Monday, March 30, 2020

Lemonade, Part 2

I finished the scarf/shawl that I've been working on since January.


My math turned out to be correct. I did finish off the third skein with a scarf about 66 inches (168 cm) long. So, as I explained last week, I used that fourth skein (with its color a little bit off) to do a little border thing on the top and bottom.


It's kind of hard to see that the edges are just a little bit different. So, success. I managed to make it all look deliberate.


Once I finished off the top and bottom, I single crocheted around the whole thing. In the above photo, you might be able to see how the edges are just a little bit different. But it looks good, and I'm happy with it.


And because it was requested, here I am wearing it, so you can get an idea of what it looks like on a person...


There you have it. My Christmas presents for 2019 are now all finished. All that's left is to get this into the mail and to my sister-in-law. Just in time for spring...

Friday, March 27, 2020

An Opposing View


The schools around here were closed last week, so this story is from the week before last, in the biology class.

This was the same day that I had to make that long hike across campus. The period before, second period, I showed that video to them about Darwin and Wallace.

Before I started the video, I passed out the video questions, and I read through them so they would know what to look out for as they watched the video.

From the back, I had a question. "What if you don't believe in the theory of evolution?"

Deep sigh.

I wish I could say that I made an impassioned plea to keep an open mind. I might have explained how scientific theories have to be rigorously tested before they gain general acceptance, and those studied in high school are pretty well recognized. I could have argued that it never hurts to study opposing viewpoints to make sure one's views are sound.

But from experience, I knew none of that would help in the moment.

I told Travis he had to do the assignment anyway.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Denied Late Entry


The schools were closed last week, so this story is from the geography class I covered the first week of March.

Freshman geography. Tuesday. Fourth period.

The two worst periods of the day were third and fifth. Second period was lovely. Fourth period fell somewhere in between. Most of the class was pretty good, but these were ninth graders (fourteen-year-olds). They're only nominally more mature than eighth graders. And I say eighth graders are evil for a reason.

Calvin was one of those who hadn't done much work on Monday. He did more playing around than class work. So, I was not terribly shocked and slightly grateful when he was late on Tuesday.

The school has a very clear tardy policy. There's a grace period for about ten minutes at the beginning of first period, but every other period if they are late, they are sent to tardy sweep.

There's a six minute passing period, and the classrooms are fairly close together, so there really is no reason for being late to class. If they're held up by another teacher, a hall pass allows them to enter late. And I'll always allow limping kiddos or kiddos on crutches to leave a class early or enter the class late.

Third period ended. During the passing period, the classroom door was open. Students arrived for fourth period. The bell rang to start fourth period. I went to the classroom door to close it.

Several yards away, Calvin was making his way to class. But he wasn't close. And he wasn't running. (And he wasn't injured.)

So, I closed the door.

I went to begin class.

That's when Calvin reached the door. When he found that it was locked, he kicked the door and pounded on it, too.

Usually, the locked door is enough of a hint for the students to know that they are to go to tardy sweep. Some may knock. But what Calvin did wasn't a knock. What Calvin did was assault against a door. However, the pounding was loud enough to disrupt class, so I went to open the door.

Calvin attempted to go around me and get into the classroom.

A big component of classroom control is having rules and sticking to the consequences of breaking them. I have let late students into class in the past. It rarely goes well. Usually, letting the tardy sweep policy slide is a cue to the kiddos that it's play day, and I have a hard time getting them to do anything other than disrupt class.

However, when I enforce tardy sweep, I have a much calmer day.

So, I blocked Calvin's attempt at entry, telling him, "Tardy sweep".

He was not happy. Some swear words were used. At me. That's not the way to make me rethink letting him into class. I felt no guilt at making him leave.

And then I went to start class.

Fourth period was much nicer than it had been on Monday with Calvin gone.

On Wednesday, Calvin was in class a good two minutes before the bell. He wasn't much better behaved than Monday, but at least he made it to class on time.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Keeping On

I'm bored.

I know I'm not alone in this. And, in fact, I have been keeping busy as much as I can. I finally took my pile of shoes and made some order out of them. My blog is caught up.

But there are other projects I'm not doing. I find myself staring into space for no reason. I'm making monster progress on Candy Crush.

What is it about having time that makes us waste it?

I've been hearing that some people are putting out their Christmas lights again. Might as well, I guess. But I have yet to see this in person.

On Saturday, I went to a park for a walk. We are still allowed to go out for walks, and a lot of people are taking advantage of the time. I mean, it's good for us to get a bit of exercise (especially since the gyms are closed), and fresh air helps after being cooped up.

The park was fairly busy, although we did keep our distance from other groups. And on this walk, I noticed something interesting. Someone (or probably a family judging from the differing handwriting) had taken sidewalk chalk and wrote messages every few yards along the path.

These were encouraging messages, such as "Stay Calm" and "Breathe Deliberately". I, of course, did not have my phone with me, so I didn't take any pictures. (Mental note: bring phone on walks for pictures.)

