Sunday, August 29, 2010

Back to School, Whoppers & Project Runway

Well it took exactly two days and 13 and half hours into the first week of school before the emergency Whoppers my BFF gave me disappeared.

I wish I could say they disappeared as in one of my hall buddies took them.

I wish I could say they disappeared as in aliens beamed those tasty malted treats up to a galaxy far, far away.

I wish I could say they disappeared as in I gave them out.

But no siree, Missy. They disappeared because, well, I ate them.

I ate them all. 

Every single one.

The thought of what that Emergency Chocolate Binge might foreshadow for the rest of the school year made me hyperventilate and made my head explode. (Now, the optimist in me believes it's possible that the sudden sugar surge caused all of that, but the pessimist in me… well, perhaps, we'll just leave it at that.)

Here's the shortened version of why…

Day 1…My photography classes were over-enrolled with 30 kiddos in first period and 34 kiddos in fifth period. (Both classes designed for only 20 kids because I only have 10 computers in the photo lab and the classroom holds no more than 25 desks.

No worries, they said. Not everyone will show. (Everyone showed but one.)  Everything will balance out, they said, when you check to see who really has a camera. (Camera check scheduled for Day 3.)

Opened the Emergency Whoppers. Ate a handful. Felt guilty. Went home. Walked two miles and then went to hot yoga to "balance out." Sweated and breathed my worries away.

Day 2…The one "No Show" showed.

Ate two handfuls of Whoppers. Felt slightly less guilty, slightly more queasy and slightly less hopeful. Went home. Walked two miles. Probably should have gone to yoga.

Day 3…Camera Check Day. In first period, 23 kiddos had the right camera. Took a deep breath, ate a handful of whoppers and decided we can make this work. Fifth period rolled around and 28 kiddos had cameras. Those Whoppers were toast.

In an effort to help determine who to remove from the class, I made the children write and tell me why I should let them stay. I stopped reading the papers when I got to one with a stick figure drawing. It looked like this…

And, that all rather made me feel like Heidi Klum, and not in a good way, so I went to the counseling office speedy quick and asked them to balance my photography classes with 25 in one and 26 in the other. I asked my principal for another desk and more computers.

We'll make it work, we decided, and I left feeling more like Project Runway's Tim Gunn (a much better feeling).

Still, I can't help but think I probably should have asked for a year's supply of Whoppers, too.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Life's a Carnival–the Education Buzz #2

Welcome to the Second Edition of the Education Buzz--an eclectic smattering of things buzzing about the EduSphere.

We'll unblock the midway and get things started here if Siobhan Curious would quit showing people how to put on eye shadow for one darn tootin' minute.

Now that we all look marvelous with our makeovers, Happy Chyck gives us some hope. And speaking of hope, the folks over at Sharper Brains talk about some promising results of neurofeedback and ADHD children.

Now before y'all get testy, listen to what the Dancing Crocodile has to say about standardized tests and national exams. Then check out Matt Ladner as he weighs in on Common Core Standards  and Checker Finn over at Jay P. Greene's blog.

And just in case the sun fried your brain over the summer, Stephen at Outside the Cave reminds us that "being a teacher is not about 'teaching,' it's about making students learn."

Forget that fluffy cotton candy stuff and grab something with more substance. Go find Joanne Jacobs who is discussing President Obama's call for more college graduates or Diana Senechal who guest posted a piece about that Race to the Top thing over at The Washington Post's Answer Sheet.

Now I don't know much about history…I don't know much about biology… Oh, wait… isn't that a song? Ok, so even if you're not a science teacher, you've got to check out some of the best 100 YouTube videos for science teachers  posted by Bachelor of Science. At the very least, forward the list to your science friends. Apparently I'm the only one on the planet who hasn't messed with diet cokes and Mentos. If you don't know what I'm talkin' about, then you better head over there speedy quick and check that little ditty out.

In the "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" department, Pat over at Successful Teaching earned her Amateur Radio license and talks about how to use her newfound skill in the classroom. (And, no, it doesn't involve an all call for  lawyers, guns and money either. Sorry, I had to sneak that in there to see if you were paying attention.)

Now that summer is winding down and school's almost here, Mr. Teacher over at Learn Me Good provides some questions as well as some rather interesting answers.

Before we get too far off track, let's head on over to those stupid whackadoodle mole games and talk about all the things that fall into the Big Fat Stupid Head category…Jeepers Creepers, we've got quite a few this time… Darren over at Right on the Left Coast talks about the Justice Department threatening legal action against several universities because they took part in an experimental program to allow students to use the Amazon Kindle for textbooks. And, of course, if you haven't already, you should check out my dirty little secret.

    Now if all of that doesn't keep you occupied, see what's hawking along the midway…

    And just so you don't get sidetracked along the midway, here's some good advice for Christians who decide to attend a secular college.  

    The Teaching Master presents 25 websites that supposedly revolutionizes teaching. Check them out and see what you think.

    I don't know about you, but aren't you tired of reading misstakes on signs? Their everywhere. Here's some pointers on how to decrease your chances of mispelled words. Here's a post on 10 Tips for the Spelling Challenged.

