nevermind.  Forgot where I was.

So, if you’re a teacher, or teacher friendly, I’d like to encourage you to get involved somewhere, and start speaking out against the craziness that is all of this money being spent on tests and testing instead of our students.

Have an awesome week, people!

When White People Comment on My Transracial Family

When White People Comment on My Transracial Family

I bet that title got your attention a little.  Good. I’m glad you’re here.

Toward the end of a twenty-three hour road trip this summer, I attempted to explain to my daughters M and N that because there are very few people of any color where we were going, we were likely to have more than our usual number of stares and comments.  Because we are a white parent/black children family, we get a lot of both.

N didn’t say anything; she usually doesn’t.

M said, in her typical blunt way, “If there isn’t anyone who looks like us, why would you take us there?”  Her depth often shocks me, and that it is my job to help her use her powers for good and not evil (yeah, we’re nerds like that), is a scary venture.

Anyway.

Good question, kiddo.

This is what I told her:

  1. Because you go where your family is.
  2. The color of our skin does not dictate where we go or what we do.

I want my girls to be as intentionally culturally courageous as adults as they are unintentionally as children.  They mix and mingle with everyone, talk with ease amongst kids of all backgrounds, and I don’t want them to lose that.  So as they grow, we have conversations about race, race perceptions, culture, community, and how our family and their birth families all fit into the conversation. But that’s at home.

When we’re in public, we are very conspicuously on display.  And people who see us, and are intrigued by us, often feel compelled to communicate their feelings about us to us.  What follows is almost always an awkward “I-don’t-spend-much-time-with-minorities-but-I-feel-like-I-have-to-say-something” conversation that happens mostly with white people.

Most comments come down to three things: where we “got” them, their above-average adorableness, and the way their hair is styled.

Asking me in front of my kids, where I got my kids is like walking up to someone and asking where they bought their car.  Or asking someone with an eggplant in their grocery buggy where the vegetable section is because they’ve always wanted to try eggplant. My children are not cars we have purchased, nor are they eggplants we obtained because we were curious.  They are children with ears that work. What they can’t do is process all the nuances, assumptions, and social issues loaded into that question.

Physically, my kids are just flat adorable; two of them have never taken a bad picture, and one of them has a smile and laugh that lights up the world around them.  They all have lashes to die for, beautiful smiles, and gorgeous glowing Hershey and mahogany skin.  They are four, five, and six, so they’re even in a cute age group.

And without fail, every time we’re in public, people comment on their cuteness.  This consistency leaves me suspicious.  Are the comments truly about the epic levels of cute, or are they something else?

When a white family is out in public with their children, how often does another white person comment to them about how cute their kids are? I believe that if my kids where white, or at least looked more like my husband and me, we would get almost no comments about their physical attractiveness.  And I don’t think there’s anything malicious about this.  Hang with me, we’re almost to the theory.

Then people ask about their hair. They want to know who does it and how does it stay that way.  A side note on basic etiquette:  Please don’t touch my kids when you ask that about their hair; they are not puppies.  They have personal space and full control over who does and doesn’t get to touch them.  It’s very awkward to have a stranger walk up, touch a poof or braid, and ask who does them.

To answer that, for the most part, I do, unless it’s a style I can’t do, or am feeling lazy enough to pay someone else to do it.

But what’s behind the question?  Are you trying to make conversation to recommend a stylist, or are you just being nosy?  I’ve never seen a white person ask another white person who does their child’s hair.

It doesn’t matter how they have it styled, when we are in public, anywhere with people milling about, we get comments from random strangers about the beads, the braids, the poofs, or the ‘fro.

Here’s my theory:

This brief public interaction is not about my children or my family at all.  It is a way for the the other person to offer their recognition of our uniqueness, and to somehow validate it and offer us a sense of acceptance.