I wonder at this group that did this. Are they writing messages all over town? Were they just bored? Or was it just a bit of nice to unleash in these uncertain times?

It's totally something others can duplicate. Feel free to steal the idea for your town. (That is, if you can get sidewalk chalk. If you don't have it on hand, you'll have to find a store that sells it that's still open. Probably doable, and you probably have the time to search.)

This photo wasn't in the park, but it was the same idea. (And I didn't think to take the photo until after dark, so apologies for the quality.)


Those are my shoes peeking in from the edge. I was going to crop them out, and then I thought I rather liked that they were there.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

To See


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

What if your vision suddenly changed?

(The Tuesday "what if?" posts were all scheduled back in February. But I'm going to let them run to remind me of more carefree times from before the plague.)

Monday, March 23, 2020

Lemonade

As of Thursday, L.A. County is officially "safer at home" and the state of California is "shelter in place". And this is in effect until April something. (I won't believe an end date until they tell us it's ending tomorrow.)

I finished the periwinkle beanie in time for last week's post, and it made it to my niece on Wednesday. So, at the moment I only have one 2019 Christmas present still outstanding, and that's the huge scarf I'm making for my sister-in-law.


I originally bought two skeins. At the end of the first, I measured and calculated, and I figured I'd need two more skeins (four total) to make it the length that SIL wanted. I went out and bought one more skein.

Why not two? Well, the shortfall was going to be about six or seven inches, and I thought that'd be close enough.

But then I got to thinking. I could crochet a border around the whole thing. That would give it more of a finished look, and I'd have enough yarn with another skein to do that, as I'd only need just a bit of the skein to finish the full length.

This all occurred to me at about the time they closed the schools.

I ventured out on Wednesday to procure another skein of the yarn. Just in the nick of time, it turned out. Yarn stores are not "essential businesses", and they're now closed for the duration. (I knew it was going to happen eventually, so it was a priority to me to get that done sooner rather than later.)

Alas, while they had the right colorway in stock, there was a noticeable difference.


(This is why we're always urged to purchase enough of the same dye lot to complete the project.)

The one on the left is the skein that's attached to the project. The one on the right is what the store had in stock. (And yes, I dug through to try to find another that looked more like the one on the left.)

What to do? I have an idea. I'll show it off once it's done. Hopefully it'll look deliberate and will work. Time will tell.

Has anybody got any good projects going?

Friday, March 20, 2020

Cheater


Last week I covered a biology class Tuesday through Thursday. On Wednesday, I was sent to cover a math class on the prep period.

I have covered this teacher's classes before. Mr. D is a special ed. co-teacher, so I was working with Mr. R (who I've written about before) for that period.

As soon as class began, Mr. R asked who had been absent the day before. They had had a test, and the absent students needed to make it up.

One of the students who had been absent the previous day was a special ed. student who takes his tests in a different room. (It's a common accommodation.) As I was covering for the special ed. teacher, I got to go with him.

The testing room was being used for an IEP meeting (which was the reason Mr. D was missing class, as he was the special ed. teacher in it), so the student had to go elsewhere.

As we were on our way to the library, I realized I knew a classroom that wasn't being used that period. And I had a key to it.

I asked Martin if he wanted to go to the library or if he'd rather take the test in an empty classroom. He asked if I was sure it was empty. In fact, once we got there, he was still hesitant to enter until he saw for sure there were no other students there.

Turned out, I had Martin in my sixth period class, although neither of us realized this as he had been absent Tuesday. So, he was familiar with the room.

He took a seat and got to work. And I proceeded to do the things I would normally do on a prep period. I had some stuff to pick up off the students' desks. I updated my note to the teacher. I read some blogs...

Oh, hey, I was keeping an eye on Martin. It was a test, so there wasn't much help I could provide. He was working. There was no one to bother him. He had a couple questions that I answered. But mostly I left him to it.

But still, it felt like cheating. I basically had the whole room to myself, and it felt like a prep period. But I was paid for having worked it.

Thursday, March 19, 2020

La Même Chose


Last week I covered a biology class Tuesday through Thursday. On Tuesday, I was asked to cover a class clear across campus on the prep period.

It was quite a hike. It was almost the two farthest classrooms from each other. I mean, not quite, but one of the classrooms was half a quad away from the farthest front corner, and the other was five doors down from the farthest back corner.

So, I got to the complete other side of campus. I read the lesson plan. Then I got to tell the kiddos what to do. I glance at the video questions...

Gee, that looks familiar.

It turned out that I was covering another biology class, and they were doing the exact same thing as the class I was covering all day.

Well, not exactly the same. The class I was covering I was showing the video to them. This biology class they were each watching the video on their own on Chromebooks. But it was the same video. And they were the same questions.

