October 30, 2006

A Face in the War: R. I. P. Kenny

Day after day the war on Iraq takes the lives of our young American troops. One of those has a name and face to me. Earlier tonight I found out that one of my former students, Kenny, died overseas in Iraq. I've had a lot of students join the military over the years, and there was a particular group of wild young'uns who made the decision to go not long after we went to war. They came to school their senior year and proclaimed they were all going. I was impressed with their maturity, duty, and sense of patriotism.

I can't say that I haven't been dreading the day that I found out that I lost "one of my kids" to the war. I have thought about it a lot because right now there are quite a few of them overseas. Half expecting that it was going to happen sooner or later doesn't make it feel any better, though. I'm heart-broken and weepy like he was more than just some kid who was in my class.

He was more than just some kid in my class. Before moving to the city, I lived in a teeny, tiny town and taught at a high school that only had about 200 students. I taught all of the students for first two years of their high school careers, but after that it wasn't like I forgot them. We teachers worked as a team to help raise these kids, and we were a constant presence in their lives. As the yearbook advisor, I was everywhere capturing everything on film. (My staff members were often also involved in the activities that needed photos taken.) I was there on the football field with them. I was on the dance floor at prom. I was there pinning on their flowers and straightening their caps at graduation. Sometimes I felt like a mom--or at least an auntie.

Kenny will forever be in my mind as that nice guy whom everyone liked. He was an average student, but a good athlete. He always had a smile, and the one I'll remember the most is the one with braces. And with freckles. And a ball cap that I'm sure I had to continually remind him to remove in class. I remember him in some sort of jersey or school athletic wear. Sports were a big deal at our school, and a lot of the students' wardrobes mainly consisted of black and gray clothing with our mascot and school name.

I had seen him since he went into the military. The first time I was so surprised that he was so fit and trim. I hadn't though of him as fat or even pudgy, but with some boot camp training, he came home for a visit standing tall and looking lean. He looked like a man. He acted like a man. How quickly the military matures them!

And I'm sure duty in Iraq matured him even more. There are some pictures of him on his Myspace page, all dressed in his gear, looking like the original bad-ass GI Joe. He looks serious, but healthy. And to me, he still looks young.

And he will always be young, as he was barely 21-years-old.

My heart is so full, yet so broken. Spilling. I'm so damn proud of the man he became, but just deeply saddened that he didn't live too many years walking as that brave, honorable man.

October 29, 2006

From the Tattle Tale Files

Mister Teacher posted an anecdote about the Princess Tattler he has this year. Who doesn't loathe tattlers?

Since I teach at the secondary level, I don't have too much tattling, and when I do, it's usually kids just goofing around. "Miss! He hit me, poked me, looked at me, took my pencil, or did something I obviously cannot deal with on my own."

I used to answer, "Well, what did YOU do to provoke him?" Doesn't it usually seem that the tattler is often the instigator?

Lately I've been amusing myself with responses such as, "Well, them I'm going to have to hang him upside down and throw darts at him." Or, "I'm going to have to banish him to another realm."

When dealing with my own children I say, "Well, I'm just going to beat the shit out of him. Does that sound like a good solution?" (Their eyes get wide and they run off and deal with their petty issues without my help. In case you aren't a regular reader, of course I wouldn't follow through on that threat. Even if it does sound like a good idea.)

Mister Teacher's post brought to mind an incident with my high schoolers last week. If you think it's irritating to have 2nd graders tattle, try 12th graders. It's hard for me to not completely go off about their immaturity when they tattle, so I generally ignore them. However, I did put one of my senior boys in his place (he was left speechless) last week:

"Miss! She's bugging to me! I'm trying to concentrate." As far as I had observed, he had not been concentrating most of the night. And who was he tattling on? His own girlfriend.

"Listen," I said, "You're going to be a dad soon. Leave her alone. She's eight months pregnant, and you need to treat her with a little more respect. Stop tattling already! Daddies don't do that. You need to GROW UP!"

That poor pregnant girl has TWO kids to raise.

October 27, 2006

Hooray for a Good Day!

I've just been way too depressed and pissy lately. Don't think I don't know!

Yesterday some little things happened that made me day just peachy.

For one thing, people weren't trying to pick fights with me. Well, except one girl who really so badly wants to be in charge of the 35 students of her class, but whatever. We had a talk and she's going to try to find something else to be in charge of because her class is mine all mine! I wonder if she'll actually do it.

