Thursday, December 27, 2007

Happy Holidays Everyone!

So I think it's Thursday, I've been home for a couple days. Christmas was actually very nice and enjoyable with both sides of family. Today I got to visit with two friends, one old and one new, and tomorrow a little more family time and friend time. I return on Saturday.

It's a whirlwind week and I haven't seen everyone or done everything I'd hoped, but it's still worked out well.

It snowed on Christmas! Also a little tonight.

Hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and relaxed with family and or friends!

Sunday, December 23, 2007


So apparently tomorrow is Christmas Eve. Tomorrow is also when I'm getting on a plane.

I haven't packed any clothes yet. I gathered all the gifts I'm bringing, and put all my favorite photos in little flip albums, and set both camera cases in the suitcase, but no clothes or other necessities.

I have to fly out of stupid Newark. I hate Newark. Or maybe I hate living way the eff out in Queens, an hour or more away from everything.

I'm going home for five days. I'm looking forward to seeing family and friends new and old, but overall I'm feeling distinctly meh about it. It's going to be more of a juggling act than relaxing visit.

Actually, I'm pretty meh about everything right now. Including me.

I guess I'll go throw some clothes into my bag now. Meh.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Seven Random (boring) Things

Ms Frizzle linked to me for the latest meme. (Yay, I love being linked!)

Here are the rules:
- Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
- Share 7 random and or weird things about yourself.
- Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
- Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. I like to snack on frozen french fries.

2. I own zero pairs of brown shoes.

3. I own fifteen pairs of black shoes. (Jesus!) (At least five are scuffy and worn [ugly] work shoes.)(At least five I never wear.)

4. I hate shoe shopping and I don't believe in handbags. (Here, take my Girl Card. Apparently I don't need it.)

5. I love orange juice and will never drink apple juice.

6. But I love hot apple cider. Especially if it's spiced.

7. I am a whore for back scratches.

I'm not sure I know enough bloggers who haven't already been tagged by someone, so feel free to tag yourself if you like!

Bonus Number Eight: This morning I submitted electronic 'applications' for jobs in Seattle and Kansas City. Random, but I feel good about making strides in the job search!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

This is what we call "Data-Dr!ven !nstruction"

Since the children don't know their historical details, and today I wasn't feeling the need to drill them in test nonsense, instead we reviewed a timeline of the last 400 years of American history!

I showed them the part of the US that used to be Mexico, and I showed them a very rough idea of Lewis and Clarks' route to the Pacific. I made sure to make it clear when the civil war and underground railroad happened (and the kids asked if it was really under the ground), and also a couple civil rights big moments. Because I'm tired of hearing the Martin Luther King freed the slaves!

Also mentioned were the World Wars, Custer's Last Stand, Washington being the first President in 1789, the Titanic sinking in 1912, and the Berlin Wall.

One girl asked me if I was Dutch, because I kept teaching them Dutch things. Another girl asked me if I was Irish, because of my nose and ears.

Best of all, at one point, one kid piped up, "Miss, are you teaching us Social Studies?"
I replied, "I'm teaching you. Just because I'm your English teacher doesn't mean I can't teach you other things I know or things you need to learn."
"Yeah!" said another.

Speaking of things to learn, I brought in some National Geographics and Smithsonians, and by the kids' reaction, you would have thought they were gameboys or something. They--all three classes--are so excited and interested by these magazines! I saw them pointing things out to each other excitedly, eagerly paging through the articles, staring in wonder/disgust at close-up pictures of different bugs. It's really exciting to see them be so interested. (Actually, the Herd was *too* interested and I had to scold them.)

Therefore, and I mentioned this to the Grey Bunnies, after the Big Day Next Month, I'd like them to find something they're interested in one of the magazines, and doing a writing project about it. They seemed to think that sounded good. Yay!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I Couldn't Make This Up if I Tried

All of my students have always had trouble identifying genres. (Do the rest of you have the same issue?) Right now I'm trying to combat that in several ways, one of which is by assigning writing in different genres. The other night they were supposed to write historical fiction.

Oh, dear.

