Friday, April 29, 2005

Night Noise

Of a sort.

While in Las Vegas, each night I had anxious or depressing dreams. One night, it was a whole series. Starting with my Amerifriends (who weren't really themselves), going on to my old colleagues at the office, to my current colleagues at school, and to my friends at school, they all hated me. They all thought I was horribly annoying and none of them could stand me. It was awful. I was crying, cursing, lashing out, lost in total desperation. In actual body, I teared up while sleeping. Does that happen to other people?

Not last night but the one before, I had another math dream. It was the case where I'd been 'taking' a math course all semester, but not really paying attention, and never doing homework, and generally not giving a shit. But then it's the end of term, and there's a test, and I somehow have to be responsible for all that knowledge. And of course, I have no clue, and I'm running around, freaking out like nobody's business, feeling awful and out of control and desperate and scared and hopeless and jittery. Again, horrible.

When I was in the process of waking up, I really had to concentrate about the classes that I am for real taking right now. I had to consciously remind myself that math was last semester, and we didn't actually DO any math. I did not skip any homework (well, not any math problem homework, anyway).

On a slightly happier, and more grown-up, note, both of my tax returns have now come in! How I Heart Direct Deposit! The federal return actually arrived BEFORE my vacation, incredibly. So I socked away $500 in my regular savings and allowed myself to not freak about money in Vegas. This week my state return arrived, and I used it to pay off one of my credit cards. Over the summer--moving expenses of all sorts, getting into a new apartment, buying classroom things--I racked up about $1000 on each of my two cards, and have been paying $200 each month, but also occasionally charging another $200. As of today, one was at 5-something, and the other at 6-something. I paid the whole balance of the 5-something one, and I figure in the next two or three months, finish up the 6-something card. Wahoo!

From there, I shall only charge what I can pay off right away. Or, um, just not charge a lot. Because I'll have to charge things like school supplies and textbooks for school. School is fucking expensive, yo. Anyway, while chatting about cars and stuff over brunch, I figured out that if I'm not paying $400 a month in credit cards, then I can afford my car payment and insurance!

My friends, the cross-country road trip is BACK ON!

Ahem. For August. Maybe.

Your Linguistic Profile:

80% General American English

10% Yankee

5% Midwestern

5% Upper Midwestern

0% Dixie

My cute self after the mini-makeover last weekend. Note the new, shiny hair and the lack of glasses. Yes, recently I actually unearthed my contacts. What a difference, eh? Posted by Hello

Lions! Rrrr!  Posted by Hello

Our hotel. I liked the layout of it, and they had lots of signs to direct you through the maze of the casino. The pool was great too.  Posted by Hello

We ate dinner here twice, with the solid recommendation from a tourism guy out front: good-ass food! Posted by Hello

Visiting the Luxor. Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Back to the hum-drum teacher life

I have returned to the Big Apple...or at least the leaves of the Big Apple. Just walked in the door. The first thing I did was plug in my battery recharger and then check my email. NERD ALERT! Twenty-seven messages and ONE was a real email, written just to me, by just one person.

Las Vegas was fun. The weather was perfect. Sunny and warm, sometimes breezy. Not cold, not disgustingly hot, an excellent happy medium. The SPF 30 worked its magic; we sat out by the pool for two hours every day and I only got a little color. I borrowed a string bikini for the trip, and damn, I am a sexy bitch! Actually, now I am an itchy bitch. From the sun or whatever.

I bought no souvenirs (except books to read--which are predictably hard to find in Sin City), gambled only once (twenty-one dollars in about six minutes, at a 25-cent machine), met no cute guys, went to no clubs.

But there was lots of sleeping in/napping, watching tv, strolling around the hotel or our end of the Strip, the aforementioned pool-laying-by, and some eating. Only one buffet meal!

I am still sick with a cold. Yesterday I finally picked up some Airborne, and it is AWESOME, as told by friends and colleagues. It makes the cold disappear for those three hours, but then it comes crawling back like an unwanted, needy friend. It's nothing serious, just annoying.


That's what I'm trying to think INSTEAD of three days of work to do until I have to go BACK to work. Stupid work.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Spring Break and VEGAS, Baby!

Wow, what a weekend. About freaking time!

It all started right after school on Friday, when I joined a crowd of teachers for happy hour on the island. Fun! Cheap drinks, free popcorn, entertaining conversation. I even got a phone number.

Stayed out there that night, since I missed the train. On Saturday, I had my first manicure/pedicure, and eyebrow wax. I enjoyed the pampering.

