Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Kahoot Denied


Last week I was still covering the vacant special ed position for co-taught classes. And last Monday the internet didn't go out. Yay! 

Mondays are our weird day. When we were in person, that was the day when we started late (so teachers can meet weekly). So, in the distance thing, this is the day where all classes meet for 25 minute periods. 

(The rest of the week, the classes meet for an hour, but only three classes a day. All six meet on Mondays. The rest of the "school day" is set aside for "asynchronous" work, a.k.a. homework, which is kinda awkward phrasing being as all their work is at home now.)

Because Mondays are short, Ms. S, the math teacher, has them play Kahoot to review. 

Kahoot? It's an educational website where teachers can create online quizzes that are played like a game show. It's fun. 

Fifth period. Ms. S brought up the Kahoot site, gave the kiddos the PIN, and had them sign in. 

When the kiddos sign in, they create a user name for that particular game. As they are eighth graders, they have a tendency to create some odd names. Ms. S was less concerned with that than being able to identify the students (she gives them points for participation), so she asked them all to use a name that she could recognize and use to link back to the student. 

One kid used KK, which were his initials. There were two possible Mickies (a Michael and a Michaela), but the other used his full name. One girl used letters and symbols to spell her name, but it was still recognizable as her name.

Ms. S can deny students entry by deleting names. The kiddo can resubmit so long as the game hadn't started yet. So, I wasn't surprised when Ms. S deleted a name and reminded the kiddos to use appropriate names. 

I wasn't watching the names, so I missed the name that made Ms. S explode. 

She's a fairly laid back teacher. It was game day. But one kiddo tried to use "Daddy" three times. 

They always try to sneak something by. She denied that kiddo once and warned them. Then they tried again. She deleted. At the third try, she stopped Kahoot and gave them all an assignment to do. 

Because seriously? No 13-year-old should go by "daddy". 

Ms. S has told them no Kahoot for the entire school year until the student in question fesses up. It's been a week. Still no confession. 

We have a suspicion of who it could be. There's a possibility of two students. Perhaps they'll come forward eventually. 

Luckily, sixth period went off without a hitch. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Cut the Cord

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 cable company doubled your bill, and you realized it was time to "cut the cord"? How would you access your favorite shows? How would you DVR those shows that you can't find on a streaming service? How do you transition to online TV? 

This is less my usual "what if?" sort of post and more of a "I really need some advice from you fine folks who have navigated these waters". The cable company did double the bill, and the other options for cable/satellite TV are worse. (Tried them all. This company was the last option. We've already cancelled.) 

But we can stream. We tried one streaming service, and we hate it. So, we're looking for recommendations. Advice. Anything that can help. Which streaming services are good? What do you use? Do you like it?

Thanks. Anything you can tell us is appreciated.

Monday, September 28, 2020

In-Between Days

It's been another week of not much happening on the yarny project front. There was a new mask. . .

. . .that I modeled with my new haircut. (If you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen this.) And I started swatching. . .

. . .for a new project. This is swatch number four (or five). I think this is the stitch with the right hook size (it's crochet) for how I want the finished fabric to look and feel. 

Now it's to measuring and calculating for the finished project. We'll see how far I get (or even if I get anything at all accomplished) this week. 

And if that yarn looks familiar, it's because it's the same yarn I used to cover my earbud cord. . .

Friday, September 25, 2020

Virtual Back-to-School Night

I shouldn't have been as surprised as I was. I mean, we're doing the virtual schooling thing, why wouldn't back-to-school night be virtual? I suppose I thought it would be cancelled. 

For those of you who are unfamiliar, back-to-school night is a thing that happens every year, about a month into the school year. Parents are invited to go to their kiddos' classes where the teachers give a presentation about what they're going to be doing in class during the year. 

As a sub, I'm not required to attend. But, since I'm doing a quasi long-term, I asked the co-teachers if they wanted me there. So, for the first time, I got to attend. 

There's not much a teacher can go over in ten minutes. And turnout is traditionally low. But with the virtual thing, the teachers could record their presentations and have their slides available for the parents to peruse at their leisure. 

And just like their kiddos, the parents had their cameras off and were on mute. So, I have no idea how they felt about what they saw. 

