The Mouse at the end of the tale

sols_6This year of teaching has been one tale after another.  Some have been tales of sadness, other success and joy and a few just funny. This is the last tale for this 2012- 2013 school year.

My class for some unknown reason had read a great deal of books with mice in them this year. It was not planned it was discovered this spring. We read Poppy and Rye, Bless this Mouse, Despereaux ( as a One Book, One School), and Stuart Little. We were finishing the year with a class read of Mouse and the Motorcycle. I had a class set and it looked like a fun read for a few days in May. We began our reading in pairs and sometime I would read aloud to the group. It was not long into this book that I was informed of a mouse ( a real mouse) in the class next door. We thought it all very funny since we were reading about mice who were smart and most of them like to read. (Especially Despereaux I was told by my students. )

We continued on our reading adventure when I learned I had one last observation with my Principal. It was to be a pop in observation so who knew when she would come by. It did not matter to me but I did inform the class she would stop by to watch me teach.

On a Wednesday morning we are beginning our reading when the class began screaming and jumping on chairs. I settled them down to discover a mouse running around the edge of the room. I quickly get after my students for jumping and yelling then call the engineer to come help us out.

We start once again quietly as our principal walks in and sits down at the round table to observe. Her computer is up and she is about to type when my students whisper to her  “I wouldn’t sit there if I were you that is where the mouse is – just behind the books.”

She screams, runs across the classroom and sits up on a desk. My students staring at me because I have just gotten mad at them for the same behavior. I know this is my observation but I can’t help it. I turn to the principal and explain that in our classroom we are not sitting on desks and could she please come down. It is just a mouse and we will take care of it.

She agrees and I begin our discussion on comparing characters in our books. The characters we are comparing are – yes, your are right mice. The students are great giving examples and making comparisons. They talk about how the fictional mice really wanted to learn, how they used books to help them and they listened in on conversations to learn.

Here is where I turned to write all this on the board to discover our real mouse sitting with his/her nose poking out between the book boxes listening in (my guess is wanting to know if we had our information straight about mice). He/She decided to make a run for the back of the classroom right between my feet and the observation lesson fell apart.

My principal, who I discovered is very afraid of mice, call for the classroom to be evacuated NOW! I over rode that request long enough  to have students take their book, a reading journal and a pencil with them and walk quietly into the hall.

The engineer arrived as we left. I won’t go into that story. We ended up down the hall in a lovely little atrium having a discussion on the value of mice in our ecosystem. You know the lessons must go on. We finished reading our chapter of Mouse and the Motorcycle and my observation came to an end.

The post conference for that lesson was very amusing. She was amazed and pleased that I just kept teaching. It is what we do – we just keep teaching!

Here ends the tale of 2013!   Happy Summer everyone!

About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, care for my Grandson and write. Life is good!
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5 Responses to The Mouse at the end of the tale

  1. What a great tale! Thank you for sharing it with us today.

  2. I love the description of your principal jumping on a desk from a mouse–and the students’ quizzical reactions. I’ve had a similar experience with a bee. Funny how when we’re in charge we can be calm, but when someone else is in charge, our worries and behaviors come out. I’m curious about the “one book, one school” activity you mention as well–how does that work?

    • Elizabeth – Our school, which is a high poverty school, joined a program called One Book One School ( We choose three books that the whole school would read. With grant funds we purchased books for each family in the building. The classrooms talked about the books, we did a whole school kick off and the expectation was that families would read these books together at home. They got to keep the books as well. This was our first year. We need to tweak our program a bit but was a great experience for everyone. Hope this helps!

  3. Cathy says:

    Hilarious story! I’ve seen mere spiders bring a lesson to an abrupt halt so I can only image the outcome of a mouse. I’m thinking you could have told the principal the mouse was a hook for your lesson. BAHAHAHAHAHA

    You won’t forget that day anytime soon — and neither will your principal. It will likely be one of her favorite “life as a principal” stories.


  4. elsie says:

    Now that’s the way to finish a year! Too funny!

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