December 31, 2006

If Student A...Then Student B -- Can't you C?

I spent a large chunk of my day grading the projects that my students turned in the week before break. I had hoped to get to them before the break started, but there are a lot of weeks that I cannot get a lot of grading done until the weekend. That last week was one of those crazy weeks...

The last week before break I was frustrated with quite a few students who did not turn their projects in on time. I spent too much time hounding them because it was such a large project, which means if they fail it, they will likely fail this quarter.

As I've been going through the projects I have once again encountered strange phenonmenon.

The project was due on Monday, December 11. I offered extra credit, what I call an "early reward," for students who turned the project in on Friday, December 8. This early reward idea is something I came up with last year as an opposite for the penalty that late papers receive. I often do it for papers or projects, and I sell it hard to students who could use extra credit, but it's usually the top students who turn their work in early. That's fine, though. Those students see the early reward as a challenge to complete a project quickly. It's gives them their jollies.

For this particular project, only 10% turned the project in early, and of those students only one or two really needed a grade boost. All of them, however, enjoyed a worry free weekend, unlike their classmates who busted their buns to finish the project by Monday.

In my class, the penalty for each day an assignment is late is one full grade drop, until the worth is 50% of possible points. It's my little compromise to not wanting to accept any late work at all, but never wanting to have to compromise my integrity by being made to cave to parents and students who cry over grades that cannot be made up.

Now on this project, as I mentioned, I had several students who did not turn it in on time. There were those students who turned it in, without my prodding, one day late. I don't see why they needed that extra day, but whatever. They were living in reality and took responsibility.

Then there were the other students who thought this project would just go away. So, by Wednesday, when we were starting to wind down our week with a few smaller assignments that could be completed day by day, I started hounding these clueless students. In fact, I would not allow them to participate in the regular assignment, giving them more time in class to finish their heavily weighted projects. By Wednesday, the best grade they could get was a 75%. And I didn't say I excused them from the regular assignment. They just could not do it until the project was turned in. Trust me, completing a little reading comprehension lesson on holiday traditions does not make up for THE PROJECT.

If you are anyone other than a teacher, you might expect that a student who has had 2-4 extra days work on a project would turn in far superior work than students who have turn in the project on time, or even early. Furthermore, knowing that taking a few extra days past the deadline would penalize the worth of the project, you might expect that the student would work extra hard to produce quality work to avoid further penalty.

For some odd reason this is so far from the truth. The projects turned in 2 days early were of the the highest quality, along with those turned in on time. A few of the projects turned in a day late were of high quality, but NONE of the projects turned in 4 days late had much merit. In fact, a large number of the projects turned in 4 days late, that is for a maximum grade of 50%, were actually incomplete. In reality, those projects, with the late penalty applied, will actually receive a negative grade.

(Okay, they won't. I'll given them some pity points. Can you imagine how I'd explain to parents that their students earned a -10%? "Mrs. Parent, according to my late policy and the criteria on the rubric, you student certainly did early a negative grade." Baaahahahaha!)

Am I wrong, or is this just one of those incredible universal truths that, as crazy as it is, we teachers accept as absolutely true and predictable? It would make me feel much better if you would all chime in to disagree. I suppose I'm making this a much bigger mystery than it really is. It boils down to the fact that some students will, and some will not--no matter how much time or prodding they have.

December 27, 2006

Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda

I would love to post some thoughtful thoughts and ponderings; I'm brain dead.

I would also like to post my pictures from Christmas to Flickr.

I would like to play with my new MP3 player.

I would like for my computer and all things related to cooperate with me.

I would like a little peace and quiet away from the kids to figure it out.

I'm going to go read a book.

Books are usually pretty user-friendly, right?

December 23, 2006

Meme-ing Around the Christmas Tree

Mrs. T has been bugging me to do a Christmas series much like the one I did for Thanksgiving. I'm not sure if she's looking for more of me wallowing in self pity, or poignant thoughts on the meaning of Christmas. She flatters the old storyteller inside me. (Back in the day, I belonged to a storytelling group and could spin a yarn or two for those who'd listen.) Besides, I suppose it doesn't hurt to take requests, lest I should blog about inane things. That's why it was perfectly okay for me to steal this meme from Mrs. T to kick off my Christmas stroll of memories both good and bad.

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? I look forward to a bit of eggnog this time of year, but hot chocolate is the drink of choice anytime--with a shot of Peppermint Schnapps, please.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree? Santa doesn't always wrap the presents? WHAT?!? Why didn't someone tell me? Oh, well. It's not like he does it anyway. He has parents elves for menial tasks like that, aye?

