Tag Archives: adventures in elementary


After some thinking I decided to change the name of my blog. I’m no longer using thirteen point one miles to fit because the focus of this blog isn’t solely fitness anymore. My new one is thesassymightymissb.

And now back to your usual posts!



Today was our school’s talent show.  It was set for the afternoon and the contestants were excited. There were fourteen acts ranging from dancers to instrumentalists. We even had one 4th grader be the in-between acts entertainment.  All of the kids were great and they were fearless. If they were nervous they never showed it. There were two 5th grade girls that sang a duet and their voices blended beautifully! A 3rd grader performed Dolly Parton’s “Coat of Many Colors” and she had such an innocence to her voice. Of course that song has personal meaning to me because it made me think of all the vacations with my grandparents. I found myself fiddling with my Origami Owl necklace during that performance. Three of my 4th grade girls came over and sat around me when they saw me doing that. They knew what it meant. However they didn’t realize that was about to make me really cry because that small gesture meant a lot to me. The final act was a trio of girls who sang “Fight Song” and one of them was a 4th grader that is pretty outgoing but I had no idea she could sing! At the end of the show I found her she latched onto me and asked, “Ms. Barrick, what did you think?” Her eyes were brimming with hope and the second I told her that I loved her voice she nearly toppled me over with her hug. Another 4th grade girl, who danced, came running over to me and asked what I thought. I told her that her moves were awesome and I was glad that this year she was healthy. She was going to dance last year but came down with a high grade fever and the flu the day before the show. She was so mad at herself for becoming sick.

Before we went to this show I told my group of 5th graders that I expected better behavior from them than from the previous assembly. I told them that if the thought crossed their mind to heckle or jeer any of the acts that it would be automatic detention and we would be making a trip to the front office. I told them them that it takes a lot of courage to get up on stage alone for an audition. But it takes just as much, if not a little more, courage to perform in front of their peers. During the entire show none of them goofed off or made any negative comments. For this 5th grade class that’s a huge accomplishment.

I was proud of all of the kids that performed today. For just a moment they were fearless and oh how they shined!

A Better Day

Today was a much better day. My students worked all morning with zero complaint. My BD kid didn’t show up until 11:30 but his day went smoothly. He did his work and stayed on task. He told me at the end of the day that after school he was going to go home and meditate. He said that he was pretty sure he had a good day. I told him that he had a very good day. He wished me a good afternoon and left.

I didn’t mention yesterday to him at all. Instead of focusing on the negativity of yesterday I chose to focus on the positivity of today. I commended him on his good work today. I told him that his explanations to the social studies worksheet were well thought out. He’s a bright kid but his temper tends to isolate him from the other students. But today was a good day. Here’s hoping tomorrow is too.

Is it Friday Yet?

Have you ever had one of those days where the minute your eyes opened you just knew that it was going to be a long day? Today was a VERY long day. The morning started out okay and the kids complained very little when we started working on our vocabulary worksheet. The kids went to gym, I did a little grading and made copies for math, picked them up from gym and sent them back to the room while I waited on a few girls to finish in the bathroom. I get back in the room and that’s when it all went south.

My BD kid is sitting there with a look in his eyes. Someone had said something to him and he was stewing over it. Before I can say anything he exploded. The aide and I told him to go walk it off and he stormed out, slamming the door, and letting the dust fall from the ceiling. We called the office to let him know he was on his way. I headed to the office while the kids started working on their math worksheet. By the time I get to the office the situation had become worse. He was becoming physical with the Special Ed teacher and cussing out our Superintendent. Another 5th grade teacher and myself met with his mother and explained what had happened and how he had been triggered but he was still sent home for the day. I go back to the room and the kids are working quietly. The rest of the morning was uneventful. After lunch I head to the cafeteria to get the kids lined up for recess. The second I enter the speech teacher comes and tells me one of my students was caught with their cell phone. That’s an automatic detention. I call his name for detention then head down to the room to fill out the form for the detention teacher. As I turn the corner there’s said student standing in the doorway refusing to go to Detention. After fifteen minutes of complaining about how it’s unfair he finally goes. He has detention again tomorrow. The rest of the afternoon was uneventful and I am quite glad that this Monday is finally over. Here’s hoping tomorrow is a better day.

