Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Teenage Wishes Part 2

Contest closes June 6th. Enter today...

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 repost them here.

My last repost entry was part 1 of this multi-part series. Here is part 2, originally posted on February 22, 2007.  

As promised yesterday, I'm back with more of the questionnaire: "The Wishes You'd Like to Come True".  Again, I'm transcribing, not editing.  First up today:
"The age I wish I were, and why."
Some responses:

"17.  You not a adult yet but you still get to have fun and not have to be charge as an adult."

"8.  No responsibilitys and I would be able to skateboard all day."

"The age I am now.  Because I want to live my life to the fullest."

"13.  Because, that's before I had my kid and the age I had the most fun in."

"21.  Old enough to vote and a little bit to young to marry."
And one more question: "The way in which I'd like to die and at what age, and why."
Some responses:

"I would like to die at the age of 132 of natural causes, because I want to live as long as I can and be as healthy as I can."

"I would not like to die, because of the fear of what is next."

"Sniped in the head at age 80, because it's cool."

"50, and in my sleep.  Cuz I want to live at least in age to where I want to see my grandkids."

"Sleeping and at age 55.  That way I don't feel pain and at that age because I don't want to grow to be really old."

You know, I tell them that they have no perspective on what "old" really is.  They don't believe me.  Someday they will.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Late Day

My contest is still open...

I had a lovely morning. I slept until 9. Took my time getting my breakfast. Checked my email. And then I got ready for work. I didn't have to be there until 12:30.

On Monday I got the call. Reentry. Thursday. Of course I'd cover it.

Reentry is an interesting class. All the students are over 18. They're all pretty close to graduating, but they have passed their expected graduation date. They spend four hours working on packets of work to earn their missing credits.

The reentry class shares the room with a math class at the continuation high school. The overlap lasts only one period. There was a sub for the math teacher when I arrived. He had no idea what I was doing there.

Then the class got confused. I don't know why. The reentry class arrives at about the same time every day.

First I told the other sub that I was there for reentry. He's a regular like me, and we run into each other frequently. All I had to say was reentry, and he understood.

Then the rest of the class asked why there was another sub. (I heard Kayla's voice.) The other sub got his class on track, and I got stuff set up for reentry.

All during that period, reentry students trickled in. The other sub wondered how the two classes could function in the one room. I explained that it's something they do every day. The reentry students sat around the edges and worked on their own work.

It's an interesting assignment. The reentry class lets out at 6:30. (There are two groups. One starts earlier than the other. Each only has to be in class for four hours.) And there are no behavior problems whatsoever.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

F- in Calculus

Remember to enter the contest...

It was a class of ten, so taking attendance was pretty simple. The class warned me that one of the absences, John (not his real name), would probably show up, albeit pretty late. John then became the topic of conversation.

They talked about how John was always late, how he slept in class, how he never did any work, and how the teacher reacted to this (not well). Then John arrived. The others were in the middle of a John story, and they continued telling it as John took his seat.

They turned to John. The story involved a test paper with no name on it, and so they asked John about it. John said the teacher told him not to put his name on it. It was a "waste of paper".


However, the conversation wasn't actually mean. The students weren't picking on John (if they had been, I would have put a stop to it). Apparently, John's lack of participation in the class is a frequent topic.

Before John arrived, the students all started comparing grades. The posted grades did not have names on them, but the students figured out whose was whose (primarily because each student identified his/her place on the list). John's grade was obvious. He had a 0.9%. No, that's not a typo. He had less than 1%.

Once John was in class, the others commented about his 0.9%. John was surprised. His grade had gone down. (From something like 0.92%, in case you're wondering.)

There is a reason all of this is noteworthy (or scary). John is a sophomore. To get into calculus, he had to have passed math analysis. Working the sequence backwards, then there's algebra 2, geometry, and algebra 1. So, John had to have taken algebra 2 in the 8th grade.

To put this into perspective, most 8th graders take pre-algebra or algebra 1. An 8th grader in algebra 2 is at least two years ahead of his peers.

My point is, a 10th grader taking calculus worked hard to get there. He was driven at some point. But something happened to change all of that.

I'm sure there's a story there. Of course, I don't know what it is. I may never know.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Description Needed

How would you describe these earrings?