Take a look at some of their stories. Please shake in laughter rather than shake your head in despair of all the things they don't really know. :)

--A woman named Britney helped slaves. She rescued Rosa Parks and created the Make a Wish Foundation. For all her hard work, she won tickets to the New Jersey Nets basketball games.

--"Long time ago in 1835, World War Two began. But George Bush said "why fight if we could get along". ... George stopped being Mr. nice guy and told them (both) to stop the fighting. If you don't stop I will kill you. George W. Bush said."

The piece de resistance was so 'perfect' that I scanned it for you. Enjoy!

I swear to god, people.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


I didn't go to school today! And I wasn't even sick!

It wasn't a mental health day either, really; I'm irritated about administration and such, but not enough to stress me out enough yet to necessitate a day off. (But I'm sure it will as the year stretches on.)

No, I took the day off because there would have been no point in going on. See, a bunch of my kids went on a field trip. One entire class, half another class, and five in the third. Seeing twelve of my students is kind of a waste of a day, with only so many instructional days left til the Big Day Next Month.

So instead of frittering away my time on coverages at school, I slept in (but not too late, so that I can be tired at a good time tonight) and frittered away my time at home. I cleaned part of my bathroom, I attempted to work out (but my stupid toe is not healed enough to allow that yet), I did a bit of Christmas shopping online, and, best of all, I completed my Christmas cards! I had some made online with a couple of my recent photos (did you know I'm a photo whore? I know you're shocked); they came in a set of twenty. So this morning I sat on my bed, half-watched old Psych episodes, and wrote out all twenty cards! Addressed, stamped, all done!

Then came the best part that I was really looking forward to--walking them to the post office. See, I have this new camera? And I'm kind of obsessed with it? I took almost two rolls on the way to/from mailing the cards and my first four rolls of film. Then I took a third one this afternoon when I went to a doctor's appointment in Brooklyn, and stopped at Canarsie Pier as the sun was setting. I think I got some fantastic shots with seagulls flying in front of the sun. I can't wait to start getting some of these prints back!

Tomorrow I go back to work, but I won't even mind, because it's only two days. The scheduler won't be happy with me; apparently they thought the machine was not working and didn't get my message that I'd be out. So at 9am, they called me hoping I was 'lost' in the building or something, I don't know. It made me feel a little bad, that they'd have to scramble for last-minute coverages. But you know, I have not taken a single day yet this year, so I'm resolved not to feel bad. I ended last year with at least ten days in my CAR, and earned another three already this year, so I have no need to hoard them.

And this way I'll be extra motivated to get back to Preparing for the Big Day Next Month!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ding Dong!

Monday morning, I walked into the office only to find a coverage waiting. What's worse, it was for seventh grade, the hell grade of middle school subs. Even worse? It was for the Hydras, my worst class last year. Oh, man. I felt a bit anxious all morning even while teaching. Would they torture me? Would they mock me and laugh in my face like they did when I had to cover them last year? God.

I packed up my MadLibs and BrainQuest and ascended the stairs, trying to exude confidence. As I neared the room and the class spotted me, my breath caught in my throat.

The students in the room gasped and called out, "Miss!" And not in a horrified way. A student standing outside the door threw his arms around me and squeezed. The class waved and grinned at me.

Good god!

Now, to be fair, the class was not exactly the same as last year. My good AP in her wisdom did her best to redistribute some of the, shall we say, dominating personalities. So there were a few faces I did not recognize, and a few faces from different classes mixed in too. Overall, though, it was a very familiar group. Importantly, the two most, erm, troublesome? boys were not there. That was certainly a relief, though it did not make the group perfect by any means.

I went through my spiel about the trivia game and we began. There was a lot of noise from boys clustered in the back of the room, and I had to call out a couple times. But since it was just a coverage, I didn't stress myself and did my best to focus on the kids who were paying attention and participating. It went fairly well. At the end, a couple girls even came up to give me hugs and tell me how they're doing.

I breathed such a sigh of relief when the period was over. I survived! Most of the kids didn't hate me! Holy cow!

