Monday, March 31, 2008

Somebody Punch Me

Maybe that will make me sleep? Or at least make me pass out.

God, I'm so boring and bored, but mostly, so fucking TIRED. My legs were fizzy fuzzy last week because I was bodily exhausted.

And apparently I didn't get enough rest last night, because today I just got tireder and tireder. As a bonus, a headache crept up on me this afternoon but didn't really affect me until I lay down to go to bed EARLY.

Now it's been almost an hour and a half after I tried to sleep. First there was a B-52's song in my head--only two lines, on repeat--now it's a song from Oklahoma. Still. Nearly an hour later.

As a real bonus, I came up with some further good ideas about school tomorrow. Dammit.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Cute Overload Links

No, wait, don't go. Really, check these out!

This one actually made me laugh out loud. Like, three times. Okay, four.

This video is mildly entertaining and/or weird, but the caption wasn't lying about the "oddly intriguing soundtrack." Wow, that song is amazing! I just bought it on iTunes, it's called Ievan Polka.


Saturday, March 22, 2008

this will make your life better

I promise.

Enjoy. :)

Now go to youtube and find the other episodes. There's even a wordwang!

Friday, March 21, 2008

gimme some green, baby

So in the next couple months, the government will be returning a couple thousand of my hard-earned dollars. I've got an intense internal debate going on about what to do with it. Have a listen.

Sensible Me: "Put it all in savings! Max out your Roth IRA contribution from last year! You'll need the money when you're old."

Shopper Me: "Naw, I'll never be old. I'll just keep it in checking and not worry about spending. I need some new clothes anyway!"

Photographer Me: "Clothes, schmothes. Who cares what you wear? BUY A DSLR, STUPID!!!"

More Sensible Photographer Version of Me: "Too much money gone at once! Buy a zoom lens for the film camera!"

Hardcore Photographer Me: "That thing is a piece of crap and you want a DSLR anyway. Save the hundred bucks and BUY A REAL CAMERA!"

Wanderlust Me: "Um, hello? No point in any camera at all if you're sitting at home all the time. Get out and GO somewhere!"

Maploving Me: "But to where? Glacier? Alaska?"

Passport-Stamp-Seeking Me: "Pshaw. The US is for sissies. Go to Patagonia! Or Peru! Or Vienna! Or Cinque Terre!"

Hardcore Photographer Me: "Are y'all high? Why go to an amazing place without an amazing camera?! BUY A CAMERA, DUMBASS!"

Travel-lovah Me: "But waaah, I haven't gone anywhere. If I buy a camera then I'm wiped out and can't travel!"

Realist Photographer Me: "And there's no reason to go somewhere incredible with a good camera if you don't know how to USE it, or understand how to make good pictures. Take another class or something."

Fit-Conscious Me: "Speaking of classes, get your lazy ass a trainer. Jeez."

Pennypinching Me: "Earn interest, use it later! BANK! SAVINGS!!"

Tired of Hearing Voices Me: "Shut up, all you troublemakers. I can't do anything with it at all. I'll need it for bills soon anyway. I hate decisions. Go away!"

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Spring!

Guess what:
  • On Tuesday I filed my taxes and will be looking forward to a sizeable return.
  • I also made some parent phone calls. Including positive ones!
  • Many kids didn't do their essays last night, which sucks, but today I made them all do/redo/improve them. And it went fairly well.
  • I went out for a photowalk after school today, to a large park (which abound in this area). The digital shots aren't fantastic, but I think I got some decent ones with the film camera. I am looking forward to exploring more of that park as spring moves forward.
  • I've worked out for three days in a row! After nearly two months of sloth! I feel good!
  • It's a long weekend! WOOO!!!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Lucky Me 2006

Anyone who's ever seen my apartment would know that I'm a packrat. I just can't bear to toss something that has a story behind it, that represents a particular moment in my personal history.

There's a green plastic necklace, a cheap clover-shaped trinket emblazoned with "Lucky You 2006" and a beer logo on the back. It hangs on my bathroom doorknob, rattling and knocking every time I open or close the door. Looks like a piece of junk, but I'd hate to forget about the night I got it.

Midway through my second year of teaching: I was settled and much more confident in my classroom. I had recently met a few more people in New York, but still led a fairly lonely life. I'd been single for several years and spent my weekends holed up in my tiny room. So when one of my school friends invited me to a St Patrick's Day happy hour, I easily agreed. There were plenty of cheap green drinks and cute boys. My friend made sure to introduce me to her friend behind the bar, a burly Island guy named, appropriately, Vinnie. He instantly flirted with me, and before I left I gave him my number.