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white? I think white lights look so elegant! We have colored lights. The kids picked out red and green for outside. I didn't even know they made just that combo. It looks very festive!

4. Do you hang mistletoe? Where can one find mistletoe? I would hang it if I could find it.

5. When do you put your decorations up? I don't have a consistent answer for this because there have been many years of my life when I didn't put up decorations because I went home for Christmas and didn't want to be bothered by it all. It really depends on the time factor. This year we had a lot of time Thanksgiving weekend.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish? Homemade cranberry sauce. My mom always made it, but I came up with a better recipe, which is basically this recipe with some cinnamon added. (Usually, I don't feel rich enough for Grand Marnier, so I use any affordable Triple Sec.)

7. Favorite holiday memory as a child: The one that is coming forward in my mind right now is the brown Christmas we had when Santa brought me roller skates. Because the weather was so nice, I was able to roller skate all afternoon long. Most years, roller skates would have been a gift best saved for spring.

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I really have no idea. No specific memories or dates are popping up for this one.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? Yes! And some later years my dad let us open everything, and then we'd open Santa gifts the next morning.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Our tree is very tiny, so it was a challenge for the kids to put every single ornament we own on the tree. I wanted to buy a larger tree, but the kids protested. I thought maybe they fond memories of it from the first Christmas we spent together and we made all the ornaments for the tree, but I think they like the fiber optic lights and the smallness of it.

11. Snow! Love it or dread it? I love to look at it from indoors. I dread having to go out into it.

12. Can you ice skate? I can ice scoot! Barely! People with my kind of fluffy behind were not meant to stand on little blades.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift? Not really, but I do fondly remember that winter Santa brought me roller skates, and since it was a brown Christmas, I actually was able to go outside and skate all afternoon!

14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you? Spending time with loved ones.

15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? I can't think of anything specific here. Who doesn't love some pie? Or those cookies and candies that you only eat at Christmas--like fudge. Oh, yea. Fudge. I could go with that.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? My brother and I go out and buy stocking stuffers. For the longest time it was really just for my parents--to fill their stockings with stuff, but now it's becoming an arduous task since our families are growing. When our spouses joined the family, we stopped to consider if we should bring them along, but we decided against it. Although it would have been fun, I enjoy the time I have with my younger bro for us to just act like kids again.

17. What tops your tree? A crocheted angel that my mom made. Most everyone in the family has one. Mine has been a little squished somewhere along the years, but it still serves its purpose.

18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving gifts? I love giving gifts, but I'm not opposed to receiving some.

19. What is your favorite Christmas song? For the last few years I really love "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" as performed by The Bare Naked Ladies and Sarah McLachan. When I was a kid "Silent Night" was probably my favorite song, but you'd more likely catch me singing "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" with my friends.

20. Candy canes! Yuck or yum? Yum.

21. Favorite Christmas movie: I just cannot choose at all! I enjoy watching any Christmas-themed movie.

22. Favorite Christmas Cartoon: I adore Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer!

Feel free to join in if you'd like share some of your Christmas spirit!

December 22, 2006

Unexpected People in Unexpected Places

I blew off doing much Christmas prep today to go have lunch with my friend and co-worker. I drove to her house, which took me about 30 minutes to get to from my house. She had suggested that we go to this yummy hamburger joint near her, and then we'd do some shopping therapy in her neck of the woods. I'm completely unfamiliar with her area of town, so she drove. And drove, and drove. It seemed like we drove forever. I joked with her about it, and she said, "Yea, but there isn't a yummy hamburger joint near you." I nearly fell off my seat laughing. There's one just a few miles from my house. I just don't go there often. It was a lot closer than the one "near" her house.

So, I'm in a part of the city that is practically not even the city. It's all good, though. I didn't have to personally find my way out of there. What an exciting adventure.

We went into the craft store so I could pick up a couple of little stocking stuffers, and while we were there, I had one of those strange life moments.

I was wandering aimlessly when I saw a woman come around the corner into the main aisle. In my mind she looked familiar, but she was out of context. At first I thought that perhaps she had a face that just reminded me of someone else, but then she spotted me, her mind probably doing the same familiar-face-in-a-strange-place processing. It was an old friend from the tiny little northern Nevada town where I used to live!

