Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Careful What You Wish For

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 every lie you told last week came true this week?

Monday, November 20, 2017


Last week I wrote up a list of stuff I needed to be working on rather than that mini backpack. I'm happy to note that I got much of that list done.

I was able to complete those two unicorn gift card holders...

(And now I have to make another, but that's a different story.)

I did finish the hat stands, and I was able to use them...

(They still need a bit of tweaking as the yarn came a bit unraveled, but that's an easy enough fix.)

I even finished the jellyfish for the donation, but naturally I did not take a picture of it.

I did manage to make some of the wreath pins, but they weren't quite finished (nor did I make as many of them as I would have liked)...

(They're small. The arrows point to them.)

And as for the Russian Poncho... yeah, I didn't even touch that. (Sorry, Heather.) Nor have I done any Christmas knitting.

I did, however, tear apart the mini backpack and rework it. And I'll show that off at some point. (I haven't had a chance to take any pictures other than the ones at the craft boutique.)

Progress. Sort of.

Friday, November 17, 2017


Remember the whole "stop looking at me" conversation I related on Wednesday?

That same day, all the English classes at the continuation high school were writing the quarterly district essay. (I was covering graphic arts.)

The next day, I covered one of the English teachers. (They were out grading the essays.) And I found this on her desk...

Click on picture to make bigger (so you can read it).

So, instead of working on the required essay (which was worth quite a bit), this student took exception to "being watched", too.

I'm not the only one.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Must Do "Work"

The previous day, the English class had to do the writing assessment that this school district requires of all its students. So, on this day, the teacher left them a video.

You'd think they'd be happy to have a video. Some were.

This one boy, however, was quite upset. He needed to get some work done. He wanted a computer.

The schools now have class sets of Chromebooks (read: lightweight laptops) that teachers can use for various lessons. As this class wasn't going to need the Chromebooks for this lesson, the computers weren't accessible.

The boy insisted. He needed to get something accomplished. I thought this laudable, so when he asked if he could borrow a Chromebook from another class, I allowed it. (It was supposed to be a relaxed day for them, so if someone wanted to do work...)

In the end, six students went and got Chromebooks.

But, they were rather noisy for those doing classwork...

I quick peek over their shoulders, and I found out what all the noise was. Were they working hard on class requirements? Of course not. They were playing a first person shooter game.


Later in the day, Terrence showed up. He informed me that he needed a computer. (No, he didn't ask. Apparently, asking permission is for others.)

Well, I stopped him. I asked him if he actually planned to work. I'm sure you can imagine his response.

(I explained what I had observed earlier in the day. He promised me he was going to do work.)

You know I didn't leave it at that. I went to look over his shoulder...

To find him doing work. Slowly. But, not games. So, progress.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Stop Watching Me

The memo read, "In order to be in compliance with CIPA regulations, all students must receive instruction regarding internet safety annually..."

The "instruction" was a short video that all the kiddos had to watch. Simple enough. I explained to the group what was up, and I put the video on.

"Can I go to the office to pick up my schedule? I've already seen the video."

I explained I realized that she had already seen the video. Last year. But she had to watch it again. She could go to the office after.

Oh, you'd think I was planning to torture her. (You've all see instruction videos for things like this. I freely admit it was as tedious as you imagine.) She whined. She needed her schedule right then. The video was boring. She didn't need to see it again.

So, I stopped the video. Reiterated that it was an annual requirement. That most jobs required such trainings regularly, and she was going to sit still for the video whether she liked it or not. And I'd start the video over each time she complained.

That got the complaints to stop (especially when I did actually start the video over). But she wasn't watching. She was watching me.

I turned and watched her right back.

"Stop looking at me."

I explained that she should have been watching the video.

"I can't watch the video with you looking at me."

I explained that if she was watching the video, she wouldn't notice me. She debated this. As long as I was watching her, she'd watch me right back.

Deep sigh.

I wish I could tell you this was the first time I've ever had this debate. Sadly, I've had this conversation (with different students) many, many times.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Borrowed from Life

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 😉

After pondering life, the universe, and everything, I decided I don't have the brain capacity to ask a question that hasn't been done to death. So, I went a bit more mundane...