B&W Boa Earrings

I love these. I made myself a pair in the colorway Phoenix, and I wear them all the time.

Phoenix Boa Earrings modeled

(Yes, this is another post about my shop. Please bear with me. It's about time I held a contest. I need your help.)

You'd think I'd be able to come up with some descriptive keywords, being a writer and all, but the only word that comes to mind to describe the earrings is "fuzzy".

Peacock Boa Earrings

Any ideas? Seriously. I'm out.

I'm ready to resort to bribery, and not just $1 either.

Leave your best description or keyword in the comments of this post. The one I like the best will win a pair of earrings custom made by me. (Here's what I can do.)

Dove Boa Earrings

For extra chances to win, or if you don't have a good keyword to contribute (I can relate), help spread the word via blog, Twitter, or Facebook. Tell me about it in my nifty little contest entry form. You'll be entered into a random drawing for a second prize, same as the first (that's a custom pair of earrings).

Tweety Bird Boa Earrings

This contest will close Monday, June 6th at 11:59 PM PDT. I'll notify winners soon thereafter. Good luck.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Locked Out

After second period there is a snack break. I usually run out to use the restroom at this time. I always lock the door behind me.

Today, I got back to the room just after the warning bell rang. I inserted the key into the door, twisted, and...stuck. The key is supposed to turn all the way through to disengage the lock. My key got to that spot and then wouldn't budge.

It had to work. It got me in the room before school.

After trying every trick I knew (pulling the key out part way, jiggling the door, turning the key the wrong way, etc.), I resorted to trying brute strength. Nothing.

Many of the students (7th graders, naturally) were standing around waiting to get in. I figured I might as well ask for help. Three different boys attempted to get the key to disengage the lock. Still nothing. (But now they knew what the problem was.)

These being 7th grade boys, however, they thought they knew more than I did. They made various suggestions--all of which I had already tried. But that would not dissuade them. They kept at it.

I was ready to admit defeat and call for backup. I was even prepared to have the custodian laugh at me. That's when one of the boys got the bright idea to run his shoulder into the door. Hard. At the same time, he turned the key and...


Now, why didn't I think of that? Probably because the door opened out, not in. There is no logical reason why it should have worked. Such a thing hadn't even occurred to me.

So, now I have a new trick to try next time I have key issues. Good to know.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Extra Credit

It's Friday and I was back at the continuation high school. Yep, I'm there a lot. But Friday is the day to be there.

The students were supposed to be working on anything they hadn't finished this week. For those whose work was up-to-date there was an extra credit crossword puzzle. The lesson plan described it thusly: "Crosswords are officially just extra-credit, but you don't have to tell them that."

I walked around the room, giving crossword puzzles to students who had no other work. One girl was about to refuse the paper, but first she asked, "Is that worth credit?"

I debated and decided on the truth: "It's extra credit."

Girl: "Oh, okay then. I want it."

Something similar happened two other times. So, just when I thought telling them that it was extra credit was the way to go, I got another student who decided against doing the puzzle just because it was extra credit.

But it was Friday, so we got out early. Yeah.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Shouldn't Have Asked

Today was a repeat of yesterday: opportunity in the morning and a CAHSEE prep class in the afternoon. The afternoon class had test prep stuff to do, but first we reviewed some literary terms.  

I wrote "setting" on the board. Then I wrote the definition. Next up was an example.  

"Star Wars was set a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away."  

As I scanned the faces in the room, I remembered that they had all been born in 1994 or later. But they had to have seen Star Wars, right? I asked the question.  

"It was boring."  

Um. Ah. Speechless.  

I don't know. Should I be stunned? I was stunned. Star Wars boring?  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Random Opportunity

Another day in opportunity...

I've complained enough about these classes. Today was just as bad as it usually is. But there were a couple notable exchanges.

It was early in the day. One boy informed me that he was going to be deaf by the time he was 40. He told me he listened to his music too loud. I replied that if he turned down the music, it might help save his hearing. The boy explained that he needed the music loud when he got home. He used it to drown out the yelling of his parents.

A bit later, the lone girl in the room asked me to open the door. She said it was too warm. (It's been unseasonably cool lately. At the time it was about 60 degrees outside. I was cold.) I said no.

