Thursday, September 30, 2010

Just Kidding Around

Re-entry.  These are the students who aged out of the continuation high school.  They spend four hours in the afternoon/early evening working to finish their remaining credits so they can earn a high school diploma. 

It's a nice change of pace.  The teacher is rarely out--so rarely that it's been more than a year since I last covered this class. 

The main group of students arrived.  They went to get their folders.  One student couldn't find his.  He went to the instructional assistant (IA) for help. 

"The reason you can't find your folder is because I took it.  You've been dropped from the class.  Too many absences." 

The student was shocked.  He couldn't speak.  He looked for words to explain... 

"Gotcha," the IA said.  "I'm kidding." 

Turned out that his folder had been put in backwards, so I saw it from the back.  The student was relieved.  The IA told him that he should have seen his face. 

After two hours, they get a 15 minute break.  If they do not return from the break on time, they don't get to return to class.  When all the students should have been back, we noticed that one student was missing.  He walked back into class five minutes late. 

The student said that he didn't realize that it was time to return.  The other IA told me that he was never late, was always on task, and was never a problem.  What to do? 

The first IA opened it up to a class vote.  Should he be allowed to stay?  They voted to keep him in class, so he stayed. 

This is a great class to cover.  These students (I don't call them kids because they are all over 18) are focused on getting done and graduating (late, but late is better than never).  It makes for an easy day. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bounces Off Walls

There are certain things that make me uncomfortable.  So, yesterday, when Nate came into 7th period, went over to the teacher's desk, and took a dry erase marker, I was alert.  No one is supposed to go near the teacher's area, especially when my stuff is there. 

Nate began drawing on the white board.  I told him to stop.  He ignored me.  He finished his drawing. 

The first thing I did was to erase the drawing.  Nate seemed to think that I was dissing him.  I needed the board to do math examples (as I was instructed to do in the lesson plan). 

One of the other students asked Nate why he bothered to show up to school.  Nate said that if he didn't, he'd have to go back to court.  My thought was, "Oh great, he's one of those."  It was going to be a long period. 

Nate wouldn't sit still.  Doing work was out of the question.  He cracked jokes that weren't funny.  At least, I hope they were just jokes.  I don't think he actually had done meth before coming to class (although, I did include that in my note, just in case). 

Instead of feeding his need for attention, I focused on the other students.  There were a couple other minor dramas going on.  Nate settled a little.

Amazingly, many of the students in class completed their work.  I was assured that Nate was acting as Nate always acted.  They were used to his antics, and had learned to tune him out (or rather, they were entertained by him). 

Near the end of the period, Nate started taking books out of the bookshelf.  It looked like he was going to straighten them.  I had a funny feeling about this.  The bell was due to ring any minute, and I could just picture Nate walking away from the books without putting them back.

I commented on this to Nate.  Mistake.  Nate put the books back worse than they had been on the shelf in the first place, leaving four books unshelved.  He was "punishing" me.

I was back at the continuation high school today in a class three doors down from this math teacher.  He assured me that Nate was doing nothing out of the ordinary yesterday.  (He has written him up numerous times to no effect.) 

Today also happened to be picture day.  I happened to be in the picture room when Nate's turn was up.  He tried to do something weird or disgusting when his picture was snapped.  The photographer caught it in time.  Apparently, this sort of thing happens to him a lot.

I wonder about students like Nate.  I wonder what's going to happen to them in the future.  Do they wake up and make something of themselves?  I hope so.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


I was back at the continuation high school today.  (I know, I practically live there.)  I was covering another math class. 

I went over the examples, and then I passed out their worksheets.  In second period, I had two students who refused to do the assignment.  They said they were finished with the class. 

At the continuation high school, this is a real possibility.  They may have earned all the credits they need for math, and they're waiting to switch into a class where they still need credits.  But I had instructions for them: "The students who have finished with their contract are responsible for doing the worksheet." 

