The Very Reason To Carry A Digital Camera In Your Purse

Image hosted by

It's true, friends.

Testing Their Faith

Today every Sophomore that managed to arrive at school by 9am took the PLAN test, a pre-ACT. In one of the demographics questions, the students were asked to identify thier religion (really really not sure why). Here are only two of the questions from my testing room.
Confused Child:"They didn't list Catholic! What if I'm Catholic!?!"
Educat:"Do you think you might pick 'Roman Catholic'?"
Confused Child:"I don't know Roman..mutter mutter..."
Confused Child: "What do I say on this one? I don't know what I am."
PTA Volunteer: "Just put Baptist, all the white people are."

How Can A Post With So Few Words Have So Many Links?

Our only spirit week thus far at school was pretty tame, and it feels even tamer after reading about this school's.

Much thanks to Phantom Prof for the link.

Am now signing off to finish shrug. Five rows from completion!!!

If it's not one thing, it's your mother

So last night during a phone conversation, Sweet Daughter of mine told my mom we wouldn't be coming to visit until we could afford to stay in a hotel.
Guess who's giving me the silent treatment?
"How does she do that from 2000 miles away?", you ask.
I'll tell you: she emails my daughter at my email address and says nothing to me. And it's my BIRTHDAY!


I feel like I'm going to implode. No - really. Thoughts of all of the crap I have to do are swirling around in my brain, causing hurricane force winds at my brain stem cortex, and a veritable nor'easter near my frontal lobe.
How am I supposed to do all this shit? Grade, Plan, Teach, Assess - oh, and earn recertification points on my own time. All I really want to do is teach, and obstacles keep getting in my way. And the thing is, the people who are supposed to be supporting and helping me are the ones putting up the obstacles.
When The Spouse starts making some real money, I'm going to get out of teaching. It's sucking my soul dry.

You Made Me Blog You, I Didn't Want To Do It

I swear I gave this girl several chances not to be blogged. She said and did several things on which I could have passed. However, when you witness them all together,I think you'd agree I'd be cheating you all if I didn't share.

I gave the ACT Saturday morning. It was a small test for our school because of Fall Break we had about 100 kids as opposed to the 300 area kids we usually test. This child in my room made up for the 200 we were short on Saturday.

  • Troublesome Child comes to my room and presents her ID (watch for oddity #1 here), a passport from a Caribbean nation.
  • I also notice her eyebrows. I can't help it, I notice everyone's eyebrows. I have spoken before of my own eyebrow struggle, so I don't intend to throw stones here. She had those one-hair-thin brows that make you look like Bob Geldof in The Wall but then stubble where they were growing in. Big, big stubble. Stubble that threatened to make her look like Bert.
  • The scripted, liturgical ACT instructions baffled her. She could not identify the right boxes for any data. It got so that with every new instruction, I would point to the spot on her paper. Glad I seated her on the front row.
  • She left her seat after the first test to put her purse across the room from her. I didn't get it, but it wasn't worth questioning.
  • Just before I called "begin" on the morning's final test, I hear a rooster crowing. Seriously, a crowing rooster! What the crap!? Did someone in here betray Jesus three times? I couldn't figure it out...until I followed the purse across the room. Please, if you refuse to shut your phone off, have a ring that sounds like a ring and not a farm animal. So now, I have to fret over whether or not to void her test. At the advice of the test administrator, we decide that she stays and I fill out a lengthy incident report.

That was a story. One worth telling, but probably not blogging (Sorry, internet, you don't get it all. ) but dammit, she just kept being crazy.

  • We're done. It's not even the test anymore. It's the "fill in some questions about your test taking experience" part. I have given the appropriate ACT liturgy. "Stop. Put your pencils down, close your test book and look at me. Turn your answer sheet to page two...". But she didn't turn the answer document. Nope. She opened the test booklet!! Did you hear me, She opened the test booklet!!!!! She didn't write on the answer sheet, nothing verboten was bubbled, but what am I to do!?!?

The test administrator once again made the call and I was able to speak with the girl. We had a long talk about listening and watching to see what others do and for the love of all that is good and holy asking questions when you are confused. She promised that she had a new cell phone that she didn't know how to work and cried and cried her oddly framed eyes out. I dismissed her with a pat on the back and urged her to take the test again.