In my mind, it made sense that I might bump into her because she has daughters who live in Las Vegas, and of course she was there for the holiday. She asked if I lived in the area and I answered, "No. Actually, I do not even know where I am right now!" I told her where I did live, and her husband, who has also been good friend, confirmed that it was about 20 miles across the city. It made no sense at all that I was there at that time, in that store. Now, if we were talking about the craft store in my neighborhood, you can find me there several times a month. THAT would make sense.

So many times in my life I have had these experiences where I see people I know in unexpected places, or I meet people who know people in my little world. I'll save the details of my it's-a-small-world experiences for another post. For tonight I'm just enjoying the reconnection I had with some old friends, which digs up pleasant memories of good times with good folks.

Mmmmm. Warm fuzzies.

December 21, 2006

Back from the Cold with No Deep Thoughts

Back from the few days I spent up in Utah with my family. It snowed just enough that it seemed that everytime I wanted to use my car I had to scrape frost and sweep snow off of the windows. Just like riding a bicycle--it all comes back to ya!

Mostly the whole time I was there I was wishing the feeling in my toes would come back to me, too.

It was a lovely visit that was obviously too short. My visit fell on the days off of one family member or another, so I ended up basically one day with my brother's family, one day with my dad, and one day with my mom. We were all together for dinner a few evenings, too. I didn't expect to see everyone so much because it is a busy time of year in all their jobs, which I something I can say when I visit in the summer, too.

I do feel much more decompressed and relaxed. I've rarely thought of work, even on the long drives, which is where I often do a lot of thinking. My most pressing thought these days is, "What should I make for Christmas dinner?" Should I go traditional, or should I make something yummy that we rarely eat because it's too rich or time-consuming? These are some deep thoughts, aren't they?

In the next few days I'll be doing the Tasmanian Devil-dance cleaning the house, wrapping presents, and doing last minute shopping. And you know that with the last-minute shopping it's going to be a hurry up-and-wait event. Two Sundays ago I was out shopping and the lines were long and slow, and twice I arrived at stores only to find no shopping carts. Can you imagine what it's going to be like 4 days before Christmas? I should take a book to read. Reading is what I'd rather be doing anyway!

December 17, 2006

Does My Blog Always Look Stupid?

I made it to Utah! The worst snow was in the valley where my parents live, so they thought it was much worse elsewhere, too. It usually is! Lucky me! It's lovely to see snow, but it is so COLD!

Everyone is at work this morning, so I'm just surfing around. So here are some technical questions for my readership of the 3-5 of you beautiful bloggers. Does my title ALWAYS appear at the bottom? I usually use my Mac with Safari and everything looks fine. Here on my parent's PC and IE, my title is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay down at the bottom.

I'm been looking over the code, as if I even knew what to look for, but I can't see what the problem is when comparing it the original template. I believe I've only added Haloscan comments and blogrolling with Bloglines. Anyone have any ideas?

Other than I should take some time to learn some more code already?

I'm also thinking about going with the new Blogger beta thing. Anyone have opinions about that? (My best opinion is, I'd rather be at Typepad!)

Whoa! Thanks everyone for letting me know how messed up or not my blog is. Could you imagine my paranoia if I actually tried to use something other than the boring old standard template?

Hmmm...I remember this happening to me last summer when I posted a picture. I've posted some pictures lately, so maybe it has something to do with the size of those pictures or something. Since it doesn't seem to be affecting it for most people, I guess I'll just go with the flow. It looks fine on Safari, and perhaps I should avoid, as I usually do, posting from my desktop and IE.

December 15, 2006

Your Crisis Isn't My Problem

I've had a group of students all week that's I've been trying to squeeze work out of all week, particulary a big project that was turned in on Monday. One student is often behind, and I've talked to his mother on the phone, too, several weeks back. He's a nice kid, and as a person I like him. He knows that, and that's why I can' get away with saying things like, "You tell me every day that you're going to turn in some missing work, yet you don't. I'll believe it when I see it. You're like the boy who cried wolf." You know you say that to some kids and they are devasted--or their parents are.

So today he came to class claiming that he was finally going to turn his work in, and he handed me a note from his mom. It was actually a print-out from the online grades we post. She wanted verification returned that he had turned in his missing work, and if he didn't finish it, he was to stay after school to do it. His trip out of town was depending on him not having any missing assignments. AS IF! Hey lady! Your kid has been in trouble most of the year and you know it. What makes you think I want to stay even 2 minutes past the bell when IT'S BREAK TIME! You're the one who made the ultimatum to him about missing his trip. Don't try to put off any of it on me!

