Friday, January 29, 2016

The Visitor

Friday. Sixth period. In the English class I'd had all week.

I took roll as per normal, but I noticed something fishy. I should have had 27 students. I had 28.

I must have counted wrong. The seating chart may have been inaccurate. Nope. There was an extra student in class.

Which begs the question: Why? It wasn't a "fun" class. The students were well-behaved. They had an essay to write, which they did.

It took me some time to identify the interloper. He sat in the corner, trying to look busy.

By this time, it was nearly the end of the period. I confronted him. He claimed to be a new student. Said his name was Ned.

(New students always identify themselves as soon as they walk in the door, primarily because they don't know where to sit. And as I had access to the online attendance, I know he wasn't on my roll sheet. Not even as a new addition.)

I have no idea what he got out of it. I know that his sixth period teacher marked him absent. So, since he wouldn't show up anywhere else on campus officially, he'll be marked truant. Which eventually will get him a Saturday detention at minimum.

Lots of downsides. I don't see the upside.

On Monday I was back in the class. "Ned" walked in again. Took a look around. "Oh, this isn't my class." And walked out.

A minor victory.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Not About the Highlighter I kinda fell... Yeah...

It was after school. I was on my way to the office to check out for the day. I must have stepped wrong. I don't actually recall.

I do remember the falling and the landing on my right knee. I tore my pants but didn't see the scraped raw part of my knee until I got home. I didn't realize my left ankle was twisted until I stood.

The ankle hurt more than the knee. But, I was two days into a two-week assignment, so I hobbled into work the next day.

I set up a chair. When I had to be standing (which wasn't much, actually), I kept my weight off it. And the students didn't seem to notice. (They didn't say. They're freshmen, so it's likely that my awkward movements were completely missed by them.)

Except for 2nd period...

They were the worst class. They weren't terrible compared to some classes I've had, but they suffered in comparison to this teacher's other classes. Mostly, they spent more time talking than working.

So, when two boys started arguing over a highlighter, I wasn't terribly surprised. One boy had another boy's highlighter and he wouldn't give it back. Typical stuff. I gave them a minute or two, but they didn't resolve it, so I knew it was time to step in.

I hoisted myself up and took two steps towards the dispute...

"Really? You're going to make her come over there over a highlighter? Can't you see she's injured...?"

I didn't recall seeing this girl around when I fell. (It was after school. There were witnesses.) She explained that one of her friends had seen me fall and had told her about it. (Which I didn't want to examine too closely. I had seen a couple students who had been in my classes that day.)

So, apparently, some of them had heard. But hadn't mentioned it. Well, then again, I hadn't mentioned it.

The boys resolved the highlighter issue on their own. They probably would have anyway. But perhaps I should milk my "injury" for all it's worth.

(The ankle really hurt for about a day. The pain lessened considerably the second day. And now I'm moving about normally, although there's still a twinge of pain in my foot.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Scramble

First period is always a bit of a learning experience for me. No matter how carefully I read the lesson plans, something goes awry. 

It was Tuesday (Monday was a holiday), the first day of a two week assignment in a ninth grade English class. I had talked to the teacher beforehand, so I had a vague idea of what was going on. But I spent the before-school time getting the computer set up (for their vocabulary words) rather than perusing the lesson plans like I normally do. 

This is why first period got extra time to complete some things, which shorted them time to complete other things. Sigh... 

But I was good to go second period, right? I mean, the teacher had left me this...

As you can see, it's all labeled with dates and periods. I can't possibly screw that up. 

Um... well... second period the wrong assignment. I pulled from Wednesday that Tuesday. I caught it...after having passed out the papers to everyone. Sigh. 

I figured it was easier to offer my mea culpa to the teacher rather than try to get the assignment back and pass out the correct one. There was no reason why they couldn't do Tuesday's assignment on Wednesday, right? 