Somewhere else.

See? She was just begging to be blogged.


Scott asked an interesting question about comments--

Why is it that so often the essays that one likes the best, thinks may be among the best things one has ever written, get no comments?

Answering this, I think, demands that we answer a big question, What are comments for?

If you read any Xangas (the blog service that most of my students use which I have quit reading for a can know too much), the kids blatantly demand comments, and the ones that are made are mostly just "UR so amazing! muah!". I don't think any adult blogger wants that, at least they won't admit it. I admit that as much as I enjoy compliments about and on this blog, I always squirm a bit, afraid that I am fishing and that I have somehow coerced you with some adult equivilent of "comment, bitches."

Some posts ask for comments more tactfully. The post is some sort of question, and you are asked to answer. You'll have that here soon, hang on a bit.

And while we're talking about you, it's also worth noting that I have weird feelings about lurkers. Somehow, I feel like if you know me in real life, you ought to somehow let me know you're out there. When you see someone in a play, it's only polite to say something. It's a form of the same thing. This blog is my first effort at writing for some other than academic purpose and so silence somehow indicates disapproval for me. I admit, it's my fault for getting to know my stat counter so well that I know who some of you are. This sort of comment is minimal, "Hey, good to find you here". Mojo did it, why can't you?

But I think what Scott's looking for is real conversation. You read a post and something about it compels you to relate and interact with the writing and the author. It's a hard type of comment to have sometimes. Witness the 99/Anonymous debacle of earlier this fall. I so clearly imagined that post one way that I think I just wasn't planning a whole other slant on what I said (Don't let this stop any of you now, the meds are working again and I can handle polite society). It's conversation, but harder. We can't predict what others will say, but we get to hear another take on our writing. I think that's what Scott's talking about. It demands the reader will identify and feel what they have to say is vital enough to the conversation. Frankly, I don't always have that much time or confidence. Sometimes I don't look to the internet for interaction as much as entertainment. At times, we are all just passive readers.

What do you think? How does it happen that a person works for hours to define exactly what it is they feel about a vital topic and I shelp out four sentences about bookmarks in three minutes and get six comments? What are comments for? What makes you decide to interact with a post and an author?

But please don't think you have to comment. Fishing for comments is so very Xanga.

Educat, Plain And Tall

In which Educat holds forth on fashion trends of the day

It happens to me every Fall. Every year at this time, I start to brood and wonder about long pants. See, I am five foot ten and short waisted. The capri trend was made for me. All my pants become capris by default. I try to extend the capri season for as long as possible but the time has come, there is no avoiding it--I have to wear long pants now. Every. Single. Day.

I live in a state of constant dissatisfaction with my current selection of pants. Every October payday, when Fall Break approaches and the pay for my second job kicks in, I am brimming with this discontent and head out. Out I go to look for pants.

So this weekend began Khaki Quest 05. I didn't find much. Let's leave it there. I am not average length. I will never be average length. Even if I became average width, I would still not be average length. Please, pants people, more talls!?

But that's not what I want to speak of. I want to speak of sequins.

I believe in a few sequins. I have done the accented shoes (a brave move given that my feet are proportionate to my height), I own a charming sequined pin. Fine. I can go that far. I would, however, like to step off of the sequin train at a point. Was is the advent of purses that pushed me away? Was it imagining the fully sequined shoes on large feet? Perhaps the idea of wrapping them around my waist as a belt, thus shining a light on an area best kept dark? No, it was pants again. Pants and skirts. Did I mention that I saw a pair of sequin trimmed pants? Did I tell you how I want to love sequin skirts for their whimsical, gypsy like look but then envisioned the reality of sequins on my ass?

There. That's my style corner. Expect another edition next fall when my pants angst kicks in.

Are Those American Or Kazakhstani Dollars?


You're Fighting For Your Life Without The Chillers, Grade Killers, Tonight!!

How much research reports that comfortable students perform better? Lots of it.
How many teachers are told that this very afternoon we must give our nine weeks exams? All of us.
What day did our benevelent school district choose to fix the chillers in my building? TODAY.
Current temperature in the OKC? 87 degrees.
Current conditions during Ms Educat's final? Around 80 degrees with the fresh funk of fifteen year olds hanging in the air.
Let's repeat that: Fresh Funk of Fifteen Year Olds.

