Monday, June 28, 2010

Dashed Plan

I had a plan to do something cool for my 100th post.  I've seen my blogging friends do it  (here), and thought I might as well.  Alas, I missed it.  This is my 102th post (pronounced one hundred tooth).  I suppose this is all for the best, since I have nothing to give away.  But...

Huzzah!  The102th post!!!  

Who would have thought I'd be this prolific?  Not I, says I.

Today is the first day of Summer School, for which this Caped Teacher is a Caped Site Lead.  We shall see what grand stories there are to share.  As of right now, it is O'Dark-Thirty and I am up, moving around, and fixin' to go for a wog wrun.  That's dedication, no?

To show true dedication to the postage (?) of 102 vitally important things, here is a photo essay to honor the number 102...
Vermont has a road dedicated to it.

So does Minnesota.

And this state... that isn't a state, I hope.

Cruella wasn't satisfied with only 101.  Oh no. She needed 102.

These people think the number 102 is important enough to put on a space... module.

Doesn't she look great for her age?

Anhyoo (I really need to tell that story), thanks for reading my musings.  All... you guessed it... 102 of them.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lexical Learning Lesson

I just learned something important.  You can't go willy nilly about town creating words.  I've been using the word "wog" to describe my lackluster running (get it?  walk+jog=wog?  It's math.).  I've found myself quite amusing for the past few months as I bandied this word about.

This morning, I looked it up to see if I could, perhaps, enter it into the Urban Dictionary.  I cringed at my hubris when I discovered two things...

First, I discovered that is a common acronym (see link here):

WOG  World of Goo (game by 2-D Boy)
WOG  Wake of Gods (gaming, Heroes of Might and Magic III)
WOG  Word of God
WoG   Whole of Government (Australia)
WoG   In the Wake of Gods (add-on to Heroes of Might & Magic III: The Shadow of Death)
WoG   Wrath of God (game)
WOG  Worthy Oriental Gentleman
WOG  Water-Oil-Gas (valves, pressure)
WOG  Without Guarantee
WOG  Westinghouse Owners Group
WOG  Westernised Oriental Gentleman
WOG  Working On Government (apocryphal: circa 1900s British Empire acronym stenciled on shirts of laborers assigned to government projects)
WOG  Woman of God
WOG  Without Giblets (poultry industry)
WOG  With Other Goods
WOG  Way Out Games (old TV game show)
WOG  Without Girlfriend
WOG  Watch Officer's Guide
WOG  Weight on Gear
WOG  Wisdom Oriented Guardian
WOG  Wings Of Green (US Air Force Academy sky diving team)
WOG  Whole Oat Groats (grain milling)
WOG  Work Order Generator
WOG  Work Out Gardener (prisoner status; Victoria, Australia prison system)
WOG  Way of Gun (audio course)
WOG  Weight on Ground (aviation)

Second, much to my chagrin, "wog" has been used as a  racial slur for over a  century, but as recently as the 1960's (see here). The word is already in the Urban Dictionary (see here), and is quite an ugly bit of lexicon.

So... the lesson here is to check before you start throwing words around.  I have a little work ahead of me in undoing this word usage.  When I am done, I will start using the word "wrun" instead.  And yes, I checked.  It is little more than a radio station thus far, so I am safe (for now)

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Rule #11

It's Father's Day, and as I've mentioned before (here and here) even Super Teachers have Dads.  I want to send a shout-out to my Pops.  He was the first to support and, dare I say, read this blog with regularity.  He and I have worked through some things in the last thirty-odd years and each lesson has helped to make me who I am today.  I hear his voice coming from me when I am teaching, and I know he would recognize some of his own sayings and style in my teaching. His calm, loving, crazy-smart, and thoughtful conversations through the years have taught me many things I use daily.

In honor of Father's Day I am going to assign a Boss's Rule number (partial list here).  Just to point out, the assignment of a number is not level of importance, it's sort of a psychic choice of a number that best fits the rule.  In this case, it may have something to do with the importance of the number 11 as it refers to an age where many many lessons were learned.


Rule #11
Even Super Teachers have Dads.

Love you Pops,

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fly Right

Today is the last day of school.  There are many things I would like to post--photos, the end-of-the-year slideshow, the quilt.  Most of it I can't show because it has identifying information on it.  

Instead, I will wish my little 8th Grade turkey-butts success and joy on their next adventure.  It is bittersweet to watch them go.  

The bitter part is mostly fear for their future.  They may not be ready.  They may not know everything.  They may fall on their little faces and not be able to get back up. 

The sweet part has some to with the fact that they have been crrrraaaayzeeeee  the last month or so and I'm barely hanging on.  The other half of the sweet part is that they have had small glimpses of light this week, and I feel like they may be ready to fly.  They just might enter high school with the skills they need and the desire to use those skills.  

Fly strong and fly right my kiddos...


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Copying Carbon Neutrality

I have mentioned my superstar cousin's blog in at least one previous post--klt:sketchbook. While I have followed her career with interest and awe, have loved to watch her business grow and gain well-deserved recognition, and eagerly await each new creation from her company klt:works, I have now taken to just plain copying her. 