    If you're worried stealing, here are some free sites for checking out plagiarism.

    And finally, just for grins, Online Colleges and Universities gives us a list of 20 dorm room posters to avoid. And yes, I'm not quite sure of the educational value of this one, but I find it rather disconcerting that the Rolling Stones' tongue poster was included. Jeez Louise, what is the world coming to?

    If your post was included, please link back to the carnival. Otherwise, I'll get snarky and may not include you next time. If you are interested in submitting a post, please check our guidelines first and then use this handy dandy form to submit. The carnival will appear back here in two weeks on Wednesday, Sept. 1. Submissions are due by 5 p.m. CST on Saturday, August 28.

    Please let me know about any broken links or problems.  As always…

    “I’ve got this feeling that there’s something that I missed…”
    –Snow Patrol

    And, if I did, my apologies.

    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    My Summer, Thing 1 & Thing 2

    Would someone pah-leese tell me where in the Sam Hill my summer went? One minute I was sitting by the pool drinking lemonade and eating chips. The next minute I'm standing in my closet getting all misty eyed trying to figure out what not to wear.

    I had all these big plans for the summer. Things like organizing my files for the school year. Things like organizing stuff in my house. Things like losing 500 pounds. Things like… Well, you get the picture.

    Apparently, this is a reoccurring problem of mine as I wrote about this exact same thing on August 9 of last year. That post (which begged for a summer do-over) was pretty funny. (OK, so I'm easily amused.) Now, I'm just pathetic.

    So once again one year later, I'm sitting here pondering all the things I need to be doing. In fact, for inspiration I even got out Thing 1 and Thing 2. (And, no I'm not kidding either.) All they want to do, though, is get me in trouble.

    So once again I head back to school without much to show for my summer. At least when I get there, I'll take a peek at my "things that will get you fired" folder and hope things run just a tad bit more smoothly this year.

    And speaking of things, I bet Thing 1 & Thing 2 had something to do with the thieving of my summer.

    Wednesday, August 11, 2010

    Week 15 Training Update

    For those of you who have been following my training for the Susan G. Komen 60 mile, 3-day for the Cure Walk, my latest update can be found on Technorati or on my fitness challenge blog.

    Monday, August 9, 2010

    And the survey says…

    Thanks to everyone for participating in the survey on whether to allow posts from commercial vendors along the midway of the Education Buzz carnival. Most of you said to consider their submissions if they have a relevant educational topic. (Now, if I were a judge on the Supreme Court, I would use the phrase "legitimate pedagogical" concern.)

    Well, I may not be a Supreme Court judge, but here on the Education Buzz midway, I am the gate keeper of the midway. So-o-o-o-o, we'll judge submissions based on the content. However, I will also group those submissions separately so you know whether the posts are from EduSphere bloggers or EduSphere carneys.

    Now that we've cleared that up… Submissions for the second edition of the Education Buzz are open until 5 p.m. CST Saturday, August 14. You can use this handy dandy form for your submissionsAnd, if the good Lord's willing and the creeks don't rise, the carnival will be up and running on Wednesday, August 18.

    Please remember the ground rules…
    1. No spam
    2. Must be education related
    3. Since the carnival may be organized around themes, not all submissions may run.
    4. Please remember to post and link back to the carnival.

    Friday, August 6, 2010

    Dirty Little Secrets

    [This article was first published as OMG Did U C That? on Technorati.]

    OMG Did  U C That?

    It was bound to happen. A father in Irving, Texas, said he plans to file a lawsuit against the school district there for reading his daughter's text messages. 

    According to The Dallas Morning News, the Irving School Board dismissed the father's complaint this week. The board determined that in April, MacArthur High School administrators had probable cause to search the 17-year-old's cellphone, as well as those of three other students, because they believed a possible school violation or criminal incident had taken place.

    Administrators said they read the text messages because they believed the cell phones might have contained information about two cars that were vandalized, a possible gun on campus, and bullying.

    The girl's father, however, said his daughter's right to privacy was violated in the search. The dad asked the school board to issue an apology, terminate the administrators involved and award $7.5 million in damages to his daughter.
    $7.5 million in damages. RU kidding me?

    Jeez Louise, I wish I had thought of that.

    Several years ago when my youngest daughter was in high school, she had her cell phone confiscated by an assistant principal because she was caught texting, and cell phones weren't allowed in school at that time.

    For some reason, school administrators read her text messages and went into a tizzy. They called me very, very concerned because one message contained the phrase "my dirty little secret."

    Unconcerned, I told school officials that I would wager there were lots of kids with that phrase on their lips since it was the name of a song by the band All-American Rejects. In fact, the song was so popular it stayed in the top 10 slot on Billboard magazine's Hot 100 chart in January 2006.

    $7.5 million? Puh-leese. Between you and me, I would have settled for a cool million.

    And that, my dears, could be our dirty little secret. 

    Wednesday, August 4, 2010

    Education Buzz Carnival #1

    Welcome back my friends!

    Come one, come all, the short, the fat, the tall...C'mon y'all down the education carnival midway. We've got the very first edition of the Education Buzz Carnival right here with some excellent reading throughout the EduSphere.

