Thursday, June 30, 2022

And Yet Another New Student

I said it out loud. I was truly asking for it...

On Tuesday, a girl arrived a good fifteen minutes late. She informed me she was joining my class. With eight days left of summer school...

I should have 26 students in my first period and 19 in my third. (Because summer school classes are two hours, they're numbered funny.) I've only had 22 students show up to my first period (although, not all at the same time) and 11 in my third. 

The girl was on my roll sheet. She should have been there the whole time.

She gave me a story about how her mother had not informed her that she had summer school. Likely? Perhaps. The students chosen for this program were of the type that make this plausible. 

So, I added her in. 

But I decided not to do the pre-assessments for her. I mean, I could. But with about a week left, it seemed silly. She will definitely get the post-assessments (if she shows up), but I doubt there'll be much of a change with only a few days of instruction. 

Sigh. Just when I was almost caught up.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Rainy Day of Chaos

It doesn't rain in southern California after about April, so the rainstorm on this particular Wednesday in June was unexpected. (It was forecast, but no one believes that we'll actually get rain in June.) 

And there was thunder and lightning, too. 

I was not surprised that the class was missing a few students. I was surprised when my projector wouldn't connect to my computer. 

More like panicked. I was quite panicked. 

I have set up this entire class on Google Slides. I project everything we're working on. 

I did get the thing to work, but it kept blinking out, which was distracting to the kiddos. But somehow we made it through. 

Until the thing completely died towards the end of the period. 

But they had something to work on, so I had them do that while I fought with the electronics. That had worked perfectly every day up until this day. 

My next class was doubled in size. The teacher next door (Ms. B) felt like death warmed over (her words), so she left early. As they couldn't find her a sub, the only thing to do was to combine her class with mine. 

I had the room.

And, at least I figured out how to get the projector working. 

Her class worked on their stuff individually. I was able to instruct my class with a working projector. 

While in class, a car pulled up outside. It wasn't until after school that I was able to verify my supposition (I was right). 

At the beginning of the school year, I covered a vacant English class. The teacher (Ms. W) had taken a sabbatical. Ms. B had been hired to replace her. 

Well, Ms. W has tendered her resignation. She had left some of her supplies in the classroom. She had been coordinating with Ms. B for a time to come and get them. This was the day she arrived. In the middle of the school day. 

But the students were with me.

They wondered about the car. I didn't explain. It would have taken too long, and I didn't want to go off on that tangent. 

I was really glad to see the end of that day. 

As for the projector, it worked perfectly the next day. And the day after that. I wonder if the electrical storm was the culprit.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Thank You for Your Support

Speculative fiction has a long history of taking the issues of the day and reframing them in a new context with the hope that people will look at them in a new way. Our "unprecedented" times are bringing all sorts of old ways and old thinking back to the forefront. On Tuesdays, I present "what if?" questions. Previously, the intent was as an idea generator. It still is. But now, I ask that you really think about all the repercussions that these ideas will have. If only these were just thought exercises. 

What if "you" are supporting the fascists who are taking over? 

By "you", I mean that you as an individual are part of the group that the fascists have co-opted. (I doubt any of us would actually support the fascists otherwise.) And by "who are taking over"... You're paying attention, right? Here in the US, it's happening. Right now. 

Monday, June 27, 2022

A Snail's Pace

Again, I did not make a whole lot of progress on the Calash last week: 

Although, since April 25th, you can see more of a difference:

I am on the second half, and there is no deadline on this, so the only reason I'm concerned by my lack of progress is that my Monday posts have become rather pointless of late. 

The summer school class ends on Thursday. Hopefully that means that I'll have more headspace to work on something yarny (probably crochet as that tends to be easier in the hotter months). We'll see. 

It's been hard to focus on anything lately. Here's hoping I actually get a restful July.

Friday, June 24, 2022

Ace, Not Josue

On the first day of summer school, I gave each of the students an index card. I asked them to write their full name in the corner. And then in the center, I asked them to write the name they wanted me to call them by in class. 