I'm just going to go with that. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Digital Psychic

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 someone created a digital psychic? (By "digital psychic", I mean a computer program or robotic device that can accurately predict the future.)

Monday, January 25, 2016

On the Needles

I have a couple experiments on the knitting needles...

These'll take a bit of time to finish, and they'll need a bit of an explanation when done.

Also in knitting, I had a special request for a purple cell phone cushion...

 Desk Cell Phone Cushion

And now she wants one in black, too. So, stuff to work on.

How about you? What ongoing projects are you working on?

Friday, January 22, 2016

Too Dark for Brown Eyes

I was doing my usual walk-around, making sure all the students were on task. A couple of them were fiddling with their monitors. Occasionally, students will start playing with the controls on the monitors, so I stopped to see what was the matter. (Sometimes things break...)

"We're adjusting the brightness. It's too dark for our dark brown Mexican eyes..."

Which was one of the silliest things I'd heard in a while.

Me: "Too dark for brown eyes? I have brown eyes, too..."

They had been facing away from me. Now they turned around. Peered into my eyes.

"Oh, you do! For some reason, I thought your eyes were blue."

*shaking my head* If they wanted to adjust the brightness on their monitors, I wasn't going to stop them. But they find excuses for just about everything.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Pest

French 2. 4th period. Two students had a test to finish that I was told they started on Monday. (It was Thursday.) The test was worth 200-something points. That's a lot.

The boys sat next to each other. That made me uneasy, so I insisted they sit apart. Adam took a chair over in the corner. Arturo remained where he was. Good enough.

Adam got working, and while I kept an eye on him, I left him completely alone.

Arturo fiddled with his phone. I reminded him he had a test to finish. Instead of getting to the test, he started talking to the girl sitting next to him. When I heard him ask her a question, I pounced.

He claimed that their teacher lets them discuss their tests... After a couple questions this excuse fell apart. (I said something about talking during the test, so he amended to say that they could discuss towards the end. But then I poked that one, and he gave up trying to convince me.)

Since I couldn't trust Arturo where he was sitting, I insisted he find a more isolated seat.

And then again, he was playing on his phone.

I offered to "watch" his phone so he would no longer be tempted by it. He put it aside...

And he finished his test two minutes after this.

How much more quickly would he have finished without all the previous distractions? I wonder...

Sometimes, I have to be the pest. I think that's somewhere in my job description.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Not Terribly Observant

Economics. Seniors. They had an assignment that (I found out later) took them about half the period.

For the second half of the period (because they all did the assignment), they found other things to do. Quiet settled things. (A freshman class would have gone nuts.)

Fifth period. 15 minutes until the end. Two students from elsewhere walked in. Could they talk to Michael?

Sure, I said.

But no Michael made his way up to the front. Was Michael present? I hadn't marked him absent...

Michael was asleep. It took a minute or so to wake him...

Um... Well... Saying he wasn't the only sleeper doesn't make me look any better. Nor does admitting that I didn't notice the sleepers.

Does it look any better to know they had all completed their assigned work?

Yeah, I'll slink away now in shame...

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

The Metric System

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 ;)

This week's question is more aimed at readers in the U.S. (But if you're outside the U.S., you can still play along.) I'm not sure why this particular thought popped in my head. A student needing help with her chemistry assignment in French class and my knitting project all kind of collided, and...

What if the U.S. finally joined the rest of the world and started using the metric system?

Monday, January 18, 2016

A Pink Hat

Last week I knit a hat...

It's called the F302 Slouchy Hat. The link takes you to its Ravelry page.

What did you get done last week?

Friday, January 15, 2016

False Fire Alarm

The bell to end third period rang. Then it rang again. And again. That's about when it resolved into short bursts...

Oh no! Fire alarm.

At a different school in the district, I'd ignore it. But this was not that school.

As it was passing period, students were walking around. I looked to the neighboring teachers, and they appeared to be evacuating, so I found the class roster and my sunglasses, and I proceeded towards the fields. I got halfway down the building when I ran into the teacher next door heading back.

