Sunday, February 28, 2010

More School District shenanigans

I've talked about the Atlanta Public Schools (APS) fiasco with more than half of the schools being investigated for cheating on the state test (CRCT for grades 1-8).

DeKalb County Schools are having their own fun right now:
* the superintendent Dr. Crawford Lewis accepted a $15K bonus at a point that teachers are being furloughed. He said it would be pointless to give it back because it wouldn't make any difference.
* The Chief Operations Officer Pat Pope has been under investigation for over a year as her husband has won many of the contracts to build new schools. Last week they had a subpoena to investigate the Superintendent's house related to this investigation and he has temporarily resigned.
* They announced last week that DCS will be closing some of the neighborhood schools with small enrollments.

Cobb County Schools are having their own issues. There was a major turnover of the Board a few years back as the Superintendent (now replaced) tried to ram a laptop-for-everyone plan through. The current board is finding its own issues as the approved (without discussion) cell phone towers at several schools and the homeowners are - annoyed.

Gwinnett County Schools are also being investigated for cheating on the CRCT but not on the level of APS. They have closed a cafeteria in a high school for an undetermined length of time because of repeated food fights. The kids are getting sack lunches in the classroom.

Our legislature wants a 4 day week, the governor wants to cut more money out of the education budget. He also wants to tap lottery funds for things that (by law) they cannot be tapped for, but I think that got stopped. The state colleges are saying there will be a 77% increase in tuition. Several of the colleges are talking about letting go part-time staff and some full time staff.

From the Vent : Monday I find out if my major will exist at SPSU {Southern Polytechnic State University}.

Calendars are coming out for next year - and they have the furlough days from this year on them. It will be interesting to see if our contracts are for 180 or 190 days.

Here is an article written by two Fulton County School teachers about merit pay.

[Note: Atlanta proper is comprised of Atlanta Public Schools and parts of DeKalb County Schools and Fulton County Schools. Metro Atlanta includes those counties surrounding Fulton and DeKalb: Gwinnett (the state's largest), Cherokee, Cobb, Clayton (which has the distinction of the first school district in 30 years IN THE COUNTRY to lose its accreditation - but it has gotten it back.) Then there are other school districts in the next ring out - but they are smaller. The seven listed pretty much drive the state.]

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Schools are more than buildings

Quote from this week’s AJC that made me think of our friends in NY: “A school is far more than a building that educates students. In many communities, the school becomes a focal point, the connective tissue that brings together families who otherwise would never have met. Yes, kids will survive a transfer to another school. But it is a lie to pretend that a shuttered schoolhouse where hundreds of children and families once found friendships does not take a toll on a neighborhood.”

Full article here.

Word Problems

My students struggle with word problems because they do not know what is important. So I think I am going to use this in my classes Monday.
Mrs. Brown had finally reached the end of her tolerance for her husband’s Lazy Boy. The dog had chewed up the bottom as a puppy; the cats had sharpened their claws on the back; it smelled like something had crawled in it and died, but she suspected it was her teen-aged son’s socks. And the color no longer worked in the room since she purchased a new sofa.
So, she spent her Saturday traveling to furniture stores. One offered a new one for $299 with a 25% discount and a delivery charge of $25. Since this was in her home town, the tax rate was 6%. Another in the next county was $250 with a tax rate of 7% and a delivery charge of $15. The third was $300, no delivery charge and a tax rate of 5%.
So many decisions!! So she stopped by the grocery store on her way home and bought 4 cans of dog food and went home to decide which Lazy Boy to buy.

a) If the dog food was 59 cents a can and the store is in her home town, how much did she spend?
b) How many stars are on the current American flag?

I am going to have them read the problem and then use a highlighter to highlight what is important.

Six Word Saturday

Casting seed corn to the wind.

For more Six Word Saturday participants, click here.

This has been a discouraging week. Two students came off my roll because they haven't been here this semester. Another rwo will come off when they has been out another week or so because we know they don't intend to stay in school.

