Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Blank Slate

It's Tuesday, so it's time for my weekly random question...

Last week as part of the Liebster Award, I asked my nominees for a "what if" question. Romi C. from In the Way Everlasting came up with this one, and I'm shamelessly stealing it. (Please stop by Romi's blog to thank her for the wonderful question.)

What if you woke up one morning and you discovered you had become invisible? 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Passing Notes

It was Friday at the continuation high school. A group of students in the back far corner weren't doing a heck of a whole lot, but the conversation was fairly benign. 

The period ended. They left. I did a quick sweep of the room to pick up loose papers and pencils when a page caught my eye.

It was left where that group had been sitting. And it makes no sense. Neither side.

"I Feel like we look like them 'the city'!"
I mean, it wasn't like they were silent. Why they needed to write this stuff down, I have no idea. 

Just when I'd given up on the future of the human race, I spied a notebook from the same class.

I have no idea what the rest of the second thing is supposed to be (besides the anarchy symbol), but the first statement is rather well put. 

Of course, he would have spent his time better, oh, I don't know, perhaps doing the assignment for class.

Ah well. It was Friday, after all.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The F-Word

For #ThrowbackThursday, I'm offering something from November 10, 2009.

Same class today as yesterday. We're still reading Animal Farm.

It was 3rd period. One girl had a wad of tissue on her desk. She was coughing and she looked miserable. She had been absent yesterday. She probably should have stayed home today.

I don't remember why I said it. I'm sure something prompted it. I asked if she was sure she didn't have the flu.

The class was rather loud. Everyone was talking. So, I was surprised when the room went silent after I said it.

A couple students glanced sideways at her. I saw a boy go for the hand sanitizer (every class has a bottle of the stuff now). No one got too close.

Well, I guess we're all being careful. Even the teenagers.

I'm trying to recall why exactly we were so flu paranoid then. Was this when the flu vaccine was in short supply? Or was there a particularly virulent outbreak? Or both? I'm not sure where to look this up, so help me out, please. This was the fall/winter of 2009. Why were we so worried?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Liebster Award Part 2

A couple weeks ago I was awarded the Liebster Award by Charity. I started the post, but I didn't finish it. That is, I didn't nominate my recipients.

I had planned to finish it the next week, but my move got all in my face, and things went awry... Well, today I'm going to finish this thing. First, a recap of the rules:

The Liebster Award exists only on the internet, and is given to bloggers by other bloggers. It pays tribute to new blogs, or blogs with a follower count of less than 1,000–including Twitter. The word “liebster” is German in origin and has several definitions, including but not limited to: dearest, sweetest, kindest, pleasant, endearing, lovely, cute, nicest, valued and welcome.

The rules:
  1. Link back to the blog that nominated you. (Charity)
  2. Answer questions that your nominator has set for you.
  3. Share 11 random facts about yourself.
  4. Nominate 5-11 blogs that have less than 1,000 followers to receive this award. (Remember, this includes Twitter.)
  5. Create 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
  6. Contact your nominees and let them know you have nominated them. 
My nominees:
  1. Betty at A Bench With a View
  2. Birgit at BB Creations
  3. Romi C. at In the Way Everlasting
  4. Lisa at My Sweet Peanut
  5. Pinky Poinker
  6. And everyone else reading this post. You all deserve it. 
Questions for my Nominees:
  1. Have you ever noticed how JJ Abrams likes the number 47? Or how the answer to life, the universe, and everything is 42? Certain people identify with certain numbers. I already admitted to having an affinity for 11. What is your signature number?
  2. Back in January, TIME magazine published an article on bad passwords. (I managed to find this again to illustrate a point while having a conversation with some juniors at the end of the last school year. They argued that a bad password was great protection as no hacker would try these anymore. I disagreed.) Have you ever used a "bad password"? Did you think it was good, or did you just need something easy? 
  3. What time did you go to bed last night?
  4. What's the last movie you went out to see in a movie theater?
  5. As you all know, Tuesdays are my "what if" question days. And I'm running a bit low on ideas. What's the best "what if" question you can come up with? (Or come up with a mediocre one. I'm kind of desperate.)
  6. Where are your car keys right now?
  7. Donna's New Day links to a random quiz on Sundays, and a couple weeks ago she found a quiz from the Oxford English Dictionary on finding the best new word for you. (They recently added a bunch of words.) Take the quiz (either frivolous or serious, or both if you're feeling adventurous), and give us your new word.
  8. Are you right or left-handed?
  9. Are you with me in the cult of Doctor Who? (Are you watching the new season?) Who's your favorite Doctor?
  10. If I were to offer to knit you something (anything) you'd like, what would you request?
  11. Besides blogging, what's your favorite social media outlet (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.)?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

A Strange Sounding Name

It's Tuesday, so it's time for my weekly random question...