Each Monday she posts about music, and I think I've purchased something from each musician she has mentioned (at least the ones I don't already own--because anything else would be silly).  On Fridays she posts about fabric, and I drool  over her eye for fabric and color.

Today she posted about a website she found about making your blog or website carbon neutral (see post here).  It appears that by planting a tree for each blog or website, you can take a step towards mitigating the effects of said blog on the environment.  Now I'm all for our dear Mother Earth, so I went to the Make Your Blog Carbon Neutral website and found the following info:

“My blog is carbon neutral” is an initiative, originally started in Germany by the “Make it Green” programme, that has the goal to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. We plant a tree for your blog and thereby neutralise your blog’s carbon footprint for the next 50 years! Everyone can make a small contribution to the environment. Every tree counts!"

And then... I copied her shamelessly (I'll bet she won't mind if you do too).  And I know 'Ole Mama Gaia loves her some tress!

And what does this have to do with teaching?  Nuthin'. And I started four sentences in a row with "and" (excluding the one-word-doesn't-count sentence).  Put that in yer pipe and smoke it!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Quote of the Week #6

Student at lunch:

A: Boss, do I have rice in my ear?
Ms. M: (checks briefly for offending rice particle) Ummmm... nope...?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Caped Quilt

We are making our Second Annual End-of-the-Year Classroom Quilt (I see it needs a new name). I am unable to include photos because each student appliqued their name along with some personally meaningful symbols on their square.  I will, when it is done, try to take and crop photos so that you can see some of the detail work they have done.  It is quite impressive!  

In the meantime, take a gander at the caped teacher I am putting on mine.  I took this image:

And gussied it up a little using the patterns in the fabric:

Then I looked up narcissism and decided it only sort of applies in this case....

Monday, June 7, 2010

Lesson From My Pops

I have learned many lessons from my Pops.  I hear myself sounding like him on a daily basis in my classroom.  This morning, though, I remembered a lesson I learned while learning to drive.  Among other issues, I had a habit of forgetting to turn my headlights on as evening came on.  One day, Pops reminded me AGAIN to turn my headlights on.  I said I didn't think I needed them yet.  He thought for a minute, and then said that if I noticed two other cars with their headlights on, I would want to turn my own lights on.

I still use that rule while driving.  I was thinking this morning, though, that many cars these days have automatic lights that are on all day.  My two-cars rule might be obsolete, but I still use it when in doubt.

I would like to compare that to having a bad teaching day.  Perhaps the rule might be "if more than one student is suspended because of you, you might want to take a break."  If the thought "why are these students ALL being awful today?" goes through your head more than once, maybe there is something you are doing that is triggering it.  This is not a hard and fast rule (see future post on Rule #13: Beware the Full Moonies), but it is something to keep in mind.

Then I thought, similar to the automatic headlights on the roads today, student behaviors are also on "automatic."  It is tough to decide if the behavior is just "on automatic," or if they are caused by interactions in the classroom.  

I have no answer to this.  I was just thinking about it.  Any comments?

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Vignette...

The Scene: A classroom of middle school trouble-makers working on computers.  All is quiet (Really!  It was!  It was freetime so they were plugged-in and all quiet-like!),  Except, for R.  He has the hiccups...

Ms. M: Who has the hiccups?
Various Voices: R... It's R... R. has the hiccups.
R.:  Me... hiccup
Various Voices: You should cure them... R.--she can cure hiccups... Dude, cure his hiccups... It's one of her superpowers.
Ms. M: I can, but R. doesn't believe in my powers, so they don't work.
R.:  (scoffing noise) I believe.  Cure 'em.  
Another Student:  You really have to believe R.  Or it doesn't work.
R.: I believe!
Ms. M: I think, perhaps, I need my cape for this to work today.  You're a tough one R.(expectant silence whilst I don my cape and glittery red mask)* Are you ready? (Magic hiccup cure ensues...)**
R.:  ... (no hiccup)...  (mutters) Thanks.
Ms. M: (removing cape and mask, dusting off hands) That's how it's done my friends.
(smattering of applause... work resumes.)

*Blessings and many thanks to some fellow cape-wearers for the gift of this cape and mask.
 **Yeah,right! Like I was going to tell you the cure--it's totally a secret!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Is It Wrong?

Is it wrong to have all of these thoughts in one day?

"These kids are the cutest things."
"These kids need to learn how to shut their mouths."
"I love teaching.  It's my calling." 
"I hate my job."
"I never want to teach another day in my life."
"Wow, this day is going quickly!"
"OMG, when will this day be over?"
"I'm going to eat healthily today."
"Yummm... pizza and cookies for lunch."
"These people are so great."
"Everyone needs to leave me the heck alone."
"I need to go for a run after school."
"Oh look... steak and wine on sale at Von's.  Just add ice cream and we've got dinner!"

Welcome to the last 10 days of the school year.  Mania at its finest.  Any cape-wearers out there have special tricks they use to drag their rears to the last day of school?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010