Friday, February 26, 2021

Kennection #455

Last week was one of those boring weeks at school where not a whole lot that was blog-worthy happened. So, that means it's time for another random Friday quiz.

This week I'm pulling a Kennection for us: 

Kennection #455

There are five questions. Type in the answer. If it's correct, the site indicates it is correct immediately. (That's a big hint. If the site doesn't accept it, you can change the answer.)

At the end, you have to figure out what the five things have in common. Type that in and hit "Submit". If you don't know, you can always do "I Give Up". 

I didn't think this one was too bad, but you'll have to let me know how you did in the comments. (I didn't know #3 or 5, but I did get the Kennection.)

Thursday, February 25, 2021


The previous day, I had gotten a brief call from the sub caller. Could I cover twenty days for Ms. A? I would get two overlap days with the current sub, Mr. P. 

(Ms. A is on maternity leave. She's due back in April.) 

Some subs are well-known. Mr. P is one of them. 

I see him around all the time, and if I mention his name to students, they know who I'm talking about. And they like him. He's good at his job. 

Thursday morning I joined the first period. Mr. P greeted me, even pronouncing my name correctly. (I'm not particular about it, but mostly those who talk to me get it close enough.) 

After class, we had some time to talk. He said he had informed the other teachers in the department of who was taking over for him, and then he said something that shocked me. He said that my name should be familiar to them because I was more well-known than him

Uh, I beg to differ, Mr. P, but no, you're way more well-known than me. I mean, I know the other teachers do know me. They're definitely familiar with me. No question. 

But if I were to rank the "famous" subs, I am well below Mr. P. 

It's hard to know how known one is outside of their little circles. I guess Mr. P doesn't know how familiar he is to the rest of us.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Early Removal

Eighth grade English. I was covering for a special ed teacher who co-teaches with two different general ed teachers. But, all the English teachers plan their lessons together, so all the eighth grade English classes (and the other grades as well) are doing the same thing on the same day. 

I co-taught with two different teachers, but both of them did the same lesson. 

It was day one of their Holocaust unit. 

The largest component of this unit is the reading of The Diary of Anne Frank. But before they get to the literature, they do some preliminary work. 

The way their history classes are structured, they don't learn anything about World War II until tenth grade. While some of them might have picked up some knowledge from various media and such, most of them don't know anything at all. 

So, day one was all about some background info on WWII. 

We watched a short video that gave a bare bones overview of the war. And then they had questions to answer. 

Sixth period. Ms. W was doing the questions with the kiddos. I had the document up on my other computer (yes, I have two computers) so I could follow along. As she typed in an answer, I replicated it in the chat so those students who had a hard time reading it as a presented doc on the screen could see it. 

Then suddenly, the doc gave a warning message saying I no longer had access to it. 


I tried to refresh the screen, and all of the classes for the day in Google Classroom were gone. I had been removed. 

We still had ten minutes in class. 

When we subs are added to a class for the day, we have teacher access. But we don't need to retain teacher access for classes after our day in the class. Depending on the school, it may take a day to get removed, or I might remove myself. 

This was the first time I got removed while in class. 

I was still in the meet, so I was able to get the info for the questions from what the other teacher presented. The students didn't notice. 

I know some days I'm anxious to get done with class. Now I know that someone is more anxious than me.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

I Didn't Do Anything

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 inaction caused someone harm?

Monday, February 22, 2021

It's a Sweater

Friday night, right before I put away my knitting for the night, I thought about what I was going to post for Monday. Over the last week I have made steady progress, but nothing terribly exciting. 

Last week, the project finally began to look like a sweater. All I've done since then is add to the yoke. 

But before I went to bed, I laid out the sweater, just to admire my handiwork. And I was astonished by what I saw... 

It looks like a sweater. 

I mean, last week it did look like a sweater, but this week, it really looks like a sweater. 

I tried it on. With the needle around the neck portion, it didn't go on very well. (But this was a good thing as I had been worrying about making the yoke too long. It's not.) 