I think the comments and questions are, in part, to prove to themselves and our family that the speaker is not racist, and that they are happy to see families like ours. I see it as them wanting to offer support and acceptance, and not knowing what else to say except that our kids are cute.  I truly do appreciate the warm fuzzies.  I do.

But.

While I’m grateful that lots of people want to offer us that validation, I wish they’d just smile at us and leave it at that.

I love that people want to reach out, but the hyper-inflation of my kids’ ego is getting difficult to manage. Trust me, they know they’re cute.  And when they get tired of hearing it, sometimes it’s difficult to keep their manners in check.

During that long road trip, we went to a famous national retailer that rhymes with CallTart, and my kids quadrupled the people of color count in the store that day.

I kept count because I knew it would be a doozy.  We got:

  • eight “your girls are so pretty”
  • four “I love the bling/beads/braids/braids” in their hair
  • two randomly shared hair stories that involved mixed-race nieces and nephews
  • four hostile glances
  • four knowing smiles

By the fifth compliment, M. had had enough and pretending no one was there and that she hadn’t heard anything. N has her own set of drummers in her head, and never seems bothered about people, unless those people are her siblings, and then it’s radar-lock battle time. So she just did her own thing, sometimes smiling, sometimes doing her odd little dance.

While I understand the impulse to offer something, anything, please consider what you say, what your motivation is, and what your goal is.  It is so important to offer people whose causes we support whatever help and encouragement they need, and telling me that my kids are cute doesn’t do much to forward that agenda.

If seeing my family provides a valuable opportunity to analyze your beliefs and behaviors, that is an awesome self-evaluation time for you, and I’m glad you’re embracing it.  But none of that is truly about my children, me, or my husband. That is all you, considering your place in the world, and sorting your way through racism and dealing different cultures.  I’m betting that saying that I have cute kids isn’t really what you want to say, but it is the easiest thing to say.

(And on another side note, please, for the love of all things everywhere, don’t use words like bling, bro and girlfriend just because my kids are black.  If you use, “Hey girlfriend!” with all little girls, fine, but to bust out the slang just because my girls look different than the ones you’re used to? Insulting.)

I love that there are so many people in the world who want to share with us that they are cool with our multi-cultural, multi-generational family, and I am thankful that only on a few occasions has anyone been completely rude or thoughtless.

But after so much of the same, it is very difficult to explain to them. They understand that we look different, and they sort of get why people stare at us and comment, but they aren’t capable of understanding all the racial subtext of those interactions yet.  I dread the day they do, because those will be new levels of long difficult conversations.

A smile, a nod of affirmation, or a note slipped into my hand requesting a phone call would be AWESOME.  I might even pass you a yet-to-be-created-but-in-the-works business card leading you to an already-created-but-still-pretty-dead-Facebook group for transracial families.

And I would call you, and we’d have a fantastic conversation, in which I would thank you for both recognizing our family and respecting the boundaries we’re trying to put in place for their safe passage into adulthood.

Since adopting our three, I have learned a lot about racism and racial issues, and experienced a tiny bit of it, but it is nowhere near what my kids will experience as they grow.

The biggest thing I have learned is that unless we talk about all of it, nothing will ever be better.

And that’s why I wrote this.

Let’s talk.

Just not in front of my kids.

Classroom Wish List (Updated 8/28)

Classroom Wish List (Updated 8/28)

Hello!  I’m applying for a Reddit teacher gift package, and to make it easier for people who might adopt my classroom, I’m posting my wish list with links and explanations here.  Regular readers, Facebook friends, and everyone else, don’t feel pressured. Unless you’re easily pressured, independently wealthy, have money to burn, or any of combination of those three, then feel free to embrace any invisible pressure you may be feeling.

Here is my Amazon wish list link.  I hope it works. I’ve been fiddling with it.

If it doesn’t, on Amazon, go to the Wish List Tab, and select “Find a Gift Registry or Wish List.” Search for Mrs. Saunders; I’m the lady with tiara (it’s the same picture as my profile here.) The list is called “WTTCHS ELA Wish List.”