But it's a great way to touch base with parents. And I got another first for this year. 

Thursday, September 24, 2020


I'm still in that co-teaching position, and last week was all about testing. I described it a bit last week, so I won't again go into the whys and wherefores.

Keep in mind that we are doing the distance learning thing. Plus, this was a completely new testing platform that none of us had ever used before. In addition, there were technical issues that cropped up either from the distance thing or from the new testing platform (sometimes both). 

We created a "break out room" for students who had issues to go to. This was separate from the regular Google Meet. (So, I could have them show me their screen and we could work through whatever was holding them up.) 

Third period. Alvin was having issues. I took him into the "break out room", and I tried to troubleshoot. 

Let me back up a bit. Ms. W was working the testing platform, so she asked me to greet the students and instruct them on getting into the test. She had to confirm them from her end before they could begin. 

Because I was the one speaking to the class, Ms. W had muted her computer. When we're in the same room (separated at a distance, of course), it's distracting for the person speaking to hear their voice coming out of another computer. There's a lag as well. If you've ever had an echo while you're talking on the phone to somebody, you know what I mean. 

So, when I went to work with Alvin, I quieted the other room. Mostly, the kiddos have their microphones off as well as their cameras, and when they have a question, they type it into the chat. Ms. W was monitoring the chat while Alvin and I dealt with his issues. 

Did you know Firefox and Google Meet don't play nice with one another? Alvin couldn't share his screen with me, and while I knew what he needed to do to get his computer to work, explaining it was a bit hard. But eventually, he got things going. Then I was free to go back to the main meet room. 

And as soon as I got there, I heard a voice: "I need to go eat. Can I go eat? I really need to go eat." 

It was clear that Jacob had been whining like that for some time. 

And. . . I mean, if you're not getting a response, wouldn't you realize that maybe no one (besides the other students in the class) can hear you? I suppose, though, that this is more thought than Jacob gave it.

Although, I'm surprised he asked at all. There was another student who wasn't logging into the test, and he wasn't responding on the chat, so Ms. W called his house. His mother informed Ms. W that the kiddo was downstairs watching TV. 

Somehow, we managed to get most of the kiddos tested. Ah, the joys of education.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020


School has gone virtual. So, what's the one thing you don't want to have happen during the school day? I mean, besides a power outage. 

Monday. First period went rather smoothly. We logged out. (There's a ten minute gap between classes. Each period has it's own meet code that's embedded in Google Classroom, so we don't stay in the same meet all day.) 

About five minutes before period two, we attempted to log into their meet. This should have happened with no issues. . .

We almost had it. I got my camera starting, but I never got fully into the meet. Ms. W didn't even get that far. 

But somehow, I still had Google Classroom (which I had opened before this). A student questioned where the link for the meet was. I managed to respond that we were having internet issues. At least, I hoped it posted. 

And then the internet was gone. From what we gathered later, it was probably a district-wide outage. And it didn't get restored until after the "school day". 

Ms. W ran home and taught her last two classes from there. As a sub, I was kind of stuck on campus, although I probably wouldn't have made it home in time for the end of the day classes, anyway. (I texted Ms. S to let her know what was happening. She was teaching from home, so she was able to continue, no problem.) 

The next day, the internet was restored. It was rather entertaining to go into Google Classroom and see all the questions on the stream. Ms. W had posted their assignment before school, so they had work to do. But I rather doubt they did it. They were questioning where we were and was class cancelled? 

Alas, unlike Google Meets in the business world, in the education side, there is no way to call into a meet. (I know. I checked.) Deep sigh.

Fingers crossed we don't lose internet again. But it was giving us issues all week. Sigh.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020


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 went into a virtual reality simulation and you couldn't get back out? 

Sorry. I know it's been done. But I had this dream, and I didn't have a "what if?" for today, so this'll have to do.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Nothing New

I, once again, find myself between projects. So, I've been making more masks. . .

The fabric for this one is from a shirt I ordered that I didn't like. The fit was weird, and the style just didn't flatter me. Because I got it on sale, I couldn't return it, so instead I cut it into pieces and the first piece became this mask. 

I'm considering writing up the pattern. But I don't know if anyone is truly interested. I found the instructions for a crochet version from Crafting on the Fly, and I just modified them to work for knit. 