What if you wrote a book where one of the main characters was someone close to you? And then, what if that person realized they were in your book, but they thought they were a completely different character (than the one you based on them)?

Monday, November 13, 2017

Impulse Control

Note: This post was written last Thursday night.

It was Wednesday, late afternoon. I had the whole evening planned out. And then I went on Pinterest...

I saw this pin. (I won't post a picture due to copyright concerns. But it's worth it to go and look. I'll wait...) And I just had to have one. (Link to the blog post the pin is attached to.)

There is no good reason for this. I don't need a little mini crocheted backpack on a keyring. The thing really has no purpose. But it's so cute. And it looks a bit like my EOS lip balm holders, so I knew I had the skills to make one.

And I had the yarn, too. But...

I have other stuff I should be working on. Stuff on deadlines. Seriously. I have a list:
  • I still haven't finished my sister-in-law's birthday present. (The Russian Poncho.) And, um, her birthday was at the end of September.
  • I sold my last unicorn gift card holder weeks ago. I'm in the process of completing two more. As in, all I have left to do is to attach the rest of the rainbow mane. (I've attached the red and orange stripes. All that's left are the yellow through purple stripes.)
  • I have a craft fair on Saturday. And there are things that need I need to get finished for that...
    • I have a hat stand that is part way complete. I need to finish that.
    • I am out of the wreath brooches that I made last year. I want a bunch more of those.
    • As is common for all craft fairs, this one requires a donation. (These things tend to be fundraisers, so part of the price of having a booth is the donation.) After avoiding the obvious, I realized that I had to make a jellyfish. Which I started. I still need to make the tentacles and assemble. 
    • Plus there are a couple odds and ends I'd like to have done in time.
And that doesn't even include the Christmas knitting I should be doing but am not. Ugh.

Right, so knowing this list, did I put the backpack idea aside until at least after Saturday? Of course not.

Here's the pic...

I dropped everything Wednesday night. Finished up on Thursday. Not quite right, though. Those straps are just kinda wrong. 

It's an easy enough fix. Some tearing apart and putting back together. Doable. But not until after the craft fair at minimum. At least I can do that. I think.

As of Sunday night, I have completed the unicorn gift card holders and the hat stands. All that's left of the jellyfish is to give it a face, stuff it, and sew it up. But I still have not touched the wreaths or the Russian Poncho. Sigh. At least I'm making some progress. And I left the mini backpack alone.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Simultaneous Generation of Ideas

Middle school graphic arts class. Because there was a sub, they were stuck doing bookwork. (And they didn't like that one bit. Let's just say it was an "interesting" day.)

Their assignment was to read an article about the guy who invented Flamin' Hot Cheetos (a snack many of them consume daily), answer some questions, and then:

Click on pic to make it bigger.

One of the classes was actually on task. They discussed ideas. (One table discussed grilled cheese ice cream. Ick!) And then one boy accused a girl of stealing his idea.

That was my cue to intervene.

The boy showed me his idea. Ramen noodles with bacon. (The kiddos are obsessed with bacon.) He explained that he went to show the girl (who was seated at a different table), and her idea was the same.

Only, it wasn't. She was doing a noodle thing as well, but it was something about double the noodles. No bacon involved. Because they were both noodles, the boy said they were the same.

I explained that the ideas were different. The girl hadn't stolen his idea. Assuming that they hadn't been in communication before drawing their pictures, they had stumbled upon the simultaneous generation of ideas, or multiple discovery. I talked movies, but if you Google those terms, you get all sorts of interesting articles.

The boy, however, continued to claim the girl had stolen his idea. As he was just complaining, I walked away and let him be. At a certain point, I'm not going to change his mind. And if he's not disturbing anyone (other than them having to listen to his continuous complaint), it's a waste of my time to continue to argue.

At the end of the period, I collected their work. As I neatened up the pile, I found that the boy hadn't turned in his work. After all that, he doesn't turn it in?

Middle schoolers. *shakes head*

Thursday, November 9, 2017

My "Favorite" Sophomores

I thought that I wouldn't have to deal with Kevin that Thursday, but then he walked in late with a pass. But, in a strange reversal, this 6th period actually worked, and quietly. (This was the same day as yesterday's post. I was so surprised to actually get a good class. One. But I'll take one.)