She talked to another teacher who had called the office. The instruction was do not evacuate. Okay, then, back to class.

Of course, half the student body had done what they're supposed to do and headed out to the field. So, the bell rang to start fourth period, and half the class was missing.

If that's not an excuse to be late, I don't know what is.

*Deep sigh* Mercury retrograde *deep sigh*

On the bright side, it was an advanced math class, so that little adventure didn't wind them up any.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Mail Room

Special ed. One of those classes where I had pretty much the same students all day.

For 3rd period, the lesson plan read: "Mail delivery if it is not raining."

It wasn't raining, per se. The clouds were dark. The ground was wet. It had been raining earlier, but there was no actual water falling from the sky at that moment. And oh, I wanted to deliver the mail.

Teachers have cubby holes in the main office where various items are distributed to them. They can get outside mail, but mostly it's flyers from other teachers or stuff that every teacher gets. Used to be that teachers would go and retrieve the items from their cubbies at some point during the day. But recently, a couple special ed classes have made it a daily project for the students.

The instructional aides and I assessed the weather. While it wasn't actually raining that second, it looked like it might start any minute. And we'd be out in it.

Still, I pushed to do it. The kiddos (read: me) needed to get out of the room and have a bit of a walk around.

We headed to the office. And I felt a few drops on my head. Uh oh...

But after retrieving the mail from the staff lounge, we exited to still no actual rain. There wasn't much mail to deliver, so the kiddos were sent on their way. We got back to class not having really been rained on.

Ten minutes later the sky opened up. It started pouring. Yeah, we timed that just about right.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Missing the Point

It was the Monday after winter break. Special ed English. Before the break, the class had ripped out a story from their workbooks in anticipation of their teacher being out this day. We passed out their stories...

Halfway through the period and one boy had made no progress whatsoever on the assignment. I went over to prod him along.

"But I haven't read this story before..."

Um... Yeah, I know. That was the, um, assignment. To read the new-to-you story. And then answer the questions.


Did he really think I was that stupid? Or, is he really that oblivious? (I vote the latter.)

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

A Winner

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 ;)

Have you heard about the Powerball Lottery? Suddenly everyone seems to have gone crazy over it...

What if you discovered that an acquaintance (a neighbor, coworker, someone you see regularly at your coffee shop...) won the lottery some time ago? Assuming you wouldn't be gauche enough to ask for a loan or something, how would you then treat that person?

Monday, January 11, 2016

Too Early for Christmas?

This past Christmas (you know, the one just a couple weeks ago), my dad got one of those mini trees. They seem to sell them everywhere. They are lit with fiber optic cables.

My dad requested ornaments for it. So, what better time to knit ornaments for a Christmas tree than in January?

I showed off the full-sized ornaments I'd knit, but this tree would require something a bit smaller. I managed to find styrofoam balls in small sizes (.9 inch, 1.4 inch, and 1.9 inch diameters). Then it was just a matter of working out how many stitches I'd need.

Using odds and ends of yarn I already had...

mini christmas tree ornaments--knitted

I've got about four more to do to have a complete set. And then I might just put away my Christmas knitting. But then again, now's the perfect time to start my knitting for next year. (Nah...)

The smallest styrofoam balls got me thinking. Earrings. (We'll see...)

Friday, January 8, 2016

Random Polls

It was two days before their winter break. I had an 8th grade English class (with Blaine!). And they were... well... kind of how you'd expect.

The period started. I had just gotten them settled enough to explain the assignment. As I began explaining about the story they were about to hear, a voice from the side of the classroom announced:

"How many of you like Kool-Aid?"

Half the class raised their hands.

I glared at the boy. Abraham. Why? Where had that...?

I just about got them settled again when Abraham asked another question.

I growled at him. That's when I noticed he wasn't in his assigned seat.