I always thought that Alexis was a girl's name. But over the last few years, I've learned differently. Now, more often than not, when I encounter an Alexis in class, the Alexis is a he (of Latino descent). And the other day this got me to thinking.

What if you ended up in a foreign place where your name doesn't mean what you've always thought it meant (like it belongs to a different gender or it sounds silly to the others in this new place)?

Thursday, August 21, 2014


This week for #ThrowbackThursday is a reminder why I do not like to cover opportunity classes. These are the classes that students end up in due to behavior issues (and it doesn't help that they need to make up credits). This post originally appeared on July 21, 2010.

Yesterday's two students today grew to five. Only Santiago returned. Carlos was mysteriously absent. And the dynamics of the room completely changed.

To start off the day, I had three students who refused to do any work. They sat and talked. (At least they weren't doing anything worse.) Eventually, they got the first assignment packet done (I warned them that it would be done or they would be working outside until it was done). Then, since it was the first day for two of them, I asked them to copy the class rules and daily schedule.

They didn't have to think. They didn't have to answer questions. All they had to do was to copy already written out stuff onto a sheet of paper. It should have taken them five minutes tops. But they were having none of it.

Diego wanted to look something up on the Internet. Either Santiago or the other boy told Diego of this video or something. Diego wanted to see it. So, he set up a computer.

The computer had been disconnected for the summer. I didn't touch it. Diego spent a good 20 minutes finding the right wires, connecting things, and turning the computer on. It took a while for it to boot up. But then he needed a password to log on, and that's where I had him.

Diego asked me to log on to the computer. I told him I would as soon as he finished copying the classroom rules and daily schedule.

Oh, the whining. He begged and pleaded for me to log on. I repeated what I wanted. He sat and complained. So, instead of taking the five minutes to do as I asked, he spent a half hour trying to wear me down and get what he wanted.

Finally, he figured that he was getting nowhere with me, and he was ready to copy the classroom rules. But they were written in cursive, and he couldn't read cursive (oh, the horror!). I told him that one of his friends could read the rules to him so that he could write them down. Somehow, they managed to waste more time on that.

Then, Santiago offered to let Diego copy his copy (he printed). Diego was done in moments. Then he asked me to log on to the computer again. I reminded him that he still had one more thing to copy--the daily schedule. He wailed. I hadn't told him that!

I knew he was going to do that. I had been careful to say, "copy the class rules and daily schedule," every time I said it for just that reason. He only battled me for a couple minutes before he finally relented and copied the daily schedule.

True to my word, I logged on for him (after I checked to make sure that the copies were done). Unfortunately, he was unable to find the thing he was looking for.

All that drama for Internet access, and he couldn't even find whatever it was that the boys told him about. I think I enjoyed that failure a little too much.

I did see Diego after this in non-opportunity classes. He actually matured a bit and was less of an issue in a regular classroom.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Ditching to PE

It was Friday at the continuation high school. Fridays are even more laid back than the rest of the week. The students expect to do little to nothing...

(Well, many of the students do little to nothing on a regular basis. It's how they ended up at the continuation high school in the first place. If they were more academically inclined, they wouldn't be in the position of making up the credits that they should have gotten in classes they already took.)

Basically, most of the teachers reserve Fridays as the makeup day. That is, the students have the day to finish any work they didn't complete during the week. But, of course, when there's a sub, they all claim to have finished the assignments.

So, it was 4th period, and one of the other classes on campus that period is PE. (I was covering the science class.) Mr. K lets students join his PE class on Fridays sometimes, so when a couple students asked if they could join his class, I said they could. Provided that Mr. K didn't mind them being there.

Five minutes later, Mr. K returned the students to class. Well, that's pretty clear to me. They weren't welcome. So, I told them to stay in class, and I passed out their extra credit assignment.

But three boys weren't having it.

"I've got to...um...see my counselor..."

And he left before I could tell him no. Because that ploy wasn't very obvious.

I went through and did a head count against my roll call. I was missing three students. Sure enough, they had somehow gone back to PE...

Really? They don't think I'll notice?

(Although, if I had managed to keep them in class, they probably would have spent the period being difficult. That's what usually happens.)