Wednesday, July 30, 2008

182nd Carnival of Education

Well, the 182nd Carnival of Education is out and hosted over at the Chancellor’s New Clothes.

If you want to see what’s going on in the EduSphere make sure you plan to hop on over there. My post “Haters, Biters & Back to School” was included, but you don’t have to go there to read it here.

But you probably want to bee-bop over there and take a look-see at some interesting stuff. Here are just a few posts I enjoyed… Kirl’s post on “What teachers spend” over at Elbows, Knees, Dreams, Nancy Flanagan over at Teacher in a Strange Land talks about the success/lack of success in hiring new teachers in “Bring Me A Hire Love,” and then there’s the whole Marshmallow test thing over at Why Homeschool, and of course, don’t miss out on Edna Lee’s teacher gift post over at Regurgitated Alphabets.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Haters, Biters & Back to School

My children hate me, my husband doesn’t listen to me and a brown recluse spider bit me.

And, that’s the good news.

With the new school year looming around the corner, my mind reverts to those days in Psychology 101 and whether fight or flight will win. I think I’d rather just sit by the pool eating salsa, drinking lemonade and playing Switzerland. Yep. Just call me Ms. Neutral-I’m-Not-Going-To-Do-Anything.

If only.

Instead, I suppose we should all ponder the Top 5 reasons for returning to that thing they call school. So here we go…

Richie’s Top 5 Reasons For Returning To School

Reason #5…Of course, we gotta see our Peeps (you know, friends, kiddos and co-workers). Uh-oh, perhaps I shouldn’t use that term anymore since I just finished reading Peeps by Scott Westerfeld. In that book, well, Peeps can suck the life right out of you and can scare the dickens out of you, too. Oh, wait, perhaps, Peeps does provides the perfect word.

Reason #4…New school supplies. Oh, come now, who doesn’t like the look, the smell, the feel of brand new supplies from those bright yellow #2 Ticonderoga pencils to those rollerball gel pens that glide effortlessly across the blue lines of those college-ruled pages. And, of course, all those nifty colored folders… and binders, don’t forget all those binders that promise organization at your finger tips. Ah, if life could be that simple. Still, I get dizzy just thinking about it.

Reason #3… New school clothes. The start of school provides a built in excuse to shop. New shoes, new clothes, perhaps a matching purse…maybe a nifty new car. OK, OK, OK, so maybe not the car, but at least a new ensemble.

Reason #2… A monthly paycheck is rather nice and comes in rather handy to pay those bills for Reason #4 & #3… as well as all those other bills… household expenses, electric bill, gas bill, college tuition, groceries…

And now, drum roll pah-leese…

Reason #1…Now, everyone knows I am not a warm and fuzzy teacher so don’t go getting any ideas here, but the new school year offers the chance to start over. The perfect clean slate. The perfect opportunity to adjust, correct, redirect, regenerate, rejuvenate. The perfect place to try (yet again) to open the door of possibilities.

OK, OK, OK so enough of the mushy stuff… let’s end where we started as I’m sure you’re absolutely dying to know…

My children hate me. OK, so maybe that was a bit of a hyperbole. A moment of pure histrionics. (Remember, school looms, did you really think I wouldn’t throw down an SAT word or two? Jeez Louise, what are you thinking?) OK, so maybe my older daughter likes me now, but the high school one sort of vacillates between antipathy and tolerance. Sort of like most teens, I guess.

My husband doesn’t listen to me. First, I suppose he doesn’t hear very well. Second, I think we rather enjoy carrying on two different conversations at the same time. Makes life a bit more interesting.

Me… Hey, I got bit by a brown recluse spider today.
Him… I think it would be a nice drive if we take the backroads to the Granbury.
Me… It made my thumb numb and all icky looking.
Him… We might try going on the motorcyle.

See what I mean? OK, OK, OK, so maybe that conversation about the spider didn’t go that way, but give me a little creative licensing here. Besides, we’ve been married 25 years. Jeez.

