Sunday, April 1, 2018

Fool Me Once...Fool Me Twice...

Back when I was in the Fifth grade my Mom threw me an April Fool's Birthday Party and the crowning moment was the beautifully decorated birthday cake which I cut into and suddenly realized was nothing more than a beautifully decorated cardboard box.  Someone caught me right in the moments after.  It was a pretty spectacular joke!

And apparently, I'm rather susceptible to it.  

My friend Karen, who was at that first birthday party, had told her kids about that cake and they wanted to try their hand at it.  I stood in the kitchen and watched Karen make a cookie cake in a 9X13 pan so I did think it pretty strange that the cake came out in a square but you know maybe it was double stacked!!!  Anyway, here's the video proof of my falling prey to the joke a second time.

Did you hear me say, "How do I approach this? (referring to the cutting of the cake) I don't know what's under here."  Oh, the irony! 

My take away from this is that... 

1. I have some awesome people in my life who always help me celebrate the life that God has given me in fun ways and

2.  I'm never going to trust another birthday cake that doesn't come out with chocolate icing on it!  And especially not if it's pink...don't mind me while I stab this thing to see if it's real. :)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

My Grandmother and the Chocolate Pie

Since I have no teaching stories to share this year, I thought it would be fun to share a gem of a story that we ran across while reading some letters to my Grandmother, who was a teacher in a one room schoolhouse in West Virginia.  This story came in the form of a letter from one of her students.

Dear May,

In this world of growing up and going to school I am sure everyone has memories to treasure.  Some are fond and some not so fond.  Some are funny and others not so funny.  I have one that hinges between funny and disastrous. 

This little bit of memorabilia happened at High Rock School on Kesner Mountain.  I, being a growing boy and having an appetite like a horse, became hungry well before lunch time.  Knowing there was a fresh slice of chocolate pie in the top drawer of my lunch pail temptation got the best of me and I proceeded to remove it in preparation of an early snack.

No sooner had I secured it from my pail then I noticed my school teacher, namely May Kesner, proceeding my way.  In desperation, I put the slice of pie on the top of the school bench behind me.  By that time May had arrived and proceeded to park her backside smack dab on top of my pie. 
Needless to say, my slice of chocolate pie had become squashed and glued to the backside of her skirt.  After a few kind words to me stating that I had been a bit noisy, she walked back up front to her desk.  As she made her way back to her desk the chocolate pie was depositing itself on the floor in spatters.  Everyone in school was bursting a the seams with laughter - except May and I, who was scared half to death.  After our teacher asking numerous students what was so funny and receiving no answer, she finally gave us all two minutes to laugh at the end of which time total silence was demanded.  We didn't waste a second of it! 

Well, May, if you can forgive me for messing up your skirt, I can stand the loss of a delicious slice of chocolate pie.

From your friend,

Monday, October 30, 2017

Last Day of School

It doesn't matter what country you live in the last days of school are always filled with incredibly meaningful activities such as:

Seeing how many people you can fit on the same chair

Until everyone falls down in a big heap

Making silly faces
And making them with your teacher too!

Friday, October 27, 2017

The Fly Tree

Chalk this one up under weird things.  One day I was walking along the sidewalk by my old classroom and heard this incredible buzzing sound.  Turns out there were hundreds of flies gathered on the tree beside the sidewalk.  I've never seen such a phenomenon before and I'm not quite sure what would cause them to gather like that but there they were.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

One for the Language Learners

I had a moment of panic last night which has now become the motivation for this post.  You see, one of my students last year drew an amazing picture at the end of the year, full of detail and humour and I thought I had downloaded it and so I deleted it off my camera. But then I couldn't find it anywhere on my computer.  Thankfully, my external hard drive saved the day and I can share this gem with the world. 

My students were reflecting on how God had helped them in the past year and this is what this little guy had to say.

Note the towering stack of paper, the rubbish bin full of scrunched up attempts and the one about to hit the trash.  Clearly it was hard work learning to write in Korean! 

This little guy is Italian.  He came into my classroom with no English at all.  He had already begun to learn French so I could communicate with him through that.  I have to say I have never seen a student learn a language like this guy did. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Flat Stanley Visits from Franklin, NC

May 25, 2017

Dear Ella and Friends,

My trip across the ocean took SOOOO long and then there was all that time to get sorted in the mail but I’m happy to say that I arrived in the mailbox of Miss Botheras here in Niger just yesterday.  You might be wondering where Niger is?  It is right in the middle of West Africa above Nigeria.  One thing is for sure…I should not have worn a long sleeve shirt because it is hot here!  At 7:30 am it was already 96 degrees Fahrenheit inside.

Miss Botheras is a First Grade teacher at a school for missionary kids here in Niger.  Her students come from all over the world like Korea, Italy, Kenya, Brazil, Nigeria and the United States.  I hung out with them on the playground and I thought you might like to see some of the things that her students like to do for fun.

Miss Botheras forgot to feed me anything for breakfast so my first stop was to hang out with some third graders who were cooking in their kitchen.  They were making spinach.  Not what I prefer to eat for breakfast but since I was hungry…I ate some!  

I was feeling super strong after all that spinach so I decided to go for a race with some first grade boys.

On your mark! Get set!      


After that it was on to the monkey bars,


and parallel bars.

Hey!  Have you ever heard of an antlion?  What are you picturing right now?  A dangerous ant with a furry mane?  That’s not what an antlion is.  Antlions are insects that live all over the Sahel Academy campus. The kids showed me how to hunt one down.  First you have to find a hole like this: 

This hole is actually a trap that an antlion has set for ants.  They wait for an ant to fall in and then they eat them.  So if you want to find an antlion you have to flick a little bit of dirt into the hole to see if there’s an antlion waiting at the bottom.  If he is waiting down there he will think an ant has fallen in and he will kick sand up, hoping to cause the ant to slip even further into his trap.  Once you know he’s down there you quickly put your hand over the hole and grab the sand.  Then you sift the sand away to see if you have caught an antlion.  This is what an antlion actually looks like…

He walks backward and he is very ticklish to hold!

Well it’s been a full day and I have to get this letter off to you because I know school is just about over for you.  I sure do hope this letter gets there before summer break starts!
All the way from Africa,

Flat Stanley

Monday, March 20, 2017

As Seen On the Bridge - There's a Moto for That

You know that Apple ad campaign whose main slogan was "There's an app for that!"?  I am pretty sure Niger needs an ad campaign that says, "There's a moto for that!"  I mean, really, anything you need to do - transport a sheep, a mattress, a glass window or door - there's a moto for that!  Have a wheelbarrow and shovel?  Need to get somewhere fast?  No problem - there's a moto for that!  We'll just need to take it a little slower than usual today so your wheelbarrow can keep up.

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