Michelle Fattig, author of the Annie Books series, is a school psychologist, and medical technologist, who volunteers as a parent advocate, and provides professional development to parents and educators.
The excerpt here is from A Prairie Day with Annie. Michelle says: "The Annie Books are a must read for any parent, teacher, or student with the challenges of Attention Deficit Disorders." Chapter Two
Crayon Marks, Ceiling Cracks, and a Wad of Gum
A hand on her shoulder interrupts Annie.
Annie, Mrs. Jones repeats exasperated, I have been calling for you to come back to class.
Shaking her head, Annie looks around, same crayon marks on the wall, same cracks in the ceiling, same gum stuck under the door handle, no wait there was no gum there yesterday.Was there gum there yesterday?
I didnt see gum there yesterday, Annie murmurs.
It could have been there yesterday.
Annnn-IE, more sternly this time.
Oh, sorry Mrs. Jones! Annie blurts out, as she jumps to her feet.
Dusting herself off, Annie glances up to Mrs. Jones.
Mrs. Jones? Annie ventures.
Mmm, yes Annie,? Mrs. Jones replies distractedly, trying to keep an eye on the class, as she waits for Annie to straighten herself.
Mrs. Jones, what do you think a minnow tastes like? Annie asks, looking brightly up at her teacher.
Wh-what? What do you mean, what do I think a minnow tastes like?
Honestly Annie! Did you spend any time thinking about WHY you were sitting out in the hallway? Mrs. Jones looks positively apoplectic.
Apoplectic. Annie likes that word.
Last week, when mom made her stay in her room after getting the letter from Mrs. Jones about how the day went, Annie had looked through the As in the dictionary. One must figure out how to spend time in a constructive manner, when one is frequently banished to ones room.
Apoplectic had popped out at Annie. Apoplectic at rest, becalmed, dead, deadlocked, deathly, firm, fixed, frozen, halted, immobile, immotile, inanimate, inert, lifeless, numb, palsied, paralyzed, petrified, quiescent, quiet, spellbound, stable, stagnant, stalled, standing, static, stationary, steadfast, still, stock-still, torpid, transfixed, unmovable, unmoved, unmoving.
What a simply MARVELOUS WORD!
Wait, what does torpid mean? A blank stare was the only response from Annie to Mrs. Jones question.
Annie was still rolling the words around on her tongue, oblivious to the storm brewing in Mrs.Jones. Lets use this as a teaching moment.
Mrs. Jones has that hands on hips, bending slightly at the waist, earnest expression she frequently gets when speaking with Annie.
Annie looks back expectantly.
Well? prompts Mrs. Jones without changing posture.
Annie looks at her feet and shuffles a toe at a wadded up piece of writing paper. She hadnt noticed the writing paper before. It is a lined paper with writing visible. What was written on it? Was it a note? Maybe it was a note from Dougie to Annie, expressing his undying love. Dougie sits behind Annie. He has reddish brown hair that sticks out of his head at all angles. He has freckles and one of the biggest smiles Annie has ever seen.?I wonder if Dougie would have liked living on the prairie?
Annies imagination is at it again.
Skipping brightly in the morning sunshine, Annie swings a pail in a great arcing motion. Her long dark braids trail down her back and her bonnet still lies loosely about her shoulders. The pail is small and gray. The little handle feels cool in her hand. Ma has tucked biscuits, an apple, and some jerked meat in the bottom for Annies lunch. A checkered red and white kerchief is tucked around the food, keeping it from flies and from being crushed by
Annies careless transport.
They will pump more fresh cool water at lunchtime. Ma says it is so lucky that the little school has its very own pump. Not many schools have them you know. Thinking about her aching arms, Annie is not so sure that she would consider it altogether lucky!
There are very few trees about, and Annie can see far across the horizon. Tall prairie grass sways gently in the breeze.
Annie loves the feeling of the sun and breeze on her cheeks. Ma will, of course, scold her for not covering up with her bonnet when she sees her pink cheeks! As Annie cavorts along, she notices a boy strolling towards her. The boy is wearing a plaid cotton shirt, and stiff looking jeans, that are slightly too short and in obvious need of mending. Ma would never let pa out of the house in such a state. The boy has stiff looking leather boots resembling Annies very own footwear. He has dark blue suspenders and is swinging a pail along as well. He and Annie meet up as they pass old Mr. Johnsons barn. Old Mr. Johnson yells a lot and his dog barks constantly, but they are both actually really nice. Neither Annie nor Dougie are afraid of Mr. Johnsons bark, or his dogs for that matter! The boys hair is damp and has the obvious appearance of having been slicked down, but to no avail! Dougies hair would never submit to a combing, no matter how hard his ma fusses and pulls and smashes at it!
Hey he begins. Annie smiles in return. Her grin is infectious and Dougies eyes light up with a broad smile spreading across his face.
Dougies teeth are kind of too large for his mouth. His teeth sort of take over his face when he smiles.
Thats not Dougies voice Annie thinks.
Oops. Sorry Mrs. Jones, Annie says feeling sheepish. She can tell by the expectant look on Mrs. Joness face that she has been asked a question. What was it?
Hmm? Oh dear...think fast. Mmm. Lets see in the hallway. Quick, quick! Oh why cant I just pay attention? Why cant I just pay attention? Why cant I just pay attention? Why cant I just pay attention? Why cant I just Annie mutters the familiar chant, as she searches desperately for a reply.
Mrs. Jones face has the most interesting shade to it now. Its sort of mottled reddish with little while lines around her tightly pursed mouth and interested little white indentations forming between her eyebrows. The red color is creeping down her neck and up to her ears. Annie thinks the coloring is really not very flattering, not very flattering at all!
Well? Mrs. Jones leans in toward Annie even more; her hands are now fisted on her hips. Hmm...Not good. Annie studies her surroundings quickly. Lets see, she is thinking, standing in the hallway Mrs. Jones seems irritated Mmm What was I supposed to be doing in the hallway?
Going to the bathroom! Annie blurts loudly, clearly pleased with herself.
Wh-what?! Mrs. Jones stammers.
What what?? Annie looks expectantly.
This kind of confused, jumbled exchange between the two is definitely not new. Mrs. Jones again thinks that she will never survive the year.
Author: [Michelle Fattig, Ed.S.] Email:
[anniebooks [at] fbwpub [dot] com]Website: [http://www.anniebooks.com]