Friday, February 12, 2016


this week it's my turn at Unicorn Bell. I'm discussing weekly bloghops you may be unfamiliar with. I'd love it if you'd stop by and say hi.

There was a lesson plan. The 7th graders were going to watch videos. It was a Friday, so a completely reasonable assignment.

The equipment was there. I logged into the computer. (It's all done via computer and projected onto a screen nowadays.) And then I went looking for the videos.

They weren't there.

I didn't panic. I figured someone would be by to help me out. Usually, when a teacher hasn't left something, it's because she's contacted a teaching buddy who will come by and have the thing I need.

Class started, and... Nothing. Um...

The class informed me that the teacher usually found her videos via YouTube. I searched... Again, nothing.

So, I made do. We played the game. And things went pretty well. (For the record, their team names were: #SquadGoals, The Ipliers, The Cactus, and Team Alpha. The Cactus killed the competition.)

I stood at the door during the passing period before 4th period. One of the other science teachers happened by. She took one look at me... Oh, the look of horror on her face. She explained. She had forgotten to come by. The teacher had asked her to come by and get things set up for me.

Well, that explains it.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

New Rules

This week it's my turn at Unicorn Bell. I'm discussing weekly bloghops you may be unfamiliar with. I'd love it if you'd stop by and say hi.

Integrated Math 1. Basically, this class used to be called Algebra 1, but the district has changed some things... Anyway, they had a worksheet, and most of them were doing it.

In the lesson plan, the teacher had designated the assignment as classwork/homework. Which meant that when they asked if it was homework, I hedged. "Get as much done in class as you can." Because, from experience, I knew this was coming...

Halfway through the period, I found a girl with an empty desk. Nothing on it. Not even the assignment. Where was her assignment? In her backpack. Why?

"Because I'm going to do it for homework."

And I lost it.

I didn't go all screaming banshee or anything. This wasn't the first time I'd encountered this. It probably wasn't even the 100th time. But I'm done with this game.

There's always one. Usually more. He or she puts the assignment away because "it's homework", and we get into a debate. It's technically classwork. What is not finished in class may become homework. But that's not the way they see it.

They see it as getting a free period to do nothing. And to get that "free period", they'll give me any sort of crazy excuse. They like homework. They'll be bored at home. Their parents "need" to see them doing work at home. Seriously, they trot these out every time.

And when they have nothing to do in class, they get into all sorts of mischief... (The mischief keeps this blog in stories.)

I'm done with the excuses. The debate. So, my response to the girl was an announcement to the class. I was collecting the work at the end of the period.

She immediately got her worksheet out and got to work.

And I realized I had a winner. The rest of the day, I explained the situation. It was classwork. What they didn't finish in class was homework. But, if any one of them (and it only had to be one) put the assignment away (incomplete--some actually do finish) and told me they'd "do it for homework", I'd collect everyone's assignment at the end of the period.

You know what? Not a one of them gave me the "I'll do it for homework" excuse. Score!

Of course, some of them didn't put any writing on those assignments...

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Not Staying Here

This week it's my turn at Unicorn Bell. I'm discussing weekly bloghops you may be unfamiliar with. I'd love it if you'd stop by and say hi.

English class. At the continuation high school. They had a paragraph to write in response to an article they read. As per normal, some worked while others... well... they had the work out on their desks...

"...When you're in the back of a police car, you know they drive all like..." and he mimicked sliding from side to side.

The four boys discussed not-the-assignment in a volume more appropriate for a busy restaurant. The stuff they discussed... Cops and not giving cops information. Getting arrested. Drugs.

I informed them that they had an assignment. That they were talking too much. Too loudly. That they needed to get on task. Which they ignored. Even while I stood there, hovering.

The next day, I had these classes again. Their teacher, who was nearby at a meeting/training/whatever, was there setting up before the school day, and we discussed how things went. Harrison and his group were well known to her. Considering how little attention they paid to my instructions, she thought it'd be a good idea to have them "work" elsewhere. In the principal's office.

The class arrived. Of the four boys, two were absent. One sat away from Harrison (the loudest of the group). And Harrison found another boy (who I had had in a different class and I knew to be just as loud and obnoxious as Harrison) to sit next to.

I got class started. Which Harrison ignored. He was up and walking around. Talking loudly to the other boy. Talking over my instructions to the rest of the class.