I shouldn't have been surprised. Most of the departments on campus pretty much cover the same material. And at least I knew what video I should have seen on each student's computer. (And they were pretty good. Most of them watched the video.)

In case you're curious, it was on Darwin and Wallace, and you can see it here.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

A Shopping Trip

The school district I sub for is closed this week. It's officially closed for two weeks, but this could go longer, depending. So, I'm off for the duration.

However, last week was business as usual, so I do have some subbing stories for Thursday and Friday. And I can probably dig up some stories that haven't been posted for the next couple weeks. Or I might go on "summer schedule". It'll depend on my mood.

As we left campus on Friday, we thought it would be business as usual Monday. I even had gigs scheduled for Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday of this week. As I drove home, the order came down from the governor to close the schools. I didn't hear about it until the sub caller gave me a call to let me know. That's when I checked my email and found the official word from the district superintendent.

It was a couple hours later that my roommates and I started thinking. Perhaps we should make a quick grocery run? Just in case...

Yeah, us and every other person in the city.

I've never seen such a thing before. There were no shopping carts, so we retrieved a couple from the parking lot. And the shelves were mostly bare. We got there about 4 PM (totally should have gone earlier, but this was when we thought of it).

I'm not great at panic buying, so I went to look for the two things I knew I needed: milk and eggs. And I was able to find them.

After I got through the line, which wasn't bad, I went to sit at the entrance and wait for my roommates. And it was fascinating.

There was a constant stream of people coming in and going out. I had been there a couple minutes when the store manager came in with a dozen or so shopping carts. Those were taken by incoming shoppers in about a minute. This process was repeated several times while I sat there. Every time the manager came back, all the carts he had brought in before were gone.

At one point, the manager came back in to find that the rugs near the door had jammed the door. He calmly fixed it. And people kept coming in and going out.

There were families. Plenty of mothers with children. Older people. Some went out with a couple items, but many had full carts. (The person in front of me in line spent over $300 on her groceries.)

There was a station with wipes for the carts. As a customer left, he found it empty. I shrugged that that was to be expected. He said that it wasn't empty when he came in.

It wasn't much later that a woman found an employee and pointed out the empty wipes thing. The employee filled that thing right up, and was pleasant to the woman as he did it.

I swear, the grocery store employees are heroes. I can't imagine the crazy they'd been dealing with (and I worked for the evil toy store, now defunct, for eleven Christmas seasons). Yet, they were all very pleasant even though they must be so very stressed out.

The manager returned with another batch of shopping carts. A woman noticed his name tag and that his picture was on the sign as "store manager". She needed to talk with him.

She told him that the shelves were empty. The manager admitted that they were. She wanted to know where the food was. He just kind of looked around at all the people passing by and shrugged. She asked if they were going to restock. The manager informed her that they were expecting a shipment later that night.

This wasn't good enough for the woman, but she didn't cuss him out or anything. She seemed genuinely perplexed.

Eventually my roommates made it through the lines, and we left. While it was a strange experience, I'm glad we made the trip. I think I needed to see this for real, not just hear about it online. Because, wow.

Stay safe out there. I wish you all good health.

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Space Cruise


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 there was a low orbit "cruise ship" that we could book passage on?

(I wrote this question months ago, but I'm going to let it post all the same. It takes on a whole new meaning right about now, though.)

Monday, March 16, 2020

Periwinkle Beanie Complete

Yes, my district has closed down. Which means I'll have more time to knit...

I finally finished niece's beanie...


...for Christmas. Yes, I'm still finishing up Christmas 2019 knitting. I'm hoping to be done before summer. I only have one more project to finish after this one. Woo-hoo!

And, it appears I'll have a bit of time. Sigh. Here's another angle for the hat...


I don't know if you've seen this particular style on everyone lately like I have. I had noticed that the top is seamed rather than decreased, so I attempted a seamed style...


It was a good first attempt. If I wasn't under (past due) deadline, I'd probably rip this out and redo it. In fact, I had ripped out and reknit the short rows that I worked initially. This isn't bad, but it could be better.


If I were to make another, I would rethink the top. But for now, it's done. And hopefully I'll get it in the mail this week. Presuming the mail is still delivered, it should get to niece in a couple days.

As I'll be home all week, the blog will be here like normal. I worked last week, so I still have some subbing stories. My "what if?" for tomorrow was written back in January. And if there was anything anyone wanted custom knit through my Etsy shop, let me know. I suddenly have a bit of time on my hands.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Pop Quiz


The freshman geography teacher was out Monday through Thursday. My last day with them, they had a quiz.

On Monday, I passed out the main assignment, a map of the U.S. and Canada. I informed them that there would be a quiz on Thursday.

On Tuesday, I reiterated the instructions for the map. I reminded them of the due date. I again announced the quiz, even mentioning it as they packed up at the end of each period.

On Wednesday most finished the map. They had an essay, also due Thursday, to then work on. Oh, you should have heard them whine when I pointed out that yes, all the Canadian provinces needed to be labeled (and were fair game for the quiz).

