Random Notions and Stories of Teaching

January 31, 2006

Tidbits

  • I don't mind subbing for Music Teacher, but I DO mind her not having any plans. How hard is it to email or phone in plans? Her plans consist of "have 3rd/4th grades do this coloring page, have 1st/2nd grades watch this movie". I mean, really, how hard?
  • I went to the office during announcements so I could make a transparency for the activity I had made up for the 4th graders today. Load the blank transparency. Check. Place paper to make into transparency on the glass. Check. Copier says, "Ready for bypass." Check. Press Print. Check. Apparently, someone switched the copier with a shrinky-dink machine because THIS (same thing in both pictures) is what I got out of the copier and believe me, the secretary and I hard to look really hard to find it.
  • After my transparency escapade I decided I needed a drink. It's Day 1 of our new diet and it's already getting rough. I saunter to the teacher's lounge, pop my money in the machine, and hit the Diet Sprite button. SOLD OUT. Drat! I guess I'll have to make due with Diet Coke (yuck). I hit the button and listen to the machine dispense my frosty beverage. It hits the chute where I hear...tssssssssssssssssss. You know the sound. The sound a can of pop (not soda) makes when it has been punctured. I pick up the can and there is a hole in the side of the can. Diet Coke is shooting out of the side of the can. ACK! I sprint for the trash can to throw it away. There is Diet Coke on the couch (leather thankfully), the table, the microwave, and the floor before I am done. Grrr!
  • Does anyone remember the show Ghostwriter that used to be on PBS? I showed a "movie" of it to the 3rd and4th graders. They really liked it. They were mighty upset when we didn't have time to finish the movie. Why do they take good shows off the air?
  • Ollie has a new habit. He loves sleeping on our pillows. Not cool, Ollie. Not cool. Of course, his manners have always been superb.
  • I am adding more pictures to Flickr! right after this. Yes, more sheep. Hey, they're not as cute once they grow up.
  • Kid quote: "Is this Britney Spears? It sure sounds like her. She's a fantastic singer. I love her." Boy, 6 years old. Oy.
  • I'll miss you.

January 29, 2006

Telephone


Telephone
Originally uploaded by h0kieerin.
Did you ever get the feeling someone was talking about you?

Any ideas?

I know I haven't said anything...but I need everyone's help. You all have such great ideas. Let me know if you think of anything.

Earlier this month, my cousin was rushed into emergency surgery due to testicular cancer. After the surgery, we found out that the cancer had spread. Right now, his cancer is stage 2 but it is an agressive cancer and they have found another tumor that is rapidly growing.

His doctors want him to start chemotherapy immediately. So tomorrow he is leaving to go to Columbia, Missouri to begin treatment. My aunt and uncle are returning from Arizona to be with him. His mom's side of the family lives in Missouri as well as his sister. However, my family and his older brother are still in Ohio.

Right now, I think everyone is scared especially him. We're trying to send him cards and letters to help keep his mind on other things. What I need are ideas.

What can we send him? What can we do? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Someone pointed me toward Lance Armstrong's foundation and I have a few ideas from there, but would appreciate any ideas others may have.

Thanks so much.

January 28, 2006

Fundraising...with a 3 year old

Friday evening (and Saturday afternoon) I went with Hokie Hubby to "supervise" some of his players while they worked the concession stand for the swim meet. He and I pop the popcorn since he's the only one that knows how to run the machine and start the coffee brewing. Then we pretty much let the girls run it. It's their fundraiser, they should do the majority of the work. All in all, it's pretty uneventful, but I go because I get to meet the girls, spend time with Hokie Hubby, and feel included.

Friday evening, Head Coach brought his son with him. Head Coach is one of the assistant coaches (conditioning coach, really) for the swim team so we figured he would be around. Friday was Boys Night Out. Head Coach brought a ball and they played in the gym and spent time at the concession stand with us.

Boy was our best customer of the night. First, he wanted some M&Ms. He picked the very best bag and he and dad went to play in the gym. Pretty soon, they come back and Boy looks a little teary eyed. He ran into the wall. So, they need a bottle of water. Boy goes to pick one out while Head Coach gets his wallet back out. Boy returns with two bottles of water. One for him and one for Dad of course. Hehe.

Pretty soon they leave to go play in the gym again. Apparently Boy cheats to win. A child after my own heart. Before we know it, it is almost time to get ready to clean up. Head Coach decides to offer hot dogs up for the bargain basement price of 2 for $1. He needs to run up and tell the announcer. He asks Boy to wait for him in the concession stand. This is gonna be a no-go. Boy is shy, in fact, tonight is the most Hokie Hubby has heard him say...ever. Before Boy can get out of it, I whipped my watch off and said, "Here, Boy, we'll time Dad. You can hold my watch." This seemed to capture his attention. So Head Coach ran off to tell the announcer.

Meanwhile, Hokie Hubby and I decide we need to wrap some hot dogs for the "rush" of people coming to get them. We decide to finish up the bag of buns - just 6 hot dogs. Of course, trying to distract Boy, I get him involved in making the hot dogs. Hokie Hubby makes the hot dog. I wrap it and Boy takes it to one of the players to put on the warming table. As I wrap each hot dog, Boy says, "I think I'd like a hot dog."

"Ok," I say, "but you'll have to ask your dad first." Off he wanders with the hot dog to put on the table. I wrap another hot dog and hand it to Boy.

"I think I'd like a hot dog."

"Ok, but you'll have to ask your dad first." For every. single. hot dog. Finally he informs me that, "if my dad says no, that means I can't have one." (Makes me think they've had this discussion before) Luckily, Dad said yes and Boy left happily with his water, cup, and hot dog in hand. What a trip.

I need a kid. They're AWESOME.

Lemme hear a woohoo!

Ever had one of those days? The days where the kids are INSANE? Usually I attribute it to a full moon, but I don't think that was the case Friday.

