Thursday, March 31, 2011

April Fool's Day - The Prank (A Bit of a Repost)

Pin It It was 4:30 in the morning one year ago tomorrow that I woke up with a fiendishly clever idea. This idea was so brilliant that I couldn’t help but begin work and keep going until school was nearly ready to begin at 8:20. I wanted it to be awesome.

You see, one year ago tomorrow it was April Fool’s Day, and I had decided that I wanted to play a little prank on my class. I had never played a practical joke on my whole class before (at least that I can remember) and I thought that I’d do one this particular year.

Why? Just because.

So, I did a little research.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Moments with Joey – March Wind & Silent Words

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SCENE 1, INTERIOR. AFTERNOON, HALLWAY. The school bell has sounded. The hallways are burgeoning with the clatter of students as they pour from their classrooms and make their way to the exits. A fifth grade teacher walks out the door and moves through the throng, giving high fives to passers-by and waving to students as they make their way home. As he exits the building and begins walking toward his post for after-school duty, he notices a fifth-grade boy walking silently next to him.

The boy and the teacher say nothing for several moments, but walk side-by-side. When the teacher arrives at his post, they both stand, watching the children as they hurry to busses, parked bikes, and awaiting parents.

Thunderous clouds moil overhead and the chill March wind blows across the empty blacktop, sending a few of last autumn’s leaves scurrying after each other. Still the boy and the teacher stand in muted silence.

TEACHER: Did you want something Joey?

[The boy looks up at his teacher with a sideways glance and shakes his head, but then moves a bit closer, not saying anything].

TEACHER: [Pause]. It’s just that sometimes people want to say something, but don’t want to at the same time.

[The boy continues to stand in silence for several moments and then speaks in a low voice].


[There is a long silence as the teacher and the boy continue to stand by each other].

TEACHER: In that case, could I just give you a little hug then?


JOEY: Yeah.

[The boy sidles up to his teacher, who puts one arm around his shoulder and gives a reassuring squeeze. The boy smiles up at his teacher, then walks away with a grin as the wind continues to blow through the now-empty playground].

[Fade to black].

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

By the Book - A Few Blogging Tips

Pin It There are times I find myself judging blogs by their header and general layout—the cardinal sin in some of my teacher’s eyes while taking part in my own adolescence.

“Never judge books by their covers, you just might be surprised by what you get.” I can recall several teachers saying—most of them sounding like Mrs. Flickenger, from 7th grade homeroom on the third floor of that worn-out brick, middle school building.

I remember making our weekly excursions to the school library; I’d find myself perusing titles, pulling out a few which sounded interesting, but then putting them back if the cover didn’t look quite interesting enough. Rarely would I give a story a chance if it couldn’t catch my eye long enough for more than a quick once-over.

I find that blogs seem to do the same thing for me. There are those that I give the author a chance with one or two posts, but if the layout doesn’t catch my eye, then I find myself clicking over someplace else.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

I Heart Faces - The Entry

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There is a challenge this week over at I heart Faces:
Shooting the moment in a slice of life.
I_Heart_Faces_noborder_125x100The main challenge? Not to use poses or set up a shot.

I thought of my good friends and their son, Levi...I'd gone over to their home to take a few photos of Levi just being Levi. When he curled up on the couch with his mother and his balloon, this instantly became one of my favorites.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My Friend, Gerb

Pin It There are friends.

And then there are those friends who are our friends through absolutely everything - through the thick and thin and everything else in the inbetween.

Yeah, you know the kind of friends that I’m talking about.

These are the kinds of friends who listen when we whine about how pathetic our lives are at a particular moment of time, and are completely nonjudgmental towards us—they are the type of people who keep our confidences and secrets; the individuals who always seem to come through for us in the times of our greatest need.

In my life I have a handful of these types of friends; I really do. The type that go the distance and whom I count as the ‘above and beyonders’ in my life.

But today I wish to focus on only one of them.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It’s Finally Over

Pin It She was the music of my life, and after what I thought was a beautiful three-year relationship, it abruptly ended.

There was no notice whatsoever; there was no forewarning. In fact, one moment she was there, nestled close and the next she was gone. After all of our good times together, it was like awakening from bad dream.

I panicked.

I searched frantically high and low, retracing my steps and the places we’d just been, but she was nowhere in sight. I even checked at the police station, but it was no avail.

She was missing.

The sergeant on duty informed me that in cases like this, the outlook usually isn’t good. I was recommended to simply forget ever finding her again and simply moving on.

My home was silent.

My life seemed strangely empty.

I decided that it was finally time that I move on, so I checked into one of those online sites.

You know the type…

I perused the profiles long into the night before finally making a decision.

She is being sent from China as we speak.

She will be here in a week.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Moments with Joey – Hard Work and Good Smells

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SCENE 1, INTERIOR. AFTERNOON, SCHOOL LIBRARY. Most of the class is in the kiva, practicing a rap song about the presidents of the United States to a karaoke track of Coolio’s “Gangster’s Paradise.” As the teacher checks on the four or five students working on their homework in the library, one boy approaches him.

