Poke the Cheese Platter!

I thought it would be nice to reflect on a few smiles I’ve had in the last week for today’s post.  We have one more day of school before the Winter Break so, like many educators this time of year, I’ve been clinging to these moments of joy while trying to maintain some semblance of order amongst the students who are revving up with anticipation for vacation.

Joy Moment #1 – One of my callbacks is , “Hey, Rockstars!” to which the students respond, “Hey, what?” and look at me for directions.  This week, with an administrator doing a weekly walkthrough, I called out, “Hey, Rockstars!”, and received the usual response.  However, many of the students continued whatever they were doing.  “Uh oh, ” I said.  “I think you guys forgot something.  What are supposed to do when I say, ‘Hey, Rockstars?”

“Look at your beautiful face!” one of the students responded immediately.

I’m sure that face turned bright red as I realized that my administrator now thinks I demand gazes of adoration every time I give instructions…

Joy Moment #2 – Tuesday was a gloomy, rainy day so I implemented the Indoor Recess Plan with my 5th graders.  As a group gleefully played and talked smack at my foosball coffee table, another group grabbed the iPads to play SpaceTeam.  In between cheers of, “Goal!!!!” I got to hear students shouting, “Poke the Cheese Platter!  I said, Poke the Cheese Platter!  Oh no, now the translator is defective!”  I felt like a member of the Star Trek crew who had been accidentally transported to a cooking show being broadcast live from a football tournament.

Joy Moment #3 – As a Christmas gift one of our wonderful parents brought jumbo packs of soft toilet paper to stock every faculty bathroom in the school.

Joy Moment #4 – When I ran across this page of really bad analogies written by high school students. My personal favorite is, “like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.”

Joy Moment #5 – Discovering this teacher version of Cards Against Humanity on We are Teachers.

Joy Moment #6 – Watching a confused teacher pull out a Squatty Potty during our White Elephant gift exchange, and then listening to everyone try to explain to her its purpose.  Finally, someone suggested, “Maybe you can just use it in your classroom as a stool?”

Joy Moment #7 – This


Joy Moment Infinity – The hugs and good wishes from students, colleagues, and parents.

Merry Christmas to all and don’t forget to Poke the Cheese Platter!

cheese platter.jpeg
image from Pixabay
Books, K-12, Language Arts, Teaching Tools

I’m Just No Good at Rhyming

If you think it’s rotten to be sad,

Here’s a book to make you glad.

Chris Harris tried to write a poem.

(It’s okay if you don’t really know him.)

In truth he wrote more than one,


And they are more than just a little fun.

(not ho hum)

Lane Smith did every illustration,

Except maybe went on vacation

For the “Alphabet Book” portion –

Kind of a surprise distortion

Of what you might have expected,

But let’s not get redirected.

From author’s note to the last rhyme,

Read and laugh and postpone bedtime.

Your kids will love this cheerful book

More than a chef loves to bake.

I highly recommend I’m Just No Good at Rhyming and Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups by Chris Harris, illustrated by Lane Smith, for your child or your classroom.  It’s clever and fun, a refreshing book that will make you smile.  To hear more, you can listen to Harris’ interview with Scott Simon on NPR here.

Purchase the book here


Creative Thinking, Education, K-12, Teaching Tools

Create a Classroom Culture of Laughter

Fusion Yearbooks recently published a blog post of mine called, “21 Helpful Tips to Create a Classroom Culture of Laughter.”  This may be particularly helpful to those of you about to embark on testing season, as many of us are in Texas!

And don’t forget about eyebombing – a great way to break the tension…

3-6, 6-12, Creative Thinking, Education, Fun Friday, Motivation, Student Products, Teaching Tools

You Have Failed Me for the Last Time!

Two librarians in our district had me laughing so hard this week that grumpy cat would have spontaneously combusted if he was within hearing distance.

The librarians assigned their students to create memes for the library.  The results were so clever that I asked to share them for this week’s Phun Phriday post.

Student Created Library Meme courtesy of Sara Romine
Student Created Library Meme courtesy of Sara Romine

Sara Romine, otherwise known as @laffinglibrary, did a fabulous job explaining the whole process and giving examples in her most recent blog post.  My favorite library meme from her school is the last one; I’m pretty sure I look like that whenever I enjoy a good book!

Wendy Howk, @whowk, had her students add their memes to a Google Slides presentation.  Here is a link to the “highlights.” This is one of my favorites:

Student Created Library Meme via Wendy Howk

For more ideas on using memes, check out this post.

Education, Motivation, Teaching Tools, Websites

Education Memes

Our #neisdpln chat last night used internet memes to introduce each question.  The clever participants cracked me up with their hilarious replies – many of them using their own memes.  I seriously had tears in my eyes from laughing so hard by the end of the chat. Here was one of the questions:


And one of the responses (from @jodiharris16):



It was lots of fun, and you can see some of the other memes here.  For the complete Storify of our chat, here is the link.

If you are considering using memes as a teaching tool, here is a link to some ideas.  One of my favorite sites for adults to use as a meme generator (which also generate gifs) is this one:, but beware that there is a lot of content that is not appropriate for children.

Education, K-12, Teaching Tools

Why Our Family Eats Out 6 Times a Week

According to some probably-not-very-reliable-websites, yesterday , April 15th, was “Steal Something from Work Day.”  If you are a teacher, this probably amuses you – because educators are far too clever and ethical to steal from work.

Typical conversation in the Eichholz household:

Husband – What happened to the aluminum foil?

Me (innocently) – What do you mean?  There’s some in the pantry.

Husband – That’s the wrong kind.  We had some non-stick foil.  Now it’s gone.

Me – Oh.  Oops.  I brought it to school so the kids could see if they could play the Makey Makey piano on it.

Husband sighs deeply at the suffering he endures being married to a teacher who views all kitchen supplies as potential science experiments instead of cooking necessities.

Other items that have gone mysteriously missing from our home in the past year:

  • a hacksaw (to make a foosball table for Global Cardboard Challenge)
  • our tripod (desks are far too unsteady for stop-motion iPad videos)
  • various fruits and vegetables (again – for the Makey Makey)
  • a piece of drywall (great canvas for Sphero painting)
  • 5 lbs. of flour (key ingredient for Squishy Circuit Conductive dough)
  • electrical tape (vital for robots who need to detect dark lines)
  • 6 rolls of paper towels and 2,000,000 boxes of tissues
  • half my salary (to buy supplies from non-district-approved vendors and/or cool stuff for my classroom from Kickstarter)

To be fair, I do sometimes enhance our home with items from school such as:

  • the class tarantula who needed a home over Winter Break
  • the class snake who needed a home over Spring Break
  • strep, flu, and cold germs

Things that Completely Disappeared Between Home and School and I am Pretty Sure Will Never Be Found Again:

  • A flat head screwdriver
  • 9 umbrellas
  • my sanity

Mathematically, it appears that my workplace has come out ahead so far.  I don’t really want a Steal Something from Work Day.  What I need is a Find Something at Work that You Stole from Home and Return It So Your Family Can Repair Their Broken Appliances and Eat a Home-cooked Meal Day.

Actually, that might take a bit longer than a day…