My day began with Drives Us All Crazy pulling some girl's pig tail out? Honestly, I never got the whole story. The pig tail puller-outee was sobbing so loudly I couldn't understand a dang thing she said. Drives-Us-All-Crazy was screeching so loud I told her to go sit down. By the time I had the victim, her hair was fixed and she was all smiles again. I told Drives-Us-All-Crazy to go sit down and that since this was class time I didn't want to hear what had happened, I wanted to have class. She got up no less that four times to ask me if I wanted to know what had happened.

(sniffling) "Mrs. do you want to know what happened?"
"No, Drives-Us-All-Crazy, right now it is class time and I want to have class."
(stomps away and begins loudly sobbing her crocodile tears)

Heck, let her ponder her punishment for a while. In the end, I didn't punish her. How could I? I didn't know what had happened. I wasn't there. And neither child involved is my student.

Then Reading Teacher had her second part of her two part evaluation (one for 3rd, one for 4th). She had "my" class. Ohhhh they were in rare form. One child sat sideways in her chair, with her head on the ground while reading. The rest of them called out answers. But the kicker?

Wants-A-Contract asked to go to the bathroom. Reading Teacher let him go. Wants-A-Contract is gone for quite a while. Finally, another students asks to use the bathroom (and he is dancing). So Reading Teacher tells him to go and to bring Wants-A-Contract back when he comes. The student returns without Wants-A-Contract. He says that Wants-A-Contract told him that he doesn't feel like coming back to the room, he's going to spend the rest of the period in the bathroom.

Say what!? I guess she finally sent another kid (who will probably play football in high school) to get him and Wants-A-Contract came back. Geesh!

Then one of my mom's kids owed lunch recess. So he wanders. She tells him to put his head down and start his time so he can get it over with. First, he must unwrap his snack. Throw away the wrapper. Unroll his fruit rollup. Finally, he sits down. Mom and I listen to Reading Teacher tell us about her evaluation and we look over to find this student rummaging in his desk. Mom gets up, pulls his chair out from his desk and faces him toward the window away from anything distracting. She tells him that when he is missing recess he is to have his head down thinking about why he is there, not doing other things. Silly me, I add - "Now if you need something to do, you can count the bricks."

We resume talking with Reading Teacher (as this is our lunch period too) and after several minutes I notice this student is standing up and craning his neck. What in the world is he doing?

Why, he's counting bricks of course! He counted 786. Gotta love 3rd graders.


Finally, I received a letter from the hospital today. In the "letter" was a reimbursement check for all the money I had paid toward my medical care over the summer. Woo - FRIGGIN - HOO! It wasn't much, but I sure do appreciate it. Guess I won't be sending my strongly worded letter regarding my horrible ER doc now. Ohhhhh well.

January 27, 2006

Friday questions

Friday Questions thanks to Megan.

1. What is your reaction to waking up and seeing snow?


Snow day!? YIPEE!!!! It's time to make potato soup.

2. What is your favorite dessert to order out? to make at home?

Hmmm...I don't order dessert at restaurants much. However, I did get the banana fried caramel cheesecake when Hokie Hubby and I went to see The Sound of Music for my birthday. I looooove cheesecake. To make...ummm, cherry chip cake.

3. Do you file your taxes early or late?

I file them as soon as I get all my W-2s. We're waiting on mine to get here. They should be here anyday. We're almost always done by mid - February.

4. Do you usually get a big refund? If so, what do you do with it?

The last two years we have gotten all of the taxes we have paid throughout the year returned. That is what happens when you make practically nothing. What do we do with it? I usually try to knock out as many car payments and loan payments as I can. I'm exciting, aren't I?

Once we get real jobs, I intend to set it up to take extra money out each month so that I will have a refund and not owe anything. What I will do with it then I don't know.

5. How do you handle your bills? Are you really oraganized, really laid back, or somewhat inbetween? Describe.

I pay the bill as soon as I get it (and as soon as I can afford to). Large bills keep me awake at night. I like them paid and gone. That way, I can worry about what bill is coming next. I keep all the bill supplies (address labels, stamps, etc) in a pencil box on my desk. We have a bill organizer that, come to think of it, we don't use. I put the bills to be paid right next to the pencil box on the desk. That way everything is together.

6. How important is money in terms of your happiness?

When you don't have enough money, money makes everything better. Or something like that. Right now, money is important. We worry about not having enough and/or having to ask parents for help constantly. For me to be happy, I want to be able to pay my bills every month, have a little money to save, and some money to have a good time. Do I have an exact amount in mind? Yep.

7. What did your parents teach you about money?

My mother is AWESOME when it comes to money. My financial aid advisor at Tech wanted to hire her to work there. She is smart. She gets all the information she can. My advisor said she is the only parent he has ever met that has paid off their parent plus loan before their child finished school. Mind you, it wasn't even accruing interest yet. She has paid off every car we have ever owned at least 2 years early. One within a year. I strive to be like her.

8. What do you wish your parents had taught you about money?

My mom has been wonderful. I don't think I can think of anything I wish she had told me. Her best piece of advice? Regarding credit cards, if you can't afford to pay for something in cash DON'T get it. That's how you get into credit card debt.

9. What are your plans for the weekend?

Oh, its going to be a very exciting weekend here at the Hokie house. Friday night we are going to the college to "supervise" some of Hokie Hubby's student athletes while they work the concession stand for the swim meet. Then, Saturday we are going to the college to "supervise" some more of Hokie Hubby's student athletes while they work the concession stand for the swim meet. Mom and I are preparing the communion again on Sunday (mwahahahaha). And that's about it.

January 26, 2006

Straight from the Horse's Mouth

(Spelling, grammar, and all other errors left for your deciphering pleasure.)

Dear Ms. Reading Teacher*, I am Sorry for how I acttid. I can not cimcroll my behavyear in les, I take my Ridolin and adral. I have add and adhd. I did not tack my medesen today I hope you can for give me. I will cry to do my best for now on I will tack my medesen for now on en this come from the hart.

