Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Listy Lister-stein, Part Deux

I think I may have actually topped myself in organizational nerdiness. I know, I KNOW. You thought it couldn't be done. You thought to yourself, "Self, this Mrs. Mimi truly is an organizational goddess." And then you read about this. And you thought again. And maybe you closed your eyes and tried to imagine the glory.

It is that good.

Before you begin to wonder if I am, yet again, pushing you to buy yet another fancy pen, notebook or pad, let me stop you. My office supplies pimping days are not over, however, this is a bit of what I like to think of Recession Genius. With less cash in my pocket, I am finding that I am (slightly) less likely to impulsively purchase a fabulously stylish binder, and am instead encouraged to find more frugal ways to further organize my...well, my everything. (Seriously, everything. You should peek underneath my bathroom sinks right now - it's awe inspiring AND color coded. Sha-zam!) (However, I will have you note that the Recession has not crimped my desire for bi-monthly pedicures and Starbucks Iced Chai Tea Lattes.) (Or anything Sharpie.) (A girl has needs.)

Where to start, where to start? Well, I have a lot of books. One might even call me a children's book whore (although the idea of putting the word "children's" and "whore" in the same sentence makes me cringe a little, I think you can take it.) As I have said before, I have a bit of an obsession with Barnsey (that's Barnes and Noble to the rest of you) and purchasing shiny, meaty, amazing books for my classroom. The problem is (if you can call it a real problem) that I have SO MANY books that I am unable to use them to the best of their abilities. For example, I will be teaching a unit on non-fiction. We will be discussing the wonder that is the caption, and I will have examples, BUT two weeks later I come across the PERFECT book for that. OR...we're trying to reduce the number of complaints (read: bitching) after recess - seriously, the first fifteen minutes after recess can be FILLED with some serious 8 year old bitching and moaning - and although we have a productive class meeting, I find the MOST AMAZING BOOK about that in my closet at the end of the year.

Sigh. While I have figured out how to organize, access and integrate my many, many, MANY high heels, I have not found the best way to deal with all my books.

UNTIL TODAY.

At the end of the year, on a whim, I packed 'em all up, and brought them home. You're probably thinking I'm insane, but I thought that somehow over the summer, I would plow my way through each and every one of them and come up with something.

And, after a mere 96 hours in my garage, I've done it.

I have organized my ass off. And it feels so right.

You see, I created the most amazing, glorious and useful spreadsheet you have ever seen. In this masterpiece, I painstakingly typed in each book's title and author. Then I read each book. THEN (because there's more), I listed the approximate reading level when appropriate AS WELL AS the potential purposes each book may serve in my classroom. These purposes can include key words such as "tattling" or "small moment". I also tagged books as "great use of dialogue", "example of captions", and "beautiful collage."

So...all I need to do is open up the old spreadsheet, search for the correct key word, title or subject area and BINGO! a list of books are at my disposal. As they are all arranged alphabetically, they are quite easy to find as well.

I die.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Coffee Talk

As I sipped my coffee this morning, I had a flash of what I would be doing at this time of day if it was sometime during the school year. Suddenly, instead of relaxing with my book (not MY BOOK...although that would be a great read - hint, hint...but the book I am currently reading), I was sitting in my "teacher chair", methodically counting down the time my friends had to clean up their math stuff and get their little behinds to the carpet. I could hear the furious scurrying of feet...you know that almost run that toes the line of appropriate movement in the classroom but just doesn't seem worth the battle at 9:30? I could see friends hurriedly jamming packs of math cards into boxes, ripping the edges of the sad, tired box and with little regard to which direction the cards were facing. I could feel myself biting my tongue as friends, who truly were anxious to help and probably didn't mean to, placed (read: threw) pattern blocks in their labeled bucket.

And then I remembered this gem...from a day when things weren't going so smoothly.

(A warning, dear readers...I come from a family in which a really good bathroom joke is much appreciated, despite the fact that we are all now over 30 years of age. In fact, a good fart comment often receives a two snorts up from Big Mama Mimi and the rest of the crew....sorry mom, but it's true. So if you are someone who can't appreciate the sometimes very vulgar, always surprising, and totally hilarious things that come out of the mouths of small children, might I suggest that you, um, loosen up.) (You thought I was going to suggest they stop reading, right? Please.)

One day, earlier in my career (It makes me feel better to say that, kind of like a disclaimer, but whatever), my friends were cleaning up from math and things were not going smoothly. And that's putting it mildly. It was one of those moments when you just watch the whole thing as if you're floating above the classroom...very out of body and very disconcerting. I could see my hold on them crumbling, as unifix cubes were thrown, papers were carelessly shoved in desks and a fight erupted over who was going to get to collect the pattern block templates. Somehow, we managed to line up and get out the door to music in one piece, but as my line moodily walked out the door to their first stop in the hallway, I heard one of my deliciously naughty boys say to another boy (and I quote):

"Go tell your grandmother to shave her balls."

Do I need to remind you that this all occurred before 9:00 a.m.?

So, enjoy your morning coffee, friends! It will be here before we know it!!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Drumroll, Please

Friends. I am not even sure how to announce this properly (although secretly, I want to strap on my most fabulous heels and scream it from the roof tops).

Let's see...how shall I begin? I've been, uh, up to something for the last few months. You see one day, a fabulous publishing company (with excellent taste and an eye for humor if you ask me) wrote Mrs. Mimi a little email containing thirteen very special words: "Would you be interested in getting your blog out to a larger audience?"

