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Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Heat


My head's sweating a lot these days. I think I might be moving into perimenopause, but I'm not sure. Maybe I just have sweaty head syndrome. Last night, Husbandman was reading next to me while I worked on a sudoku. I asked him if he felt hot and he responded yes while still looking at his papers. When he glanced up at me a few moments later, he burst out laughing and said, "Not hot LIKE THAT!" Then he went to get me a towel to wipe my head off. It's a little embarrassing.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

The Groups

Posted by Picasa Our university has a good summer program for kiddos who are first generation college attenders. The students take a few classes, get some writing tips, and meet new friends. The university has had good success with retaining students who participate in this program.
I wholeheartedly support it.

Friday, August 25, 2006

The Fish


We have this great fish weathervane on top of our downtown courthouse. It's from pioneer days when our town first got going. The blacksmith, I think his last name was Seward, made it. I've read it's six feet long, but when you're standing down on the street agazing up at it, (as I was doing this very evening) it seems hard to believe that it could be that large. As I stood beneath it tonight, I imagined myself, were it actually six feet long, stretched up on top of that fish, peering calmly down on the townsfolk walking to and fro below. I realize that's probably never going to happen, but if it could happen somehow, I think I'd really enjoy it, for however much time was alloted to me. Even a few minutes would be memorable.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The Rock


Some little kid at the compound hurled a rock at one of our doors and it cracked into a million pieces. The party line is the kid didn't intend to break the door, it was an accident. The sixers looked at me like I was insane when I shared the party line. "How can hurling a rock at a piece of glass and breaking it be considered an accident?" one asked me. I just shrugged. I felt a bit complicit because a little kid of roughly the same size threw rocks at my window last week and I just told him to stop. He was also chewing on a huge hunk of weeds. I told him to stop eating that too, but he just ignored me. If I had done more, things may have turned out differently for that door today.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Search

I have a really cushy gig with my math class. 15 cincos, all into school big time. Today I sent them out of the class to search for examples of rectangular arrays. I told them to return in 15 minutes. They came back right on time, with their notebooks filled with examples. Then they did some math in their workbooks. Then they used calculators to correct their problems. I've only taught math one day so far so I should probably avoid the leap into Conclusionland. Anything could happen at any time in the compound so I'm trying to lie low and act like I have high expectations and am not fascinated that people are actually doing what I'm saying. But it does feel odd. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The Folds



If you ever want to create extreme anxiety in a classroom, ask los studentes to fold a paper into sixteen squares. Even as you're demonstrating, the screams that emanate from them as they try to follow are pitiful.
"Stop! Please, wait for me!"
"Hamburger or hotdog? Hamburger or hotdog!!???"
"Start over, I beg of you!"
I walked them through therapeutically, reminding them to breathe. I started over repeatedly and reassured them that no child would be left behind during the folding, but they were rattled for the rest of the period.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

The Bling


My homeroom houses 14 sixers and about 15 fifth graders, here after called los cincos. We are a split class, so los cincos scoot around to the various classes with sixers all day. I've heard some sixers say some rude comments about los cincos, so we talked about being in a split class and how it was for the kiddos. Many cincos expressed that they were nervous about being with the sixers, but they do feel more confident now that they've been a few days in the compound. One announced that she finds the sixth grade teachers to be much nicer than the fifth grade teachers. "We are good, aren't we?" I commented. After our class meeting we headed out for recess. One of the sixers asked why I was wearing two silver chains today and I told her that sometimes I just feel like some extra bling. Then I turned to her friends and said, "Bling is another word for jewelry. Just fyi." Finally one smirked a bit, but for several seconds they looked at me as if I were the freak of the century. I love it when that happens. Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Fullitude


Today was my first day working full time in about 15 years. No sixers in the building yet, just meetings and more meetings all day long. At one meeting I gave a spiel about how more people should join the union, doing my official union rep song and dance. The only person to sign up was a student teacher who will only pay a nominal fee for a few months and one teacher dropped out of the union completely. That was disappointing. After that I kept feeling sad that I really couldn't leave because this is my job and I'm basically required to stay in the compound for the entire day. In the past, I probably stayed just as long each day, but I always knew this was a choice I was making. I wonder if I'll ever get over this sense of being invisibly and relentlessly constrained.
So far I'm not crazy about full time at all.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Finale



This weekend marks the end of summer. It's probably good. I'm starting to have a hard time entertaining myself. Months of travel, restauranting, sleeping in, leafing through magazines, reading blogs. I mean really, how long can that go on? It probably actually could go on for a bit longer, but I have an attitude of gratitude for the summer fun I've had and I'm ready to play with the minds of a whole new batch of sixers starting next week.
Foto Credit: Good pal Dave. This is Ruby. She dug that hole and was surprised when the tide snuck in behind her.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Presentation

Months ago I agreed to give a presentation on writing at another school. Today's the day and I have to head out in about 5 minutes. My talk's about an hour long, but a few days ago, the principal emailed me that I was going to have almost 2 hours. I'll talk slowly. It should be fine. People will complain that I'm finished early? I highly doubt that.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Hats

Mitzker and I saw the classic film, Balloon Hat, just this past night. In this documentary, two guys travel around the world making balloon hats for people and taking photographs of these very balloon hat wearers. It's a great movie because it's about doing something weird and quirky for the greater common good. And the second half focuses on the ins and outs of getting your work published. And then at the end even though things don't work out for the two guys the way they planned, they go on to do other interesting things. The hats are quite beautiful and so are the photographs. See Balloon Hat today if you are able. Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Reentry





This week good pal Menosky gave me this whole cart full of books for my classroom. She also gave me this new classroom pet. I named him Carney. New stuff for the room makes me excited about re-entering the compound. All praise to Menosky, and gratitude as well. She also gave me some wine, but I'm keeping that at home.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The AYP

54% of schools in Indiana did not meet AYP this year. AYP = Annual Yearly Progress. That's bad news for teachers coming back to school in a few weeks. These schools will face improvement plans, rigid supervision and punishing sanctions. Union leader guy at the meeting yesterday shared these facts about our schools. 3/4 of those failing to meet AYP did not make it because kids in their buildings who receive special education services did not pass the ISTEP test. The other fourth receive free or reduced lunch services. So most of the kids who get free lunches in Indiana are passing ISTEP, and that's nice to know. The union is funding a lawsuit to get more funding for students who qualify for these services, since the NCLB mandate has been underfunded in our state. Good job to our union. I'll keep you posted. Maybe we'll be getting additional resources here in the Hoosier state.