Love,
Drives Us All Crazy

- - - - - - - -
I'm all for using other methods to help kids with ADD and ADHD, however, this one needs medication. That, or we do. She brought in a survey from the doctor last week. Here's to hoping something gets tweaked so she can get back on track (um...get on track to start with). She may have medicine, but I would be shocked if she actually took it daily.

Wild Child forgot her medicine today too. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Needless to say, it was a wild and crazy day! Never a dull moment.

Oh, and I got this note today too:

Mrs. you are so fun that I wich you were one of my teachers.
your friend
Sweetie Pie

THAT one is going in The Box.

*Name changed to protect her sanity.

January 25, 2006

Parents

You know...for most of these kids, parents are the problem. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. I know of several parents working their tushy's off to help their child succeed and the kid just doesn't want it/can't do it/won't do it. How do you expect your child to be successful in school or even learn anything when it takes you until January to get them on medicine? (This child needed it terribly and has been on it for about a week. She's a different child. She's learning! Maybe she's taking smart pills too.)

However, I have had another first. Parents doing homework. Sure, I'd heard of parents taking over kids' science projects and finishing them. Now, I have a mother that does her son's math homework. It's not even attempting to be hidden. It's blatent. First, it was just a few problems at the bottom of the page. Then it was the bottom half of the page. Last night? She did the entire thing! I'm seriously hoping that she is just acting as a scribe, writing the answers he tells her. But even at that, this is not a kid that needs a scribe. He's relatively smart...or is he?

Today he and I are going to have a little heart to heart about this homework. I want to know what is going on. Then I will handle it...delicately. If I feel there isn't a way to handle it delicately, I'll leave it for Math Teacher. That's why she gets paid the "big bucks" and health insurance.

The funny part of this? She's missing problems! Silly mistakes in check writing. Do you know how to write a check properly? I didn't know you had to include and .

In Hokie news, woohoo! If I had DVR or Tivo I'd be setting it now. But I am writing it on the calendar! Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!

January 23, 2006

How to Torture Your Teacher

Only raise your hand when
you want to sharpen your pencil
or go to the bathroom.
Repeat every ten minutes.

Never raise your hand
when you want to answer a question;
instead, yell, "Oooh! Oooh! Oooh!"
and then, when the teacher calls on you,
say, "I forgot what I was going to say."

Lean your chair back,
take off your shoes, and
put your feet up on your desk.
Act surprised when the teacher
puts all four legs of your chair back on the floor.

Drop the eraser end of your pencil
on your desk.
See how high it will bounce.

Drop your books on the floor.
See how loud a noise you can make.
Hum.
Get all your friends to join in.

Hold your nose,
make a face, and say, "P.U.!"
Fan the air away from your face,
and point to the kid in front of you.

On the last day of school,
lead your classmates in chanting:
"No more pencils!
No more books!
No more teachers'
dirty looks!"

Then, on your way out
the door, tell the teacher,
"Bet you're looking forward
to summer vacation this year.
But I'll sure miss you.
You're the best teacher
I've ever had."

~ Bruce Lansky

So true...

cute but psycho
You are the cute but psycho happy bunny. You
adorable, but a little out there. It's alright,
you might not have it all, but there are worse
which happy bunny are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

January 22, 2006

Why I am going to be banned from church...

So, I thought I would share the story of how my mother and I are going to be banned from church. Mwahahahahaha.

First, it is important to note that my mother and I are so much alike it is scary. We've been known to say the exact same thing, at the exact same time and it's happened more than once. Jokingly, I tell The Hubby that we share a brain.

We volunteer/were bamboozled into preparing the communion for each Sunday's worship service for the month of January. I won't even mention how we HAD February (which is a short month - woohoo), but Mother switched with someone who went to Florida. Darn old biddies. Furthermore, I won't mention that we had to be in church on New Year's Day. Argh! Anyway.

Each Sunday, we arrive an hour early and fill the communion trays. I love to fill the cups with grape juice with the grape juice squirtermajiggie. We also fill a glass of water (and add ice) for the minister to drink from if he gets thirsty during the service.

Today, we stuck a slice of lemon artfully on his glass. As we were returning to our pew after our morning greeting stint (we "volunteered" for that too this month), we hear what can almost be called a roar of laughter come from the choir area. The choir sits behind the minister. It seems Mother and I had been found out. The minister got quite a kick out of the slice of lemon and shared it with the rest of the congregation.

Mwahahahaha.

Next week: We add an umbrella.

We're already planning next year's water glass decorations.

January 21, 2006

Chaos and a meltdown

In a world filled with chaos, I go out of my way to eliminate the chaos from my life. I plan things out. I make lists (and check them twice...thanks for that idea, Santa). When I was student teaching, I did lesson plans. Chaos is the enemy. Call me a control freak.

However, this assignment thrusts me into chaos daily. I hate chaos.

With money restraints due to levy issues, they had to RIF 10 or so teachers. Along with that, they eliminated the G/T program at this school. The teacher is still employed, but she oversees ALL the G/T programs in the district. She doesn't actually teach the kids anymore. What happens to the G/T kids? They receive their instruction IN the classroom with their peers. I won't even go in to the problems that has created ("Why do THEY always get to do special stuff? We deserve a good education too. Why can't we do special things like they do?).

"My" math class is a prime example about why those kids should be pulled out. If you don't pull them out, then don't have a G/T program. During my fourth grade math period, I have 7 G/T students. These students are in 5th grade math. At the same time, I have 15 kids who are in 4th grade math. The majority of these kids are the "smart" kids. The lower kids go to a different teacher.

During this period, I have to:
  1. Start the kids on the computer program to help improve proficiencies scores.
  2. Make sure every kid goes on the computer.
  3. Check that students when they say they have a 100% so that they can have a piece of candy or a pencil.
  4. Provide overhead answers so the kids in 4th grade math can check their homework.
  5. Ask the kids in 5th grade math if they have any questions on what they missed on their homework.
  6. Teach the 5th grade lesson while occupying the kids doing the 4th grade lesson so they'll be quiet.
  7. Teach the 4th grade lesson while occupying the kids doing the 5th grade lesson so they'll be quiet.
  8. Allow them time to work on their homework.
  9. Help them with problems they are struggling with.
  10. Answer 90 million inane questions for several girls who just need attention.

