Monday, May 31, 2010

Top 5 Things to Woo-Hoo About

Woo-hoo! Only one more Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday left of school.

Oh yeah, let's not forget one Saturday thrown in just for teachers to turn in all their stuff. You know, important stuff like grades, projectors, books and, well, stuff.

Jeepers Creepers, I really wasn't sure I was going to make it. I could write pages and pages about that, but not much of it would be funny. Let's just say I spent an inordinate amount of time this year throwing starfish after starfish back into the ocean, and all I got in return were stinky fish hands. (You can read that starfish story here.) I do take some solace in reading blogs by other teachers and discovering that they, too, only ended up with stinky fish hands when their year ended.

Still, since this is a no-whining blog, let's look at 5 things that can be considered Woo-Hoo worthy  this year…

Richie's Top Five WOO-HOO Worthy Things
#5…All my freshmen, sophomores and juniors are exempt from final exams. (Translation: I don't have finals to grade and can get my grades done early.)

#4…The kiddos all loved the yearbook this year, and so far, I have yet to receive a telephone call about how something in the yearbook ruined someone's life. I did have a phone call, though, from a parent who asked if we could deliver their yearbook curbside. You know, I guess like Sonic. I should have told her, "Sorry, no-can-do. I misplaced my rollerskates."

#3…My school district encourages and promotes the use of technology which is one reason why they don't block my blog. But, as with everything involving teens, sometimes you get a little more than you bargain for. It's a good thing my principal has such a great sense of humor. The kiddos showed their PhotoShop expertise on a photograph of Dr. Al and gave him this picture framed…

#2…My BFF who lives in a necklace is returning to the Lone Star state and will be teaching at my school next year. She's the one that gave me the Chicken Chucker. I, of course, gave her finger puppets. I think we're going to have some kind of F-U-N next year.

And finally, the Numero Uno reason to shout WOO-HOO as the year ends…

#1…All of those Things That Will Get You Fired actually ended up in my "Things That Will Get You Fired" folder and not in any publication.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tornadoes, Yearbooks & Firestorms

[The tornado photograph was taken by one of the art teachers from her window. My rooms are located next to the art room.]

Thankfully I didn't have to whip out the flying monkeys during yearbook distribution week. I guess the tornado counted as enough excitement.

Yep, we're talking tornado here… as in the Wizard of Oz except minus the ruby red slippers, some singing munchkins and the witch. Oh, wait, I think I've got that witch part covered.

The day before the big Yearbook Distribution extravaganza and right after we had rechecked and resorted all 1,300 yearbooks, one of the assistant principals announced rather calmly to take cover and for teachers to sweep kids who were out in the parking lot and halls to safety.

Since my classroom is located next to the parking lot, I went outside to rustle up the kids who were still walking to class since there were about two minutes left in the passing period.

Yep, I waltz right out into the parking lot, and there it was. Jeez Louise, Mr. Tornado was right there. For a brief moment, I stood paralyzed. Not from the fear of Mr. Tornado. No siree, Missy.

Paralyzed because all I could think about were those 1,300 yearbooks in my room, all neatly sorted by fifth period classes and ready for distribution.

The thought of all those yearbooks being sucked into oblivion, having to reprint them all and re-sort them all was scarier than actually seeing the darn twister. 

It took me about a brief second to realize there was nothing to do, but rustle up the kiddos and sprint back into the building for cover.

I did stop by my room, though, and, for a brief moment, considered waiting out the storm with the yearbooks in the publications room instead of moving into the interior designated room of my hall monitoring buddy.

Instead, some common sense prevailed and I grabbed my keys and went to the designated shelter room.
I figured if the tornado hit but left my trusty blue mini-van, I would hop in and take off. Take off as in hit the road jack and don't come back no more, no more, no more.

Thankfully, the tornado moved on missing the high school and spending most of its energy above the ground. 

My little tornado incident paled in comparison to the stuff going on elsewhere. I'm pretty sure the folks over at Massaponax High School in Virginia would much rather have come face-to-face with Mr. Tornado than be involved in the yearbook storm over there.

According to news reports, the kiddos printed "confessions" and scattered quotes with sexual innuendoes throughout their yearbook. Jeepers creepers. We're talking about stuff like…

  • "I have sex with people just to feel wanted."
  • "I worry all the time my ex-boyfriend will use the naked picture I sent him to ruin my life."
  • "I had an abortion and my mom doesn't know."
  • "I once did so much pot that I woke up high."
  • "I'm pregnant with my best friend's boyfriend's kid."

Stuff like that just makes me wonder what part of that equation ever sounded like a good idea? Secrets, teens, sex, abortions, drugs… does anything good EVER come out of that mix? 

Yep, Mr. Tornado and even the flying monkeys look  pretty good compared to that.

I do want a pair of ruby red slippers, though. You know, just in case.

[A newsier version of this post was  first published as Yearbook Content Creates Controversy on Technorati.]

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Not It! Not It! Not It!

Yes, my dears, it's that time of year again when 18-wheelers  are dropping off yearbooks at schools across the land. My 1,300 or so books are supposed to be delivered at 8 a.m., giving us a week to get them sorted and ready for distribution day on Friday.

And, yes, I know you think I should be excited about it all, but, no siree, Missy, I'm not. Instead, I think I would much rather just set my hair on fire and run screaming from the building.