Anyway...I had students finishing quarter exams and the rest of them were doing the old stand-by round robin writing activity. You know the one where they start a story and then after a little while pass it to another student to add to it, and on and on and on. They complained at first, but then after the class was over, many of them (mostly my stinky boys) came up and told me it was a cool activity.

Glad you like it kiddos because I got a ton of work done at my desk, your slowpoke classmates were able to finish their tests, and YOU spent what could have been a worthless day (end of quarter and the day before a 3-day weekend) actually WRITING your little hearts out. Triple score for the teacher!

I missed lunch because I attended a very cool function in library. One of my yearbook students (and a student on my team) brought me a HUGE plate of food from day two of the Multicultural Feast our social studies teacher organized. (Two days because including all the students in one day would have been crazy. The first day actually was a little crazy because all 50 students actually brought food to share. It was amazing!) How sweet for someone to think of me! It turned out that it wasn't a student but another teacher who sent the plate, but still I am loved. There were four different tamales on my plate. Score! I have no idea how to make tamales, and eating them in a restaurant is not the same. Seriously, if you want good tamales, someone's mom has to make them!

So then that class period was, "Shut up and start your story. Leave me alone. I'm eating tamales."

The very cool function I attended in the library? We had an author visit our school!I'm not sure if he's known author, up and coming, or serious obscure, but he gets paid to write books for kids, so good for him! His name is Obert Skye and you can check out his website to find out more about his books and a place he discovered called Foo. I'm not a big fan of young adult fantasy, but it does seem to be a hot genre right now. The book reminds me a little of J.K. Rowling and Lemony Snicket, but then perhaps there is that notion that the good YA fantasy books should contain some of key elements that those contain. I dunno.

Obert Skye was a very entertaining speaker who kept the students enchanted the whole time. He told them about his exciting journey into having his story published, which you wouldn't think would interest many of our students, but he did frame it in terms they would know from experiences of writing their own pieces. It was so funny when he showed the kids the before and after with a piece of writing he had done. His editor must be as evil as I am! I just turn and looked at a few of my publications students who were sitting behind me and they shook their heads at me. I'm pretty brutal with their writing: "Did you proof this before you brought it here? Well, try again. Make sure you figure out the correct way to spell "which" unless you'd like to see me turn into the one you have written down."

It's so awesome for the students (and me) to get some outside inspiration from our visiting author. It's not every day one meets a writer who actually makes money. For the students, it's not every day they meet someone besides their teacher is super cool and actually like to write.

The day ended pretty well with a lack of suicidal drivers on the freeway when I took the kids to the weekend trade-off place, which is two hours away. I hate traveling that roadway so much that I keep threatening that I need to be medicated to stay calm. Instead, I usually read. This time I had to take them alone, so I was dreading it, but in the end it turned out to be a quiet night. Mostly just me and hundred of semi trucks.

Some inspiration...homemade tamales...extra industry at my desk...students writing and liking it...and not dying in a fiery crash in the I-15...what a good day!

October 25, 2006

What Drives Teachers to Drink

Students who don't do their work.

Students who, in their 9th year of education, cannot remember to put their names on their papers.

Giving the same directions 20 times a day.

Parents who don't want their students to take responsibility for their own actions.

Needing caffeine and finding only a empty Pepsi can on my desk.

Parents who think that their students should have extra opportunities to turn in work for full credit because they, the parent, didn't know about the missing assignments the very day it was missing.

Parents who think that because they are trying hard to be good parents that we teachers should allow their students to make up work--for full credit--including work done that should have been completed 7 weeks ago.

Being out of chocolate.

Parents who would like students to redo the work they turned in late and incomplete for full credit. Isn't my letting students turn in late work, although with a penalty, their chance to complete an assignment? Too bad they chose to do a crappy job and turn it in late.

Parents who who signed the course expectation but don't really care what it actually says.

My own internal struggles as I wish I could actually make it a rule to never accept late work, like I did when I taught high school, and how I know many teachers who teach at our target high schools do.

Needing mittens in my classroom because the air conditioner is still on, but it's now actually sweater weather. Finding mittens in LV when it's only October.

Trying to be kind to the students of difficult parents, especially when left alone, the students in question might actually pull it together on their with a little guidance, rather than having their parents bail them out.