That was way more progress than I expected to see. 

At this rate, I'm going to finish this up pretty quickly. By next week? No. Definitely not. 

The above shot is of a sleeve. The hole at the underarm is where the sleeve got attached. That bit gets stitched together. I may attempt this part next week. 

So, I'll keep plugging away at it. Even getting two or four rows done a night is still yielding dividends. 

Friday, February 19, 2021

I Remember You

Biology. They had an assignment on genetic drift--a video and then a virtual lab. 

Now that I have videos working, I showed the video. I explained the assignment. I released them to work. 

In the chat, a student wrote: 

Wait a second I remember you-

I get this a lot. I replied with something noncommittal. If the student pursues the question, we can chase down where they remember me from. But virtually they haven't really been all that interested.

However, this girl then gave me more information: 

I'm the kid who screamed its Wednesday my dudes and you didn't like me after that

Ah. Yes, I remember that she thinks I hate her. And since there's nothing I can do to disabuse her of this notion, I let it go. 

The next time I see her, she'll have to remind me that I hate her and why. I guess this is a game we'll play until she graduates or grows out of this notion. It'll be interesting to see which it is.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

The Tennis Team

In case you've been wondering (I know I have), the various sports teams still have class. CIF (the state's interscholastic sports' governing body) pretty much closed all competition for the fall. (I hadn't heard what they're doing for the spring.) 

But many students still belong to the various teams. 

Last week I covered a biology class. The teacher was also the tennis coach. So, sixth period, I had to cover the tennis team. 

How does one do tennis remotely? The same way they've done every class. 

In the before times, I'd go out to the tennis courts with the kiddos and "supervise" while they practice. (For tennis, that would just be hitting balls around.) 

Now they're watching a video and answering questions online. 

So, in case you're curious, here are the videos they watched. First, Monday's video... 

And this was Wednesday's video...

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

The Audio Fix

Sunday night. Before I went to bed, I peeked at my email and discovered that the secretary from the school had already sent me all the info I'd need for my assignment Monday morning. 

Since it was available, I took a look at the lesson plans. And, bad news. The teacher wanted me to show a video. 

Deep sigh. 

I have lamented my video issues already. But JE pointed out the obvious: why don't I Google to see if there's a fix? Honestly, that thought hadn't occurred to me before. 

So, I looked on my phone that night to see what would pop up, and wouldn't you know it, there were a bunch of videos on YouTube. I watched two that had weird solutions. The third one I found had a simple fix that looked like it would do the trick. 

Monday morning, I logged in to everything a half hour early so I could play with the video settings. And. . . 

Didn't work. 

It seemed perfect. But the audio continued to sound like it was coming to me through a fan. Yikes.

I ended up having a prep period right after the monster fail in second period. Could I figure out a fix before sixth? 

I went back to the previous two videos that seemed way too complicated. The second video I watched Sunday night was where I went next. 

It was a bit easier to follow watching it on my computer, especially because I could pull up the things as the presenter described them. I made the recommended changes, and. . .


The video actually played with good audio. Woo-hoo! 

Then came the test. Sixth period. (Which was the tennis team, so they had a different video than the biology class. But it was still a video.) 

Things did not go smoothly. By making changes to get the video to work, I had knocked out my microphone to speak to the students. When I started class, they did not hear my greeting. I was only clued in as the students sent messages in the chat of "Can you hear her?". 

I was able to tweak things so they could hear me, and I repeated my greetings as well as the intro for the day's assignment. Then it was time for the moment of truth. Would it work? 

I started the video. And. . . IT WORKED! 


Good thing too as I had this class for the week, and the teacher specifically said to show the video to the class. 

