Monday, October 23, 2017

Fixed It

Last week I revealed the first block of the project I'm calling the Russian Poncho.


And I mentioned that I made a mistake. It's a subtle difference, but one that was kinda bothering me. (I'm not posting the picture from Pinterest of the pattern as I don't know the copyright, but you can check it out via the link.)

Well, I fixed it. Here's the updated version...


Look at the outer rounds. It's visible in that purple band between the bands of teal. See it?

I think it makes a big difference. And it wasn't a big correction to make. I even managed to complete a second block this week...


So, progress.

What did you make progress on last week?

Friday, October 20, 2017

A Forced Computer Restart


Friday was a weird day. I got what is called a "roving" assignment. It was a training day for the English teachers. But instead of having them out all day, they split the group in half so half were out for the first half of the day while the other half were out for the second. And since the teacher I was covering the first half of the day had a 1st period prep, I was sent elsewhere for that period.

Which is why when I walked into the class I was covering 2nd period, I was not surprised to find the computer set up with the class' assignment.

The class had vocabulary words to copy down. This is something they do every day. All I had to do was turn on the projector.

Well, ideally that's how it would have worked out.

When I got into the room, I found a countdown clock on the computer. I had less than ten minutes before it was going to shut down.

I know this drill. The computer uploads updates. Then it tells you it needs to shut down. But you can postpone that. So, that's what I did. I told the computer to postpone shutting down for four hours.

Only, that didn't stop the countdown clock. Nothing would stop the countdown clock. I tried the exit button. I tried CTRL-ALT-DEL. I tried the escape button. I clicked on everything I could. But the countdown clock kept ticking away.

The only other trick I know is to shut down the computer. Which is what it was going to do anyway.

Unfortunately, it was going to take the vocabulary words with it. And I didn't have the teacher's log in, so when the computer restarted, I would not be able to access the teacher's files.

Ah, technology...

In the end, I could not stop the forced shut down. The students had maybe five minutes of the eight to ten that they needed to copy down the words. And with no other choice, I then just started them on the assignment for the rest of the period.

It was a freshman class, so I had the usual freshman problems. The teacher's computer finished restarting. And then I could log in to the computer under my log in.

And it turned out that the teacher had a back up for me. She had printed out the words (as well as the words for the next class), and her document camera was connected. So, I set that up, and about halfway through the class, we were able to complete the vocabulary that should have been done at the start.

Better late than never.

With that technical difficulty out of the way, I had no issues with the computer for the next class.

These are the joys of subbing. Unexpected issues always seem to crop up.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

All Subs


Tuesday and Thursday of last week I covered a "severe" special ed. class.

Rather than go into a long-winded explanation of what that means, let me reference some previous posts. Two weeks ago, I wrote about the class that these kiddos will go into once they've aged out of the high school. And I pretty much had the same group at the end of the school year when they were still in middle school (so, June 2016). (In fact, Kenya, Brittany, and the boy Kenya had a crush on were all in this class.)

Tuesday things went pretty well. And if that's all there was to the story, this wouldn't have made the blog. I figured Thursday would go similarly. In fact, when I arrived, the lesson plan for Thursday was pretty much identical to Tuesday's. (The math problems were of the same type, but different examples. The grammar lesson had different questions. The reading assignment was a different page. But otherwise, we did the exact same thing.)

But when class started, I was all alone with the class.

These types of classes always have instructional aides. The IAs know everything, and I lean on them heavily. This class was supposed to have two IAs with me in first period. And yet...

Luckily, I knew the drill as it was the same as it had been for Tuesday. We did their "journal" (which was a math problem... a story for another day). And then it was time to deliver coffee exactly the way they had done on Tuesday.

About the time we were getting ready to leave, an IA showed up saying that she had been sent to fill in. And while we were delivering the coffee, another sub arrived to help out. (He was actually a substitute teacher like me. The class he was supposed to cover turned out to not need a sub.)

