Past to present comparisons can be really powerful and exciting for students. In the past, I’ve liked to have students self-portraits, and first-day photos at the beginning of the year. When you take the same picture at the end, or have the students create self portraits at the end, you see so much growth!

When you have a kid who has made some progress, but does not feel confident about it, nothing can make them feel better about themselves then comparing how they did at the start of the year to where they are now.

Sometimes that doesn’t work out…


I wrote about my student who has a Book of Scares. I talked to him, asked if I could share it online. I told him I was proud of him for being open about anxiety, proud of him for naming his fears instead of suffering and silence to them.

I love the pictures that he did. I love that he shared them. I love that he wants people to understand who he is. I love his sense of vulnerability. I love the visual language he’s developing even as written language can be tough for him sometimes. I love that he’s…


If you can say them out loud, if you can write them down, you are ahead of the pack. If you can look your fears in the eye, and say, “I don’t like you,” you are on the road to living with them rather than being controlled by them.

I have a student who made a Book of Scares. He has a lot of anxiety, but his fears aren’t irrational. They are things that are scary, bad weather, sharks, death, people with guns, fire drills, and plane crashes are what are in the Book of Scares.

I’m so impressed with…


I had been doing a Sunday Catch-up post each week, and then last night, because of a comedy show online, I lost track of time and didn’t. I don’t know how important it is. Sure I get a little dopamine hit when people read this blog, but honestly this is mostly just good practice. And when it’s something that turns out really good, I’ve got it saved somewhere that I can look it up again.

Sunday was good. I got some things done around the house, I relaxed a lot, I got my grocery shopping done, I got in a…


I will mess up.

I do mess up.

I get tired, I overextend, I get super distracted.

I’m passionate about this moment, I’m passionate about the next moment, I’m passionate about the beautiful moment that passed and I don’t want to forget.

Consistency is difficult for me sometimes because I am driven by so many curiosities. If there’s something that could be tracked, and that tracking can help me live better, I’m good for a couple weeks. Then something shiny appears in my periphery. And I am on it.

So I’ve written every day - almost - and the days…


“Listen, you little wiseacre, I’m smart, you’re dumb. I’m big, you’re little. I’m right, you’re wrong. And there’s nothing you can do about it.”
-Harry Wormwood

Most teachers that I know would agree that Harry Wormwood’s words in Matilda are terrible. Even so, he’s an exaggeration, and I’ve seen this attitude played out in a more reasonable sounding fashion over and over again throughout my teaching career.

I’ll even say that at times, it’s understandable. As a teacher, you’re tasked with completing several goals at once and leading a classroom full of people who may not care to be…


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Guana Observation Overlook, looking north

This morning before school, even though I wasn’t ready super early, I had the foresight to put my bike on my bike rack as I was leaving. Today’s weather was supposed to be sunny and pleasant with clear skies. As you can see from looking at the picture, the forecast was accurate.

Just before leaving school this afternoon, I changed into shorts, grabbed a water and a banana, and drove to the Guana River Wildlife Management Area.


During recess, I play with my kids. They’re almost universally nice children. Most of them are very chill, and just in any game to have a good time. There are a couple of boys who take it too seriously, and cause problems when the course of the game doesn’t fit how they see it.

It started getting bad enough — and circling around to too many kids — that I had to talk to my class about it. I never ever want to do that. I don’t want to dictate recess. First, I don’t want the responsibility of trying to…


My teaching partner and I received an email today that one of our students had moved to another county, and was being withdrawn from our class.

This is one of the worst things, but I know that for some families, this can be unavoidable. If money is tight, if a sudden life change happens, you do what you have to do. Even so, at this point in the year, you’re hitting a kind of stride with your class, your relationships are so strong, it’s really hard to say good-bye, and even harder to not get to say good-bye.

The student…

Sean Farnum

I teach kids, snuggle with cats (mine) and dogs (when I can). I eat plants, draw pictures, ride bikes, and I like to read and write. @MagicPantsJones on social.

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