ADHD Blogging. Pour Up A Ritilin Smoothie And Enjoy.

  • Jim won't, but Susan does. I don't think I will use adsense for Blogger because I am so giddily grateful that you even read this thing that asking to you click on a link is just too much. Yes, it's incredibly silly, but it's how I roll. Roll your own way with my best wishes, this is just me.
  • Do you think that a teacher might miss a child in a t shirt that says "I'm Rick James, Bitch!"? Ok, how about if there's two of them? And if they walk down the hall together? I didn't, and neither did my favorite Asst. Principal this very morning. Both mothers were appropriately mortified.
  • Two. Point. Five. Days. In. This. Week!! Twopointfivedaysinthisweek!!! Tomorrow I give nine weeks tests to my afternoon classes, Wednesday I give them in the morning. After a long leisurely lunch where I will chew my food and people will serve me, I shall spend the afternoon in parent conferences. After that, Fall Break. Thank you, autumn, for giving me a break. How do I roll this week? Not nearly as much.
  • New Goodwills are springing up all over my part o' town. They are large and clean and if you get there before I do, you can catch a "Knit This!" kit with yarn, needles, a learn to knit DVD and a sometimes usable pattern for about two bones. The newest location boasts an "Educational Center" department. It's painted right there on the wall. What does the department carry? Strangely, nothing educational.
  • Is it ever too early to think of summer when stuff like this exists? I am open to new Summer Nerd Camp options. Any fellow Educat Educrats (teachers who read this blog) are welcome to consider these options with me! Join me and do a nerd camp with a blog friend.


With the days getting shorter, and the darkness lasting longer, my mood sinks. I'm going through one of those blah phases that starts in October and lasts until April. I think it's called Seasonal Affective Disorder.

I'm behind in grading, too. Like two weeks behind. Students keep asking me when I'll give back their papers and tests and I feel guilty that I haven't returned them, stressed out that I still have to grade them, and angry that I have 130 students' papers, tests, quizzes, and homework to grade.
I just want to crawl into a hole and never come out.

Google Makes My Monday

Someone just got to my blog from a search for Catherine Bell look alikes. My stat counter shows they stayed for 0 seconds.
Life is full of disappointments, isn't it?

Nothing To See Here Today, Move On...

Seriously, I am writing a test and getting aquainted with my Vocabulary workbook.

Go read the entry on A Shrewdness Of Apes about parent conference day. It's just in time for my conference day on Wednesday.

There. Now you have the link. It's good stuff, really.

I Am A Chicken

Remember when I waxed indignant at the petition to reinstate prayer in public schools?

I guess I am not nearly so brave in "real life".

I just got an email from a friend (A Youth and Govt friend, yet! Someone who should know how our Government works!!!) with the same petition. So what should I do? Should I really send him the whole rant, full of the assumption that this man doesn't know the government or a wise way to practice faith?

I can't. I have to work with this guy, and I love him like a wise second father who would find me too strident if I unloaded all my brain. So instead, I sent a response...

Wouldn't this go through the courts like the Pledge of Allegiance case? When
state lead or mandated prayer has been removed from an area, it's usually gone
through the courts.

Yeah, talking big is fun on a blog.

Overheard During Comprehension Questions Over Night

That ain't the camp they in!! They ain't in the B word camp, they in Ostrich*!!!
*If I need to tell you that Ostrich here refers to Auschwitz, then my worst fears are true and my reality is truly altered. Please rescue me at Educat, c/o The Internets, America, The World.

Because Really, I Am A Character Actor...

That's an embarrassingly low sarcasm score. *sigh*

Carmen Miranda
You scored 40% Anxiety, 5% Sympathy, 35% Sarcasm, and 20% Wisdom!
You are a nutball, constantly causing mayhem and misunderstandings for everyone around you. You mean well, but you just can't seem to do anything right, and though that often serves to further the plot, it also causes general chaos. You are a one-person army of insanity...but hey, you're colorful. You don't really offer any help or support to the main characters, but you're often fun and mostly interesting. You enjoy causing scenes, which is good, because you can't help it. Nice fruit.

