Friday, August 31, 2018

Bell Faker

Yup, still in the CAD class...

A couple weeks back, I mentioned how fourth period liked to line up at the door and sneak out before the bell. I stopped that by standing at the door. However, this story continues...

I would not be surprised if Nathaniel was one of the ones who got by me that first week. It was time for him to try a new tactic.

"That's the bell. Riiiiingggg. I just heard it."

Yeah, he pretended to be a bell right in front of me.

Me: "The bells don't really sound like bells. It's more of a buzzing sound."

Nathaniel: "Buzzzzz."

So, for a week, we've been doing this dance. He makes bell ringing sounds. I give him a stare. We go back and forth for a bit until the bell actually rings, and then I let the class go.

But on Tuesday (I think it was Tuesday), Nathaniel tried another bit.

"I have to go now. I can't miss the bus."

The school has no school bus service. And the city bus comes along every 20 minutes or so.

"I have to get to work." He then quoted a time a half hour later as to when he had to be at work. So, he had plenty of time to wait for the bell (which rang less than a minute later).

Is it terrible of me that I rather enjoyed marking him tardy most of the week? (He was late. Like, he arrived minutes after the bell.)

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Out All Night

Yup, I'm still in the CAD class...

On Wednesdays, the school has this thing called advisory. It's a bit of time carved out of the day where the students can get updates as to how many credits they're earning. There are also announcements and such.

It was the afternoon, so I only had three students. One girl was complaining that she was tired. I could relate as I had been dragging all week. That's when she explained why she was so tired.

"I snuck out two nights ago, only getting back home just before 6 AM."

Um, what?

"My mom couldn't figure out why I was so tired all day."

Her mother questioned her. She wondered if she was doing drugs. ("I don't smoke anymore," she said.) Her mother wondered if she'd been on her phone all night. ("I turned off my phone at 10:30 as you requested," she said.)

But her mother didn't think to ask if she snuck out of the house at 11 PM and stayed out all night with her boyfriend.

So, parents, if your teen is inexplicably tired, perhaps they're sneaking out of the house at night. This is my public service announcement for the week.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Back to Room 12

Yes, I'm still in that computer aided drafting class. We're all rather curious as to what trial the teacher ended up on. Should be good...

"That old lady who's subbing for Mr. A says she used to work here..."

The boy was complaining about the sub who was covering the graphic arts class. She was on them to do work. But that's not why his comment grabbed my attention.

"When did you start here?" I asked.

Because it wasn't that long ago.

On Monday (which was the first day of school for the whole district) a sub I was not expecting showed up. Ms. M. If you recall back to February, I spent two weeks covering her class after she retired. And I subbed for her many times prior to that.

We were checking in at the front office at the same time. I knew who I was subbing for, so I was curious as to which other teacher was out. When she said the graphic arts teacher, I had a bit of a giggle.

When Ms. M retired, they moved her classes to other teachers. They did not replace her. So, her room was empty for a time. But, as it happens, the room wasn't empty for long. Another teacher moved in.

The graphic arts teacher.

So, Ms. M was subbing in her old classroom.

This is not irony. Is it considered poetic justice? Nah. But this should have a name.

The room looks different now. Graphic arts is done on computers. And there's a t-shirt printing machine as well as a couple other interesting printers.

But still. What are the odds?

(The boy had started at the school after Ms. M retired. They get a new batch of students about every month, so this is not unheard of.)

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Unknown Danger

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. 😉

Did you hear about the 500-foot asteroid that's going to pass really, really close to the Earth tomorrow? That's what prompted today's question:

What if there was an extinction-level near Earth object ready to strike us? How do you think those in the know would react? Would we even find out about it in advance? Would we want to? 

(Yes, I know there have been movies and TV shows about this. Most recently, Salvation, which is still on the air--although, I wouldn't recommend it now as that show has severely gone off the rails.)

Monday, August 27, 2018

Knit & Crochet Check In

If you're up to date with my subbing stories, you know I've been covering the same class for a month. It's a class where they have projects they do on computers.

