Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a blessed Christmas and happiness throughout the New Year!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Odds & Ends & Meeping

With Christmas break just a day away, those darn tootin’ yearbook pages demanding my attention and grades and all matters of stuff that needs tending to, I may not post my normal insightful reparatee this coming week.

I did, however, post a rather interesting and amusing post on Technorati a few days ago entitled “Jeepers, Creepers, Watch Those Meepers!”  It even made the Technorati front page. While I encourage you to go over there and read it and post comments, I have include the post below as well…

Jeepers, Creepers, Watch Those Meepers!

Blame the soothing effects of tryptophan from my Thanksgiving turkey that lulled me into a semi-comatose, ignorant state. Otherwise, how could I have possibly missed the Meeps story? Or how could I possibly explain that I probably wouldn't even have discovered the story if I hadn't been researching, planning and updating my First Amendment unit for my high school journalism class.

According to the Student Press Law Center and the Salem News, the principal of Danvers High School in Massachusetts sent one of those recorded computer messages (that we all love) to parents warning them that any student who said or displayed the word “meep” at school could face suspension.

Hmm. Let me get this right. Forget about your basic profanity and let's instead move into the realm of made up words. "Meeps" supposedly is a word that can mean just about anything and everything. It's origins apparently come from the sound that the Muppet Beaker makes.

And if all that wasn't bad enough, there was some online talk of a mass meeping somewhere in the school. Now, school administrators aren't the only ones who take a dim view of school disruptions. While I know judges generally do not uphold First Amendment freedoms for kiddos if they cause such disruptions, I'm not exactly sure how the high court would feel about a meep-ruption.

No such meep-ruption occurred and the principal never did provide an explanation for why the word itself should be banned. The whole thing seems to be, well, rather silly.

Now, I am not a lawyer or a Supreme Court judge or a Fox News expert on constitutional law, but I do think I'm a pretty good judge of things that are just plain silly stupid.

I think this meeping thing fits rather nicely into that category.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More to Woo-hoo About!

With only a few days left, I think we may just be able to  Woo-hoo our way into Christmas break. How great is that? 

The London Times online education site, SchoolGate, also reviewed my book, How to Lose Your Self of Steam & Other Teaching Lessons I Never Learned From Professional Development.  Sarah Ebner's review paid me the ultimate compliment when she wrote that the book “made me almost wish I'd gone to an American school myself.”

But don’t take my word for it, go there and read the entire review

And while you are bouncing around in the EduSphere, hop on over to Carnival of Education hosted over at Free Home Education. My post, “My Sunny Disposition, Pell Grants & Pilgrims,” was included, but you don’t have to go there to read it here. Still, you know, you know, you know that if you want to stay in the know, you really need to see what else is buzzing around the EduSphere by going there.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Woo-hoo! Two More Reviews!

We can Woo-hoo today and it’s not even Woo-hoo Wednesday! We have two more reviews. One is over at Blog Critics magazine. You can read all about it here and while you are there you can even post a nifty comment. You can even digg it and tweet it if you are into that sort of thing.

My blogging buddy, Mr. Teacher, also reviewed the book and you can read his review by going here. Posting a nifty comment there would be nice as well, and/or you can digg it as well. 

Of course, if you haven’t read my book yet, well, Jeez Louise, what are you waiting for? You can beboop over to Amazon and purchase a nifty copy of How to Lose Your Self of Steam for yourself or a friend for Christmas. And, here’s a handy, dandy link for you.

And, while you’re shopping at Amazon, check out two other books by blogger friends of mine–Mr. Teacher’s book, Learn Me Good, and Joanne Jacob’s book, “Our School.”

Saturday, December 12, 2009

My Sunny Disposition, Pell Grants & Pilgrims

I do believe I would have had a better week if I had just set my hair on fire and run screaming from the building.

And, no, my dears, that statement was not meant as a lesson in hyperboles or histrionics. Sadly, my life tends to be one big, fat hyperbole punctuated with an inordinate amount of Big Fat Stupid Heads. But since this is a no whining blog, I’m going to stop the pity party.

Suffice it to say if you had had to walk in my shoes this week, well, I think you would have chunked them at the nearest target in a fit of protest and run away.

I think all of this had to do with being on newspaper deadline, yearbook deadline and  progress report deadline. And, of course, it didn’t help my sunny disposition when I didn’t win a door prize at the faculty Christmas party either.

And, of course, my sunny disposition is getting just a tad tired waiting for Oprah to get back to me on my book. (Oh, come now, don’t be a dream-killing-naysayer. I know I stand about as much a chance of that happening as, well, winning a darn-tootin-door-prize at the faculty Christmas party.)