Roadside Theology Is The New Black

So now my friend in Baton Rouge sends me church signs. She said the folks here took some time off from opining when Katrina hit, but now according to her "it's Katie, bar the door!"

Image hosted by

I think this earns a bigger eye roll in Louisiana than here in the dry country.

Slap My Old Shoulder Pads And Call Me Rosalind Russell!!

Love this. Facinating. Thanks, Scott. It seems we are the same leading lady.

Rosalind Russell
You scored 7% grit, 61% wit, 33% flair, and 7% class!
You are one wise-cracking lady, always quick with a clever remark and easily able to keep up with the quips and puns that come along with the nutty situations you find yourself in. You're usually able to talk your way out of any jam, and even if you can't, you at least make it more interesting with your biting wit. You can match the smartest guy around line for line, and you've got an open mind that allows you to get what you want, even if you don't recognize it at first. Your leading men include Cary Grant and Clark Gable, men who can keep up with you.

Proof The World Is A Different Place Over Here

Setting: Ms. Educat's classroom, afterschool English for kids who don't read good (and I know that sounds mean, but seriously, sweet as they are, they don't. Let's beg Kristen to tell the story of the say one of the KWDRG told her about Julius Caesar--please, Kristen?)
KWDRG 1--Ms. Educat, are those words for English on your board?
Educat--They are.
KWDRG 1 giggles a bit and whispers to KWDRG 2. They both laugh at my board. I turn around and look at my vocab list for Night.
Educat: (with a real smile) Can I guess what's funny? Did you know that sometimes ghetto is a noun?
I like these kids,when there's so much to learn, they never leave without learning something. The bar is low. 

Simple Gifts

Today I saw a boy running to class to make the tardy bell. He was busting a sag and holding his pants with one hand so that they would stay right below his buttocks (where they belonged?). His run was impeded by his poor fashion choice such that the running only took place from the knee down. The tail of his foolishly long belt was flapping in the breeze.

In twelve years of teaching, it's still hilarious. There just isn't anything funnier.

How Did You Not Know?

Rev. Fred "God Hats Fags" Phelps and the whole Westboro Baptist Church posse are coming to the OKC!

They have stopped in a few times already to picket the funeral of an Iraq War Veteran. It caused such a stir in town that my State Rep. has authored legislation to ban protests at funerals. Now the Westboro gang is rolling into town to stage a "Love Crusade" at Rep. Wesselhoft's Church. For the record, the refer to him as "the Oklahoma Balaamite".

It's sick. It's sick to see this hatred at a funeral of a soldier who has nothing to do with our military's policy. It's sick to see this hate at a church who in most other arenas would stand with Phelps against homosexuality, and it's sick to see hatred to a group of people in the first place. It all just shows how hate spreads. When anyone starts to fling hate, the hate soon hits everyone like a monkey slinging hate poo. I swear after I finished the web search, I had to go look at the baby socks I want to make just to even me out.

I didn't bring my copy of Night home, but we started to read it in English this week. Today, I read the section aloud to my class where Elie Wiesel and his family arrive at Auchwitz. They are shocked to see the ovens and a man confronts them. "How did you not know!?", he shouts (and I am probably misquoting this but the book is at school) "How did you not know about this in 1944?". How did you not know that this hate would hit you eventually?

The Vowel Movement

Kevin asked in a comment about the "letter people". As far as I know, they long gone. I was a bit shocked I had never heard of them given that anything on PBS in 1974 was right up my alley. The story of their 1990 shift to political correctness is worth a look, though.

Let's hand this question off to Crib Chick and Susan, both of whom see more kid TV than I do. Ladies, please advise.

All this letter talk, however, reminded me that I have never told you about the Vowel Movement Kids.

I don't know who they are or how it starts, but every day at lunch the kids start to yell, "OOOOooooooohhhhhhhhhh". It seems to have no reason other than the power of the kid who first yells and somehow makes the others yell with him. It has happened without fail for the last four or so years.

My room is directly off the cafeteria, so all the mischief of the other two lunches are heard by my students. When the corporate moan begins, I dryly ask the students to ignore it, that some children are trying to start a vowel movement.