Chaos with a capital C.

So, for three days, I tried thing Math Teacher's way. It worked ok. However, after checking 5th grade homework and seeing students missing 30-50% of their homework (it's not for a grade, just recorded if it is turned in) and not asking a single question, I decided we had to do something different. They're not learning anything.

Introducing Mrs. Substitute's Rule:
When students work on their homework, they may do one problem. Then they must bring it to me. I will check to see if the problem is correct. If it is, they may move on to the next problem. If it isn't, they need to go back and fix it and/or bring it to me for help. When I see they are getting several in a row right, I will allow them to do 2 problems and come get checked. When they do that successfully, I will let them do a row (about 4 problems) then get checked.

Most of the kids grumbled a little, but when they realized I had a complete answer key ready and could check them in a second, they didn't grumble too loudly. Except for Super Smart Jerk (SSJ).

SSJ is quite smart. SSJ is a world class jerk. He's been known to be openly defiant and mean to other kids. Then he complains when they make fun of him. In fact, earlier in the week, he told a teacher he would not be coming to her room because it was HIS recess time. He will interrupt a teacher to inform her that HIS recess is starting and he needs to go outside. Yes, SSJ pushes my buttons among others.

Anyway, after I had explained the new rule and taught the 5th grade lesson, I let the G/T kids start their homework. As I am walking across the room, I can hear SSJ muttering...

....stupid rule .... I always get my homework done .... never miss any .... I'm not doing this stupid rule .... etc.

I informed SSJ that yes, he would be following the new rule because it was for everyone. If following the rule was a problem, we could discuss it during his recess time.

As I am teaching the 4th graders their lesson, I am checking 5th grade work. Yes, it causes more chaos, but they're actually catching their mistakes - fixing them, and *gasp* LEARNING. If it is chaos I have control over, I can handle it.

I finally finish the 4th grade lesson and commence with full class homework checking. They bring me their paper, I check the next one and answer with a simple, "Yes" or "No". Most kids bring their book up after they miss a problem. Afterall, they thought they were right. SSJ was bookin' right along. He works from problem 30 to problem 1. No biggie. I don't care how you do it as long as you get it checked.

Then comes problem 25. He gets it wrong. Again. And again. And again. After each time, I tell him, "SSJ, bring your book up, I will help you." He won't do that, he's smart, he gets everything right on the first try. Fine. Your choice. Finally, after about 15 minutes he is crying (out of frustration) and shaking. I keep telling him, "SSJ, bring your book up, I will help you."

He's livid that he has to wait in line. He's not going to get his homework done! He's standing in line growling and wrinkling his paper up in his hand. Let me just say, if looks could kill...well, you know. I can only describe it as a meltdown.


Did he finally get it right? - Yeah. Did he learn something? - Probably not. However, the other kids missed far less when they slowed down and did their work. I had several of them that raced each other the day before. They got 4 correct.

Now...to figure out a better way to deal with the chaos. Even better...a way to eliminate the chaos.

Tagged!

So Pigs tagged me for a meme. Yipee! I mean...Darn her. :o) So here we go.

Four Jobs You've Had In Your Life
1. Wal-Mart cashier
2. Day Care Teacher
3. Tutor -I guess...even though I haven't tutored anyone, I'm signed up!
4. Substitute teacher

Four Movies You Could Watch Over And Over
1. The Princess Diaries (one and two)
2. The Parent Trap (old and new versions)
3. Bridget Jones' Diary (one and two)
4. Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead

Four Places You've Lived
1. Northeast, Ohio
2. Blacksburg, Virginia
3. Salem, Virginia
4. Buckhannon, West Virginia

Four TV Shows You Love To Watch
1. West Wing
2. Lost
3. Reba
4. 4 Kings - enjoying it so far.

Four Places You've Been On Vacation
1. Walt Disney World (*sigh*)
2. Mexico (Mexico City, Merida, Tulum area)
3. Spain (Madrid, Sevilla, Cordoba, Toledo, Granada)
4. Missouri - visiting my cousin

Four Blogs You Visit Daily
1. Why Not - Right?
2. snazzykat
3. Cookbook Junkie - as long as she avoids the olives...ew!
4. Sleeping Mommy

Four Of Your Favorite Foods
1. Soup, Salad, and Breadsticks from Olive Garden
2. Pepper Steak - preferably my mother's but from a chinese place will do
3. Pickles and/or Hot peppers, juice included
4. French fries, baked potatoes, mashed potatoes...ok, potatoes.

Four Places You'd Rather Be
1. Disney World!
2. Tech
3. Missouri-to visit family
4. Spain

Four Albums You Can't Live Without
1. The Soundtrack from Rent
2. Dixie Chicks Wide Open Spaces
3. Rascal Flatts Melt
4. Something by Diamond Rio

Four Vehicles You've Owned
1. 1992 Ford Tempo (baby blue)
2. 1994 Ford Taurus
3. 2001 Ford Focus
4. 2000 Chevy Impala (love, love, LOVE this one)

Four People to Be Tagged
No tagging. Do it if you haven't. Let me know so I can read yours.

January 18, 2006

Extended Positions and American Idol

Gotta love extended subbing jobs. I won't call this long term since it is only 2 weeks, but it is longer than just a day or two. Anyway.

Math Teacher is rather strict when it comes to homework. No homework. No lunch recess. Simple. Me? I'm not so tough. I mark who has the stuff turned in and who hasn't. I figure, if parents what to know why sweet little Johnny is failing and sweet little Johnny doesn't do his homework. Bam. There you go. Did I mention that 90% of the kids have enough time to FINISH their homework IN class? There really is no excuse for them not to turn it in and absolutely no reason for me to chase them down. Not gonna do it. 3rd grade homework is easy. 10 problems max and it is exactly the same stuff we've done in class together. All they have to do is change the numbers to reflect the right answer. Processes are exactly the same. Not to mention the majority of the page is review (usually 2-4 problems of the "new" material). It's Saxon, if you're wondering.