At the beginning and the end of the period, I reminded them of the quiz that was tomorrow.

Thursday. First period...

Me: "Everybody ready for the quiz!?!"

Them: "Quiz? What quiz? You never told us we were having a quiz..."


Freshmen... If they weren't listening, it's not my problem, is it?

Thursday, March 12, 2020

The Screamers


On Wednesday I was asked to cover a different class on the prep period. (This is a common occurrence.) Freshman biology. (I could not escape the freshmen last week.)

A few of the students looked familiar. They had Ms. O for geography. This sort of thing happens a lot, too.

When I'm only covering one period, everything is a bit of a scramble. I had to wait for security to unlock the door. The students and I get in the room together, so I'm scanning a lesson plan and trying to get them seated and settled at the same time.

This bit is easier with older kiddos. Middle schoolers (and freshmen are, for all intents and purposes, middle schoolers) are so hyped up with any change that this circumstance invites bedlam. And this group was difficult on top of that. I had covered the class once before, and their teacher warned me.

So, really, this next bit should not be a surprise. But then again, I did not see this particular disruption coming.

A scream erupted from the back of the room. But it wasn't a scared scream. Or a surprised scream. Nope. It was the sort of scream one would hear in porn. Followed by a slap.


I'm scanning a lesson plan, finding the papers to pass out, looking for a roster to take toll with, and figuring out the video. (They had a video to watch with questions to complete.)

I growled at them to cut it out. They did it a couple times more. Once I had gotten class fully going and I could watch them, it stopped.

Until I glanced away.

The next scream was designed for the jump scare.

And I was done. I called security.

Oh, you should have heard them as I called. "She's calling security?!?" They were shocked. Yet, they were the ones who took it that far. 

I didn't know who (if I had caught them at it, it would have been a different story), so I kicked out the four boys in the vicinity of the sound. They all claimed it wasn't them, but they wouldn't identify a culprit either.

They didn't think I was serious. For a while, they didn't move. But security was there, and he was taking them whether they wanted to go or not. Eventually, they did go.

Alas, they returned a half hour later. Sigh.

They were laughing. Apparently, they apologized profusely to the administrator they talked to. But they were obviously not sorry.

On the bright side, they didn't scream again.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Ditching the Punishment


Last week I covered a freshman geography class Monday through Thursday.

Four days of ninth graders... I was not looking forward to it.

But, surprisingly, it went pretty well. They had plenty to do, and most of them did it.

Luckily for the blog, it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows.

Period five. I had been warned about them.

On Monday, Edgar had been an irritant. Constantly talking. Doing no work. Using any excuse to get out of his seat.

On Tuesday, I awoke with a migraine. My pills knocked out the worst of the pain, but my tolerance level was somewhere below my knees.

So, when Edgar traded seats with another kiddo, told a friend (loudly enough for us all to hear) that I looked like a pumpkin*, and held up the start of class going back to his proper seat, I was done with him. He could spend the period next door**.

You should have heard him beg. He just needed "one more chance"***. He'd be good, he promised. He needed to use the restroom first.

Even though I knew what was going to happen, I let him "go to the restroom first".

Sure enough, it took him the whole period to use the restroom.

Edgar returned to class just as we were packing up. (He had to return his restroom pass.) When questioned on how it took him the whole period to use the restroom, he said he needed the health office, and that's where he spent the period...

Actually, this was a win-win for me. I did not have to deal with Edgar all period. And he was doubly in trouble for ditching class. Yay?

*The pumpkin comment was fair. My shirt was bright orange. (No one is taking bright orange from me. Nope. Never.) It was the way he went about saying it that I objected to.

**The next door teacher was mean. And scary. And the class was full of seniors. So, it was the perfect place to send a freshman out to. 

*** Oh, I wish I had been filming him as he asked for that "one more chance" as he crept towards the door. It might have taken him half the period to get to it, and he was three feet away. I've seen people in major pain walk faster.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Housebound?


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. 😉

I thought this week I'd go topical:

What if you were put under quarantine? 

Monday, March 9, 2020

Star Stitch Scarf Answers

In last week's post, I showed off my current projects. This week I'm still plugging along. So, to pass the time, I figured I could answer some questions that came up in last week's comments.

M.J. asked: How wide is that scarf? When I first saw the picture (before I read anything about it) I thought you were making an afghan.

Yes, it's huge.


My sister-in-law requested a large scarf. The picture she sent me was of a shawl-like thing. I specifically asked for dimensions, and she said she wanted it to be 18 inches (46 cm) by 6 feet (1.8 m).

At the moment, this thing is 18 (well, more like 17 and a half) inches wide and 32 inches (81 cm) long. So, progress. (Last week it was at 22 inches (56 cm).)

Birgit said: I could never knit or crochet...too much figuring out and when you mentioned math that is the final nail for me.

