Sunday, January 31, 2010

Teen Media Use, Neil Young & Blue Hair

Sometimes I feel old. I mean really, really, really old as in let’s-dye-our-hair-blue, stick in a few hair rollers and stuff our fat behind into a moo-moo kind of old.

This feeling always happens when I ask questions I shouldn’t.

When I complain  to my BFF Jennifer who lives in a necklace Annapolis, she just admonishes me to “quit asking questions. Then you don’t have to be afraid of the answers… ”

Here are two examples… 

Teacher’s Exhibit #1…A discussion regarding an article over teens and media use brought this little snippet…

Student… “I learn a lot from watching television…”
Me…    “Like what?”
Student…    “Words and stuff…”
Another student…    “Yeah me, too…”
Me…   “What words?”
Student… “Like a combination of words…”
Another student…    “Yeah…” 

What I learned…Those 7.5 hours of media use does not increase one’s vocabulary. We still need teachers for that.

Teacher’s Exhibit #2…A discussion about a humorous skit done by Jimmy Fallon impersonating Neil Young …

Me…    “Does anyone know who Neil Young is?”
One of the newspaper staffers…    “Does he play soccer?”
Another student… “Give us a hint…”
Me… “He’s a singer…”
Another student… “Oh, isn’t he the one that sang Sweet Something or Other…”
Me (getting somewhat exasperated)… “No, that was Neil Diamond… Good grief, doesn’t anyone know who Neil Young is?”
Another student whispering… “Someone just say, ‘Yes…’”

What I learned…If the singer isn’t a prominant artist on Guitar Hero, then forget it.

With my birthday less than a month away, I better start looking for that hair dye.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Carnival of Educators Is Up

Hey boys and girls,
The Carnival of Educators running over at I Want To Teach Forever. There’s lots of good stuff to keep you in the know on what’s going on in the EduSphere. My post “Pants On The Ground, Boxers & Anthems” was included, but you don’t have to go there to read it here. Still, you know you need to bebop over there so you are not a No-Nothing-Ninnyhammer.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Pants On The Ground, Boxers & Anthems

Sign me up! I’m ready to go on the road as an official Doo-Wop girl.

And I’m not the only one, either. We can thank American Idol for that.

Yep, high school teachers everywhere are singin' a new anthem—that “Pants on the Ground” song. [This link will actually let you see the video if your district blocks that sort of thing like mine does.]

I know it’s stupid, but I love that song. In fact, I’m pretty certain high school teachers across the globe—who act as the first responders in dress code battles in our nation's public schools— love that song. Jeez Louise, we’ve been singing it for years—“Pants on the ground, pants on the ground, lookin’ like a fool with your pants on the ground…”

If you believe sagging is only a phenomenon in inner city schools, think again. I currently teach in a predominately white suburban school, and I promise you I have seen just as many boxers as I did when I taught in a minority majority high school.

In fact, if I were a bettin’ kind of gal, I would guess that high school teachers see more underwear than most mothers. Hails bails, sometimes I think I must be working at the Hanes underwear plant.

At least now, thanks to Larry Platt and his little ditty, every time a sagging kid goes by, I start yelling, “Pants on the ground, pants on the ground, lookin' like a fool with your pants on the ground…”

It's enough to startle the kiddos, so much so that they do pull their pants up—at least until they round the corner or duck into a classroom.

My hall buddy commented that someone somewhere will probably complain about the “fool” remark. It’s just not politically correct, she noted. And, probably someone somewhere will say that the “fool” remark probably will negatively impact someone’s self of steam (and we all know how I feel about that).

Somehow that little ditty loses its snapiness if you have to say, “Pants on the ground, pants on the ground, lookin' like a clothing-challenged young person with your pants on the ground…”

See what I mean? So I’m stickin’ with Larry’s original lyrics.

Now, Larry’s little ditty got me to thinking about how we needed a song for all those plunging necklines. I came up with one and ran down to sing it to my principal.

He just sighed and said he was glad I wasn’t in charge of the student radio station and told me to put that little ditty into my “Things That Will Get You Fired Folder.”

So I guess you’re going to have to use your imagination for that one.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Your Mum’s So Fat…

Made ya look, didn’t I?

