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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Assessment Test…

Well that didn’t take long!

I posted on Monday morning that I didn’t expect to be called to sub for at least a week into the new school year. Monday afternoon, I got a call to sub a 4th grade class the next day.

Judging by the assignments, this first week of school is reassessing to see what the incoming 4th graders retained over the summer vacation. They were given two hours to take a math assessment test.

Unfortunately, my use of the word “test” was very upsetting to some of these kids on their 2nd day of school.

“I can’t remember anything!” was the common complaint as I handed out the math assessment sheet. I explained that this wasn’t really a “test” but just a “math assessment” so your teacher can find out what you do and don’t remember from last year. Don’t worry about it!

I then had to elaborate on what the difference was between the phrase “math assessment” and “math test” and reassured them that it was “ok” to skip the problems they couldn’t do.

They weren’t buying it.

“I don’t remember how to divide numbers! What’s “rounding” mean? Can’t you help us do the problems?”

Trying to explain that “my helping” would defeat the purpose of the “math assessment” didn’t go over well either. I repeated the mantra that it was “ok” to skip questions that they couldn’t do.

That worked for almost everyone. One boy broke down sobbing that he couldn’t remember ANYTHING from last year. I think he turned in his paper with only his name at the top and only a few of the math problems attempted.

Exactly the kind of assessment a teacher needs to know.

Monday, August 24, 2009

School Is Back In Session…

…but not me. I don’t expect to get any calls the first week of school, but you never know.

Instead, I'm watching the landscapers do their bit and wondering how they'll deal with the water pressure issue to the new irrigation system.

(FYI: normal residential water pressure is supposed to be 50-60 psi not 150+ psi)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Never Too Old to Learn Something New...

Learning new stuff doesn't ever stop. I tried this the other day and while I was skeptical, it works!

The easy way to peel a banana...

HT: to Carpe Diem for continuing my education on all kinds of stuff

Monday, August 17, 2009

Interview with a Kindergartner…

My granddaughter started school today in Kindergarten. I thought it would be interesting to “interview” her about her first day in real school:

Paige: Hi grandpa!!
Me: Hi Paige! Did you do anything new today?
Paige: No…

Me: Did you go to school today?
Paige: Yes...

Me: Was it fun?
Paige: Yes...

Me: Is your teacher a boy or a girl?
Paige: A girl…

Me: Is she pretty?
Paige: Yes…

Me: Did you do anything fun today?
Paige: Yes…

Me: Did you meet any new friends?
Paige: Yes…

Me: What else did you do in school today?
Paige: I got books.

Me: What kind of books?
Paige: I got a book for the teacher to read.

Me: Was it a funny book?
Paige: Bye grandpa! (…hands back phone to Mom)

Mom: Well…that’s a lot more than I got out of her today!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Where’s My Credential?

Each year I have to renew my substitute teacher credential to be allowed to work.

Each year I send the state of California $57 for which they send me an official numbered document containing the validation ID and expiration dates needed by the school districts to activate my status as a substitute teacher for the school year.

Each year I take the official document to the local district office and have them make a copy for their records. Only then will they reactivate my status as a substitute in good standing in the district for the current year.

With school starting in less than two weeks I had yet to hear from Sacramento about my credential document renewal for the 2009-2010 school year. Calling the school district I was informed that, due to budget cuts, the state was no longer mailing the credential copies but a copy can be printed from the online website.

Was that information on the application renewal form, verification of payment form or any other form of useful information? No! Maybe I’m expecting too much for my $57 fee to include the cost of a single sheet of paper, an envelope and a stamp?

Now that I knew what I needed to do to work this year, I logged on to the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing website to view my credential information.

Sure enough, there was a button to select a “Printer Friendly” copy of my credential suitable for obtaining employment in school.

Notice anything missing? The “Printer Friendly” version seems to be missing all the useful information the district wants to see on a substitute teaching credential!

Information like: issue date, expiration date, document number, official state seal of California and official signatures from the govern-ator and teaching commission executives.

The local school district was not gullible enough to accept this bogus “official credential document” that looks like it was made using a Kindergarten “Good Citizen” award generator program.

The district finally settled for a computer screen shot copy of the “Details of Selected Credential” page on the state website.

I think I deserve a partial refund of my $57 credential fee since I don’t even get a copy of the credential anymore.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

City Council Meetings Are Boring?

Could be the basis for a new reality show? I'd watch!

As one commenter on the video says:
"...i live in Santa Cruz...City Council meetings are NEVER boring! I always watch them on tv just because of kooks like this"

P.S. I live about 40mins from Santa Cruz and it has always had a "colorful" reputation. Maybe she should not have smoked some of the farmers crop before speaking at the city council..."

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Dave Barry Banned On Campus?

Dave Barry is one of my favorite humor writers. While I might, at times, try to mimic his writing style the only thing Dave and I share is attending colleges a decade before PC stood for "Personal Computer" instead of "Political Correctness".

The following quote was deemed "subversive" by the Marquette University PC police:
"As Americans we must always remember that we have a common enemy, an enemy that is powerful, dangerous and relentless, I refer of course to the federal government."

Dave Barry responds: "Universities have become intellectually constipated."

Nothing funny about that...

HT: JoanneJacobs