The tank top I crocheted for my niece. . .

. . .successfully made it halfway across the country (maybe a bit more than halfway), and niece gave me permission to show you how it fits on her. 

It looks like she got to wear it at least once this year. Success.

Friday, September 18, 2020


Wednesday I mentioned the nightmare of testing the kiddos at a distance. Because the classes I'm covering are kind of technically a long-term gig, I was invited to the teacher training for the testing. 

It was the make up of the make up. (I was at other schools doing other assignments for both the initial training and the make up training.) So, there were only six of us. Most of the teachers are working from home, so it was a virtual meeting. 

I arrived a bit early. A couple teachers were chatting about various topics. Then the assistant principal running the training arrived. 

It was as dull as you would imagine. The assistant principal showed us a couple videos demonstrating the things we needed to know, but as those videos had been included in the email about the training, I'd already seen them. (I was prepared.) 

As the first video glitched, the assistant principal thought that all of our cameras being on might be taxing the system. So, we turned off our video. Our audio was already muted. 

And suddenly we had screens that looked a whole lot like what teaching has looked like lately. 

After the last video finished, the assistant principal had a few comments, and then he asked us if we had any questions. 

None of us turned our cameras back on. We kept our microphones muted. 

And the assistant principal said he understood what we were dealing with in our classes. 

To be nice, we then turned our cameras back on, so he could see we were still there. 

He dismissed us soon after, as we didn't have any questions. That is why we didn't respond. We're all used to sitting back and letting those with questions have the floor. But there's something unnerving on the other end when you're just looking at basically a blank screen and waiting for someone to say something. 

We're all learning with this distance thing. It's a valuable experience.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Distance Learning 13

In no particular order, today I have some random observations about this whole distance learning thing and how different things are this school year. (I'm borrowing the meme from Barefoot Susie who got it from Thursday 13.)

1. School campus is so empty, it's eerie. But there is still a small contingent that remains, either those that have to be at school or those teachers who find they work better out of their classrooms. 

2. Since no one is on campus, the teachers working from campus have started parking their cars next to their classrooms. 

3. We were prepared for this, and not at all prepared for this. A lot of the work was already done via computer and Google Classroom, so that's not new. But putting it all together online is so very different. 

4. I've completely given up with regards to wardrobe and makeup. Even though I'm on camera and on campus, I'm going for comfort. It's not like they're seeing me in person. 

5. Classroom control is a breeze when all the kiddos are on mute. I don't have to talk over them. But I wonder if they're really paying attention. 

6. It turns out that there are Extensions that one can use to make sure all participants are on screen in Google Meet (grid view) and there's also an attendance app. Now I can see all the students on screen, although since I'm co-teaching, I don't have to worry about attendance. 

7. But before they got the attendance app, the teachers were trying different things to keep track of attendance. For the first couple weeks, they'd have the students type their names into the chat box. The teachers have told the students they no longer need to do this, but the students still do, so at the beginning and end of class (and sometimes in the middle) we get random messages with student names. (Which is totally redundant as the chat function tells us who's posting the name, so the name is on screen twice.) 

(So, it turns out the chat box does have a useful function. Although, I have found that there is a way to turn it off.)

8. Throughout the period, we see messages that "so-and-so has left the meet" followed soon after by "so-and-so has joined the meet". Initially I worried about the leavings, but as they return so quickly, I'm fairly certain it's just their connection. (And the attendance app tracks this, so after class one can see when they were offline. For the most part, these are minor interruptions.) 

9. We can't see if they leave the room (if their cameras are off), so we don't know if they leave to use the restroom. Yet, I've still had kids ask if they could go. (Of course I let them go. I'm not a monster.) 

10. And I've had kiddos apologize for getting logged out or logging in late due to connectivity issues (or others in the room closing their laptops). 

11. At the end of class, we teachers remain online until everyone has logged off. Sometimes a couple kiddos remain behind because they have a question. But then there are two or three who just linger. Clearly, these are the kiddos who logged in and then walked away from their computers. (We can log them out at the end, or we can just leave them to the empty meet.) 

12. There is a designated time for the students to come in to "office hours" if they have other questions. It's as simple as setting up another Google Meet. 