Furthermore, she wanted me to call her TODAY to discuss this matter, and to set up an appointment for a conference. Perhaps a little redundant to call and then have her come in discuss the same things, plus I don't make the appointments for conferences--the counseling office does. There was no way I could call her. By the time I made it to the phone and had our little conversation, it would have taken a half hour. Don't get me wrong, I would have loved to have talked to her any other day this week. Just not in the LAST HOUR OF TODAY.

I have the student the second to last period of the day, and the last period of the day is my prep. It just so happens that I was going to be running my patooty off to do everything I needed to do to be able to leave on time. And when I say "on time," I was hoping to leave early to go to my stepson's kindergarten Christmas party (I ended up getting there for the last 10 minutes), but if not I still had to leave at the normal time so I could pick them up from school, and I was already feeling a little stressed out that that might not happen.

And it had to happen because besides leaving them stranded, we had to hussle had to drive across town (an hour trip back and forth) to pick up my husband's paycheck (can you believe his techie company doesn't offer direct deposit)--on a Friday afternoon in Las Vegas for cripe's sake. Then I had to make it back home and feed the kids and pack them up for their week's stay at their grandparents in California. Their stepsister was hitching a ride with them, so I definitely had to be back by the time she was meeting us at our house. And then when I finally got them out the door, I had to run to the bookstore for a few last minute gifts, do my own laundry, and pick up the house (which looks like a cyclone hit it) before I leave in the morning on my trip to Utah to see my parents for a few days.

So, can you see how this little crisis, dropped on my desk near the end of the day, really got under my skin? I was already preoccupied with my own issues, and at that time of day, I didn't see problem with it! Lucky for that kid, he had finally decided to follow through on his promises to do his work. I printed off a new report, checked off what he turned in, wrote a note including the counselor's phone number saying how I'd love to meet with her and wished her a happy holiday. What more could I be expected to do in the 11th hour before a two week break?

Okay...enough decompressing. Back to getting my ducks in a row for my trip!

December 14, 2006

Batteries Need Charged

Two days and counting. Just trying to survive. After lunch my biggest, loudest class comes in, and I set them to the task of "dropping" their essays to my laptop in-box (share file). But there's a glitch to my system as my computer has fallen asleep and will not wake up. I'm having battery issues, and after a few minutes of trying to bring it to life when the battery says it's charged but nothing's happening, I give up. Nothing's turning on.

So, I guide my students to move on to the main lesson, a website to explore, and I told them I would get back to them about turning in the essays after I had time to fidget with things. (I am at times a "computer whisperer" and can jump start dead student laptops.) The assignment sheet was in my computer "assignment drop" for students to retrieve, so that was yet another irritation, but we found enough hard copies (handouts) around the classroom to get by.

I wanted them to listen to an audio file first, and I had my secondary microphone sitting next to desktop speaker, as I had all day, but when I moved away from my desk, I realized that there was no sound coming through the audio enhancement speakers, so I dash to the back of the room to check plugs and wires, ready to brawl with the idiot kid who unplugged it. Nothing's wrong with the wires. What the heck? It has to be the batteries on the microphone. Not dead, but certainly dying. Quite worthless.

So, I threw up my arms in a mini tantrum: "Arg! I hate technology today! Well, you've found your way to the website. You have the handouts. The audio was much of the same information. So, just go ahead and get to it."

Nothing like a strong warm-up. Chaos. Technical difficulties. Whatever. Just get to work kiddos.

A few hours later, I have finally made it to that 20 minutes to myself when I am waiting in the car for my kids' school to get out. I usually read, but I finished the book yesterday, so I was looking forward to calling my best friend back home to tell her I'm coming to visit in two days. And guess whose cell phone was D. E. A. D.?

It's weird how there are those days when there are patterns. Today was the day of dead batteries. I'm sitting in the car connecting the dots of the day, and I realize that it's just not the things in my life that need their batteries charged. I need my batteries charged, too.

Deep, huh?

December 13, 2006

My True Love Better Not Give Me...

the items from "The Twelve Days Of Christmas." According to PNC, it will cost him $18,920.59. And what would I do with all those birds, anyway?

I stumbled across this site last week while searching for some good holiday related websites that might also help us address that informational reading benchmark.

I'm so excited to share it with my students; I hope they find it interesting, too!

'Twas Three Days Until Christmas Break...

"Can I check out a book tonight?"

We're talking about the book we finished reading in class before Thanksgiving. Students took an open-book test on it as soon as we came back, and this is the very book that they did a project on, which was due two days ago.