There doesn't have to be all that much math involved, really. Like, for this, I crocheted a chain that was a little longer than 18 inches (because the stitch pattern draws the fabric in), and I happened to luck out and have it be the right width when I started.

And now I'm just working the pattern until the thing measures 6 feet. All I need is a tape measure.

Plenty of people just find a pattern in the size they want and follow the directions. Because I design, I usually like to fiddle with the numbers, but it's not necessary for every project. (I like the math.)

Several of you commented on the colors. I can't take credit for them. It's all the yarn.

SIL requested "peacock colors". I found the colorway called Ocean Shades...


Variegated yarns are wonderful.

Finally, J.E. said: 2800 posts... how many of them are knitting related? A fifth?

Okay, I can do the math. (Sorry, Birgit.) Today's post is #2805. If I go by my labels, I have 264 labeled "knitting", 80 labeled "crochet", and 53 labeled "crocheting".

But here's where we run into a problem. Some posts were both "knitting" and "crochet", so I can't just add those numbers up. Okay, fine, I'll look through them...

So, 28 were labeled "crochet" and "knitting". 8 were labeled "crocheting" and "knitting".
80 - 28 = 52
53 - 8 = 45
So, that's 264 labeled "knitting", some with "crochet" or "crocheting" as well. Eliminating the duplicates, that's 52 labeled "crochet" only and 45 labeled "crocheting" only.
264 + 52 + 45 =  361
Then divide...
1805/361 = 5

WOW! I did not expect that result. Exactly 5. I was expecting a decimal that approximated to 5, but not 5. 

So, yeah, one-fifth of my posts are knitting/crochet related.


Good news. The periwinkle hat is getting close to the crown. I might have some interesting pictures for next week.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Graduation Day


It was kind of a strange week at the continuation high school. I had been scheduled to cover one day, on Friday, with the rest of the week at other schools in the district. Due to illnesses, I got switched to cover different classes at the continuation high school all week. It's not a bad thing, just odd.

It was Monday in the computer aided drafting class, and the kiddos were doing the usual--avoiding doing work. So, I gave a variation of my usual speech: they can make progress with a sub in the room.

Instead of the usual ignore, I got support from an unlikely source.

I've had Jordan in various classes. He's usually one of the non workers. But this day he was raring to go, and he actually said to the other students that they should get some work done, too.

Alas, he needed to work on a cutting tool that was forbidden with a sub (safety issue).

I offered to allow the students to work on other classes' assignments so their time wouldn't be wasted. Jordan took me up on the offer.

On Tuesday, I was back. (The teacher must have caught the cold that's going around.) Jordan was disappointed. On Monday, he had managed to finish up his social studies credits. And by "finish up", I mean he had completed all the credits he needed for graduation in social studies.

Jordan needed two more credits to graduate. And those needed to be in the C.A.D. class, which he would earn by completing the assignment on the cutting tool that was forbidden...

As we talked it out, Jordan realized he could design what he was going to cut on a computer, which should have saved him time when his teacher returned, so at least the day wasn't a complete waste.

I saw Jordan again on Thursday. He was checking out of school. It's the last hoop they have to jump through--they have all the teachers sign the check out form. He was officially done.

A short time later, they made his graduation announcement. Every time a student finishes all their credits (officially graduates), an adult at the school announces it over the P.A. They play "Pomp and Circumstance" as the adult chosen by the student (usually a teacher, but sometimes it's the principal or one of the school's support staff) says nice things about the student, and they usually say something about the student's future plans.

So, Jordan did finish those last two credits. There's something about being that close to done that really motivates them.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

What Day Is It?


"Advisory on a Monday!?! This is stupid. Why are we having advisory on a Monday...?"

Wednesday. The continuation high school. I was covering an English class, but this boy was outside during the passing period before advisory, talking loudly enough for everyone to hear.

Every Wednesday this school has a twenty minute "advisory" period. It's a time for announcements, passing out transcripts (so the students know how many credits they've earned), and general counseling things (every month they get to adjust their schedules).

Every Wednesday after first period, I make the same announcement: "Remember, go to your advisory class, not second period." Every week they forget.

So, I was amused at the boy's loud complaints. His first period teacher had said the same thing I did. But clearly he didn't know what day of the week it was.

I saw a girl quietly talk to the boy as he entered his advisory classroom. Apparently she informed him it was Wednesday, because his complaining stopped.

What I want to know is: Had he been absent all week? Because, while I may mistake Wednesday for Thursday or Wednesday for Tuesday (frequently), I know when it's the first day of the school week.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Game Day


"Is Mr. G out again today? I'm so glad to see you..."

Wilbur then proceeded to call me a "good teacher" and his "favorite sub". Which is code for he didn't do any work, and he enjoyed that immensely. Sigh.

The continuation high school. Computer aided drafting. Second period.

Monday had been a difficult day for me. The spy software wasn't working...

