Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Countdown - The Baker's Dozen

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Addendum: I originally didn't plan to let people vote on posts for the year, but instead was showing the 13 with the greatest amount of comments (from least to greatest). However, since a few people have asked, I have provided a poll at the end of this post so that you may vote for your favorite out of the 13 shown.

Writing countdown posts seems to be the craze right now. You know, the ‘greatest hits’ of the blogging year. Of course, I could just direct you to this page to find my personal favorites in just about any category; however, I think I will instead give a brief synopsis from a baker’s dozen of delicious posts, and a backlink these for your reading pleasure. You know...for all those of you who may have missed them the first time around...or who didn’t care about me back then and are far too lazy to go back all on your own.

Don’t worry, Teachinfourth is here to hold your hand and make it all better.

But Teachinfourth, how are you going to pick the top 13?

Well, you see, I’m not. I’m letting the readers pick them. I'm doing this by adding links to the 13 posts which have gotten the most comments over the past year. Of course, I won’t have backlinks to contests, photography posts or others which have an insane amount of messages left in their wake either. I probably also won’t link to Teacher Christmas Gifts, Fever for the Bieber, and The Crush. Though they were all popular, they also just ran a few weeks ago.

But Teachinfourth, what about your Joey posts? 

Don’t worry, I’ll do a ‘Joey countdown’ in a day or two…once again, based off of comments received.

These are in order of popularity (just know that on one or two of the posts I tried to ‘fix’ a while ago and accidentally deleted comments. Curse you, blogger!

By the way, each of the posts is linked to open in a new window/tab so that you don't need to use your 'back' button.

Yeah, you're welcome...

What if I Were a Woman?

Blog synopsis: Teachinfourth reflects on a few of the things he’d do if he were indeed a woman and teaching 1st grade. 4/2010

“A brilliant masterpiece of writing…two thumbs up.”
- Robert Ebart

The Message

Blog synopsis: What happens when a case of mistaken identity leads to a blind date, with another man? It’s a good thing people have good friends to rescue them in times of trouble. 6/2010

“Craig’s message was brilliant…to have a friend like this would be amazing.”
- Gene Shelit

The Prank

Blog synopsis: When 5th grade teacher, Teachinfourth, decides to pull a little April Fool’s Day joke on his class, he decides to record it and share it with the world. 6/2010

“A sheer stroke of genius! Teachinfourth has done it again!”
- Brian Regant

In Regard to Goats

Blog synopsis: As a young boy growing up in the heart of the Huckleberry Mountains, Teachinfourth shares just a few insights as to what it was like to have to milk goats every morning. 6/2010

“Frought with hilarity. I could read this stuff all day long.”
- George Cloonay

New Cars and Old Nightmares

Blog synopsis: We all have experienced the horrific experience of buying a new car. Enough said. 4/2010

“I laughed until I wet my pants...then I kept on laughing.”
- Leonardo Maltin

Bedtime Stories

Blog synopsis: The tale of an event faithfully continued for over 8 years; and it just gets better and better. 8/2010

“Bedtime Stories is a hit…I couldn’t have told it any better myself!”
- Adam Standler

The Keys to the Kingdom

Blog synopsis: When an unsuspecting teacher leaves his keys in a locked room, the result is a tale of his epic journey. 8/2010

“I’ve done this numerous times myself…but then again, I usually just get myself a new house if I lose mine!”
- Opruh

Somebody Loves You

Blog synopsis: One boy’s quest to make sure that his neighbor knows that somebody, indeed, does love him. 2/2010

“Is a wonderful tale what you want, readers? What do you want? You want a great post? Just click the link and you’ll find it. That’s a pretty good idea. I’ll give you all this wonderful post.”
- James Steewart

The Original Twilight

Blog synopsis: Dick and Jane…and vampires? 8/2010

“It gave me shivers when I read it, and made me feel all sparkly on the outside…”
- Robert Patterson

An Photoessay - A Day in Pictures

Blog synopsis: No words are necessary when a photo is worth a thousand words. Be prepared to be deluged in visual storytelling… 6/2010

“A feast for the eyes…”
- Anseel Adams

A Day in Photos - First Days & Getting Ready

Blog synopsis: The work of a teacher is never done; this is a fine pictorial essay of one of those days. 8/2010

“Music for the mind and heart... “
- Rachael Rey

Where I Draw the Line

Blog synopsis: When one man decides he can’t go any further and finally draws the line…with a can of spray paint. 9/2010

“Sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do.”
- Thom Cruise

Home Visits

Blog synopsis: The experience of a 5th grade teacher, as he heads out to visit the homes of his students before school on a blistering, hot day in August.