I wrote that homeschool kid withdrew and never said boo to me, but told another teacher that she wouldn't be returning because public school was such a waste of time. And it hurt my feelings some that she said nothing to me.

One girl transferred at the beginning of the week. While she said goodbye, it was nothing special to either of us.

And a student from last year was in the hall Wednesday withdrawing from school so he can do this online since he cannot pass public school (read: he will not do the work or follow the rules).

But, yesterday a student from last year came by to say goodbye because he is moving up north. It is an area with limited job prospects but they need to help his grandmother. And one of my successes from my remedial class is transferring to another district and came to say goodbye twice before she came to get her grade and sign out.

Both of these have my cell phone number in case they ever need me. Students are intrigued, appalled that I hand out my cell phone number at the beginning of the year and say call me if you have questions. They are convinced that I will get crank calls. I never do. I get three or four calls in the course of the year, but they are always legitimate. So, we'll see if either of these two ever call. I will miss them both.

Friday, February 26, 2010


We are in our class, using material I copied, when Funsucker gets up and goes to my closet and takes out a box of MY pens. (As in I paid for them with my own money, thank you).

Apparently Office Depot's pens didn't work,so beware.

When she finds out the pens don't write, she asks (across the room) "Did you buy these with your own money?"

a) no I shoplifted them
b) no, I mugged this little old lady and used her money
c) no, I stole them from another teacher like you are stealing them from me
(I miss Mad's snappy answers to stupid questions)


Well, they don't write.

It is probably petty of me, but who walks in and takes other people's supplies AND THEN COMPLAINS ABOUT THEM?

What an idiot.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I want to ban breaks

Today was the 4th day since the break. They are still acting like we're about to have another.
* Group of kids were outside my door during a class - yelling down the hall. (Including some profanity) Two of the darlings were mine. I walked up to one (in his personal space) dropped my voice to almost a whisper and asked him in my most innocent voice if he had something he wanted to say.

* Curtis2 from yesterday is still pouting. I did figure out that he probably never heard me say show your work because, unless it directly relates to him, he doesn't hear anything. Since he wants attention, I am going to try to give him no more than his fair share (not the amount he demands). This has required ignoring him.

* I wrote up about 6 other darlings for stupid stuff I don't even want to think about.

I did come up with an idea. One of the classes I teach has only word problems. I finally suggested to 2 that they use a highlighter (mine) to mark the numbers. It was obvious I need to teach this method tomorrow.

I have a student who will be transferring tomorrow. I asked her what grade she thought she deserved (I remember a college professor doing this. Does it surprise you that it was abnormal psychology?). She looked at me (I mean, really looked at me) and said "I deserve a B. I haven't done what I should have done to earn an A." That is soooooo insightful. And correct.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Check this out

Hit Play

Another trip down the rabbit hole

I swear I can't make this stuff up.

* I was standing in the hall before the students are allowed in the school, doing my duty and keeping them out. So, I asked everyone who wanted past me where they were going (I then checked all of these and ended up writing up 3 for lying).

One girl took offense to my asking and called me a b***h so I got to write her up also. But she told me I couldn't talk to her like this because she is 19 years old..... Oh, and I had an attitude! (I just asked where she was going).

* We have to stand in the hall between classes. So I go into the class at the beginning of one and a very exasperated secretary is on the intercom wanted to know why I called her. I didn't push the button. So who did she demands. I don't know, I've been out in the hall.

It turns out one of my darlings (you do know these are seniors, right?) had pushed the button - but it was ok, Ricochet, because it didn;t work. Yes it did Clown, because they called me. But it didn't make any noise - so I pushed it a lot. No wonder she was exasperated!!!

* When I was taking notes in my meetings with Funsucker I always asked her what she wanted to teach. I stopped taking notes when she took mine - so she just writes down what she wants to teach and never says anything to me. Then today (when she was supposed to be teaching - because I can read upside down) she started helping one student (with 29 sitting there waiting) while I asked repeatedly are you going to start the next section - I ended up teaching it.