Also, Math Teacher makes students who fail a test, get the test signed at home. That way parents see it and know there is a problem going on, etc. I haven't given a test yet, no biggie. She gave one a few days before she left. Today I get a signed test back from Wild Child.

Wild Child is generally sweet, unless you need to teach her something. Wild Child is so clearly ADHD that just about anyone could spot the
condition. She's not one of those borderline kids. She just can't focus. She can't. If you give her a direct explicit instruction, she still gets side tracked. She'll do EXACTLY what you just got done telling her not to do and when you "yell at"...er...redirect her she gives you Lucy's completely clueless look (Pigs knows what I mean). Did I mention Wild Child's biological father is a former student of my mother's? He believes all you have to tell Wild Child is "sit down and get busy" and she'll get to work. Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight. Mom says he was a pill when she had him.

But I digress... So Wild Child hands me her paper (a 47%) and underneath what I assume is her father's scribble...signature is this note:

"what are you doing in your classroom to correct this problem?"

Uhhhhhhhh! I was instantly angry. Why? I have no reason to be angry. It's really not my problem. I tagged the paper and left it for Math Teacher should she get any nasty phone calls. I also showed Wild Child's homeroom teacher the paper since that is who the parents meet with for conferences.

Teachers...heck, regular people, what would you have LIKED to say in response? I didn't say anything, but it was one of those times I was glad I didn't have to deal with the situation. I may be a little too hot tempered still.

And, regarding American Idol.

I finally realized why I hate the show. Simon. As an adult, I find his rude comments just that - rude. I don't think he's funny. I don't think he's cute. He's a world class ass. After watching a few minutes in between commercials last night, I finally switched off American Idol forever after his comments about an overweight girl that could really sing well. He didn't even say them to her face. He's just like the little punks I teach. And they're 10 years old.

Why does Simon make me so mad? Because I have little kids coming up to me all day saying, "Did you watch American Idol last night? Isn't Simon funny?" It makes me sick.

In case you wondered, I told most of the kids the truth. I watched for a few minutes, but when I heard Simon being so nasty to people, I turned it off. I don't think its funny or cool to make fun of people. Most of them gave me this shocked look and then said, "You know Mrs. you're right, it's not funny." Will they still watch it? Yep. Will they hopefully see Simon for the arrogant ass he is? Someday, I hope.

January 17, 2006

And I wonder...

And I wonder why I can't seem to get anything accomplished around this place...

I'm too busy running around taking pictures of my silly boys.

Trying to type on the computer? Socks loves to help.
Oh boy, the camera. Lemme see! What are we taking pictures of?


As if Socks' help wasn't enough, Elvis...I mean, Ollie wants to help too. (Might have to enlarge the photo to see his snaggletooth.)


Fortunately, Ollie is USUALLY content to just sit on the couch and relax.


Did I mention he LOVES the new furniture, almost as much as I do?


And who could leave out Hokie? This blanket was neatly folded on the built in desk in the office - waiting for me to find a place to put it. Hokie knocked it down and made himself at home.


I really need to get out more.

Now, I am off to study 4th and 5th grade math so I can explain it to the rugrats tomorrow. I know how to do it...it's explaining to them WHY you do it that gets me. I always learned that you do it that way because that's the way you do it. I'd like them to have a little bit more of a concrete idea than that.

January 16, 2006

Open Letter

Dear Sheetz Executives,

Whose idea was it to greet your patrons who are pumping gas into their car in the following manner?

"Hello, Pump #2, welcome to Sheetz. You're authorized for payment inside after you finish fueling your dark blue SUV."

As if this wasn't bad enough, NOW you give a description of what the pump operator is wearing.

"Hello, Pump #2, welcome to Sheetz. You're authorized for payment inside after you finish fueling your dark blue SUV for the gentleman in the orange shirt and lime green bowler hat."

Sure, it is supposed to make me feel welcome as well as letting me know that you ARE paying attention to exactly who is at the pump.

But honestly? It makes your poor employees sound like stalkers.

Sincerely,
Your Creeped-Out Customer in her pajamas-at pump #3-with the crazy hair.

Monday Madness

Monday Madness

  1. Before I walk out the door, I always make sure I have my purse and my keys.
  2. I can't seem to catch up on my laundry.
  3. The one surface in my house that always seems to get cluttered fast is the dining room table and/or the dry sink.
  4. If I sleep past 9 a.m., I feel I have slept too late.
  5. No matter how hard I try, I just can't seem to stick to a diet.
  6. I hope to have my income taxes done by February 1st, just like last year.
  7. This year I'd like to make more time for exercise.

January 15, 2006

Random Confession

If I come across a picture of myself, I throw it away.

The Hubby is lucky I let him keep the wedding pictures around.

Mother-in-law actually took a picture of me at Thanksgiving that I didn't instantly hate. Strange really. Haven't thrown it away.


Yet.


It may just end up being the picture of me that represents my 20s. Mwahahahaha.

January 13, 2006

Film at 11

Earlier in the year, one of the morning preschoolers was "missing" for several minutes. Have I mentioned this? He had run out of the preschool room and into the hallway. I swear, this is how news stories happen. Anyway, he was found and returned to his room. Since then he has been labelled "a flight risk" and is therefore watched like a hawk. The principal couldn't understand how no one would notice a child leaving.

Let me just say that with nine children running around, screaming, laughing, crying, etc. It is a challenge to keep track of them all. Add to this that the room has no door and the challenge is magnified.

When I heard this story, I too wondered how you could "lose" a child.

Well.

Let me tell you, it is easier than you would think.

Today I subbed for one of the afternoon preschool classes. These are the same kids I subbed for back at the beginning of the year. Boy are they adjusting! Before many of them were incredibly shy. One cried just knowing someone new was in the room. The Cryer was also non-verbal. He'd just give blank stares or cry. Those were your options. Now? Well now The Cryer is verbal (according to the teacher). Yeah, he says words you can't understand and NO! Everything is No, No, No. I realize he's just learned this word and its meaning. I realize he's just exerting his newfound "power", but good grief.