The two boys in second period weren't having any of it.  They were done.  I explained what the lesson plan said.  They didn't believe me.  They wanted to see it. 

I have done this sort of thing before.  I pulled out the lesson plan, and I took it to them.  I pointed out where it said they were supposed to work on the worksheet anyway. 

They looked.  They read.  They tried to claim that the lesson plan wasn't from their teacher.  (Yeah, because I would go to all that trouble--typing the thing out, formatting it, and all.)  In the end, they had to admit that those were the instructions from their teacher. 

Did they then do the assignment?  Of course not.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Random Mistakes

There are days when I shouldn't be allowed to knit.  Yesterday was one of them.

Maybe it was the heat.  It was such a mild summer that the sudden warm up rattled my brains (although, I had the air conditioning on all day).  Or maybe I was just having a stupid day.

I'm knitting two scarves.  Lately, I discovered that it's a good idea to have two scarves going at the same time.  When one gets so annoying that I want to chuck it through a window, I can put it down and work on the other one.  So, yesterday I started with this lacy number...

sparkly scarf

Things were going great for a while.  This scarf is one where I have to constantly count to remember where I am in the pattern.  Then I got to the end of one row where I should have had three stitches, and I had four.

I tried counting back to figure out where I had made my error, but I couldn't find it.  I had to rip out the whole row and try again.  Luckily, the second time it came out.  I figured after that, it was time to put down the scarf and work on the other one...


This one doesn't need me to be so careful with the counting.  But I got to the end of one of those center diamonds to find that the numbers didn't come out right.  I should have had eight stitches, but I had only seven.  I had to rip out the whole diamond and start again.

It was time to put away the knitting after that.

At least I finally finished the dinosaur sweater.  It took me a few days to get around to photographing it, but here it is...

steggie front

And this is a back view (so you can see the hood)...

steggie back

Cute, isn't it?  Now I can't wait for December.  Hopefully, the weather will have cooled off by then.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Ye Old Cell Phone War

It was third period.  English class.  They were supposed to be finishing up a biographical essay.  Most of them were making a little progress.  Then I heard something fall to the floor.

I turned.  A boy's cell phone had fallen out of his pocket.  I don't confiscate cell phones that accidentally drop, but I do confiscate cell phones that are in use, so I watched as the boy picked up his cell phone.  He opened it.  He typed something.

I went over intending to confiscate the cell phone.  Clearly, the boy was now using it.

There was a girl sitting next to him.  She explained that he was just making sure that the cell phone hadn't broken when it fell.  I might have bought that excuse if the boy had only briefly looked at the cell phone.

"You never checked your cell phone when you were in high school?" the girl asked.

"No, I never did," I replied.

The girl was surprised.  She was sure that I had to by lying.  I must have glanced at my cell phone once or twice.

I was sure that someone would explain the situation.  I waited.  No one jumped in, so I explained.  I did not have a cell phone in high school.  No one had cell phones when I was in high school (except for maybe the ultra rich).

The boy then asked, "Did you have a pager?"

I walked away.  I didn't feel like explaining that pagers weren't in use by non-doctors when I was in high school.

So, of course, they won.  I forgot to confiscate the cell phone.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Second Guessing

It's been a slow week.  I'm going a little stir crazy.  (But then again, it's only September.  Things are sure to pick up in a couple weeks.)

This incident happened last Thursday.  It took me a couple days to process and decide that I was satisfied with how I handled the situation.  I feel comfortable talking about it now.  Also, I have no new stories, but I'm sure that's just temporary.

It was 4th period (of course).  Kayla and Evan (the student I'd been warned about) asked me if they could listen to their mp3 players.  The answer was a firm no.  But that wasn't good enough for them.  They explained that they did their work better if they were listening to music.

It is true--many times students listening to their music players tend to focus on their work and block out the rest of the class.  It mellows them out.  But the rules are clear, and the teacher left specific instructions that mp3 players were not to be used.

Evan wanted to know why.  He wanted to know what the argument against was so he could find a way around.  Because his teacher said no?  I didn't have to tell the teacher that I had allowed it.