Sunshine & Slingshots

This morning started out rough. My acid reflux was acting up & I was in a lot of pain. My BD student was pushing my buttons but I let it slide because I did not want nor did I NEED another blow up like last week. It helped that he was picked up early. Seriously that made all the difference in that room. The afternoon was full of fun. My kids worked hard this morning and had completed a lot of writing without much complaint. They had recess from 1-1:35. They came in and sat down ready to start Health. I looked around and with a small smile told them that if they sat quietly for an allotted time we would go outside for the rest of the afternoon. They were as still as statutes. We lined up and just as we started out the door I told them if anyone talked in the hallway we’d turn around and sit back down to complete the Health worksheet. Again-silence. As soon as we hit the doors to the playground I told them to go be kids. They took off running and suddenly all 22 of them froze. They began pointing and whispering and growing more excited. Looking ahead I noticed one of the 4th grade teachers standing there with this huge slingshot in his hand and he was loading another water balloon into it. They looked at me and I told them to go over and stand with the other students. 22 eleven year olds scampered onto the pavement and eagerly awaited for Mr. L to shoot another balloon into the crowd. Two minutes later two of my students were very wet. Third and fourth grade were out there too & the minute Fourth grade realized Ms. B was outside I was surrounded. I had two of my girls from this year and last year hanging off of one arm, two other girls were hanging off my other arm, and three were attempting to hug me from behind. Suddenly I heard “Look out!” I may have grabbed one of my girls and lifted her up as a shield. When I brought her back down she was splattered with water and did not look happy with me. Her best friend was laughing so hard she nearly had a side stitch. A few minutes later Mr. L aimed the slingshot my way again and my one girl didn’t learn from before and didn’t move fast enough before I used her as a shield again. The balloon was released and she was soaked this time because his aim had improved. This time I was the one with a side stitch.

This afternoon while I was surrounded by this group of fourth graders and a few of the third graders I felt myself beaming. Yes, my morning started out rough but these kids-my kids-were the medicine I needed today. I felt a lot like Miss Honey this afternoon. OH! And the best moment? As we were walking back inside one of the 4th grade boys flew past me, running at full speed, when he suddenly froze, turned around with this sheepish smile on his face and said, “Um Ms. Barrick, I think you’re about to tell me to walk so I’m just going to walk back to the point where I started running and walk it this time.” He did just that and before he could pass me I caught him and told him to ask his teacher if he could come to my room for a minute. He started to dip his head but I told him that I wanted to give him a STAR ticket. His smile grew much bigger then he asked why I was giving him a ticket. I told him because he was a responsible student and recognized the fact that he was making the wrong choice and corrected it. He was over the moon when I gave him a big STAR ticket. He wished me an awesome weekend, followed by a thumbs up, and then he left my room. I really did need an afternoon like today.

A Little Advice

This week has been a blur. But today was a long day and it was also stressful. This post will not be very long because I have a headache and I just want to go to bed.

Downsides of today:

  • My BD kid throwing a fit as well as a few of his things at the other kids.
  • His refusal to do work.
  • The fact he stormed out of the room after having a yelling and screaming match with his aide even though she kept calm and used soothing tones.
  • The fact he thought it was perfectly okay to call me the b word & think there would be no consequences.