So anyway...

I had a very enjoyable afternoon. The kids were wild, but it was Friday and there was a different teacher there. It's to be expected. Finally, it was time for the buses to come (HOORAY!).

We waited...and waited...and waited...and waited. We saw one of the buses drive by one way. Turn around and drive right past. Around this time, I had a bad feeling. The classroom teacher had come back to school by then and was sitting with me and the kids. She said that it Bus #1 usually goes by, but then turns around and comes back. This going by twice thing was not good.

She suggested I take the kids outside to the end of the sidewalk to wait. Uh...I don't wanna. It was a nice day - however, it is much easier to watch 3 preschoolers when they are confined to the lobby. Outside, I had visions of them running out in front of buses. So, against my better judgement, I took them outside. I gave them the rule that they could no go on the sidewalk, they had to be in the grass. Still a large area, but further from the parking lot and buses.

So we waited...and waited...and waited.

The Cryer swung his bookbag (like those gym bags from the 80s) around and around and around. The second time he hit someone, I took his bookbag and held it for him so he could twirl. And he cried. I told him he could have it back when it was time to get on the bus that way he could spin and not hit anyone. Eventually he got over it.

Finally, their regular teacher came out and told us that Bus #2 had broken down (about 100 feet from the train tracks...eep). So Bus Driver of Bus #1 had gone to get the kids on Bus #2 and then we were going to load everyone on Bus #1. Bus #2 takes all the special services children home. So there are preschoolers from different buildings as well as MH students.

Bus #2 arrives and I had The Cryer his bookbag. He screams. He wails. He doesn't want to hold his bookbag. Arghhhhh. I finally stuck it over his head and across his body so that he was wearing it to get on the bus. He jumped up and down and cried. Oy.

At long last, all of the Bus #2 kids and all of the Bus #1 kids are on the bus. There aren't any extra seats to be found, but they're all on there.

Doodle le doot - goes the radio. It's the bus garage. Hold the Bus #2 kids at the school, they're bringing a replacement bus.

Shut.
Up.

So we get allllll the Bus #2 kids BACK off the bus. A replacement bus is coming but it's going to be a while. Principal has them line up from shortest to tallest. It kept them occupied and relatively entertained (way to go, Principal). Then a little voice says, "I hope that bus hurries, I hafta pee."

Crap.

Being the sub, the one who knows the least about the kids and the procedures, I volunteer to take him. He was the first kid in line, thus the shortest. This will come into play later. Down we go to the primary hall to use their bathrooms. I send him in and I wait.

And wait...and wait...and wait.

"Uh...need any help in there?" I call while standing outside the little boys' room.
No answer. I wait a few more seconds then enter the stinky little boys' room.

No little boy standing outside.

No little feet hanging under the stalls.

Hmm. Strange. I went over to see if his feet were just too short to be seen. Nope. There is absolutely no kid in that bathroom.

Oh.
My.
God.

I lost a kid! I'm going to be fired. I'm going to be on the news. "INCOMPENTENT TEACHER LOSES STUDENT - Film at 11"

I check the girls' bathroom. Nothing. I frantically search around some of the rooms close by. He's simply vanished. Did he fall in? He WAS pretty little.

I run up and ask the secretary, "did you see a little boy in a yellow jacket go by?" Nope.

SHIT!

Finally, my mother comes down to watch the kids so I can go talk to the math teacher I am subbing for next week. "Mother! I lost a kid!" (I'm beginning to feel somewhat frantic at this point)

She asks the secretary. Still hasn't seen him. The regular preschool teacher is coming inside, "have you seen the little kid in the yellow jacket?"

"Fred? or Ethel?" I DON'T KNOW HIS NAME! Wait...wait...it was a boy. Fred. Definitely, Fred.

"Oh yeah, he followed the principal back outside and got on the bus."

Oh dear Lord. No more preschoolers.

January 12, 2006

Excitement

I arrived a little early for tutoring yesterday. I put my coat away and put my purse down. As I was getting ready to find something to kill time, my mother looks up from her book and asks me to go see if New 4th Grade Teacher (N4GT) needs a break. Ooooook. Sure. She assured me she would explain it to me later.

Off I went down to N4GT's room. I knocked on the door of a quiet bustling classroom (just the kind I like). N4GT looked up and I said, "I am supposed to see if you would like a break."

She looked relieved immediately. "I would LOVE a break," she replied. She quickly explained what the kids were working on and I sat down to babysit...er...supervise. She was only gone for about 15 minutes (7 minutes in I let the kids go to recess). She returned with some ice and I was on my way.

Later, I found out the whole story. Apparently, she was attempting to take a student down to the office who DID NOT want to go. (He's been working on a meltdown for several days) He either zigged when he should have zagged or she did, but either way, N4GT fell. This woman is my mother's age (prolly a little younger), so falling is a bigger deal than it would be to me. Luckily, she is ok. Sore, but ok. The new 3rd grade teacher went right out to help her and my mom called the principal to come down immediately. Long story short, the kid is suspended (or at least thats what the kids are saying...and they usually know).

Which leads me to my point... I refuse. RE-FUSE. To drag a kid to the office. It's just not that important to me to potentially injure myself and/or lose my job. NOT worth it. I'll call the office and have the principal come get the kid. That's why they get paid the "big bucks".

My second point is I want to work in a hallway like this.

The lower hall (1st and 2nd grades) are catty. They don't help each other. They only look out for themselves. They're notoriously difficult to work with especially regarding art, p.e., and music. After Field Day, they want their P.E. class. They've had P.E. all day! I could go on and on.

The upper hall (3rd and 4th grades)? They look out for each other. Family emergency and you have to leave right now? Go, we'll figure out what to do with your kids. Not feeling well and have recess duty? I'll take your duty. The list could go on and on. THAT is what teaching should be about.

