Thursday, August 26, 2010

Quote of the Week #8

M: (walks up to the my desk and whispers) May I go see an Egyptian Cat?

Of course I sent her to the loo forthwith.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pop Quiz

This caped teacher uses post-it notes like crazy (and prefers the Super-Sticky ones).  They are... super sticky.

On Fridays, I give quizzes using said Post-it notes.  They are always on Post-its, always five questions long, and I always give one point for trying and one point for being correct.  Why?  Because my turtle-doves are horrified by tests.  While it is clearly my job to ease this horri-fi-cation, it is also my job to assess what they have learned.  So... I assess with pretty, colorful, non-threatening post-it notes.  Super-stickyness comes in handy as I keep track of them to put them in the grade book.

This week, I handed out one post-it note too many.  Since they were wasted anyway* I said "Oops.  You don't need that one.  Just write me something nice on it."  So they did.

We are working on spelling next week...

*Note--the sticky-ness decreases with each use, you know.  This renders them less useful once unstuck from the pad and re-stuck on a student desk.  Especially because each kiddo has the compulsion to un-stick and re-stick the note after it has been placed on their desk--sometimes multiple times.  I know this, you see, because I have experience with the use and re-use of Super-Sticky Post-It notes.  It's one of my super powers.  Get it?  Super?  As in Super-Sticky Post-it Notes?  Get it? 

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


Amid the hurley-burley of the new school year each little Lovie shakes out their feathers, stands up on their wobbly legs and knobby knees, and begins to explore their newest nest.   We watch them.  Let them try out their squawks and their chirps.  Let them tear through the day or tiptoe.  Let them push away our attempts to connect or to teach, or both.  Let them stand closer, move further away, and stand closer again.

All of the Lovies have come despite the fact that our school buses were cut from the budget.  Many are walking, some are on public transportation, and many parents have moved their schedules around to get them here.  We've tracked down bus passes for the poverty-stricken families, and researched bus routes for the less able.  They are here though, and hoping to stay.

We assess them, ask questions, try to learn about what they need, what they bring to us, and what they hope to take with them when they go.  Some are bigger versions of themselves these first few days.  Louder, more forceful, more likely to be the smart ass or to argue.  Some are smaller versions of themselves.  Quiet, taking up less space, unwilling to take a step out.  Both are finding the balance between who they are and who they will be in this classroom this year.

Some have come back from last year.  They came in with confidence and smiles, pointing out how they have changed over the Summer.  Some are taller, leaner, more serious.  Some are still goofy, silly, ready to have fun.  They look around the room and point out what has changed or stayed the same.  They dutifully report to the new ones that "this shelf used to be there" or "that is where the collection of blue things always is".    They ask for familiar performances of hiccup cures, magically changing white folders to "yellow," and the swiftness with which a caped teacher might don her cape.

The visitors start to arrive.  First two boys from the previous two years who were kicked out of their high school summer school, but plan to "get it together real soon." Then two more who were successful in summer school, but are nervous about high school starting.  The next day, a boy that has been in juvenile hall and came to say hello.  He leaves with a quiet "thank you."  They are all tall, and confident, and proud.  Eager to use our first names in conversation, but slipping immediately back to Ms. right afterwards.  Quiet, looking for familiarity, checking to see if the nest they built in previous years is still there.  It is, it just looks a little different.

All of this... it is an amazing way to earn a living.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

There is Too Much

It is the first weekend after the first two days of school. This caped teacher has been trying to mix in some good downtime, some quilting time, and some cleaning time in with her working time. As can be expected, though, all of my newest little cherubs are swirling around in my head. There are too many things to do, too many things to plan, and too many things to pick just one to post about.

So, I choose... to post about nothing yet. It is too much. I will not even sum up.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Professional Development

Subject line of an email I received this week:

Last Chance to register for Gang Violence

Have decided not to register for this professional development opportunity.  I feel that, perhaps, I do not need to include gang violence in my repertoire of talents. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Je l'ai dit

Here it is, the first official Teacher Work Day of the 2010-2011 school year.  Two days until the kidlets come stompin' in the door.  How does this happen so quickly?  What happened to the Summer?  Why didn't I get all of that planning done?  And, while I'm at it, why are there no size "B" batteries, but there are many kinds of "A" batteries?

Je l'ai dit....

