Elastic Basket for my Peaches

I also have a website: www.lizhightower.com

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Field Trip De Ja Vu

On Tuesday I went on a field trip to the Bayou Wildlife Park. I planned this particular field trip because of my own field trip to the place in fourth grade. All I remembered was getting to feed exotic animals from buckets while riding around on a tram. I think a camel slobbered on one of my friends. What more could a fourth grader ask for?

The place was just as fun as I remembered. It has all types of animals including: camels, llamas, longhorns, emus, ostriches, lemurs, and just about every type of deer known to man. The tour makes several stops so that the animals can come and feed out of the buckets of food that each child is holding. The children's faces when the animals first started eatiang was simply priceless. The emus were hilarious. They would look around with bugged out eyes and then suddenly dip in their head in the bucket. The kids could barely contain their excitement.

I like field trips because I can let some of my teacher guard down and interact with the kids on a more personal level. We get to have fun together. Sometimes when I am in my classroom, I feel like I am some sort of dictator in a totalitarian regime. I am the boss and they all have to do what I say. Sometimes the power is fun but I get tired of it.

The downside to field trips is that they are exhausting. Having to make sure the kids are not running off or getting eaten by camels takes its toll. My parent chaperone fell asleep on the bus as did I. All in all, though, it was a good day.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Kids are entertaining

Favorite student quote so far this year:
One of my students was commenting on the fact that my nose turns red when I am sick. He said, "Is that the way white people skin do?" I took advantage of this teachable moment to explain to him that white people's skin is like white shoes. Our skin shows stuff more the same way white shoes show more than black shoes. I think he now understands the complexity of race. Don't you think so?

At Young Life last night, we played a game called "Eat or Dance." It was a strange mix of hot potato and musical chairs with a twist. The kids had to walk in a circle and whoever was the closest to Andres when the music stopped, had to either eat a mystery item from a bag or dance. Some of the items were harmless like an apple. We also had two types of baby food- sweet potato and corn as well as sweet potato and Alaskan salmon. The worst food by far was the one I contributed. One of the girls ended up having to eat a piece of durian candy.

Durian is hard to adequately explain. It is a fruit found throughout Asia. It is a spiky melon looking fruit that is about the size of a football with a yellow slimy inside. The worst part about the fruit is its incredibly foul odor. It smells like raw sewage mixed with gasoline. The smell is so bad that it is banned on most Asian subways. There are usually signs that say "No durian." It's hard to imagine how people can like a fruit that smells so wretched. But somehow they do. I bought some Durian candy in China to feed to unsuspecting friends. This seemed like a great way to do this in a public way.

The candy looks harmless but you can smell the stench through the package. The girl who ate it didn't actually react as adversely as I would have thought. She tried to pretend it wasn't awful. The funniest part was watching the crowd's reaction as the smell hit them. Some of the guys literally ran out of the room. People were acting like they were going to puke and one actually did. Everytime the poor girl opened her mouth, the stench wafted out. It was pretty hilarious! I gotta get some more of that durian candy! And quick!

Saturday, October 18, 2008


When the opportunity presents itself, I like to put some of the funny things that happen to me as a teacher on my blog Our recent timeline project definitely created some humorous memories, mostly involving the content of the students' photographs.

The kids had to make timelines of their lives using photos. It was really fun to see what my students looked like as babies and toddlers. Some of these pictures are just priceless. One little girl has pictures of her on some ride at Chuck E Cheese at age 2. She is sitting next to a plastic Chuck E that is bigger than her and screaming her head off.

My absolute favorite picture is from one little girl. Though her parents do look a bit humorous, the real beauty of the photograph comes from what the family is posed with. I have to believe that they were at a circus. They are flanked in the photograph by two dyed giant poodles. One is dyed pink and the other is dyed green. They are real poodles and they are incredible! I already greatly dislike those giant poodles. They are just unnatural to me. But these were ridiculously wonderful! It's very tempting to try to scan the photo into my computer so I can look at it whenever I need a little pick me up. It seems like a bit of a gray area morally, though so I probably won't. I need to find some of those poodles!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Oh yeah, I have a blog don't I?

I kind of forgot about my blog this week. Normally I think about how I should be writing on it more but this week I didn't even think about it. Oops.

As far as college football goes, I really couldn't be happier. The season was already fun because of all the top teams being upset but with the OU/UT game this last weekend, I can hardly contain my excitement. For those of you who missed the game, it was awesome! There was a lot of back and forth and some brilliant athleticism. Colt McCoy was adequate last year but that's about as far as I would go in praising him. This year he has put on 15 pounds of sheer awesomeness! He is very fun to watch. He has brains and athleticism. And with Major Applewhite on the offensive staff, there's really not any more I could ask for. I am very aware that there are several more games to go and we could easily fall from our top spot. But, wow, it sure is fun while it lasts! The Missouri game this weekend should be pretty good as well.