She continued: "It's too stuffy in here. I'm burning up. Have you ever ridden a horse? You should. It's fun."

I almost got whiplash the change of subject was so quick. Yikes.

And I get to see all of them again tomorrow. If you don't hear from me again, send out a search party. Who knows what they'll do with me.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Teenage Wishes Part 1

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 repost them here.  

I thought I'd continue on the theme of students' writings. In this case, well, it's all explained in the actual post. This one was originally posted on February 21, 2007.

Today I was at the continuation high school. It was one of those keep-them-busy days. I found this questionnaire: "The Wishes You'd Like to Come True". It had some interesting questions, and they came up with some interesting answers.

In the interests of space, I'm going to break this down into several parts. All answers are as they wrote them. I only edited for clarity. Today's question:

"The famous person I'd like to be, and why."

Some answers:

"I wouldn't want to be a famous person because there business is always on the news. They have no privacy."

"Hugh Heffner, because I want to have a lot of money and own Playboy."

"No, I'm good. Famous people have to much drama going on."

"None, because I don't want to get shot at if people are haters."

"Chuck Norris. He's kool and a when he does push ups he's not pushing himself up he's pushing the world down."

"Singer, cause I got vocals."

"No one. I'd rather be myself."

On the one hand, I'm happy to see that so many of them realize that fame has a high price to pay. But then again, it was a hypothetical. Interesting.

Monday, May 16, 2011

A Break Up Part 2

On Friday I posted the first part of this note. I stopped where they ran out of page, but it turned out that they continued the back and forth on another sheet.

When this missive came into my possession, I read this page first. It didn't make a lot of sense. (It would have helped if they had numbered the things.) Now I can see how this is a continuation of the previous page.

As before, names have been changed. Grammar has not.
Pencil: What did you do?
Pen: I swore never to say it again
Pencil: You can't trust me, huh?
Pen: No because I can't tell no girls of what I did
Pencil: How bad is it?
Pen: from a 1-10 it has to be a 10
Pencil: Gimme a clue
Pen: I said no I can't tell
Pencil: Nick you've trusted me before, why not now?
Pencil: Why don't you trust me?
Pen: because I just don't know
Pencil: What don't you know? Just because im a girl doesn't mean       you can't tell me
Pen: Can we please change the subject?
Pencil: Now your gonna have to tell me because im stuborn!
Pen: No im not
Pencil: I AM!
Pen: I AM what?!
Pencil: I am stuborn!
Pen: Ohh
        lol menso
Pen: Haha wow Nick :]
There was still about a half a page left after this, so I guess that's where this conversation ended. I have three more sheets with similar exchanges. Everyone wanted to know what everyone else was "talking" about. Well, I guess it was more interesting than the movie.

Ah, 7th grade drama.

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Break Up?

The good news: the lesson plan for the last three days was a video. The bad news: the lesson plan for the last three days was a video. (At least I got to see the whole thing.)

It was a 7th grade science class. They were pretty good most of the time. But yesterday I noticed notes going back and forth. Since they weren't disrupting the class, I let it slide.

Then they made a very 7th grade mistake. They left the notes where I could find them. I was curious. Are you?

Yeah, I can't keep this to myself. I found several back and forth notes, but this one seems to be to what the others were referring. It's written in two hands, one in pencil and the other in blue ink. Names have been changed. Spelling and grammar have not.

The note:
Pencil: why did you break up with Sarah?
Pen: I haven't broke up with her yet
Pencil: Jimmy told me?
Pen: told you what?
Pencil: That you broke up with her....
Pen: No I haven't
Pencil: Frikkn' Jimmy XD he said you told him!
Pen: Yeah I did but itz still not over
Pencil: mmm. you should tell Jimmy that because look....
Pen: Wait I don't get it he said wait what are you guy talking            about?
Pencil: Ask Jimmy. He's stuborn.
Pen: he told me that he said if you liked me n you said hell no
Pencil: that's why--
Pen: Wait you said no because I have a girlfriend?
Pencil: Nooo, idk?
Pen: I wanna break up with her cuz we never have anything to talk    about
Pencil: Oh,, well then idk what to tell you
Pen: n then plus next year shes going to the 9th grade
Pencil: True...
Pen: yup...
Pencil: Well then...idk. do whatever you "want" to do? :)
Pen: Im gonna break up with her but I don't wanna see her cry
Pencil: Awwh, well if you still like her then don't break up with her...
Pen: I did something that I will regret my whole life  
And that is where I run out of page. Although, I found another page that sounds like it might be the continuation. It's hard to tell. And this post has gone on too long.