Mostly, they wrote their first names. A couple wrote a shortened version of their first names (think Nick instead of Nicholas). But a couple had a different name they wanted to be called. 

The boy's first name was Josue. He had written "Ace" in the center of his card. 

Okay, then. 

I wrote the preferred name on the seating chart. And I've been calling him Ace the whole time.

On the second day of school, I got an instructional aide. She worked in the ELD classes during the school year, so she knew many of the students. She's been doing most of the grading for me (as I've been busy keeping the classes busy with lessons and stuff). 

Last Friday, realizing that I was never going to get to it, I asked the aide to grade the first assignment I gave them, an "About Me" exercise. I asked a lot of general questions in it about who they are and what they like. 

Third period. About half way through class. 

Aide: "You want to be called Ace? I've been calling you Josue all year. Why did you never tell me you wanted to be called Ace?" (The tone was kind, like she was upset at herself for calling him a name he did not like for a year.) 

Apparently Ace is his name at home. For some reason, he never spoke up. 

I'm not sure when I picked up the card trick, but I've been using it in similar situations for a few years now. The kiddos will write their name on a card, but they won't speak up to say, "call me xxx". I mean, a few will, but the vast majority won't. 

The aide then gave me a list of students who had different preferred names. I looked over the list. I knew them all. They had written them on the cards. 

This is why I keep doing the index cards. (Well, that and I use them to call on students randomly.)

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Another New Kid

As third period walked in, the class cheered. 

"We have a new student," they informed me.

When we started, the class had seven students. On the second day, we got an eighth. The following week, we got two more, bringing our class total to ten. 

They felt a little too "seen" with such a small class. So new students joining was cause for celebration. 

The majority of them have the same math class the previous period. (There are two periods and five teachers. That they have their whole day together was going to happen.) So, they would have known there was a new student as he would have been in their first period class. 

Now, I don't mind getting an extra student. A class of eleven isn't a big deal. But I had just gotten caught up...

The class is "graded" on two assessments. I did the pre assessments on the first day. As new students joined, I had to then test them each as they entered. 

I had finally gotten all the assessments done. Graded. (It took the aide days to get the spelling assessment graded.) Input into the spreadsheets provided by the district. 

And then one more student...

*shakes head*

This is, of course, normal. But it doesn't make it any less irritating. Fingers crossed that I get no more new students starting. It's almost time to do the post assessments.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

The Brick Wall

A few years ago (in the before times), I was covering a math class. The teacher was on campus (for a training or such), and she popped in to make sure we all had what we needed. 

The class was working silently. Everything was going smoothly. 

But the teacher's reaction... She was not happy with them. She explained to me that the class was kind of dull. The students were half asleep. And they were always like this. 

I didn't get what she was getting at.

Now I do.

My first period class is exactly like what she described. And now I get why she wasn't happy with them.

Quiet groups are great. But then there's too quiet. 

Part of the curriculum for this class requires student participation. I read something and they repeat. I go over something and have them answer questions. I ask for them to respond to various topics.

Do they? Nope.

I mean, if I call on someone directly, they'll answer. They do the work put in front of them. 

But when I ask an open-ended question, I get no response. No one volunteers. 

And these are middle schoolers. I should be able to start a topic and have them go wildly off into random reminisces of things that only tangentially touch on that topic. (That's what my third period does.) 

Instead, I start topics, and they stare at me. Waiting. 

Now I get why that teacher didn't like her first period class. It's kind of like teaching to a brick wall, or a virtual class. Sigh. 

At least I'm not dealing with behavioral issues. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Love Is Love

Speculative fiction has a long history of taking the issues of the day and reframing them in a new context with the hope that people will look at them in a new way. Our "unprecedented" times are bringing all sorts of old ways and old thinking back to the forefront. On Tuesdays, I present "what if?" questions. Previously, the intent was as an idea generator. It still is. But now, I ask that you really think about all the repercussions that these ideas will have. If only these were just thought exercises. 

What if they made being gay illegal again? 

I know at one time it was. I know some of those laws are still on the books but aren't enforced. (I know there are some countries where it still is.) If you're paying attention, you're aware that various states here in the US are rolling back protections on the LGBT etc. community. And that is headed one way.

