Friday, May 30, 2008

Flipped Out Friday

Yea -- squished boobs!! Nothing says Day 2 of vacation like: Squish Those Girls!!

Now, being the paranoid crazy that I am, I wanted my radiology technician to tell me right there that all was well. After all, hadn't I just gone through the mammogram? Of course, she wouldn't/couldn't do that: got to let who ever compare all the films with all the originals and then we'll get back to you. Great.

So, I went to my favorite shop of all time (Love Street - I know it sounds a little,well..., but it's adorable and I actually tried to get a summer job there, but the college girls beat me to it) to cash in a birthday gift card and store credit and still ended up spending money. Trust me, the store credit wasn't that much. I had been oogling a Pandora ring for quite a while and I figured that my paranoia might be quieted a bit with a little purchase. I'm like that.

Why am I so paranoid? I have been like this my whole life. When I was pregnant with PrepGirl, I had all those tests - all but amnio - and I sat for a solid week, completely certain there was something wrong with her. I did the mathematical probabilities for all the genetic abnormalities that she could possibly have. LawyerBoy finally called my OB/GYN and told her that she was going to have to get the test results for us before I completely freaked out.

Congrats to BrownBear who finally finished 6th grade today!! And don't forget - the beach is at my Dad's house and my Dad's girlfriend happens to be there. But a bad day at the beach...

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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thrilling Thursday

This was my first true vacation day - and I was wishing that more of you were home so we could all play. I've had to wait all day for you guys to come home and post.

Angie did a crap load of things while you all were gone; me? Not so many. I did get up and shower and proceeded to try and register our family info with the girls' school. First, I needed a code for each girl which I had managed to misplace. Once informed of these said codes, (which required a legal pad to write down), I proceeded to go on-line and was informed that one of the things I needed was BrownBear's Social Security number. Now where in the hell did I last put that thing? Long story short, I proceeded to tear out all the crap hiding in the cupboard under the phone. And I mean crap, people. I was separating junk into trash, Goodwill, and keepers.

In the midst of these two projects, I got a call from BrownBear and her future husband, and I believe, our future President. They had sold back their books and needed a ride home. Sure enough, Super Mom to the rescue. (Don't get me started at the pittance she received for her books. And don't get me started on her math placement for next year - I'm not finished eating administrator behind, yet.)

I spent a long part of today finishing this mammoth project (maybe not to some of you, but this was a hot spot that was out of control).

And then I went to the Goodwill.

Not just for the drop-off, but also for the shopping. (Please. A pot for my school plant.) But it wasn't as pleasant as in the past. Some of my shopper friends have told me that Goodwill and the other thrift stores operate in shifts - there are good days and bad days in the cycle of Goodwill shopping. Whatever - I didn't get a pot for my plant.

But, a day cleaning out the cupboard beats a day in the classroom.

And tomorrow? Mammogram Day. Then the beach on Monday.


I Am All This and More

I am Elinor Dashwood!

Take the Quiz here!

You are Elinor Dashwood of Sense & Sensibility! You are practical, circumspect, and discreet. Though you are tremendously sensible and allow your head to rule, you have a deep, emotional side that few people often see.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Winken, Blinken or Nod(ding off)?

I took a long lunch today; one that's going to last until the first day of school. And when I got home, I took a long nap. I am exhausted - still - and I have been asleep on every surface in my house. LawyerBoy's chair, couch, bed. I'm surprised I haven't fallen face first in the washer, sink or on top of the kitchen table.

Still got dinner and choir to get through, but who knows if I will be awake long enough to make it or get there.

Why does the end of school knock my socks off like it does?

In other school randomness, creepy principal dad was making our After School Program workers make a list of the times when he and his ex-wife picked their daughters up after school. From Day 1. It appears he is about to make a move for custody; I'd be happy to testify that he is an A number one ASSHAT. (Thanks, Jen Lancaster, for my new vocabulary word!!) You should have seen him in action on our field trip. Asshat.

I also got a phone call today from the middle school math supervisor's secretary - she wanted to know how comfortable I'd be teaching ALGEBRA to 8th graders who had failed the Super Big State Test. (All together, now: AHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!) As much as I'd like the extra money, I don't want to fail these kids who so desperately need to pass. And besides, it would apparently mess up my badly needed naps.

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Monday, May 26, 2008

In Honored Glory


Sunday, May 25, 2008

No Child Left Behind or What?

