December 16, 2012


Stupid Christmas on a Tuesday this year! I still have another week of school. I'm going to be on survival mode for sure!

It just so happens that my students are working on a survival project. The other English teacher found it, and it's basically one of those lessons where students are given a scenario where only a few people can survive, so they have to try to figure out who it should be. Age-old, right? I remember doing something like it in high school with a moon colony theme, and I am pretty sure I did something like this in my early years of teaching. Maybe with an island theme? Well, she's found one with a zombie theme, and we've made it into full-blown interdisciplinary research project with the science department.

I heard some interesting thinking and conversation earlier last week, but by Friday the kids were so wound up, I was seriously doubting the quality of presentations we will have next week. I don't know if the rain had them wound up, and if it felt like we should be going to break already. (I say that because my body clock says it's time for a break!)

Oh please, please, please, dear students, work hard in the next two days to firm up your ideas and create a compelling presentations with your arguments of who should stay to build a new civilization and who should go and probably die from a zombie virus. Please do not make me regret having a collaborative project in the days before Winter Break. Seriously. This project sets the tone for next semester.

Oh, oh, oh! Did I mention that this project is also a type of survival challenge? It's true. We've struggled with wifi issues in trying to do research. In this pilot iPad program program, we are still finding ourselves woefully short on connectivity. My students and I are pretty used to this on-going challenge, but as if we were on some sick survival show, as the end of the day on Friday, I found out that students will need to surrender their iPads for a full day sometime this week for updating.

So, dear children, here's your own survival scenario! You're given a in-depth project, which requires research, peer collaboration, and a persuasive presentation. You know there will obstacles. Oh, you got this, aye? We'll see! Here's a roadblock--You watch the Amazing Race, right?--you will need to surrender your devices either on the last day of research or the first day of your presentation. What will you do? Your grade depends on it. Go!

See what I mean?


December 15, 2012


Last month I met up with some of my writing project colleagues at a special Friday session during the National Writing Project's Annual Meeting. I was sitting between two women whom I admire very much, one has survived cancer twice, and the other one was in the middle of surviving being a co-chair for our local NCTE, whose members worked so very hard to with the Annual Convention that was held her in Las Vegas. I cannot even begin to tell you how both of them inspiration both of them are as teachers as women.

The co-chair and I were commiserating over our lack of time, amount of preps, stacks of papers, number of inane correspondences we had to answer to from parents and administration, and the struggles of just taking care of our families. (Obviously, I had nothing on her this month!)

Of course, the other lady, who has some refreshing perspective on life after having faced critical illness twice--the last just a year ago--could absolutely relate, except her children are college-aged now. In the middle of our conversation, she pointed asked us, "But when do you have time to write?"

Ouch. When do I have time to write? That was like a dagger to my spleen.

I don't have time to write.

Sometimes I don't have time to read.

Sometimes I don't get enough sleep.

Two weeks ago, I was at an iPad trainer's training (like I needed to take on anything else this year), and we were talking about blogging in the classroom.

"Who blogs?" asked the trainer.

Ouch. A twist of dagger, reminding that it had been stuck there for a few weeks. I used to blog. I want to blog again.

Technically, I am not any busier than I ever have been. A few years ago, while I was getting 4 hours a sleep a day while working on my master's degree, I still found a moment or two to write. I fully realize that I am actually busier than I used to be, as the work load, which does not seem to be more really is. You know, it's that little trick, where each year just one more responsibility (or stupid paperwork) is added, or another  5 students are added to each class period, which ends up being another 35 students I didn't have to grade or document last year, and the next thing you know, I'm in deeper than ever.

But when do I have time to write?

Or read other bloggers? Yes, I really enjoy that!


September 30, 2012

Simple Apps Are Best

I did not have my students use their iPads a lot last week. It's not like I totally gave up...but I was gung-ho on teaching my research unit, which I always believe to be something that should be reviewed at the beginning of the year, but with connectivity issues, my colleague, Mrs. E. and I decided to go ahead with the novel we would normally do about this time of year. Research will be pushed back a bit.