Saturday night I met up with those crazy midwestern boys. Had dinner in Brooklyn, then went to a crowded bar in midtown Manhattan. Stayed out there that night. Tee hee.

This morning I was awake at 7, went home, took a bath and then returned to the island. I got a haircut that helps me look like a grown-up, and had dinner with friends at a bar.

Three nights out in a row. Two nights spent not in my own bed. Lots of beverages consumed. Hallelujah, I am at last a social being!

Tomorrow morning, early, I will be joining my friends Ms F and Ms C at JFK to take off to Las Vegas! I am excited. Like most trips, it feels surreal yet. But the alarm is set, my bag is packed, and I am wiped out, ready to pass out in my cozy bed.

Oh yeah, a nice little perk? I've just gotten a cold. Sneezing and nose dripping is way sexy. What a great addition to vacation!

Saturday, April 23, 2005

Vividly scarlet tulips blooming in Manhattan. And my sexy-ass leg. Damn! Posted by Hello

Chilling (well, warming, actually) on the ledge of the Met. I look very freckled. Weird.  Posted by Hello

The tree I sat under in the park. Can I put two prepositions right in a row like that? I won't tell if you won't.  Posted by Hello

The Reservoir at Central Park.  Posted by Hello

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Itchings and Wishings

No, no rashes, just itchings for spring and freedom.

I got a taste of both today, as I took a mental health day.

Last night there were some interesting revelations, and now I have a bit of romantic drama all my own. It will remain that, though--drama and wishings. The situation would be thrilling and exciting if anything was possibly going to happen. It won't, though, so wishing it must remain.

I "slept in" until 7.30 and made my way to UPS. My awesome friend sent me a book! Yay!

I decided to go into the city, so I took the 6 train up to 86th. I found a sunny spot under a little flowering tree, and read and wrote and took pictures. The wind was still going, but the sun sometimes won out.

I thought about going into the Met...but I just didn't feel like it. What I did feel like was getting warmer, so I found a sunny ledge on the outside of the Met, and lay down. It felt wonderful to soak in the sun, and to listen to the goings-on around the museum. There was a gaggle of tour busses out front, pedestrians strolling down 5th Avenue, and a street vendor who kept tossing, and thus jingling, his keys. Annoying even at twenty yards.

I walked from the Met over to Lexington, and window-shopped my way down to 68th Street. Then I took a train down to Union Square and I lunched at the new, shiny Whole Foods. Browsed quickly in the Strand, but didn't feel that willpower and patience to stay more than a few minutes. So I left and came home.

On the train back to Queens, this big guy with a cane "sang." It was a combination of chicken and Jingle Bells. I hid my grin as best I could; thankfully he drowned out my muffled giggles.

Now it's 5.30 and I don't know what to do with the rest of my self-prescribed day off. I wanted to do something for myself today...the problem is that I don't know what that might be. I have completely lost track of who I am without teaching. Or that self has just disintegrated. No, that's not true; otherwise that art stuff a few weeks ago would not have triggered those tears. I don't know how to paint, or throw pots, or whatever. I did a little writing, and I'll try to head to the gym in a few minutes, but nothing special that makes me feel like the old me. Whoever the hell that might be.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Is it Friday yet?

Apparently my Monday denial was so deep yesterday that in my anecdote book, I wrote "Fri 4/18/05." Ah, wishful thinking!

Yesterday was alright. I started some vocabulary work as a Do Now, and also started with some comma work. That will continue the rest of the week. When we're done with commas, we'll review homophones. The idea is that when they edit their or a peer's story, they can spot mistakes and then FIX THEM.

Today was a big math test. I continued comma stuff with Classes A and C. Class A got a homework assignment just for them because they couldn't keep quiet and focused.

Because this spring weather is all of a sudden so warm--80 degrees today!--I decided to honor the occasion by dressing for it. I put on a red tank top with my cute skirt, the black and white patterned one with a little crinoline underneath to make it poufy. My pasty legs were on full display, along with freshly-painted deep pink toenails. I got lots of comments from staff and students alike, that I looked nice. Surprise, I'm a girl!

I roped a few students (boys) from Class A to stay after school and help me re-poster my classroom. They did more running around and chatting than helping, but that's okay. It did go faster, and anything to encourage those rowdy boys to be productive and/or be 'on my side.'

At 4.15 I got home. Since then I have done absolutely nothing except sit in this desk chair playing games.