At a certain point (after I've given them the announcements for the day, taken roll, and walked the room) there's not much for me to do but sit and watch them. But I can't sit still and just watch them without going a little crazy. I need to do something with my hands.

It turns out that jellyfish are a great project in this situation. I don't have to think too hard. I can easily watch classes while crocheting them. I can jump up in a moment if I'm needed. So...

For those keeping score, this is jellyfish #34. And at this moment: jellyfish #35 is just awaiting final assembly, jellyfish #36 needs two more tentacles made, and jellyfish #37 needs all of its tentacles made.

Back in June, I showed off the start of a new infinity scarf.

I'm making slow progress on it...

Although, comparing those two pictures, the progress might not be as slow as I thought.

Slow and steady wins the race, after all. Seriously...

Friday, August 24, 2018

The Seating Chart

The CAD class continues...

One day I decided to make a seating chart. It's really easy to do in the attendance software. (It's just drag and drop.) And I learn names and faces more quickly when I have a seating chart to refer to.

The reason why this is silly is because the teacher doesn't have assigned seating. While in some classes this would result in pandemonium, in this class it works. At least, I haven't had any of those kinds of issues.

Besides, teens are creatures of habit. They tend to claim a seat and return to said seat each and every day.

It was kind of an experiment. Could I make a seating chart for a class where they had no assigned seating?

The answer to that question is "kind of".

In a couple of the classes, I made the seating chart, and I haven't changed it since. In the others, I have had to adjust the chart every day. (But it's just drag and drop, so it isn't hard.) Now, I say "adjust". Because, most of the chart remains accurate. It's just one or two students who move. And usually, they don't move by much.

Teens are creatures of habit. Even in classes where they're not required to remain in the same seat.

But the charts have been a success for me. I've managed to learn the students' names. (For me, that's huge. I'm terrible at remembering names.)

And the trial continues on. Late in the week we got official notification that the teacher would not be back for the next week. As that Monday (my posts appear a week after the incidents described, so I mean this past Monday) was the first day of school, summer, for me, is officially over. More stories from this class next week. 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Not Absent

The CAD class continues on...

Currently, there are two students enrolled in period seven. (It didn't start out that way. Originally, there were six.) Alas, these two aren't terribly reliable when it comes to their attendance. I'm lucky if one of them shows up.

On Monday, my liar from last week, Thomas, showed up. He again watched videos.

On Tuesday, Billy showed up.

I wasn't expecting much from him, so I was shocked when he actually did the assignment. Seriously. You could have knocked me over with a feather. I tried to play it off like it was no big deal, but it was.

Alas, on Wednesday, I was alone in seventh period again.

However, as I was noting this in the attendance software, I noticed something strange. Billy had been marked absent for the prior day. Not only absent, his absence was noted as a "cut".

(The attendance clerks check absences, and they all eventually get a code. So, if the student was out due to illness, that's noted. If the student was on a field trip, that's noted too. And if students are out for non-approved reasons, those are noted as well, such as a "cut".)

Now, there are times when I might mis-mark the attendance, but when there are only two students in class, it's kind of hard to make a mistake. (And as one student was Latino and the other African-American, it wasn't like I was going to mix them up.)

I made sure to follow up with the attendance clerk. She went to check. And that's when she remembered.

Teachers make mistakes on roll sometimes. A teacher might mark a student present who is absent. This error is usually discovered when a student is marked absent in all but one of their classes.

As I was certain I had Billy in class, the clerk fixed his attendance. He had attended one class that day. And since he had only attended one class on Tuesday, then the one class he attended on Monday must have been correct as well. (It was his fifth period that day.)

Well, attending one class a day is progress of a sort. Now, if he would just commit to a couple more hours...

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

The Ungraduate Graduates

It's week three in the computer aided drafting class. (The teacher is on jury duty. The trial is dragging on.)

Somewhere at the start, Travis informed me he was graduating soon. And as he didn't need this class, he spent his time playing games.