Thank you!


Over the summer I did some Pinterest-inspired making over of my classroom, and while it’s not done, it is in progress.  Most of the supplies I’m asking for go along with the changes I made this summer.

UPDATE:  Thank you so much for your generosity: Jen, Gwen, Tammy, Nioka, and Cindy!  I am so excited about how this school year is progressing.  Your help has made a huge difference, and I am humbled by and thankful for your generosity.  

FOR STUDENT SUPPLIES:

Here is where my student work supplies are stored; please ignore the mess.  It’s a work in progress, I have drawer labels almost made, and zip straps and tape to deal with all the cords and wires. Once that’s done, it’s gonna look amazing.  (Thank you Debby for the drawers!!)   I’ll post the after pics in another piece, hopefully at the beginning of next week.

IMG_0358

Right now, each box contains between four and six miniature marker boards, what’s left of my marker supply from a purchase four or five years ago, some mostly dried up glue sticks, and a pair of scissors, and a pair of socks.  I color code things, and have my students do the same, on a regular basis. For that to work, this is what I need:

  • 12 packs of colored pencils (Thank you and CH!!)
  • Black chisel permanent markers (other colors welcome, too!  (two dozen)
  • glue sticks(Thank you CH!!)
  • 12 SIX packs of Crayola markers (Thank you NT!)
  • 12   SIX packs of six color highlighters (pink, orange, yellow, green, blue & purple) ((Thank you, T&DB and NT!!)
  • Notebook paper
  • Copy paper in any color you’d like to send!!

FOR ORGANIZING

For right now, this is what suffices for each table’s folder.

IMG_0355

However, with the supplies below, I could make this much easier, more efficient, and longer lasting.

  • 6 binders in 6 different colors (My groups are labeled by colors, based on the paper I could find to identify the tables) (Thank you NT!!)
  • 6 sets of dividers

FOR CLEANING/HEALTH MAINTENANCE

Once kids get past fifth grade,  parents don’t help much with tissue and cleaning supplies.  I’m not sure why, but trust me, we still need the help.  If there is tissue or sanitizer or cleaning supplies in my room, it’s because I’ve bought them, or a parent has sent them in after seeing my wish list at the bottom of a mass email.

  • Bleach wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Facial tissue  (Thank you J.F.!!!)

FOR CHROMEBOOK CORNER

Again, this is a work in progress.

At the end of last school year, I got a grant for eight Chromebooks for my class room. Thus summer, I bought/picked up the tables, rugs, pillows and the lamp seen in the picture below.  I’m currently looking for two baskets for under the tables to hide the cords and wires, but that’s assuming I can find two matching baskets in good shape, that will fit, and still hold everything. Everything in the picture, (except the computers) was purchased via yard sales, or Facebook yard sale groups. (Thank you Gwen, Gwen’s friend down the road, and three other nice ladies who sold me stuff for pretty cheap!)

IMG_0356

Ideally, I’d like to have at least eight to twelve good-sized throw pillows or bean bags for student seating.

**Pillows or bean bags


MISCELLANEOUS

Here is where my yoga balls spend the night; they earn their rest, as they are used all day, every day.  They’re great for kids who are twitchy and wiggly, and for kids who are either to short too tall to fit comfortably in our desks.  I’d like to get more, because my students love them.  I bought three of them in yard sale groups, and had one given to me when she realized what I was getting it for (thank you Debby, Gwen, and two nice ladies whose names I don’t remember!).

IMG_0357

Again, for my regular readers, this is not a plea for you to send me stuff (unless you’re purging things and have items to get rid of).  I’m doing this for a teacher supply giveaway being done here.

And to all those ladies I bought items from, or who gave me supplies for my classroom this summer, THANK YOU SO MUCH!!

Comments, suggestions or ideas?  Add them in the comment sections.  Thanks for stopping by!

