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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation
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Twenty Things I Never Thought I'd Say in an Elementary Classroom

In honor of Edutopia's 20th anniversary, we're producing a series of Top 20 lists, from the practical to the sublime.



Twenty Things I Never Thought I'd Say in an Elementary Classroom


Teachers need to acclimate themselves to a whole new level of dialogue when teaching elementary students. It feels awkward, strange, and, to say the least, dreamy. However, remembering what it's like to honestly "be a kid" will help tremendously when speaking with children (notice I used "with" and not "to").

Yes, I've had full-blown conversations about the world of Snibbyland, have been asked to play center on a junior basketball team, and chomped my tongue, even drew blood, to avoid bursting into laughter while discussing the science of farting. Funny, but not -- not to the students. Kids speak the truth and value every word of it. If you want to teach kids, you need to respect the dialogue that occurs in the classroom. Enjoy the list. I can't wait to read your additions!

#1 If you don't make it to the nurse, puke in your hands.

#2 If you really need to fart again, please go in the hallway.

#3 Do you know what the word "gay" really means?

#4 Whose cell phone is ringing?

#5 You gotta' go number 1 or number 2?

#6 Yes, Ozzy Osbourne is the Prince of Darkness.

#7 Good use of a footnote.

#8 If you use the word fart in your story too many times, the story begins to not be funny.

#9 STOP HIDING!

#10 If you keep playing with the velcro on your shoes, you will no longer have shoes.

#11 Get that paperclip out of the socket.

#12 Now squeeze the blue balls. (Science experiment with liquids and solids.)

#13 Get dressed and go to Art!

#14 Yes, the Darth Vader helmet fits on my head.

#15 Please put on your lip gloss after school.

#16 Buuuuuuut...and it's a big one.

#17 What if the Nibs take over Snibbyland? What happens then?

#18 You want me to be a mentor to your secret Samurai Power Rangers Team? Let me think about it.

#19 Sorry, I can't play center on your basketball team.

#20 What's that puddle in the back of the room?

Comments (19)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

Teresia's picture
Teresia
K-12 Technology Specialist from Otisville, NY

"Excuse me, Mrs. P., Jennifer threw up on her keyboard...and can you help me log in?"

A fifth grade student was walking down the hallway on one warm June day. When she passed, I said, "you look hot." She replied, "thank you!" When I realized what she meant, I had to explain that I was commenting on the heat...not her appearance! :)

Brittany McClurg's picture
Brittany McClurg
First grade teacher, Wisconsin

"You don't have to be married to be a teacher (after I explained to my kids what being engaged meant, they asked me how I was allowed to be their teacher without being married)."

"It is not okay to climb the walls in the bathroom."

"'Soup' is not a sight word."

"Writing the word 'candy' over and over again does not count as Work on Writing."

Megan's picture
Megan
Special education inclusion teacher in grades 4 and 5.

"Put your shirt on right this second! We get dressed at home!" - That had to be my favorite from last year.
"Is it a puddle on the floor emergency? We're in the middle of a lesson" - I say this no less than 30 times a day.

Margaret's picture
Margaret
Third grade teacher Port Jervis, NY

There are so many phrases I have said, it's hard to pinpoint even twenty.
We try to act like marshmallows walking in the hall, so this week when someone was spinning, I commented "wow some of our marshmallows must be pretty special to be dancing!"

Another great one is when students fight about who was first, I say "should we walk to the kindergarten class holding hands and ask them how you walk in line?"

Bree S.'s picture
Bree S.
Kindergarten teacher

We were rhyming words and chanting them together. It kind of went like this. (Hill..Pill, they both say ill. Hop..Pop, they both say op.)Now after about 12 rhyming words, I was searching for more because they were doing so well . Unfortunately Grass came to mind. So we started....(Grass..Bass, they both say ASS!!!!) Yes, I had 22 kids say ASS at the same time! From now on, I am much more careful.

Stephanie Lewis's picture

I very much appreciate to find these points on classroom.

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Melanie Harwell's picture
Melanie Harwell
Third grade teacher

One of my students said she felt like she had an ear infection. My relpy was that she should let her mom know, so she could go to the doctor. The student said "No, we'll just go to my uncle's house." I replied, "Oh your uncle is a doctor?" She says, "No he works for the cable company."

Melanie Harwell's picture
Melanie Harwell
Third grade teacher

One of my students said she felt like she had an ear infection. My relpy was that she should let her mom know, so she could go to the doctor. The student said "No, we'll just go to my uncle's house." I replied, "Oh your uncle is a doctor?" She says, "No he works for the cable company."

Melanie Harwell's picture
Melanie Harwell
Third grade teacher

One of my students said she felt like she had an ear infection. My relpy was that she should let her mom know, so she could go to the doctor. The student said "No, we'll just go to my uncle's house." I replied, "Oh your uncle is a doctor?" She says, "No he works for the cable company."

Lynnese's picture

Indeed working with Elementary School children will make you say things you remember hearing as a child. A child asked me if it was ok for a lady to have a beard (she was referring to a female colleague). During my undergraduate studies, a little girl burst into tears because she said her daddy was broken. I asked what she is was referring to and she said that she'd overheard her mom tell her dad that "he needed to get fixed" the previous evening! Recently a friend of mine shared that she had to keep telling her 5th grade boys to stop "Tebowing" every time they came up with a correct answer. Kids are great!

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