Friday, April 28, 2017

X Blitz Quiz


And this year X fell on a Friday. Woo-hoo! I can find an X quiz...

This one is kind of a challenge. But the positive is you can answer in any order. Just type in the answer you're thinking of in the box and it'll appear in the correct box. You don't need to toggle through. Good luck.



I got 24/40. I bet you can do better. Let me know how you did in the comments.

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Writing Assessment Day


"The senioritis is strong with this group..."

12th graders. It's April. Graduation is eight weeks away.

The district does these writing assessments in every quarter. (Two quarters per semester. Two semesters per year.) They are given article excerpts to read a couple days ahead of time so they can read them and annotate them. Then, they have a period to write an essay for a prompt based off the sources.

I've covered various English classes on writing assessment day. But apparently not seniors.

Every period began with the same discussion:

"Does this count for points?"

"No, it's just for the district."

(I hedged and said it might count. To be honest, I don't know. Some teachers might include it in their grades. But, the students were discussing this amongst themselves.)

So, of course the inevitable happened...

"Then I'm not doing it."

Ugh.

As there was no way I could force them to scribble coherent words on paper, my only recourse was to make note of the conversation and take down names of those blatantly avoiding the writing task.

(In some cases, I didn't have to look very hard...


Seriously, this is what this boy turned in for the task.)

I so hope the teacher made this worth points. I would love to be there when they find that out...

How bad did you get senioritis? Would you have skipped the writing task? How would you discipline the students who did not do the assessment?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Video Bargaining


It's testing time. While not all classes test, the whole school was on block schedule to accommodate those that do. For me, this meant two hour classes.

Mr. W had planned things out well, though. His 10th graders were reading Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, so we started with 40ish minutes of listening to the end of Act III (with breaks for them to answer comprehension questions). Then they had some end of act questions, some vocabulary, and then we started Act IV. We were to finish with the last half hour watching a movie version.

Not that they really watched the movie (even though it was the part where the senate murders Caesar--go to about the 49th minute to see that scene if you're interested). Nor were they really following along with the audio. But they'd rather have the video so I wasn't hassling them about answering questions.

"Let's watch the video for the last hour of class," one boy requested.

The lesson plan was clear. "We'll watch it for the last half hour."

The boy would not be dissuaded. "But the last hour will be better."

Me: "We'll watch the video for the last half hour."

Still, the boy would not take my hint. "We'd rather watch the video for the last hour."

At a certain point, I lose patience with the argument. "Okay then. We'll watch the video for the last fifteen minutes..."

"Oh, ho, ho, ho..." He saw what I was doing.

"So, the last half hour, cool?" And the argument was finished.

I don't know why they think they're going to talk me down. Do they think I'm really going to negotiate? Well, when it gets to this point, I do negotiate. Just not in the direction they'd like. (This trick works every time.)

Have you ever tried haggling with someone? How did it turn out? Have you ever read Julius Caesar?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Under the Sea


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 had dwellings (communities, cities) in the depths of the ocean? Would you want to live there?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Monday, April 24, 2017

Taking Orders

For my eldest nephew's birthday, I let him pick what he wanted me to make. At the time, I told middle nephew that he'd get the same opportunity for his birthday. I think. I've forgotten. But he hadn't...

At the end of March, middle nephew told me what he wanted for his birthday. Naturally, he wanted what eldest nephew got, but with a slight modification. He wanted Godzilla on a beanie.

Back to the internet...

I found one. Only one. And it was way too big to fit on a beanie. Naturally.

So, I sat down and shrank it...


And this week I finally sat down to knit it...


And I've already gathered the rats' nest of yarn...


Which is only going to get worse before it gets better. Deep sigh.

I've got almost two weeks to finish this. Think I'll make it?

And, of course, someone else ordered a jellyfish. In pink...


It's almost done. It just needs a face and stuffing. After it's gone through the wash.

Time to get cracking.

If I were to make you a jellyfish, what color would you want? If I were to make you a Geeky Beanie, what character would you want on it?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Spiral

Seen in class (on Thursday)...


(I've been struggling with this letter. I was going to take a selfie, but it just didn't happen. And not for lack of trying. Ah well. This works.)

Has there been any letter you've struggled with this month? What interesting things did you see this past week?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Friday, April 21, 2017

Repeated


It was the Friday before spring break. I had an Earth Science class. And I was dreading it. (This is the class for freshmen who didn't take biology. In other words, these are the kiddos most likely to be difficult.)