* I handed back quizzes today and a student was irate that I marked wrong answers well, wrong. Other people got partial credit (because they showed me work). This was patently unfair and I have never done this before. I could not get him to move on. Obviously, I have ALWAYS done it this way (duh, I am trying to pass them). I finally realized he had never heard me say show your work to get partial credit BECAUSE HE NEVER STOPS TALKING.

I wrote about Curtis last year. I have one just as needy this year. It is hard to deal with someone who is ALWAYS playing for attention.

I just want a normal day when I can teach. I am getting tired of these histrionics.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Must be something in the water. . . .

Had a full house today - all the kids who didn't come back yesterday were there today. Wish they had wanted to learn.

* My homeschool honey has dropped out - I guess it took too much to work with the system.
* One of my students - who refuses to do work - had to be removed from my room by a sheriff. Apparently his schedule has been changed and he didn't like that.
* Another boy (same class) didn't want to do his own work or follow the rules. So, write up.
* Same class, melt down (and I hated the terrible 2s in my own children - and this was a boy) so another write up.
* Same class, telephones out and playing games (write up).
* Same class - profanity. (write up)
* Just called a parent about their child's absences - she's driven to school every day and apparently is skipping.

At a certain point, you just want to pull out a book and read because it would be so much more productive.

The Legislature is coming up with more joy for teachers. Maybe.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Here today, gone for a while

Gotta love it.

We have a week long break. We come back - exit exams are looming on the horizon. It is time to do the review so the upperclassmen pass and move on - and what do they do?

A dozen of them show up dressed the same: black shoes, black socks, black jeans, black t-shirts with a gold crown emblazoned on the front, and black bandannas on their heads, which they would not remove.

Enter the sheriff's department. Exit the students.

I wonder how long they will be out?

Sunday, February 21, 2010



Broadcast premiere March 30, 2010 on PBS

What’s a child’s education worth? For one visionary rookie principal, it’s priceless. At the Bronx Center for Science & Mathematics, an innovative public high school in NYC’s South Bronx, Principal Edward Tom leads a dedicated group of teachers, students and parents in their biggest gamble yet. Within a community infamous for hardship, can this brand new school live up to its promise, and inspire new stories of achievement and excellence?


Ms. Milstein talks about why she blogs and what she gets from it.

I met Pissed Off this week. She and her husband were visiting my city so we got together to walk, talk and eat. Over dinner, POd and I started talking teaching again - her husband rolled his eyes and looked at my husband and said something to the effect "they're off again."

Teachers (and bloggers) have to talk about those things that light their fires. Our spouses (fine as they are) get tired, so it was great that both our husbands were given the option of commiserating with a fellow sufferer! I know mine felt as if he wasn't alone in being bored (um, challenged) with the same old school stories.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Six Word Saturday

End of break: back to school.

It has been a good week. I had too long a list of to-do so didn't get to most of it. I have had time to THINK about the classes, and that is good. I also got to play and read and that is worth it.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Great Day in Atlanta

I met POd and her husband. She was everything I thought she would be - warm, friendly, chatty - and stopping every 2 minutes to take pictures! Her husband is quieter but obviously enjoys her company. And he was entertaining in his own way, very dry, observant humor.

We went to the local university to drop something off for my son - who then chose to give us a tour of the campus! And he gave an outstanding tour!

Then we had dinner at the Vortex. Tried to call Mrs. H - but she didn't answer. Found out she was at the beauty parlor and left her phone in the car. POd - she was devastated she didn't get to talk to you because you are a real superstar of the blogging world (I agree!).

Life is good - the food and friendship was awesome!

The news was on when we were at the Vortex, and they showed a group of people corralling a zebra on the highway. I was convinced this was an incident from a year ago (I mean, how often do you see a zebra on the highway on the local news?) Nope, new zebra. Apparently, zebra wrangling is becoming an annual event.

Too funny not to share

Revenge on telemarketers.

Book study

We are doing a book study by department (same book, not that helpful) as punishment for not achieving AYP.

It is another book by an author that we didn't learn anything useful from last year, so we are revisiting the same non-productive place.