13. The schedule is modified. The kiddos are attending classes every other day. Tuesdays and Thursday are periods 1, 3, and 5. Wednesdays and Fridays are periods 2, 4, and 6. (Mondays they do a truncated all day thing.) They have an hour period followed by ten minutes of "passing". After the last class, they get a 40-ish minute lunch followed by "office hours" followed by an hour of independent work time. (They're expected to complete assignments.) 

I'm glad I have the blog now. I get to tell you all how this new thing is going.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Testing Woes

Just as soon as I got back to day-to-day subbing, I got a week-long assignment that "could be extended". It's a vacant special ed. co-teaching position. 

On Tuesday I joined the classes already in progress. (Monday was Labor Day.) Technically, my job is to assist the special ed. kiddos in class, making sure they get the extra help they need. In practice, however, the co-teacher is an actual co-teacher, doing teacherly things as needed. 

With the distance learning, I was given access to a classroom where the teacher had retired, and I was given access to the classes' online information. Fifth and sixth periods I was co-teaching an eighth grade math class, and they were prepping for a standardized test. 

Since school was interrupted in the spring, the district is testing all the students to see where they're at academically. This test was meant to figure out what they know and what they don't know. 

Turns out, what none of us seem to know is how to do these things smoothly. 

I "arrived" to fifth period on Thursday to find the general ed. teacher losing her mind. Ms. S is very technically proficient, but she had spent the day just trying to get the kiddos logged into the test. And she wasn't alone. Apparently, someone had not anticipated the volume of traffic on the testing website, and kiddos couldn't get in. 

Because this was at a distance, we couldn't just look over their shoulders to troubleshoot easy fixes. But not all were easy fixes. Some just kept getting booted out of the test. Sigh. 

At least with two of us there, I could answer various questions while Ms. S dug in on the harder technical issues. 

Hopefully the bugs get fixed. The rest of my day (first, second, and third periods) are English classes, and they take the test next week (read: as you're reading this). 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Water, Gas, Electric. . .

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 internet connectivity (wifi) was a public utility?

Monday, September 14, 2020

Personalizing My Earbuds

I didn't get a whole lot of knitting or crochet done last week. But I did manage to finally cover my earbud cord. . .

This is one of those projects I do when I acquire a new device. The phone in question I got back in December. So, this project has been in the to-do pile for months. 

It's hard to describe what I did. It's kind of me making a chain around the cord. Or, it could be described as me slip stitching around the cord. (Even if you know crochet that description probably makes no sense.) 

If I ever figure out how to make videos, this will be a technique I demonstrate. But that's a concern for a different day. 

My previous cord covers can be found here:

Friday, September 11, 2020

Familiar Faces

Last Friday, I covered an eleventh grade English class. They had a quiz. 

Substitute teaching during a pandemic is a strange mix of the familiar and our new reality. I know all the staff in the main office. I haven't seen them since everything shut down, but it was mostly the same, except we're only allowed to enter and exit through one door, and there are Plexiglas partitions up to shield the receptionist. 

There were administrator changes because new school year. I checked in, and then I had to check in with a new assistant principal because she had to give me access to the Google Classroom classes I would need for the day. 

Oh, and the masks. We're all wearing them, but oddly, when we interact, we make no mention of them. 

Once I had checked in, I headed for the classroom. The campus feels like a ghost town. There are people there, but not many, and I can feel the emptiness. Various reminders that we went home on March 13th and didn't return pop up. The ASB calendar of events wall outside still says March. And the classroom I was in still had the minimum day schedule posted. 

The teacher I was subbing for had not returned, although he was due to work the following week. That is why I was there. The sub who'd been covering his class was taking over another long term position, so they needed someone to fill the day. 

At the appointed time, the students logged in. A couple arrived at first, and then the whole rest of them started populating the screen. Only nine were visible, but the list of the 30-odd students was on the side. They immediately muted their microphones. Some turned off their cameras, but a few kept them on. 

(One girl in fourth period kept her camera on the whole time, but I don't think she realized it. She was clearly having a conversation with someone, and they were having a grand old time. Some dancing was involved.) 

As they had a quiz, all I had to do was announce it, and they got to work. And I watched a mostly blank screen. (They are required to have a certain number of minutes "in class", so they had to remain in class even once they'd finished the quiz.)