Monday, June 20, 2022

No Hurry

And I'm back to knitting the Calash:

Last week I showed off niece's birthday present. I finished that the week before. 

I haven't been doing a lot of knitting lately. Part of that is summer, but the biggest part of it is that I've been busy with summer school teaching. (Oh, the lesson planning... Every night it's been a scramble of what I'm going to do with the classes the next day.) 

But there are moments when I need that physical white noise. Luckily, I have this nice little project that's started. The hard part is completely done. It's just a matter of some almost mindless knitting until the thing is finished. 

I do need to start thinking about starting some new projects soon. I need to go through my yarn stash and clean things out. But until I have the mental space to really start some things, at least I have this to keep my hands busy. For the moment.

It's slow going, but I'm in no hurry. 

Friday, June 17, 2022

Spelling Test

High school summer school is mostly about credit recovery. If a student fails a class, they need to repeat it to get the credits they need to graduate. 

Middle school is not like that. They generally get promoted whether they passed or failed their classes. So, summer school is generally not held for middle school students. 

But the district got money from the state (I think) to help those students who were "falling behind". They identified students who needed some extra academic help. They put together a program to work on those areas most needing attention. (They started this last school year. This is the second summer for the program.) 

The classes don't get traditional report cards. They get progress reports. So, to measure their progress, we were to start out the classes with some pre-assessments. 

First, we had them read a passage to measure fluency. Then they were given a spelling test. 

Ah, but this was no ordinary spelling test. This was a spelling test of nonsense words. 

On the first day of summer school, I informed them that they were taking a spelling test. 

I explained that the words weren't real. I explained that we wanted to see if they could figure out how these words should be spelled from the sounds of the syllables. And I told them not to sweat it too much. 

But still, I had way more fun with this thing than they did. Because the words...

Oh, the words were fun to say. They were mashed up syllables of recognizable words, changed just a bit so they had no meaning. (I think my favorite was grapherence.) 

It was an interesting little assessment. (I'd share more of the words, but we want to keep them off the internet as I'm sure they're going to use this assessment again.) I wonder who comes up with these things.

Thursday, June 16, 2022

The Tech Works

About a month ago, I was going through my work email saved files looking for the calendar for the next school year. As I was digging through that, I found a bunch of emails I had saved for various reasons that I no longer needed. 

Well, I'm sure you know what happened next. I spent some time (it was a moment when I had some time) going through and deleting a bunch of things that I no longer needed. There was the email which contained the calendar for the previous school year. There were various COVID testing emails. There were links to PowerPoints for student testing that had long passed.

And while I was at it, I found the email that contained a link to a PowerPoint on how to connect the school-issued computer to the classroom projector remotely.

What were the chances I'd need that information again? 

Pretty good, I thought. I mean, the last time I was covering a class at that school, it was September. And I didn't need to remotely hook up the computer. But, I figured that there was a good chance I'd need that information again, and since I didn't use it daily, I'd need the resource.

On the first day of the trainings for this summer school class, I patted myself on the back. One of the things that I did do that day was to check out a school computer from the library, and I got it hooked up to the in-class projector. I absolutely used that PowerPoint to get the thing going. 

And I thought about that day when I found that email. 

I'm so glad I was thinking ahead. I just didn't realize how soon I was going to need that information again.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Here We Go Again

A couple weeks before the end of the school year, I got an email from the sub caller. Would I be interested in teaching a summer school class? 

No. Absolutely not. Nope. Not a chance. I want some vacation time...

And then two weeks into summer break, what am I going to be feeling? Will I regret not having taken the gig? 

I dithered. And thought. And replied that yes, I would take the gig. 

School ended the previous Thursday. On Monday we were to report to school for professional development days. 

I was told I'd be teaching ELD (English language development) to middle schoolers. The first day of trainings, I went to the ELD trainings. (They were held virtually.) But, I hadn't received the materials that they were discussing. 

I asked the summer school principal. He looked into it. Turned out, I was supposed to be in the English trainings.