In case you ever find yourself in a similar circumstance, or you're curious as to what sound issue I was having, here's the video that provided the actual solution: 

Just to be clear, videos work just fine if I watch them on the computer. But the minute I attempted to present a video in a Google Meet, the sound issue happened. (If you want to get a demonstration of what we heard, go to about 50 seconds into the video.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Not False

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 the accusations leveled at your friend turned out to be true? (I won't specify what accusations, but it could be anything such as bullying someone online, money laundering, lying about something, or even murder.)

Monday, February 15, 2021

The Home Stretch

I have now "finished" both sleeves and "attached them to the body of the sweater...

And so now it actually resembles a sweater...

This is the yoke. It's rather complicated with maintaining the stitch pattern as well as decreasing along the neck edge and along the sleeves. These are also long rows, so it's slow going. 

But, I am closer to the end than the beginning. The finish is in sight. 

Here's a close up of how the sleeves got attached...

There's a hole under the arms that I'll stitch up, but after I get a bit further with the yoke. 

It's getting there. Faster than I expected. 

Friday, February 12, 2021

Too Much Information

Middle schoolers are way more fun virtually. Things that are annoying (or worse, disruptive) in person take on a certain whimsy online. 

Friday. I was covering a special ed middle school English class. Out of nowhere, a student turned on his microphone and announced, "I pooped my pants!" 

Me: "Thank you for sharing???" 

Then he turned his microphone back on to apologize. Apparently little sister took control of his computer to...? Perhaps she was trying to embarrass him. 

Mission accomplished. 

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Mistaken Identity

Middle school math, special ed. They were working on order of operations

I recognized Seth as soon as I heard his voice. That he's in special ed did not surprise me one bit. He immediately spoke up with a question. 

"Are you on your phone again today?" 

Uh. . .

Okay, so full disclosure, I am on my phone way more than I really should be. But there comes a point after I've gone over the assignment for the day, I've released the kiddos to get to work, and I'm staring at a screen full of unblinking avatars. 

I thought I hid it better than that. . .

But another student replied to Seth. "No, that was a different sub. . ."

At which point I realized what Seth was asking. Apparently their last sub had accessed the class via her phone. 

I was accessing the class via computer. 

The class got pretty boring after that. The kiddos worked on the assignment. And I. . . pulled out a magazine and read. (They had few questions after we did the first problem together.) 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Do Not Disturb

Some things never happened while I was working on campus.

Monday. I was covering a tenth grade English class. They were working on vocabulary from their next book, Night

There was a tap at my window. 

My window overlooks the front door. On this day, plumbers were coming to work on a leak or something, and water was going to be shut off to our building. We had had due notice. 

The water shut off to the building is in our garage. (Some things were built really stupidly in the complex.) So, the plumbers needed access. 

And, uh. . . Yeah, I was home. But I was working. I was on camera. I couldn't just. . . 

I have roommates. When the plumbers knocked on the door, Luisa answered and took care of the issue. 

I like having my blinds open. It was a sunny day, and I like the light. But, perhaps I should keep them closed? Or, I might just need a sign, a "do not disturb" sign. 

But then again, we really don't get too many visitors during school hours usually. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2021

Your Kind Don't Do That

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

Today's question is brought to you by Miss Scarlet and the Duke, available in the U.S. via Masterpiece Mystery on PBS...

What if you were barred from doing the one thing you were best at because of something intrinsic about you (your race, gender, height, etc.)?

Monday, February 8, 2021

Sleeve Two

Last week I started on my second sleeve. . .

So, because I needed the needles, I parked the first sleeve on the body of the sweater. . .

Once I finish up the second sleeve, it'll get parked on the other side of the cardi, and then I start on the yoke (shoulders). It'll be knit in one piece from there. 

(Yes, these are short sleeves. I do not need long sleeves.)

Slowly, it looks more and more like a sweater.

Friday, February 5, 2021

A Lingering Question

Twelfth grade English. It was co-taught, so I took roll while the other teacher explained the lesson. (They were continuing analyzing an article that they had read earlier in the week.) 

As is normal, some students blinked out of the meet only to return. I've stopped worrying when a student disappears from the meet. Most of the time they're having technical issues.