There are so many that might teach us something. So many I do not have time to read while cleaning up after funsucker.

I know there are useful professional developments. We just got a smartboard - wouldn't it be neat if they would show us how to use it? I'm sure the media center has other things, other neat toys, that would benefit the kids.

But, nope, let's read a book that has no value instead.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

My notebook

I decided to do a notebook in my repeater class. I give them the notes to copy and give them the option of copying more (A) or less (C) with an understanding of what that means.

I am bemoaning that it isn't working. It isn't being a miracle, but I think it is working as well as anything could in that class.

First, a half dozen were stolen. It is possible the kids misplaced them someplace else, but they insist they were taken from class.

Attendance is another issue. Currently I have 5 suspended out of school; 3 just came back. One has been sick this entire semester. Five have sporadic attendance. So 9 are coming regularly. And of those 9, six seem to be benefiting from the notes.

Attendance isn't something new for these kids. And it is probably the reason they are in the class to begin with. The average is 6.25 days. This translates to half have been out 1/3 of the time or more (6 or more days). 1/3 have been out half the time or more (9 or more days). You can't teach 'em if they are not here.

So - I will continue the notebook for the ones who come. I have the notes available to make up if you are out. Maybe that is the best I can do.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Another way of saying "you can't fix stupid"

Chromosomes and genes, spawn these fateful scenes.
Evolution can be mean, there's no 'dumb ass' vaccine.
Blame your DNA, you're a victim of your fate.
It's human nature to miscalculate.

"Permanent reminder of a temporary feeling" by Jimmy Buffett

Washington (state) math

Math Education: an inconvenient truth is a video by M.J. McDermott on the books used by the state of Washington in elementary school. I have seen this demo before - from an education professor trying to explain why we didn't need to learn the algorithms.

I love the argument - use a calculator. The students have no idea what a reasonable answer is.

Merit Pay

If you have an account on Facebook, you might want to join this group.

Our governor, in his infinite wisdom, wants to tie our pay to the accomplishments of our students. I can see a mad rush to teach higher ability students and a rush away from teaching the lower level kids.

Of all of the things he has done to sabotage Georgia's schools, this is the worst idea yet.

Harvard has an interesting take on this. As does the AJC,which ties this, NCLB, and the recent testing scandal together nicely.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Follow up to the unwanted kids

I have always enjoyed reading Thomas Sowell. He is one of the reasons I chose teaching when I needed to redefine what I did for a living.

I am reading A Personal Odyssey and realized that he would qualify as one of my bad boys. He had an attitude. He was very bright. He thought he knew it all (at times) but also had a vision of what he wanted and did whatever it took to get there.

He did not have an easy childhood (or early adulthood) – a family that did not value or understand education, emotionally abusive mother, poverty. He mentions that he never told anyone at the school what he was dealing with at home, so the school interpreted his behavior according to their own bias (he was difficult or lazy).

He entered college with a GED and managed to graduate from Harvard magna cum laude. So, he had the potential, the work ethic, the cajones to get there.

[Would he have accomplished as much if he had had a really good teacher in elementary or secondary school?]

When he began to teach (college) he was asked to dumb it down to reach the kids who couldn’t or wouldn’t do the work.

Page 127: Students are often in no position to judge “relevance” until long after the fact.

Page 149 - 150 (at Douglass College, late 1962, early 1963)
Within each class, there seemed to be growing differences – almost polarization – between those who were responding well to my teaching and those who were becoming progressively more alienated. The latter began going to the department chairman (a sociologist) with their unhappiness. Toward the end of the first semester, he and I had a talk about this in his office. Inside the door of his office was a chart showing enrolments in economics declining over the past several years, a trend which he was anxious to reverse.

“Tom,” he said, “the feeling I get from talking to a number of students is that you aim your course at the A and B students – and let the C and D students go to hell. We know the students exaggerate, so I wanted to get the real story from you.”

“No, I think that’s a pretty fair summary of my approach.”

“Well, the A and B students can pretty much get it without our help. It’s the people further down who need us.”