A brown recluse spider bit me. Yikes and boy did it hurt and made my thumb numb and black. Good thing I stuffed my thumb in icy water and went to the emergency room. One look at my thumb and the words “brown recluse spider” moved me speedy quick right to the front of the waiting room pack and into an ER room in record time. Who knew? After an x-ray, a few prescriptions and warnings that “you may lose part of your thumb” depending on how much tissue damage there was, I got to go home with another warning: Don’t go googling brown recluse spiders because it will just scare the bejeebers out of you.

So, of course, what did I do when I got home?

I googled and got the bejeebers scared out of me.

But in addition to creating panic and fear, there was one thing that all that googling didn’t prepare me for––the brown recluse spider also turns everyone into a Valley Girl. Yep, that’s right. Every time I tell someone about the bite, they exclaim, “Oh My God ! Oh My God! Oh My God!”

Thankfully the hand surgeon did not morph into a Valley Girl and exclaim, “Oh My God!” Instead, he kindly told me that although serious, he believes that all will be well if I continue to show improvement and continue the antibiotics. All of which makes me very, very happy as I would prefer to keep all of my appendages.

One more thing about this whole spider episode. It did provide quite a distraction from what looms ahead (that beginning of school thing) and provides a fabulous excuse as to why I failed to write a gazillion lesson plans over my summer break.

Hey, I just might be able to make this spider bite thing work for me yet.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

181st Carnival of Education

Well, the Education Wonks spit in the eye of the technology devils and managed to host the 181st Carnival of Education in spite of hardware issues and (gasp) dial up… DIAL UP? Oh dear, would someone pah-leese send some wireless his way?

If you want to see what’s going on in the EduSphere make sure you plan to hop on over there. My post “Journalism Workshops, Elevator Rides & Fill In The Blanks” was included, but you don’t have to go there to read it here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Journalism Workshops, Elevator Rides & Fill In The Blanks

Bet y’all thought I set my hair on fire and ran away.

Sorry to disappoint everyone, but my hair is not afire–although it probably would look infinitely better that way, and no, I did not run away–although I seriously considered the possibility, but with gas prices the way they are, I probably wouldn’t get any farther than Italy.

…as in Italy, Texas, not Italy the country.

No, I spent the last four days at another journalism workshop because that’s what we teachers do. We spend our free time doing things that aren’t free.

Now, trust me I have a gajillion things (and you know how I feel about things) that I could tell you about the workshops I attended, but for now, let’s just take a look-see at one…

About 20 of us crammed into an elevator which, of course, sported a nifty little sign that said something about a 15 person limit and some sort of poundage limit, too. But when 18 of the 20 are teens, well, quite frankly, they don’t read, and, well, quite frankly, they don’t care because they absolutely know they will live forever.

So with 20 of us riding up, you can only pretend not to hear the elevator conversation because teens, you know, don’t remember how to use those “inside voices” they learned about in elementary school.

So listen in with me…

Elevator girl… “Why don’t you like my _____________________. ”

Elevator boy… “Because…”

Elevator girl… “But you never even really looked at my _________________. There’s nothing wrong with it. Why won’t you just look at it?”

Elevator boy… “Because…”

Now, before you go stark-ravin’ daisy crazy and start substituting all kinds of different things that we’ll have to put into the things-that-will-get-you-fired folder, remember we’re attending a high school journalism workshop.

Fill in the blank with the f-word…

As in F-O-N-T.

That’s right. Font.

As in typography.

As in headline treatments.

Now how great is that to overhear kiddos arguing about fonts?

For now, I think I’ll put those matches away.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

179 Carnival of Education

OMG… I’m back from the workshop and finally got a chance to read email and get to the Carnival because I was sans-Internet during the workshop because, of course, I was too cheap to spend the $9.95 a day for room Internet access. And, it was, after all a WORKshop for crying out loud so I was working until midnight every night (and, no hyperbole there), and didn’t even have a chance to blog.

So-o-o-o-o before things get way out of control, I wanted to remind everyone to beebop over to Mamacita’s site at Scheiss Weekly to see what’s going on in the EduSphere at the Carnival of Education. I haven’t had a chance to look at everything, but there’s lots of good stuff there. My post on “Numbering 32, Summer Workshops and Jack” was included, but you don’t have to go there to read it here. But, if you want to be in the know, you best hop on over there.