(I actually didn't miss anything as the training I didn't need to go to didn't overlap with the training I did.) 

I'd say I was surprised, but I've worked for this district for a lot of years. This sort of thing is kind of standard.

The last day of summer school is June 30th. Then I'll get some vacation time. Maybe. (Don't let me take any more gigs, at least for a couple weeks, okay?)

Tuesday, June 14, 2022


Speculative fiction has a long history of taking the issues of the day and reframing them in a new context with the hope that people will look at them in a new way. Our "unprecedented" times are bringing all sorts of old ways and old thinking back to the forefront. On Tuesdays, I present "what if?" questions. Previously, the intent was as an idea generator. It still is. But now, I ask that you really think about all the repercussions that these ideas will have. If only these were just thought exercises. 

What if you gave a friend proof of someone's wrongdoing (and it was actual proof with video and/or DNA and/or documentation), but the friend was still convinced that this someone was innocent?

Monday, June 13, 2022

Happy Birthday, Niece

Today is my niece's 21st birthday. I did manage to finish the top: 

She currently lives in Ohio, but she was in town for a friend's wedding last week. So, I got a chance to give her present to her in person. She tried it on, and it fit: 

So, yay!

Feel free to wish her a happy birthday in the comments. I will give her a link to this post.

Friday, June 10, 2022

This Year by the Numbers

Last Thursday was the last day of school. And if you've been following the blog for a while, you know it's now time for the post where I take a tally of all the days that I worked. This year was a doozy.

There are 180 days in the school year. I worked... 177 of them. 177

Let us just pause to contemplate that number. I basically blew my last record of 164 out of the water (2019).  And I doubt that this is a record that will ever get beaten. Of course, I hit that record due to the crazy year we had. I'm sure you read about the substitute teacher shortage. Yeah. That meant job security for me. 

Of the three days I did not work, I actually didn't get called for two days in October (the 12th and 13th to be specific). And the third day was the day I took off so I could go to the dentist when I cracked a tooth.

That total does not include the 18 days I worked at the alternative education center in July or the 4 days I covered at the continuation high school before the official beginning of the school year. (The continuation high school begins about three and a half weeks before the rest of the district.) 

41 of those days were at the high schools, 10 were at the middle schools, 7 were in elementary schools, and 2 were at the continuation high school. 117 of them were spent at the adult transition center, which is unsurprising considering that I did two long term assignments there.

I only had 1 day with a teacher who had no conference period, and I did only 12 extra period assignments. Again, this is unsurprising as I did so few high school days (relatively speaking). (For comparison's sake, in 2019 I had 97 extra periods. That is, on 97 of the days I worked, I covered a period on the teacher's prep period or the teacher didn't have a prep period.) 

I did work the first day of school (but it was at the continuation high school and it wasn't their first day of school, so it kind of doesn't count). And I worked the last day of school (see yesterday's post). 

To break things down a bit more...

Then at the secondary level: 

  • Social studies: 24 days and 1 extra period
    • Economics: 19 days and 1 extra period. This was part of the long term assignment I did in September. She also taught...
    • Geography: 11 days and 1 extra period. The only reason there's a different number here is because that school is on a block schedule. All of her geography classes were on the same day, whereas her economics classes were on both days.
    • World history: 3 days
    • Then 1 day each for 8th grade US history and 11th grade US history
  • English: 15 days and 2 extra periods
    • 9th grade: 13 days and 1 extra period. Most of those days are from the vacant English class I began the year in
    • 8th grade: 7 days. This was part of that vacant English class. (There was one period of 8th grade, the rest of the classes were 9th grade.)
    • 11th grade: 4 days and 1 extra period
    • Then there was 1 day and 1 extra period of 12th grade and 1 extra period of ELD, which is the class students take when they are learning English (immigrants, usually). 
  • Science: 5 days and 4 extra periods
    • Biology: 2 days and 2 extra periods
    • 7th grade science: 2 days
    • Then I covered 2 extra periods of 8th grade science, 1 day and 1 extra period of chemistry, and 1 day of anatomy/physiology.
  • Math: 4 days and 1 extra period
    • Integrated math 2 (which used to be geometry): 3 days (although, I wasn't really needed)
    • Integrated math 3 (which used to be algebra 2): 2 days
    • Then I had 1 day of 8th grade math and 1 day and 1 extra period of 7th grade math
  • Miscellany:

Normally I'd include the special ed stats above, but because of my two main long term assignments this year, my special ed days completely skew the stats. 