It was later in the period.  I was back in front of Kayla and Evan, trying to get them to work.  Kayla told me that she heard music.  What?  I couldn't hear it?  It was coming from that direction.

It took me a little while to catch on.  Someone was listening to an mp3 player, and since I had been so adamant about not allowing them, I had to do something about it.  I knew that if I didn't, Kayla and Evan would have been all over it.

James was seated at his computer, doing his work.  Quietly.  He had been a good student all week.  I whispered in his ear that he needed to put away the mp3 player.  Next thing I knew, James was logging off the computer and packing up.  We had a good 20 minutes left of class, so I told James that he should still be working.

The room was pretty quiet.  When I told the instructional assistant about this later, she was surprised, as she hadn't noticed any of this.

James told me that he was angry, but he made it clear that he was not angry at me.  He didn't want to "go off" in class, so he was removing himself from the situation.  I walked away.

Evan's reaction belonged in a sitcom.  First, he threw his papers in the air.  Then he complained that if he had just done what James had done, he would have gotten into so much trouble.  Apparently, James had just cussed me out, spit on me, punched me in the stomach, and I wasn't even giving him a slap on the wrist as consequence.

Had I let James get away with something?  I thought James' reaction was very mature.  He could have exploded.  Instead, he went to the office to cool off.

It wasn't until Friday that I learned what had started that chain of events.  James' buyout had been denied by his 3rd period teacher.  He walked into 4th period upset already.

A buyout is permission for the students to miss Friday.  James' 3rd period teacher denied him the day off because he had been sleeping in class.  James thought that unfair.  Then he came into 4th period, and he had trouble figuring out the math.  My request to put away the mp3 player was the proverbial straw.

Because of Evan's reaction, I questioned whether or not I had done the right thing.  (I also made sure to include that whole incident in my report to the teacher.)  After mulling it over for a day, I decided that I wouldn't have done anything differently.  Evan was just being Evan.

Although, I do wonder.  Was there something I should have done differently?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Why Ninjas?

I used to have a MySpace account.  I started my blog there.  But after I had a few too many technical difficulties, I moved the blog here.  I have since closed the MySpace account.  I hate to lose all of my blogs from that time, so from time to time I'm going to repost them here. 

This one was originally posted on October 21, 2006.  I was covering three days between long-term subs.  The first long-term sub's assignment was up, but the next long-term sub couldn't start until the next week.  

The question asked them to describe how sugar dissolves in water.  It had nothing to do with ninjas.  

It was supposed to be a step-by-step write up, but since less than 1/4th of the class actually turned anything in, I was being generous.  If they made an effort and at least got in the ballpark, I gave points.  

Mostly the papers were on topic.  The answers were rather vague and undefined.  However, they were freshmen mostly, and I was only there for three days, so I didn't have a chance to school them on how to properly answer such questions. 

And then I got the paper on ninjas.  It went something like this: the ninjas attacked the sugar molecules while the water molecules fell to the sidewalk, shaking (wait, the sugar was quaking on the sidewalk while the ninjas attacked the water...oh, bother).  Then the ninjas used grenades to blow them all up, thereby combining them...  Oh, it was a mess.  I read it three times.  I laughed out loud.  

I did give him a couple points.  One for turning something in and one for making me laugh.  Like I said, I was being generous. 

The other paper I got from him also referenced ninjas, but by the time I graded that I was not as amused.  I'm not quite sure if he was just being cute, if he didn't have an answer, or if he thought that I wasn't going to read it.  Mistake.  

I graded all the work I assigned so that the next sub only had to deal with that which he assigned.  As it turned out, I didn't have all that much to grade.  

Friday, September 17, 2010

You Can't Win If You Don't Play

Today is Constitution Day.  I didn't know either.  But the school had an activity planned.