And don’t forget to check back soon to see how the summer workshop went. :-)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Numbering 32, Summer Workshops & Jack


Let’s count them… 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32…

Did you get all that?

Yes, on Sunday I will take 32 journalism staffers to the Gloria Shields All-American Publications workshop where I will spend five days and four nights with my 32 teenagers who will be immersed in planning and learning about newspaper/yearbook/photography for the upcoming school year. Yes, 32 of mine along with about 800 or so other high school kiddos.

It makes me tired just thinking about it. Exhausted actually. 32.

So you see while I have been without my DIs (Darling Inspirations) for a month now, I’m sure I will have a plethora of things to write about upon my return (and we all know how I feel about things, don’t we? But let’s hope we don’t have any of those kind of things to write about upon my return).

Now I should be sorting through stacks of workshop stuff accumulated in various piles throughout my bedroom and getting ready for that workshop. I should be making lists of things to do, things I should do, things I want to do (I wish), and so forth and so on.

Instead, I’ve chosen to use the stacks of stuff as an obstacle course of sorts and decided to, instead, ponder how I’m like my German Shepherd, Jack. (You remember, Jack don’t you? If not, read about him here.)

So here it goes… why Jack and I are alike…

Exhibit #1…Although Jack is humongous weighing in at 98 or so pounds, he believes and sees himself about the size of a 4-pound Chihuahua. Kind of like this one, but, of course, without the frou-frou-ey pink outfit.
I, of course, see myself as a size 4-ish… Something I haven’t been since I was born. Still, that’s how we view ourselves which actually explains quite a lot of things… like why Jack and I always seem to get stuck in some rather precarious situations, and why people ask, with some level of concern… “Hey, how’s that job going? Any, uh, problems?” See what I mean?

Exhibit #2…Let’s present for your perusal a recent photo of Jack with his nifty back pack… (and, goodness gracious no, I do not have big ears like Jack)…
Jack willingly carries lots of burdens especially everyone’s water bottles (mine as well as his and Millie’s and Sasha’s (our other two dogs…and yes, I walk all three of them at one time. I know, I know, I know.) So Jack carries lots of burdens for other people. Now what teacher doesn’t carry burdens and have to juggle things--all sorts of things? Oh, the whining we could do on that one, but we won’t. (After all, this is more or less a no-whining blog, and Jack, for the most part, is a no-whining dog.

Exhibit #3…Since Jack is just under a year and half old, he tends to have an attention span somewhere between a gnat and a ferret on crack. As I age, I seem to have…now, what was I talking about… ferrets? crack? gnats? Jeez Louise…

So there you have it… Oh, one more thing, though. With Jack, every day presents a new day of possibilities and opportunities.

And for that, I try to be just like him.

And, you know, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

And, I’ve got 32 possibilities and opportunities on the horizon.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

178th Carnival of Education

The 178th Carnival of Education is out hosted over at (aspiring) Educator’s Blog.

Some of my favorite posts included Bill Ferriter over at the Tempered Radical on “Kids I’ve Failed…” Something I know all of us have wrestled with.

Now, despite the fact that young whippersnapper Scott Walker used the politically incorrect--and rather offensive--terminology “middle aged woman” in his post…sigh…OK, OK, OK offensive to us old fuddyduddies (gotta love that word)…Well, despite the fact that he used it not once, but twice… any post called, “The Tyranny of Technology” is definitely worth the read.

And then, of course, there was Darren’s post about a teacher who was suspended for allowing her students to read a particular book. Read about it over at the Right on the Left Coast.

And speaking of books, education blogging goddess Joanne Jacobs had a post that really saddened me about some books found in a dumpster.

There, of course, is lots more worth reading at the Carnival. So check it out so you know what’s buzzing around the EduSphere.

My post, thankfully was included (’cause you know I’ve got an ego the size of a rather large barn)…but you don’t have to go there to read it here. It’s got a catchy title and everything… “Audit Reports, Teacher In-Service & How Bozo Ended Up in Dante’s Circle of Hell.” Check it out.