I spent 120 days (and 3 extra periods) in special ed classes. 5 of those (with 1 extra period) were in special day classes. 117 of those (with 2 extra periods) were in the severe special ed classes.

The long terms are considered special ed in the severe special ed classes. I spent 45 days in Ms. S's class in November, December, and January. I spent 60 days in Ms. L's class in March, April, and May (with a couple days in February and June). Although, both teachers had retired by the time I took over the classes.

10 of those days were when I covered Ms. L's class in October. One of those days was for a different teacher at the adult transition center. And so the remaining day was at the high school that feeds the adult transition center.

Yup, I kept pretty busy this year. But I generally do.

Previous years' stats:

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Last Days of School 13

I'm really not sure what one story to tell to wrap up this school year, so instead I'm going to tell 13 mini stories. (This is a Thursday 13.) 

Note: Tomorrow will be my annual post of my year end stats where I wrap up the year with a tally of how many days I worked covering each subject. (I do this post more for me. It can be dry. It is definitely long. And I completely understand if you wish to skip it.) 

1. Last Tuesday was Natalie's birthday. Each student gets a small celebration for their birthday. We had pizza for lunch, and Vera made Natalie chocolate brownies. I think Natalie appreciated having "Happy Birthday" sung to her (multiple times). Although, we let her spend most of the day on her computer. 

2. Also on Tuesday, one of the teachers hosted a softball game in the park. Jennifer and Jonas went along. Which meant more pizza for those of us still in class. (They ordered pizza for those that went to the park, so Jennifer and Jonas didn't miss out.) 

3. Our school is right next to an elementary school. (At one time, I think our buildings were actually part of their campus.) Our classrooms are separated from their sixth grade classrooms by a fence. Last Friday and Tuesday (Monday was a holiday) the sixth graders were very loud. Understandably so. It was their end of year celebrations. (It's not like we were taking finals or anything.)

4. Thursday morning, I was on bus duty. (It wasn't actually my day, but Mr. G was late, and the other aides weren't there. However, the buses were.) Jennifer: "What's going on over there?" She was referring to the elementary school. Me: "They are having a literal field day." Earl: "It looks like kickball." We decided it must be a kickball game of faculty versus the sixth graders. No one bothered to confirm or deny our supposition. 

5. The reason the staff was missing for student arrival: the principal had brought in goodies from a local bakery and had invited everyone to partake. (I got some cookies and fruit salad later on in the day.) 

6. Wednesday morning. Me: "I don't have anything planned for today. What do you want to do?" I'm not sure who suggested a movie. I was down for that. I opened the floor for suggestions. Keyla: "I think we should play one of the classics for a change." That's when I knew. Cinderella. Jennifer was unfamiliar with the story. I was quite pleased that we didn't miss out on that little bit of Jennifer's education. 

7. Also on Wednesday, Ms. L, the teacher who retired, came by to say hi. Jennifer was thrilled to see her. Jennifer had been making Ms. L a book. (I helped her punch holes in the paper so she could "bind" it with twine.) Jennifer got to give it to her in person.

8. We had some drama in our yard. Remember the neighbor who keeps chickens? One day I looked over and saw a warning sign on the back of the fence, saying not to touch as it was electrified. It took the administration about a week longer to notice, and then it became a thing, as I guess they're not allowed to put up electrified fences next to schools. The school put up caution tape around the whole thing. 

Apparently the city got involved. I mean, it wasn't like the students really go near it, so the tape was kinda unnecessary. 

9. The only student who's generally out there is Domingo. He has his little area... 

...although he wanders the grassy area much of the day. One day I didn't see him. He was on the other side of the caution tape. Earl informed me that he just pushes the caution tape out of the way and goes through whenever he wants. 

