Years ago we started keeping a journal of all the funny little things that happen in our classroom. This was a suggestion by one of our cooperating teachers when we were students teaching. Writing down little stories that happen at school each day has been one way to relive the sweetest moments of each school year.
Come read some of our favourites stories from our Overheard in My Classroom series.
How Did the “Overheard in my Classroom” Quotes Start?
About seven years ago we shared one of our overheard stories on our Instagram Account. It was pretty popular, especially at a time when we didn’t really understand Instagram or hashtags. More and more we started sharing our little overheard quotes and now we get submissions from teachers all across Canada who share their quotes with us.
You can submit an Overheard in in My Classroom quote here.
Each quote usually has a backstory and we write these in journals along with the student’s name, the year we’re teaching and the circumstances. Not everything gets put in the quotes, but we like to have these to remember.
We recommend writing down the stories in your classroom. We have a Teacher Gratitude Journal which you can find in our Resource Library or we can send it to you when you join our email list. These stories that make you smile will come in handy on tough days. You’ll be glad you kept them.
Let’s Count Down Some of Our Favourite Overhead in My Classroom Quotes
Because all teachers like wine.
This is the quote that started it all. It was the week before Christmas and students were discussing what they had asked for and what they were giving to people. There was a gentle hum of working and we were having a flex session. This was a bit of time where students had a choice of which work they were finishing to get caught up. I usually spent this time tracking down specific assignments. During a break in the hum, this quote was heard from across the room. We suspect they were discussing a gift for us, because we got wine for Christmas from the family.
My mom told me to ask you if I’ve been good at school. She wants to know if she should buy one bottle of wine or two.
This darling had a mother who worked as a sommelier, a person who is trained in wine expertise and travels the world to find wines that can be recommended to restaurants. I think that’s an amazing job if you like to travel and drink wine. She knew her son could be a handful so she sent him to school to ask me a question.
How do you milk an almond?
This quote comes from one of our most endearing students. It was lunchtime and students were sitting eating their lunches with their classmates. At our school, teachers supervised students eating lunch and then they went outside to play white other teachers supervised. This meant teachers could take turns having a 15 minute lunch break (that’s a whole story for another time).
This particular class was very health conscious and I was often impressed with the quality of the lunches students brought from home. One student had almond milk and someone else asked a very legitimate question.
Turns out we had to do a Google Search because nobody knew. Almonds are soaked and mixed with water, blended and then the solid pieces are filtered out. Now you know.
My mom calls glitter devil dust
Every teacher makes a glitter mistake. We had one project that used glitter glue and this little gem popped out.
If you’re avoiding art class because of the mess, you should read our post Are you Avoiding Teaching Art?
When she closes her eyes and breathes like that, we better get it together.
It was a very long week. Everyone was tired. Administration dropped some surprises in our lap and I had two days to finish a huge project so I could get assessments of the project done in time for report cards.
This was the day someone in the class broke out the water bottle rule. The water bottle rule is that only water can be in a water bottle and lids must be on tightly. Neither of these rules were followed and when a student bumped another student’s desk, it covered three other students’ artwork (that was almost done and was supposed to be hung up for the parent teacher conferences) were covered in sugary grape pop.
So, I demonstrated to students how to breathe deeply and not overreact. While I had my eyes closed and was breathing, I overheard one little voice speak out.
The good news, the kids worked together to clean up all the mess. The artwork was dried out and all three students were able to paint over the stained parts.
I was late for school this morning because our dog ate our elf and it was a holiday massacre. My brother is scarred for life.
Every year there is an Elf of the Shelf story from at least one student.
We were quietly reading before starting our day when one student swooped in and whispered this loudly from across the room.
My Mom Wants to Know If the New Seating Plan is a Me Thing or You Thing
It’s always because of students, but we change up the seating plan almost weekly. Some changes are little and some are big, but we find that constantly changing the plan doesn’t point out the obvious changes we have to make sometimes.
This one was a talker. Very friendly. Talked to everyone-even people out in the hall. He was the reason for lots of things I overheard in my classroom.
I’m on Plan G. This thing has to work eventually.
We had challenged our students to create carnival attractions as part of our science unit on simple machines. You can find the exact lesson here if you’re interested. One student was trying to build a roller coaster with a paper track that went from one side of the classroom to the other.
There had been many prototypes and lots of wheels rolling away without the rest of the vehicle. Tracks were changes, cars were changed and three days later almost everyone in the class was offering solutions.
At the end of each building day, students gave a quick progress report and ask their classmates for suggestions to solve problems. Every day students offered solutions about the track or the cars and he would continue to test them
We technically never got it to work the way he wanted, but he did learn lots of ways it didn’t work. It was one of the proudest things I overheard in my classroom.
We attribute the process of testing to two different things. Growth mindset is a skill we teach from the beginning of the year. You can learn more about what we do at the beginning of the year in our post Use the Learning Pit to Teach Growth Mindset. Working on projects that require testing and retesting can frustrate some students. To alleviate this, we teach the Design Process.
Do teachers have to get their parents to sign the form when they take us on a field trip?
This quote that was overheard in my classroom made me smile because of the innocence. She was genuinely asking because she wanted to know.
If you’re looking for more information about what we do to prepare for field trips read our post The Ulitmate Guide to Field Trips.
What will it take for you not to mention this to my parents?
Sometimes there are those students who surprise you when they make a big stupid mistake. This was one of those students. I was shocked.
The good news is he confessed. Have never been caught doing anything wrong before he unloaded like he was in a confessional. He was bartering and offering all kinds of things-which for a nine-year-old is quite entertaining in itself.
I told him that my decision would depend on a few things. How was he going to fix the problem?
He agreed to apologize to the person and do a presentation for the class to explain why his behaviour was wrong and dangerous. I told him I would not tell his parents immediately, but I wanted him to tell them himself.
What did he do? He threatened to bring almonds to school. Doesn’t sound like much, but he told a girl who has a fatal allergy to almonds that we was going to bring them to school and line them up around his desk so she would stay away from him. Apparently, she had a crush on him and he thought this would be a solution to keep her at bay.
He did a great presentation about allergies and even had the student allergic to almonds bring an EpiPen trainer (the kind with no needle or medicine) to teach students what happens if she eats an almond. He even made a slide show. It was great.
I had already told his parents after that first day, but I told them about the natural consequences in place and asked them not to mention they already knew until he told them himself. It only took him three hours of being home after school before he caved.
He sent me a thank you card for not “telling on him.”
Sometimes Quotes are the Punchline
These stories are the punchline, and some of our biggest laughs, but they don’t need much explanation.
A Tattoo Story…
Student 1: Where do you think the worst place to get a tattoo is?
Student 2: A zoo?
A Pretty Common Sight..
Student: This book is from the olden days.
Teacher: When is that?
Holes on the Left
First Student: Holes for on the left side of the page.
Second Student: Which left?
First Student: I don’t know how teachers deal with kids.
Buddy the Elf
We were watching Elf as a special treat to learn about perspective. Look up forced perspective to see how they made the movie.
Student 1: I don’t understand how the other elves didn’t notice how much bigger Buddy is?
Student 2: They were being inclusive.
It shows you how sweet our students are. They really feel like a community. Each year brings a new batch of quotes and stories, but one of the best ways to warm up our feelings about teaching (especially on those days when you feel beaten down) is to read these stories and remember the little faces that made us smile.
Teacher: Why are your scissors on the floor?
Student: They are learning to be carpet.
Don’t worry, the scissors were picked up and it was said with a smile and wink.
What stories have you heard in your classroom? Share your Overheard in My Classroom quotes with us.