I wonder if Kevin even remembered me. I hope not.

Basically, Kevin spent all the time I had him in class avoiding work. Oh, he claimed he was going to "get it done" and he had "plenty of time", but I have yet to see him complete any work in class.

Last Monday I encountered Asia again. I noticed her name on 3rd period's roll sheet (for a photography class), so I had more warning than her.

Asia and I had a couple run-ins last year. She loudly criticized me when I insisted that she, um, settle down and do work. Any time I'd pass her on campus, she loudly laughed at me. I pretended not to hear.

Passing period. I stood at the front of the room as the students entered. I heard Asia as she peeked in the room, saw me, and then made her displeasure known with a string of expletives. Thankfully, she did this outside.

I looked at a girl seated directly in front of me. "She hates me," I told her.

Asia almost entered the room, but then turned and repeated her invective.

"She really hates me."

Eventually, Asia entered the room. Took her seat. She put on her pleasant face and spoke politely to me. All period.

I was impressed. She's learned to put on a false facade even though she hates me. Progress. I'll take it.

Kevin also didn't make any waves. It wasn't until after class that his story gets interesting.

On Kevin's desk, he left behind some papers. Assuming he had left behind his assignment, I went to retrieve them. And found something I did not expect.

The top page was a printed set of instructions:
  1. Ask Mr. W if you can still turn in missing assignments.
  2. If not, ask if remaining assignments will pull up grade.
  3. Repeat for Ms. S.
  4. Repeat for Mr. V.
The following pages were printouts of the gradebook for his classes. Unsurprisingly, he's getting Fs in all those classes. (Mr. W was who I was subbing for--English. Ms. S teaches home ec/cooking. Mr. V teaches chemistry.) 

I was not terribly shocked. Nor was I terribly shocked that those pages lay forgotten on a desk. I rather doubt Kevin is planning on following any of the instructions from his counselor. (That's why he was late to class. Presumably, they were discussing how he's failing high school.) 

I strongly suspect my Kevin stories will soon be coming to you from the continuation high school.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Quiet Game

Freshman English. It had been a very long day, but it was only 4th period. (The students do not like their teacher, and so they've gone wild.)

At a ceratin point, there's nothing more for me to do. I try to contain the chaos, but otherwise I sit back and watch.

The students were loud. Most weren't doing the assignment. (They were supposed to be doing a "close read" of "The Lady or the Tiger".) The conversations were typical of freshmen. (I think. I wasn't really listening.) In the midst of this, one student decided it was time to play The Quiet Game.

Seriously? They wouldn't shut up while I practically did the first question for them, but when they had leave to discuss their work (not that they were using the permission to talk constructively), they think The Quiet Game is fun?

One student challenged another. Then, "The first person to talk is a loser," type of thing. And suddenly the whole room was silent--except for all the snickering.

The silence lasted for maybe two minutes. They tried again. Still, not long. The most peace I had during class, certainly. Although, I'd have traded any silence for actual work on the assignment.

Sigh. Freshmen...

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Cult of You

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 😉

Most of you are writers of some sort. You've written blog posts. Some of you have written novels. Maybe you've written articles or maybe you've written random Facebook posts. Plus, you have a real life where you've done things and said things that are remembered. Perhaps you don't think much of it, but...

What if someone has taken your "teachings" and created a religion (or a cult) out of them?

Monday, November 6, 2017

Updating Pictures, Part 6

It's been a couple weeks since I last did this. It seems I need that much time to get through what is now a photo stash.

First up, I've updated some pictures of my little pouches that are big enough to hold a credit card or gift card...

Pink with Blue Q Gift Card Wallet

Gift Card Holder with Knitted Monogram A in Gray and Neon Green

Purple with Gray X Knitted Monogram Gift Card Holder

Eventually, I'll get all the ones I still have listed... 

But I can make any letter... 

You may remember all of these. They were used to illustrate my A to Z Challenge posts.

...in so many different color combinations that I can't list them all. 

I also managed to relist two Christmas ornaments... 