To which I brilliantly replied, "Is this some sort of joke?"

The answer, friends, is no, it was not a joke. And thank goodness the lovely people at Kaplan Publishing have a good sense of humor because that email could have gone horribly wrong.

And so today I would like to announce that I, Mrs. Mimi have a book coming out in September!

(Is your heart pounding, because mine is going a mile a minute!!! And I might be sweating...a little.)

(Excuse me while I do a small celebratory dance around my computer desk.)

Before I continue, I want to (seriously) thank all of my super loyal and equally fabulous readers. Your support, hilarious comments and interest kept me posting through some tough times. Starting and maintaining this blog has been a wonderful, and surprising, new outlet for me. From the bottom of my heart/favorite pair of Manolos, thank you.

Click here for a sneak peek of the introduction and two chapters.

(I'll pause while you read. Maybe I will saunter to the kitchen and get myself a cocktail too...care to join me?)

(Oh, and, you know...just for ha has I thought I would also mention that it's already up for sale on Amazon among other websites. Every time I look at it sitting there on line, I get goosebumps!)

Do you love it?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

When Do The Innovations Stop?!

I think I might be crying...a little.

Now before you read any further - no, I don't work for a massive office supplies conglomerate; no, I do not own stock in Sharpie and yes, I have a problem with obsessively purchasing office/organizational supplies. (There are worse addictions you know...I do organizational supplies and shoes, some people do crack. Whatevs.)

In my most recent post, in which I fantasized about the possibility of ending
Persistent Dry Tip forever, a fellow reader mentioned something to me that inspired me to post immediately. Literally, it sent me into a dither. (Did I just say "dither"? Did I even use that word correctly? Please advise...) Miss M commented that she had seen...

a commercial...

(Wait for it.)

for...

(Oh, it's good...totally worth the wait.)

(Are you sitting down?)

(Because you should be.)

a no-bleed, fine point Sharpie!!!

No bleeding!! Sharpie!! Fine point!! So many colors to choose from!!!

(Insert me grasping frantically for a piece of furniture so I don't fall over after my display of energetic enthusiasm.)

Ok, some details. (Check it out for yourself too! Again, it's in the side bar thingy...I still don't know how to insert a photo.) It does not bleed through paper and is fine point like a pen. It is smear proof when dry, permanent and water proof. It is a Sharpie masquerading as a pen...I die.

The listing possibilities are endless. And beyond my wildest imagination...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Does This Make Me A School Supplies Pimp??

I know that I have previously pimped myself out to advertise the sheer wonder that is the Stainless Steel Sharpie ...I mean, words cannot describe this innovation in organizational/office supplies. (Insert large sigh and a shiver of delight here.) I also know that it is not quite Back-To-School season (although the commercials promoting this particular time of year begin earlier and earlier each summer, causing huge knots in the stomachs of teachers everywhere), however I saw an ad this morning for something that might just change my life.

As I casually sipped my coffee and flipped back and forth between the opening banter on Regis and Kelly and the Golden Girls (Yea, I said it...I'm not afraid to admit my obsession with this show), I caught a commercial for something called the Expo Click Retractable Dry Erase Marker.

Wait, let me repeat that for you. A retractable dry erase marker. THAT MEANS NO CAP, PEOPLE!! NO CAP!

Expo Click Retractable Low Odor Fine Tip Dry Erase Markers, 6 Fashion Color Markers (1751667)Expo Click Retractable Low Odor Chisel Tip Dry Erase Markers, 12 Black MarkersExpo Click Retractable Low Odor Chisel Tip Dry Erase Markers, 3 Assorted Markers (1741919)

If you are a teacher, at this moment you might be clutching your chest while simultaneously opening a new browser window to check out Staples (or you can just click in my little Organizational Supplies side bar thingy). If you are not a teacher, you most likely do not understand the importance of this revolution in dry erase marker. You see, many classrooms have begun using small dry erase slates, or white boards. Each child has one and we use them often throughout the day to practice math problems on the rug together, try out a new word family or jot down some thoughts. They are wonderful and I heart them. HOWEVER, I do NOT heart the Lost Cap Conundrum. Being the organizational goddess that I am, I have long since devised a system in which not only are my students numbered, but all of their school supplies are numbered as well. White boards have numbers emblazened on the back, tool boxes sport numbers and, yes friends, dry erase markers are also branded with student numbers. This minimizes arguments when shit inevitably gets left behind in various areas of the classroom. Yet, the cap, my friends, the cap is a dilemma. I am not crazy enough to number every cap (although I have thought about it...they're usually colored though and therefore the numbers don't show up well) and so I have fallen victim to a condition I call Persistent Dry Tip.

Persistent Dry Tip effects mainly children between the ages of 5 and 10. Although in my experience, I have found that children ages 7 and 8 are especially suseptible to such an ailment. Symptoms of this illness inlcude: cries of "my marker doesn't work!", blank stares when asked to get out their white board and marker, sneaky attempts to bogart a friend's marker and usually failed attempts to steal a marker with another number.

It is an often undiscussed, yet serious problem facing many teachers of young children.

Now, I have not sampled the Expo Click Retractable Dry Erase Marker for myself, but just the name alone makes my pulse quicken. Yes, they are a bit more expensive then the regular dry erase marker of days past, but maybe, just maybe, they could be the cure. Classroom set of dry erase boards...$60. Set of 3 Expo Click Retractable Dry Erase Marker...$4.49. Eradicating Persistent Dry Tip from your classroom experience...priceless.

Who's Peeking?