We had school-based testing to complete this week, and I showed the students Discovery Education's The Clone Age to scaffold for The House of the Scorpion, so we just did not break iPads out much.

I did try to use Socrative to do the pre-reading anticipation guide. I thought it would be a fun way to start some discussion when we could see a chart of everyone's responses. Of course, we had wi-fi issues, and our district's Internet, in general, was sluggish for a few days, so it was not as much fun as I thought it would be. I tried to get students to discuss a bit despite the technology fail, but everyone really wanted to try to the program to work so they could answer the questions, so many were distracted. Yeah. I caused that distraction.  Oy!

On a happier note, Mrs. E. and thought that we might be able to incorporate more vocabulary this year with the vocabulary text we have. It tends to consume so much of our class, and we don't have enough books to send home (and have them come back so we can use them for year to year), so it's tough when it takes them a whole class period--and maybe more to copy down their words to they can study--that's not even the time to work with the exercises! With the shortage of paper, it wasn't like I was going to make copies either. PLUS, I always thought that it was best to have them create notecards so they could practice at home. So, anyway, we found that Quizlet  already had the vocabulary from out text loaded. Furthermore, Quizlet had a few other games/activities that student could play, including one where the definition is presented to them, and students have to type the word. Yeah! Spelling practice, too!

Okay, so seriously. It's not that big of deal, right? Well, we had a bunch of students saying how much it helped them--they would just come up to us out of the blue to tell us, too! The proof is in the pudding. I took a little poll where I asked who used it and who thought it helped them prepare for the quiz we took on Friday. Nearly all hands shot up. After the quiz, I asked a few students who had bombed the quiz if they used Quizlet, and NOT ONE OF THEM had. Except for those fools, the students did really well on the quiz, and they were quite proud of themselves.

I know I'm hardly tapping into any higher thinking skills here, but you know, the iPad is a tool, and we found some use with it last week. Maybe it's going to be baby steps for me.

September 22, 2012

iPads Transform Learning, right?

This was the longest week ever!

My school was chosen for a 1:1 iPad program. This was the first week that students had them, and was it a crazy week! I was disappointed to see that the students did not receive the Gumdrop cases that they are suppose to get (lost in a typhoon somewhere?) and the lightweight silicone covers on the back offer little protection. I've been freaked out watching how some handle their iPads. Okay, just trying to ignore...

When we teachers initially received our training, the district trainers, one of whom piloted a program in him classroom last year, suggested that we try for 2 days a week of usage in our classrooms. Most teachers at my school jumped right in and have been using them everyday. Some are more innovative than others, and I can honestly say that I have not used mine in much of an innovative manner. I haven't been using QR codes to send my students on an exciting adventure, and I haven't had them record movies of their vocabulary words. I'm just no fun at all.

I was particularly excited on the day we were reviewing how to create interesting leads, and instead of having them copy down a day's lecture of notes, I sent them PDF files that they imported into Notability. I went over a few of the common lead types and warned them of pitfall--like how asking stupid questions as a lead is not an effective approach--but for most of the class period students were working on answering the question, "What are the qualities of a good lead." I should preface that they also brought in interesting first lines from novels, so they could steal ideas from writers, as often the same techniques can be used in fiction and expository writing.

It worked out so well that I could give them materials, without maxing out my 1500-copy-a-month limit and time to do inquiry.  The students nailed in on the head with describing what makes great leads. Unfortunately 25% of them were not able to create interesting leads for their own essays, so that was a bummer that it did not sink in...I guess iPads cannot solve everything.

As cool as that one day lesson was, it failed on so many levels because not all of my students were able to connect to the wi-fi to grab the materials I sent to them. EPIC FAIL. In my 2nd period class, students are typically never able to connect. In my 3rd period class, about halfway through the class students are able to connect. That was the pattern for most of the week, except on Friday when my 3rd period class, which is my biggest and rowdiest, could never connect.

