Monthly Archives: January 2014

Not Everyone Likes a Bear Hug

I just got back from a road trip to northern Michigan visiting a great group of fifth graders. I shared stories, showed them what the writing process looks like (for me), and sang some fun songs.  When I was done presenting and packing up, I heard the teacher say to one of his students, “Not everyone likes a bear hug.” I turned around just in time to see the same kid that had given me a bear hug about five minutes earlier backing down from an awkward embrace. I wish I had been clever enough to think of something like that while I was a classroom teacher because it was a perfect way to handle a minor infraction.

We all know the best way to handle petty issues is not to overreact and make an atomic bomb out of a puffball. On my drive home I couldn’t help but think of some things my last principal may have been tempted to say to me:

Scott, not everyone likes when you…

– walk into a staff meeting wearing a shirt that’s way too small for you.

-show a video that frightens children.

-take it upon yourself to clean out the refrigerator in the teacher’s lounge and throw away food people were planning to eat that day.

– encourage your colleagues to keep sharing “good things” at staff meetings so that it’s impossible to get started on time.

-give them a bear hug.

Hope this helps,

Mr. B

(This tip ain’t just for the classroom. I’ve already started using it at home.)

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 22, 2014 in Teaching Tips


Tags: , ,

Rides Like a Tank

One of my favorite writing lessons: Creating a “fake” advertisement. I always did it in conjunction with a story called, “No One is Going to Nashville.” (Stray dog shows up on a girl’s front doorstep, she falls in love with it, but her parents make her put an ad in the newspaper in an attempt to find its rightful owner.) I encouraged students to think of something they definitely would not want to get rid of, and then create an advertisement for it.

Here’s my example:

1976 Chevy Truck For Sale

This baby has a 350 four-barrel sitting under the hood. (No idea what that really means. I just know that it gets horrendous gas mileage.) The fake leather seats get blistering hot in the summer because there’s no air conditioner, and the AM radio DOES NOT work. It only has two-wheel drive, so if you have to drive on snowy/icy roads, the back end squirrels around like Rosco P. Coltrane in hot pursuit. (You’d be safer walking.) Gets stuck easily. Sometimes the horn works, sometimes it doesn’t. The box sits unevenly because of a missing leaf spring on one side. Burns oil and rides like an army tank. Serious inquires only.

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 7, 2014 in Teaching Tips