Once the rest of the class was settled with the assignment for the day, I had time to deal with Harrison. I approached. I explained that he was to take his stuff and go and work in the principal's office for the period. (As the other boy was at least making a pretense of working, I decided to let him be.)

He wasn't having it. Oh, he howled. I "hadn't warned him". It "wasn't fair". They "weren't doing anything wrong". He refused to budge.

Well, I wasn't letting him stay in class. I could tell that this day would be a repeat of the previous one. And I didn't want to hear any of it.

So, I explained he had a choice. He could go, now. Or I could call the principal and have him escort Harrison out. And I wasn't bluffing. I would have done it.

But Harrison finally relented. And left.

Ah, the peace. It was lovely. The rest of the class got really, really quiet (even though I wasn't concerned if there was a little talking).

Harrison did return a couple times. To ask questions. About the assignment. It was clear from what I saw that he was actually making progress. Which was more than he had done the previous day.

So, success. Sort of. At least, I hope he got his work done.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Naming Rights

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 ;)

I just had this dream, and I woke up with this question. Don't ask about the dream. Like most of my dreams, it was disjointed, weird, and defied description. But I don't mind, because the what if I was going to use this week was pretty pitiful.

What if the name your partner picked for your child was the name of a nemesis of yours? But, you have to use it, because that name is linked to something big--like it's a family name and/or it's tied to a very large inheritance.

(In my dream, it was a full name--first, middle, and last. Or something like that. The details have gone a bit murky.)

Also, this week it's my turn at Unicorn Bell. I'm discussing weekly bloghops you may be unfamiliar with. I'd love it if you'd stop by and say hi.

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Few Things...

This week, I'm also over at Unicorn Bell. I found a couple weekly reading and writing bloghops you may not be familiar with.

Normally, I'd do blog tours, but... um... well, I kind of wasn't aware my week was imminent until it was on top of me, so to speak. But, my next week is April 4-8, so if any of you have a book to promote, let me know.

In other news, I have a pair of fingerless texting gloves/mittens that are up at my Etsy shop...

Lacy Fingerless Texting Gloves--80s Inspired Handknit Gauntlets
Lacy Fingerless Texting Gloves
...that are getting no views. Nada. Which means I'm doing something wrong. But I'm not sure what. 

So, I have a couple questions for all of you. What would you call these things? I've been calling them lacy fingerless gloves, but that isn't getting them found. And secondly, does the picture detract from these gauntlets in any way? (And if you see anything else that I could fix, let me know.) 

I finally finished the hat from two weeks ago. It didn't quite work out. Although, it might look good on a child. Back to the drawing board. 

And since I've been showing off my backdrop as it's grown from...

...this... this...

This week, it's... 

...this big.
It measures about 20 inches long now. So, progress. 

Do you know of any good bloghops? How are your projects going?

Friday, February 5, 2016

Find Your Hogwarts House

Last week was finals week. And things... Well... I just didn't get very much material to work with. Good for me work-wise, but sad for the blog.

Luckily, I found this quiz from Entertainment Weekly (via Facebook--I find the majority of my quizzes via Facebook).

Harry Potter Sorting Hat Quiz: Find Your Hogwarts House

Yup, if you want to find what house you'd be sorted into, this is the quiz for you.  

Me? Well, I'm rather shocked to have gotten...


I'm curious. What house did you get?

Thursday, February 4, 2016

A Student's Lament

I mentioned yesterday that I got to administer finals to a 9th grade English class. The teacher also taught honors classes. If you're unfamiliar with the term--honors are classes that are a bit more academically rigorous. Meaning, the classes tend to be filled with students who are a bit more... well, easier to work with.

The "regular" classes got The Wizard of Oz for their final. The honors classes had just finished reading Lord of the Flies, so the first part of their final was to watch the movie version.

Then they had a writing prompt...

They... Well, they hated the movie. This boy's paper was right on top, and some of what he said made me laugh. He didn't mince words...

And I just love this. He included a P.S...

(You can click on these to make them larger.)

This is why I hate showing videos to classes. I don't care if it's the best thing ever put to film. They'll hate it.

(By the way, he complained that the 12-year-old characters looked 7. No, they didn't. They looked 12. At least, they looked 12 to me.)