Christmas Ornament Knitted Tree Ball in Blue and White Beads

Red, Purple, and Yellow Knit Christmas Ball 

Progress. Sort of.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Okay with an F

I was back in Mr. M's class. (This is getting to be a habit.) It was Friday, so they had a quiz.

It's a special ed. class, so their quizzes are open book. When they finished, if there was time, the instructional aide corrected their quizzes. If there was time, and if they didn't do so well on the quiz, the aide gave the quizzes back to the students to fix.

(They don't get full credit, however. They only get the full points if they got it right the first time.)

It was first period. The aide handed back a quiz to the first student to finish. And he was not pleased.

You should have seen him. He flailed about. Rolled his eyes. Cried. Threw his head towards his desk. From across the room I could see his performance.

Even more impressive, he did this all silently (as the rest of the class was still working on their quizzes).

Later, I talked to the aide. Apparently he always does this. You'd think he'd be more grateful with the help on getting a better grade.

In a following period (period 4, I think), I was the one correcting quizzes. I gave a boy back a quiz with a bunch of mistakes. I got busy with other things, so I didn't re-collect his quiz until the end of the period. That's when I saw he hadn't touched his quiz.

He got seven wrong. Out of twelve. That's more than half. I don't need a calculator to know that's less than 50% correct, so that's an F. I told him so.

"I'm fine with that grade."

Um, really? Even when I told him he didn't get half right?

It's a middle school thing, I think. I hope.

If you had failed a quiz, and your teacher gave you back your paper with the opportunity to fix your mistakes, would you fix your mistakes? (I know I would!)

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Wasting his Time

It was one of those easy days. 12th grade English. They had a writing assessment to do. (It's something they've done four times a year every year since they were freshmen.)

At lunch I ran into another sub (Ms. I.). (Those of us who have been around a while are on friendly terms with each other.) She also had an English class (10th or 11th graders, I think). They were also doing the writing assessment.

So, we were comparing notes.

The writing assessment is done the same for all English classes. A day or so before the writing day, the kiddos are given a set of articles (two or three), and sometimes they also get a video to watch. These all tie in to the topic of the essay. They have the period to read the articles and annotate them. They can make as many notes as they wish. Then they leave the articles with the teacher.

On the writing day, they get their articles back, and they also get the writing prompt. They have the period to write.

Ms. I. was telling me about her group. Same as me, her day was going pretty smoothly. Except there was this one boy...

Ms. I. had the usual cell phone battle with him. (I was lucky enough to tell my group no cell phones, and they complied.) She told him to put his cell phone away, and he took his time doing it. Then he needed to use the restroom. And he was gone a good 15 minutes.

So, they got to the end of the period, and the boy wasn't finished with his essay. He asked Ms. I. if he could come back in the next class to finish it.

I laughed. I probably would have laughed in the boy's face, too. Ms. I. is nicer than me, though. She did not, however, let him continue working on the essay.

They had the period to complete the essay. It's not our problem if they wasted that time. I think we need one of those signs, kind of like the "a lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part".

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

The Tardy Boys

They waited until the bell rang to saunter into the room. Five 11th grade boys. Then one paused in the doorway. Just because, I think.

O ho! Someone's put himself (themselves?) on my radar.

And then... nothing. It was a U.S. history class. They had bookwork. They worked quietly. Ho hum.

So I thought I had a great title and nothing more. Until one of the tardy boys got up and sauntered to the other side of the room. He stood in front of another boy, waiting with his hand out. The boy reached into his purple can of Pringles and handed the first boy some chips.

This also is not especially blog-worthy. At least it wasn't until a second boy got up and repeated the first boy's entreaty. All three had been in the tardy group. And all three were seated as far away from each other as possible in the room.

I'm not a fan of eating in the classroom, but I chose not to fight that battle on this day. And I figured the incident was over. Until boy #1 got out of his seat again.

First boy #1. Then boy #2. And then boy #3 got out of his seat to deliver the can of Pringles to boy #1.

All the while, the rest of the class worked quietly.

But I had had enough. There was no reason for the roaming. Especially since the boys did have work to do.

The next day I ran into their teacher. Since the classes worked so well, she rewarded the students. Well, all except the boys I had named for the whole roaming thing. 😏