Later, talking to Ms Math across the hall (we've taught the same classes all four years, so we're always discussing students and class dynamics), I learned that the Asshole Kid from last year who, along with his Insane B**** Mother, made my life much more difficult, has LEFT THE SCHOOL!

At the end of the day I found myself humming, Ding, dong, the witch is dead!

This morning I had another coverage (o joy!), and I was rather dismayed to see it was for the same seventh-grade class I covered last week, with whom I kind of strained my voice to be heard over the din. Ugh. But again I packed Apples to Apples, BrainQuest, and MadLibs into a bag and walked down the hall. Only to discover, to my delight, that there must have been a scheduling mistake, because the class was actually an 8th grade honors class made up of some of my favorite kids from two years ago. Sweet!

We played games and yeah, they talked and chatted loudly and chewed gum. But when I wanted their attention, they all got quiet and looked at me. Wow. They enjoyed the MadLibs and the Apples to Apples, and everyone participated at least in the group. I quite enjoyed the coverage too!

This is a week already full of miracles, and only two days in!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Merry Christmas to MEEEEEEE

Oh. My. God. Y'all.

I am so FREAKIN' excited.

This is my new love. I will take votes for names.

It is a Minolta Maxxum 5 SLR. I bought it on Thursday on eBay--it came with a bunch of film, batteries, remote, ring/filter thing, manual, and case. It arrived today and I'm still grinning with glee. Squee!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

How Time Does Fly

So apparently it's practically mid-December? And Christmas is in two weeks? Holy crap.

We have two weeks of school left til the break, but if I start thinking about that I may lose my mind. This week at least half of my kids will be out on a field trip--but I only know that because they came in all holding permission slips. Because god forbid they tell us these things in advance so we can plan ahead. Anyway, and then the week after that, they're holding a mock test for three days. The last week of vacation. No, I don't know why they waited this long to plan it. Yes, I think the kids will be insane and so will I.

So we have now, let's see...three and a half weeks of school until the BIG TEST. Four days already gone, plus who knows how many assemblies or other unplanned events will occur.


Also, now I'm a little late getting my holiday cards together, written, and sent. For the last five years at least I've meant to do them. For at least four of those years I never actually got around to it. I'm pretty sure that I did last year. It doesn't say much about me that I don't remember anything.

I was thinking about putting together a calendar of some of my favorite photos from this year, and giving them as gifts to a couple family members. Does that sound cheesy or lame?

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Educator's Oath??

I pledge allegiance
to the test
of the Empire State of New York,
and to the standards,
to which it stands,
Each child, not left behind,
tested with haste,
and judged forever.

*My apologies if anyone has already done this better. Feel free to link to those.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


...just bought a camera on eBay!

Less than $100 for a used SLR.
(And technically it can count as a present, since I got a little bit of birthday money last month that I put away.)

Whee! Wooo! Hurrah!

Ooh, I can't wait to play.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Planning to Plan!

I've slowly become intrigued, interested and addicted to shows on channels like TLC and HGTV. On weekends, BF and I love to watch What Not to Wear with our tv friends Stacy and Clinton.

Yesterday I happened upon an episode of My First Place. As the name implies, the show profiles a person or couple who is shopping for their first home. Oh, and the best part is that they surprise them at the end by styling and furnishing a room. Well, I set the DVR to record all episodes and I watched one tonight, about an exuberant young teacher in Atlanta. She found a really cute townhouse and was so thrilled to move in to her own place.

Last night, inspired by this show, I went online to look at house prices. I only looked at a couple cities and areas, but it was exciting just to think about having a real place of my own. A house with a yard? A cheaper, newer townhouse? Hardwood floors or carpet? How many bedrooms and bathrooms? How much of a payment could I afford? What kind of furnishings and design can I do? Will there be someone living there with me? Ooh, it's confusing and overwhelming, but definitely in an exciting, grown-up way.

Partnering with that, I officially, sort of, began a job search. I registered and created profiles on a few charter school job sites, and I looked at a couple state sites and job boards.

Since it's so early in the year, I know nothing is going to happen and jobs won't really be listed yet. All the same, it feels good to do something proactive and begin thinking about possibilities.