In other upper hall news, next week I begin two consecutive weeks (8 days) in the math teacher on my mom's team class (did that make any sense?). She is going to Texas/Mexico where her son and daughter-in-law live. They are expecting a baby. They came up to Texas to stay with the daughter-in-law's family so the baby could be born in the United States. Annnnnyyyyway. They had the baby yesterday! Yay! 6 pounds, 14 ounces. Math Teacher cannot wait to leave Saturday and see the new grandbaby. Can't say that I blame her.

P.S. Marcus Vick? Punk. Stupid. Punk. That pretty much sums it up. It's sad when kids who have a wonderful opportunity GIVEN to them and they ruin it.

I think Marcus was doomed from the get-go. First, he went to Tech, where being a Vick means you are "special". I'm sure there was all kinds of "special" treatment going on that the general public doesn't know about (no, I am not making legal claims...just "special" treatment). I know there was when Michael was there. What do you expect from a kid that has been told/shown all his life (or his recent life) that you don't have to play by the rules or that the rules are different/special for you.

The Hubby and I talked about a coach's responsibility in this situation.

For me, it boils down to this. The age that The Hubby (and Coach Beamer) work with have the ability to make their own decisions and accept the consequences. Therefore, I have VERY little sympathy when players make consistent wrong choices (not learning from past bad choices). If you learn from your mistakes...fine. It's part of growing up. However if you don't, don't blame me. YOU blew your shot. Not me.

My kids, on the other hand, have little control over some of their choices. Ultimately, a lot of their "life" choices are still made by their parents. Therefore, I tend to have more sympathy for them and continue to help them even when they get into trouble. They can't pick their homelife and some decisions are truly out of their hands.

Wow...that turned into more of a rant than I thought it would.

January 10, 2006

Picture Post!

Here we go! Finally! (I know...I know)

Hillary and Cyli wanted to see me.

Uhhhhhhh...have I mentioned I am picture phobic? Extremely picture phobic? Add to that, I don't want to put a picture of me here as I don't want to be definitely connected to my specific school district.

However, if you're dying to see a wedding photo of The Hubby and I (about 5 years old), email me and I will send it to you. Provided I *know* you. :) That's my compromise. For those who can't wait that long, I will compromise again and leave you with this:
Yes, those are my feets. In socks with music notes on them (thinking of you Hillary).

Carrie wanted to see my favorite place to hang out and relax. I had to move The Hubby, but here it is:

I also enjoy these, but as you can see, they were occupied.

This last one fulfills two because it is one of my favorite places to hang out and relax AND it contains the thing that makes me happiest (The Hubby but Socks too).


She also wanted to see the insides of my fridge. In my defense I have been sick and dealing with company. Who am I kidding, it always looks like this.

It occurs to me now that it looks a little top heavy. Trust me, new refrigerator is on my list of appliances to replace........someday.

I really had to think what I was afraid people would want to see, but I decided it would probably have to be *me* so here it is:

Cyli also wanted to see the most beautiful tree near my house. My favorite tree is located at my parents house. It is the buckeye tree (tree in the front) that they planted the year I was born. It's as old as I am! I also love the apple trees in the soon-to-be old orchard.

Pigs wanted to see the most farmish things I can see. I couldn't decide between these two...you decide the most farmish.

(view from the backyard)

(view from the road in front of the farm)

She also wanted to see Lucy in trouble. Lucy wants me to make it clear that she NEVER gets into trouble. However...her alter ego, Lucy-fer was caught doing this while visiting my parents:
We (my parents and I) gave her a bone (her Christmas gift). She's attempting to bury it at their house. This is after I "found" it squished between couch cushions and beside the organ.

And here is a quick video of the little bandit. Tell me she isn't just the smartest beagle ever. Hehe


Powered by Castpost

After much debate, I decided that this is my favorite Disney thing. It is a "snow" globe that The Hubby got for me when we honeymooned at the Magic Kingdom. It's beautiful. It plays A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.



Something Ohio-y was somewhat more challenging. Unfortunately, the snow melted before I could get a picture of a bunch of snow. This is what I finally came up with:

The first is a picture of the quarry across the street. It used to look like this (minus the
dozers):

That USED to be a hay/straw field. The lone tree in the middle is what is left of the woods that we used to play in. Depressing really. If you click to see the bigger picture, you can actually see the snow that was falling. Now THAT is Ohio. At least in the winter. The second one is still the front yard. The orange stuff is snow fence. We're hoping it prevents the driveway from drifting shut this year. We'll see.


Most original request must go to MommyProf for the request for unusual Hokie stuff...and do we have it in spades!


This is a bottle opener. Looks uninteresting right? However, when you actually touch the metal opener part to something else metal it plays the Virginia Tech Fight song, Tech Triumph. You can find a link to a bad midi version of the song by following that link - my bottle opener plays the Marching Virginians version.

Often when I am opening a....refreshment or when I just need a pick-me-up, you can find me in the kitchen dancing to the fight song and yelling - "Go Hokies!" at the end.


Upon further reflection, I realized these two items were probably unusual too. Just keep in mind, I love board games. Here are two of the first ones we purchased:

I hope you enjoyed seeing these as much as I enjoyed taking them!

De-lurking Week


I know you're there. I can hear you breathing. It's National De-Lurking Week!

Lemme know you're here! Leave me a "hi" in the comments. I'd love to visit your site or just make a new friend.

January 08, 2006

Mmmm....buckeyes.





Mmmmmmm...and I won't share. Get some from my mom yourselves. :) She makes THE best buckeyes.

P.S. This camera DOES NOT take good close ups. Grrrrrrr.

What are ewe looking at?

I LOVE this time of year. Sure, it's frickin' freezin' most of the time up here, but I'm used to that. I love this time of year because it's lambing season. Not actually running the farm means that I get to pick and choose what "chores" I volunteer myself for.