Three days of school til spring break! I almost can't think about it, because then I get too anxious and anticipatory. Not because I'm desperate for a break at this point in the year, interestingly; I'm just excited about the fun things I have planned. Seeing friends and going on a real vacation! Sleeping in and doing nothing--I can't wait!


Monday, April 18, 2005

Last week one of my classmates had us make food sculptures. It was pretty fun. Here is the puppy that me and a partner made. Isn't he cute?  Posted by Hello

An adorable lemon mouse being stalked by a celery snake. Posted by Hello

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Stupid short weekends

I hate that it's already early Sunday afternoon; I feel like I'm going to spend the rest of the day catching up on work and anxiously anticipating Monday, instead of enjoying this lovely Sunday.

Yesterday's volunteer work was neat. I arrived at the New York Cares office on time, only to wait around for another forty-five minutes. But I chatted with the other individuals who had signed up for this group. They all seemed like nice, interesting people.

Our project turned out to be playground beautification in Staten Island. I had never been there before (other than the ferry dock), so it was exciting to add another new place to my list. It didn't look any different than other parts of the city; it's more suburban, but so is Queens. Residential and mini-malls. So there you go.

The bus driver might have been new, because he kept having to stop for directions. In New Jersey.

All the work at the playground was painting. I joined three other girls around my age in painting the guard rails in the handball courts. Yeah, I don't know why the tall fence needed reinforcement of roadside guard rails, but oh well. We did some scraping and then painted them a nice lacquered black. It looked so pretty when we were done! We also scraped and repainted a flagpole base and a swingset.

We broke for lunch at Wendy's, then we had an hour to kill, because all the painting was just about completed. So a bunch of us played a pickup game of softball.

I had wanted to go to the after-party, but everyone was tired, so I went home. What did I do the rest of the night? Guess it wasn't much. Watched some tv, perhaps, and I watched Notting Hill on dvd. I so love Hugh Grant in that, and I so hate Julia Roberts in it. Half-watched SNL and went to bed after Weekend Update.

This morning I wasted two hours of dreams about lesson plans. I dreamt first that I had a class coming in, and we were in a different classroom, and I had zero lesson prepared. It was nerve-racking. Then I remembered that I had wanted to do a comma lesson this week, so I went through rules and examples of comma usage. While dreaming. Yes, apparently I can't even escape teacher life while in REM sleep. Pathetic!

I dragged myself up at 9.30 and after a few minutes of deliberation, decided to work out. I'm glad I did, too. I should have gone on Thursday, or Friday. But I didn't, out of sheer laziness. And "work to do." The workout was kind of similar to bodypump, not as demanding with weights, but with more reps.

From there I went to the grocery store, finally. I've been mostly out of real food all week.

Came home and opened up my resume and cover letter, my lesson plan sheet, and my article review work. Holy shit I have a lot to do. Boo hoo!

Friday, April 15, 2005

It's Friday. You should laugh.

Oh man, go listen to Mitch Hedberg. He is so goddamn funny that, well, no, it's still funny. Holy shit.

Oy, this week has gone fast!

I can't believe I've fallen so behind in my blogging duties. Bad!

There was no way that I was going to do a lesson plan Wednesday (the day after the city test), but I figured I could do something fun and a little academic too. I had checked out a book of annotated Grimm's fairy tales on Monday, and I brought it in.

I started class (both A and B) by asking the kids to remember things that happened in the Disney movie Cinderella. Once we got all that, I opened up the book and read to them the Grimm's version of Cinderella. I told them to fill in a Venn diagram about the two versions while I read. All the kids (both classes) sat utterly entranced. It's fun to read to them (or any kids), because with very few exceptions, they are so willing to just sit and listen. They were pretty grossed out (some delightfully) by all the violence in this one, but still wanted to hear it.

Our Venn diagrams were very well filled in. Lots of details they were able to pick out. The Disney version has a lot of similarities with the Grimm's, but there were way more differences in the Grimm version. I can't say "original version" because there are something like 700 Cinderella-type stories, all around the world and in all kinds of cultures. In fact, the very first recorded Cinderella story was in China in the ninth century. See, you learn something new every day. You're welcome! :)

Class C was only for one period, so we just played with words and stuff, and I gave an impassioned speech about the potential of the students and the excitement of teaching them things they haven't learned yet. Ooh, one girl told me that she used 'narcissistic' in conversation with her sister: "She looked at me all crazy, cause she thought I was retarded {before}. She gave me a hug!" Cool, eh?