The wi-fi issue has concerned to us since the first day we heard that we were getting this program. We had a 1:1 laptop program with the magnet students a few years back (we've since put those on laptop carts that all teachers take turns using), so technology is not a new thing in our school. We are all too well aware of the PITA it is to use technology that will not connect to the Internet. We were assured that things would be beefed up.

Well, I'd like to know, where's the beef? Although I can think on my feet when technology fails, I'm finding it so much more challenging with the iPads. With the laptops, when the wi-fi won't work with random students, I've learned to hard connect students to Ethernet ports, of which I created stations with cords for all 8 of my extra ports. I could send materials with a simple USB drive if needed. With iPads having no connectors and converters that work with these two methods, I can't even begin to troubleshoot my own problems like I have in the past.

We need the stupid wi-fi to work.

Honestly, I'm ready to leave the Mac Cult after this week, but I'm obviously so entrenched, there's no way out.

It's only week one. Maybe things will get better. I was ready to jump into my research unit next week. I recorded some of my lectures so I could flip my classroom, and I had great activities planned to get kids researching on topics they would choose as we learned the ins and outs of effective research online. (Actually getting to practice it in class is something we typically never have time for.)  Instead, I'll be starting the novel that I had pushed back until closer to Christmas.

I am as disappoint as the students will be, but my hands are tied. I can't waste class time trying to get kids connected to the Internet.

As of Wednesday, I'm thinking about a nice cushy job in the rural Pakistan. Pencils and chalk, baby!

August 23, 2012

Am I Ready?

Most years, I am in a panic to get everything ready for school. I have one more work day, which will be half-filled with meetings, and I could feasibly work over the weekend if needed, but honestly, I'm pretty ready to go. I have everything I need to start the first week. I even have copies made.

That's right, at this moment, I'm pretty relaxed. Am I such a pro, or am I totally deluded?

I'm pretty sure I'm deluded.

July 19, 2012

Not in Public

My 11 year-old son and I went shopping for school clothes today, and when we were nearly finished we stopped to have lunch. I rarely go out with just one of the children, but I decided a little one-on-one time would be good for the kids, and for my sanity.

You see, they love each other dearly, but they fight and bicker. Oy!

One of the major activities they have been doing this summer is going to the community swimming pool, which is nice enough that it also has come slides. It's good for them to get out of the house, and I love them better when I don't have to listen to them all day long.

But, wait! Am I subjecting others to their drama?

So in casual conversation, I asked my son, "How are you and your sister doing a the pool? Do you get along, or do you fight?"

He shook his head like I was nutty and replied, "No, we get along."

"But not at home?"

He shook his head.

"Well, what the difference?" I asked him.

"That's public. We aren't going to fight in public." Again, the look that makes me think I'm crazy.

Well, isn't that bittersweet?

They know enough to act right in public, but it's absolutely okay to make my life miserable in the sanctuary of my home?

This parenting business is complicated.

July 18, 2012

Soliciting Guilt

It's only mid-July, and stores are already selling school supplies. Eep! I suppose I better get to it.

At few stores last week, I was solicited to donate supplies or money at the checkout for students in need. While I think this is a wonderful idea, and a cause close to my heart, I do not want to donate. At one store, I swear the lady at the checkout gave me a funny look like, "How could you be so cruel, woman? Just buy a $1 pack of pencils to add to the box!" It might have been my guilty imagination. I don't know.

I could have said, "Oh, I just spent $30 on basic supplies for my classroom at the teachers supply store. Please don't judge. Plenty of my paycheck goes to the children." I didn't, though. Sometimes I just like to be a normal person.

Perhaps donating that pack of pencils might have curtailed the lack of pencils students will have in my classroom. Unlikely, though. Las Vegas is huge, and I was technically in Henderson, which is miles and miles from where I teach. Of course, my magnet students are bussed around from everywhere. Naw. Still unlikely.

