Friday, January 30, 2015

Don't Go BOOM

I saw this Mental Floss quiz in my Facebook feed. And I had to try it. I got 4 states in...and BOOM! Lost.

Let me explain. You start out at South Carolina, and then you need to name a state that borders it. Don't worry, you're given a hint. The first letter of the next state.

But there's a catch. If you guess wrong, it's game over.

I can't let such things lie, so I went back and tried again. A few times. Eventually, I got through the whole thing. (OK, I cheated a little. I did consult a United States map. But only for a few of them.)

You have 5 minutes. You hit the play button, and then you're typing in the box at the top of the screen. You don't need to worry about capitalizing, but your spelling should be fairly close. Once you've completed typing in the state's name, you don't have to hit enter or anything--the quiz will either accept it or go BOOM on you.

Good luck...

Name the Next Bordering State

Did you make it all the way through?

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Game

I was not looking forward to this assignment. I had managed to avoid it the previous day, but this day I was not so lucky.

8th grade math. And the class was... not good. Not good at all.

So, when 1st period (which was going to be with me for 2nd period as well) finished the assignment, I knew I needed to do something with them so they didn't go crazy. I just happened to know of a little game that might work.

I learned that the best way to conduct the game is to let the class get into teams. Each team gets one spokesperson for their turns. And I let each team name themselves. The names...

The final tally...
Seriously, the names! Turns out that SMA means something not appropriate for school, which I now know but didn't at the time (look it up on Urban Dictionary if you're curious, but it's NSFW), but the rest of the names are just... 

In case you can't read my writing, they are: Rainbow Unicorns of Awesomeness, Sidemen, LlamaCorns, and Sneakerheads. The girls in Sneakerheads were oh so close several times to getting a point, but they missed it by thatmuch. Until they finally gave up.

In the end the game lasted too long, but at least it gave us something to do. You should never give 8th graders free time. Just a little tip from me to you.  

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Hope for the Future

Middle school. Special ed. English class.

They have this thing they do daily. They are given two sentences that have errors in them, and they are to find the errors and correct them. This day's sentence:
their were many people comeing to visit.
"Get rid of the E."

"Capitalize the T."

"That's the wrong 'there'."

And I breathed a huge sigh of relief. I didn't even have to prompt them and they found it. Easily.

See, Internet people. Middle schoolers in special ed can identify which there/their/they're is correct. Why can't the rest of you?

(I don't mean the readers of this blog. You all get it correct. I'm talking about those other commenters out there or those on Facebook who continually get it wrong.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Created by Aliens?

At the heart of much speculative fiction (and fiction in general) is a question. What if? On Tuesdays I like to throw one out there and see what you make of it. Do with it as you please. If a for-instance is not specified, feel free to interpret that instance as you wish. And if you find this becomes a novel-length answer, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements ;)

This week our question comes to us via one of my oldest blogging buddies (and fellow moderator over at Unicorn Bell), Charity Bradford...

How would you react if you learned the earth and humans were created by aliens--aliens that live all around us, look just like us? More importantly, would you marry one of them if he or she said the future of your world depended on it?

Thank you, Charity. And make sure to check out Charity's newest book, which has just gone live...

Fade Into Me

Caeden Frey doesn't believe humans will evolve to see the magic, much less control it. Even so, he has two months to marry a human or face the wrath of the High Council. Bitter about a responsibility he thinks prevents him marrying for love, he figures any human girl will do. He’s ready to propose when his soul mate stumbles into—and right out of—his arms.

Human, Ryanne Killian might be Caedan's one shot at happiness while still fulfilling his duty. Unfortunately, she guards a dark secret. She’s determined to push Caedan away to protect him from her past.

Caedan must convince her she’s worthy of his love before a rival family puts an end to his wedding plans. If she can see her own worth, she just might save herself and his people.

Buy it in Print
Buy it for Kindle


Monday, January 26, 2015

Some Housekeeping

Hiya. That's me, keeping my head down. Sort of.

This week I'm trying an experiment over at Unicorn Bell. You know Unicorn Bell. It's that writers' blog that I'm a part of. Occasionally. Please stop by and let me know what you think.

I've also heard that today is the day that the April A to Z Challenge sign ups begin. I'd link to it and all, but I write these posts ahead of time, so there are no links to link to. Yet. But the plan is to sign up early this year as I plan on participating (although that might change if things get too hectic on my end).

I'm not sure when the day to reveal your theme is, but since it'll be business as usual here, I don't see any reason to hold that back. There'll still be what if Tuesdays (X falls on a Tuesday this year, so look forward to that what if), some #ThrowbackThursdays, the occasional random quiz Friday, but mostly, it'll be all about the #subfiles.

We're supposed to give advice to those joining the challenge for the first time, so I'll reveal my secret.

My #subfiles posts are left to chance, but the days seem to cooperate with the letter of the day. *knocks wood* I've been incredibly lucky that way. But I don't write them daily. I write them a week in advance, spending the week plotting and planning. And figuring out how to shoehorn the day to fit the letter.

I also have a backup plan. If things go horribly awry, I have another post waiting. Just in case.

So, please stop by Unicorn Bell today. And the rest of this week. I'll be ever so grateful. And make sure to sign up for the A to Z Challenge if you are so inclined. See you there.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Sounds Like

7th grade world history. They were working on a project about China.

A student asked if he could look something up on his phone. He needed to find an image of something so he could draw it for his project. (They were creating "scrolls" of Chinese inventions.) So, once I said yes to one, I had to say yes to the rest of them.

Surprisingly, they all used their phones for their assignment. (Well, mostly. There was the incident of the boy who took an unauthorized picture of a girl...) They were looking up maps. They were looking up images...

One boy gave Siri a query: "Images of ships."

Siri gave him images of chips.

The boy was not happy. Others in the class chimed in on how hit and miss Siri can be. I figured the room had a bit too much noise for Siri to make out what the boy was asking. So, I suggested that the boy emphasize the "sh" sound...

The boy didn't get images of ships. But what he got images of did start with sh...

(I really should have seen this one coming.)

"Who takes pictures of their poop?"

Who indeed?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

And Then a Miracle Occurred

It was a bad, bad day. Algebra readiness. These classes were filled with freshmen who were not ready for algebra. And many were not fans of math anyway.

2nd period came in like a herd of wild elephants. They were loud. Wouldn't let me get a word in edgewise (and I was supposed to go over notes with them). And they thought it was fun to play around. Throwing paper at each other. Screeching.

I keep a tally of the number of times I have to stop and get their focus back. (I leave that number for the teacher.) It was north of 20.

So, typical freshmen. And I knew my day was going to be very, very long.

3rd period was pretty much the same.

I wasn't expecting much from 4th period. I started off the period by explaining that I had a bunch of stuff to go over with them (the notes were on scientific notation), and if they would help me out by paying attention while I did that, they could talk afterwards.

I got into the meat of the lesson...and the class settled. One student even commented on how quiet the class was.

I held my breath. I crossed my fingers. And somehow they remained settled for the entirety of the lesson.

A miracle.

Too bad 5th and 6th periods went crazy. At least I had a period of not-so-bad.