I did the usual. I suggested that he could get work from other classes (like his other "careers" class) and bring it in. Why waste a period? He didn't see my point. He would rather play games.

So, naturally, when that Friday rolled around, Travis did not have all the credits he needed to graduate. But I already told you that story last week.

Monday, Travis was back. The two credits he needed in careers had been reduced to just one. So, he had the day to spend in my class to do the work.

It's amazing how well students work when the motivation is right. For three and a half hours, Travis plugged along on a project. He took breaks at break time, but then he went right back to it, not getting distracted by games, his phone, or anything else. By the end of fourth period, Travis had completed his project and submitted it.

Then he spent fifth period playing computer games while he waited for his sister to come and pick him up.

He graduated last Wednesday. It took a day for the teacher to check his work and approve the final credit.

And while I'm glad that he managed to finish high school, I know he could have been finished a couple days sooner. I try to tell the students this, but alas, I think this is one of those things they have to learn the hard way.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Creation

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. 😉

Did you know there's a new In Search Of? (Or, are you too young to have heard of the original iteration?) A recent episode was about artificial intelligence.

Which got me to thinking. Yes, I know they kind of did this in the newer Battlestar Galactica, but it's worth revisiting...

Let's say that once upon a time there was a people who had the ability and know how to create artificially intelligent robots. What if those long-ago AI robots are us? (I'm assuming that the robots figured out how to reproduce, and in this scenario, those descendants of the original AI are us.)

Monday, August 20, 2018

Crochet Tails

I've been making lip balm holders for a while now...

 Keyfob Lip Balm Cozy in Orange ~ Crochet Small Pouch Gift for Summer ~ Clipped Cozy Carrier ~ Lip Balm Holder ~ Chapstick Keychain

...and also for the EOS lip balms... 

 Crochet EOS Holder ~ Egg Lip Balm Keyfob ~ Lip Balm Cover Case ~ EOS Holder with Clip ~ Sphere Lip Balm Cozy

Oooh. Now, that's an idea. 

I finally got around to trying it... 

I modified this pattern to fit the lip balm holders I already make.

And I did it in teal blue because it seemed fitting.

I kind of like them. It's a good warm weather project as it's small and it's crochet. (Crochet doesn't make my hands sweat as badly as knitting does.)

Friday, August 17, 2018

The Ungraduate

It was Friday of the second week in the computer aided drafting class at the continuation high school. I got a call from the counselor. It was about Travis.

I've had Travis in various classes over the years. He's nice enough, but with an Eddie Haskell vibe.

Week one in class Travis informed me that he was in class for "careers". (They are required to do five credits worth of careers at the school, the equivalent of a semester course.) He needed two more credits.

And this is where we all dropped the ball. I thought I was in the class for a week, so I didn't think too much of this. And Travis didn't press me on assigning him work worth two credits in careers. I thought he was getting those credits from another teacher. And Travis spent all his time in class playing computer games.

But on Friday, the counselor wanted to know what Travis had gotten done. He was supposed to graduate that day, and all he was missing were those two credits in careers.


Yeah, he'd done nothing in class. Well, he'd half-assed a couple assignments, but nothing worth two credits.

Contacting the regular teacher was difficult because he was on jury duty. He wouldn't be able to see what Travis had submitted to him (via online means) until he was done for the day.

So, Travis missed his graduation date.

The way the continuation high school works, the students graduate as soon as they have completed their credits. So, Travis could graduate the following Monday if he manages to get those credits done. Or he could graduate Tuesday.

While I feel a bit bad for having not followed up on Travis' credits, I'm not terribly concerned about causing him to not graduate. Because he will. Just a bit later than originally expected. (At this point he's a fifth year senior, so it's not the first time he's missed a graduation date.)

By the way, the trial the teacher is on is dragging out. I'll be back the next week. I'll let you know if/when Travis does manage to graduate.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Clearly a Lie

Seventh period. For a change I had more than one student in class. I actually had two!

