Friday, January 18, 2019

A Very Short Walk


I was covering a math class (one I've written about before). And, of course, I was asked to cover an extra period. (Last week was another week where I didn't get a prep period.)

I laughed when I saw where this other class was. Not only was it next door, the two rooms were connected.

Door inside the math class.

Door inside the special ed class.
This turned out to be a very useful door, actually. The math class' outside door's lock was stuck, so the only way to enter the room was via the special ed room.

It was so nice not to have to walk to the opposite side of campus for a change.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Milking the Injury


Middle school special ed U.S. history. The classes had been pretty good until 6th period. But, 6th period...

All boys. They came in loud. And I had to scold them to get settled at the bell.

Rico immediately called me over. He had to go to the health office. He hurt his hand.

The third and fourth knuckles on his right hand were purple with a bruise. It looked like he had hit something, hard.

Rico was goofing off. Loud. Not getting settled. So, I didn't really want to let him go. Because, he was clearly looking for an excuse not to work. But, those knuckles looked painful, and I'm not in the habit of denying students passes to the health office when they ask.

He wasn't gone long. He got some ice and returned. And now, it was all about how he couldn't do the assignment due to his hand.

The assignment was a timeline. They had been given a list of events during the Lewis & Clark expedition. They were to transfer those events to a preprinted timeline. Every other class finished by half way through the period.

But Rico "couldn't write". It "hurt too much". And I was reminded of the saying:
“If you really want to do something, you'll find a way. If you don't, you'll find an excuse.”
Rico was milking this excuse for all it was worth and then some.

And he was joined by two other boys who somehow couldn't get this timeline finished by the end of the period. Sigh. Middle school. Boys.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Vocabulary Challenge


English class at the continuation high school. The kiddos were to read a very short excerpt from John Locke's Of the State of Nature.

The students at the continuation high school aren't the strongest students, so the passage was a challenge for them to decipher. (I did read it with them and I tried to break things down so they understood.) Part of the assignment was to circle any words they were unfamiliar with so they could look them up.

I bet you know what's coming. I was expecting it.

"I am familiar with all of those words."

I believed two or three students. But way more than two or three students claimed this. So I warned them.

"If you're going to tell me that you know all the words in the excerpt, I'm going to ask you to prove it."

I had a group of students turning in their work. None of them had defined any words. Considering the paragraphs I had in front of me, I could give each student a different word. Words like: reciprocal, promiscuously, subordination, dominion, promulgated, and absolved.

And so I did. I asked each student to define a different word. And they made good stabs at it (using the context a bit). But they weren't even close.

Eventually they took their papers back. They didn't then look for words. Of course not. But at least they couldn't claim they were done.

(Considering that I heard one student looking up "arbitrary" but pronouncing it "obituary", there were more words that would have tripped them up had I asked for definitions.)

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

A Dragon


At the heart of much speculative fiction (and fiction in general) is a question. What if? On Tuesdays I like to throw one out there and see what you make of it. Do with it as you please. If a for-instance is not specified, feel free to interpret that instance as you wish. And if you find this becomes a novel-length answer, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements. 😉

This Dutch flower parade (similar to the Rose Parade) popped up on my Facebook timeline recently. And, as I've been reading some dragon fiction lately, it made me think...

What if that dragon was real?

Monday, January 14, 2019

The Gray Behemoth, End

So, yes, I finished it...


And I'm still learning my camera, so the pictures could be better.

It's about bed-sized...


And in case you're curious, the back side looks like the back side of stockinette stitch...


I finished it up last Monday. Now it's just a matter of getting it to my niece.


Hey, it's only 20 pounds. Not too bad.

Finally, I had to pose with it, just to give you an idea of how big it is...


And now I can go back to focusing on my other projects.

Middle nephew (one of niece's little brothers) is raising money for the American Heart Association. If any of you are so inclined, he would be most grateful for your help. (This link will take you to his page.)

Friday, January 11, 2019

Don't Date High School Boys


Winter break is over, but because I'm always posting last week's stories, I've pulled this week's posts from before the break. 

It was the last day before the winter break. Sort of. The continuation high school had to attend the Friday while the rest of the schools in the district were off. (They did a weird thing with the calendar this year.) But it was my last day, as no teachers from the continuation high school were going to be out.

And, as with all of December, I was again covering an extra period.

Which was unusual. This teacher had an emergency and had to leave early. (I heard it was a chipped tooth or something similar.)

For those keeping score, this gave me my second bonus day for the month.

Anyway, the class (there were like seven present) were busy watching their phones, mostly. They had a project, but most had already checked out mentally for the break. However, the room was dead silent.

So, I could hear Warren's entire conversation. It was all about his 22-year-old girlfriend and all the *ahem* things they did together. Yes, he was talking about sex. He was in the middle of relating one escapade when he looked up.

"Yes, we are listening. You can hear a pin drop in here. We can hear you."

Nope, that wasn't me. That was Jason. Jason M. No, not music Jason. (Music Jason is Jason C.) Jason M. is more of a gamer. (Certain names are popular. As I frequently have both Jasons in class at the same time, I am quite good at remembering which Jason is which.)