So, yeah, that caution tape really made the students safer...

10. The last week or so, we all got our summer school assignments. The adult transition center's program goes for two weeks and two days. They're bringing in a teacher from the high school that feeds the adult transition center to run one of the classes. I've met her. This is not her usual gig, but she does have a special ed credential, and it might be a nice change for her. I wish her luck.

11. I got an email from the sub caller asking if I wished to teach a summer school class. While I do want some time off, I am aware that I'll likely be bored, so I said yes. I'm not sure if this is the right choice, but when this post goes live, I'll be on day 2 of that assignment. 

12. While I will miss these students, I'll be glad to do something different now. It's a reason I sub--I like the variety. And, I'm still on the sub list. If one of the teachers needs a day off (and they have taken days off), I can be the one to fill the gig next year. So, it wasn't like it was a forever goodbye.

13. On the last day, I checked in my computer, turned in my keys, and left the campus for the last time this school year. The 2021-22 school year is officially complete.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022


The adult transition center starts its day about an hour later than everyone else. Which has been really nice. 

The school shares its parking lot with the elementary school next door. There's always plenty of parking. 

I've been rolling in 30-45 minutes before the start of the school day. It gives me time to set up things and get ready for the day. 

As I was driving in last Wednesday, I passed another elementary school on my way to "my" school. I noticed that they had everything set up for a sixth grade promotion ceremony. I got a little teary-eyed thinking about how the sixth graders were transitioning.

The obvious didn't occur to me until I got to "my" school. 

But when I saw cars pulling out of the parking lot, I knew.

The elementary school next door was also having a sixth grade promotion ceremony, and all the parents had overwhelmed the parking lot. 

They had spilled out into the street. And there was no leftover parking for, um, teachers who hadn't started our day yet.

Grumble, grumble.

I pulled out of the parking lot and headed to the neighborhood across the street. I found parking, and I walked in. (The street is fairly busy, so this walking in included going half a block to the nearest crosswalk.) 

As I headed for the classroom, I ran across a car parked in a loading zone. Normally, I wouldn't really care. But this car was in our loading zone. That is, it was in the spot where the buses for our school have to park to drop off our students. 

Oh no...

So, I called and reported the car to our office. (I may have asked if the car could be towed.) Because our buses were arriving in about fifteen minutes, they'd need a place to stop. 

Was I being petty? Yup. But I'm okay with that. There's a reason that's marked as a loading zone.

Every single aide was late. As were the other two teachers. (Well, later than they normally are. Not very "late" late.) We all had the same issue.

I asked about the car in the buses' loading zone. They said it was gone.

I doubt they had enough time to tow the car. I'm sure they just called over to the elementary school and had someone make an announcement to move their car. But at least it was moved.

And when the ceremony was over and the parents departed, we all (one at a time) went and retrieved our cars and parked them in the lot. It was a minor inconvenience, really. 

I just wish someone had given us a heads up beforehand. We could have arrived earlier that day. Oh well.

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Hurt Me

Speculative fiction has a long history of taking the issues of the day and reframing them in a new context with the hope that people will look at them in a new way. Our "unprecedented" times are bringing all sorts of old ways and old thinking back to the forefront. On Tuesdays, I present "what if?" questions. Previously, the intent was as an idea generator. It still is. But now, I ask that you really think about all the repercussions that these ideas will have. If only these were just thought exercises.

What if someone did you harm (define "harm" as you will), but because everyone in your circle of friends and family like them, they don't believe you and accuse you of trying to harm them?

Monday, June 6, 2022

Almost Finished

If all goes well, by the time you read this, the top will be complete and in the hands of my niece.

But as I write this, this is not the case. I'm still working on the back: 

There's not that much left to go, as you can see if you compare it to the front:

Once the knitting is complete, I'll need to sew the front and back together. Doable, I think. But that's only if everything goes well. 

Wish me luck...