But, the teacher gave me an early present. She left a video. Trolls.

A fun video the day before a break? Score!

The only problem: I would have to watch the first 55 minutes of this video over and over and over again.

It's not a great movie. It has the usual kind of theme for an animated film, so while I was not going to get to see the end, I had a pretty good idea of what it would look like. (To see the ending, I would have had to stay after school. Since I didn't get a prep period--see Wednesday or Thursday to see where I was then--that would have been the only time I could view it.)

But then something surprising happened. It turned out that 6th period had started the movie on Thursday. So, instead of starting from the beginning, we got to start about a half hour in.

And so, something that never happens actually happened. I got to see a whole movie in class that day. I got to see the end.

The ending turned out to be just about what I expected. Ah well. At least now I'm not going to wonder how it ended.

Have you seen Trolls? What's your favorite animated film? Can you think of a movie that you pretty much knew the ending half way through?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Quinceanera and Sweet Sixteen


"Isn't your dress purple?" 

"No, it's the color of champagne... Champagne. And silver." 

A prom conversation? It's the right time of year, but this was a freshman math class. (Same class I discussed yesterday.) Ninth graders don't go to prom. But why else would these girls be discussing gowns so obsessively at this time of year? 

Yeah, so I butt into conversations all the time... 

"I have to have a quinceanera and a sweet sixteen. My sibling had both. It can't look like my parents love her more than me, so I have to have the same thing she did." 

The wording on that explanation had me wondering, so I asked... 

"I know they don't love her more than me. (They love me more.) But in my family they may think..." 

Appearances are everything with the aunts and cousins, she explained. 

Well, alrighty, then... 

(I live in southern California. We have a large Latino population. Quinceaneras are a thing.) 

Did you have a sweet sixteen party? A quinceanera? Or did you have any big birthday party around those ages? 

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Peer Help


It was the last day before spring break, and I was covering an Earth Science class (more on that on Friday). Of course they asked me to cover another class on my prep period. Luckily it was two doors down and across the way. And it was a math class. A freshman math class.

It had a few too many familiar faces. Not in a good way. Including Vaughn...

Surprisingly, they settled right away, let me give them instructions, and then they got right to work.

So, it was one of those days where I circulated and waited for students who needed my help. A few were having difficulty with the assignment, but of course, they didn't want my help.

It was a geometry problem. Triangles. Two students were debating whether or not they had set up the problem correctly. Even though I was there, they didn't ask me.

"Vaughn..."

Vaughn dutifully came over to them, looked over their problem, and told them it wasn't set up correctly. (It was close. It only needed a minor tweak.)

He was correct. (If he hadn't been, I would have said something.) Okay, fine. My help wasn't needed.

Sometimes I get to sit back and relax.

Who was your go to person to ask for help in classes? If you're doing A to Z, what was your P word for today?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Owned


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 your rival beat ("owned") you in a long-standing competition between the two of you, and you realized you no longer care? Why might that be?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Monday, April 17, 2017

Nick of Time

I managed to finish the Freaky Easter Bunny before Easter. Just before. Just in the, um, well, see the title.

(See, I did manage to find a way to fit it with N.)


If you remember the last photo, you may notice that the eyes are different. I did redo them. That is, I took them off the face and moved them down a bit, rotated them a bit, and resewed them on. They weren't right before.

If I choose to make a gang of these, I'll have to think about starting them earlier. Much earlier. January? Maybe. Does anyone know when Easter falls next year? If it's an early Easter year, I might have to think about starting them in December.

Ah well. It's done now.

Did you do any crafts for Easter? If you celebrate, did you have a good Easter? Is it too early to start Christmas crafts yet?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Market Day

Last Sunday I set up my booth at the local farmers market...


I even posted my tables to Instagram. (They're very quick videos. Much better at giving you a look than a still image.)

A post shared by Liz A. (@zizirho) on



A post shared by Liz A. (@zizirho) on

Do you go to your local farmers market? What did you do last Sunday?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Friday, April 14, 2017

Listening In


I was called in to cover a 12th grade government class. (17 and 18 year olds.) It's the time of year when they're almost done with high school, so unless the lesson plan says otherwise, I tend to find a seat and let them be.

(They had a bookwork assignment. Half of them did it.)