“That depends on how you conceive of education,” I said. “If education is just an accumulation of information, then of course the A and B students can read as well as we can. But if education is learning to systematize your thinking, then the A and B students need someone to help them as much as anyone else.”

"But you’ve got to ‘scoop lower’ and bring the C and D students up there. If the others get restless, give them some extra work to do to keep them quiet.”

“Look, we’re talking about C and D students as if they are born into the world with those letters on their foreheads. Anybody who can get into Douglass College can make a B in my course. The students you want me to concentrate on are those who don’t want to get an education. As for giving the good students something to keep them quiet, that would be treating those who come here for an education as a special problem!”

“Well, we’re a state university and we can’t just serve the elite. I think you ought to see Joe Talerico – maybe have several sessions on teaching with him – and get some pointers on teaching here. He’s been a very successful teacher.”

“I respect Joe as a teacher and as a person,” I said, “but I can no more adopt his methods than he could mine.”

“Well, what do you intend to do?”

“I don’t know.”

A few days later, I left my resignation in his mailbox. The next time I saw him, he seemed neither surprised nor dismayed.

Thomas Sowell had the courage to walk away from jobs at Douglass, Cornell, UCLA because they wanted him to lower his standards, dumb it down. I think I cave too often and should stand up to the administration and fail more. But I don’t.

I tell myself that the kids I teach have given up and I need to have them learn even a small amount so that they will try. I tell myself that part of it is to get them to do ANYTHING. But I look at the kids who were failing last semester but I got them to pass – and now they are doing the same NOTHING and have I accomplished anything?

Would it be different if I had A and B students in my classes?

Hard questions.

Questions for the NYC teachers

Several of you read this. I was trying to explain Mayor Bloomberg to my husband, who doesn't read about schools and tunes out a lot of what I say (smile, yes dear, think about other things and she will go away).

My understanding of your situation is that he is replacing big schools with smaller schools, right? Which is (can be) a good thing, as students are getting lost in the mega schools.

The problem the I understand is 1) he is not replacing the same number of seats 2) he is not replacing a building where the kids can go close to home and 3) he is cherry picking who attends the new, smaller schools, effectively depriving the bottom level of students with a place to go to school.

Or have I missed something?

And if it is that simple, why are the newspapers not screaming?

The kids nobody wants

Joanne Jacobs referenced an article about "the kids nobody wants." These are the kids that will cause you to fail AYP. The kids that need extra help in order to do well (or even semi-well).

The kids that the governor here wants to grade our raises on.

The kids that Atlanta Public Schools changed test grades for to make AYP (when 58 school have a problem, 2/3 of the schools in your district, it is not the principals who are making the decision.).

The kids I went into teaching to teach.

I find gifted harder - you have to work harder, know more, be on your game, to reach them but they will work with you. I want a class like this next year, but I also want the ones that I have.

The ones who will not bring paper and pencil to a math class.

The ones who walk in and say "I can't learn math" and then will do nothing that you ask them to.

The ones that WHEN they finally grasp something, look at you in awe and say "I NEVER understood math before."

But, do I want to be judged on their work ethic or my own? Duh.

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Solve for i on the left

9x - 7i > 3(3x - 7u)

Happy Valentine's Day!

(For you non-mathies, I will post the answer later)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Roads are clear

The roads are clear, there is still snow/ice in the trees and on my driveway.

Here today, gone tomorrow!

Actually we may get some more tomorrow or Monday - but, it too will be fleeting.

Ah, the joy of a Southern snow! Doesn't stick around long enough to be aggravating.

Snow on the ground

Snow on the ground, snow on the ground
Driving like a fool wit the snow on the ground
Look at cha' now, car spinning 'round
Driving like a fool wit the snow on the ground
Slow it down, slow it down
Copy then paste and pass it around........

Sorry, cannot give credit because I do not know the author.

Six Word Saturdays

Couldn't decide - so you get a two-fer

Snow day in the south - blissful

Snow in every state: global warming?

OK, Hawaii is not going along with the program, but still.

Friday, February 12, 2010

It is beautiful out there!!