By second period I had full IA coverage. But, opposite what's usually the case on these days, I was the one who knew what was going on in the class and I was directing the others in what to do.

Somehow we got through the day. (I did have one regular IA, but she worked the last three periods.)

When I was getting the assignments for this week, the sub caller almost gave me a different teacher for Thursday. When I realized that I could cover the same teacher on Thursday as I did on Tuesday, I made sure to request that placement. I shudder to think what would have become of another sub walking into this without the backup I had had on Tuesday (with IAs who guided me through the day).

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Punishment, Unusual and a Little Cruel


In the first year of high school math, certain students who are struggling are given an extra period of what is called "math support". All the struggling students. Together. In one period.

This is how difficult classes are constructed.

But, I had two things going for me on this day. One: I had fair warning from the teacher himself and his co-teacher (who had taught all the previous classes that day). Warning and support. And two: another teacher "helped out" (read: did all the work) with the class.

One of the warnings I got was a little trick the teachers used to keep the class in line. Turning on the air conditioning was contingent upon the class' behavior.

I know many parts of the U.S. are getting into fall temperatures. However, I'm in southern California. On this day, our high was projected to be in the upper seventies. (Roughly 25 C.) With it being a sunny and warm day, and us being in a classroom with no open windows, the room got fairly warm. I had been running the a/c all day.

But, with the warning, I turned off the a/c before this class came in. (This class was immediately after lunch.)

Class got started. The other teacher who "helped out" showed up. (There was some question as to whether or not she'd be there on this day. As it sounds like she's doing this extra on her own time, I wouldn't have blamed her for not coming in.) I passed out their assignment, and they got to work.

Slowly, the temperature in the room crept up. And someone asked me to turn on the a/c.

The other teacher then used the a/c to her advantage. She informed the class that everyone had to complete two problems before she'd turn on the a/c. Several students had completed way more than two problems, but several others hadn't even written their names on their paper.

It took at least five minutes (maybe ten) before the stragglers finally finished their two problems.

I was urging them on. I run warm generally, and I was already dripping sweat. (This is normal for me.)

The class was still loud. Several only got those two problems done. But, that class could have gone a whole lot worse. I'm going to have to consider using the a/c to my advantage in the future.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Skipping Lunch


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 😉

What if we didn't need to eat?

Monday, October 16, 2017

Updating Pictures, Part 5

Another Monday. More pictures.

I have now got a backlog of pictures to sort through. This is a good thing. Now I just have to sit myself down and make the time...

This week I retook the pictures of my Halloween projects from a couple years ago. I made small amigurumi pumpkins, and then with puffy paint I made one a jack-o-lantern...


And then, of course, is the spider...


One of these years I'll get a whole bunch of critters made for Halloween. But when I should be working on them (August), I tend to be distracted by other things. Ah well.

Finally, I got working on the poncho that I talked about a few weeks back. The first panel is finally done. (And now that I went back to look at the original, I see a big mistake I made. Oops.)


This has taken me way too long to do. Not that it's all that hard. I just haven't been doing much crocheting (or knitting) lately. My usual yarn time keeps getting usurped by my desire to go to sleep early. I figure time will open up in the not too distant future. I hope.

(Pattern for the poncho is the link to the pin above. Here's the link to the pattern for the spider. And here's the link to the pattern for the amigurumi pumpkin.)

Friday, October 13, 2017

Friday and 13


It's Friday the 13th. The second and last one of the year. (In any given year there will be at least one, but never more than three. If there are three, they will be in February, March, and November. Unless it's a leap year, and then they'll be in January, April, and July. And they occur when a month starts--the 1st is--on a Sunday.)

Enough random calendar information...

Anyway, as last week was rather light on blog-worthy subbing incidents (good for my sanity, not so much for the blog), it's time for another random quiz Friday. And in honor of the day, I found a Friday the 13th quiz.

You can click the "prev" and "next" to skip around. If needed. This shouldn't be too difficult of a quiz. And if you can't work the embed, click on the link above.


Please let me know how you did in the comments 😎