Dear New Teacher,

Dear New Teacher,

Hi, I’m Tracy.

I was once where you are: happy to be in a job, but exhausted from the first week and already feeling behind.

And sadly, not much has changed in 18 years. My room wasn’t as ready as I wanted it.  I didn’t get to read or plan as much as I would have liked to. But there wasn’t enough time, there never is, and I have finally, after 18 years, realized you have to let that stress go.  If you don’t, it will eat at you.

There are some things that I have learned over the years that have made my professional life better.  And if it please my readers (all four of you), I’d like to share some tidbits.

First, find a good mentor. If you’re lucky your school system’s new teacher induction program will find you one.  If you aren’t, ask three people for recommendations:  the media specialist, your AP, and your department chair.  Best two out of three wins.  I was lucky in that my first few years were spent with the amazing Rachel; we were fast friends, and she had a few years classroom experience in her pocket.  If it weren’t for her, I’m not sure what I’d be doing right now, but it darn sure wouldn’t be teaching.

Then, get more sleep. It’s a cliche, but it’s a seriously accurate one.  You can only run on coffee and energy drinks for so long before the bags under your eyes start shopping for luggage, and you are getting snippy even with your best students.  You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of other people.

Order a yearbook.

Let your students take the lead on some things. Contrary to all the media gripes, students in general like to be trusted to do things, even if it is just dusting the bookshelves, and emptying the recycling. Assign volunteers to help in your classroom–passing out graded work or handouts, making flash card sets on Quizlet (one of my all-time favorite apps), or spot cleaning the area where the hole-puncher played snowstorm again.

If you read no other book about education, read “The First Days of School.”  It is the single best classroom management book ever. Period.  I’m serious.  Go get it.  It’s important enough that my district gives copies of it to new teachers.  And for a district to part with money for nearly 400 copies of anything, you know it’s got to be good.

Drink water.  Really, really ice cold water.  It’s refreshing, and it’s good for you.

Don’t be afraid to play music in the classroom.  Pandora has become one of my favorite websites.  The Piano Guys channel, with Lindsey Sterling added in, is great classroom background music.  Not quite classical, and just funky enough to keep the kids awake.

Keep it simple.  In decorating, projects, expectations, lesson plans, documentation…  It doesn’t have to be museum quality to keep your classroom going.  It does need to be thoughtful and age-appropriate, but if all you have time and money for is cleaning it, then go with clean.  You can’t go wrong with that.

Always keep a folder with a review packet or a set of articles on the same issue from different perspectives, copied and ready for the whole class.  Just in case you need a back up plan.

When all else fails, look to Pinterest for a journal prompt, or a grouping activity.  I’m convinced there has to be a way to get professional development for time spent on Pinterest, but no one I know has figured it out yet.

At the end of the year, have your students make scrap book pages. The years I haven’t squeezed this in, I have regretted.  Make them use their full name on it, so you can say you knew them when.

Ask for help when you need it.  It’s not embarrassing, and it doesn’t mean you aren’t good at what you do.  I still need help, and I’ve gotten better at asking for it when I need to.

And that rule about not smiling?  Forget it.  Smile with, and at, your students.  It counts for something.

Here’s how I know.

Every night before bed, my five year-old, N. asks hopefully, “Do we get to go to school tomorrow, Mama?” And when the answer is affirmative, she does a fist pump with an excited, “Yesssss!”  I know it’s in part because every teacher I’ve met there smiles at their kids.  Even the ones they don’t teach. You have to work for N. to like you, and even more so to keep her attention.  Once she’s smiled at you, you’re in.  And for her to be so excited about school, it’s made a huge impression on her. So smile if your personality allows.

As long as you can stay one step ahead of the students, you’ll be ok.

And on the days you aren’t, you’ll improvise.

Finally, look back to your favorite teachers, and choose one.  Remember those “WWJD?” bracelets that used to be so popular?  Insert one of your favorite classroom teachers in there, and ask what that teacher would do.