I know I've talked about the spy software before. (I was going to link to it, but I can't seem to find the post.) It's a program that runs on the teacher's computer that shows what each student computer is doing. It's very useful, because many times when I get up to look over their shoulders, they quickly minimize the thing they shouldn't be doing and pull up the thing they should be working on.

So on Monday, while it was clear they weren't on task, when I got up to verify this, they were suddenly "on task".

But Tuesday the spy software miraculously worked. (I almost rebooted the computer on Monday. Silly me. That probably would have fixed the problem.) This meant I could easily watch what they were doing.

In second period, Wilbur played Krunker. Which is what he did on Monday. (They're loud when they play, so it's rather obvious.)

At the end of second period, Wilbur informed the class he'd return to "hang out" in sixth period. (He announced. He didn't ask. He probably should have asked...)

Sixth period Wilbur walked in. Other students asked him why he was there. To me, he tried to play off like he belonged. Failing that, he tried the "Mr. G lets me wait here" card.

So, I told him if he wanted to work, he could stay. But he couldn't just play games. He promised he was planning to do work.

I had the spy software up, and I watched.

The minute it switched from a plain Google background to Krunker, I was on him.

"I'm not on Krunker..."

Because there's a lag, it took a few seconds before it switched back to the plain Google background.

I didn't get up. So, he switched back to Krunker.

And that's when I kicked him out. It was clear he wasn't going to do work, and I didn't need another gamer in the room. I had plenty of those actually enrolled in the class.

(If they don't do their work, they lose out on earning their credits, so they're really only hurting themselves.)

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

The Afterlife


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 "heaven" and "hell" were both in the same location?

Monday, March 2, 2020

The Muddle in the Middle

This is my 2800th post.

First comes the idea (or in this case, the request). I ponder. Knit or crochet? Do I find a pattern or do I wing it? What yarn do I use? So many choices...

Then, once I've figured out a pattern and/or a plan, I acquire the yarn (if I haven't decided to use stash yarn). And then it's time to swatch. Is the yarn going to work with the plan? Then, change the plan or change the yarn?

Sometimes I need to do some math...

Once the pattern/plan is set and the yarn is chosen, it's then time to cast on. And the beginning can be interesting as I might do an interesting cast on, or I might be working an unfamiliar pattern. Do I have to stop and rip out? Do I start over? Do I have mistakes to correct? Is the plan working, or do I need to modify things?

But once the bugs are worked out, and I get settled in, it's just a matter of doing the work until the piece is as big as it needs to be. This is the boring bit, the muddle in the middle. This is where I'm at with my current on the needles/hook projects.

(I like to keep multiple projects going so they're not all in the middle at the same time, but alas...)

These are the last two Christmas presents left. Niece requested a beanie (she sent me a picture) in periwinkle.


I already calculated wrong, ripped the whole thing out, and started over. And I did a different cast on, so the beginning was way interesting.

But now, it's just a very simple knit 1, purl 1, round and round and round, until I get to the point where I start decreasing to form the crown. The crown will be interesting. Now? Not so much.

I'm about halfway through the length of the hat. It's going well, which means there's not all that much to talk about.

My sister-in-law wanted a large scarf.


I already tried a different stitch pattern that was okay, but not as nice as this one. And I've had a few sessions where I had to sit with the written out stitch pattern and read through as I worked it. But now I've gotten the hang of it, so it's just an almost mindless project.


At the moment, it's two feet (61 cm) long. The request was for six feet (1.8 m). I've got a ways to go.

I doubt I'll write more about these projects until they're finished (or unless disaster strikes, which is not likely at this point). They're just chugging along. I'll muddle through and finish them. Eventually.

I think I need to start something new, just to have something to blog about.

Friday, February 28, 2020

The Invitation


Thursday. Tenth grade English, honors. Second period.

They were reading Frankenstein (chapter four). I was writing this week's blog posts. (There's not a lot for me to do when the kiddos are reading quietly.) An office aide walked in and handed me a half sheet of paper.

I scanned it. A student was being invited to lunch with the district superintendent later that day. I checked the seating chart, found the girl (Abby), and handed the paper to her.

A couple students oohed. "It's not a punishment," I informed them. Then Abby told all. Mostly because she wasn't sure what that thing was.

I explained who the superintendent was ("She's the principal's boss"), and another student noted that they know her son (he's a student at the school).

(At that school especially I find myself running into the kids of various staff members all the time. It's generally obvious by their last names. In fact, in that very class one of the other students is the daughter of the principal of the continuation high school.)

But Abby's main concern (besides why they picked her) was that she already had lunch plans. She had a club meeting, and since she'd just joined the board of the club, she kinda had to be there.

A debate ensued. She bounced questions off of her classmates.

That was when she realized she had volunteered for this lunch. There was an email or something that she responded to (that her classmates had not).

What did she do? I never did find out. Maybe one day I'll run into her again and she'll tell me. (Probably not, though.)