Yesterday I mentioned how the software had been down. They had the career research assignment to do or a couple of hand-drawn drafting assignments. It wasn't what they'd usually do in this class (computer aided drafting), but it wasn't completely off-topic.

A boy in the corner of the room laughed loudly. I glanced at what he had on his computer screen and found that he was watching something on YouTube. It looked like video from a radio station interview. It could have been a podcast.

(There is software on the teacher's computer that lets me watch what each student has on their computer screen. I've mentioned the technology before.)

Whatever it was, it wasn't on task.

I kept an eye on his computer as well as the computer of the other student in class. Neither were doing any work. Ah well.

At the end of the period, I went to "collect" their drawn-with-pencil-on-paper assignments. (Hey, the boy could have done that work with the video in the background. I don't know how, but many students do work better with background noise.) Of course, his paper was blank.

Me: "You did no work today?"

Boy: "I worked on that." He pointed at the career assignment. It was written on the board.

Me: "No, you didn't. You were watching videos all period."

He didn't argue with me any further.

Apparently, he's not aware of the monitoring software. But even then, he was laughing out loud. Loudly. For the whole room to hear. And he saw me look over at him. He really thought I wasn't aware he was watching a video that he found funny? Seriously?

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Recipe for Disaster

It's the second week in the computer aided drafting class. Their teacher is stuck on jury duty. But at least this week the software is working...

Yes, last week was a bit of a nightmare. It was bad enough that the teacher was out. (Kiddos really don't like it when their teacher is out. They like consistency.) But then we had the computer issue.

Without going into too many boring details, the software that they use to do the drafting stopped working on Tuesday. And it took the tech guy until Friday to get the problem solved. It was a whole thing. Calls to software reps. Reinstalling on all the computers in the room individually. We were lucky that they got it to work, finally.

So, teacher out for days plus software not working plus students not very motivated... Oh, did I mention that the students feel like it's too early in the school year ("It's still summer"), so therefore they should not be required to do any work yet? And so many of them "didn't want" this class and didn't understand what this class was about.

Okay, then, if they were not sure what the class was about, I had an idea. Since the software wasn't working, they could do a career survey. I asked them to research a job that would use computer aided drafting in it.

I gave them a list of things to look for including salary and working conditions. If they knew what CAD could be used for, they might be more interested in pursuing it, don't you think?

Yeah, that could have worked. There was only one problem--they weren't going to do the assignment. They'd rather play games. Or watch YouTube. Sigh.

So, it's week two, and the software is working. And they... Well, some of them are working. That's progress, right?

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Our Twitter Selves

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 inspired by something I saw on Twitter:

(Which is funny as my Twitter password is the one I can never remember. The only reason I can log in is because that password is stored in my devices, but if I try to log in to Twitter from anywhere else, I can't get in.)

OK. So...

What if your memory was failing (amnesia, dementia, a magical spell that deleted your memory...), and all you had to go on to figure you out were your tweets from Twitter? (And your likes, I would assume.)

Monday, August 13, 2018

Crocheting Dishcloths

"Do you make crocheted dish cloths?"

The question was posted to my Facebook page. It was something I hadn't considered before. Could I? Certainly.

Dish cloths are just small squares crocheted (or knit) using 100% cotton yarn. And I have a stash of cotton yarn. It's the yarn I use to make the jellyfish.

Rather than spend hours (or days) perusing stitch dictionaries (which is what I would normally do, looking for the perfect stitch), I searched Pinterest for dish cloth patterns. It's cheating, I know. But I also know I could then spend days working on swatching for sizing, and the stitch I picked might not look all that great.

I found this Crocheted Textured Dishcloth pattern from Just Be Crafty, and here's what came out...

Yes, it's white. That was the color requested.

And now I have a great idea on how to use up the odd and ends of cotton yarn that isn't enough to create a jellyfish.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Door Monitor

CAD (computer aided drafting) class. The teacher is on jury duty, a trial that is scheduled to go a couple weeks.

Fourth period was the period. Every teacher has one. It's the class where the difficult students reside. In my case, it's the biggest class of the day, and half the class wasn't doing much in the way of classwork.