    No need to pop into the Funhouse if you want to get some blood boiling and screams curdling, all ya gotta do is mention the words "voucher" and "public schools" in the same sentence. Yep, that ought to do it. I'd just as soon shoot fish out of a barrel. But if you'd rather do more than fish around, check out Matthew Ladner's post on "Rhee Looks to Clean Up the DC Special Ed Barn with vouchers."

    Darren from Right on the Left Coast pushes some hot buttons with his take on an Augusta State University student who filed a lawsuit against her school claiming it violated her First Amendment rights when administrators told her to change her views on homosexuality or leave.

    And did you really think you could get out of the Funhouse without popping over to the Education Standard to read "Scary but true: Real Reform is Wholesale."

    All this reform stuff must have been weighing heavy on everyone this summer because Nancy Flanagan also talks about the difference between reform and investment in her post "Follow the You-Know-What." (Even if you don't care about reform, you need to go there to read about her new house.)

    Better watch your step on the midway or you'll find yourself Dancing with Crocodiles. Go see why the perfect classroom should be like a group of monkeys on a rock. (Come on, what's not to like about monkeys? OK, OK, OK, so maybe the flying ones are a bit scary, but the other ones…)
    Sorry, but things are going to get a bit more complicated than wondering whether to buy cotton candy or salt water taffy (although that's a tough decision). Curmudgeon's pondering "Why Johnny Can't Write A Term Paper" and perhaps you should, too.

    And while you're in the mood to ponder those educational type things, go chat with Stephen Lazar about the challenges in using Standard Based Grading in the history classroom over at Outside the Cave.

    I wish y'all would stop asking me if I think you'll win one of those ginormous stuffed Tweety birds. Go talk to Pat over at Successful Teaching. She has some some pointers for handling those silly questions (and unlike me, it doesn't include anything remotely having to do with Big Fat Stupid Heads). She's nice like that.

    Wait just a darn tootin' minute…Maybe we should try and figure out how to win one of those ginormous Tweety birds. With creativity on the decline, Sarah over at Ensmartening has some tips on what to do.

    Better hurry up and grab that last corny dog. It's time to head on home. Hope you had a good time. 

    Thanks to everyone for submitting. Some posts were not included as we try to determine whether to include posts from commerical sites. The survey is still up and running and the results are really close. So, if you haven't voted yet, please take the time to do so. You can read about it here and cast your vote on the link provided there.

    If your post was included, please link back to the carnival. Otherwise, I'll get snarky and may not include you next time. If you are interested in submitting a post, please check our guidelines first and then use this handy dandy form to submit. The carnival will appear back here in two weeks. Once school begins we'll shoot for a weekly carnival. Posts are due by 5 p.m. CST on Saturdays.

    Please let me know about any broken links or problems.  As always…

    “I’ve got this feeling that there’s something that I missed…”
    –Snow Patrol

    And, if I did, my apologies.

    Tuesday, August 3, 2010

    Trying to Stay Out of the Heat & Hot Water

    [Article first published as Week 14--Trying to Stay Out of the Heat and Hot Water on Technorati.]  

    With temperatures soaring into the triple digits, and last month setting heat records across the country, wanting to walk more than a few feet can present quite a challenge.

    Still, I've managed to keep my training schedule for the 3-day for the Cure, walking at least two miles a day and up to four or five miles when I can. I've also managed to squeeze in a hot yoga class although we probably could have just yoged outside in the 100 degree plus temps and gotten the same results.

    Despite highs predicted at 104 degrees for Friday, I, along with my two walking buddies, plan to brave the heat and squeeze in a long 9-plus mile walk around White Rock Lake before school starts.

    With my summer winding down and the start of school just a few weeks away, I've been trying to cram in all the things that I can't seem to find time for during the school year. That, of course, includes what I like to refer to as "preventative maintenance."  So since I'm walking the walk and raising money to fight breast  cancer, I thought I better schedule my yearly mammogram.

    When I called for an appointment, I discovered I hadn't had a mammogram in several years--four years to be exact. Embarrassing, I know. I guess when I thought about getting one, life got in the way and I thought I had actually had one. Dumb, I know. I guess I'm part of that group of women--an estimated one-fifth between 50 and 74 years old--who fell behind on getting mammograms, according to a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    My training buddies were mortified that I had let four years go by. Needless to say, I scheduled my appointment speedy quick and I'm in the clear.

    At least (for now), I'm back on track and out of hot water with my walking buddies.  Now, if I can just get out of this heat.

    Sunday, August 1, 2010

    The Education Buzz--Life's a Carnival Coming Soon!

    Submissions for the first edition of the Education Buzz are closed. Barring any natural disasters (or as my mom used to say, "If the good Lord's willing and the creeks don't rise"), the Education Buzz carnival will be up and running on  Wednesday, August 4.

    In the meantime, something for you to ponder and weigh in on… As I said before in the ground rules, no spam. Now, my question is this… Do we allow online education sites to post to the carnival. They are commercial, but they do have education posts. I need to know what you think.

    If you would, please weigh in by completing a brief survey…