Hang in there, Newbs.  It might not always be awesome, but you can almost always make it good.

Sincerely,

tracy

PS: Breathe.

Future Plans Before Lesson Plans, 180 Days, Day 6

Future Plans Before Lesson Plans, 180 Days, Day 6

My American Lit class started their day off today with this journal prompt:

What have you done to work toward life after graduation? Have you researched and visited colleges? Interviewed a military recruiter? Talked with your parents about living arrangements?  How ready are you?

Turns out, they aren’t ready at all.

My planned, five minute “you need to start thinking and talking about this” turned into a question and answer session that lasted the whole period.   My lesson plan was scrapped for what we teachers call a “teachable moment.” Sometimes, something comes up that’s more important or relevant that what’s mapped out on the pacing guide.  In the next forty minutes, we covered everything from in-state versus out-of-state tuition, the evils of student loans, the importance of communicating with their families about expectations and wishes, and how if they didn’t want other people to run their lives, they had to learn to run their own.

Most of them had no idea that student loans had to be paid back.  “How are you supposed to have a life if you have to pay that mess back?” Exactly my point, sweet girl!

We talked about options for paying for college, including working full-time and going part time; living at home, working for two years, saving every penny, and then going to school; using GI Bill benefits after spending time in the military;  paying cash for college, either because someone has a college fund for them, or through scholarships. Most of them had no idea about how they were going to pay for college.

They also didn’t understand paying taxes and tax refunds, so we went over that.

One girl–my thrift-store, funky jewelry rebel stole my heart completely when she said the most courageous thing a kid can say in a room full of expensively groomed young women.  She commented on the fact that if people quit spending so much for useless stuff, they wouldn’t be so broke.  Another girl looked at her, shocked.  So I asked that girl about her manicure.  Fifty dollars a month.

I told her that if she invested that money every month, she’d have nearly $500,000 in the bank when she was ready to retire. She looked shocked, and said, “Doesn’t the government give you a check when you retire?”  That was a real eye-opener for several in the class.

I also pointed out that a twenty year career in the military meant a retirement check and a second career. “But I’ll be too old for that,” one boy said.

I laughed and told him, “Trust me, you won’t feel as old at 38 as you think you will now.”

I’m sharing all this because one girl told another that she was lucky that her family had a college fund for her. I told her that it wasn’t luck. It was planning ahead, sacrifice, and wanting a life for their kids that was better than what they had.  And I followed it up with, “Someday your kids will be in a class like this, and it’s up to you to decide how they talk about you. It’s about changing your family history.”

The questions slowed down with about seven minutes left in class, so I told them to take a minute and jot down the things they wanted to talk with their families about, and to think about how best to start the conversation with their families.

Here’s my huge frustration: Why are so many of the KIDS in my junior English class having to start this conversation with their PARENTS?  They are too young for that responsibility; it shouldn’t be their responsibility at all.  It is our job as their parents to be building that conversation as they grow up, so that when they become juniors in high school that they’ll be able to have answers to some of the scariest questions any high school student has to answer.

Think back to your high school days: We were all hot and excited to get out from under our parents and be free.  How many of us, though, had any actual clue how to make that happen? I know I didn’t.  I have often said that I think the biggest failing of either of my parents was that they didn’t really teach us to manage money.  Which in the grand scheme of things means I had pretty good parents.

But even though we were excited about the prospect of being free and independent, we were terrified.  Well, I was, anyway.  And today’s world, with instant bad news everywhere all the time,  is a much scarier place to be.

Tomorrow’s warm-up journal will be to ask them to choose the best thing they got out of yesterday’s conversation and how it will help them, and then we’ll move on to what my lesson plans said we should have been doing today: Native American Oral Tradition and Creation Myths.

If you’re read this far, I’m sure you’ve figured out what your homework is.

Go on; get started.