JOEY: Mr. Z, I only have one assignment left and then I’m all caught up!

TEACHER: Joey, I’m so proud of you; you’ve worked awfully hard.

[The boy stands there for a second and then throws his arms around his teacher, giving him a huge hug. With his face buried in his teacher’s shirt, the boy takes a deep breath].

JOEY: It’s all because of you, Mr. Z…you…[pause] Man, you smell SO good!


TEACHER: You know, I don’t know whether I should be flattered or creeped out.

[The boy releases his teacher and grins].

JOEY: Old Spice?

TEACHER: Okay, I’m creeped out.

JOEY: You’re welcome, Mr. Z...

[Fade to black].

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Media of the Week - More and Uncharted

Pin It Life is not merely the sum of our bad and less-than-good decisions; often it can seem this way, can't it? But I'm here to tell you that it isn't...there is given to us a limitless amount of opportunity to start anew with the rising of the sun each and every day. In fact, a good friend recently reminded me of a quote I absolutely love by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

“Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

Remember, you are always more than your mistakes.

So now, go and get dressed, find your song, watch the sun rise, and don't miss the opportunity to make a difference in the life of somebody else.

Tomorrow is yet to bet written, it is - as of yet - uncharted...

...and so are you.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Heroes - Ron Firmage

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There are people who drift in and out of our lives as the years trudge relentlessly onward; some of these individuals flash for a brief moment of time, like a star blazing through the atmosphere, while others remain constant like the rising and setting of the sun, lighting the way for those in the world around them. These are the people who inspire us to be better; they lift us when they discover we’re in low moments, they give to others in want, they look for what needs to be done and simply do it – oftentimes without waiting to be asked.

Teacher Ron Firmage is one of these individuals.

I first met Ron eleven years ago – back when I was just a budding teacher myself – straight from the chute at BYU, with a head full of dreams and an overwhelming enthusiasm that teaching always seems to inspire.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Moments with Joey – Music Time on Friday

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SCENE 1, INTERIOR. AFTERNOON, CLASSROOM. The teacher is sitting on the old, wooden chair in front of his class with his father’s guitar in hand. The students are seated on the floor gripping the weathered songbooks as they sing together on a Friday afternoon. After a few songs to warm up, the teacher allows the table captains to each pick a song. The class sings “Bad Moon Rising,” “The Cat Came Back,” and group of boys start to belt out an a-capella version of “Going to the Zoo” finally dissolving into a fit of laughter and giggles. As the teacher calls on one of the table captains, the boy gives an enthusiastic grin as he shuts his songbook and sits up proudly.

JOEY: I’d like to sing “Baby, Baby” please, Mr. Z.

TEACHER: Baby, Baby?

JOEY: Yeah…you know, by Justin Bieber.

TEACHER: I don’t think that you’d all know the words to that song, or that I’d know all the chords either; I think I could only play part of the song…

JOEY: Oh, trust me, Mr. Z. I know all the words!

[A ripple of excitement spreads through the class and the teacher quietly slips an mp3 recorder from his pocket and hits the ‘record’ button].

[Fade to black].

Monday, March 7, 2011

Four Perspectives - Contentment

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I'm posting over at Four Perspectives today. Why the video? It just seemed to appropriate...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Media of the Week - Cereal and Prizes

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I probably shouldn't admit that I bought a box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch yesterday afternoon and tonight I finished it off. I just couldn't help it, it was as if those little sugary squares were calling my name - practically begging me to consume the entire thing and enjoy that magical cereal dust at the bottom of the container.

Well, it was this absolute and gross nonobservance of propriety and my pigging out that spawned this week's Media of the Week; however, this particular video doesn't allow embedding. You'll need to view that video HERE.

And just for the record, there was no prize inside...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Moments with Joey – Camping Trips

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SCENE 1, INTERIOR. AFTERNOON, CLASSROOM. The teacher is working with a small group of students during recess. They are all seated at the kidney-shaped table at the back of the classroom. After working for several minutes, one boy looks up from his assignment.

JOEY: Mr. Z, have you ever gone camping before?


[An impressed expression flashes across the boy’s face].

JOEY: Probably like a hundred times, right?

TEACHER: Well, I’ve gone quite a bit.

[The boy slouches in his chair for a moment].

JOEY: I’ve only gone camping once, and that was in the backyard.


JOEY: Hey, maybe you could take me camping, Mr. Z!


JOEY: Yeah, like on Survivor Man.


TEACHER: If we went camping like on Survivor Man, we’d both head out to the desert, but only one of us would come back…I’d probably have to use you as firewood.

[There is a long pause and then the boy continues to work on his assignment].

JOEY: I’ve heard that camping is lame.

TEACHER: It probably is…

[Fade to black].

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Four Perspectives - Cupcakes

Pin It It's Tuesday...and guess who's the guest?

Have you ever felt yourself become the object of attention and yet didn’t know why?

And to think, it was all about cupcakes
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