Everything looks flocked.

Pretty. White. Quiet. (We can't drive in rain. We generally figure we can't drive in anything else, so people are going home and staying there.)

It's slushy and will be AWFUL tomorrow - but it's Saturday so who cares.

We haven't had a blizzard (ok, a Southern blizzard, not to be confused with the real thing) sine 1993.

There's about 2 inches out there and that is AWSOME!!


Thursday, February 11, 2010

OK we're not closing the schools.

Just got The Call. Only this time it says we may have to close schools early, so make your plans.

I see a mess coming, and it won't be the crud on the road.


Cheating on our state test, and here and here and here.

Yep, we're serious about education here.

Our high school math coach has 1) never taught in high school 2) came from another state so he is still unfamiliar with our standards 3) has no math on his certificate. (Not even middle school math).

Yep, we're serious about education here.

Snow's coming!

It is supposed to start snowing tomorrow morning at 9. I have to be at work at 8. I have a feeling (since every meteorologist is adamant that it will be snowing tomorrow)that it is going to be an interesting day.

Today I learned that a student is definitely in jail for the foreseeable future and the girl who was pregnant isn't anymore.

More students are suspended out of school. They try to tell me that it is because the school hates them (or I hate them) - I keep saying that it is due to the decisions they make.

One boy was accused of dipping, another is suspended for dipping......

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Woman's Poem

He didn't like the casserole
And he didn't like my cake,
He said my biscuits were too hard
Not like his mother used to make.

I didn't perk the coffee right
He didn't like the stew,
I didn't mend his socks
The way his mother used to do.

I pondered for an answer
I was looking for a clue.
Then I turned and smacked the shit out of him...
Like his mother used to do.

(Author unknown. Thanks PSB for sharing!!)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Overheard in various classes

* Then they told me to take my pants off and I did in front of everybody and they put the handcuffs on and arrested me.

* He won't be here for awhile. What happened? He took a car and got arrested.

* I'm going to call the cops! My dad hit me in the head with a hammer. (This one backed down quick when I pointed out I would need to report this)

* I was put on earth to help people.

All I want

Mrs. H talks about how dumbing down the educational process through credit recovery is not working. (It doesn't work here either.)

Phillie Teacher says the kids could pass if they would come to school.

Matt Townsley talks about grade pollution. (Does lowering a grade because the kid didn't turn work in accurately reflect what they know.

All of these are concerns I have daily in my classes. Add - I want them to pass, if they are seniors, I want them to graduate, do work even if they think it is tedious (what, they won't have tedious work as adults?), and I want them to clean up their act. I want pants up, hats off, and appropriate vocabulary.

In return, I promise to teach you meaningful concepts so that you can understand them.

Seems fair.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Interesting day

I took the certification test last month and passed.

I had to allow 4 classes to retake a test from Friday because they all did so poorly. It is sad that this makes it my problem not theirs.

Funsucker actually brought her own material to the meeting - but then acted in class like we had not discussed anything.68 days (I think).

I am just tired.

Three different students told me they (or their girl friend) are pregnant. You know, they know what causes that! At least one was a one night fling wjavascript:void(0)ith a very long term cost.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


PissedOffTeecher is coming to town! And we will be meeting for dinner!! I am so looking forward to this!

We can have another week like this one - fights, Funsucker, and stoopid professional development and I will still be smiling! I know it will make certain folks at the school wonder what I am up to, but that will be good for them.

Six Word Saturday

Five school days til winter break!

Sad when that is the most positive comment I can come up with!!

I may have a surprise over break and I am really hoping it will happen!!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Does Anyone From Massachusetts Read This Blog?

Georgia's math curriculum is based on the Massachusetts model. I am interested in how students did at the beginning of the curriculum - specifically the first class to graduate under it.

Differentiation - how do you show evidence?

I know how to differentiate instruction. I know how to teach Johnny one way and Kate another and have them both understand the standard that is being addressed.

How do I put something on the wall that shows any, er, person coming into my room that I differentiate instruction when most is done on the fly?