A couple of years ago, I had some Drama kids in class who ran with the vowel movement concept. They decided to answer "OOOOOhhhh" with the rest of the vowels. It was something to hear, all those kids yelling "Aaaaaayyyyy, Eeeeeeeee, Iiiiiiii, Oooooohh, UUUuuuuuuu, Sooooome-Tiiiiiimes--YYyyyyyyyy!!!"

I Might Just Try It...

I loved this week's episode of The Word Nerds. We seem to have a real problem with vocabulary in class, especially when it comes to seeing prefixes and suffixes. This episode seemed pretty understandable. I am thinking about playing it for class and then just a bit of discussion.

I love the topic of registers, it's a way of talking about language that implies that casual speech isn't wrong, it's just not always appropriate. I wonder how much they will grasp the idea of code switching.

Even if it bombs in class, you can listen and discuss.

Toddler Blog

I am at Panera in the corner table. No territorial dirty looks today, only a woman who asked if I was "really here alone" because there was a line out there! I assured here that, yes ma'am I am here alone and that I will scoot my small table down if need be, thanks.

I didn't need to. Bite me, lady.

My blog turns two this week, and like a toddler, it's become things I never thought it would. It makes me wonder what it might become...

  • The whole mention in NEA Today seems to bring with it some kind of pressure to be a "real edblog", the kind of edblog that is in constant study of all the educational issues of today and provides constant reports of such. A couple of blogs seem to indicate that the blogs mentioned in the article are more than what they are, personal blogs by teachers. I don't mind the assumption, but it's not what I am. Sometimes, this blog will be used to examine lesson plan ideas. Sometimes, this blog will be used as a sounding board on what's happening in education. Most of the time, it won't be either of those things. I write this blog because I am learning to write. Right now, this blog looks edu-bloggish because I work in a school 10 hours a day and am learning to teach English, but it's about my personal experience. Have I mentioned before not to depend on me for news, weather, or sports? Yes, I think I have.
  • I pondered installing those knitting progress indicators and becoming more like a real knit blog. Nah. It'd be really boring to see that it takes me a whole week to add 10% more progress to the seemingly endless shrug, and there's only so much entertainment you can get out of rows and rows and rows of taupe Lion Suede in stockinette stitch (for either of us). I am starting new classes soon, but for now, I am a simple, simple, knitter.
  • I could very easily make this blog sound like a Smiths tune and talk about how I am getting ready to start new meds but have lapsed and am now eeking by au naturel--and how I wouldn't recommend it. Ever. At all. But then I wonder about too much self disclosure and how I hardly know (some of) you and can I really be expected to make those sorts of big judgement calls when I am, in fact, au naturel (it's worth noting that by au naturel, I mean without meds and not nude.).

So this is the blog Birthday post. It's a bit early, and kind of circular, but the connecting thread seems to be that I am glad you're here. All of you. Comment or not, name yourselves or not, whatever you are expecting me to write, thanks.

Eating My Words

I apologize to the kid I called a bratty 9th grader. He just came and apologized and told me he should have been more responsible. Plus, I talked to his mom last night and she was very supportive. So I caved and accepted his assignment (which he worked on last night and corrected to follow the directions).
I was wrong. I am so happy about it!!

27 Children Do My Dance

Debate is best not substitute taught. When it must be substitute taught, it is best not done by the young.

At least once a year, I have a sub in Debate (usually a college kid) who grows bored with the plans I leave and tells my class, "Let's just debate!". It goes awry. It goes terribly, terribly awry and the next day I have riled up children. One year a kid even came to me in tears--the next day.

We always debrief the next day. It's a good time for me to teach the reasons we have structured argument. Structure ideally allows for the voice of the minority. Ideally, it allows the best idea to win and not the loudest. I always wonder aloud what would happen if our courts were run the way my classroom was on those horrid days and someone always says, "We would all go to jail.".

So today, I am preparing them for a sub and I describe the horror of unordered debate. They are right there with me and ask "What do we do if the sub tries to make us debate like that?". I think a moment. "Go limp. Do not engage, do not make eye contact. Refuse to play their game."

Right then, standing at my podium, I watch 27 bodies go totally limp at the exact same second.

and I remembered again why I teach.