In second period, a student returned from logging out. He explained why in the chat: 

Sorry for leaving my aunt just got out and I was on the phone with her

Besides the kiddo's propensity for not using punctuation, the explanation left me wondering. . .

Just got out of where?

Thursday, February 4, 2021

Good Enough for Now

Special ed English class at the continuation high school. They were reading Animal Farm

Only, kiddos don't tend to read. Not willingly. Especially not special ed kids. So, the teacher had been playing the audio for them via YouTube. 

That's an easy enough lesson plan. Alas, I have a technical issue.

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but for some reason, I can't present videos to classes. I mean, I can. I know how. But whenever I try, the audio comes out sounding like someone is trying to talk through a box fan. It's all choppy and stuttery. 

I have tried every trick I know. (If any of you technical wizards out there have any ideas, I'm all ears.) 

Knowing the problem, and knowing that they didn't have to see the video, I attempted to just play the video on my computer while I had the meet going so they could hear the book via my speaker to the microphone.

I patted myself on the back. Problem solved. 


The next day, I asked if the sound quality was good the previous day. Nope. They couldn't hear it. 

So, in the end I played the video on my second computer (yes, I have two computers), turned it up loud, and angled those speakers towards my main computer. That they heard. 


Now, I just need to find a fix for the stuttery issue. I'm sure other teachers will assign videos. It's the nature of subbing. 

In case you're interested in hearing it yourself, here's the YouTube version we were listening to: 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Not Again

The last time I covered a class at the continuation high school, I was in the "wrong room" for the virtual meet. So as not to make the same mistake twice, I made sure to add the classes as a student, and I used that link to access the meet for the first class. 

(I'm using an old picture for my header for this post. It's from this teacher's classroom, but she's modified the room since then. And, it's not like I'm actually on campus at this point, anyway.) 

So, 9:00 AM. No one logged in. 

I took a deep breath. I had not done this again? 

I double checked the link. It was correct. It was the one in their Google Classroom. I logged in with a second computer. It was the same room. 

One minute passed. Then two. Then three. . .

Then someone else logged in.

Whew. I was really, really starting to get nervous. But, they were all just late. (Considering how the class went, that turned out to be not surprising.) 

The rest of the classes logged in just like normal, some early, some later. But first period decided to throw some anxiety my way for the day.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

In Dreams

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 muses do whisper stories to us in our dreams?

Monday, February 1, 2021


Well, one sleeve. So far. 

When I started this cardigan, back in 2013, I decided to knit it in one piece. That is, rather than knit a back, a right front, and a left front, and then sew those together, I'd do all those pieces in one go. 

It's pretty boring knitting until one gets to where the sleeves go. 

Rather than reinvent the wheel, I'm using a template to construct the sweater. In this template, the sleeves are worked circularly, where the body had been worked back and forth. 

This should not be a big deal. I can do either. But I ran into a bit of a snag when I got into the staggered part of the stitch repeat.

This is the part where I explain what that snag is, but I can't do it. I would have a hard time writing this as an explanation for a knitter, so trying to explain to a non-knitting audience just isn't going to happen. It has to do with lace knitting and yarn overs and not doing two yarn overs in a row and attempting to knit a wrong side row and right side row in the same pattern repeat. 

Yeah, that didn't even make sense to me.

By the time I figured out there was a big problem, I had knit three rows. 

On the bright side, I learned how to ladder down and adjust mistakes early on in the knitting of this sweater. . .

So, the fix only took an hour or so. And once I recognized the problem, the solution to how to knit the sleeve in the round presented itself. 

At least the sleeves are going quicker than the body. If you look closely, you can see where I bound off for the armholes. . .

Okay, maybe not. Suffice it to say that progress is being made, and the body (above) is just sittin' and chillin' until the sleeves are knit. I'll post pics once the sleeves are added. Then the construction will make a bit more sense.

(The new blog background is this stitch pattern close up. It was time for a new one.)