This was also the class right before lunch.

I generally give a three minute warning. ("We have three minutes left of class.") It's their cue to pack up and get ready to go. This group lined up at the door. The door opened, and a couple students slipped out. We still had a couple minutes before they should have been dismissed.

I was able to get them back. When they repeated this sneakiness the next day, I knew I was going to have to be a whole lot more proactive about this.

On the third day, I called the three minute warning from just beside the classroom door. No one bothered to line up. Success! It meant that I'd have to block the door for them near the end of the period, but that's not a big deal.

But, on the fourth day, it was buyout day. That's the day that students can get buyouts signed so they can be excused from attending school on Friday.

At the three minute warning, I was positioned by the door. I had signed the buyouts. But, of course, a student hadn't given me his earlier. He asked for me to sign it, which meant I had to leave my door position to get my pen.

Naturally, this is when the kiddos lined up at the door. And, of course, someone slipped out. (It was Ten Minutes.)

Of course, I stepped out to retrieve him. He attempted to hide behind the door. At that moment Elliot slipped out...

I got them back. I made them wait until the bell. But they're going to be tricky. On the bright side, they're the only ones that are doing this.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Ten Minutes' Rap Battle

Yesterday, I mentioned the sleeper is at the continuation high school. Of course, I had him in class. And, of course, he wasn't doing much in the way of working.

The class is computer aided drafting. They "draw" various objects in a computer program. But, this being the continuation high school, many of them don't really apply themselves to classwork.

Ten Minutes (I'm stealing Mr. T's nickname for him) had a buddy in this class. Elliot and Ten Minutes challenged each other to a rap battle. (I'm not sure who instigated this.) At least, that's what they told me later.

I became aware of the situation when Ten Minutes started rapping. Now, he wasn't loud, but in a quiet classroom, even a quiet speaking voice rapping is noticeable. First I dinged him on his language. Because, rap. Every third word or so was inappropriate for a classroom setting.

But then I understood what they were doing. Namely, they weren't doing the assignment. So, I put the kibosh on the rap battle.

They were upset. What? They couldn't talk? I said talking was fine, but not getting any work done... Oh, and there was the whole how-do-they-rap-without-cussing thing. They didn't see the problem. (That they didn't see why having a rap battle in class was inappropriate tells you quite a lot about these boys.)

Once they accepted the rap battle was called on account of substitute teacher, they had to figure out who won. They asked for my ruling. Which was rather ridiculous as Elliot didn't get a chance to compete, and I interrupted Ten Minutes' rap.

I declared a tie.

I told them that they could totally have a rap battle... after class, outside, and/or after school. If they did this, they did not tell me about it.

(It's amazing the things they have to do that suddenly aren't so important when they're not in the classroom.)

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Self Own

I was back at the continuation high school. Yes, their school year starts early. (They get extra weeks off at Christmas and Easter, so don't feel too sorry for them.)

It was the computer aided drafting class. Some were making better use of their time than others.

Near the end of fifth period, a student remarked, "You were my sub for Mr. T's class in summer school."

Students end up at the continuation high school because they need to make up credits. They are strongly encouraged to attend the summer school of the traditional high schools in the district, because they can pick up as many as 15 credits. (They need 220 credits to graduate.) So, I was not that surprised to see some of the students I had seen not too long ago.

This boy had been in the class with the sleeper.

The sleeper slept for Mr. T, too. Mr. T called him "Ten Minutes", because apparently he would sleep those two hours every day only waking the last ten minutes of class. Then he'd scribble something on a paper and turn it in.

I have a feeling summer school was a waste of time for the sleeper.

Apparently, Mr. T went over my sub note with the class. (Some teachers do this. It's a learning opportunity for the students. They get to learn what got reported so that in future they can behave better for subs.) And the sleeper's dishonorable mention was talked about.

That's when the student who related this story piped up. He told Mr. T he was probably mentioned in my note for being on his phone.