And what book were we doing? John Steinbeck's The Pearl. A nice short read, right? Should we drag it on forever?

Is it me? Is it my class? The work we did with each chapter was largely done in class, with finishing up work as homework--probably about 20 minutes for each chapter. Why are there students who did not turn this work in? I just can't figure it out. It's been an epidemic this year. My classes are accelerated, and I have a large chunk of students who are...well...not.

(Can anyone think of an antonym of accelerated that isn't retarded?)

A few more days and I can block this all out of my head for a few weeks.

Oh yea...except I'll probably still have a stack of projects and essays to grade.

December 11, 2006

'Twas Five Days Until Christmas Break...

and one of Happychyck's students found just the right button to push to make her go off:

"I thought you said the project was due Wednesday!"

Another student pipes up, "Yea, me too!"

Are you *%&$*%! kidding me?!

All the time I gave you in class last week and the opportunity to turn it in for early reward bonus points on Friday, and you thought it was due on Wednesday? Even if you never listen to me, as I have reminded you daily when it was due, it was printed on the instruction sheet, and it was posted on the board. Oh look! It's still there! Does it look familiar?

December 10, 2006

When the Food You Bring Looks Like a White Elephant...

Edible Christmas Tree

Busy, busy weekend! My staff Christmas party was last night at our magnet counselor's house. I heard some staff members complaining about how lame it was that we had to pay money (like $5), and bring food and a white elephant gift. (Oh, and it was BYOB, but isn't that cheaper than a closed bar anywhere?) Those scrooges didn't come anyway, which is too bad because they obviously don't realize that to have a good time our staff just needs some food, drink, and karaoke.

(And to be honest, I think it was cheaper than the time we paid for a venue that was too small, too far out of the way, and that served us pizza and spaghetti.)

So, it was a great time not talking shop with the people we are constantly immersed in shop-talk with thanks to all the PLC and NCLB. Everyone is always running around with not enough time in the day, but last night life was in party-time, and the clocks magically slowed a bit so we could laugh a little more. And you know with karaoke and white elephant exchange we were laughing our arses off!

Five more days until break....we need to start off the week with some positive vibes, aye?

So, what's with the tree? I thought I might try to be Martha again and do something creative. It looked better in real life, but I thought it was a really cute idea. My idea? No way! Thanks to BusybusyMommy and Rita L. Next time I have ideas for improvement, which does include not starting it at 5 pm when the party is at 6 pm!

December 9, 2006

Twinkle Lights Make Everything Special

Silent Night...

Last night we took the kids to Ethel M's Cactus Garden, which is all lit up for the holiday season. The company's website is more educational than inviting, but at Flickr under the tag ethelm there are much better pictures that show why this is one of my favorite places in Las Vegas. Er, actually, Henderson.

The first time I visited the factory and gardens, on a visit to Sin City in 1997, it was 115 degrees. I remember thinking that it's such a strange place to make chocolate, but of course it is nice and cool inside the factory. When people come to visit, I take them to Ethel M's, but not so much for the chocolate part but for the cactus garden, which I find to be a meditative place. Okay, it's also just a few miles from my house, and it's free. I usually take people very early in the morning because it's a touch cooler and the sun isn't beating down on us. Supposedly, we are more likely to view the workers making chocolate, but I've been many times at 8 am and they have already finished for the day--especially in the summer months.

I can't believe that I've lived here for three years I just found out that the gardens are lit up every Christmas. People just don't seem to go all out on the lights around their homes and businesses, but you see a lot of palm trees lit up. I rather miss seeing lights everywhere at Christmas. It was a brisk 40-something degrees last night, but the garden did not disappoint at all. Although, not so meditative with all the people visiting, it was more a magical place in the dark with all the lights. I could have just strolled through winding pathways for hours getting lost in the little desert winter wonderland.

December 4, 2006

No Teacher of the Year Award for Me!

I know I once posted a piece on how beautifully I can punt when presented an icky situation in the classroom, but today I just didn't have it in me to do it.

About ten minutes before my 0 hour class started the whole school lost power. Who knows how long it was going to last? It was the direct result of a crisis situation down the hallway from me, but in the meanwhile, school continued on.

The bells didn't ring, but I sent some students down to the quad to round up their classmates. (There aren't a lot of students who have class at this time of day.) When they all arrived, I read them the agenda in the dim light:

1. Skillstutor "Life Around the World"--reading comp lesson
"Well, no wireless good luck with that one." (It's an online program.)