It was the second half of second period.  Over the PA, the office announced that we were having a scavenger hunt.  Each classroom was to appoint one runner.  They would ask a question, and each class would send the runner with the answer.  The winning class would win a pizza party.

It sounded like fun.  I asked for a volunteer to act as runner.

I had four students.  (It's a Friday.)  Not a one was willing to volunteer.  They weren't interested.  "We're not going to win anyway."

I thought that maybe after hearing the first question, I'd get someone interested.  One girl raised her hand.  She needed help with the math assignment.

At least the rest of the school had fun.  I could tell.  I could hear it all through our open door.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Growing Up

It was 3rd period, which is just after snack.  Snack was extended today (long story), so they had had a break of nearly a half hour.

On Monday, Jake just had to use the restroom right away.  As he had had all of snack to do that, I wasn't feeling like his need had to be all that dire.  Sure enough, after 10 minutes of class elapsed and I gave him a pass, he was no longer in a hurry to leave.  He finished up the problem he was on before going.

Today, the first thing he said to me was, "The bathrooms were locked, so I couldn' cocaine."

Very funny.

I've been waiting for an excuse to write about Jake.  The last time I had him in a class, that class was opportunity.  Last year, he aged out (turned 16) and was admitted to the continuation high school proper.  (Two posts where he's mentioned: Chasing a Raccoon and The Ringleader.)

Problem was, Jake hasn't done anything particularly post-worthy.  He started flirting with a girl.  She moved to sit next to him.  The instructional assistant caught them and moved the girl back.  End of story.

It's been like that all week.  Just when I think he's going to do something that'll make a good blog post, he doesn't.  He picks the responsible student option.  And he does his work.  Quietly.

I heard that once the opportunity students mainstream back into regular classes, they lose some of their attitude.  It's nice to see that this is true.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010


Today started like yesterday and Monday.  First period I took roll, and then I sent the students to their computers.

The log on process takes a bit of time.  They have to log on, get on the Internet, find their book, find their section, and then they get started.  I've found that I can get a few things done (such as marking the roll) before it's time for me to hover.

Today, once it was time for me to hover, I noticed that about half the computer screens were blue.  (One teacher called it "the blue screen of death".)  They had been blue since the students logged on, and they weren't gaining any icons.  Only four students managed to get to the math program.

I'm tech savvy enough to know CTRL + ALT + Delete.  Nothing.  I manually shut down the computers and then booted them back up (not wise, but when the whole thing freezes...).  Still nothing.  I was out of tricks.

The instructional assistant arrived, so I sent her in search of the tech guy.  She returned with the info that the school servers were down, and the whole school was affected.

That's the problem with relying on technology.  When it breaks...

As it turned out, the students had limited access.  All of period 1, we dealt with trying to get something to work.  By period 2, the log on issues had been figured out, and what we were left with was what the students could and couldn't access.  (The blue screens of death?  After 20 minutes, they were replaced with the standard desktop icons.)  Some sections wouldn't load, but some would.

Then fourth period came in.  I explained the situation.  I got arguments.

Fourth period is the challenging period.  (Every teacher has one.)  Most of the students have been working diligently.  But Kayla and about four others make it difficult for the rest of us.

I managed to get most of the issues worked out.  Some of that was giving students books and having them work on paper.  However, the students who had been playing around took advantage of the computer issues.  Of course.

One student, who so far has done no work, was playing a computer game. When I questioned him, he explained that he couldn't get the program to work. Rather than alerting me to the problem (because I would have found a way for him to get some work done), he found a game website. I wasn't terribly surprised. He managed to do nothing on Monday and Tuesday as well.

They should get the problem fixed by tomorrow.  Here's hoping.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

It Only Takes One

"You were the sub for Mr. O. when that boy pushed me into a window and we broke it."

I've run into Kayla in various classes for the past couple years (since she was in middle school, and she's a junior or senior now).  Kayla is memorable for being one of those students who don't know how to chill out.  She's a constant source of loud.

I've had fights in class.  I've had students break the teacher's chair.  I've had earthquakes.  I even had a student pass out.  I think I would have remembered her breaking a window on my watch.