Will I end up buying that extra pack of pencils this year for the kids?  You betcha. I'll contribute to my  own cause. You'll find extra pencils--and paper, erasers, markers, colored pencils, stickers, glue, tape, staples, notebooks, folders--in my classroom closet.

Phew. Okay. I don't have to feel guilty for not helping the kids.

June 8, 2012

No Rest for the Wicked or the Teachers

Summer Break is finally here!

I think I just finished my 14th year, or maybe it was my 15th? I don't know. Time kind of blends together. Princess Diana died the week I started teaching. It was a long time ago!

Today was one of those time warp things where it really felt like just another year when I am packing up my classroom like I'm having to leave, but alas, no, I am just putting things away for the summer. Is it true that I won't have the Sunday Blues? No stacks of papers? No more endless meetings?

I wish.

Early Monday morning, I have a training on iPads in the classroom. It's kind of mandatory training, but then it's not really because my contract is finished, but since we are going to a 1:1 iPad program next year, this is the first in a few trainings. Apparently, at this training I will receive my iPad, so at least there's that--oh, and it is a paid training. Honestly, there are multiple sessions in the next few weeks for my school and others who were accepted into this special grant program, and as you can see, I picked the FIRST one after school ended. Let's get this "mandatory" training over with. Let's try to stretch out my summer, shall we?

Oh, never mind. I'm also taking three online professional development courses this month. They should be short and easy to finish. I took two of them in the last month while I was working my regular 60 hours a week, so I think I have this handled. I hope.

By June 22, I be completely ready for a break, and in fact, I'll be hittin' the road. As in the past, I take the entire month of July off from anything work-related. Just a few more weeks, and I'm going to totally take a break.

I promise.

June 2, 2012

Rites of Passage

One of the units in the Spanish class that many of my students take is about rites of passage. Of course, learning about the quinceañera is rite of passage that kicks off this idea that many, many cultures go through rites of passage.

Although my students may not fully realize it, they are going through a series of passages themselves this week as they end their time in middle school. This past Wednesday, we had awards night to celebrate our top students. Friday was the semi-formal dance for 8th graders only, and on the last day of school, after we usher all 6th and 7th graders off campus, we'll celebrate 8th graders being promoted to high school in a short ceremony in the gym.

All of these occasions give students opportunities to dress in their best clothing, something that shows more style than their standard blue and gray polo shirts. With the boys in combed hair and pressed shirts and the girls in their impossibly high heels, I start to image what they might look like four years from now as they graduate high school--or sometimes I even imagine them after college in their successful careers and as caring parents to small children. I'm no fortune teller, but sometimes I feel as if I can see the people they will become. It's pretty exciting!

Some of the students do not realize what a special time this week is for them. Many had no desire to attend the dance, to wear something nice and spend time with their friends. A few are balking at having to attend the promotion ceremony, which is also optional. I'm sympathetic to their feelings on this time, as I am not the type of person who enjoys a big to-do either. Perhaps these moments are partially for loved ones to celebrate the rites of passages for our young ones. If nothing else, I do hope my students are reflecting back on their time--briefly--and looking forward to the adventures that await them.

I know that middle school completion is not that big of a deal. Seriously, what does completing middle school get a young person? Not much. A ticket to high school? Uhm...wahoo? Oh, for most of my students, their success in middle school has opened opportunities to better high schools, but ultimately, finishing middle school is really not that big of a deal in the scope of life.

If we're talking about the scope of life, the long road, the journeys, the quests, why celebrate the little successes along the way? Why not embrace the celebrations?

I know some of my students balk at the idea of this week being a rite of passage for them, while others are too well aware, and maybe a little more freaked out or emotional than usual. Whatever it is to them, I hope they will accept the handshakes and hugs and just enjoy the moment.

May 28, 2012

Stupid Memorial Day

I love and hate Memorial Day.