Ah, 7th grade drama. (Should I post the rest of it?)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Restraining Order

It was second period. I was taking roll via my preferred method--using a seating chart. It was a science class (7th graders), so they were grouped into tables of four.

There were too many students at one of the corner tables. According to the seating chart there should have been three students sitting there. That group had an extra boy. So, I asked the boys their names to determine who was not where he was supposed to be.

The first boy I questioned was in the right seat. The second boy informed me that he was new. Earlier, I saw a name added to the roll sheet and the seating chart. Sure enough, this new boy did have an assigned seat--on the other side of the room.

I pointed out where he needed to go. He balked.

The boy explained that he couldn't sit at that table. The girl with the glasses was at that table. He had problems with her. He had taken out a restraining order, and she wasn't allowed within...and here's where he stalled. I guess it's a good thing that 7th graders aren't good at estimating distance.

The girl in question was minding her own business. She looked as confused, too.

Restraining order. I haven't heard that one before.

The boy moved to his assigned seat. The rest of the period I kept an eye on him. There was an issue with a tennis ball. Anyway, I'm glad I noticed the boy, because the boy he sat next to at first also had issues. I'm glad they were as far apart as they could possibly be in that room.

I'm back with this group for two more days. At least I don't have period two tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Watch Out for Your Toys

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 repost them here.  

This was originally posted April 23, 2007.  

8th graders! Grrr!

The teacher warned me that her 5th period was a bit unruly, so she advised that I have the students line up before letting them into class. Since lunch was right before 5th period, I figured that the best way to accomplish this was to take my time getting to the classroom. I had a 6 minute passing period. I got to class with maybe 2 minutes before the bell.

They were all congregated on the sidewalk in front of the classroom. Well, most of them were.  Some were on the grass. And about five boys were tossing around this stuffed Fred doll (Fred of the cartoon Scooby Doo). "Tossing": picture them flinging the thing at each other like a weapon, using it as a baseball bat, and stomping on the thing.

As it turned out, the teacher was right. They came into the classroom much more calmly than they probably would have otherwise. But the poor Fred doll? By the time I started class, it was in pieces. One boy had the head. Another boy on the other side of the classroom had the torso. A third boy threw away one arm and one leg, and I lost track of the other arm and leg.

I was unable to find the owner of the doll. No one knew where the boys had gotten it from. And the whole incident was disturbing on many different levels. However, there is one good lesson from this: never give a 13-year-old boy a stuffed doll. He will likely destroy it just for "fun".

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Bluff

"Ms. Y told me she was going to be out, and she wanted me to tell you what we're doing today."

It was fifth period. I had lesson plans. I had been following said lesson plans all day. But I wanted to see what the girl would say, so I let her continue.

"We're working on vocabulary. And we can sit anywhere we want."

Um, yeah, right. I don't think so. Although, I give her points for coming up with a plausible assignment. I expected a "we can just hang out/we don't have any work to do" explanation. But the sit anywhere bit I was not buying.

Oh, and for the record: this was an honors class.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


The eighth graders remember me. (I shudder here.)

I have hit most of the eighth grade science classes. I've done a day in eighth grade English. So, yesterday when I covered an eighth grade pre-algebra class, I shouldn't have been surprised that they all knew me.

It started simply. They asked if I had subbed for their science teacher. I had. Then they asked if I remembered them.

One boy asked the question first. He looked semi-familiar, but I didn't remember anything specific about him. He jogged my memory by reminding me that he had commented on my earrings (saying they looked like hot Cheetos). Ah yes, I remembered that.

Later in the day, a girl asked if I remembered her in science. She explained that she had changed her hair since I saw her last. She had been a blonde, but now she was brunette. Her friend hinted that the whole hair color thing was a story. I admitted that I didn't remember her from science.

I sort of felt bad. I'd like to remember all of them, but when I see an average of 175 students a day, not all of them stick.