I told Kayla that it wasn't me.  She didn't believe me.  Then she did.  She realized that it was someone else, but it was me that had written her up for an argument with another boy.

I did not remember this incident either, but it sounded a lot more reasonable.  I decided not to argue the point.  Kayla is one of those people who is always right.  And you can't tell her otherwise.

Yesterday she was a lot more mellow.  She started off her usual self, but then she got to work.  I was happy not to have to argue with her.  But today she decided that the class (algebra 2) was too hard, and she wasn't going to do it.  She was going to transfer out.

Rather than do battle (because it would have been a battle), I allowed her to go to another class to get an assignment that wasn't "too hard" for her.  (The instructional assistant and I tried to convince Kayla that it would be good for her to try something that's a little difficult.  She wasn't having any of it.)  Upon her return, she sort of started the work, but mostly she talked as loudly as she could to the other student who I had been warned about in the lesson plans.

If I hadn't been busy helping other students (the students actually doing the assignment), I would have attempted to calm her earlier.  Fourth period, which had been so wonderfully good yesterday, behaved just as a class with a sub usually behaves.  Not well.

Kayla announced that it was time to clean up, only it wasn't.  We had ten minutes left of class.  Yesterday she attempted this, but it wasn't a big deal as that was when the fire drill occurred.  Today, half the class believed her.  (They only need five minutes.)

Note to self: get in Kayla's face tomorrow and get her settled fast.

It's amazing how one student can rile up a whole class.

Monday, September 13, 2010


"Are you available all this week?"

Of course I am.  I'm kind of surprised that I've been called as much as I have.  This is only the third week of school.  And I'm no longer at the top of the sub list due to the fact that the district laid off a lot of teachers at the end of the last school year.  (Our district is not alone in this.)  I've been grateful for every call I've gotten.

Still, I asked who it was for before I accepted.  I didn't want to seem too easy.

Continuation high school.  Math.

I've subbed the class before, but not for this teacher.  This math class has been through three or four teachers since I first subbed at the school (over several years).  I knew what the class would be about.  The students would be working at their own pace through the lessons.  They do this on computers.

In previous years, the students would work for a while, get bored, and then surf the Internet.  This is what I expected.  I was in for a pleasant surprise.

Not only did the students work the entire period (well, except for one boy), they also worked quietly, and they gave me no problems whatsoever.  It was so nice!

For once, I could concentrate on assisting students rather than dealing with behavior issues.  It was very pleasant.

Wish me luck.  Here's hoping that the rest of the week is as nice as today was.

Saturday, September 11, 2010


There was a skeleton in the classroom yesterday.  I don't know if it's a real skeleton.  It's probably a reproduction.  One of the biology teachers has one as well, but I don't know the skeleton's decorating purpose in a criminalistics classroom.  (It has to be for criminalistics, though, for it's definitely not for physics.)

The bottom part of the jaw was not attached correctly.  It was hanging off the skeleton.  One of the students was fussing with it when this incident started.  I questioned him as to what he was doing, and he explained that he was trying to fix it.  Another student said that it had been detached for a while, and then he took over for the first boy.  He managed to get the thing attached correctly.

A girl who had a seat at the front, right in front of the skeleton, then told me that the skeleton's name was Bob.  She named it.

Having no dog in this fight, I nodded and said something vague.  The girl insisted that the skeleton's name was Bob.  Since I hadn't disagreed with her, I didn't see what the trouble was.

The first boy then entered the conversation.  He started with stating that Bob the skeleton was his cousin.  Then he said his name was Bobby.  I made a comment that naming cousins the same thing is a cruel trick on the part of the parents.  The boy said that Bob and Bobby are different.  Okay, then.

Fictional Bobby then said that if his last name was Bobby, he would name his son Bob.  Bob Bobby.  To me, that sounds like a form of child abuse, and I made some comment indicating such.  The conversation again turned, and I no longer could keep up.