I vaguely recalled this student. I can't recall if I asked him to put away his phone or not. But it was clear he was working. So, he didn't reach the threshold necessary for me to feel he belonged in the note.

(If I asked him to put away his phone and he did, I don't feel the need to report it. If he was listening to music or occasionally doing something on the phone while working--phone as background--I don't feel the need to report it. I only report phone usage when that's all they're doing, and after multiple warnings to do something, they don't.)

Mr. T informed the student that I hadn't reported him. "I owned myself," he told me.

Yup. That's the best thing about detailed notes to the teacher. Students tend to assume more is in them, and they do the work for me.

(Oh, and the sleeper? Was also in class with me on this day. Yup, he's a student at the continuation high school, too. And no, he didn't sleep in class. He didn't do any work, either.)

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Watching 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. 😉

What if you found out someone was watching everything you do on your computer screen?

(This week's question pulled from my life. Long story. But I was the watcher, not the watched.)

Monday, August 6, 2018

Four More Jellyfish... Again

Remember the jellyfish I made for my nephews' birthdays? The jellyfish never made it. They are lost somewhere...

I took some time to be sad about this. And mad. And then I got to making them again. (This time I'll give them to a person to take. Hopefully that'll take care of the problem.)

Now, I have pictures of jellyfish...

These should look familiar. I used the exact same colorways as before.

Although, the tentacle placement is probably different. I place them via formula, but that formula isn't exact. It's kind of hard to explain.

And so, I'll leave you with these shots of the jellyfish. Hopefully this time they'll make it to their intended recipients.

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Last Day of Summer School

It was the last day of summer school...

(Before anyone wonders about "time off", the continuation high school started up that same week. Guess what I'll be writing about next week.)

It was one of the "severe" special ed. classes. Their summer school program was more of a summer day camp situation. With air conditioning.

The last day was about cleaning up the room. During the summer, the custodial staff takes every stick of furniture out, cleans the floors, and brings it all back in again. (They've already started on the rooms that weren't used for summer school. It's fascinating to peek in to see these rooms that I've been in all empty.) So, anything the kiddos left behind would likely get lost if not tossed outright.

It really doesn't take that long to clean the room.

So, somehow I managed to work the first and the last day of summer school. And many days in between. Weird.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Splitting Early

Chemistry. They had the class for four hours. (There was a fifteen minute break in the middle.) And it was a very quiet four hours.

They were working on their "final". They had the final for the semester they were making up, and they could use their books and notes to find the answers. And they had four days to complete this.

Yeah, many of them weren't doing much of it. Some were chipping away at the questions. Others... Well, there were lots of phones out. (One boy had started his summer homework for AP US history.)

At the break, they left the room. At the start of the second two hours, I again checked attendance. In situations like this where they essentially are in the class for two classes, I am in the habit of verifying that everyone returns. It's rarely an issue.

However, on this day, it was. Eighteen students left the room. Seventeen returned. I triple counted. But luckily, I had a seating chart, so I was easily able to identify the girl who did not come back.

No, I have no idea where she went. As it's summer school and students are not necessarily taking a full day's worth of classes, they open the gates at the breaks, so the girl could have easily just left.

If she could afford the absence, she could afford the absence. Maybe she thought I wouldn't notice?

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The Adventure of English

There's a treasure trove of programming on YouTube. Many shows I remember fondly have ended up there. On subbing-free Wednesdays, I'll present a random video that I loved back in the day. Some of these may not have aged all that well. If you have some time, come on and take a trip down memory lane with me.

Today's YouTube offering is of much more recent vintage than the last one. This was a ITV series that aired in 2003. I think I must have seen it a year or so after on Discovery or TLC.

The Adventure of English is a history of the English language, from its earliest development through its current use all over the world. If you find any of this interesting, I would urge you to seek out and watch the whole series. It's not a long series; there are only eight episodes.

The episode I'm linking to is called "Speaking Proper", and it's about the fight to keep English from becoming some sort of unwieldy language and to keep it from changing. Yeah, they failed. It's just over 50 minutes long, but definitely worth your time.