(The links are to the actual days I subbed for the teachers they asked me about. For the science class I had to look through my records to find the day that I subbed for their teacher. I reread the post. It's a sad commentary on my memory that the good days slip my mind that easily.)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Late Start

I got a late call this morning. Very late. It was about midway through second period. 

(This means that the teacher called out late. This sort of thing has happened before. I learned later that today's teacher had been at school first period, but she left. General consensus said she didn't look good.) 

I was still in bed when I got the call. Not asleep, but not dressed. It takes me about an hour from phone call to arrival at school (when I'm hurrying). Since I subbed for this same teacher last week, I knew that we were on her prep period, and I would arrive just at the beginning of third period. 

I missed roughly the first ten minutes of class (although, on Thursdays snack goes long, so I may have missed less). Roll had been taken, but the class wasn't in class mode. The teacher who covered the first 10 minutes left, and I went about introducing myself to the class. 

They all know me by now. I sub at this school so much, and I was just in this class last week. I started out by apologizing for arriving so late. They asked if I had been in bed when I got the call. 

I could have lied. I didn't. I told them that if I don't have to get up, I can sleep as late as noon. 

They all nodded their heads at this. They would have rather been in bed, too. 

They seemed impressed by my admission. They were less pleased when I insisted they get to work. 

(I also did a post today over here. Please stop by and check it out.) 

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Silly Fire Drill

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 repost them here.  

I've resisted reposting this for a while. It's my first ever post. But today, for some reason, I feel like I should share. Please be kind. This was originally posted on May 23, 2006.  

Fire alarm? Great!

I hate fire alarms. I have to try to figure out where "my" class is and what they all looked like. After two minutes of taking roll, I usually have no hope of recalling more than perhaps three faces. And taking roll outside? Disaster.

Luckily, today's was different.

I had this same group yesterday. Usually I avoid the assignments that place me with the same class for more than a day at a time. History has given me many reasons for this. However, I was offered a three-day assignment, I needed to work, and it's been a while, so I figured, why not?

Today was day two. And the assignment got extended one extra day. Sigh.

But I was talking about the fire alarm.

They had a movie. Yes, it was in the lesson plan. You think I'm the kind of sub who shows movies and ignores the lesson plan? I'll ignore that. I follow lesson plans. So, I tried to put on the movie.

I'm not stupid about technology. Really, I'm not. Still, I had issues. I think I know what happened, and it wasn't my fault. Anyway, while a kind student was fixing the connections, the fire alarm started its waa-waa-waa-waa, and that means evacuate.

So, we walked out, got outside the gates, and waited. My entire class was there. All three of them.

Yes, I said three.

It's a class of six from the teacher's "extra" period. Three were absent. And except for the class of dream children from a couple years back, this was the easiest evacuation I've ever been in.

I don't know if it's me, but fire drills have gotten easier since this time. So has my writing. Practice may not make perfect, but it sure does make it better.  

Monday, May 2, 2011

Knitting Hodgepodge

My nephew's first birthday is Wednesday. I made him a little something...

Flappy Flounder 3

I didn't know what I was going to get him, and then the new issue of Knitty came out. There it was. The perfect thing.

I made the mistake of washing it yesterday. (I like to get the stink of my sweaty hands off of handknits before I gift them.) A few of the ends came unwound. That's going to be a problem, but I'll worry about that later.

A funny thing happened when I made the toy. I went into my yarn stash to look for yarn, and I found something interesting. First, remember this sweater?

the cardigan too

A while back (in January), I wrote a post about how I just knew I had another skein of this yarn, but I couldn't find it. Yeah, well, I did. I found that second skein while looking for yarn for the toy.

Insert scream here.

So, if I start another project with that yarn, I now have enough. I guess I can make matching gloves, scarf, and hat. If I were so inclined.

But I've been working on other things.

felted purse

I made another purse. (I didn't like the last one.) It currently hangs on a nail behind my bedroom door. It's waiting for me to finish it. I need to line it (so I have to figure out what fabric I want to use for that), and I need to find a closing for it. I didn't like the fastener in the pattern, so now I have to come up with something on my own.

It's been waiting for me to finish it since April 10th. That's when I got around to felting it. I've been pondering sewing in a zipper.

Any thoughts? Does a zipper sound like a good idea? Or do you have any other ideas that could work?