All of this angst was exacerbated by the fact that my newspaper editor and news editor made fun of my previous post regarding the purchase of my new $98 skin care regimen. (They made little snide remarks like “Did you really pay $98?!” and “Do you really think it’s working at all?…” or my favorite, “Maybe you should try the stuff my mother uses. That seems to work.”

I suppose, though, the most unsettling thing occurred while my journalism class was sharing their current events. If you think the under 25 set listens to even a fraction of what you or anyone else says, you would be sadly mistaken, Missy. In fact, I’m not sure they listen to anyone. Here’s my proof…

One student shared a story about how there was an $18 million shortfall in the Pell Grant program.

“Why are Pell Grants important to you?” I asked the class.

“Because they gave us Thanksgiving…” one student answered.

“What?” I along with the rest of the class said (perhaps a bit too loudly). 

“What in the world are you talking about?” I asked.

“Oh, wait,” he said, “it’s because they discovered America…” 

 “What?” I said—this time walking over to the nearest chair to sit down.

 “Pilgrims,” he said.

 “Pell Grants,” I said.

 “I thought you said Pilgrims,” he replied.

 I didn’t have the heart to tell him that neither the Pell Grants nor the Pilgrims discovered America.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Little Dab Should Do You

Unless you are stranded somewhere on the Alaskan tundra or lost in an Amazon rain forest, you know we are smack dab in the holiday season and buyers’ rush.

Sadly, I must admit I’ve succumbed to some of this nonsense.

I blame peer pressure. At 52 years of age, you would think one would be impervious to that sort of thing. Pathetic, I know.

I suppose it started when I ventured to purchase some makeup during one of those  “buy something and get a bunch of stuff free in a cute little bag” promotions.

The nice, perfectly coiffed make-up lady asked the standard question, “What skin care regimen do you currently use?"

“None,” I replied.

That made her eye twitch, but she kept smiling. “What eye cream do you use,” she continued.

“Oh, well, none,” I stammered.

Well now, that little statement elicited an audible gasp, not only from her, but from the other matching make-up lady as well as every female shopper within a five-foot radius.

So you can see how I became an easy mark when, in the comfort of my home during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, I succumbed to the promise of Philosophy’s skin care regimen with such products as “Hope in a Jar” and “When Hope Is Not Enough.”

Without batting my-I-don’t-use-eye-cream eyes, I plunked down the $98 sale price for the entire $166 skin care system. In my defense, there was free shipping.

At any rate, all of that got me to thinking (and we all know what happens when that happens). So I got to thinking, wouldn’t it be great if we had a similar cure-all for our classrooms all packaged in cute little jars with nifty little instructions? I think it would go something like this…

Richie’s 3-step Teaching Regimen

Step 1--Teaching Made Simple
•This award-winning formula gently teaches while melting away stupidness, laziness and light rebelliousness.

•Essential teaching elements and mild disciplining agents make this the ideal teaching tool for all student types even those with different learning styles.

•Guaranteed to exfoliate dumb brain cells.

Step 2--When Detentions Are Not Enough
•Just use a few drops of this specially formulated serum and you’ll notice that bad behavior begins to vanish in just a few applications.

•Synergistic antioxidants protect against verbal attacks and classroom outbursts.

•This product replaces our discontinued Classroom Discipline in a Jar.

Step 3--The Let’s-Not-Set-Our-Hair-On-Fire Night Time Renewal Treatment
•An award-winning treatment for calming frazzled nerves, easing Emergency Chocolate Drawer addictions and minimizing the risk of daily irritation.

•Formulated with advanced technology that gently delivers a time-released calming fluid.

•Clinicially proven to lessen the appearance of exasperation and deaden brain cells

Optional Treatment…Help Is On The Way
•Rapidly provides assistance for those trouble spots while brightening your overall attitude and firming your resolve to finish another year.

•Use weekly in the evening for remarkable results that can be seen and felt immediately.

•This product replaces our discontinued Big Fat Stupid Heads No More microdelivery peel.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Woo-hoo! Another Review!

A big Woo-hoo! (And it’s not even Woo-hoo Wednesday).

We have another spectacular review of How to Lose Your Self of Steam & Other Teaching Lessons I Never Learned From Professional Development  over at Scholastic Scribe. You should check it out by going over there.

My friend Sarah Ebner over at the London Times SchoolGate site also gave the book a little shout out. You can see that by going here.

And then after going over there, you need to hop on over to Amazon. com or at the Journalism Educators Association bookstore and pick up a book or two for you and all your teacher friends, parents and favorite students. It would be a fab-u-lous holiday gift. (And yes, this is all shameless self-promotion. I’ll get back to the real business of blogeroo writing next week.)