For a completely educationally unrelated post, check out my latest on BlogCritics called, “Wanted: Two Chubby Brits.” 

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Perspective, Fatsos & Other Stuff

At the end of the semester, my room always turns into a maze of piles––piles of stuff to grade, piles of yearbook pages to proof, piles of yearbook pages to complete, piles of newspaper contest entries to clip, piles of stuff I should be doing, stuff I need to do, stuff I don’t want to do…

Stuff. Lots of stuff.

Things were so hectic, I almost missed some of this chatter…

It’s all in the perspective…
I walked into the midst of a rather heated argument about the girls basketball team during newspaper. One of the sports editors was being less than charitable in his assessment of the team.

“You have a losing record,” he harrumphed.

“We don’t ever lose games,” said the other editor, who played on the varsity girls’ basketball team.

“We just run out of time,” she explained.

Hmmmm, I found that assessment rather interesting and wondered if perhaps I might be able to apply that little gem to certain areas of my life.

Things like my new fitness challenge. It would go something like this… “I’m not really fat. I just need to grow taller.”

Or let’s ramp that baby up a notch and apply it to deadlines. I’ll just tell my yearbook rep, “Oh, pah-leese, we didn’t miss that deadline. We just ran out of numbers on the calendar.”

Or maybe, just maybe, I could tell my principal, “Grades? Oh, I have grades. I just didn’t record them.”

Yeah, let’s see how those work for me.

Just call me Teom…
My editor-in-chief (who I must say is always fab-u-lous) was showing off her new necklace.

“See, I’m the ‘Stend’ and my mom is the ‘Befrie,’” she explained, pointing to her section of the sterling silver heart-shaped necklace that when put together says, “Best Friends.” She had purchased the necklace as a Christmas present for her mom.

“That’s really nice,” I said, “but I’ll never have one of those because, at any point in time, at least one of my children is angry with me about something.”

I told her if my kids ever purchased me a necklace, they would be the “Iham” and I would be the “Teom.”

It took less than a second before another staffer quipped, “Hey, we might need to buy a case of those. We could make some money.”

A few others nodded in agreement.

I wasn’t sure if I should have been disheartened that other moms share the same lot in life as I currently do, or if I should be cheered by the entrepreneurial spirit of the staff.

Fatty Fatty Two-by-Four
One of my photography classes (yes, the one that thought I lived in a necklace) was critiquing photographs. One photograph showed two sumo wrestlers.

“To capture the action,” I explained, “the photographer used a fast shutter speed.”

“Did you say a fat shutter speed?” one student quipped.

“He probably used a wide angle lens, too,” another piped in.

“Yeah and a wide aperture, too,” another added. “You know, to blur the background.”

Hey, all you Bloom lovers out there, who’s worried now about kids applying basic knowledge to real life situations?  We’re rockin’ that application/analysis/evaluation stuff here.


There you have it… We’re back to that stuff again.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Woo-hoos, Exclamation Points & The Washington Post List!

It’s Friday… It’s time for my weekly Starbucks drive-thu, it’s the end of the semester, it’s the end of the week, and certainly it’s a day to Woo-hoo about.

What’s all the fuss?  

The Washington Post––yes, The Washington Post ––listed my blog as one of the Best Education Blogs of 2010! Now, I tell my students to refrain from using exclamation points unless there is a nuclear explosion or their hair is on fire. Calm down. So far no nuclear explosion, and no, I’m not setting my hair ablaze either.

But some rules are made to be broken in certain circumstances. So let me just say…

Woo-hoo! We made the list of The Washington Post’s Best Education Blogs of 2010! 

You can take a gander by going here.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Game’s Afoot!

(This post originally appeared on my fitness challenge site. And yes, we are still looking for two Brits who are up to the challenge. Surely, there are two of you out there!?)

Ah, my fellow portly friends, the game is, indeed, afoot. The challenge has been issued. The shot has been fired across the bow.  We are jumpin’ jack flash at the ready. We have challenged my friends across the pond to see if they have two teachers who are sick and tired of being sick and tired.