Not knowing how to be professional and caring when decent students of difficult parents are obviously trying to reach out and make a connection with me, as other students sometimes do, but I'd rather not even speak to the student in fear of adding more flame to the fire. Or having it used against me in a court of law somehow.

Feeling alone and overwhelmed.

Parents who pay visits to my classroom, not to observe how their students are doing/not doing, but to observe me. Perhaps these parents should save my administrator some time and go ahead and file those reports to her, aye?

Not knowing that the visiting parents were actually there to accumulate dirt on me that could later be used in a public complaint.

Forgetting to stock Tums in my desk.

Using up my entire prep to attend "important meetings" but actually wasting 15-20 minutes waiting for the meeting to begin or for people to show up.

Broken copy machines.

Parents who say they've left voice messages but actually haven't. I've had two (2) parents leave a voice message this year. I think I might have caught it if the parent in question was one.

Following the administrative directives but then having parents complain.

Getting called into the principal's office one day and the vice-principal's the next. (At least I have a trouble buddy. We've been sharing the meetings.)

Somehow being involved in a big school conflict but not really sure how I got there.

Walking into a meeting about said conflict and feeling a little lost because it's larger than me and what's going on in my classroom.

Having problems with the prescribed computer programs and applications. Problems? How about wasting my time trying to do things like load rosters, only to have the programs freeze. Huge time waster. I wonder if we pay a lot of money for these things.

Not wanting to take pills for my headache because I can't chase it with Tums.

The 3-foot stack of papers that I wanted to have done tomorrow so I can take the weekend off.

Supporting Red Ribbon Week and not being able to take the necessary drugs that might make that 3-foot stack more enjoyable.

Not knowing how to score some of the drugs anyway.

Having to go home to my own (step)children and be alert and kind when I just want to go to happy hour like in the good old days of being single.

Adding all of the above up to get the mother of all bad weeks. Adding is bad.

October 24, 2006

End of Quarter Fatigue Sets In

I was hardly impressed with my high school students tonight. It was the last class of the quarter, so they should have been working hard to finish their final, which consisted of one new essay and two essay revisions from their work this quarter. I didn't think it was a lot to ask in the four hours I had them over the course of two days. My ELL student can earn a little slack because his thought and writing processes take so long. Bless his hard-working heart. The rest? Bleah. They are the type of students who are happy with their medicore grades. One student is going to fail, but he claims he's just going to school to impress the judge.

Whatever. Why do I care anyway? They could do better. But what do they say to me? "Miss, am I going to see you next quarter?" I'm not going anywhere. You trying to get me to leave? Geez. Bring it on, punk. You might be good at jacking cars, but your skills in driving me nuts aren't quite developed yet. And one girl said to me, "Miss, do you really need the money?" Actually the money is nice, but who teaches a writing class to a bunch of non-writers at 8:00 p.m. unless they enjoy it? Or try to enjoy it? The students don't understand. They all have shitty jobs so they can make their way. I'm sad that they think my frustration in their apathy constitutes a shitty job that I need just to get by.

It's hard being an English teacher sometimes. Students either love or hate your class. Very little gray area for most. None of my high school students--in a composition/creative writing course--enjoy writing in any way. They all need the credit and were hoping it would be an easy grade. Well, it is not too tough, but it is quite work-intensive. "Miss! All we do is WRITE!" Well, DUH! it's a freakin' writing class!

This week marks the end of the quarter, and luckily we happen to have a 3-day week to celebrate a state holiday. The last few weekends I've had to bring a lot of work home, so I'm completely entrenched in work right now. Entrenched. Whatever. BURIED! I just want to veg out with a good book and forget about work for a few days. Hurry up week! End already!

October 19, 2006

Who Cares What Your Other Teacher Says?

Simple Task:

"Open your textbooks and answer the review questions for the story we read yesterday."

Okay...maybe not so simple. So I add:

"Be sure to label and answer all parts of the question. Rephrase the question in your answer. Write complete sentences so I can actually understand what you are trying to communicate. You know, like we've done before."

Just a quick warm-up activity before we dig more deeply into some literary elements.

Halfway through the short allotted time a student calls me over:

"Is it okay if I just answer all the questions in one big paragraph." (Read: I didn't follow instructions--is that okay with you, teacher?)