Jason M. was seated right in front of me. And I was grateful he spoke up. I gave Warren a glare.

"You might want to pick another topic," was all I said.

Warren didn't. He tried talking more softly, but the room was silent. I caught the gist of it.

All I could think was, why would a 22-year-old date a high school boy? (Warren says he's 18. I'm inclined to believe him. It's likely true.) Doesn't she realize that everything they do will be discussed with his friends? In class.

Probably not. If I knew who she was, I'd give her a heads-up.

My email to their teacher was short:
Yeah, so they didn't do a whole lot. No issues other than that. Although, we heard way more about [Warren's] sex life than I care to know. (He's dating a 22 year old.)
His reply was about the same: 
Wow...ok thanks for the heads up...I will talk to them
And revenge is sweet. I did warn Warren to find a different topic. If he's okay putting his business on front street, I'm okay letting Mr. A know that's what was discussed in his absence. (If Mr. A embarrassed him, all the better.) 

Thursday, January 10, 2019

The Stomach Ache


Winter break is over, but I didn't work last week, so this week's posts are from before the break.

"My stomach hurts." Russell said this while munching on a bag of Hot Cheetos.

"Those aren't going to help," I said.

Mitchell chimed in, "You don't know that. He could be hungry."

"But when you're hungry, you say you're hungry. Hunger is a specific kind of stomach pain. If you say your stomach hurts..."

They weren't listening. Both argued over me. Russell didn't care. His argument had something to do with him having the snack meant he had to eat the snack. And Mitchell seemed to think that pain = hunger.

Russell asked to return to the health office. He had been there the prior period, but as his grandmother wouldn't come and pick him up, they sent him back to class.

There's a procedure to these things. For general malaise, the health clerk lets the student lie down for twenty minutes. Depending on the severity of the ailment, the clerk may call the student's parent(s) to pick the kiddo up. If the student feels better after the twenty minutes, they go back to class. Or, if someone won't pick the kiddo up. If a parent will pick the kiddo up, they are released for the day.

As Russell headed to the health office, he had switched to eating Funyuns. (He had finished the bag of Hot Cheetos.)

About a half hour later, Russell returned. His father wouldn't come to pick him up.

He admitted the Funyuns might not have been a good idea... as he continued to consume them.

On the bright side, he did not vomit in class. But, alas, he didn't grasp the concept that eating junk wasn't going to help the situation, especially as he was going to have to finish the school day.

(He said his mother lived at least an hour away, so he was out of options as to having someone pick him up. And students can't be released from school on their own. So, unless things got serious enough to call an ambulance, he was going to remain at school until the final dismissal bell.)

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Weird Monday


Winter break is over, but as I didn't work last week, I'm posting stories from the week just before the break.

The call came late. An hour prior, I saw no call and I figured I wasn't working. It was Monday of finals week, so I was not terribly shocked to not have an assignment.

The call came at the time I should have been getting into my car, so while I accepted the assignment, I let them know I'd be late.

I got to the school about a half hour into the school day. The office was empty of all except the receptionist. Everyone else was out at the fire drill.

Score! I missed the fire drill!

The office staff returned, and I checked in. The teacher I was covering had first period off, which meant I had missed nothing being late. And I had about two hours until my first class. (They were on a block schedule for finals.)

I got into the classroom and got set up for the day. I was enjoying the first prep period I'd had all month when the office called. Could I go and cover another class? Naturally.

I arrived at the silent class (about an hour into the block). They were in the middle of their final. The teacher had no idea what I was doing there.

He called the office. It turned out there was an IEP meeting he didn't know about.

Some days just go sideways. I guess I was due for a weird one.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

It's Alive


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 inanimate objects were alive in another dimension? (What if we're the inanimate objects there?)

Monday, January 7, 2019

The Gray Behemoth

Because knitting takes time and effort, and because I don't want to become one of those aunts (the kind that gift things the kiddos hate), I'm establishing a request system for gifts. That is, I ask the kiddos what they want, and then that's what I make.

Niece asked for one of those large knit blankets for Christmas.

Yes, I know it's January. But, I'm still finishing up two scarves from Christmas 2017, so I'm not that far behind.

I already explained some of this when I showed off the yarn for this beast...


I even went and bought three more skeins. Turned out these six weren't quite enough.

I finally got around to starting the project. I have knit all six of those skeins, plus a seventh.

(Niece requested a blanket 75 inches by 90 inches. The six skeins got me to a length of 56 inches. That'll stretch, but not quite enough. Yes, this is huge.

So, I'll let niece know that this blanket is: Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, Congratulations on your Graduation, and Happy Birthday. She never told me what she wanted for her birthday last year. She graduates from high school this year. And suddenly I'm caught up gifting for her. Yea!)

It took me a while to get into the rhythm of the thing. I played with the yarn a few times before devoting a whole day (January 1st) to just doing it. I discovered that I don't like knitting on my arms. I almost broke and bought needles to use. It turned out that one crochet hook was all I needed to figure out the tension.


