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Showing posts from January, 2009

Bugged Out

After school on Friday, I took off to a local Starbucks and graded all of the final tests. For the first time I remember, 5 students got perfect scores! Amazing! It has two response paragraph questions and I have the hardest time convincing students to actually write an entire paragraph on the test.

Plus, only three students (out of 55) wrote that an allusion is something you see, but isn't actually there. It could be that I stressed that it wasn't several times over the past month or that it would definitely be on final. Even the student who has a 12% in class got it correct.

Only 65 essays to left read.


I'm so hungry right now that I desperatly want to go home and eat (avoiding the vending machine of fat and the local fast-fat eatery across the street), but I told a student to have his/her parents call me at school saying that I would be here late grading finals. And the teacher across the hall just came to offer me a donut!

January Thaw

For the past week, the sun has been shining and you can actually feel warm when sitting in the sun (as long as you're inside). Perfect reading weather. So far, I've finished the second Children of the Earth series and most of the third, an Alexander McCall book and Feed.

The semester is almost over and that means.... grading! Yipee! This weekend is going to be a marathon session.

In the meantime, if you were thinking of doing National Boards next year, the scholarship applications are out for WA state. (check OSPI) If you're in another state, you might want to check with your certification office.


OHMIGOSH! It is cold everywhere! And lucky me, I get a classroom with an air-blowing machine pretending to be a heater! Student: Did you know this thing is blowing out COLD AIR!?!? Me: Um... yes, it always does. Student: We could freeze to death! Me: That's why I'm wearing longjohns. Aren't you? Believe me sister, cold air is the least of our worries. On the docket as we speak is a plan in the legislature to cut about a million dollars in our budget next year. For a small school, that's enough to choke the proverbial horse. That's like the entire SpEd program, all the bus transportation, our entire paper budget, the electric bill, plus my salary. Yes, the funding for my job specifically will probably be cut. Our illustrious superintendent has come up with a few cockamany schemes to save us all, but no one has saluted any of them. In fact, so far the only result has been photos of angry looking parents on the front page of the paper. Meanwhile, I'll just hunker down …

Day of Action

On the 14th, all the schools in our area took the day off to drive on over to Olympia and protest the dear ol' Govna's proposed budget cuts. Not just teachers, but also students, superintendents, parents and school board members.

It was freezing cold standing out there, but worth it I suppose. I wish there had been more people protesting, but that just illustrates our point. We don't have the people to make up what for us would be a HUGE budget shortfall. We don't have any "extras" to cut - we do actually need things like heat and buses.

OSPI - Day Three

Seriously, my district should get a refund. Almost every session I attended was "full" and most I tried to attend were "full" before I could get in. Of course, many would not have been that way if the Seattle Convention Center staff hadn't set up room to accomodate the least number of people possible and then forced people out if anyone dared to hang around to see if one of the saved seats might be given up. ALL of the full sessions I attended had at least two empty seats about 5 to 10 minutes after it started. They stayed empty while people wandered about aimlessly trying to find something they could get into.

Needless to say, my last day of the conference was spent making a weekend to-do list and reprogramming my phone. Yes, my brand-spanking-new phone jumped into the toilet. I always wondered how on earth that happened... now I know. It jumped from bag. The next morning it was declared dead and I had to get a brand new one.

At least I got new shoes.

OSPI Day Two

So far I'm off to a banner start! The first session I wanted to see changed to only elementary and while heading to another room to see if I could get into option number two, I was accosted by others from my district - emergency meeting in an area far, far away from my destination. It's flooding back home. Seriously flooding. Right now, we couldn't even get there because of road closures. So our genius head office has decreed that since our subs (who are in the county) can't make it out of their driveways, we have to come back and teach our classes. Did I mention that the roads are closed and we can't even get into the county (let alone school)? Or that fact that if the roads open for us to get back home, one would assume that the subs could get out their driveways? Logic is a such a difficult concept to grasp. Did I mention that we're the only school district open in the county? Anyhoo... after sitting around for 20 minutes, our emergency meeting broke up with …

OSPI Conference

Well, the first day is done and so it was good and blah. The first session was a bust. I really wish they would put little notes at the end of session descriptions that some something along the lines of same carp we've been saying for three years, nothing new.

The second session was highly entertaining and I actually had an epiphany about RtI. I now totally understand how RtI fits in with NCLB, IDEA and SpEd. And I realized that everything we're currently doing is kinda stupid... especially for high school students. Yeah. Serious revaluation needed, plus a shift in what we offer our students. And some major brainstorming on how to do with no money, no added classes and not removing curriculum from what teachers are currently doing. Conundrum. At least I can now have the conversation with our Special Services person and be reasonably sure that we're speaking the same language.

Third session, I had planned to her session on assessment, but discovered that a session I really n…

Almost Caught Up!

I forced myself to grade nearly everything today - the stuff that is just a check off I left for tomorrow morning. I'll get up early and head it to put it in the gradebook. It's electronic and I don't keep a transportable copy - too easy to loose information. If I kept a paper copy I'd have to spend waste time entering it into the computer since we are required to do that. I have hard enough time remembering to record the attendance in two different places.

After two full weeks of sleeping in until 9am, my internal clock has reset to that... I'll have to dig out the alarm clock and set it for the first in over a year. I do not do well with alarms.

Our Students

Our students walk in every day and, really, we have no idea what happened while they were gone. Or what actually happened in the class before, or the year before, or when they were 5... all of it effects how our students will act in class and how they will learn. Some days, you just have to be a psychological mind-reader to be able to get through the first five minutes. Some days, you really wish you never asked.

Over the past week, I've been reading a lot about Reactive Attachment Disorder. Technically speaking it's an attachment disorder in which the primary care givers failed to respond appropriately to their infant or child. We all read about those studies in psych 101 about babies who died because no one held them during the first few months of their life - RAD is what happened to those who lived. That's a rather simplistic view, but it is succinct. Often time, these children also have other acronyms after their name, like ADD, ADHD, ODD and others. This can be the stu…

Soulja Girl

I forgot whether or not I told our school secretary that I was attending the OSPI conference next week. And she's the only one who gets the subs for the school. And most are probably already taken, so I may end up with Soulja Girl as the sub for my class... for three days. It's impossible to describe the amount of stress this has caused me since I realized that I may not have requested a sub or the nightmares I've had about the state of our school building.

Soulja Girl is our bottom of the list sub. The absolute bottom, can't even scrape enough teachers together to cover the classes sub. My first year, she was my sub for one day. During that day she probably read over 200 pages of the latest bodice-ripper. The students violated my stuffed cougar, did not work, ran about the building screaming and lit books on fire. She didn't notice. The vice-principal also stood on the doorway for over 20 minutes and she NEVER even looked up. You think she would have noticed the su…