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Enjoy this film I created for one of my very favorite retiring teachers! I wish her a fond farewell…

Posted in School Life.

These are a few of my favorite things.

(The shirts and the boys!)

Posted in School Life.

Strawberry, Raspberry, Library

2nd grader the day after the Presidential Election: “Rock Obama won last night. He won all the decent states, like Florida.”
Kindergartner: “My dad said no more babies, and my mom had one!”
Kindergartener: “Hi Libary Girl!”
Me: “Hi Student!”
Kindergartner: “There are two Issacs in my class.”
Me: “Which one are you?”
Kindergartner: “The other one.”

Posted in School Life.


The first day of summer break always brings promise. You look ahead and take a deep sigh of relief. A little time to accomplish summer projects! I always make a summer “To Do” list, and health related items like dentist, annual check-up, etc. are always included. It’s much easier to schedule health appointments in the summer…or so I thought.

This past summer I decided to have a mole removed from my face. Not for health reasons, it was really just aesthetic. Kinda like Enrique Iglesias.

When I called to make the appointment, the first available date was August 5th! Now I will admit, I called in late June maybe early July, but August 5th…that was the day before school started!

So I went to school August 6th with a band-aid stuck to my face. And not in an inconspicuous place, either- right there, in front, by my nose- obvious for all to see.

But not one of the kids even asked about it. I couldn’t believe it. Kids who always notice everything. I can’t wear a pair of pants twice in one week without hearing about it, or get a haircut without some probing. They didn’t even inquire about a band-aid on my face.

After two weeks it was time to stop wearing a band-aid. What freedom, what joy, what normalcy I felt. I went to pick up first graders for recess, and little Chloe took one look at me and asked:

“What happened to your band-aid?”

Posted in School Life.

Lunchroom Management

We always want what’s best for kids. Sometimes that means certain kids not sitting by certain classmates. Maybe together they talk too much, or giggle too loudly, or get on each other’s nerves. This is a regular occurrence and just a fact of school life (sometimes adult life, too).

So yesterday at lunch, a second grade girl raised her hand and told me “I’m not allowed to sit by most beans.”

Conflict Management! I was on the case! I looked around the table, quickly assessing who she needed to stay away from. Which student does she have a conflict with? Who can she sit by? My eyes scanned the faces…But somewhere in the back of my mind something wasn’t right. I paused, and I asked her to repeat herself.

“I’m not allowed to sit by most beans,” she said. “They make me sick.”

“Beans” is not a student in her class. “Beans” = legumes. She is allergic to legumes.

That’s OK! This I can do! I was back on the case! I have a strategy to keep the peace, an easy fix to avoid any conflict! I found her a beanless table. I do wish they were all that easy.

Posted in School Life.

Questioning To Hurry

Every morning I welcome kids as they enter the building. I’m always encouraged when I see their young selves ready to begin a new day, young minds eager to inquire.

With a salute and a wave, I’m usually trying to hurry the kids along (quietly) and get them on to class (without running). I’m always telling them how important it is to be seated and ready when their teacher begins. In response, I get smiles, a lot of “Good Mornings” and “Hellos” and even an occasional quick hug.

But the best greeting ever was from Victor. He was a little late one day, and I figured I must hurry him (without running). But he stopped me in the hall, patted me on the arm, looked up at me and inquired “How’s my library teacher?” And the best part of the whole encounter was that he wanted an answer. He held my arm; he wasn’t moving until I responded. I guess sometimes it’s more important to make human contact, to show someone you care. Thanks to Victor, I now hurry a little slower.

Posted in School Life.


A first grade student informed me that his mom watches “so poppers.”
I was afraid I didn’t hear him clearly, so I asked him to repeat himself.
“So Poppers.”
Nope. Maybe he needed to say it louder…
“So Poppers.”
I still didn’t understand. (As I sit here writing the words, it seems very obvious, and you’re probably reading this and wondering how I could be so dense…Well let me tell you, I can be very dense sometimes, I admit it.) So I asked him clarifying questions…nothing. Eventually I had to just smile and nod, feeling a little like an idiot.

Days passed (yes, days) and suddenly it hit me that his mom watches soap operas.
Soap Operas.

My convictions about reading were renewed as I was reminded that language can so easily sound just like noise. Sometimes it’s a noise you understand, but on occasion it’s a noise that’s incomprehensible, like the voice of an adult in a Charlie Brown show.

For me, the experience epitomized the inexorable connection between language and the written word. His mom said “Soap Operas,” but he heard something different. He never read the words “Soap Operas” or saw anything in writing; the communication was completely oral, and he passed on what he thought he heard. Like playing the game telephone. Had he seen the words on paper, he might have understood what he was hearing and passed on Soap Operas.

And I, in turn, could have smiled at him and said “Mine does, too!”

Posted in School Life.

A View from 1910…

I recently learned that for the 1900’s World Exhibition in Paris, various French artists created paper cards and postcards depicting/predicting technology in the year 2000.

Some of their predicted technologies are still imagined, more than a few are now our reality (even though they look different today), and a couple are long past. All are incredibly creative.

Posted in Technology.

B & B

We have a “portable” classroom behind the school. Truthfully, we have three, and they’re actually just trailers, but “portable” sounds nicer, I guess? A few years ago, one portable was used by the District Office as a computer repair shop of sorts. One morning I noticed a bunny sitting outside the door near a pile of leaves. On another occasion, I saw at least ten butterflies poised on the side of the building.

But seeing wildlife at school is not unique (I don’t mean students). I have seen hawks, geese, spiders, and even snakes outside at recess, but these two particular sightings struck me as unique. Why this portable…We have three to choose from, what makes this one special, no preferable?

And then I knew- this was Nature’s way of combating the monotonous drone of technology. Juxtaposed against the backdrop of a dull gray trailer full of hard drives, screens, cords, and mice (not the animals), was a beauty beyond reckoning. Two of the cutest (and two of my favorite) creations: Bunnies and Butterflies.

The portable is now used for furniture storage, and to be honest, I haven’t seen any critters nearby.

Posted in School Life, Technology.

Short but Sweet

Act One: Scene One: A school hallway.

(At rise, we see an empty hallway. Sounds of children happily learning can be heard off stage right. Enter Kindergartner, age five or six, from stage right. Enter Ms. Brugmann, no need to mention age, from stage left.)

Kindergartner: “Can you tie my shoes for me?”

Ms. Brugmann (perplexed): “Why are they untied?”

Kindergartner (self assured and excited): “I was running so fast in P.E. that they came untied.”

(Ms. Brugmann smiles. She bends over to tie shoes as lights fade to black.)

End of Scene One.

Posted in School Life.