It was an easy day. I think the students enjoyed it and they also learned something.

Classes that night were not bad. And we got to leave a bit early, at 9.

Thursday went surprisingly well.

I wanted to review elements of plot, since it's been awhile and I want to get back into the story writing. But instead of me just blathering at the board, I wrote up the triangle with five numbers on it, and told the kids to chat with their tablemates to fill in the elements. Six or seven minutes later, I gave each table an erasable sentence strip and a whiteboard marker, and they wrote one of the terms and its definition. Then we stuck those up on the board on the chart with magnets.

It was group work, they actually cooperated fairly well, and stayed engaged. And of course, who doesn't love getting a special pen and sentence strip?

Then I brought out the creative writing spinners and had some kids spin them. I told them to use those elements as their exposition, and so they needed to come up with the conflict and all the rest.

While all this was going on with Class A, in walked Mr Principal, Ms Supervisor, and a Special Visitor. Ay yi! But they seemed downright delighted at what they saw. Phew!

The day went well. Got restarted on all the fun literature circles again.

After school, I came home and didn't do too much. Read a bit, did some looking around online, didn't even watch too much tv.

Today was not too shabby either. What did I do? Hm. Oh, yeah. Did some discussing (hm, lecturing? no, mini-lesson) on ending a story. Gave them types to use and set them free to finish their group stories.

Now it's Friday!!

Tomorrow I'm volunteering with Hands On New York Day (used to be New York Cares Day). Gotta get up kinda early, but it will be the first volunteering I've done since January, if you can count one hour in a gymnasium. Before that was...May of last year, perhaps? Far too long, in any case. So I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005


Well, the test is over. (At least until next week, when the kids have to take the math test.) I had Class B for the whole thing. At first they were hyper and chatty, but then they got nervous. They were like, "Ms C, my hands are shaking!"

So I led them in taking some deep breaths and shaking out of hands and shoulders. I said, "All right guys, don't freak out. You can do this. Remember all the things and strategies we've been practicing. No problem."

With fifteen minutes left, there was a significant number (like, eight) of kids who were not nearly done. I got all anxious for them, worrying, mentally hurrying them up, trying to send out telepathic messages about skimming and scanning. But alas, five of them did not finish. I was a little heartbroken and disappointed.

One of the girls was in tears about not finishing. I sat next to her and whispered, "Hey, shh, it's okay. You did your best, right? Right? That's all we can ask, isn't it? It's okay, honey, you got through it, you did your best." Poor thing.

After lunch I had Class A. I did not like them today. At the beginning of class, I was still upset at their behavior yesterday, but I went ahead with a light activity: reading interesting parts (only three!) of The Twenty-One Balloons. Could they keep their traps shut while I stood there and read to them? No, they could not. I warned them and then not two minutes later I had to stop for noise AGAIN. So, I gave them a spelling test. The highest score was four. Out of fifteen.

One of the words was 'vacuum.' Three kids actually CHALLENGED me on that, telling me that I was wrong and they were right. I said, "No, this [vacuum] is right." "No, it isn't!" Nothing chaps my hide like someone telling me I'm wrong when I KNOW that I am right. Especially about my forte, spelling. ESPECIALLY from these children who can spell their names but not much else. Fully exasperated, I snapped, "Go check the dictionary!"

Because of course, there is only ONE in my classroom. Can you imagine teaching ENGLISH without dictionaries and thesauri for every student? Talk about a handicap.

Anyway, so those three kids self-righteously page through the dictionary, until they find "my" correct spelling of 'vacuum.' "Oh," they said, deflated.
"Yeah, 'OH,'" I spat. "'Oh?' Want to challenge ME on spelling? Oh, please. Sit down!"
Then I said to the kids, "So you think you can spell better than me? I'll give a treat to anyone who can spell 'antidisestablishmentarianism.'"
Bewildered and scared looks all around. "What?" "Huh?" "What did you say?" "Can you spell 'supercalifragilisticexpialidocious'?"
I spelled both of the long words on the board, and they were all, "Ooh!"

I am not proud or happy about who I was for that thirty minutes today. I can't change it, though. I feel helpless with Class A this week, and I know that with this improving weather, things will only get worse. I don't know how to get a handle on them and encourage them instead of yelling and screaming angrily.

Class C was not too bad. They did sit still and quietly while I read from The Twenty-One Balloons. I read half the introduction, about balloon travel. Then I read the description of the inventions in the Moroccan House of Marvels. They found those pretty cool, as do I. So I asked them to create their own dream bedroom or house. What kind of inventions could they come up with? Money and know-how is no object. that kind of thing.

