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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Congressional Automotive!

New for 2012! The new and approved (approval pending the next election) Pelosi GTxi SS/RT!!

My favorite feature: "...the standard three speaker, fairness, octophonic, FM low band sound system"... it only gets NPR

Credit to:

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Merry Christmas Light Show - 2008

It appears that the subbing jobs for 2008 have ended and will resume in Jan/2009 so now it's time to sit back and enjoy the rest of the year.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Rocks in My Pockets!

I knew I shouldn’t have made the call, but subbing assignments have been a little light this month. I had already checked the subbing line a few times Tuesday afternoon and and into the evening without success. I decided to make one last attempt before I went to bed at midnight.

The assignment was for 2nd grade the next morning at 7:30am. Since this assignment wasn’t posted when I checked at 10:00pm, I knew there was a high probably that this was a last minute deal and unless the school requires teachers to plan for such an eventuality (…yes, there ARE a few that do), there is a high probability that I’ll be walking in without a lesson plan.

I stalled for time, by replaying the assignment description while trying to decide if I really wanted to take that chance. The desire for a bump in the paycheck won out and so it was that I arrived at school the next morning 15 minutes late. The sub line hadn’t been updated to this year’s earlier starting schedule.

No lesson plan. Not only that, there were no books in the kids desks either.

No reading or math practice books that I could assign as a time killer. The teacher had ripped all the pages out of all 20 sets of reading and math practice books with the separate piles of each page in file folders that she used to make daily “work packets”.

Unfortunately for me, it looked like she makes these sets of “work packets” only one day in advance. There was evidence that she was out the two previous days and one of the subs had already used the single advanced prepared set on Tuesday. There was none prepared for today.

With no plan, I was unaware that this class “switches” with a different class for science until the teacher I was supposed to switch with asked me what time I wanted to do it. She didn’t quite believe me that I didn’t have any material for a science lesson until she went looking for books in the room.

Finding none, she gave me a text from her class to “read to them”. With her help and a copy of the current bell schedule, I had only a few minutes to get a general plan in place before I was to pick up the kids.

The bell rang for start of class and I went looking to pick up my class in the back playground where I could see classes lining up.

Not finding “my class”, I was told that the 2nd graders line up in the Kinder playground…on the other side of the campus! That item of information would have been handy on a lesson plan.

I’m exhausted by the time the first recess comes. The stacks of worksheets I’m pulling from her folder stash are coming up a couple short when I pass them out, so I have to start pre-counting material before I start handing it out.

The first recess ends, so I went to pick up the kids on the Kinder playground only to discover that the 2nd graders only line up there in morning. Of course, my kids are the only ones left standing in the back playground when I finally get there. That’s another planning item that would have been useful information.

Now, at this point, you may be wondering about the title of this post and what it has to do with pockets and rocks.

Well, the last activity of the day for 2nd graders is P.E. The missing plan should have read, “You will be monitoring the special ed class, while the 2nd graders perform P.E. with Ms. S” but…there was no plan.

I’m watching 1st graders play some form of dodge ball without rules, when I notice one of the special ed aides chasing one particular kid around the blacktop trying to prevent him from eating pieces of gravel he’s finding on the ground.

Trying to help as much as I can, I hold out my hand to have the little rock eater surrender whatever he’s got in his tight little fist. After disgorging several handfuls, he’s modified the game where he just picks up rocks to give me. A couple of times if I’m distracted watching some of the other kids, he just sneaks up behind me and dumps the rocks in my side pants pocket.

The rocks in my pocket will be a reminder about what kind of rocks I must have in my head to pick up another late night substitute assignment. least it wasn't squirrels!

From one of my granddaughter's favorite shows:

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Friday, December 05, 2008

This Test Has All The Answers!

I had a super great class of 4th graders today. The only glitch came during the math assessment test today.

Everyone had their anti-cheating privacy folders up and ready to go for the test. I handed out the test and sat back anticipating a quiet half hour when one hand went up almost immediately. The boy said he must have gotten the teachers answer copy because all the right answers were already circled.

I picked up his test paper and didn’t immediately see any circled answers. While I was trying to figure out just what this kid was talking about, a couple more kids held up their tests and said the same thing.

“We see the answers!”

I picked up those tests and after close examination and angling the exam juuussst right, I could indeed see a faint blue circled outline around the multiple choice answers on the front page. Checking page two of the test, I could make out about half of the answers there also.

Nothing much I could do now but note on my end of day report the problem. I suggested that the kids pretend the answers weren’t already there and “show work” in getting the answer they chose.

It seems that while copier technology is getting better at picking up even the slightest color shades that didn’t show with older machines, the testing standards books haven’t changed with them to make sure the answer sheet isn’t visible when copied.

P.S. One of the girls drew a portrait of me in class holding my clipboard. I thought it was close enough for me use as my blogger “About Me” profile picture. Check it out and tell me what you think.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Five Ws…

They had just returned from the five day Thanksgiving holiday. Monday's very multi-cultural 3rd graders were excited about the upcoming holidays. When it came time for the social studies assignment to write an outline for a newspaper article, they had a worksheet with the famous “Five Ws of Journalism” to fill in.

“What do we write about?”

I’ve always found that it’s much easier to write about something I’m interested in rather than an assigned, boring topic I know little about. Since the lesson plan was a little vague about answers to the kids’ question, I suggested writing about Thanksgiving or the upcoming Christmas holiday. Santa Claus is always a favorite “Who”.

Who is the story about?
What happens?
When is it going to happen?
Where is it happening?
Why is it celebrated?
How is it celebrated?

“We don’t have Christmas. We’re Jewish”

How about Hanukah, then?

“I’m Indian and we don’t do Christmas either. Can I write a story about something else?”

My knowledge of world cultural celebrations is pretty much exhausted so I allowed anyone who didn’t want to do the holiday theme choose something else as long as it followed the “Five Ws” format.

“Indian kid again: I wanna do a story about the Mumbai bombings. I already know the ‘Who’ ”

Fortunately, that’s about the time I noticed that the “News Outline” on the lesson plan was related to the earlier reading lesson on the “First Thanksgiving”. The kids were supposed to pretend to be a reporter attending and reporting on that event.

CTL-ALT-DELETE faulty instruction from the substitute teacher! Reset the topic and get back on a less controversial track.

(…although, the bombing story from a 3rd grader's viewpoint would be more interesting)

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

No Bailout For Me...

Fred Thompson discloses why I won't qualify for a $illion $ollar government bailout.

I didn't screw up big enough!!!!

If YOU by chance DID screw up big time, just fill out and submit the following form for your reward:

(click to enlarge)
Form via: Carpe Diem