“Kind of embarrassing, really. But I guess it could have been a lot worse…”

- Joey

photo courtesy of

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Moments with Joey – Hot, Hotter, & Hottest

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SCENE 1, INTERIOR. AFTERNOON, FIFTH GRADE CLASSROOM. The teacher is helping a few fifth grade students at the back table on a math assignment during recess. The classroom is somewhat toasty, and the teacher has opened the door and set up the fan to blow in some cool air.

JOEY: I’m hot, Mr. Z.

TEACHER: Oh really?

[The boy thinks for a second].

JOEY: Yeah, hot both ways...if you know what I mean.

TEACHER: Yep, I do. And thanks for the news flash.


JOEY: My mom’s checking me out…

TEACHER: Really? Your mom is checking you out?

[The boy pauses for a split second before looking aghast].

JOEY: No, I mean she’s going to be checking me out of school early, not checking me out.

TEACHER: That’s a relief…otherwise that would be weird.

[The boy giggles and then starts working. After a minute he looks back up at his teacher].

JOEY: I’m hot.

TEACHER: I know, I’ve got the same problem…

[Fade to black].

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve Ruminations

Pin It I sat on the front porch in the cold night air, as the lights of Tremonton twinkled below me in the valley, like the stars veiled above a layer of cloud. The heavens were silent this evening, no hints of vanilla showers as the lights of the city reflected off of their gray surface.

As I waited in the soft hush, I thought a lot about Christmases of the past. You see, when I was a little boy, Christmas was about presents. It was about having a tree draped with twinkling lights. It was found in the songs jamming the airwaves. It was all about snow, sleigh bells, and reindeer on the rooftop. These were the things that constituted Christmas to me. It was a night besieged with wonder and the thrill of what was yet to come.

As the years have trudged onward, I’ve got older; Christmas has since lost a little bit of the magic it once held for me. Not because Christmas itself has changed – but rather because I have. Something happened in the space of years – something that seems to happen to each of us at one time or another in our lives. It’s a shift from what Christmas used to be, into what it becomes when we find ourselves losing the excitement of the morning sojourns to the tree flocked with presents around its underside.

For some, Christmas becomes a lonely time, besought with empty dreams and seclusion from the rest of the world. It can be an unpleasant reminder of loved ones now gone, and a terrible remembrance that life does indeed go on without them. For those who feel this, I would like to quote Chris Heimerdinger, author of A Return to Christmas who said, “[Christmas is] forever constant, representing hope in the face of despair. Life in the face of death. And light in the face of impenetrable darkness. Every Christmas morning [should] begin with a glorious sunrise. And every Christmas day should be accompanied by a song on the wind [speaking] of things more beautiful than the eye can see and more wonderful than the ear can hear. We may grieve, but Christmas will still come every year. Christmas is still first and foremost a day of healing. A day of embracing everything good and wholesome in this world.”

For others, the focus of Christmas becomes something more than self, more than presents, more than music and snow. Christmas comes to illustrate its true meaning, intertwining with the birth of the Savior in a lowly manger 2,000 years ago. One who would one day sacrifice all that He had in anticipation of reuniting each of us with the Father of Heaven and Earth.

This, my friends, is the true meaning of Christmas.

The Christmas Story - as told by the children of St. Paul's Church. Thanks Vanessa, for originally leading me to this clip...

And let me be the first to wish you all a very Merry Christmas...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Media of the Week - Kid History

Pin It The video you're about to view was an actual event, which was later created from the memories of the youngest members of these guys' family. As you know, some stories just seem to get better and better with time, especially when the kids are passing the stories along...

I laughed.

Several times.

I would also recommend Episode 1, but this one is my personal favorite.