"No, it is not. Label each question and its parts."

"Well, I'm taking a writing class after school, and my teacher says that how I should do it."

Another teacher told her how she should assignments in my class? What the hell? "That's a really great idea if you are writing to an essay prompt, say on a test or something, but that is not what we're doing here." End of conversation. I start to move on to another student.

Sorry to admit it, but my blood is starting to boil a little. I'm irritated when students compare me to other teachers they have had, suggest ways they'd rather do the assignment, or tell me how I should do my job. I am a trained professional kids! Have a little faith! Anyway, those incidents don't make me freak out or anything, but if the student is persistent enough on any of those points, it's not unheard of that I might blow. Or break out some Shakespearean insults or something. This incident stinks of all three situations all at once. She's damn lucky I didn't blow immediately.

So, this should have been the end, right? I did end the exhange, but then she had the audacity--after I kindly tried to reframe for her what the other teacher could have possibly meant--to look at me like I was a Class A Fool and say, "But--"

"But" nothing, little girl!

I take a deep breath because it's too early in the morning to strangle a self-absorbed-smarty-pants 8th grader over such an inane exchange.

"What has this teacher," I point to myself, "told you to do with these questions?"

And she starts to tell me again what the other teacher has told her. Who IS this teacher, anyway? The other students in the class start to become uneasy because they can see the dragon might come out of the cave. Most of them don't even know what's going on because they are busily working, but they can sense a change in atmosphere.

"Listen, why don't you do this? Why don't you go to Mr. MathTeacher's class and write all the answers to the problems he gives in one big paragraph? I'm sure he'll be just fine with it, won't he? He can easily sort out your work! No! Do this! Save it until you get to Ms. SocialStudies because you know how she would just ADORE the questions to quiz questions all mixed together in one BIG PARAGRAPH!" Yea, good luck with THAT!

Finally she gets it and drops her point. The other students go back to work, shaking their heads over the bizarre exchange. Some are disappointed that they didn't get a full on Teacher Freak Out while others are relieved. It's a quiet class, and they are amused neither by my planned nor my impromptu performances.

And wouldn't you know it? A few minutes later, some poor confused child, who had obviously been duped by the smarty-pants-girl, calls me over and asks, "So, uh, are we AREN'T suppose to write all the answers in one paragraph? Because, uh, well, I thought that's how we were, uh, suppose to do it."


October 18, 2006

Is Nothing Sacred?

I just adore some of the audio interpretations that came with our literature book, but I'm thinking that my students are more likely to crack up over innocent things when they hear it than when they read it.

Uhm...so is this part from Poe's "The Tell-Tale Heart" really got the snickers:

And then, when I had made an opening sufficient for my head, I put in a dark lantern, all closed, closed, that no light shone out, and then I thrust in my head. Oh, you would have laughed to see how cunningly I thrust it in! I moved it slowly --very, very slowly, so that I might not disturb the old man's sleep. It took me an hour to place my whole head within the opening so far that I could see him as he lay upon his bed.

The word "thrust" just about drove them over the edge, but then with the wrong combination of words. Geez!

I personally can't help but chuckle over the following lines:

If still you think me mad, you will think so no longer when I describe the wise precautions I took for the concealment of the body. The night waned, and I worked hastily, but in silence. First of all I dismembered the corpse. I cut off the head and the arms and the legs.

I love how nonchalantly the narrator delivers this part of the story. More than that, I love how our jaded students recoil in disgust. Ha! How I corrupt them in the name of good literature!

October 16, 2006

Goin' Back in Time

I went to my first Renaissance fair this past weekend. Actually, it's one of those things I can't believe I've never experienced until now. Over the years years I have hung around people I could easily imagine participating in fairs like this. You know, like (D&D) role players, actors, storytellers, and history buffs. I've been to a mountain man rendevous or two in my time, and in my mind, it's a similar kind of event, just a different time period.

So, did I like it? Uhm...kind of. I enjoyed the culture--the music, the performers, the costumes. It's just that, it's really most enjoyable for participants, and not just gawkers like me. Plus, it was a really expensive afternoon with the entry tickets,lunch, and a small snack costing nearly $100 for two adults and two children--and we shared some food items, too!

