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Caption This…

Sandy Merz Current Affairs, Education, Life in the Classroom, Social Issues

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The third quarter is always the longest, and this year has been longer than most by about a decade. Participation is way down and classes seem to go on forever. And it’s my job to do something about it. So, the other day, at the end of my students’ online lesson I had them write captions for my bearded dragon, Chinle (named for the Triassic Sandstone she looks like), as she basked below her sun lamp. Here are many of the results, edited slightly for grammar and clarity and with minimal comment from me.

And yes there is a little known math standard for writing captions about lizards. And yes participation, for this question at least, went way up.

But first my own captions:

What do you mean, “Mr. Merz, why did you mark me absent?” and

Bernie who?

And now from the kiddos:

When you can’t find the remote and it’s staring at you from the couch.

The calculator when you ask what 4 + 3 is.

The teacher looking at the students who had the same answers on the test.

My grandma staring at me blowing bubbles in my chocolate milk.

As I plot world domination, I’m gonna need a latte.

My parents waiting for my excuse.

Me trying to look innocent after I fart out loud. (The student deleted it, but not fast enough.)

When that one kid flips to the next page during a test and you haven’t even finished writing your name.

When you sneeze and you hear a “Bless you,” but you’re home alone.

Everyone looking at you when you cough in public.

Bow before me!

Me deciding if I want to press snooze again.

When your siblings steal your candy.

All of us staring at the Google Meets all day.


Sunbathing on Mars

Mr Merz’s face when he realizes it was a giraffe and not a horse. (Long story here, but it was a horse.)

Me looking at my screen after getting a question wrong on Kahoot.

Bearded dragon ordering a drink in the wild.

When someone eats your last french fry.

When thine enemies dare to challenge you!

When you are in an argument and then you realize you are wrong

Peasant, get me some food now

I would sell you to Satan for one corn chip.

I’m not through with you yet.

The one the only, showoff mini-Godzilla.

Arizona, it’s a red heat

Chillin’ like a villain.

Where’s the money?

Bow before Queen Chinle!

When you don’t believe a word that someone else is saying.

I also asked my colleagues and received a couple of contributions:

Feeling slightly off color today, I’m afraid.

Cheetos new flavor – Flaming hot lizard.

…and THAT’S when you’ll use this in real life!

That’s it so far. I’m asking three classes tomorrow that haven’t had a chance to write their captions, so expect an update, and maybe some more from colleagues.

And your own captions are more than welcome!


I grew up in Silver City, New Mexico and went the University of New Mexico, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Geology. After working for the U.S. Geological Survey in remote regions of western New Mexico, I moved to Tucson to attend graduate school at the University of Arizona, earning a Master of Science degree in Hydrogeology. While working as an intern hydrologist for a local county agency, I started doing volunteer work that involved making presentations in schools. At that moment I knew teaching was the path to follow. It must have been a good decision because I’m still on the path after thirty-two years. My teaching certificates are in math and science and I am a National Board Certified Teacher in Career and Technical Education. After teaching engineering and math and elective classes at the same school in downtown Tucson my whole career, I've moved to a different middle school and district on the edge of town to teach math. In addition to full time teaching, I am actively involved in the teacher leadership movement by facilitating National Board candidates, blogging for Stories from School Arizona, and serving on the Arizona K12 Center’s TeacherSolutions team. In January 2017, Raytheon Missile System named me a Leader in Education and I'm a former Arizona Hope Street Fellow.

Comments 1

  1. Jaime Festa-Daigle

    Thank you for sharing. This is what makes teaching fun.

    Chinle is prepping for prom by getting a tan.

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