I had a chance to talk to the previous sub between classes. (There's a ten minute pause between each period.) He said the classes were fine, although sixth period could be weird. 

Sixth period weird? Imagine that. *end sarcasm*

So, sixth period started. And the names popped up on the screen. Names I recognized. Now, I recognized most of the names in the first two periods (they're only doing three periods a day), but sixth period names were different. I mean, not most of them. But about six or seven of them I remembered from previous interactions, and not in a good way. 

And all in the same class? Yikes. 

But, they're juniors now. As middle schoolers, they fought me. Now, they make a joke out of things. This is an improvement. We won't have the battles. But getting through material can easily go sideways.

Thursday, September 10, 2020

A British Calculator

With my long term assignment complete, I immediately went right back into day to day subbing. Yeah, I was surprised, too. I had thought I'd take a day or two to just be, but no, the sub caller had assignments for me. 

My first class back was the visually impaired class. 

I suppose I should back up a bit, considering how different things are this year. First, I'm working from campus. Some teachers are working on campus while others are working at home. But we subs have to come to campus to check in and get the access to the classes we need. 

I checked in, got a computer, and I got logged into the Google Classroom for the teacher I was covering. 

So, like I said, it was the visually impaired class. 

I had one student for two periods. Sienna. In the first class, we did English. In the second, we did math. 

Her sister logged her into our video chat, conference call, meet, whatever you want to call it. Sienna had her brailing machine out. We read a story for English class. For math, Sienna had two math "worksheets" to complete.

I read Sienna the problem. As per the lesson plan, I asked her what operation she needed to perform to complete the problem. She told me. Then I asked what numbers we needed, and she responded with those. Then she needed to do the actual problem, and she used a calculator to do it. 

None of this surprised me. And when she plugged the numbers into her calculator, I wasn't surprised to hear a voice calling out the numbers. What surprised me was the voice. 

This voice had a bit of an accent. Well, it was rather pronounced. The dude sounded very, very British.

So, I have questions. . . 

Does the calculator have a name? I imagine it would be something very British, like Clive or Nigel. Does he like math? He really hits those fours and sevens. Does he only say the single digits? I think I heard other numbers for the answers, like seventy-seven and ninety-four. 

And mostly I wondered if it was a British calculator or if it was one of those where one can choose the voice. 

I didn't get a chance to ask Sienna. We were kind of busy doing her assignments, and then her sister shut off the meet once we had finished. So, this is just going to have to remain a mystery.

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

September Vacation

On Monday, Basim told me that he wasn't going to be in class on Monday. I had forgotten that Monday was a holiday, so I didn't assure him that he wouldn't be missing anything. 

But, I also didn't mention that I wasn't going to be his teacher any longer, either. 

I have what is called an emergency credential. I am authorized to cover a class for no longer than 30 days. Last Wednesday was day 30. (Day one was back in July with their summer session.) 

Instead, the conversation drifted to why Basim wouldn't be able to log into class. Turns out he'd be travelling. To Egypt. He has family there. 

How long was he staying? Why a trip now? None of that matters, really, because Basim could still attend class while in Egypt. That is one of the unintended consequences of our virtual schooling. They can really attend from anywhere (so long as they have an internet connection). 

I let the new teacher know, and I'm sure Basim mentioned it to him as well. 

Part of me was sad to leave the class. Part of me was relieved, as running a class day to day is hard work. (This is why I sub.) So now, it's back to day to day subbing in our new reality. (And yes, it turns out they really still need subs. Tune in tomorrow.)

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Pay It Forward

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.

So this just happened to me (as I write this on Friday). . .

What if the car in front of you just paid for your drive through order?

Monday, September 7, 2020

Summer Crochet, Part 3

I finished it! 

It wasn't a difficult project. I should have finished it two weeks ago. But school started, and I got slammed with lesson planning and teaching and such. By the time evening rolled around, I didn't have the mental capacity to do all that much, and the top fell by the wayside. 

Because, seriously, those straps should have taken maybe two nights. And that's including after showing them to the niece and having to redo them because they were too wide for her. 

Something that I've hidden in previous posts and pictures is that there is a seam at the back of this thing. . . 