They seemed to get into that right away. Some kids came up with great stuff, like a couch that serves pizza, a bed that is also a jacuzzi or pool, and a shower that hands you bottles and soap. There were lots of enormous (100 inches; 200 feet) televisions, beds the size of our classroom, and robots that do chores and/or homework. Fun stuff, eh?

Monday, April 11, 2005



I used today to help the kids remember the test-taking strategies. The Do Now was to recall the list of six strategies, so we reviewed those and the reasons for those. Then I had made copies with two short passages and a total of 8 questions. They did those and then we talked about the answers. They got tricked by the "does not" and "cannot be concluded." One can only hope that now they will really be on the lookout for those tomorrow.

Class A was irritating today. Chatty chatty chatty. I made them all stay for lunch detention and gave a vocab quiz, mostly from the words we learned in the context clue work from the other week. They all got loquacious and most got narcissism and shun. None of them got "infer." We do inference stuff all the time. These kids have holes in their heads, I swear.

I had Class C move the desks into rows before we got started, since that had to be done today and I had no time to do it on my own. It's quick work when there are thirty people helping out with something! Anyway, they were in rows and did their practice questions and they were awesome. Very quiet. I had to remind no one to not talk during the test. Sweet!

I will be proctoring for Class B tomorrow morning. As I've said, and as I'm sure it goes with any age or grade, they are a much better class first thing in the morning. So at least I won't have to be calming them down from bouncing off the walls. I just hope they bring plenty of sharpened pencils. As I told them, all of mine have been stolen, except for three broken ones. Klepto punks. They have MY NAME on them. Anyway, I'm not bringing in pencils for them tomorrow. Their ' 'homework' was to bring at least three number 2 pencils, and get a lot of rest and eat a good breakfast.
Loud E in Class A: "Ms C, you're our favorite ELA teacher."
Me: "I'm your only ELA teacher."
Loud E: "Oh, yeah."
Me: "Okay, who can tell us strategy number four? Little K?"
a few seconds go by...
Little K: "God, you never call on me!"
Me: "I just DID call on you, smarty."
Little K: "Oh. Okay then."

and after the lunch detention:
Little K, disprovingly: "Ms C, you used to be my favorite. Now you've changed."

So I made him stay and made him explain back to me WHY he had to leave the room during class. Oh, yeah. The endless talking and distracting others. Oh, right. Then it was back to normal. Silly thing.

Ooh, once I got home, I had time to snack and watch Sabrina. And then, I went to work out. I know! I was shocked too! It's been nearly two weeks. I joined a month ago and this was the FOURTH time I have set foot in there. Bad me!

It was tough but good. I'm a bit sore in the legs. I hope tomorrow I'm more sore. I really should be, cause it was a hard workout. And I am weak and unmuscled nowadays. Pathetic AND pasty!

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Boo for two-day weekends

A lot of my weekend postings have the word "boo" in them, don't they. Huh, I'm funny. Or repetitive. Your pick.

Spring has most definitely sprung. Trees are blooming in neighborhoods near and far. The sky is deep blue and the sunshine is perfect. Not hot or humid, but very pleasantly warm. The temperature drops significantly around twilight, and at night it turns downright chilly. But to me, as long as the daytime warmth is there, all is good.

Though I was up until past 11 on Friday night, I was awake by nine on Saturday. I wasted the whole morning playing Popcap games and watching/listening to ABC Kids and Discovery Kids shows. (Shut up. Who ever said I was a 'grown up'? Scout's Safari is a good show!) It was awesome. Guilt-free frittering! I need more of that.

In the early afternoon, I went clothes shopping for the first time since December. I visited the local Marshall's; it was a zoo, as per usual on a weekend day. I am pleased to report that I am still a size eight. I bought a pair of low-rider (all my trousers are low-riding. It's partly the fashion nowadays, but it also fits me better, what with my not-tiny waist) khaki trousers, and an olive top with a fetching gathered/loose neckline.

I tried on a handful of swimsuits in anticipation of the upcoming Vegas Vacation (two weeks of school left!!). I was quite displeased to discover that size 8 is not nearly adequate in the swimwear category. In general, there is not enough of them. Sadly, even the 9/10s that I tried on were a disaster as well. Boo, hiss, for having to try on bathing suits in vain.