"Let's wear our ninja stuff…"

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fever for the Bieber

Pin It Today we were hit by a snowstorm. Teachers were late to school because of the adverse conditions. People were stuck on the sides of the road. My class had our Christmas party.

Needless to say, the festivities were festive, the excitement was exciting, and the drama was dramatic.

Gotta love 5th graders.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I really should have my blog be required reading for my class. Even after my dandy gifts post, I got more than my fair share of candy, tree ornaments, and knickknacks and paddy whacks. Sprinkled amongst them were a few fantastic gift cards, another homemade magnet – this one of a guitar to add to my ‘Z’ and iPod set from the same student (which I didn’t take a photo of, unfortunately, and I’m not driving back out to school to do so). I also got probably one of the most creative gifts this year…I’ll post a photo of it below.

I have to admit, this gift was pretty cool…

As school was starting, I had a certain girl in my class ask if I liked Justin Bieber. I won’t lie…there are a few songs sung by this teen sensation which have me tapping my feet, and even singing along with on the radio. Heck, I even learned to play “Baby” on the guitar—mostly as a joke, but also because it would catapult me into the realms of awesomeness with my class.

Oh, it did.

Imagine 20+ students singing along as their teacher accompanies them on the guitar but nobody really knowing any of the words—only the chorus.

It. was. Bieberful.

“Sure, I like some of his music…” I responded.

She smiled and held up my Christmas present with a flourish; a Justin Bieber poster…

I was touched. I was moved. I wasn’t quite sure how to respond.

“Wow, Justin Bieber!” Joey said with shining eyes. “Can I have it?”

That would be a negatory there, Ghost Rider…

I’m still trying to decide what to do with it. Another teacher said that I definitely needed to put it in my classroom. I’m thinking of perhaps adding the following message…

I’ll have to let you know.

I'm pretty sure that I’ve got the fever…Mr. Z-ber.

Oh, and just for fun:

Monday, December 20, 2010

1 1/2 Days Left

Pin It The deadline for 100 Christmas cards is Wednesday morning at 7:00. These are the cards so far selected by some of our fellow bloggers:

Leish says she's brave enough to trust my judgement…I'm thinking of sending her this one:

Not sure just yet…

So, how do you get your 5x7 photo? Details are found HERE.

By the way, here at the images my 5th graders selected for their Christmas presents (some of them selected the same shots)…I have far more students than this:

Should you choose to take part in this activity you'll get your photo in approximately 1 1/2 weeks.

- Comments off -

Oh, and I did post over at 4p today.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Crush

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I remember back when I was in the seventh grade—a pubescent boy in the beginning stages of acne and that gawky period in life we all have to endure for a season—or two. This was the year I found myself on the third floor in Ms. Flickinger’s homeroom.

Ms. Flickinger was my favorite teacher that seventh grade year; there was just something about her quirky mannerisms and enthusiasm that drew me in, and made me love school. Of course it probably also had something to do with the stories she told about her cannibalistic goldfish, or maybe it was due to the fact that she caught me after I’d completely plagiarized my report from the encyclopedia; instead of nailing me, she let me know with subtle hints that she knew and wanted me to know that she knew.

You know?

I never plagiarized another paper after being in her class.

There’s something about having a teacher like Ms. Flickinger that makes the year go so much easier, a magical something that helps you to look forward to getting up and going to school each day. Okay, I have to admit here that I had a little bit of a crush on her – you know, just to be honest.

After my eighth grade year, Ms. Flickinger moved to another school and I went to high school.

But I’ve never forgotten her.

Fast forward to now.

I’ve been a full-fledged teacher for just a breath over a decade now. This past week I sat in my classroom reading over my students’ journal entries. As I reached the end of one particular entry I came across a P.S.

Maybe I shouldn’t have told that goldfish story…

Saturday, December 18, 2010

100 Christmas Cards

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This past week I’ve thought a lot about Christmas cards.

I won’t lie; I wanted something this year to outdo my last two: this one, and this one.

It was at this moment that I got a simply, wonderfully, marvelous idea for this year’s photo; however, I quickly decided that I’m far too lazy to make the magic happen right now…it’ll take a lot of work, time, and effort. And to be honest, right now I’m feeling somewhat lethargic about the whole idea.