He texted me for the next few days, calling me sweet and cute. I was flattered but it felt a bit weird; I'd talked to him for all of five minutes, that was moving a bit fast. Soon he asked me out for dinner that Friday night. Of course I agreed; who am I to say no to a date?

But the real reason that I said yes was to make that week go faster; a week after that, I knew I was going to be seeing another boy, A., at a group bar outing. After meeting at a teacher-blogger gathering, he and I had been emailing for a couple months. I was ridiculously excited to see him again; I knew there would be sparks.

So in the meantime, I went out with Vinnie. He was a very nice guy, a bit older than me, with a young daughter and a dog. He treated me to a drink and then a fancy dinner at a Union Square restaurant (I believe I had a baked potato; one of my best qualities is that I'm a cheap date). He drove me home, and I was relieved. I felt nothing and he realized it, too. He was nice about it, though, and we didn't speak again.

The next weekend, I saw A. again. We talked and flirted all night, but for some reason (?!), he didn't ask me out. It took him nearly another week, and I almost went out of my mind, waiting anxiously. We finally went out on a real date on Friday, March 31, and it lasted until four in the morning. I knew that it was the beginning of something big, something great.

We've been together for just about two years now, and indeed, lucky, lucky me. I'll hang on to that cheap green necklace for as long as I can.

Friday, March 14, 2008

How To Be A Dork and Make Your Students Laugh

Tell them to write a procedure for entering the room and then act out their actions.

I walk to just outside the door and say, "Okay, what do I do first?"

"Enter the room!"

"Okay, what next?"

"Sit down!"

"Okay!" and I sit down on the floor right inside the door. Guffaws and giggles.

"NO! Go to your seat!"

"OH! Okay." Walk to my desk.

"NOW sit down."

"Alright!" I sit down on the floor, next to the chair. More giggles.

"NO! You have to pull out the chair and sit on it!"

"OH!! Okay. Got it. What now?"

"Go in your bookbag and..."

I look at them, bewildered, and say, "But how will I fit in it? It's so small...."

Guffaws and eyerolls.

"OPEN your book bag!"

"OH, I see!"

and so on.

It was good fun, I say. :)

Friday, March 07, 2008

I call it, "Shut Up."

Playlist made today while grading in my room. I sang and chair-danced happily the whole time.

-Burrito (live), Pete Yorn
-Cry Me A River, Justin Timberlake
-Daisy Girls, Haley Bonar
-Dirty Pop, NSync
-Dirrty, Christina Aguilera
-Dream Lover, Mariah Carey
-Extraordinary Machine, Fiona Apple
-Eat for Two, 10,000 Maniacs (unplugged)
-Geek in the Pink, Jason Mraz
-Get Gone, Fiona Apple
-Happiness Runs, Donovan Leitch
-I'm a Slave 4 U, Britney Spears
-Testing 1, 2, 3, Barenaked Ladies
-The Chain, Fleetwood Mac
-Toxic, Britney Spears

I told you, shut up. :)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Great Debates

So I have plenty of time where I don't work--ie, the whole day after school is over--but days like today make up for it. I worked solidly from 7.30 until almost 3.30. On my two preps I graded papers and snacked. Perhaps this is why I keep forgetting what day it is. Most of the day I thought it was Wednesday (is it? oh crap), and driving home I would have sworn it was Friday.

This week I've gotten a bit behind on homework, because my classes increased by nearly fifty percent, and also because there's been 98% of the assignments turned in. (Yay!) That means each pile is nearly one hundred papers. (Boo.) By the end of the day I was caught up to yesterday's, but then I gave a quiz, so I've got two piles waiting for me at school. Bleh. I'll catch up during the Big You Know What next week.

Anyway, we've been discussing newspaper editorials, so I've been having the kids write some editorials about issues close to their hearts--but with a twist. They had to write for both sides of the argument. First was about candy and soda in schools, and next was whether homework should be assigned every night. There are some very amusing bits and pieces from them, so I thought I'd share some with you!

"First of all kids do enough work at school and when they get home they are tired and they just fell like laying down and watching some tv and playing some video games. They also feel like laying down on the couch and reading a book. That is why I think kids should not get home work every night."

