Monday, April 30, 2007

Built To Last

About once a month I teach a large group session for 2nd-4th graders at my church. The theme of the day yesterday was "Built To Last," so everything was taught around this idea of people in the church being built to last.

My lesson opening question was, "What do you think of when you hear the words 'built to last'?"

I got a few answers:

"Something that stays."

"Something strong."

And the first-class answer of the day:

"Ford Trucks!"

Have the Ford commercials ministered to your kids today?

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Home Alone

Today we talked about how to be safe if you're home alone. Of course we couldn't move on without hearing every story known to man about how "my brother called 9-1-1 once" and "one time a guy came to the door so I..." kind of things.

It was comforting to me that these parents have done a fantastic job of teaching their kids what to do.

One of my students is so funny because he's very quiet and compliant but has this kind of hidden streak of "stinker" in him he's a lot of fun. He told us this important fact about being home alone:

"You should always know your neighbors because once when I was home alone I was jumping on the couch and I choked on a cracker and I had to go tell my neighbor."

For the rest of the afternoon, every time I even looked at this kid I laughed. So funny!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Birthdays are a big deal when you're turning seven. In first grade world, we always have to sing, wear a birthday hat, eat some treats, etc. Not to mention if the birthday cake isn't on the calendar, we throw a fit.

But I digress again.

So on this particular day, a mother brought dirt pudding in for a birthday treat for her daughter's school party. If you're not familiar with dirt pudding, it's chocolate pudding with Oreo cookies crumbled on top to look like topsoil. This particular mom knew her audience and also included a gummy worm in the dirt and a little flower on top.

A couple of my kids were new to dirt pudding and were a little concerned:

"Is this really dirt?"

"Are we supposed to really eat this?"

Then we had to have a little meeting about how it's not really dirt, it's chocolate pudding, etc.

As someone who finds kids really funny, it was enough for me that they thought we'd actually feed them dirt and call it a treat...happy birthday, here's some dirt...okey dokey...but the story got better. I walked around the room as they ate and asked one kid, "So...does it really taste like dirt?"

His reply still cracks me up:

"No way, this does NOT taste like dirt at all. Dirt is crunchy and gets stuck in your teeth."

Somehow I wasn't surprised that this kid had eaten dirt before...and probably some other questionable stuff.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The Tooth Fairy

I've had students of several different backgrounds and religions in the short time I've taught. One day we got into the (dangerous!) discussion about the tooth fairy. A couple of my students didn't celebrate holidays or childhood characters, and one of these kids said,

"I don't believe in the tooth fairy because it goes against my gods. But I really want to test it out just to see."

I don't know if she did or not! I should have checked. ;o)

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


One day out of sheer curiosity I asked, "How old do you think you have to be to be the President?"

One first-grader said, "Old enough to drink beer!"


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Color "People"

We do a lot of coloring in first grade.

So one day I asked my kids to get out their favorite color crayon. One student held up a peach one and said, "Mrs. Overman, this is my favorite color: it's the color people."

I know Crayola has funny names for colors like "Robin's Egg Blue" and "Macaroni and Cheese," but can you imagine the hits they'd take for naming peach "People"? Wow!

Cute from the mouth of a child, though!

Monday, April 16, 2007


During our calendar time today, I told my first-graders that grown-ups have to pay their taxes today.

"What are taxes?" they all wanted to know.

"Taxes are money we pay to the President and his business so we can have things like nice roads, schools, and other stuff, " I said.

Then the question of the hour from one very curious little girl:

"Okay, so do I need to send my money right to the President or can I just take it to the bank?"

Oh, darling, if only it were that easy!

Friday, April 13, 2007


This one's just too funny to not post.

Our school participated in a fundraiser for Muscular Dystrophy this week. To make a long story short, the top four classrooms got some exciting prizes like extra recess with our principal. My first-graders love Mrs. Woodard and were so excited they were saying things like:

"I'm going to sell all my toys to get lots of money to bring!"

"I'm going to bring my report card money!"


At the end of the day the winning classrooms were announced over the loudspeaker. Our class didn't win, to which one of my students replied,


I don't think he really got the point of the fundraiser....

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Last year it had been really yucky weather-wise during the time surrounding Hurricane Katrina. My first-graders and I were talking about how fortunate we were to just have the outside of that big storm because we only got "sprinkles" of rain from the storm. They were expressing their worry about whether or not we could ever have a really bad storm like that in Indiana, so we proceeded to discuss how hurricanes form over the ocean and we have nothing to worry about. Just sprinkles.

Still, some of my students are natural worriers like me and were not convinced.

I did my best with my minimal meteorological knowledge to assure them that we would NEVER have a hurricane. Only sprinkles.

I was pretty proud of myself; good for me that I was able to put their constantly-churning minds at ease with my sprinkles explanation.

Then came outside recess.

The playground is a tough place. There are times where anything goes just because the kids are letting out their boundless energy that they've desperately tried to restrain all day. I was thinking this lovely hurricane discussion was over; what happened at recess proved me wrong...again. Ah, the education I receive from being an educator....

My kids came running in the recess doors to find me waiting for them at our door as usual. They were so worked up I was a little concerned.

"Mrs. Overman! Mrs. Overman! Help! A hurricane is coming! It's sprinkling like you said!"

This is all I can figure: they did a good job attaching "sprinkles" in their memory...DEFINITELY didn't do so hot remembering why sprinkles are a good thing.

Back to the drawing board.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Bubble Gum

My first year teaching was one dramatic event after another. I learned more that year about life than any other time other than when I worked in detention. But I digress.

So early in my first year teaching, my first-graders and I returned to our room from music class and immediately the phone rang. It was the music teacher, a 35-ish year veteran and wonderful model educator:

"Hi Mrs. Overman. I just wanted to let you know that today in music we sang a funny song about a little boy who choked on his bubble gum and died. All the kids thought it was just hilarious except for J. He cried for the rest of the class after that song ended. I just wanted to let you know."

My response:

"Okay, thanks, he's still crying. That makes more sense now."

If you've ever taught first grade, you know all traumatic events of any caliber must be addressed with a debriefing session, otherwise you may have some little ones who are traumatized for life and then parents call and it's messy. So we proceeded to organize ourselves into a community circle to discuss the situation. I opened the discussion:

"Well, I heard you sang a song in music class today..."

and was interrupted by another kid:


Tuesday, April 10, 2007


One of my students came up to me one day and randomly said,

"My grandma died because her heart was very sick and she stopped eating her vitamins."

I love the simplicity. Why can't they tell us this stuff in the hospital?

Monday, April 9, 2007

Great Kids

My kids are so great.

I'm at the tail-end of the flu today and still pretty much feel awful. I told my kids they would have to listen very carefully and do their best because I just feel terrible (which they've never seen or heard me say).

Here are some of their comments to me:

"Oh, Mrs. Overman, we're going to have to keep an eye on you!"

"Mrs. Overman, you can sleep in the beanbag chair while we're gone to music."

How cute. If only I were so good to them when they're sick...except then they'd be "sick" all the time!

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


So I talked more in depth with the student whose grandmother is Amish and apparently, according to her, there are Amish words, but not really an Amish language. If you know more about this than I do, feel free to post a comment and I'll add more. This still makes my last story accurate, however, because F. thought there was a complete Amish language like Spanish. I learn something new every day.