For example, during the periods when "we" bale, I pick to cook dinner/lunch and run water to the fields in the summer. The men, in turn, spend all day in the blazing heat driving the tractors or stacking bales. Could I stack bales? Sure! I'd build some really great muscles and develop my balance. Do I want to? Naaaaaaaaah uh. Those things are heavy and it's hot out there!

So during lambing season, I choose not to go out every 6 hours (I believe this year they go out at 2...or was it 3A.M.) and check for new babies. I will however, go visit the new babies when they have arrived.

I put all the pictures I took into Flickr, but here are my favorites.


Hey! That concrete floor gets cold, even when its covered with straw. I'd be sleeping on my mom's warm back too!


It was incredibly hard to get pictures because the sheep don't stand still much. I'd get a great shot...and junior would run off leaving me with a butt shot. However, these two stopped and stood long enough for me to get their picture.


Ever feel like you're interrupting something? Here is one of the sets of twins that have been born. Their faces are adorable too. Take my word for it.

Finally, this is my favorite of allllll the lambs. My cousin's wife has named him Smiley because he has two black spots on either side of his mouth that make him look like he is smiling.

He's the only one (so far) that is white with black spots...or is that black with white spots? Anyway, he's the only one. On his right is our only (mostly) black lamb. He's pretty cute too.

* I say he because I just assume they're all boys. In fact, they could all be shes for all I know.

January 07, 2006

Karma

A lesson, dear friends, in karma.

Just about everyone knows who Michael Vick is. If you went to Tech, you DEFINITELY know who he is. I found out last night he has a building named after him. Oy.

But back to our lesson...

Apparently, there have been some things going on this past football season that most weren't aware. Ok. I wasn't aware of them. Sure, I knew about a couple, but I didn't put it all together.

It seems that some believe having the last name Vick entitles you to be a classless jerk on and off the football field. We won't even go into Marcus' off-field exploits. That was a year ago, he served his time and his suspension. Supposedly, he learned a lot while living with Big Mike in his shack in Atlanta. He was ready for a great season.

Not.

What'd he do?

#1 - The rude gesture at the WVU game. Haha, funny - but rude and unsportsmanlike. Let's face it, those WVU fans are barely undercontrol under normal circumstances, why egg them on?

#2 - Taunts made at the Florida State game. Grow up, Marcus. We were losing. Duh.

#3 - After running out of bounds in the Florida State game (I believe...that or the Gator Bowl) he intentionally ran into a coach on the other team. WHAT!? Marcus, again I say, grow up!

#4 - The straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak. After a play, he stomped on an opposing players calf/knee. Marcus, what the hell were you thinking!?

The university has chosen to let Vick go. He can still attend classes if he would like (yeah....right). Honestly, I say good riddance.

Marcus' response to this whole thing? "I'll just take it to the next level, baby." Uh? What!? All I can do is hope no one in the NFL picks him up. Ha. Yeah right.

To add embarrassment to my anger apparently Virginia Tech is getting a bad reputation. The officials from the Gator Bowl (who were AWFUL, btw) claim Tech's players "swaggered" and taunted the opposing team. Ok...trash talk is part of the game. But boys, you had NO REASON to be cocky.

Makes me wonder if there wasn't more to Jimmy Williams ejection than we saw.

All in all, Coach Beamer, you better crack down on these boys and crack down hard. This is not the kind of program I want to be associated with my school. Tech has always been about class and Beamer Ball. Maybe they need a refresher course in the off season?

P.S. Nice statement President Steger.

Dear Hillary,

Dear Hillary OR Ms. Duff (whatever),

Just returned from seeing "your" new movie, Cheaper By the Dozen 2, for the second time. Since I was not caught up in plot twists, blossoming young love, and struggling to hear dialog this time, I really paid attention to you. And, sweetie, we have to talk.

First, where did we go wrong? You were so cute and loveable as Lizzie McGuire. Sure, I realize you must grow up and move on to more mature roles. I've enjoyed the movies you have made thus far. However, Hillary, you look old.

Next, eat something. I know the pressure in Hollywood is to be thin. Hillary, you're there. Your face is sunken in. Your arms look tiny. Your practically emaciated. There is such a thing as too thin.

Finally, lay of the smoking and/or drugs. You are barely 18 and you already sound like an old woman who has smoked all her life.

There is such a thing as being beautiful and being healthy. Please. Take the advice of people who truly care about you. You're too young to look this bad.

Sincerely,
A former "fan"

January 06, 2006

Finally, good news this week

Still heartbroken over the miners...but each day gets a little better. We're continuing to hope and pray for a miracle for the McCloy family. I've spent a little time each day downloading pictures from Yahoo. I'll want them someday?

In other news, school is back in session and I worked half a day this week. Woohoo! The perfect was to slowly work my way back after break. There was also tutoring each evening (Tuesday through Thursday). Tutoring is really quite enjoyable. All I have to do is listen to the kids read, answer their questions if they have any, and troubleshoot any computer problems that come along. All in all, pretty easy money. Wednesday evening, as the last girl left, she gave me a big hug. After the incredibly sad week I had had up to that point, it definitely made my day.

Today I am hoping to get the Christmas stuff put back in the attic. Here's hoping.

I saw my family doctor today. I love, love, love that woman. I barely managed to restrain myself from hugging her and telling her to "Never leave again." I thought that might be a touch clingy. According to her, I don't need to see a urologist since my kidneys showed no protein build up. Woohoo! She said that my protein levels weren't that high at all. Dr. Quack (the one that filled in for her) had me believing that it was a serious problem/life threatening. My doctor said she doesn't become concerned until levels are much higher. So thyroid problems are out. Kidney problems - gone! Yay! It's been a good day so far.

And my diet starts Monday. Eek. Maybe diet is the wrong word. Lifestyle change is more accurate.

P.S. Don't think I have forgotten about the pictures. There is one more I need to take then the picture post will be ready!


I leave you with a picture of Butthead and Hokie. Socks is attempting to take a cat nap, but Hokie wants his spot. So he is kneading Socks' belly (and what a belly it is). Socks was NOT impressed.