Previous posts:

Friday, June 3, 2022

The Evidence

I have mentioned Natalie's obsession with her computer before

Most of the time, when she has computer time, she goes on YouTube and watches station identifications over and over again. Lately, I've noticed she goes to CNN 10 and replays the video we watched earlier that day. She likes to replay bits over and over. I think she likes the sounds. She'll mimic them sometimes.

The other thing she does that she's not supposed to do is to open up her camera and take videos.

Early on, I put tape over her camera. I expected her to object, but she's left it alone the whole time. I don't think she notices the non-picture. I think she's doing it for the audio. 

But be that as it may, we don't want her recording random things in the classroom. (Who knows what conversations she's catching?) 

I thought I was stopping her from recording. I was wrong.

Last week, as I was clearing her computer, the camera app popped up. And I just happened to the file of what was saved. And it was a bit shocking...

That's more than 5000 images. As you can see, I was deleting all of them. The majority of them were just the blank screen (as I had put tape over the camera), but there were a couple with an image of Natalie's forehead. 

Then I got to the videos...

Over 3000 videos. 

If I had more time and more help, we would totally have someone spend the day with Natalie and work on having her do something besides take videos of a blank screen and her banging on her table. But as it is...

And she still manages to save a dozen or so new files daily (now that I'm checking daily). Sigh.

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Virtual Ceremony

At the adult transition center, the students don't "graduate". We had our "culmination" ceremony last Wednesday. 

Today is actually our last day of school. Woo-hoo! I'll have the wrap up of the school year along with my year end stats for you next week. And then the week after... Summer school. Because they asked me and I said yes.

The students "age out" at 22. We only have one student who will be 22 in July. 

It was a virtual ceremony even though the other schools in the district are holding in person graduations this year. The principal had put together a slide show, and I set up the virtual meet to be projected in the class for all the students.

I have been projecting things to the students since I took over this class. No issues. For this? No sound.

I tried everything. In the end, while they could see everything on screen, they had to hear the ceremony via the speakers on my laptop computer. Sigh. 

It was a nice ceremony. The had pictures of all nine "graduates" along with their baby pictures. So cute. 

Because it was virtual, it went a lot quicker than it would have if everything had been in person. I totally copped out when it was time for me to talk about Elena. I wished her luck in her future. Luckily, Ms. L (the class' newly retired teacher) was there (as a surprise), so she said a few words about Elena. It was sweet. 

And then there was a spot for pictures (the families could come to have pictures taken) and cake. 

I'm going to miss this class when I leave. At least I got to do this celebration with them.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022


One day on CNN 10 there was a story about "soft" robots. I thought they kind of looked like they were made of slime. I mentioned this and then asked if the students had ever made slime. They had not.

Oh, then we had to do this.

Like with the paper airplanes last week, this is not the sort of thing I would encourage in a general ed class. But these students are not those students

It took me a couple weeks to acquire ingredients. And then I figured last Tuesday would be a good day to attempt the "experiment". I found a video online that described the process, and I showed it to them.

This video used acrylic paint to color the slime, and I was glad to see it as in the very cursory research I did before springing this project on them, I only saw them use food coloring. We did not have food coloring. But we had paint.

Jonas and Jennifer agreed they'd like to try blue slime. I had Jennifer pour out the glue. Then she added the water. I did the bit with the borax, and Jonas stirred. 

It came together rather well, actually. 

We put glitter in, but you can't really see it.

We offered some to Natalie. She wouldn't be bothered (as she was on her computer, so she was content). We offered some to Penelope, but she told us no. Yohana liked hers so much that it got all over her sweatshirt (oops). 

Then Keyla offered some to Doris...

Doris remains outside and lately Keyla has been spending her days outside supervising her. So, I did not see what happened when Keyla took the slime to Doris. All I know is that Keyla returned a short time later, threw the rest of the slime (pictured above) into the trash, and told me I didn't want to know what Doris had done with it. 

Okay, then. 

Jonas and Jennifer put their slime into containers and took it home. I'm tempted to try the slime again, this time with less glue (as only a couple of them enjoyed the project) and different colors. But I don't think we'll have time to get to it.

Anyway, my curiosity is sated. I know how the thing works. And now they do, too.