Yesterday evening, I went to a movie and a diner with a teacher friend from school. We saw Fever Pitch. It was cute. Funny because of all the teacher references (the adorable Jimmy Fallon plays an adorable high school math teacher). Who uses the term "schoolteacher"? Are we in Anne of Green Gables? Afterward, we watched Love Actually on DVD. Which, as you know, I LOVE.

I didn't get to sleep til nearly 2 last night. Imagine my chagrin to find myself awake at the ungodly hour of EIGHT A.M.!! Stupid early weekday wake-up times.

At eleven, I set out to get the old taxes done. Suffice to say it was a long, multi-borough journey. I returned home at four. I had time to walk in the sun and feel the warmth on my neck and shoulders. Mm, I love this new spring thing! About time, New York Weather Gods.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Smitten Kitten

That's me. I have been smote.

On Saturday evening and Thursday evening, I got to hang out with one of the nonAmerican boys I met while in Paris last January.

And oh, he is cute. Very cute. Also sarcastic and smart and well-traveled.

But, naturally, he's also taken.

In any case, it was a good lot of fun. Walking around the city in new and familiar areas, eating, talking about culture, travel, school, maps, etc.

It was so awesome. And so, I will probably never see him again, seeing as how he's nonAmerican.

Does that stop me from swooning, sighing, and smiling all over the place? Nope, not a bit.

Now for the non-smitten story. Blech.

I also had a date last weekend from an online site. It was blah. The guy was not bad-looking, but not exactly cute, either. I felt zero connection or chemistry. And he was trying a little too hard. He actually said at one point, "There's something sexy about libraries," a little too earnestly. Ew. After dinner, we went to walk on/stand on the nearby piers, and I think if I hadn't been huddled into my coat just enough standoffishly, that he would have tried to hold my hand or something grossly inappropriate like that.

He called on Wednesday, but I saw it was him and didn't pick up. He left a breezy little message, but I'm not going to call him back. My logical, sensical side says that I should give him another chance, but...meh. After the fantastic, easy, enjoyable time with the nonAmerican, it seems kind of pointless to attempt something with a boring someone.

They like me!

I'm not talking about the kids. Though I know, can tell, that many of them do. Which is astounding in itself.

No, I'm talking about the administrators. And I should probably amend "they like me" to "they like what I do," which is actually a much higher compliment, to me.

Mr Principal loved my assessment book on his unwarned visit. My department supervisor (not Mr AP) came in to my room yesterday with some folks from another school starting the same program we're using. Have not heard any feedback, even informal. Next week I'll have to ask her. This afternoon, Mr Principal was checking out my bulletin board. He said that I'm "raising the bar," and "going to the next level, " because my "focused comments reflect the rubric." Fucking yeah, people!

Let's see. I know that the kids like me because three boys from Class A stayed after school to help me remove all posters and other print matter from the walls of my classroom. On the day of the test, all of it must be down or covered. I decided it would be faster to take all the shit down, and that way I can also rearrange the stuff I have.

This one girl from Class C was like, "Dang, Ms C, you're everywhere!" because I was looking around with my crazy blue eagle eyes for non-workers and stuff. She laughed and pretended to shiver.

Today I had the classes do some practice questions with a poem. I told them that poetry is the hardest kind of passage, because you have to use so many skills at once, and they really try to trick you with questions. I've been emphasizing that when I model the strategies: "Guys, the people who write the test WANT to trick you! They say, 'oh, those kids are dumb, so we're gonna trick 'em, and they'll fail--bwahaha!' DON'T LET THEM TRICK YOU--DON'T FALL FOR IT!" So when I demonstrated answers that are wrong or right, I heard kids go, "Oh man, I got tricked."

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Report Cards FINISHED!!


Last night I bubbled all the grades. Then today, I sat down during fifth period, the second time all week that I have my room to myself, and bubbled all the comments.

So, I got to turn them in before the end of the day and now my mind is FREE!

Well, not really, since tomorrow is a regular school day with teaching and stuff, and the big ol' test is on Tuesday. Yikes.

Gotta run in a few minutes to go meet a friend in--gasp!--the city. I am so sleepy it's ridiculous, so I'll be dozing on the train. Only one more day until I can sleep in! That is my favorite part of the week!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

A busy but fairly productive day

Sadly, the first thing that happened was that I locked my purse in my teacher locker. The keys to the lock (along with apartment keys, metrocard, cell phone) are IN my purse. D'oh!

The janitor saved my ass and broke the lock at the end of the day. Before that though, he was like, well, at least it's nice out today, you can sleep outside. I was like, eee, don't tease me!