School isn't going quite as well as college football. I am still feeling a lot less pressure than last year but there is still a lot of pressure to deliver the numbers my boss wants to see. I feel like I was able to do it last year with similarily low kids. This year I know a lot more and I have more help. I think it will all be okay. I can see why so many teachers quit within the first five years these days. This wasn't the case when I was a kid but things have changed a lot since then.

Last Friday night my school had a "Reading Sleepover." It is this big event where kids spend the night at the school and do various reading-centered activities. I didn't attend last year because I was out of town. Overall, the time went pretty fast and it was more fun than I thought.

I always enjoy these more informal times with the students. I get to joke around with them and get to know them more as people. I also got to spend some time with my students from last year. I definitely know them better than my current students. I miss most of them. I was fine until the last hour from 9pm-10pm. I just wanted to run out of the school. From 7:30am-10pm is clearly too much! Some teachers spent the night. Crazy! I try not to let my work life overrun my personal life. Sleeping at the school would definitely be counter-productive for that particular goal. They may take my weekdays, but they will NOT take my nights and weekends!!!!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Cancer Sucks!

I should really be working on my lesson plans right now but I only have four days of school next week so it doesn't seem like it will take too long. We inexplicably get Rosh Hoshana off this year, which is a Thursday. I am afraid that my kids will go out of town and skip school on Friday. We'll see.

This weekend was a pretty good mix of fun time, lazy times and productive times. On Saturday, I did the Race for the Cure with my friends, Sarah and John. Sarah, is my best friend, who was diagnosed with cancer last year.

We did this event last year about two months after she was diagnosed. That was super emotional. This time was a lot better because she is cancer-free. The women with breast cancer wear special pink shirts so it's very easy to pick them out. They also walk down this special chute and get pink carnations as well as get a goody bag and free food. The only part that almost brought me to tears is when Sarah left me and John to walk down the survivor corridor. It's so symbolic of how cancer is. You can definitely walk your loved one through it but there are some parts where they just have to go it alone.

We spent most of our time at the race trying to find other cancer survivors who looked our age. Last year I remember seeing a few but this time we only saw one other girl who looked about five years older than us. It's crazy to think that Sarah is in the .1% of women who get breast cancer. It looked like the majority of the women with breast cancer were between 50-60. They say 1 in 8 women will get breast cancer in their lives. Sarah says I am safe because since 1 out of 8 of our friends will get it, she's already that one. I hope she's right.

We say some great clever t-shirts and hats at the race. Some ladies were wearing what we called, "boob hats." They were these baseball hats with lacy bras wrapped around them. They were pretty funny! We also saw "Save the TaTas" shirts, "Save Second Base" shirts as well as "Save my Rack" shirts. I appreciated the cleverness.

At the end of the month I am having a party for Sarah. Unless you live under a rock, you have to notice the plethora of breast cancer paraphernalia available during the month of October. Ever since Sarah was diagnosed, I have been buying her the weirdest, most random breast cancer stuff I can find. The party will be a celebration of Sarah's cancer-free status. Guests will have to bring the most random breast cancer gift they can find or a breast cancer related food. I am hoping to solicit Marti Harnly to make one of her infamous boob cakes. It should be good times for all. Maybe I need to get some sort of breast cancer ensemble prepared. I did see some pink ribbon crocs at the race. Talk about tacky!

Friday, October 03, 2008


Today my students suffered an injustice. I can't go into specifics since that's not wise to do in such a potentially public forum like this. I thought things were looking better this year but it seems that the same problems are beggining to surface. I am quite frustrated but all I can really do is pray.

On a lighter note, we had a faculty volleyball game today. It was one of the strangest volleyball games I have played in. Although now that I think about it, I have played in some strange volleyball games. There were the games against trannies in Maui and a game of tequila volleyball in Mexico with my dad, brothern and a 14 year old boy who was the only one drinking the tequila.

This volleyball game was only for the staff. Though I am really just decent at volleuyball, I was a referee in college so I know the rules very well. It can be frustrating to play with people who hit the ball illegally on each hit. In those circumstances, I try to disconnect myself from my competitive nature. This can be very difficult.

So, this strange volleyball game was played on a very irregular court surrounded by about 600 cheering children. The net was low enough for an average fifth grader to spike over and the ball seemed more like a slightly rigid but soft cloth beach ball. The ceiling above the net was far too low and two teachers had to act as anchors on the ends of the net so it wouldn't fall down.

The game itself lasted about two hours. It felt like we were really just trying to give all the children enough time to buy snacks while we played. Due to a lack of organization only about half the school was able to get snacks in that amount of time. The poor older kids got screwed. I was on the white lightning team and we dominated. The final score was something like 38-55. Ridiculous.oh well, it was fun!
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