The girl then told me that Bob talks to her.  If this hadn't been a ridiculous conversation in the first place, I might have been more concerned.  I might have said something about schizophrenia.  But I highly doubt the girl was serious.

The period ended soon after.  As the girl left the room, she told her friend that Bob talks to her.  The friend gave that about as much credence as I did.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Read the Question Carefully

Today I had the same class as yesterday.  (The teacher's wife went into labor on Thursday.  He might be out for a few days.)

I didn't mention it yesterday, but besides criminalistics, this teacher teaches physics.  Since each high school only has one physics teacher, and that teacher only has a couple periods of physics, I rarely get to sub for them.  This is a treat for me.

Today, all classes had a short quiz.  It was 10 questions long and multiple choice.  It took them roughly five minutes to finish.

I glanced over the quiz, just to see if I knew the material.  I did.  But it wasn't until I collected all the quizzes and got them started on the rest of their assignment that I got a chance to really look at the quiz.  I wouldn't have, but one of the students mentioned something.  She asked if Mr. M. had given them a trick question.

I read the question and laughed.  He had.  He had given them a trick question.

I didn't write it down, so I'm paraphrasing, but the gist is the same: "A person walks 5 miles east, then 3 miles west. After returning to the starting point, what is the person's total displacement?"

Get it?  After returning to the STARTING POINT!  Displacement?  Zero.

I said that that was just like the old joke: "If a plane crashes on the border between the US and Mexico, where would you bury the survivors?"

Another girl didn't get it, but the first girl explained.  Then she explained the quiz's trick question.  The second girl had gotten it wrong.  Then someone said that the whole class was going to be upset when they got their quizzes back.  Mr. M. shouldn't have tricked them like that.

The next period had the same quiz.  This time, as I was sorting answer sheets from quizzes, I noticed the answers to that question.  75% of the class got it wrong.

I thought about mentioning this to the class, but then I decided against.  If they didn't notice it, I wasn't going to bring it to their attention.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Giving Notes

The school year is officially in full swing.  I got called to work today.

I got to do something today that I have never done before.  I gave a Power Point presentation.

The class was criminalistics (or forensic science or whatever they're calling it now).  The juniors and seniors are required to take an extra year of science, and this is a popular choice.  It's the CSI craze.

The lesson plan instructed me to find the Power Point file on the classroom computer.  I was told that everything was already hooked up, and sure enough, it was.  I'm well-versed in using the projectors, so it took me little time to get it all going (and good thing as I didn't have all that much time to get it set up).

However, presenting someone else's Power Point cold is a bit of a challenge.  I read the slides.  The students copied down the information.  I spent my time guessing what would come up next when I pressed the forward button.  Would I get another bullet point?  Would I get a picture?  Would the next slide come up?  (I had to be careful with that one as some of them copied notes slower than others.)

The first time through (I had three periods of this class), the bell rang just as the last slide came up.  (Oops, my clock was 2 minutes slow.)  The second time through, things went a bit more smoothly.  I knew what was coming.

The last time through was for 6th period.  I could tell that I was losing them as the end approached.  But of course this was 6th period.  6th period is always a bit squirrelly.

This was so much nicer than giving them some random review worksheet.  They were kept busy all period.  They learned something new (as did I).  So, I didn't have all the behavior issues that could have come up.  I wish more teachers would leave such things for us subs.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Quick Question

I used to have a MySpace account.  I started my blog there.  But after I had a few too many technical difficulties, I moved the blog here.  I have since closed the MySpace account.  I hate to lose all of my blogs from that time, so from time to time I'm going to repost them here. 

This one was originally posted on June 19, 2006. 

Today I covered an 11th grade US History class.  The lesson plan was a video all about the 1990's.  It took various aspects of the '90's and found connections to earlier times.  

Okay, there was this bit about pop culture and they were talking to members of the Rolling Stones.  In the background "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" was playing.  I was not watching the video (you only really need to "see" the thing once); I was watching the class.  And during the song I looked up to see a few students singing along.  