First of all, let me say that I am so grateful for servicemen that this holiday celebrates. My feelings for this holiday have nothing to do with its true purpose.

Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer, right? Warm weather, barbecues, sun, and fun. As a teacher, summer is even more than that. Summer means no work less work. Wahoo!

Only...wait...I still have two weeks of work until my definition of summer begins.

Every year, it's the same story. I am so thankful when Memorial Day rolls around because it has been a long time since Spring Break, and I am just tired. It is always a blissful weekend of relaxation. This Memorial Day, I had absolutely no papers to grade, and no lesson planning to do. I read 2 books, hung out with my family, and also had time for some friends, too. has been good!

As I was sitting on the patio this evening, after a delicious beer butt chicken dinner, I lamented to a friend that my mind and body are already of summer break, but I still have 9 days of work. Nine days of final projects, reviews, final exams, packing up my classroom for summer storage, cleaning up a year's worth of memories and learning, and worst of all, 8 of those nine days include restless students whose mind and bodies have told them it's time for summer, too.

Stupid Memorial Day. Such a damn tease for what life can be like if I can endure just a few more days.

May 26, 2012

New Adventures?

It was almost a week ago that I chided myself for not writing more often. I decided that because there are so many changes coming my way that this would be a good time to pick up the old blog again. Do people even blog still, or do I really need to do something more cutting edge? I see in my feeds that some of my old friends are still writing away, so that is a good sign!

Next year, there will be exciting changes at my school. Some good...some bad...all potential for new adventures I've told myself.
  • Our school was chosen to do a 1:1 iPad program. Very cool, right? We used to have a 1:1 laptop program in our magnet program, but my entire school is not magnet, so it was a little different. This is school-wide. I've had mixed feelings about this all along, and a few years ago, I struggled with its use in the classroom and decided that since it was a such a personal device, it was hard to use just one in the classroom. I have tried it a few times with my low-level ELL high school students, but it is difficult to find apps that are appropriate to their maturity. My trepidation this time relates back to my experiences with our 1:1 laptop program, when in reflection, I realized that we have to be careful that we are not using technology to novelty's sake but as a tool to help students learn. For example, students are often so obsessed with the product of their project--like how cool it looks--that they skimp on the content and quality. Or, what about administrators hound us to use certain programs that are not more effective than what I have to offer as a teacher? I know how to deal with the students, but the administrators are trickier for sure! I have already been exploring, and I have district training this summer, so the adventure has already begun!
  • I made it through one year of Common Core Standards. It was pretty "exciting" last fall when it was dumped out our laps, along with a new district website where we were mandated to do our lesson planning. I kind of blew it off, as we have gone through several years of new and revised standards, and in the end I was always teaching English. My administrator claimed that these new standards would help us align more to IB standards. Since I have been complaining for years how complicated it is to align IB ideals with testing mania standards, I really wanted to believe her. So how did it all work out? I still do not understand the hype, but it has been easier working with these standards than some that have come before.
  • I'm still excited about IB. Although, I've been teaching in an IB program for years, it is a complicated program to use in a public school obsessed with testing. Some years I really tried, but I was ill-prepared and floundering alone. This year we had a theme coordinator who was out of her classroom for half the day to assist us, and we really focused on assessments. I was one of the few in my department--and maybe across the school--who was using IB assessment, but then after I attended specific training on it last spring, it really had to walk the walk. Between that at CCSS, things have been pretty rigorous in my classroom, and that is the way I like it! I'm looking forward to refining next year. I drink the IB kool-aid. Might as well enjoy it.
  • We are losing so many teachers next year, and I'm so bummed. We are slated to lose 7 positions at our school, but half of those were unfilled from last year anyway. No, I'm losing dear friends, and it will change the dynamics the 8th grade and of our school. In the 8th grade, we are losing our algebra teacher of 5 years (leaving education entirely...) and our department chair, the one of who had a way with the way-ward pre-algebra students and who had been at our school longer than anyone, passed away suddenly from a heart attack two weeks ago. We had another strong algebra teacher come in this year, and I am sad to see him go, too. It's hard to find math teachers, and it is especially difficult to find secondary math teachers who want to teach middle school. Our science department is similarly decimated, but 7th grade is mostly affected, as all the 7th grade teachers are moving on to other things. One of our 8th grade teachers, and a leader on our 8th grade team, is moving down to fill one of the positions. Our foreign language department has been wonky for a few years, and last year we lost our long-time French teacher who had been a real team player. The Spanish teacher, who has been around longer than I have and who keeps me informed and in check, is leaving this year to go to Florida where her husband, who has been unemployed for 2 years, has some connections to find work. I'm exhausted at the thought of bringing in new people to try work together to build our IB program--and how I do not envy our coordinator who will take the brunt of mentoring them--but to spin this awful mess into something positive, I am holding out for new blood to our school who bring fresh ideas and positive energy. Please!
  • My son is entering 6th grade in the fall, and he coming to my school! I'm not sure how that will really affect me, but it will be weird dragging one of the kids to school with me. (I opted to give my daughter space, and I sent her to our zoned school, which I sometimes regret.) I do not have much association with the 6th grade teachers--although, they are all awesome--and so I will not see him much, but it still changes my everyday life. Our elementary schools start around 9:00 am, and at my middle school, our magnet students start at 7:00 am with a 0 hour class. I think the sleep schedule might kick his butt a little. I typically stay and work after school for at least an hour, and some days that might be more than he can handle. Or some days, I might want to bug out, but he might have activities. This kind of coordination will be weird. There are quite a few of us staff members who have entering 6th graders this year, so I hope they end up being a good class!
I haven't even finished the school year yet and I'm looking forward to next year. What can I say? It's what we teachers do!