I wasn't sure what the kids would think. I tried to explain the concept to them that people would be dressed up differently and talking strangely because they were pretending that lived during a different time. My stepdaughter was disappointed that she didn't see more princesses, but when we talked over the reality of which there would be more of--princesses or common people--she knew right away why she didn't see more royalty. I was impressed that we saw as many as we did, which wasn't really that many.

My stepson didn't seem too thrilled at all when we were at the fair, but he opted to spend his allowance on a small wooden sword and spent much time ouside on Sunday in his own little world. Then later, he wanted to try his hand at juggling like the man we'd seen at the fair. How sweet!

But that's when I wondered about my efforts to bring culture to my family.

So, he wanted to juggle with some sharpened pencils, afterall, the juggler used knives and such. (He did warn the children not to do it at home!) I steered him in the direction of some something that wouldn't poke an eye out. His dad came in and I told him that our darling son wanted to learn to juggle like the juggler we'd seen.

My husband told me he couldn't believe how rude the juggler had been with the children there. I asked him what he meant because I thought maybe he was talking about how the juggler had been teasing the children sitting in the front by saying he was going to drop things on them or sell them or such. But no, what my husband meant was the things the juggler was saying.

"But, honey, he was the Bawdy Juggler. Didn't you see the sign? 'Bawdy' means he's going to say some risque things! Didn't you hear me when we were leaving and I said that in a couple of years the kids will understand the jokes the guy was making?"

It's true. At their ages, the kids were just entertained by the performance and didn't get the juggler's inuendos.

So, just about the time my husband and I finished our conversation about the Bawdy Juggler being all that he said he was, my stepson walked back into the room, and having heard that the juggler's names was "Bawdy Juggler" started chanting, "I am the Bawdy Juggler! I am the Bawdy Juggler!"

Oh, no!

Most people are not going to understand why the heck he's talking about, but if any of his teachers happened to go the fair, they will catch on pretty quickly that our stepson is now emulating a dirty-minded juggler.

Of course, he thinks he's saying "Body Juggler." And for some reason, it just sounds sooo good to him. I can't convince him that he is a "Sock Juggler" or a "Toy Juggler" or anything that wouldn't make people raise their eyebrows. What is it with kids who have a 6th sense about things they know might irritate adults? I mean, he heard me say, "Bawdy Juggler" ONCE!

October 8, 2006

Writing in the Crime Beat

I walked the line this week with my high schoolers and had them do some writing about CRIME. Still looking for engaging writing, I stumbled across a prompt that referenced "Thirty-Eight Who Saw Murder Didn't Call the Police" and suggested students write an article about a crime. The old text I was using gave the article, so I printed it for my students to read. I did so with trepidation, as the article seemed more graphic than most things I'd use in my classroom, but after discussing it with a colleague, she thought my overall plans for using the article were justified and that if it appeared in a newspaper for the public to read--30 years ago no less, when people were less jaded--it should be okay. We use newspapers in the classroom today, don't we?

On Monday night, crime was fresh in our minds. Not just any crime, but a mass murder of school children in Pennsylvania. This followed on the heals of a the Colorado shooting and the lesser heard story about another one in Michigan. And closer to home, we shared what details we had heard about the young gunman who was still at large after he entered a local high school armed and ready to create havoc. The students ask, "Why?" I don't have the answers as the room is buzzing with the craziness in our country in the last few days.

We read the article together and then students answered some questions regarding the structure and style of the piece. The students were extremely attentive with this piece--something I cannot say about a lot of the pieces I bring for them to read.

Some students claimed that they had already read it. Seriously? How can that be? In this wide, wide world how in the heck have they read that article when a lot of them don't even read the back of the cereal box? In their criminology class last year. Ah, I see! Well, not one person actually complained about having to read it again, and the rest had some good initial reactions. (And here's where I learned a lesson...Upon googling the title, I learn that article shook up the country and much has been written about it, including an interesting piece refuting much of what it has to say.)

"Thirty-Eight Who Saw Murder Didn't Call the Police" was simply a springboard of what was to come. To shift their brains back to their own knowledge base, I asked them to freewrite how they or people they know have been affected by crime. It didn't necessarily have to be violent crime. It could be theft. That's the crime that's most affected my life, and with petty stuff really. I still remember how my teddy bear was stolen by a mean little boy in kindergarten. It was later recovered in the boys' bathroom, but *YUCK* it was just never the same to me after that. And kindergarten was a long time ago! I still remember, though.