It's like being a fly on the wall.

"He only committed fourteen armed robberies..."

Apparently there was video, too. This guy was a cousin or boyfriend of the girl who was speaking. (At one point she talked of him like he was a relative. At another, she was sad he was going away for a long time like a girlfriend would be. So, I can't be sure.)

If I don't have anything to offer to the conversation (like, they're saying something that's factually incorrect), I just listen.

"Have you ever gone commando?"

It was a group of four, sort of. One boy was kind of in, kind of out of the conversation. (He was working on the assignment, but he contributed the odd comment.) But the main contributors were two boys and a girl.

"Yeah, it felt weird."

So, the question came up of how this came to be...

"I was in a hurry."

To which they replied that if one is in a hurry, perhaps it isn't the underwear that gets missed. Perhaps it's the pants.

But someone was waiting, and the car was started, and...

Yeah, it's fun to listen in when the kiddos talk. They come up with the strangest topics.

What is the strangest thing you've ever discussed with your friends? What is the strangest thing you've ever discussed in a high school classroom?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Kudos Deserved


When I'm asked to cover an extra period, there are certain things I expect. We'll have to wait around for security to let us in. The class will be loud and all over the place while I locate the lesson plans. And somehow I'll have to get the students to settle while I'm getting situated for the period. (This usually involves the raising of my voice.)

I went to the extra 6th period on this Monday with realistic expectations. (This was the same day as the ELD class from yesterday's post.) However, I was thrilled when security arrived at the classroom just when I did.

Security let us in the room, and the first thing I noticed was how warm it was. (The class had been period subbed all day, so I assume none of the other subs had bothered with the thermostat.) Before looking for lesson plans and dealing with the loud, I went to turn on the air conditioning. Then I turned back to the class...

Everyone in the class was seated. And silent. Waiting...

Um... This was weird. These were middle schoolers. 7th graders. Silently waiting. Right. This couldn't last.

I located the lesson plans. (The sub from the prior period had hidden them away. Grrr.) Found the thing they were supposed to do...

"But we're ELD..." one kiddo protested.

Yup, I knew that. I was reading the period 6 lesson plans, which I pointed out. And I started to pass out their work. (Got a volunteer, so I let him pass out papers.) And I explained what they were doing.

And they did it. Silently. For the whole period.

I had my fingers crossed. I knocked on wood. I was doing everything not to jinx the luck. Because, seriously? A middle school class that I was only in for one period and that period was 6th period behaving well? This just doesn't happen.

The note I left was glowing. They deserved it.

These were alien replicants, right? Or Stepford children? What do you think caused this anomaly?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Justification


I was back in the middle school ELD class. (She's a new teacher, so she has a lot of trainings that the district makes her attend.) They were mostly on task and mostly quiet. But a new problem has emerged...

I caught a girl popping something into her mouth.

Eating in class is generally prohibited. (Some teachers are more lax on this than others.) I went over to remind the girl of the rule...

"The rules say no food, drink, or gum," she explained.

This is true. The sign posted in the classroom said as much.

"This is candy."

Uh huh. And candy is food...

"No, it's not food, it's candy."

We went back and forth on this a couple times. My explaining that she was not supposed to eat anything in class getting us nowhere. But then...

"Oh, no, it's not candy. It's a cough drop..."

Uh huh. Sure it is. And she can explain why it only became a cough drop after this argument to her teacher.

Oh, and keep in mind that she did eat the candy...

Do you remember your middle school (junior high school) years? (That's ages 12-13.) What's the silliest thing you ever argued?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Invisible


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 ;)

As a child, I wished to be so small no one would see me. As I got older, I realized being completely invisible would be more trouble than it’s worth. If people can’t see you, they won’t get out of the way to let you pass, or they’ll run into you while you’re minding your own business. But…

What if you had the ability to not be noticed, to pass nearly invisibly through most spaces? What might you do with this skill (or power)?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Monday, April 10, 2017

Headbands

The freaky bunny didn't happen. (The hands have been still all week. I wasn't sure why I just didn't have the energy to knit and/or crochet. Until Thursday afternoon when the cold hit...) 

But by Saturday night, I managed to finish up two more headbands in time for the farmers market on Sunday. (By "finish", I mean the headbands were done. Only the kitty ears needed to be added.)


Remember the headbands? I made one for myself in orange... 