Then, while showering this morning, I was struck with a brilliant idea about this year’s Christmas card…

You see, for each of the students in my class this year, instead of giving them something they'll simply throw away in a few weeks, I let them pick a free 5x7 photo from my photography site. And this little gift, my friends, is what spurred the brilliance which cascaded all around me like the hot water from the showerhead…Instead of making Christmas cards this year, I’ve decided to give away 100 Christmas photos.

Yep, you heard right.

I'm giving away 100 5x7 photographs from my website or blog (there are a lot of photos on my blog that I haven't uploaded to my photography site because - like I said - I'm apathetic…and I don't have all of them linked, but several shots may be found HERE, as well as HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE. I won't lie though…there are hundreds of other shots on my blog that I don't have on my photography website (see previous comment).

But Teachinfourth, how do I get a ticket on the gravy train of love and get my hands on one of these 100 shots you’re offering up and sending out next week?

Well, it’s easy as getting run over by a reindeer – actually easier. There’s only three things to do...

1. Be one of the first 100 people leaving a comment letting me know what photo you would like for your ‘card’. If the photo is from my blog and doesn’t have a name, simply describe what it looks like in your comment and the date the post was run - or even better: copy the URL and post it in the comment so I can easily find it.

2. Run a post on your own blog either about Adventures & Misadventures of Daily Living or my photography site, Along the Backroads, and include a backlink to this post you've written in the email you're going to send to me in step #3. Your post doesn't have to be about this special, but can be about the Moments with Joey posts, a post you particularly like, or a link and shout-out about the photography site.

3. Shoot an email to (or simply click on the Z-Mail link at the top right) and let me know your mailing address (reminding me again of the shot you selected, and including your backlink from step #2).

That's it.

I'll get your photograph printed and mail it out to you sometime next week. Don’t worry, I won’t send you pipe bombs, junk mail, or anything of the like…

Remember that the Alphabetography images - as well as shots of people - are not eligible for this free gift. Well, if it's a shot of yours truly - and I look amazing in the photo - I'd probably let you pick it. Also, I have taken most of the photos on this site, however, there are a few I used from other places in some of my posts but these are nearly all marked with a disclaimer that they're from somebody else - and I don't think you'll be picking any of these though…shots like THIS?

Also, just to let you know, these shots will not be matted, but instead sent to you in a plain, boring envelope. Only one Christmas 'shot' per blogger. Comments may not be submitted as 'Anonymous' for this, either…sorry, I'm going to have to be a stickler on this...

Did I forget anything else?

Oh yes, I'd love to have you send me your Christmas card from this year, too - that is, if you are willing. I'll provide my address to you when I respond to the email you send to me with your address. After all, I'd love to have a mailbox full of Christmas cheer rather than electric bills and Publisher’s Clearing House winner notifications (I'll send you my address once you've sent me that email, deal?…but only if you tell me you'd like to send one).

Did I forget anything else?

Oh yeah, Happy Christmas…

This special ends Wednesday morning at 7:00 or when the last 'card' is claimed - whichever comes first. You should get your 'card' probably a few days after Christmas…considering the busyness of the season.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Death of a Tabernacle

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Many of you have undoubtedly heard of the death of a historical landmark here in Provo. I don't wish to reiterate here, other than to say that standing there in the midst of the fray gave me a feeling something akin to being sucker-punched in the stomach. To see a beautiful, old building be consumed by flames is a loss for us all…

I apologize in advance for the graininess of the photos. I didn't bother to take my tripod and shot these at a higher ISO than I normally would have.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Why Didn't I Think of That?

Pin It There have been moments in my life when I’ve wished that I’d had a particular idea, written a certain song, or come up with some brilliant way of writing something.

Yeah, don’t we all?

I was chatting with my brother recently, and we started talking about something we both had seen quite a while ago, but both thought was simply brilliant…enough so that we both wished WE’D have thought of it.

I know that many of you have probably seen this before, but I thought it was worth yet another look.

This was originally thought up by Andrew McDonald and is all about making sure that your lost camera can be speedily returned.

In word: Brilliant.

And I also hate him for thinking of this idea before I did...


And why couldn't I have written this while I was at it?

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