11th graders--most of them were born in 1989.  

So, I wonder whether I'm troubled by this or whether I'm impressed.  

Friday, September 3, 2010

My New Water Bottle

I bought a new water bottle yesterday.  It's stainless steel.  Here's hoping that this solves the problem.

I like my water cold.  I used to be in the habit of filling my water bottle half way, putting it in the freezer overnight, and filling it full before I left for school in the morning.  On a warm day the ice would fully melt by lunch.  I had cold water all day.

I say used to because I had a few issues with this habit last year.  First one bottle cracked.  I went out and bought a new one, but the second one only lasted a couple months.  (They were plastic, but the chemically safe plastic.)  Luckily, I caught that issue in the morning before I left for school (that bottle shattered in the freezer).

Since then, I've been using a bottle that has an insert that can be frozen.  This insert doesn't keep the water nearly as cold as freezing half the bottle did, and the bottle isn't nearly as large as the others, so I found that I was running out of water during the day.  Not good.

I've been looking for another option.

So, I'm going to attempt to use stainless steel.  I figure that the bottle won't shatter, but I'm not convinced that I won't have other issues.

I have seen what happens when a can of soda is frozen.  (It wasn't deliberate.)  Sure, that was soda in aluminum, but the issue is the same.  Water expands when frozen.  Metal is malleable, but after being bent too many times, metal also experiences fatigue.

I guess I'm conducting an experiment.  How long will this bottle last?  Or is there a better way to get cold water all day?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Inside My School Bag

School has started.  I don't expect to work just yet as it's way too early in the year (last year was the exception).  However, it is time to go through my school bag and make sure it's ready for the school year.

I carry an L.L. Bean messenger bag.  Sure, it's a bit large, but I have to carry all my stuff with me, and this bag does the job.  It's larger than I need, so I have room for a jacket on the days when it's cold enough.  (I'll wear the jacket into school, but as soon as I get into class I'll be warm enough, so I take it off.  Then I don't need it when I leave campus, so it goes in the bag.)

The back pocket of the bag contains my name magnet and a place for my time sheet (the district is rather old school in that regard).  Note to self: it's time to make some new name magnets.

The rest of the bag has many useful pockets.  There's one for my cell phone, one where I can store my sunglasses and ID badge, and one where I keep my travel clock.  (I don't wear a watch, and some classrooms don't have clocks.  This way, I don't have to keep looking at my cell phone.)  I also have a pouch for my pens.  (I keep a couple dry erase markers in there as well.)

In the main compartment of the bag, there is a divider.  In the smaller portion of that divider, I keep files.  I have a file folder for blank paper (for me, not for lending).  I keep my note forms in another file.  I have a few sponge activities in another file (middle schoolers love chocolate math).  And I keep school maps and assembly schedules in another.

The big part of the main compartment of the bag?  That contains the most important stuff I carry with me.  I keep my water and my lunch in there.  Oh, and my jacket, when I need it.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

In Defense of Fun Fur

The other day, I was perusing the Ravelry forums when I happened upon another yarn hate topic.  These are common.  There are certain yarns that the average knitter just hates.  And most of the time, I agree with the prevailing sentiment.

The yarn under attack was Fun Fur.  For once, I was in the minority.  I like Fun Fur.

Of course, I don't make large projects from it.  Who would want a scarf made entirely of Fun Fur?  Ick.  But in small doses, it's a fun little novelty yarn.

I make lanyards from it.  I make earrings.  There was a cute toy made from the stuff at the Orange County Fair (if I ever find the pattern, I'm so making the thing).  So, it has its uses.

I guess I shouldn't mind too much.  More Fun Fur for me.  But if too many knitters hate the stuff, then they will discontinue it, and I won't be able to make fluffy earrings.

That would be terrible.  I love my fluffy earrings, and I haven't made them in all the colors I want.  I have to have a pair to match every outfit.