Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Paper Towel Phenomenon and Ethnicity Challenges

Oh how fast things have been moving!  I can't believe it is almost time for Thanksgiving break.  While I can't believe it, that does not mean I am not ready for the time off.  My students have been, well, they have been themselves.

The Paper Towel Phenomenon

I recently had the opportunity to join my students on their grade level field trip. Of all the things we saw, and all the things we learned, my favorite memory was in the bathroom shortly after our arrival.

In our bathrooms at school, we have the push button paper towel dispensers.  Push, push, push, pull, tear.  One of my sweetest friends, who I will forever remember, changed my life on this field trip.  While taking the first of one of our many bathroom breaks, this particular student had not come out yet.  I go in to find her standing at the paper towel dispenser with what appeared to be 30 paper towel sheets in her hand.  She was passing out paper towels to any one who needed them.  This paper towel dispenser was the type where you pull and it is precut.  No buttons.  No tearing. She was in heaven.

Me: What are you doing? We need to go, everyone is waiting on us.
Student: Miss Polson, watch this!
*Student pulls a sheet of paper towel down*
Student: It's perfect, EVERY time!
Me: Yes, I see that.  Let's go.
Student: AHHH it did it again! The same size!
Me: It will do that every time you pull it, now let's go.
Student: AGAIN! It did it again!!
Me: Hey, I bet if we keep moving we can check the next bathroom to see if it does it too!
Student: OH CAN WE?? This is the best day ever!

Oh the simple pleasures in life. 

Ethnicity Challenges

The first.  I read a series of books to my students that often uses a play on words, or the wrong word in order to teach the students new vocabulary.  The words we had discussed recently were figment, and pigment.  Fast forward 2 weeks.

I was talking to a student who's family is expecting a baby.

Me: What is your mom going to have?
Student: It's a girl, but she'll be my color, my mom stopped drinking so much chocolate milk so her skin figments wont be so dark.
Me: Ah.

The second.  I work with a very unique group of students.  Every year I meet at least one student that I will never forget.  This year is no different.  I identified his student on day one.

We walk into the classroom to get math started just like every day for the past 11 weeks. My aide is finishing up with a student across the hall, so I begin.

A student, looking right at me, asks me this question:

Student: Where's Miss Polson?
Me: I'm right here, I'm Miss Polson.
*Other students confirm that I am in fact Miss Polson.
Student: Oh. Where's the black Miss Polson?
*The light bulb clicks when I realize she is referring to my aide.
Me: She'll be right over.

Hey, at least they knew my name!  We've got until June to get the next name down.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Story of Us

This is completely unrelated to my normal topics.  But this was something I just had to share.

My friend Paul, and his cohost Rachel, have started a podcast that simply tells the stories of ordinary people.  The idea is simple, yet unique, and overwhelmingly powerful.  This podcast, through Paul and Rachel, gives people an opportunity to connect to one another through their personal stories.  Everyone has been through something that could potentially change the life of someone around them for the better. 

If you have not already, please look them up via their:

twitter: @thestorypodcast
iTunes search podcasts: The Story of Us

Please subscribe, rate them, and leave a comment on iTunes.

High fives to Paul and Rachel for a job well done on their new podcast.  Keep the stories coming!

Do you have a story you'd like to share?  E-mail Paul or Rachel at

Your story could change someone's life.

Your story could teach someone something.

Your story could make someone laugh when they most need it.

Your story could provide hope during a time of difficulty.

Your story could make a difference.

I highly recommend Episode 5, partially because, well, it's my story.