Private School Drop Out

Just had an unpleasant conversation with a bratty 9th grader who transferred to public school after attending the hoity toity private school in town. I'm shaking and I don't know why. He expects me to give him full credit for his half-assed effort. He didn't bother to follow directions on an assignment he's known about since the day he transferred into my class OVER A MONTH AGO - He transferred into my class the second day of school, so it's not like he's brand new to my class. Anyway, because he didn't follow directions I would not accept his work. He was dumbfounded. I highly doubt that anyone ever held the privileged little punk accountable. Along with directions-not-followed-assignment was a note from his mommy telling me that they didn't have time to get his assignment done the way it was supposed to be done, and would I please call her if it was a problem.
So I called and left a message on her voice mail (cell phone?) and I'm dreading the pending phone call - I will be trying to stand my ground and she will be trying to enable her spoiled brat kid. Why oh why did I become a teacher?

The Joy Of Work

Yesterday was hard and ugly. I felt as if I was moving through jello all day. Grades are coming due and I can't work fast enough, it's a tight month financially and I can't seem to get a reimbursement check out of the office. It's hard to share much enthusiasm for the change in weather when I spend ten hours a day in my classroom--I don't see the weather.

See? I'm just pissy.

So here's what got me through.

Karina came to hear my kid's hearings today. Some of them needed scaring, some just needed affirmation. My favorite illegal needed the affirmation. She's worked like a dog to get her team ready and they've gone along. They know their stuff.

Not every group was going to speak, so there was much excitement about who would get to (or have to) go. When I called the group, her smile alone gave me a chill. When Karina anounced the team's question, my girl's favorite, I felt a few tears. This girl has taken joy in this work. She's telling this class about the ideals and practice of this Country-better than most in the class--and she isn't even a citizen. She dressed up when she didn't have to, her team wanted to get up, she's in her element. I am just glad her element gets to be my room for a time.

Friday is coming and I will leave early. My weekend is a bit freer than usual and I can grade at my leisure. Payday is coming soon and with it Fall break. All of this will sort itself out and when Winter comes, I will trot these kids out to all the Winter nerd contests and hope that others get to see from my kids the moment I got today in class.

Wouldn't It Be Great To Have The Perfect Witty Context For This Link??

I don't have it. Just the link. you'll love them too!

Hymn To My New Principal, Boss Hogg

Quoted loosely from today's faculty meeting:
We have the military recruiters here every day. We give them incredible access to our kids. I just want to let you know that I intend to start allowing colleges that same access. I have decided it's crazy to keep the recruiters in the cafeteria, but hide the colleges in the counseling office.
I still don't like that he greets me every time with "Hey there, girl" or "Now there's trouble!" but he's warming on me, he is.


Just A List O' Stuff

  • Do you have any idea how glad I am to see you? You, dear reader, who didn't get to this blog on a search for Nipsy Russell? Hey, it hurts me too. He's gone and so are my hopes for a MatchGame '76 reunion show, but that ship sailed with the death of Charles Nelson Reilly. Let's all move to acceptance, eh?
  • I can work more functions on the school copier than anyone else. I treat the copier well. I don't leave paper jams for my colleagues, I always refill with more paper than I use. Why, then, does it always jam on me in the midst of copying a large stack of student work? I am good to you, Xerox, why you gotta do me that way?
  • A kid in class does elaborate gestures for every word of the morning annoucements. There's a swift, one-handed takedown for "wrestlers", a pointed, jabbing point down for "be there!" and an exaggerated belly rub for "snow cones". It's a charming sort of nerd hula.
  • I think I won a child over today. When we started poetry yesterday, Rerun muttered, "Poetry is for fags." I chastized his word use and told the class that we weren't going to limit poetry to any one group. He rolled his eyes and let me go on (which was, believe me, its own victory). Today, with every poem we read, he was able to get at its meaning and summarize it quickly. I bit my tongue just short of reminding him of yesterday's statement.
  • I have now decided to resend the same to referrals to my favorite Asst Principal every day at the same time until I hear what happened to them. So far, we're at 2 resends. If I had PayPal, I would open it up to a gambling pool.

Another Homage

So many hits to the blog already looking for news of the late Nipsy Russell.

Don't even come to me for entertainment news. Seriously, I am a silly blog. I am not a news source.

So in homage, I will repost just a part of a post I wrote nearly two years ago.

