Thursday, June 22, 2017


For the penultimate day of school, I was once again at the continuation high school. (I did not work the last day of school this year.) The kiddos had an assignment, but very few of them chose to do it. In fact, very few of them chose to come to school at all.

(I think this is why the traditional high schools give students finals. It keeps them coming to class and makes them try for those last few days.)

I was basically on crowd control. Well, if you consider a class of seven to be a "crowd".

2nd period. I pointed out the assignment. A couple of them even got out books and paper.

"Remember when you pulled that knife on me? I wanted them to expel you for that."

This is not the sort of statement that is usually accompanied with laughter. But there was no anger in Julio's voice. He seemed to be in instigating mode. Waiting to see if I'd have to intervene, I just listened in.

"You stole my pizza," Daniel replied.

This is when Julio noticed that I was listening, so he explained.

Back when the boys were in middle school, they were in home ec. together. One day the assignment was pizza. They cooked it. At the end of the period, they each got a slice.

You know when you take a slice of pizza how sometimes a bit of the tip of an adjoining piece gets stuck to it? Julio's slice had a bit of Daniel's slice's tip attached.

So, Daniel demanded that Julio give him back that little bit of pizza. Julio refused. Daniel grabbed a butter knife and held it to Julio's ribs...

They didn't tell me what happened after that. Apparently the teacher called for backup as it sounds like the issue got resolved with school administrators.

"If I could forgive you for that..." Julio said to Daniel.

Apparently, this is one of those funny stories that they like to remember. At least they can laugh about it. If they were still angry at each other...

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Self Referential

7th grade world history. It was the last Monday of the school year. The students had a study guide for their final (which was going to be Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, depending on which period class it was).

The day went pretty well. I had the usual issues with fidget spinners or slime, but most of the students were actually finding answers and getting ready for their final.

As I always do, I let the class know that if they were having difficulty with any of the assignment, they could ask me. (That's my job, after all.) Some even took me up on my offer.

One boy 'round about 4th period pointed out the question he couldn't find the answer to:
What do we call the scientific laws that describe how objects move in space? 
It took me a moment longer than it should have, really. But once it hit me...

Because, yeah, I know the answer to that question. And I don't even have to look it up.

I chuckled as I scanned the boy's book to point out the answer. I would have loved to explain to him why I found this so funny, but he wouldn't have gotten it.

But you will.

Don't know the answer? It's right here on this page. Scroll up. Keep going. See those words right at the top of the page? In white on a purple background? Yes, I'm talking about the title of my blog...

Some days the jokes are just for me.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Take a Second Shot?

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 ;)

Last week I pulled a question from the last three episodes of this season's Legends of Tomorrow. (If you weren't here last week, make sure to check that out first.) The setup had me shaking my head and yelling at the TV. But it was their bad choice that leads to this week's question.

Even though they had a time machine, the heroes chose to brave a battlefield in the middle of a battle (during World War I) to dig up... Well, what they needed is rather irrelevant to this discussion. They somehow managed to get to the item, blasted the area (they had no time to dig), and made off with the item only to have a stray bullet hit it and destroy it.

This MacGuffin was the only one of its kind. Bad guys win, right? Or...

What if the item you went back in time to retrieve got destroyed in the retrieval? Is it gone, or can you think of another way to get at it? (And keep in mind, you've already gone to get it, so your past self must find something.) 

Monday, June 19, 2017

I Couldn't Resist

A few weeks ago, the designer of the jellyfish published a new pattern. She posts new patterns to her blog fairly often, but this was the first one in a while that made me say, "I have to make that". 

I have absolutely no use for it. But when I saw it, I just couldn't resist. 

It's a unicorn gift card holder. And I finally finished it this past week. 

Don't see a gift card? Well, open the arms...

It wasn't terribly hard, but there were a lot of pieces that needed to be sewn together. And the rainbow mane had to be knotted on strand by strand. (That makes it sound like it was a lot more work than it was, but there was a bit of assembly involved.) 

Several members of my family should consider themselves lucky that I didn't finish this thing sooner. They might have ended up with it. (I was soooo tempted to give it to my father for Father's Day--he got a gift card for movie tickets--but I restrained myself.) And as the next birthday in the family is mine... 

I'm probably going to put this up for sale. Although, I may just want to look at it for a while. 

Friday, June 16, 2017

Accommodations for a Final

For the penultimate week of school I covered a special ed. health and biology class.

(Yes, the last day of school was yesterday. I write all my posts for the week at once, so you're always reading about what I did last week.)

As they had finals the following week, they spent the week I was with them working on a "study guide".

The teacher and instructional aide (IA) had honed this study guide over several finals that they'd given their classes. (The IA was with me for the entire week, so basically she did all the "work" and I sat around and looked "official".) The IA explained what they were doing to me.

