Students raising their hands during class? I used to think that was a good thing . . . for the first week of teaching. Since then I've discovered that what they say will be as relevant as dandruff shampoo is to Medusa. We may be in the middle of comparing propaganda during WWII to modern … Continue reading A student is raising a hand: brace yourself!
["Lit," by the way, is the trendy way to say "cool," or "neato, daddio." Just typing that last one is totally not "lit".] These lines are what I hope none of my students will ever say about my class: These lines are also why I often read out loud to them, because even though they're 10th graders, … Continue reading Books? Thinking? Are those “lit”?
“You’re sophomores now,” I told my new batch of high school students last week, “which means you’re realizing that there’s more going on than you used to think. For example, you’ve been lied to since kindergarten. Answer me this: what color is the sky?” I’ve written about this debate in my first books, and carry the … Continue reading “The sky is blue.” We’ve been giving our kids fake news since kindergarten, and why that’s a growing problem
My past forests have been pathetic. In 2015 when we lived in Utah, I wanted a real forest even though we lived in a desert. I was in the middle of writing this series and it seemed wrong that I didn’t have a real Forest at the Edge of my yard. So we created one that summer … Continue reading The Forest at the Edge of My Yard (or, whatever you’re asked to sacrifice will eventually be no sacrifice at all)
They got into a fight in the cafeteria yesterday, the two boys. One was calling another a derogatory name until the victim finally punched the bully in the head during dinner. “Did you see any problems with them yesterday? You have both of them,” my husband asked me. They are in one of my American … Continue reading We spend so much in anger and it buys us nothing (Plus a HUGE sneak peek to Book 8, “The Last Day”)
“You’re gonna miss me, aren’t you, Mrs. Mercer?” a student asked me yesterday. “You big goober, of course I’m going to miss you.” But I didn’t say the first three words out loud. (At least I don’t think I did.) But I meant I would miss him, to my surprise. Back in autumn when I … Continue reading The hardest, toughest, scariest, best year I’ve ever endured: my first year as a 10th grade teacher (plus another sneak peek into Book 8)
My inner anthropologist compelled me on Saturday night to go to our high school and witness a cultural phenomenon called “walking out.” At proms in the west, this doesn’t occur. But here in Downeast Maine it’s the event of the year. Before the prom begins, the juniors (even though all grades were invited) link arms … Continue reading I used to think prom was a waste of time and money, but last weekend I realized why we need it (and a sneak peek to book 8)
My 6-year-old tried to play chess with me at their school’s STEM night last week. I didn’t realize he knew the rules, and it turns out he doesn’t, because he produced a secret weapon: a 6-legged spider he’d made out of clay in his class earlier. “This is spider-guy,” he announced. “And he can eat … Continue reading They can keep changing the rules, but we don’t have to be obedient. (Plus 3 sneak peeks into Book 8)
They come into my room with complaints, always. It’s the nature of teenagers, and because I sit behind the desk I hear it all. Usually they march right up to me and express how annoying, or rude, or fake, or awful someone is. It's more important than lunch, more important than study hall, more important … Continue reading A surprising perspective of Godliness I’ve learned from teaching high school (yes, He’s still there)
See this photo of our latest snowstorm? Look closer—see all the spots on the image when I turn on my camera's flash? Ladybugs. No, no, no—don’t start saying, “Oh, how sweet!” because they aren’t. Not one bit. They are everywhere. Hundreds, every single day, springing up in the oddest of places. Usually I find them … Continue reading How an invasion of ladybugs brought down this pacifist and is making her rethink her stance on guns.