This was the first attempt to cast on. Too many stitches. Too tight. I eventually loosened it up again, but I ripped this out at least three times before I got it going.


Above is just about one skein in. (Keep in mind that the width is about 70 inches--just a bit under.) You can kind of see the crochet hook I used to get thing started, plus the amount of that first skein left. Alas, my camera was being difficult with the focusing (and my phone camera isn't uploading to my computer), so the pictures aren't ideal.

Once I got into a rhythm, I discovered that I really liked knitting off my fingers. It turns out my thumbs are just about the right size for the stitches, so I used them to measure stitches.

At two skeins, the blanket looked like this...


I used my TV remote for a bit of scale. At about three skeins it looked like...


Finishing up a skein took me about an hour, depending. It was shorter when the TV was off, but that got boring quickly.


I'm not sure if the above photo is of five or six skeins. At some point I lost track. I only got four skeins knit that first day. (It wasn't the whole day. I had to switch over to another project, and then it was night.)

As of the writing of this post, I had completed knitting seven skeins. This picture is of six skeins knit plus the seventh skein I was about to start...


Yes, it's huge. And warm. And heavy.

It's kind of a fun project, now that I'm into it. I wouldn't mind making these as throw blankets or lap blankets. And I totally get why they're so expensive to buy. (I could totally justify charging $400 for this particular blanket. And that's what they're going for.)

Will I make them for my shop? Maybe. I'm more likely to do one if specifically requested to do so. (I would charge at least $100 for one, but likely more depending on how many skeins of yarn are required.)

I should have finished photos for next week, depending. It'll be a challenge to figure out how to get a good picture of it. Staging and such. I only have two more skeins to go, so it'll be finished.

(And as for my cold, it's pretty much gone now. Thanks for all the well wishes.)

Friday, January 4, 2019

Not so Sick


We are currently on winter break, but I had a few left over posts from the last couple weeks before the break. 

"I need to blow my nose."

Ten Minutes then picked up the box of tissues.

I know, it's that time of the year. I'm dealing with sinus issues and a cough myself. But no, he doesn't get the classroom's full box.

We compromised. Ten Minutes took five tissues.

Later in the period, I noticed movement near Ten Minutes. He and the girl two seats over were throwing tissues at each other.

Naturally.

(He looked miserable. I thought he was actually sick and needed multiple tissues. My mistake.)

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Bad Choices


We are currently on winter break. But I had a few left over posts from the last couple weeks, so I thought I'd share.

"Martin, don't stick a fork in the outlet."

Martin: "It wasn't a fork. It was a pair of scissors."

Biology. Mostly students who do their work. But Mr. V had warned me that his fifth period was "special". The last time he had had a sub, the scissors incident happened.

The rest of the class had a vested interest in Martin being a good citizen. Apparently the consequences of his deed were shared by the class in general.

Martin, wisely, chose to sit in the middle of the room, away from the walls and outlets.

It was while walking the room that I got a chance to check in with Martin. He wanted me to know that he hadn't stuck the scissors in the outlet. He just stuck them around the outside.

When I questioned him as to why, he told me he had been bored.

Bored? He had an assignment.

This is when he admitted to having a 36% in the class. He turned in no work. (That he isn't at a full zero is all due to classroom participation points.)

Martin lamented that he'd have to take summer school to make up for the semester. It's a four-hour class. He's not looking forward to it.

I can't help but think he probably should have considered this way earlier in the semester. And perhaps, I don't know, actually do and turn in his classwork. Perhaps then he wouldn't be so bored that he'd entertain himself by sticking a pair of scissors in an electrical outlet (or around the outside--whatever).

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

The New Class


There was a batch of new students at the continuation high school. Well, there's always a new batch. They break down their year into eight blocks, each about a month long. The school admits a new class of about twenty for each of those blocks.

(Students graduate on their own timeline, as well. As soon as they reach 220 credits, they're done, no matter when in the year it is.)

Sixth period was the class that had all the newbies. I realized this when I got a look at the roster. I recognized a couple names. And not from the continuation high school.

I have mentioned Kevin before. In fact, I predicted that he'd end up here. (It was a rather obvious prediction.) He'll fit right in.

The other student I recognized just by his name I have not mentioned on the blog before. That's because I try to think of him as little as possible.

Many mornings I would walk onto one campus and hear my name bellowed across the expanse. Each syllable enunciated. Followed by giggles. And repeated.

I quickly learned to ignore it.

Angelo even would run up to me and bellow my name to my face.

I asked him to stop. He would not.

Then I had him in a class with a co-teacher, and I learned that I was not special. He did the same to all his teachers. Whew. I'm so glad he wasn't singling me out.

Yup, now he's at the continuation high school. He seemed surprised to see me. And, as luck would have it, he's stopped the bellowing of my name. So, progress.

I didn't recognize the other students. But I'll learn their names. Because I do spend a lot of time at the continuation high school. (Little did they know that they can't escape me there *insert evil laugh*)

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Renamed


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 new year we had to take a new name?