Upsides of today:

  • My other kids told me not to take his comment to heart. (I didn’t.)
  • I had dinner with a girl that is trying to navigate her way through her first long term sub job. She just started in January and graduated from college in December. This class is really trying her patience and she was afraid she wasn’t doing a good job. I assured her she was and that she was doing everything right. Sometimes it’s just because you have a class that’s a handful. After dinner I shared this image with her:
    • 17190524_598266290359247_8932820522493194746_nI needed reminded of this too to be completely honest.
  • I followed up dinner with dessert at the local Mexican with another friend who is in for spring break. Things haven’t been all that great for her lately due to family stresses. I just let her talk and by the end she felt much better.

Tonight I felt like I was in the position of being the go-to person to talk to and even though I had a rough day I really didn’t talk about it much to either one of them. I knew at that moment they needed reassurance and some vent time. At the end of my time with both of them I felt a lot better. I felt like I was a mentor to both. The first because she’s a new teacher just like I was six years ago while the other is dealing with stressful family situations while attempting to stay focused on her classes. I’ve been in both their situations and I offered my take on how they could do things to help relieve the stress. Both seemed relieved to learn that what they were feeling was completely normal. I hope that my little bits of advice really do help them. And now it’s time for this exhausted teacher to go to bed before this post turns into a rambling mess.

Hugs are the Best Medicine

For the past week I’ve been coughing and barking like a seal. Tomorrow I plan on going to the doctor. It has not slowed me down at the gym or work very much. The only way it affects work is when I’m reading out loud for long periods of time. Then cue an inconvenient coughing fit. Today while walking down the hallway to get a drink to stop yet another fit one of my students was walking the other direction to head back to music after speech. She stopped & looked at me for a second before asking if I was feeling any better. I shook my head no and croaked out an “I wish I were though.” The next thing I know she’s wrapped herself around me into a very tight hug. A few seconds later she pulls away.

“Now do you feel better?”

“Yes, I feel much better. Thank you. Now go try and enjoy music class,” I replied with a wink. (Our music teacher is everyone’s least favorite teacher)

“Okay Ms. B!”

Twenty minutes later I’m walking back to pick up my kids. Once we’re back in the room they return to working on their Reading worksheets. I turn on the Brubeck and everyone’s working silently. As I return to grading their math papers I hear a student whisper my name. I look up and it’s one of the boys.  He’s shifting from foot to foot but doesn’t have his reading paper in his hand and it makes me wonder what he needs from me. I ask him how can I help him. He asked if I was feeling okay. I shook my head no again and told him I’ve had better days. This cough is wearing me out. He leans down and the next thing I know he’s hugging me. He lets go and tells me he hopes that helps and goes back to his seat and begins working.

A part of me is shocked by this because at the start of the year we did not see eye to eye. He didn’t want to do his work, he back talked, and hated following directions. But something changed in October. We had a small conference and after that he turned around. I’m not sure what I did but whatever it was made his attitude do a complete 180. He’s one of those boys who I think doesn’t really like to show that he has a sensitive side. But today he let that side show. He asked a few more times during the day how I was doing and to me that was the best medicine.

The Spell is Cast

Sustained Silent Reading is my favorite time of day. My students look forward to the fifteen minutes of relaxation. All I have to say is find your spots & my kids immediately get to their spots with their book at the ready. The minute I hit play on the computer and they hear the opening notes of Dave Brubeck’s Strange Meadow Lark they are all transported to their book worlds. I read a book along with them but occasionally I look around and watch them read. I watch their eyes widen as they are at a suspenseful moment in their book or maybe they’re smiling because a certain boy wizard has just learned that he is indeed a wizard. It’s in that moment that I know they’re discovering the love for reading that I did many years ago.

I always hate to pause the music at the end of the fifteen minutes because I know I’ll be breaking that spell. I hold back a grin every time I do hit pause because several will look up from their book and are almost confused as to where they are. I tell them to put their bookmarks in their books and get back to their seats because it’s time for gym or math.  The books are put away and we return to the real world where a problem isn’t solved neatly in 20 chapters or less. But the characters in this world are just as complex as the ones in their books. And I tell them that even though they’re on an adventure in their books life is just as much as an adventure too.