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Monday, April 30, 2007

The Impatience


I'm not the gentlest editor. I edited drafts all weekend and I wasn't too cheery in some of my comments. I got especially impatient with 2 sixers who are writing a play about a slave ship rebellion. They've read about Amistad and other rebellions so they have some background info. But they're obviously missing the big picture. In their play, a kidnapped African character has smuggled a rock onto a slave ship. His friend wants the rock to break free of his chains. The rock hiding character agrees to hand it over with these words, "Well, okay, but don't mess it up. It's part of my rock collection." I write in the margins, "COME ON! Would he really care at this point about his frickin rock collection?" I crossed out frickin after I thought about it for awhile. I'm getting a little burnt out. 2o more days.
Picture of Minijean foto credit: #1 son.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Jumping

My task at the compound carnival was to supervise Littles jumping in an inflatable room. After a few initial runs, I determined that 70 seconds was the perfect amount of time for kids to jump. The line moved quickly. Parents complimented me on my efficiency and not one Little complained when told to leave the jumping area. I was told that 5 was the limit, but I pressed my luck and let six smallies in at one point just as an experiment. 30 seconds later, a kid rolled out crying, holding his leg. I tried to console him but he simply stood up and ran away at top speed. Six just didn't work out.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The Suggestions


Okay, peeps, listen up. Friend Sam has a new book. I have bought it and so should you. And TeenDaughter's in a play at the Secondary School the next two Saturdays. She plays Norma. I will see it, and yes, so should you.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

The Thumbs


A recent email stymied me with its subject heading that read, "Please help! Missing Thumb Drive." I want to help, I thought, but how? Are they calling for donations toward protheses? What can we actually do for those among us who are missing thumbs? And really, how many people share this affliction? Then I opened the email and learned that some poor soul has lost all her dissertation data on one of those little flash drive deals. She left it in a computer at the library. Another bad problem with no good solution. In any case, my miscue reminded me of the time I read the headline, "Falling Crane Kills Pedestrian," and later asked some pals, "What are the chances that a crane would die mid air, fall from the sky and kill some poor innocent below?" Come to find out, it was a vehicle that fell off a skyscraper, not a bird. So I guess the point of all this is, there's always another side to every story. The other side is rarely any better, it's just different.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Desire


I'm reading about the importance of desire when it comes to getting projects accomplished. My dissertation desire scale's been low. There's some, but I wouldn't call it overwhelming. Or burning. I do want to finish it. What I've already written I love. But the stuff I'm working on now feels repetetive and deadendish once again. If I don't get some desire somewhere soon, the dissertation may be lost forever. And the rest of my life will be marked by a sense of profound failure.
Foto credit: B-I-L (Brother In Law)

Saturday, April 14, 2007

The Sharing


Twice a year the sixers take computerized standardized tests. At the end of the test, their scores appear on their computer screens. The kids spend the rest of the day talking about their scores. Some parents are not too happy about this and, after several complaints, we teachers have been told via the expensive bright orange tagboard memos (all caps) to tell the kids not to "share or compare" their scores. I talked to the kiddos about how they could save me quite a bit of hassle if they kept their scores to themselves but they instantly yak about the scores anyway. Right in front of me. I changed my tactic and asked them to show some discretion about the sharing. No luck there either. Everyone asks the supersmartypants in the crowd their scores and then piece together what their score probably means. I can't say I would do anything different. If we're going to flash the scores in their faces, they're going to talk about them. Deal with it, my friends.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Fractions


I'm teaching math this year for the first time in a billion centuries. The program I'm using is innovative and progressive, but sometimes stupid. Today I was supposed to introduce division of fractions with this weird picture drawing activity. I showed the kids one picture instead of a trillion and then said, "Okay, now here's how you really do it." I even introduced cross factorization to their complete amazement. They were thrilled and all were dividing fractions in no time. We don't really understand why flipping over the second fraction and multiplying works, but do we really have to know why? I say no.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

The Pessl


The Pessl book is quite good. I read all day and then ended up with a migraine in the evening. #1 son, now a teen, could not remember past 3 minutes that tapping and banging hurt my head considerably, so I spent much of the evening saying, "Would you mind not doing that any more?" I'm feeling better after some type of migraine tablet. It's basically a hunk of caffeine so now I'm wired and my stomach hurts. Tomorrow's going to be a living hell. Obviously.

Friday, April 06, 2007

The Night


Husbandman and Teen Daughter left early this morning for a fun trip to California. They'll attend a wedding in beautiful Carmel. This is the night I will stay home with #1 son and 4 of his fellow sevvies. It's a birthday sleepover! Usually I have a fairly well honed lesson plan for offspring parties, but tonight I only have a video and pizza. Maybe I'll impose a 10:00 bed time.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

The Clothes


In our latest union publication, there was a write in column about what to do when kiddos wear clothes to school that are considered inappropriate. A teacher wrote in and proudly asserted that she and her colleagues go to Goodwill every summer and drop a few hundred dollars on ugly shirts and then they make transgressers trade their sexy t-shirts and pot ad t-shirts for these gawdy purchases. She proudly wrote that the kids are so embarrassed, they never wear inappropriate clothes again! Geezlouise. This is in a professional journal. Doesn't it seem a bit on the weird side?

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Democracy


One class of sixers is making zines based loosely around the theme of "prizes." We've read many articles about different prizes and how prizes work or don't work to influence people. Today I read an article to them about a democratic school, where there are no grades and no classes. Kids just hang out, play video games, or walk down to the gas station for snacks. It only costs 6,000 dollars a year to go there. I'm thinking about starting one of these at my place.