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Dancing Fool


Wednesday. Seventh grade English. Fourth period.

JT walked in late, but he immediately asked for a health office pass telling me he had a headache. He sounded like he was in pain, so when he returned a half hour later, I had sympathy for him.

But the minute he got back, he went for the standing desk.

Standing desk? A few classes have them now. They look like this:


The general rule is that if a student needs to, they can go back to one (there are two in each class that has them, and the teachers have them in the back of the room) and work from there.

I would think if you have a headache, the last thing you'd want to do is stand in class, but whatever.

The lesson for the day was SSR or silent sustained reading. They were reading books of their choice. The room was silent. The kiddos weren't even listening to music.

So, it was a surprise when I looked up to find JT dancing at the standing desk...

Throwing down random dance movies is a thing nowadays. Mostly in middle school, but I occasionally see it in high school too.

I blame TikTok.

(Things I never expected to have to say: "Stop dancing in class...")

Man, I wish my headaches went away that quickly. Unless he was lying about the headache. Could be either, really.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The Wait


Freshman math (formerly algebra 1). Special ed. Third period, Tuesday.

Because it was a "special day class", I had an instructional aide. She warned me that group could be volatile.

They came in, all eight of them, popping off to each other. Someone said someone's hair looked weird. Dan was fixated on his shattered Samsung mini tablet. All I wanted was for them to settle down.

They did, kind of.

But then, someone said something, and Grace was ready to beat up Thomas over it.

The IA went to defuse the situation, attempting to send Grace to another class where she wouldn't be irritated by Thomas. Grace refused to leave.

(Later, the IA told me Grace explodes regularly. Asking her to leave was sending her to a room where she would be able to calm down, rather than remaining in class where someone else would bait her to explode again.)

Time to call security to escort her out.

So, I called. And we waited. And waited. And waited.

The IA stationed herself between Grace and Thomas. I doubt anyone got much of their worksheets done.

It was odd. Security usually shows up pretty quickly. But this time, fifteen minutes later, at just about the end of the period, he arrived.

At least it didn't come to blows. It was a near thing.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Fixing the Fix


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 someone started a company to produce insulin to be sold at a modest profit to undercut big pharma's price gouging? 

It's probably not possible. If it was possible, someone would have already started doing it. But articles like this make me so mad...

Monday, February 24, 2020

Two More Down

Finished.

Yup, I finally finished eldest and middle nephews' 2019 Christmas gifts. They are in the mail as we speak. (Christmas on February 25th?)

I'll start with the Yoda beanie. (The pattern I used is here.) Eldest nephew requested a "Baby Yoda Beanie".

The beanie part itself didn't take long. But I took forever getting the ears done...


...because I knew they would flop, and I wasn't sure what to do about them. In the end, I knit a sleeve to put in a metal band to keep them sticking out.


It's not a great solution, but it'll work. If I were to knit another, I would look for a different way to do the ears. Hopefully the other nephews won't request one of these, at least for a little while.

The request that flummoxed me the most was middle nephew's request for a shark scarf. (The pattern I used is here.)

It took me a while to figure out what I was going to do. Once I had the plan, the scarf knit up quick. According to its Ravelry page, I started it on February 6th and finished it on the 17th.


I modified the shark cloth block to make it more rectangular (read: I omitted several straight stockinette rows), and I reversed the shark on two blocks. Then I sewed the blocks together. It ended up being a good length...


(It's amazing how the light effects the color.)


Two more complete. Now I only have two more Christmas presents to go...

Friday, February 21, 2020

Vanishing Students


"Where did you go?" I asked.

"Health office. My stomach hurts. I told you..."

Oh right. Now I remember.

Thursday. Continuation high school. Social studies. Third period.

It was the beginning of the period. I was passing back their atlas pages. They were identifying countries and their GDPs and literacy rates via an online atlas. They'd been working on it a couple days.

As I was passing out packets, the phone rang. I scrambled to answer.

This was when Joey asked to go to the health office. I said sure. At any other moment when I didn't have three other things happening, I would have stopped and written him a pass. If he had waited two minutes, I would have been able to pause to write him one.

But by the time I was done on the phone and the packets had all been passed out, he had already gone. And I had forgotten giving him permission to go.

Joey hovered (rather than sitting). He walked out of class. He came back with food... (I assume he had a stomach ache like Russell did.) This is normal stuff for the continuation high school.

As I went through the roll (before Joey got back, after the crazy of starting class), I noticed that two students were missing...

Aaron and Joey had been sitting next to each other. Joey returned. Aaron did not.

Did Aaron ask to go someplace? Did I forget?

Aaron never returned. And I didn't write him a pass.

So, at the end of the day, I talked to the attendance clerk. Apparently, Aaron had been hanging out in the main office during class. I definitely didn't give him permission to go to the office. That I would have recalled.

Sigh.