My buddy, Sarah Ebner over at the SchoolGate, the London Time's education website, posted a letter I sent them challenging two of their teachers to join Joel and me in the Battle of the Bulge.

Now, if we don't get a couple of takers, we'll start lobbing our arsenal of "your mum's so fat jokes…"

So hop over there and post a comment challenging those Brits!

Ah, what have you got to lose?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Woo-hoo! We’re on the list!

Woo-hoo! This site was listed as one of the top 100 education blogs out there for 2009. You can go here to see the list.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Can Wii Do It Shoutout

My good friend over at the Scholastic Scribe gave my fitness challenge blog a great plug.  Don’t take my word for it, check her post out over there.

Now, if you haven’t bopped over to Can Wii Do It?, please do so. Joel and I need all the encouragement/help we can get. We each post, so you’ll need to scroll to whatever entry/entries you want to read. My latest is called, BMI, Floating Fatso & Goals. Of course, we’d like for you to read them all.

So, please--in the name of all that is skinny--go there and post some comments… share some tips…offer to guest post… keep us out of the chocolate drawer…

For crying out loud, is anyone out there?

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Invisible Snow, School Cancellations & Yearbook Page Proofs

I hate snow days.

We had one on Thursday.

It was very, very, very cold that day. My yard was frosty. The cat's water bowl on the front porch was frozen. And, all the dog's noses were cold.

But snow? Not a flake in sight.

Ice? Well, just a tad here and there.

Since my alarm clock goes off at the twisted hour of 5 a.m., I had already stumbled out of bed, eaten breakfast and dressed  for work by the time I got the telephone notification that school was delayed for two hours. Jeez Louise, I had even dried my hair and slapped on some make up.

No problem. I just fired up my computer and started working on stuff.

Then, at 8:32 a.m., school was canceled. My district was one of the few in our area to shut down. The decision for us apparently had much to do with the dangers of driving school buses on rural roads. Still, I always hate to give up a balmy spring day to make up for a nasty, cold day—especially when I'm already dressed and ready to go. Hails bails, my lunch was even made.

I hated it even more when  I realized I had left all those nasty, unfinished yearbook page proofs on my desk.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Just In Case You Needed More…

If you didn’t get enough of your Bellringers fix, head on over to Technorati to read my post about “681 Hours and the Clock is Ticking.”

New Year's Resolutions, Lists & Ninnyhammers

So here we are ringing in another New Year. One decade done, another beginning and time for the creation of new lists filled with hope, promises and lies.

Yes, lies.

Jeez Louise, I don’t know why I even bother making a New Year’s Resolution List. When I go back and check my old lists, well, each year looks surprisingly like the previous year which looks just like the year before that, and that one looks just like the one before that and so forth and so on and on and on.

I bet my list looks a lot like your list. There’s always the perennial favorites—lose some weight, exercise more, stress less. Sound familiar? I guess I’ll just toss those back on my 2010 resolution list.

Then, of course, I might as well top off my list with my yearly promise to try and be less of a cynic and more of an optimistic naysayer. (And, yes, I realize that’s an oxymoron.)

Of course, if I truly aspire to be more optimistic in my endeavors that means I should probably stop calling people Big Fat Stupid Heads. It probably also means I should stop calling people “ninnyhammers.” Except if I’m honest about all of this, I probably should admit right now that banishing the word “ninnyhammer” from my arsenal of words stands about as much of a chance as me turning into Miss Susie Sunshine, slapping a bow on my head, holding hands with strangers and singing about world peace.

No siree, Missy, as if that’s going to happen.

So ninnyhammer will probably stay at the top of my go-to words for 2010. That’s the problem with being a writer—we love words. The way they sound, how some swirl around your mouth, how some imitate the sound they refer to, how some spew venom, how others soothe the soul.


I just like how it sounds. It’s even more fun to say than nincompoop or shenanigans. Come on now, try saying it.


Now, don’t you just feel better saying it? Who needs Bill O’Reilly’s popinjays and bloviate, when you’ve got ninnyhammers?


So let’s take another look at our New Year’s Resolution List and just toss everything out.

Instead, let’s just make a simple list for 2010: Let’s just start the year off with more laughter and fewer Big Fat Stupid Heads Ninnyhammers.