I still hope to have the bunny done for Easter. And somehow, it'll have to work for N. Somehow...

A white and a black kitty headband for sale. Any takers?

How was your weekend? Have you managed to avoid this spring cold that's been making the rounds?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Gorgeous Saturday

Last Saturday was a beautiful day...


How's your Saturday (either last week or this)?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Friday, April 7, 2017

Flailing


I was covering the math class at the continuation high school. They work on computers at their own pace. So, I spent the period monitoring them, trying to keep them on task.

But, when I'm there, they're on sub behavior. Their teacher (who is pretty strict) doesn't let them get away with a lot, so they're more likely to act up around me. Deep sigh.

When I'd see a kiddo not on task, I would ask if they were stuck and needed my help. Usually they said no and they'd get back on task, at least while I was standing over them. (This also elicited actual queries for help some of the time. And help I was happy to give.)

So, when I saw Parnell playing a game, I approached.

Parnell did need help. But rather than calmly explain what he wasn't getting, he flailed about, saying he didn't get anything and he couldn't do anything.

He was doing a unit on getting paid. Taking yearly salaries and breaking them down into how much one would get on a specific paycheck. So, I calmly read the question with him: if someone was getting paid monthly, and their annual salary was X, what would one need to do to figure out how much per paycheck?

He finally got an answer... that didn't match any of the choices he was given.

After some more flailing about, I had him do the problem again. Apparently he had miskeyed into the calculator as he got a right answer this time.

Since he was apparently back on track, I walked away. Only to look over and see he was back on his game. Naturally.

(The newest popular game at the continuation high school is Town of Salem. Considering the type of kiddos there, this is not surprising.)

Have you ever played Town of Salem? What is your favorite computer game?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Expert in Geography


It was day two with the English class at the continuation high school. We were fully into the movie Girl Rising, stopping every 15 minutes to review ethos, logos, and pathos. (Please see yesterday's post for a brief overview of the lesson.)

The teacher had suggested that it might be cool if I could find a world map and point out where each of the girls' stories took place.

A quick Google search turned up an awesome map where you can click on a country and a map of that country pops up. (It's here in case you want to check it out.)

I was not surprised that in most of the classes when I asked where Haiti, Nepal, and Egypt were I only got vague answers that were mostly wrong. This was the continuation high school, and as a culture we are notoriously bad at knowing where anything in the world is.

So, I was surprised when in 2nd period I asked where Haiti was, and one student gave me a very good description. Then he surprised me by correctly locating Nepal. And then Egypt.

They do actually take a geography class as freshmen. I'm glad that at least one of them was paying attention.

Could you locate those countries on a map without a hint? Did you take geography? How did you do in your geography class?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Down Time


Last week I was back at the continuation high school. English class. They're doing a unit on modes of persuasion. There will be an essay they will have to write. But later.

On the days I was there, they were getting practice identifying ethos, logos, and pathos. By watching the film, Girl Rising.

But, to get them started, we first watched the trailer...



After, I asked them to come up with examples of ethos, logos, and pathos from the trailer...

"What? We were supposed to watch it? It's a trailer. You know, the thing that comes before the movie. We weren't paying attention..."

Because, apparently, I wasn't clear enough when I explained that they would be coming up with examples...

Fine. I offered to play the trailer again. At least they were able to come up with examples after a second viewing.

Do you enjoy watching movie previews? Have you seen Girl Rising?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Cloned


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 that you had been replaced by a clone?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...


Also, that little blog project I mentioned last week is up and running. Stop on by Talking It Out and say hello. We'd love to see you there. 

Monday, April 3, 2017

Bunny in Progress

Yeah, so the plan for today was to have Saturday's bunny all put together and ready for its closeup.

Didn't happen.

I got the inner ears glued on. I got some of the pieces attached. But the nose and mouth... Still working on it.

Here's what I've got so far...


Yes, the eyes are supposed to bulge. Go and take a look at the pattern: Freaky Easter Bunnies. Although, I think they might be too high on the head. I might have to rip them out and replace...

Not going to worry about that right now. We'll see how the week goes. And then I'll have to figure out how this guy fits into the letter H. Or N. At this rate, I might have to look into making him fit for T.

Ah well.

If you're doing A to Z, how's your plan working out? Or did you post everything ahead and are all good to go? How about this bunny--isn't he freaky?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...