Each student was given the actual final along with the "study guide". While in class (they weren't allowed to take it out of the room) they were to look up where to find each answer in the book (the final was open book) and note down what chapter, what page, what paragraph, and what sentence each answer could could be found in. (They were given what chapter.)

Easy, right? But remember, this was a special ed. class. It took some of them all week. Although, to be fair, it took all week for the students who spent most of their time staring at walls rather than looking for the answers for their final.

Deep sigh.

And the IA told me that even with this help, no student gets 100% on their finals.

Ah well, it turned out to be an easy week for me. (Even with Asia in one of the periods.)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Graduation Daydream

Nine years ago now it was. I was working the last day of school. (The teacher was attending her child's 8th grade promotion.) I had the door open. It was passing period, and I could hear the students just outside. One girl said to her friends, "We're seniors now". It wasn't exactly true as they still had three periods to go, but the seniors had had their graduation ceremony the night before, so they were the oldest students at the school at that point. 

I had a prep period then. And I was beat. So, I leaned back, closed my eyes, and I tried to doze. The girl's comment replayed, and I imagined a scene...

It starts with a stage filled with teens in caps and gowns. A graduation ceremony. The new graduates look over the audience filled with proud parents. They're excited. They've finally finished school, and they're looking forward to the next phase of their lives.

The new graduates exit at the side of the stage. They hug each other. Many are in tears. They meet up with parents, take pictures, and gradually leave the area.

The stage is empty, but not for long.

Off to the other side of the stage is another group of students a year younger than those who just exited. They climb the stairs and claim the stage for themselves.

The new senior class surveys its domain. Some look in corners. Others go to the edge of the stage and peer out at the audience. Many are cheering, fist pumping, and bouncing up and down. Two boys run at each other and bump chests. They have arrived.

While the new senior class celebrates, the area just off the stage that was just vacated starts to fill. This group looks around in awe and wonder. A few look up the steps, itching to join the new seniors. Several look out over the line that stretches out behind them. It's a long line and it seems to disappear into the horizon.

As each group moves up to the next position, they look over their new surroundings. The new freshman class, however, is so busy celebrating and laughing at the group just below them that they don't notice how trashed their new position is. Then again, their old spot in the line wasn't much better.

The newest middle schoolers carefully take up their new position. They are all wide-eyed wonder. The more adventurous pull their peers along. They take their time looking around, acclimating to their new position in line. There's a demarcation behind them, and they thought they'd never get beyond that border. Now that they are, they're not sure what they're going to do next.

Each elementary grade moves up one. As the former kindergartners take their first grade spot (and make themselves right at home), an empty spot is left at the end of the line. But like all the other spots in line, this one doesn't remain empty for long.

Off in the distance, family groups start to arrive. The parents push their little ones into their spot in line. Some of these children run to take over their spot. Others cling. The families stand there, watching their little ones for some time, not sure what to do next.

One mother shakes her head as she watches her little one acclimate to the line. "They grow up so fast," she says.

Nearby, various people are on their way out of the area. One woman hears the kindergartner's mother, so she turns to her and says, "You have no idea." The woman looks off into the distance where her graduate is off with friends.

"You have no idea," the woman repeats.

And the cycle begins again. Happy end of the school year.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Coming Attractions

Welcome to the end of the school year. For those of you keeping track, our school year ends tomorrow.

At the end of each school year, I have a little ritual. First, I repost my "Graduation Daydream". This I will do tomorrow to commemorate the last day of school. And then I'll do my annual "Year End Stats" post where I tally up all the different classes I covered.

But, I have been working, and I'll have classes up until practically the end, so before I go on "summer schedule", I'll have a few more subbing posts. Last week I covered one special ed. class for the whole week. And this week so far I have three days scheduled. There are more stories to tell before I completely close out the school year.

(Yeah, that gif has nothing to do with anything. It just made me laugh.)

As for my "summer schedule", it's my actual schedule (which is posted in my About Me page) minus the subbing stories.

I will continue to update the "Student Name of the Week". What? You didn't notice my newish little project on the sidebar? Just look over to the right. It's under "Twitter" and above "Subscribe To". (Kind of between those last two gifs.) I started this a few months ago, and the explanation and full list of names already featured are on the "Student Name of the Week" page, which has a link at the top of the blog. The list of names I have currently will safely see me through the summer (and through the end of the year and into next year if that were to become necessary).

But the real reason I'm writing this particular post has to do with a question I have for my regular readers. I was contemplating adding a random TV show post one day a week, but before I begin this, I was curious if there's any interest.