2. Read 162-178 and 179-180 in grammar book on compare/contrast structures
"Okay. The six people who are sitting here might have enough light from the emergency light and the window in the door to handle that. The rest of you--good luck."

3. Write 5 questions with answers about the main ideas from the reading.
"Again, light might be an issue. Good luck with that."

"Miss! We could open the door and there'd be more light."

"True, but let's not. With no electricity we also have no heater, so it wouldn't take too long to get colder than it already is in here."

"Oooooooohhhhhhhhh. Let's not do that," my students replied.

"Yea. So, well..." My mind raced with things we could do. Writing in the dark? Read to them? Have a discussion? Screw it! "You know guys, this isn't the first time I've ever had to conduct class in the dark. In the times before though, we had more windows for light. I could come up with something to do, but I just don't have it in me. So just keep it low today. The teacher next door is actually trying to conduct class."

Did I actually have to tell them to keep it low at that time of morning? I've been wishing for students as hyper as I am in the early morning, and this year my wish has come true, so they are one of my rowdiest classes. 7:00 am. Go figure.

Some of them talked. Some of them took out their laptops and worked on their upcoming project while others played games. And then there were those two weird kids who my talked ear off all period long. One of them thought it was the end of the world or something. Seriously kid. The power's out. It happens.

The next period what did I do when the power was still out? Same thing. An administrator came by to check on us and told us it was business as usual. There was no word when the electricity would be on, but the electricians were on campus. If we had an emergency we were to send someone to the office.

Business as usual? Whatever!

I do not like wasted time--as if we really have time to spare EVER! I could have been a better teacher today and made the best of a bad situation, I felt a little guilt over it for the first 10 minutes, but then I got over it.

(Yes, we did get power shortly into 2nd hour. Then it was business as usual, indeed!)

December 3, 2006

Nine Kinds of Weird

I saw this meme over at Rock in My Dryer, which is a really cool mommy blog that has a great weekly feature called Works for Me Wednesday. Shannon has actually been tagged and tagged other people, none of which I am. I stole it anyway because in my little circle of bloggin' buddies, we just don't call on on each other. We wait for volunteers. Haven't you noticed? Is that how we all are in the classroom?

Anyway, here's my weirdness, which may not seem so weird to some of you. We'll see! In no particular order...

1. I was born with polydactyly, and had I not had surgery when I was a baby, this is probably what my hand would look like today. Right hand. Same location. When I put it like that--with visuals and all-- it freaks me out, too. I usually just tell people that I was born with an extra thumb and show them the scar. They're usually still incredulous.

2. The longer I teach, the more of a germaphobe I become. I'm not THAT bad, but give me a few more years... This all probably goes along with my messiness issues.

3. Although I have issues with germs and messiness, my desk is always a disaster. It's just paper, though. No boogies or food. It irritates me to no end, but everytime I clear it off, it just takes a few hours for it to get cluttered again. People! Stop giving me papers to deal with. That means EVERYONE!

4. Also, those little frilly edge from notebook paper drive me nuts. I call them "paper fuzzies." I can't decide if they drive me more crazy on the floor or in my in-box.

5. I prefer to eat my hamburgers cut in half.

6. A new habit: I hum a lot. Especially while walking around my classroom monitoring students.

7. I wore the same color on my toenails for about ten years: green. I always had to buy the color at Halloween. Now you can buy it any time.

8. Chewing bubblegum and blowing bubbles makes me happy. Like a little kid. Regular flavor is the best.

9. I used to play D & D. I was a kick-ass halfing thief named Zora with a ring of invisibility that made me a pretty good fighter when I had to be. I once made the killing blow on a dragon after climbing up his back, while invisible, and stabbing him in his vulnerable place simply with a dagger. I acquired a human fighter named Brian from a deck of something or another. That meant I had to play both characters. I may sound enthusiastic, but I only played to be social.

December 2, 2006

Neither Warhol nor Marilyn...

just Happychyck spending a mindless day playing in Flickr.


December 1, 2006

Yet Another Thing to Worry About

A few days ago a teacher at the elementary school across the street from my school was robbed at gunpoint in the parking. It wasn't dark yet, and he approached her initially asking for directions.

So now we are being advised to not stay too late after school, to walk with a buddy out to the parking lot, and to not talk to strangers.


My classroom is the first outdoor classroom next to the parking lot. I can see my car from my door. Should that give me comfort or fear? Hmm...I don't know. Let me check out which way the security cameras are pointed.

I usually feel safe at my school, but then then things like this happen that create a little reality check. It's the city. Crime happens. All the time. Close to home.