Let's see. My Do Now was easy-peasy: Define 'cereal.' I used that to talk about more mythology. I shared the story of Demeter and Persephone. Right on cue, a girl in Class A asked, what does this have to do with cereal? I said, good question! Any guesses what Demeter's Roman name is? It's Ceres. And that is where the word 'cereal' comes from. Ta-da! I think they were a little underwhelmed with this one. But hey, I can't be thrilling all the time with this stuff. At least they listen when I read them the story.

All the classes took a practice test today. It was short. After I collected the answer sheets, I used overheads of the first passage and question set to model the strategies for answering multiple choice questions, and how to look for clues and tricks and stuff.

During this part in Class A, Mr Principal stopped by, with another AP and a special visitor. They looked at my assessment notebook. A few minutes later, Mr Principal came over and told me that he LOVED it. Whew! I was happy and relieved and grateful.

Oh, before they got there, there were announcements made by the special visitor. Little K goes, as a kind of throw-away aside, "White!" I turn and raise an eyebrow: "Is there something wrong with that?" He giggles and goes, "No, I--" and gives me a hug. Heh. It was cute.

During my one free prep/lunch of the week, I got a coverage, naturally. It was seventh-graders, and I started off with my now-routine spiel: "Hi, I'm Ms C, I teach ELA in 6th grade. So you have two choices today. We can do a writing assignment, or we can play a game. Who votes for the writing? [no hands] Who votes for the game? [all hands] Okay, great, let's get started." And it went quite swimmingly. Or at least dog-paddlingly. Phew!

Class B was rowdy. No, that's not true. Three boys were rowdy and that distracted me and everyone else from hearing or paying attention. The rest of the class, bless them, patiently raised their hands when I did for quiet and showed me they were attentive and waiting for me to continue.

Class C I had to rush through just the test, no Do Now and no review. That will be tomorrow. Two smart boys who finished quickly began grading tests from A and B while the rest of the class finished up. Sweet!

After school I had to finish up my bulletin board. Before school, I'd put up my objective, rubric, and title. After school, I had time to actually put the work up. I'd made copies so that I could give the kids back their work, since it is their next draft.

Soon enough, it was time to leave to go to my own class. It was WARM out! I love it, but it sucks to be me, because I'm always lugging all kinds of shit around, including my giant long coat. Time to switch to the cute little red corduroy coat, methinks. Anyway, lugging in the warm weather is no fun and not ventilating.

The first class was alright. Not terrible. My cute nice friend who gives me rides had decided to skip, and some others were contemplating it, and I decided to be spontaneously 'naughty' and also play hookey. Whee!

Here's my rationale. Not like you need it, but apparently I do. I'm a good girl. I go to class. Like, always. Even though math last semester was stupid and TOTALLY useless, I never missed a class. Of any class so far, actually. I have already missed two sessions this semester, but those things were beyond my control (conference night and vacation in Seattle). I will not skip again, I'm sure. But the second class is SO USELESS. We're not missing anything by missing class. We don't gain anything by BEING in class. We just sit and write notes back and forth to each other (me and cute friend). Fun, but still a waste of 'classtime.' If I can spend an entire class session grading my OWN papers, clearly something's wrong.

Again, I'm a good girl, I'm pretty game for most things education. I'm good at telling myself, well, this may be boring, but there are some interesting or useful or fun things, it's not so bad. This class? None of that.

I'm being overly defensive because again, I'm a good girl. Too good, if I have to rationalize to this extent. :)

Once home, I got to eat a decent attempt at dinner (corn on the cob, frozen pizza, and orange juice!), watch a wee bit of tv, and also get going on my report cards. Yay! I got all the grades bubbled in. Now all I have to do is the comments. Here's to hoping that during my three preps in a row tomorrow, I can get most, if not all, of them finished. It would be SO AWESOME to turn them in at the end of the day Thursday and be able to forget about them already. Bah humbug.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005


Is it Friday yet? Can I sleep in? That's all that's keeping me going so far this week.

Again, remind me another time to talk about the weekend. Too tired and bored for it now.

Monday was pretty decent. The literacy coaches each did a sample lesson, which made today super easy, as I just switched them. Thank you, literacy coaches! You rock.

After school, we had a department meeting that was a little bit useless.

This daylight savings is messing with my mind. That, coupled with the sudden appearance of spring weather. At seven, it feels like it should still be five-ish, when I have plenty of time to eat, relax, and work too.