February 18, 2012

One Obstacle Down

Last week was a big week on campus, as the 8th graders took their state writing exams. I bumped into a 7th grade reading teacher in the office, and she told me that one of our 8th grades said that she could now check that off her 8th grade checklist. That's right--it is a kind of rite of passage!

For years the 8th grade exam was a narrative or descriptive writing that students had two English class periods to complete. Last year, we were all thrown into chaos it was changed to resemble the high school exam, which is two prompts to be written in one testing session--and one of the prompts would most assuredly be some type of expository writing. I nearly wore myself out trying to get students ready. The rest of the department joined in with focusing less on narrative and more on expository, along with increasing stamina. Two essays in one sitting is brutal!

This year, along with the Common Core hysteria, we 8th grade teachers found ourself slammed with yet another new format to the state writing exam: one "task" to be written online. To make matters worse, the state did not release any practice prompts or exemplars. In fact, this year is a pilot year for this test, and it does not count toward our AYP, but that is something that we do not mention to our students. Sure, it may not count on any official paper work, but there will still be plenty of people looking at our scores, so it's really business as usual as far as I'm concerned.

With a lack of direction from the state, except for character count (2,000 maximum), and potential modes of writing to be tested (narrative, expository, and argumentative), I did the opposite of worry. I just taught good writing the best way I know how. In fact, I didn't even worry about the exam until the few weeks before, particularly when I realized just how short 2,000 really is. My goodness, in this case, if I taught only to the test, my students would be horrible writers!

Most of the students appeared to do pretty well on the exam. Because it was done on the computer, I was more clearly able to see their writing as I was walking around monitoring the test. I hated that part! Anyway, I harped on a few points, and I observed most of them no making the critical errors I warned them about, so I am actually pretty anxious to get their scores back, which won't be for months, so see if they did as well as I think they did.

For now, it's back to teaching. Only now we have the state reading exam coming up, so it's time for me to abandon my regular teaching for teaching for the test. I can't wait finished with that next obstacle!

January 30, 2012

Technology Transforms My Classroom

Although I am interested in using technology in the classroom, I know that I am way beyond the true visionaries. Even still...I keep plugging along.