I remember watching game shows as a kid in the 70's with my sister and
grandmother. It was our only together time when she would babysit us
as the
afternoon brought time for "her stories" and I would go outside
to read a
book and my sister would...wreck something (she is really a
charming woman
now but she had this "boy my parents never had" stage).

We would
answer questions along with her and she would
marvel at our brains.
"Someday" she would promise "I am going to take
you girls to Hollywood and
we will go on those game shows and make a
million dollars because you girls
are so smart!' I knew enough about
long car trips at age 8 to know that this
would truly be a nightmare
but my sister recently shared that she actually
believed Grandmother.

This brings me to Nipsey Russell. The website for Mr.
Russell's talent agency
refers to him as "The Poet Laureate of
and I remember with fondness the poems he would write on Match
Game '76.

The truth is I only wrote this to confound the Blogger Ad Gnome (back in those days, children, you got targeted ads based on the content of your blog). But watching game shows with Grandmother, that was true.

...And She Has Nice Boots!!

Jenna Bush takes children to the library, and it's news.

She's nice to second graders!! She shows them how to handle checkout!! She speaks a little Spanish!!

Last week, I took children to the library, the computer lab, and to Stillwater on a Saturday!! And on the way home we went to Braum's!!

I knew I shoulda worn my nice boots.

Of Course, This Is Only Hypothetical...

Have you ever wanted to end a call to a parent by asking about their methods of birth control? Just so this doesn't happen again, you know??
Purely hypothetical...


For the second week in a row, I am on the Panera wifi trying to get some work done. For the second week in a row I am sitting at a corner table so I can use an electrical outlet. For the second week in a row I am getting strange looks every few seconds from parties at a nearby table as though I should not be sitting here.

What? What?? I am working! I am not a sloppy eater and I am neither take two looks goregous or freak show ugly. I am working! I have permission to sit at this table and will continue to do so! What do you want and why you looking at me!?!

Will I do it a third week and chance the dirty looks again? You bet. Now it's science.

When The Content Of The Post Makes Me This Tired, Don't Expect Much Of A Title

I have attended more meetings than ever this year. Since I teach English II (the English course that corresponds with the Oklahoma End Of Instruction exam for HS English), there is an incredible amount of training to be sure that my curriculum meets the standards. I also met last week to help plan a benchmark test for the district--an intermediate test we would all give to insure we are on track for the EOI.

One such meeting was given by a couple of retired teachers who travel around training other teachers about the new laws (what a job). They are always full of hope and pep, the refuse to speak against No Child Left Behind. They operate with the idea that the law is a given, so how can we make it work for us?

They were full of excitment this last time. Look! Look at the scores of these 5th and 6th graders!! They read at 95% on grade level!! They're coming!! Get ready!!! I hoped out loud that my school was not yet shut down so that we could enjoy these children.

It's a good thing those kids can read, because this year's 6th graders will be required to pass all their EOI's (Alg. I, US History, Biology, and English II) in order to graduate HS. I am of two minds about this law.

On the plus side---

  • If NCLB is here to stay, something has to be done to put real teeth to those exams. As it stands, my school and I are the only parties effected by the scores. Scores don't follow students, they follow me as a teacher and reflect on my school's Academic Performance Index (our NCLB "magic number" that keeps my school open or not).
  • Familes will demand more from their child's teachers. My colleagues who show films and play dominos (fewer of us than you think) will be forced to step up their curriculum.
  • The State will demand that the exams will be fairer. As it stands, we have found flaws in the exams that may cost our kids a point here or there---points that could be crucial when a diploma is on the line.

On the minus side---

  • I don't believe that high stakes tests are the best way to measure learning.
  • There will always be blurry lines on who we are to test. There is always a question of which Special Ed kids or English Language Learners we are to test.
  • The data that brought us to these tests is not what we think it to be. The page I linked to from the State cited high remediation rates in college as a reason for higher standards, but it seems seldom considered that more and more of our kids are going to college. More of our kids take the ACT. Sure, we remediated fewer kids when we only sent our best to college, but that's just not the case anymore.
  • EdWonk gives a great rebuttal to the high stakes graduation test as well.

No neat answers here, but it's worth noting that my last period fart class doesn't have to pass their EOI and don't think that I don't remind a principal of this fact with every referral I send.