Today was alright. I did the lessons from yesterday. Plus some SNOT and a beginning leads lesson that I put together on the spot. From things that were already stewing in my head, but I hadn't sorted it out or anything. It went fine. I'll continue the next couple days with it.


The big test is ONE WEEK AWAY. Dun dun DUNNN!!

I have a paper due tomorrow, but I'm just plain not gonna do it yet. There is too much shit to do today and this week.

I stayed at school til 4, doing whatever. The bulletin board is due tomorrow. So I cleared off the current one (oh shit, did I take a picture? I didn't. Oh well, it was not that pretty anyway). I just made a rubric. Need to trace and cut the letters for the title. Need to look through the papers I got and decide what to put up. Should probably start bubbling in report card stuff. Got the conduct marks in there already. The annoyingly long part is filling in comments. Blech.

I stopped at the store on the way home and got some produce and some...other food. I have been subsisting on a mostly-chocolate diet lately, which may be why I can't shake the tireds. I was in bed, lights off, at 9.30 last night. Damn. I think I'll try for 10 tonight, just because Amazing Race is on. Or I might forsake that for even more rest. Eight hours does not do it for me. Cause I'm an old lady like that.

I called some parents on one of my preps, including the parent of Little K. Little K has made a great turnaround in homework and general effort to succeed, but still has ZERO self-control to keep his mouth closed in class. I explained this to his dad. His dad told me that Little K tells him that I'm his favorite teacher, to which his dad replies, well, if she's your favorite, why don't you do what she says?

Dude, I'm somebody's favorite! That makes up for the fact that yesterday I noticed some jackass kid wrote "FUCK C--" on a desk.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Last week was fun. I don't think this week will be.

The writing workshops will still be put off a bit, while we try to do some cramming of testing skills and strategies. Eek.
Other things:
--My literacy coaches will be in my room for two sample lessons tomorrow, which means I will just copy and swap them on Tuesday.
--I need to do some analysis of the practice tests I gave on Friday. I should have done that this weekend, but I was too busy and too tired.
--I have a paper to write by Wednesday. Blech. I have to read an academic journal article first. Double blech.
--I heard from another teacher blogger about a fantastic poetry thing on Tuesday night. I'd love to go.
--I'll hope to meet up during the week with the traveling friend that I hung out with yesterday.
--Six school days until the test!! Egads!
--I need to find more etymological stories for my classes. (I'm thinking about Sisyphus). I like them and they seem to like them too. I want to give some vocabulary quizzes this week, too.
--Fuck, I gotta finish report cards. But like I said, yesterday I got B and C almost done being calculated. I'll gather the last few items hopefully Monday and Tuesday, and then start the bubbling. Ah, the bubbling.
--Um, I'm sure there's more. Can't think much at the moment. I'm tired and watching Home Edition.

Later, y'all.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Hurrah for me

I stayed up late, but only til quarter to twelve, reading in silence, because my mouse is stupid sometimes, so I couldn't even play music.

I felt like I slept forever, but it was only nine hours. Boy, am I old.

But then I got up and immediately got to work! I got Class B's grades as done as I can do them this weekend. Yay! And I'm halfway through with Class C's. Class A won't take as long, so I'm saving them for last.

I have some funny letters to share, but I'll save that for later. Gotta get back to the grindstone!

Friday, April 01, 2005

The Personal is Political

But the pope's health is front page spread, while poor Terri Shiavo's passing was a blurb on the side. I'm glad she finally got to rest. Hope the pope goes quickly and painlessly, for his sake.

In other news, it is Friday. I am happy and relieved.

For the Do Now today, I wrote this sentence on the board: "Since he was so loquacious, the class voted him Biggest Chatterbox." They fairly easily figured out that loquacious means talkative. Little K put it into a sentence. "Since I'm so loquacious in class, I got a phone call home." Hee! I laughed and said, "That is a very nice sentence."

I gave a differentiated test today--one fourth-grade-level, one sixth-grade-level, and one seventh-grade-level. Then gave them some time to compare their answers and strategies. I was surprised to see who got what right. I brought all the tests home for the weekend so I can look at their answers. Ugh.

I kind of hated Class B today, and they hated me a little bit too. That happens sometimes. I try to be as Zen as I can about it. It's tough while it's happening, but soon enough it's done. Monday is another day.

And Monday is still three days away--hurrah!

In non-hurrah news, report cards are due next Friday. BOO HOO!

Too tired and lame to think of something more interesting to write. Later, dudes.