Today I had 4 people need to take the test I gave 2 days ago because they haven't come to class. I'd say they were sick, but all 4 have patterns of coming no more than 3 days a week.

I think the other teacher should take them someplace else so they can take the test in peace, but Funsucker thinks they need to get the same instruction as everyone else. (Hello, they never come to school so they are already not getting the same instruction).

So, I teach the new lesson, I administer the test, and she is wandering around the room. Differentiating instruction? Helping with new concepts? Nope, she spent the ENTIRE time gossiping with Girly about the boyfriend she (Girly) broke up with yesterday.

Meantime, these 4 test-takers have to be monitored to stay on task because they want to socialize, that is the only reason why they come to school. So I monitor, answer questions of the lesson, work the classwork, and watch Funsucker slack off.

What a waste of air.

71 more days.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Stress, planning, effectiveness - bah!

* it is virtually impossible to plan tests for multiple periods because there is never more than a 1 day notice of the other stuff that interrupts your class. Like, pulling half out for some sort of testing, fire drill, tornado drill, whatever. Why can't they let us know so we can, what, plan?

* We won't even talk about planning periods that we don't get to take.

* They tell us they are going to come in and look at A then critiques us on B - huh?

* The legislature is still piddling around about whether we are going to have another 3 days of furlough in the next six months - and whether our contracts will come out April 15 or May 15.

Dip Dip and Swing

I looked at one of my charmers today and noticed a wad in his cheek. (think 5 or 6 pieces of bubblegum) I told him I would ignore the stuff in his cheek as long as he didn't spit on my floor.

Oh, Ricochet, you know I wouldn't spit on your floor, he says. Then he told me that he has spit on several other floors but was righteously indignant for being accused of spitting on those occasions when he didn't spit.

(You do know we're talking about dip here, right? And I have seen it on my floor - but not where he likes to sit, so I suspect another individual.)

This was followed by a discussion about whether or not there is dip in New York City. Our resident New Yorker says no. The class says yes. Anyone want to step in and settle the argument?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Yesterday's fights

Final Tally:
* eight fights (beginning when the buses arrived and lasting until the buses left)
* 12 people arrested and carted away
* four bloody noses
* kids I won't be seeing for a week or so: 5
* times I have seen the principal hustling people along today: 8

Professional Development - what is the point?

I am a firm believer in education - my own as well as my students. In my prior job, information was power, so I want to know everything. Not to be a know-it-all (although that is a failing of mine), but I really want to know it all.

When I started teaching, they were talking about standards-based learning. I bought books. I spent my summers attending additional classes to really understand the point behind this.

We have professional development every week. It is in part because of our status with AYP. I understand this and the importance of attending and participating.

We have three specialists who were hired with stimulus money to help us teach. They were elementary school teachers. (Remember? I teach high school)

They keep coming up with really REALLY juvenile ideas for us to use with our students. I know some will fly - with upper level kids. You have to be very careful with kids in lower level math classes.

Today's lesson? She read a book to us, one I read to my children before they could read. I'll call it the One Fish, Two Fish. Then we were to write our response to the standards based lesson in the style of the book.

I did not use the words that came to mind, although they were short words.

I feel like I am wasting my personal time investigating some of these ideas if they are going to feed it to me in a manner I would have understood by 3rd grade. Well, I can take that off the list of things I used to waste my personal time on.

{Disclaimer: there are good professional development ideas out there. We don't use them]

Monday, February 1, 2010

Full moon and crazies

The crazies were out today. The second fight of the day took place outside my room before classes started with two of my students.

The third fight was at lunch.

The fourth fight was outside my door before the last class.

I only heard rumors about the first.

I now have several students I won't see for a week.

Yep, I'll be effective teaching them.

"Did I miss anything while I was out?"

Nope, we sat around twiddling our thumbs waiting on you. Here's your sign.

Francis Chan from

Francis Chan on taking risks. He is talking about Christians not taking risks, but the same could be said of us and of our students, regardless of your religion.

I don't want to live "the safest life possible." I want to do the best I can.