I also told them of the time when a 9 mm gun was stolen from my desk. Now that got their attention since my little story of the teddy bear is pretty lily white to many of the students. The gun wasn't real, of course, but it was modified to look real, as it was an integral prop in a play we were doing the day after it was stolen. Not having that gun really messed up our play, as we had to improvise with a tiny little starter gun that just wasn't as menacing. Everyone can related to having a crime inconvenience your life, right? But I gave them a little insight in the teacher phsyche. I was also worried to death that the student who stole it would do something dumb with it, like try to rob the convenient store or something. He was spotted waving it around "Smokers' Corner" during lunch one day. (Smoker Corner is where the students could go out of school jurisdiction to smoke. It was in plain sight, but the local police never broke it up.) All the student could agree that waving a weapon around--even if it was fake but made to look real--was not the smartest thing you could do. That's just asking for trouble. Petty as it was, my students could see that point.

They didn't spend too much their time warming up their brains because we moved on to writing an incident report. I have previously explained to my students that writing a good narrative could be a real life skill. I do have a few students who want to be police officers, so of course their abilities to write complete and full details in reports will be a major part of their jobs. For other students, I've explained this concept that if they are ever asked to write an incident report for a crime, they want to be able to do so well so that justice can be served. There are many uses of descriptive writing in real life, but they all can believe this one.

The campus officer gave me an official incident report form, which I copied for my students to use. Ever had students who couldn't fill out forms? Well, 3/4 of the form was simply lines for story of the incident, but there were other places for students to fill out information about themselves and the location of the incident. Talk about duel purpose lesson! So, I asked them to give the details of a real or imagined incident from either a victim or witness point of view. The form could also be used for "suspect" use, but I steered them away from reporting about how they have been or might be in trouble. Again, I prefaced it with saying that what they reported need not be a violent crime; furthermore, they should not feel compelled to write about uncomfortable things that may have happened to them. One student still came up to be to clarify this point, and I told her that she was welcome to write about it, but only if she was comfortable. Apparently, she really DID want to write about it.

I spent the rest of the class encouraging students to include as much details as possible, hinting at the next writing assignment by referencing the article: "How do you thing the reporter got some of his information? Was he there? Could all of the details in the article have been from interviews? Some of it sounds more official than that. Is it possible he could have read some reports and then compiled the information to come up with the article?"

Unfortunately, the next night when I asked students to trade reports and write news articles based on the information from the report, some students were at a disadvantage when they received a report with few details. It's a bummer when things don't work the way I hoped they would, but I'm still good at punting. My impromtu reporters also had to do some interviewing to draw some more details from their reticent witnesses. For a few, no amount of interviewing could make a decent article, but it was okay. We discussed where their article might appear in the paper (2 lines in the city crime section) or if would be considered big enough news to warrant space in the paper at all.

A few students stumbled over the concept of how to write a news article using the inverted pyramid style, with all the important details in the first few sentences and the rest of the details in descending importance. I had some current newspapers in the classroom to show them examples of articles, but many are so deeply entrenched in the 5-paragraph essay that they cannot easily break free to explore different forms of writing. (Gee, can't wait for poetry writing!) Other students wrote such wonderful articles I almost cried in the light of their talents!

All in all, writing about crime was engaging for my students. I was afraid that they might be disrespectful or inappropriate, but actually, the two nights were quite sedated as they took the writing of their stories very seriously.

October 5, 2006


Finally! A nice drizzly, rainy day--and nearly all day. If we ever get rain, it's often a quick downpour that causes flash flooding. Today we have nice steady showers. It's BEAUTIFUL!

I kept the door to my classroom open all day (I'm in an outdoor hallway) although it was a little chilly. The students didn't mind, and we all enjoyed the smell of the rain.

Here's something that might surprise those of you who don't live in the desert: Rain makes the kids NUTS! They are off-the-hook crazy and hyper. They beg to go outside and run in the rain, and when they are out in it, they are like small children splashing through puddles. It's insanity!

Our new teachers who have never lived in a such a dry climate don't understand why the students are so excited to be soggy. I don't know of any scientific or physiological explanation. I just know they are like little sponges finally come to life with a little water. Like those little pellets that when soaked in water, suddenly pop out some sponge-like pet.