A few years ago, I tried doing a random movie post one day a week. I didn't keep it up as I wasn't finding the right sort of random movies that would fit. But I got to thinking that there are a few TV shows that I watch that no one has heard of, and it might be interesting for me to tell you about them. Especially with streaming abilities and summer. Some of you might be looking for some different things to watch.

I used to do my random movie posts on Fridays, but then I replaced them with my random quiz Fridays. So, my second question is, if I do the TV posts, would you like to see them on Fridays? Or Wednesdays? (Because at the moment, while I do have an official topic for Wednesdays, I don't actually do that topic ever. In fact, I usually just skip Wednesdays entirely in the summer.)

I appreciate any opinions on the topic. I hope you'll stop in tomorrow for the "Graduation Daydream" and next week for my "Year End Stats" (spoiler: I worked more days this year than last). And I hope you'll continue to stop in all summer. I'll try to keep it interesting.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Getting It First

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 ;)

Today's question was prompted by the TV show Legends of Tomorrow. It finale'd in April, but the last three episodes have been sitting on my DVR until about a week ago.

The show annoys me. I've given it up a couple times. Then the other shows that I actually like go off the air for a bit, and I decide to give this show one more chance. This time I figured it was only three more shows and I'd be caught up for the season.

So, this week I'm going to borrow their premise and see what you make of it.

The setup: All season our protagonists have been trying to prevent the antagonists from acquiring a MacGuffin that'll destroy the world (rewrite reality--same difference). It's been hidden throughout time... Did I mention they have a time machine?

They've gone back in time to acquire... well, what it is really doesn't matter... this item will help keep the MacGuffin safe from the bad guys. They found an expert to help them find this item, so now they know where it's buried.

Unfortunately, the item they need is buried in the middle of a battlefield. And the antagonists are after it, too.

Which leads to today's what if. (To make a long story short too late!)

What if you needed to acquire an item that would help you "save the world"? You've gone back in time (in your time machine) to find an expert to help you locate it. Unfortunately, the item is buried in the middle of what is currently a battlefield. (The item was buried there in the Middle Ages.) How do you get this item before the bad guys can get to it? 

Friday, June 9, 2017

Enemy Sub

Remember the boy from "Rolling Starbursts"? He remembers me. Unfortunately.

Seventh period math at the continuation high school. The bell rang. Then Terrence walked in.

"Are you going to mark me tardy?"

Well, of course.

"But I had to walk by the basketball courts..."

The continuation high school is not large. They have a four minute passing period. You can make it from the office to the classroom I was in (the farthest anyone ever has to travel) in about a minute. (Which I had to do earlier that same day.) So, there's really no excuse to be late.

Ah, but now I'm the enemy, so Terrence refused to do any work. And he was still angry that I told his science teacher about his game. (I asked if he had gotten into trouble. He admitted that he hadn't. So, why this animosity?)

As I was leaving for the day, I mentioned the tardy thing to the secretary. (It was an "isn't this funny" incident that I couldn't not share.) "I guess Terrence hates me."

Her reply: "There aren't very many people Terrence does like."

Oh. Suddenly Terrence's behavior makes a whole lot more sense. (And since I'm likely to forget all about this until I see Terrence again and he reminds me, as he had to remind me of the "Rolling Starbursts" as I hadn't remembered it was him until he said something, this won't trouble me too much.)

Note: If you live in Alaska, West Virginia, Nevada, Arizona, Maine, Louisiana, Tennessee, Ohio, Colorado, South Carolina, Arkansas, or Pennsylvania and are against the ACHA (and seriously, this is one bad bill; it will hurt everyone), would you take a moment and call your Senator(s)? Please. If you're not sure why or what to do, take a look at this post for links. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Worst of the Worst

I had been warned about 6th period. While the rest of the day was 8th grade math, period 6 was the "support & enrichment" class (read: the extra math class for students who hate math). I kinda knew what I was in for even before they arrived.

In a class of the difficult, table 1 stood out. Jacob and Elijah were just that little bit of extra crazy. Let me see if I can recall their shenanigans:

  • Confiscated a Tech Deck from Jacob
  • Removed a girl from table 1 as she and Jacob were having a loud argument (something about each being racist against the other)
  • Prevented Elijah from writing on Jacob's forehead in marker
  • Only then discovering that they had written Slipknot on each other's arms
  • Asked them to stop pounding on table and stomping in rhythm: "This is not a Queen concert or a basketball game"
  • Argued with Elijah about whether he was the son of a Kiss band member (who he would not name to prove his assertion)

Would you be shocked if I told you they got no work done?

Even with that list, I did not spend the period hovering over the boys. There was plenty of other crazy to contain, although not as crazy as Jacob and Elijah, of course. 

A little over halfway through the period, I was on the other side of the room. Everybody's attention was drawn to Elijah throwing his arms in the air as Jacob... (Don't ask. I have no idea.) 