"I also think that we shouldn't get homework every night because when we get a lot of homework teachers act like there's never a tomorrow. And by the way I'm sorry for what I just said but it's the truth."

"Homework always makes you aware of things that can happen in the real world, and when you get older.
Homework just makes us knowledgeable. Homework isn't really a problem, because it is easy easy as a matter of fact. Sometimes it's even fun. The trick is, is to focus and pay attention in class because the homework you get is related to the classwork."

"Also is that we might have a stomach ace or a headace then our head would hurt more because they are thinking about when they would have time to do there homework."

"Yes you will learn more stuff. You will pass tests. You will be smart."

"Also some kids won't do it and fail. So why give us homework if they know we won't do them. It is something we all hated as a child so why not break the cycle. Bad enough we even go to school."

"Sometimes when you see people walking down the street that look like a complete failuer you ask your self why is that man like that, did he achieve or reach the goal of college. does he have a job or did he do any thing in school. To get the grade you gotta get the points you have to put the effort, in classwork and HOMEWORK."

"Teachers usually give us homework based on what we learned in class that day.They don't want us to forget or fail (which to me is very generous). :)
For me if I don't get homework every week I'll 95% forget what I did even the day before. I mean I hardly even remember what I did yesterday (what did i do yesterday?). Yes, sometimes teachers go hard on us with homework but I suppose they don't (at least not all) do it to be mean (I hope)."

"Another lethal issue with homework is that some kids crack and lose their mentality."

And my favorite:

"I'm sure teachers hate paperwork. And if they were in our shoes. They would regret switching shoes. Having paperwork as homework. IF TEACHERS HATE PAPERWORK WHY GIVE IT AWAY!"

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

minor miracle

Two, actually.

One: I *wanted* to stay after school today! I need to work on finding/selecting read alouds and I didn't have enough time on my prep today.

Two: I had to leave right away though because of a doctor appointment. I got to the office right at the appointment time and settled in with a book. Usually I'm in the waiting room for nearly an hour. So color me shocked when I was all done--out the door--in a mere twenty minutes! Good job, doctor down the block!


And now a query/ponderance. Tomorrow I should really make an effort to take some pictures for this week's assignment--bracketing f-stops. This is the technical stuff that I signed up for a class to learn and practice, so bad job me for not practicing yet this week. But I don't know where to go. I've gone to the park the last two weekends and it's boring, and empty too. I want to practice candids and other movement-type shots. Probably not a good idea to go all the way into the city for that, so should I just get in the car and drive again? Hm.

Yo, colleague.

When you ask me something twice in five minutes one day, and then ask a THIRD time half a day later? It makes me want to ignore your request completely. I heard you the first time! Have I not delivered books quickly all year? I've got other shit to do than fetch your latest whim. Respect that please!

Thank you.

Monday, March 03, 2008


So this morning I prepared myself to be a hardcore strict badass once again. My classes were nearly doubled in size, with three of my best students removed as an extra cherry on top (my students are now able to recognize that this is sarcasm!).

So I wore a suit and my hair up, and I had all the students, new and old, rewrite the daily procedures. I assured all the students that we do NOT have any nonsense in our classroom. I briefly went over rules/expectations, and then jumped into the lesson.

Working with the media literacy stuff, there are so many great opportunities to get the kids actively engaged with something. Last week they explored newspapers, and at the end of the week I might let them go through magazines. But, where do I draw the line with being on task? With the newspapers, there were always a few who were reading the sports or admiring the dresses (post Oscar issues) or some nonsense. That makes me want to snap at them and take evreything away. Magazines are even worse. I can't afford to buy those, so they'll have to bring in or I'll use some of an old stash from previous years. But still, I want the kids to analyze and think about the content and meanings, not flip through lazily to look at pictures. Ack.

I would love to assign them a project creating their own magazines. Should I assign it as a group project? I kind of want each of them to come up with their own idea, a cover, including a picture and titles, and then one or two articles (including an editorial?). We need to review the writing process, which I think could make work with this.

Also, I really want to do a project for women's history. The kids already wrote regular biographies and brochures, so I don't want to do those again. What about a diorama? Would it be difficult to show suffragettes or others in a shoebox? The issue is research and plagiarism--not enough of the former and too much of the latter. Also, I'd need to prepare a list of women to investigate. I started some notes and thinking about this today and I don't want to wait too long to get started. Ideas or suggestions?