Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Annotated Top Ten

My students came up with a ‘Top Ten’ list of things I say. The complete list of sayings they brainstormed contained a mix of routines and reminders as well as peaks into my personality. To an outsider the list wouldn’t make much sense so here is the annotated version.

#10 “Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen!”
OK. That one is pretty obvious. I great each student, by name, as they enter my room. When the bell rings I enter the room while saying this.

#9 “Please finish the sentence you are on, put a bookmark in your book, and be ready to correct your DLR.”
Our first morning transition. They read, silently, after completing their Daily Language Review (DLR). This is the second thing they hear me say every. single. day.

#8 “Would you like to hear a G story?”
Having a toddler is amusing, but I don’t want to force her stories on them so I always ask first.

#7 “This is an independent activity.”
This statement is a simple way to get the volume turned off when they are getting too chatty. (I have also started making quips about their pencils, books, etc., being voice activated and asking where they have found such amazing technology.)

#6 “You or your chair?”
This is a choice I give my students. They can either keep their chair, all four legs, on the floor OR they can sit on the floor.

#5 “No elephants.”
It turns out that I talk about elephants in two, completely unrelated areas. We talk about labeling our ‘elephants’ in math. I have never had a math problem that the answer was ________ elephants. (It is possible, just doesn’t seem to come up in the problems we do.) So, as an attempt to remind them to label their work we talk about ‘elephants’. If someone gives an answer without the label I will ask “elephants?” Which they clue into pretty fast after the first couple of days of school.

This spot on the ‘Top Ten’ list has nothing to do with math. It is actually my way of reminding them to tread quietly on the stairs. Yes, this is ironic as elephants do walk rather quietly, but a herd of elephants is what was brought to mind as they take off up or down the stairs without thinking about how they are stepping.

#4 “Go away.”
I start out the year saying ‘You may go’, but somewhere along the way it turns to this – always delivered with a smile and used as they, happily, head to recess and lunch.

#3 “Go!”
This is my ‘word’. Instructions are given that can be completed once I say ‘the word’. Once everyone is on board with what is happening I say (or write) ‘Go!’

#2 “Bless you.”
If someone sneezes, and I hear it, these words come out of my mouth. It is absolute habit.

#1 “Bummer!” 
Ah, ‘bummer’. The simplest explanation would be to have you read about Love and Logic. It boils down to choices and the consequences for poor choices. Sometimes the consequence is known and all I need to say is, “bummer”. Sometimes the consequence is yet to be decided and “bummer” is the place holder until we have time for the next step. If they are unsure of what will happen I reassure them not to worry.  They know the consequence will come and they will get to have their say in it, sometimes more say than they want. “Bummer!”


  1. Funny. And did you ask the students their explanation of all these, Kristi. I wonder how they would explain it? I had students imitate me a few years ago. I never realized I put my glasses off & on so much. Thanks for the neat thing you do with your students.

  2. I wonder what my students would write. Many of the statements would probably be related to classroom routines as are yours. "No elephants" was a funny one from your list. Thank you for sharing.

  3. It makes me think of the poor students who come in half way through the year. They are the outsiders having to learn the code of the classroom. Might be writing task in creating a class glossary:)

  4. To an outsider the list wouldn’t make much sense...that's the best part, because it speaks to the community you've become in the space of a school year. Also, I love the bit about the elephants - so true!

  5. I feel like I got a better glimpse of your classroom through these quotes! It's always surprising how well our students know us at times! :) --jee young

  6. These are great. I know some of the things my students would say, but this would be a fun writing activity towards the end of the year! The love and logic "Bummer" is a great way to put the responsibility back on students. Love it

  7. What a fun insight into who you are as a teacher. These little "catch phrases" say so much about us. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I love the "You or your chair." Before I read the explanation, I was trying to image what the context was. I also like the elephants. I have my students need that same reminder about walking quietly.

    Thinking Out Loud

  9. I love that you ask before sharing a G story. I am sure they want to hear them, but that's so considerate of you!

  10. This is great! I love that your students thought about this and easily answered! I also love that you felt the need to explain them...as I would too! This is a fun idea for the end of the school year. Bummer is one of my words too, both at home and at school. My three-year-old has added it to her vocabulary now too!

  11. Oooo. I enjoyed this so much. I can see so clearly the kind of teacher you are through this list: the kind who attends to the tiniest details (No elephants); the kind who doesn't waste time saying a paragraph when one or two words will do (You or your chair?); the kind of teacher who has a sense of humor (Go away); and the kind of teacher who loves her students enough to commiserate with them when they make mistakes, yet still hold them to the highest standards of behavior (Bummer). Yep, sounds like an exceptional teacher to me... Your students are lucky to have you.

  12. Love that the kids made the list for you. You are obviously loved. I would love to sit in on a class.

  13. Great idea for a wrap up. I wonder what my intermediate students would say! This is a list of love!