Sunday, August 8, 2010

I'll Wait Until It's on Sale

Oh my faithful readers! Uh... reader. I have found the perfect item with which to refresh our inspiration to teach and carry on with our amazing lives!
Actual receipt seen with actual eyes of an actual caped friend.
Slow Death, it seems, is much cheaper than one might think right off the bat.  Of course my first thought was "Oh goodie!  This is so inexpensive! I shall purchase some!"  Second thought, "Um.  Wait.  Wot?"  So I looked it up, to see where one would purchase something of this nature.  Here is what I found:
I'm fairly certain that the purchaser was not trying to buy The Slow Death of Palestinian Democracy or information regarding Greek and Portuguese Economies.  I tried to picture it, but I just don't think this is it.
 I know that fish don't have feelings, but really, must we be so blatant about killing them slowly?  Or, in a more positive light, perhaps it gives the fisherperson more time to save the life of said non-feeling animal? Then,
A song by Flamin' Groovies, a band from Minneapolis, and some comic books. After that, some books.  This improved my search criteria.  After reading reviews for the first book (NOT about rubber duckies),  I changed my search to "Slow Death mold" on a hunch.  With that search I found the second book.
Since I was still uncertain as to the purpose of this purchase (difficult to say out loud, and it made my neighbors think I was talking to them), and unwilling to believe local agencies are buying mold spores with which to kill off society,  I researched uses of urnanium uranium  Other than death and destruction, uranium is also used in... Fiestaware.  Lovely dishes.
So... here is what I have decided.  Under the guise of chemistry research, these folks are attempting to make their own Fiestaware knockoffs.  The process must be slow and tedious, so they have also purchased the single Slow Death by Flamin' Groovies to entertain them.  I am not sure why they spent so much on the single, but I guess they thought it was worth it..?  Enjoy...

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Summat Inspiring

I sat here, thinking it was time to write summat inspiring*.  I Googled it:

I sifted through the quotes and the cartoons and the jokes.

Now I'm depressed.

They were either sickly sweet and made me gag, or were negative and whiny.  The few that weren't were kind of stretching it. I briefly considered posting them and making fun of them, but quickly realized I would prefer not to join in the fun-poking.

So... I watched my new favorite movie again:

I'll try for inspiration again tomorrow. For now I will watch Dr. Horrible attempt to join the Evil League of Evil.

*Hagrid says "summat" instead of "something" and I tend to follow the WWHS (What Would Hagrid Say?) idealogy.  Read an article regarding Hagrid's accent here.

Monday, August 2, 2010


Thanks goes out to N.O., S.C., S.M., L.E.,  and my pops for donations and suggestions regarding flash-drivey-ness.

Special thanks to L.E. for donations of pens and keychains and paperclips.  We will use them in good health.

We are a village.  Or... we are the world.  Or... yeah.  Thanks.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Classroom Prep Time

This Caped Site Lead has turned back into this Caped Teacher and is preparing her classroom for a new year.  School starts painfully early this year and there was not a lot of transition time.  Teachers spend a huge amount of time in their rooms and many spend much of their own time, money, and energy making it a good place to be.

My theme this year focuses on the colors of my school--green, black and white.  I found this border at Frog Street Press.  It was perfect except for that pesky pink and black part.  So... I cut off the pink.  Yes, it took a long time to cut a band of pink off of 144 feet 216 feet of border, but it looks great!!!  I know I'm a little obsessive, but my eyes are happy when I see it along the many feet of black background paper I put up. It was worth it.*

I found these coordinating pieces as well, but did not buy them.  I made myself a deal that I would only spend $100 on my classroom this year, and I have already nearly doubled that on academic materials.  So... these pretty pieces had to stay in the online shopping basket:

I did stumble on a conundrum while I was poking about the online store, however.  This set looked good for a minute...

It is called the Zebra Create and Decorate.  I had to wonder, though, why there are alligators in the Zebra Create and Decorate package.  Don't Zebras and alligators fight or something?  So, I emailed and asked.  I just wanted to know, you know?  Surprisingly, they did not answer.  Ah well.  

Anyhoo, I might take some photos of the room when it is done up. As I'm sure you are holding your breath for the big reveal, I will try to hurry.

* Note--I have to admit, I only cut 144 feet of it myself.  The other 72 feet were cut by the office manager at one of my Summer School sites.  She was bored and did it for me.  I just can't pretend I did the whole thing by myself.  That would be rude.