Aaron has been difficult as of late. Some students just don't go to class. They're on campus, but they find other places to hang out. (He could have totally hung out in class and did no work. It's not like many of his classmates were actually working.)

So, the attendance clerk marked it as a cut. Because, that's what he had done. I'm pretty sure.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Not a Fair Fight


Tuesday. Ms. S taught four periods of twelfth grade government and one period of tenth grade world history. In the lesson plan, she asked me to tell her which was the best class of the day as they would receive extra credit points as a reward.

I normally rank the classes. Some teachers like having that information, so now it's just habit.

The government classes were working on their "civics project". This was a group assignment, so once I had taken roll, they shifted around so they sat with their team members. They discussed.

The world history class was to outline a chapter. Individually.

So, um, yeah, this was not a fair fight. If the tenth graders had chosen not to work, it would have been different. But they settled to silence, and I had a stack of work at the end of the period.

The twelfth graders? They weren't loud. Many appeared to be on task, but their project wasn't due, so I had no way to verify what they'd gotten accomplished.

(First period chatted. There is a difference to the sound when groups are discussing their assignment versus when friends are sitting around talking. First period was not on task.)

So, while the seniors weren't bad (I'd take that kind of working any day, well, all but first period), the sophomores were better.

The tenth graders won, of course. I just hope Ms. S gave the second place finishers points as well. Among the senior classes was more of an actual competition.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Read What You Like


Monday. Lunch time...

The previous period the assignment was SSR or silent sustained reading. It was ninth grade English (many of the English teachers on campus have their students read on Mondays). Because sub, Ms. B had them write up a log of what they read. I gave them fifteen minutes (as per instructions) to complete it, but a couple of them needed more time. I didn't have the heart to kick them out.

As those kiddos finished up, a student from the next period walked in. While I normally don't have students in the classroom during lunch, I figured I might as well let him stay.

William asked what the assignment was going to be. I told him. He was disappointed; he had finished his book over the weekend. As it was lunch, I told him he could go and check something else out of the library. He said they didn't currently have the sequel, so he'd wait.

What he was reading came up. The Selection by Kiera Cass. I can't remember who, but one of you fine bloggers reviewed this book on your blog, so I had a vague idea what it's about.

When I mentioned being familiar with the title, William explained how it was a little embarrassing to admit he reads this type of novel (read: girly romance), but it's what he likes...

Frankly, that had not even occurred to me. I was just happy I had some familiarity with the title.

I never book shame.

I like sci fi and fantasy, but I also like romance. There is a stigma to reading romance, however. A lot of readers turn their nose up or sneer at romance. Which is silly, especially considering how it is probably one of the most successful genres. Most romance readers inhale books, and one can make a lot of money writing it.

I wonder how much of that snootiness is misogyny. It's a genre primarily aimed at women, and unlike most literary types of writing, the novels end with a happily ever after. I've read some excellently written stories, and I've learned loads about writing the feels better.

Anyway, girls are actively discouraged from liking these books. So, of course boys shouldn't even consider them.

And William was telling me how when he presents (the students have projects to go with the books they choose) he'd rather be working with a book he enjoys even if others question his reading material.

I went into a bit about how disliking romance is misogynistic, but mostly I said that he should read what he likes. It's hard enough to get students reading. Many won't pick up a book again after they graduate high school. I will not shame someone for finding books they enjoy.

Do you read romance novels? Do you read a genre you're embarrassed to admit you like? I promise, I will not novel shame you. I probably read "worse" novels than you do.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

A Lunar Holiday


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

What if we could vacation on the moon?

Monday, February 17, 2020

Some Assembly Required

I'm still working on Christmas 2019 knitting. I'm getting closer to done.

Eldest nephew requested a Baby Yoda hat (pattern I'm using is here). I started on it almost immediately, but I had gotten hung up on getting the ears done.

Do you ever procrastinate something you know is not going quite right? That's what happened with the Yoda ears. I worried...

Well, I finally buckled down and attached the ears...


...but the thing I feared came to pass...


Yoda's ears stick straight out. These flop. Sigh.

I have an idea, though. I'm thinking of attaching something to the back to make them stick out. If that works, then this hat is done. Keep your fingers crossed.

Middle nephew requested a shark scarf to go along with his shark hat. And this is the request that flummoxed me the most. How...?

Last week I had solved the problem. This week I knit the blocks. I figured five blocks would give me a good scarf length, and it appears my math was on target...


When I measured four of the blocks next to each other, I was at 50ish inches (125ish cm).


I haven't measured all five yet. I still have to wind in ends. I decided to crochet a border around each block, and then sew (crochet?) them all together. So, it's not quite done.

I alternated blocks. We've got the "right side" ones...


...and on the "wrong side" ones I reversed the shark, so all the sharks face the same way...


(If you click on any of the images, they should enlarge.)

So, nothing is quite done yet, but both of these projects are getting there. Barring any other issues, these should go out into the mail sometime this coming week. Fingers crossed...