At the beginning of the year I started using Edmodo, which is kind of like a school Facebook, with my classes. Unlike other platforms I have tried, like my district's teacher webpage system, I have been faithful in posting my daily assignment to Edmodo. In the evenings, when I am night school, I log on to check to see if anybody has any questions. What I find is that usually if the students post a question to the class, someone will usually answer it. I like that sense of community very much!

I also like that I can upload documents for students to view on their own. In an age when funds are tight and I am limited to the number of copies I can make, anything that I can upload for students to view digitally is a plus for me. How many papers do we teachers give students to put in their folders for later reference, such as help sheets or project instructions? These are the type of things that are great to upload because I just want student to have them.

Of course, with Edmodo available, I have high expectations of students. If they have questions about things, they should ask me or the class for clarification. If they are absent, they can check Edmodo for information. If they lose information about a long-term assignment, they can retrieve that information from Edmodo.

Edmodo also gives students the ability to turn in assignments. I've only used this feature a few times, but I like it very much because it keeps things organized, and Edmodo has updated its features so teachers can make comments right on students' documents. Pretty slick stuff!

Just before Edmodo came out with the feature that allows teachers to give feedback to students directly on their documents, I started using GoogleDocs with my students. Now, honestly, had Edmodo rolled out their feedback feature sooner, I would have never started with GoogleDocs, but since I did, and I didn't want to use a program just once, I stuck with GoogleDocs.

Now, GoogleDocs in the classroom is awesome! I have collected three major assignments since December, all of which required me to give students heavy feedback. (We're doing research, and it is always challenging getting middle schoolers to do things correctly.) It's a little bit confusing because students can be revising even after the assignment is due, and it's sometimes hard for me to keep track--even with the obvious date stamp. The other English teacher decided that with GoogleDocs she gives a lot more feedback, and I'd have to say that I agree. It's a little weird, though, to have students on at the same time while I am giving feedback. Just last week, while students were working on a different assignment, I was giving feedback on science research projects, and two students, sitting in two different classes, were obviously off-task and making changes to the feedback I was giving them. It was a bit of a trip! Awesome, though!

The downside of GoogleDocs has to do with management issues. I have instructed my students to label their assignments in such a way that, if they would do it correctly, I can easily move their assignments into designated folders. Of course, it's a pain in my rear when 10 students title their essays, "Persuasive Essay" with no name or period. Sure, it shows the name of the recipient, but because we are not yet a Google school, and many of my students did not take my advice on creating an account with a profession name, I have contacts named like LVSis94, CreamPuffDaddy, IM2QT4U. When I am trying to digitally sort 100's of papers, I don't really want to have to stop and figure out which of the damn kids is too cute for me!

What is much worse than the students not labeling their papers correctly is when they do not "share" the work with me at all. It's quite exciting that they are so wrapped up in their assignments that they forget that it's not just for their personal growth. Wait, it is for their personal growth--gak, am I really spouting Growth Model jargon so freely--but I'm the one who has to evaluate it. My Google ID is in giant letters on the board, and I post it to Edmodo every time I give an assignment, but I still have those students who "forget" to share it with me. Some of then "remember" after they see their grades...I feel a little bit bad for them, but in reality, not sharing it with me is like doing the work and not turning it in. Some of them claim they "tried" to share it with me, but they typed in the wrong address. To that I reply, "If you don't see my gorgeous picture, you did not share it with me. Again, if you are not blinded with beauty when you share it with me, you did it wrong."

There have been many instances in the last few weeks where I am about done with the handful of knuckleheads who cannot turn in their assignments correctly. It's not like it's the same kid who just can't figure out how to do it because it's hard. It's the random selection of teenagers who don't follow directions on any given day. Exasperating! I have thought about just collecting EVERYTHING in hard copy again, but for now, I do appreciate working in this digital world, so I am holding out hope that my students and I master it soon!