It took me by surprise when I started the pattern as the designer had hidden it. It was worked in the round, but it was also worked back and forth. It was an interesting design choice, but I see why the designer did it that way. (I only mention it so it doesn't take anyone else by surprise.) 

So, now it's done. Finally. (As is my gig at the alternative education center, but more on that on Wednesday.) 

My next planned project needs to not be mentioned on the blog for a couple of reasons, so I have no idea what I'll show off next week. (I'll tell you all about it once it's finished or abandoned. Either outcome is possible.)

Friday, September 4, 2020

Bait and Switch?


I have five chemistry students, but the school had no chemistry books. I made do with some intro to chemistry online assignments for the kiddos. But then the chemistry books arrived, and I could delve into them. 

So, it was last Thursday before we really got into some real chemistry work. It was the section introducing problem solving in chemistry. 

"We're doing math in chemistry?!?" 

Massey was incensed. I suppose he thought he only had me for one math period. 

I calmly explained that yes, math would be required for chemistry. That we would be solving problems. 

Oh, they didn't like that. Not at all.

Thursday, September 3, 2020

Lost My Video Feed

The kiddos pretty much leave their cameras off during class. (I briefly fought the camera battle, but it didn't last long. You only have to have one kiddo show off his weed *cough*Brandon*cough* during class time to realize that maybe it's just better not to see what's going on in their houses.) 

But I like to have my camera on so they can see me. And there were times when I needed to use the white board, so I had to let them see me. 

White board? Yup. I'm teaching math and science, and the best way for me to explain math concepts is to demonstrate. 

But the white board is at school. I tried a portable one, but that was awkward. I tried creating a presentation with an example, but when Ronan and I went through one example, he wanted to do the problem a slightly different way than I'd planned. Sigh. 

But there are ways to virtually write on a computer screen. I've seen them. And the tools were in the classroom. But I didn't have the software to connect them to the computer I was using. 

I contacted the school's tech guy. We set up a time for him to load the software I'd need. It would be third period, which was fine as it was my off period. 

Tech guy arrived fifteen minutes into class. He loaded the software. Now I had a document camera that worked (so I could present books or I can write on paper and they can see). He left, and I had less than five minutes to log in for my fourth period class. 

I go to join the meet, and my camera is turned off. And nothing I could do would turn it back on. Sigh. 

What to do? Well, nothing for fourth period. After school for the day, I could try restarting the computer. Or I could poke around and see if I could fix it. But in the moment I had to do fourth period without the camera. 

At least I could use the working document camera to run class. It appeared that knocked out my video feed. 

We got through fourth period. I logged out. I logged back in for fifth period, and the way to switch my camera to the computer popped up. And suddenly my video feed worked again. Naturally. 

Ah well, now it works. And I have new tools to use. So, a win in the end?

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

The Brandon Rule

Because we're doing the online thing for school, our schedule has been modified. We only have half hour classes where we virtually meet with the kiddos. There is time later in the day for them to do "asynchronous" work, e.g. the math problems we generally have them do in a math class. 

When I planned class, I only took into account the kiddos earning points for the work they'd do asynchronously. But I discovered that was an issue week one. 

The kiddos pretty much keep their cameras off. And they have a mute button. So, I don't hear what's going on on their end. That can be a good thing. Horatio's niece visits him at least once a day during class time. (She's probably about 3-years-old.)

But, it's disastrous when I ask a student a question and they don't respond. 

So, I instituted participation points, a.k.a. The Brandon Rule. They don't have to give me the right answer. They just have to respond when I call on them. 

Why Brandon? Well, it's Brandon who has a tendency to not be there when I call on him. Funnily enough, since I instituted the points, Brandon answers when I call on him. 

And extra added bonus: I informed the kiddos that texting during class time with off-topic messages (i.e. emojis) lost them a participation point per instance. I only had to deduct two points total (for two different students) before the off-topic texting stopped. Hooray! 

(I say "off-topic" because there's one boy who refuses to turn on his microphone ever, but he will answer my questions via text. Not ideal, but good enough, so I'll take it.)

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Mistaken Assumption

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.

Are you sure? 

What if what you believed turned out to be wrong? What if the "lies" of the other side turned out to be the absolute truth?