Remember, we call this YBP time--as in YearBookPanic time. (I've written about it before here and here.) The time when newscasters across the universe highlight  yearbook disasters and mishaps with live news reports at 5 o’clock, 6 o’clock and 10 o’clock. And, of course, just in case you missed it, stories get posted at nano-speed across the Internet.

Once again I spent most of my weekend trying not to hyperventilate or yell, "Not it! Not it! Not it!" as Monday closes in.

In previous years, there have been reports of altered photos, embedded profanities and clothing issues. Other than the controversy over including a gay student's photo in the yearbook at a Mississippi school, things so far have been remarkably quiet this year on the YBP front.

But it's still a tad bit early. I'm hoping it stays that way, but just in case, let me once more shout: "Not It! Not It! Not It!"

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Carnival of Educators Is Out!

Woo-hoo! The Carnival of Educators is up and running over at I Want To Teach Forever. My post "Saturdays, Teens & Competition" was included, but you don't have to go there to read about it here. But you know the drill, you really should hippity hop there, so you are in the know about all that is going on in the EduSphere. There's lots of good stuff to read. I plan to peruse it all after I get off this darn tootin' newspaper deadline, if I ever get off this darn tootin' newspaper deadline.  Can someone pah-leese tell me when summer will be here?

And, oh, before I forget, my friend across the pond, Sarah Ebner of the London Times's education site SchoolGate wrote a nifty piece for the Washington Post's Answer Sheet on school reform efforts in the UK and charter schools. It's worth a read. Go check it out.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Teacher Appreciation, Walking & Power Yoga

Teacher Appreciation Week was last week, and if you’re still wondering what to get me, how about plunking down a few bucks for the cause and donate to my 3-day for the Cure walk.

As far as Teacher Appreciation Weeks go, mine went fairly well. My principal did a few things for us… free breakfast goodies, free ice cream and free t-shirts. The week even ended on a good, fattening note when the Great Dr. Al extended our lunch from 25 minutes to 40 minutes and catered food from Babes. What's not to like about a little chicken fried steak and fellowship?

This teacher appreciation thing, though, didn't lend itself for much inspiration from the Darling Inspiration category. Worry not, though, I think I managed to breathe in and spew out enough stupidity for everyone. 

Here's the ferret-on-crack version:

My Pink Me Out buddy and I decided to train together on Mondays and Wednesdays. That way I can walk first and then still attend my yoga classes. Our first training walk was Wednesday. 

I thought I had planned appropriately packing my bag of stuff the evening before. Immediately after the we're-outta-here-final bell rang at 3:45 p.m., I promptly changed into my exercise attire. I realized then that the yoga pants without pockets was not a good idea. And, with the temperature hovering around 92 degrees, forgetting my sunscreen wasn't a good idea either. Nor was forgetting my hat.

Undaunted, I resolved to just carry my water bottle. We were going to walk around the track, but spring football training was underway and I didn't feel like dodging wayward footballs. Instead, I walked on the sidewalk for about 2.5 miles in about 55 minutes in 92 degree heat without pockets, sunscreen or a hat. 

Afterwards, I felt just a tad queasy, so I stopped at a nearby grocery store bought an apple, a couple slices of cheese and a cold bottle of water. I ate my little snack outside the yoga studio in my trusty air conditioned mini-van and felt better.
That feeling of bliss lasted, oh, about two seconds when I remembered the yoga class I planned to attend was Power Yoga. You don’t have to be a certified yoga guru to figure out that my apple and cheese wasn't going to sit well while we were flowing, and certainly not while flowing in 80 degree studio temperature.

No siree, Missy.

I'm always admonishing my kiddos to plan better and make better choices.

I think I'll take that advice next time. I'll eat a light snack before I walk, and I'll remember to bring some sunscreen, wear something with pockets and don a hat. 

Now, none of that will improve my yoga, but at least my down dog will look less like a dead dog.

Or so I hope.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Weekends, TAKS Testing & Multi-Tasking

Woo-hoo! The weekend arrived and I actually was able to spend it at home pondering where to plant the crepe myrtles and the Windmill palm trees. 

I thought I could spend the entire weekend contemplating those type of things, but just mere moments ago, I received an email summoning me to a workshop meeting tomorrow. No rest for the weary or wicked, no siree, Missy.

I don't have much to report because last week was TAKS testing––you know, those state mandated tests that…

Perhaps, we should just leave it at that. Suffice it to say that in schools all across the Lone Star state not much got accomplished other than testing. 

At least at my school, we’re big multi-taskers. Not only did we accomplish all the TAKS testing for all the appropriate grade levels, we also managed to toss in a few assemblies for seniors, another for freshmen as well as some state mandated fitness testing. As an added bonus, teachers were allowed to wear blue jeans all week, and I even got to use my chicken to direct hallway traffic.

And as if all of that wasn’t enough, we even tossed in a fire drill at the end of school on Friday.

Ya gotta love this job.

Odds & Ends

Okey, dokey, smokey… I have been remiss in several things. First off, if you haven't been following the education carnival, you really should hop on over to there. Next carnival is scheduled to be over at I Want to Teach Forever. You can submit here. 

If you are following my 3-day for the Cure. You can catch my latest post either here or here. If you haven’t donated to the cause, you can click on the logo on the right, or you can simply go here. If you can get your friends to donated too, why that would be amazing.

If you haven’t become a Facebook Fan of Get Richie On Oprah & Save the Chicken! The chicken would certainly appreciate the help if you would circulate that around.