First I told him to get to his proper seat. Then I had to explain the inappropriateness of shouting out non-sequitur questions while I was trying to get class started.

8th graders. *shakes head*

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Found It

The class was advanced ELD (English Language Development). 9th graders. I had them for two periods.

During the first period, they were to read chapter six of The Outsiders and answer some questions. Almost everybody pulled out a book. All but one.

"I forgot my book."

After exhausting a couple other options, I hit upon a solution. He could do the assignment for the second hour first, then he could borrow another student's book to do the reading during the second hour. Perfect, right?

"Let me check again..."

Lo and behold, he "found" the book at the bottom of his backpack.

Freshmen. *shakes head*

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Too Cold for School

Since everyone in the blogosphere kind of took the end of the year off, I saved my subbing stories from the last week before winter break for this week. I have no idea what the weather is going to be like when this posts, but before the break, we had a bit of a cold snap (for us). 

We southern Californians don't do cold well. And what we consider cold...

It was Monday of the last week before winter break. And it was cold. For us. With gusting winds. I believe our high this day was 61°, but this incident took place before we reached our temperature peak.

The heater in the classroom was broken. The teacher had set up two space heaters to compensate. When I arrived in class, the thermostat read 56°. By the time this incident happened, we were up to about 64°.

Carrol walked in.

Carrol... We've had dealings in the past. She's loud. Obnoxious. Rude. On a good day.

She was cold.

We were all cold. I wore a sweater to school. I don't normally wear a sweater, but I knew this room would be cold. The sweater kept me comfortable.

Carrol, who comes to this same class every day and knows that the heater is broken, complained about the cold. She took the space heater that sat in the front of the classroom and put it on her desk. She shivered.

"It's too cold for school."

Carrol then took out her cell phone and texted her mother. (Arguing with her about having her cell phone out would have been fruitless.) Carrol wanted permission to leave for the day. Because it was too cold.

She then asked for permission to go to the office. (Her asking for permission was considerate for her.) She explained that she's done this sort of thing before. She just needed to get her mother on the phone with the people in charge. I didn't really follow the logic.

If it had been anybody else, I would have tried to talk her out of leaving. It was getting warmer in the room. She had work to do. But I've learned that arguing with Carrol turns into a big, ugly mess.  So, I let her go.

A half hour later, Carrol was still on campus. (She appeared just as I was telling the teacher, who dropped by for something out of her classroom, all about this.)

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Spy Among Us

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 you discovered your spouse (or significant other) was a spy?

Have I done this one before? I think I've done this one before. Or some minor variation thereof. Ah well...

Monday, January 4, 2016

On Second Thought

A couple weeks ago I mentioned my failure to reproduce this...

Ceramic cell phone holder, Parkmiphone knitting. But a funny thing happened last week...

I was perusing Ravelry for no good reason. Like I do sometimes, I decided to check out the pattern page for my first eReader pillow pattern. I like to see all the different variations people have tried. 

As I went through, I came across jennerf27's iPad stand/prop pillow. She didn't use the pattern. It was more of a jumping off point to design something new. And she did something rather interesting. To keep the device standing she didn't use bobbles or an I-cord. She used a pocket. 

And my mind went whirling. 

Because I thought a pocket might just work on my little knitted scroll. And it did. Sort of. 

knitted scroll prop for ereader

It's not exactly what I envisioned. I wanted more of a scroll. And the angle is a bit off. But it works. 

I'll tinker with it a bit more. This was just a proof of concept anyway. Still, I'm excited that it wasn't a complete failure. 

(This weekend I saw Tim's Vermeer, and I'm just grateful that this little idea didn't take me five years to complete.)

Friday, January 1, 2016

2015 Pop Culture IQ

Well, I had to do a year-end something quiz. This one is pop culture. I got 9. Out of 14. Not too bad, considering that I don't watch some of these shows.

I'll let you try and see how you do...

And how have your holidays been thus far?