The boys at table 8 (where I was at that moment) looked at Jacob and Elijah in disgust. (Keep in mind that they were loud in their own right.) 

"You need to write their names down." 

(Name in note can be a serious consequence. In the case of this class, the teacher had specified that she wanted names taken, with a likely outcome that names in the note got severe consequences.) 

I laughed. "I wrote their names down a half hour ago," I told the boys.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Missing Class

Continuation high school journalism class. (Yes, they have a school newspaper.) It's the end of the year, so the class only had four students. (One was absent.)

The continuation high school works on credits. Once they've earned the required 220, they are done. By this time of year, most of the seniors have completed high school.

It was newspaper delivery day. Two students were to go pass them out to all the classes. One of the assigned students was absent, so I let the other student pick her partner. But all three girls wanted to go. And the boy wanted to join them...

What's the harm, right?

Five minutes later I got a call from another teacher. They were being disruptive. (Naturally...)

Well, they should have come back soon, so I could scold them. I waited.

And waited.

And waited.


I went to the door looking for them. They were not visible on campus. (The campus is small enough that I could see all of it from my door.) But the principal spotted me.

The girls did eventually return. The boy returned some time after them. (This is the way subs get into trouble.) What happened? They explained that several of the papers had been stapled badly, so they had to fix.

The boy...? He was taking advantage of the situation. Naturally.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Just a Watcher

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 time travel was possible, but the traveler couldn't interact in the time? That is, a person could see, hear, touch, and smell the world, but no one from that time could perceive the traveler. What if time travel was like a holographic projection that one could only watch?

Monday, June 5, 2017

Covering It with Yarn

I got the idea Wednesday night. Friday night I attempted it. And managed to complete it in about two hours. (That included a bit of swatching to get the measurements right.)

Can you tell what it is? Probably not as it's something I made up. Does this help?

You can kind of see what's in there, if you're looking closely. So, let me take it out...

Why would I made a cozy for a fidget spinner? Remember when I told you all about the hot new teen fad? Well, it's gotten to the point of annoyance. Turns out these things aren't so silent, especially not in a silent classroom.

It's not surprising that the things have invaded my subconscious since they've become ubiquitous.

Once I turned my brain on the problem, it didn't take me too long to work out how to cover it. And it even spins while it's encased in the cozy...

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

I'm going to tweak the pattern a bit before I write it up. If I write it up. I think my curiosity is now sated.

Friday, June 2, 2017

No Hablo Ingles

I was covering two days of a U.S. history class. As they were juniors and Ms. G's classes tend to be on the good side, I wasn't too concerned when a few students gathered together while they did their work.

Of course, I made a point of going over to them and looking over their shoulders. And they explained their grouping.

"Kevin needs our help. He doesn't speak any English."

Hmmm. Now I'm suspicious. There are some students at that school that don't speak any English, but usually the teachers give me a heads up (and they give the student an alternative assignment or the student has a "helper"). But why volunteer that information so readily? I hadn't asked.

Plus, the boys were having way too much fun in their little group.

Day two in the class. I was a little stricter with them, but the boys still found their little group. A couple of them went out to the restroom. When one of the boys returned, he stood over another boy, and it was clear something was going on. So, I approached.

The boy sat down. He pulled out his backpack, and then I saw that it had been flipped. So, now I understood why he was upset. I gave the other boy my best "really?" look. I growled at them to get back to work (and stop messing with each other).

It was only after I left the group that it hit me. The boy who had been upset? Was Kevin. Who supposedly doesn't speak any English.

Funny how we were able to communicate pretty readily in English when he asked to use the restroom and when he returned and we discussed his backpack.

This is why I am dubious when I am told a student doesn't speak any English. Because they lie.

But luckily they are really, really bad at this lying thing.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Conservative Tide

I don't talk politics on this blog. (I save that for Talking It Out.) And while I'm not going to start today, I do feel I need to preface today's post with a nod to my bias.

I'm a liberal. (You all already know that, right?) Which is why I found this so funny.

11th grade U.S. history. They were to do a guided reading (read: worksheet) on a section entitled "A Conservative Movement Emerges" about the '80s and Reagan and Bush Sr.

As they turned in their work, I glanced at it. And then I took a closer look.

The question (if it's too small to read, click on the image to blow it up):

And their responses:

As you can see, they "worked together". And it's pretty obvious they didn't read the chapter carefully (or at all, probably). They may have looked it up on their phones.

Still, it gave me a good chuckle.

And I made sure my instructions to the next class were a little clearer. As in READ THE CHAPTER. (You'd think this goes without saying, but apparently not when they want to get done so they can goof off.)

Oh, and the teacher is a conservative. So, when their papers are graded...