My week has been absorbed with test results flowing back from the Big State Test. Apparently, our state department of education is being led by an idiot and her crew. Approximately 70% of our state's 6th and 7th graders failed the Social Studies test and 60% of the 8th graders failed the Math test. Our illustrious leader has decided to throw out the Social Studies results but she is letting the math results stand. It is impossible to go on to the next grade in 5th or 8th grade without passing the Reading and/or Math tests, unless, of course, you go to summer school, retake the test and pass. (If you don't pass, your parents may request a conference with your former principal and teacher and you may be promoted administratively. That information may not be widely known, however.)

All hell's done broken loose, here. It was revealed that people in the State Department of Education knew that students were going to fail the Social Studies test in record numbers and did nothing to prevent it. They told no one. They also knew that the math scores were going to take a rather large dive and also did nothing. Their rationale was that the curriculum and standards had changed, so, of course, some kids were going to fail. What they didn't take into account was the fact that lots of kids who failed the Big State Test were Honors students who had made As and Bs all year long.

As I said, All hell's done broken loose. We're talking summer school, a retest and possible retention for kids who were honors students. I am surprised that our state superintendent hasn't requested a body guard. Parents are calling for her resignation and her recall. Wheeeee!

I have not heard the state failure percentage on 5th grade in math: I know that our school failure rate was right at about 20%. Some of the kids who failed were expected: if you don't know your math facts what do you want me to do? I can't possibly teach you pre-algebra if you can't add, multiply or work with decimals. And that is the whole problem. When the state changed the standards, our glorious leaders didn't take into account those children who haven't, can't, didn't move ahead quickly enough for whatever reason. Our state requires second graders to master multiplication facts.

I'll give you a minute to let that sink in.

Second graders to master multiplication facts. Second graders can barely add with regrouping and yet we expect them to multiply. Hello?

I am all for keeping up with China and Japan and India, but at the same time, I am all for a curriculum that is age appropriate and is it really appropriate for a second grader to be held responsible for multiplication facts? I just don't think so.

But, hey. No one in the Department of Education asked me, or any other teacher, about changing the standards or writing the tests. Trust me. The Social Studies questions would have made sense and the Math questions would have matched what the teachers taught. I guarantee.

And guess who's looking for a slew of summer school math teachers?

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Saturday, May 24, 2008

Keith Olbermann, Hillary and Barack

I usually don't go all politics on you because as the header says, it's all teaching all the time except... well the exception has just been made.

Much has been made about another stupid comment Hillary has offered us. This time, she is talking assassination. Now, people, I remember this one: Bobby Kennedy murdered in California. I was in the second grade and had already started reading the Washington Post on a regular basis. (God, I love my parents.) The day after he was shot, I remember reading the headline that he had died. I watched his funeral, the funeral procession and his burial that beautiful June Saturday afternoon. My parents took the TV out in the backyard and all our neighbors gathered all day long. (Technology being what it was in 1968, we had several extension cords plugged in and hanging out the kitchen window.)

My parents had taken me to President Kennedy's funeral - we stood on some street in Washington and watched as his casket was pulled by us. Now, I don't really remember it, but I have heard the story so many times and have seen so much footage, I believe I remember it, but there really isn't a way that I possibly could.

I grew up believing I was a lifelong Democrat. I married a lifelong Republican. A Milton Friedman economist, Ronald Reagan Republican. Feel my pain.

Early this morning, my beloved Cupcake wrote a scathing blog about how Hillary had finally disappointed her to the point of forcing her to choose Barack. Here at teachergirl, that hasn't been the case since, oh, Gary Hart. Yeah, I supported Bill Clinton, but probably for all the wrong reasons. I have been systematically disappointed by the Democratic Party for years and when I had to explain to a then 3rd grader (dancing with the words, mind you) why we were impeaching a sitting President, that is when I bolted.

Al Gore would have received my vote if he had stood up and said that what Bill Clinton had done was wrong. I had been a huge Al Gore fan in 1988 when he was first running against Bill Clinton. ( I thought he was the right good ole Southern boy.) Instead, he chose to ignore the stain Bill left on the Oval Office. I believe that if you can't take a stand against something so inherently wrong, you don't deserve to be president.

Hillary is a cold, calculating bitch. There. I said it. I wouldn't eat lunch with her, let alone give her my vote for President. Go to Arkansas with Bill Clinton when she knew he was a dog and wasn't even married to him yet? She was plotting way back then.

And Barack Obama: I don't get him and his popularity. If he wants to come by the house and my classroom for a chat, feel free. But, he and Michelle are like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. I really don't think they get me. There is no possible way I will be able to watch the news or read the newspaper if he ever becomes President.

And Keith? He has been openly campaigning on MSNBC for Barack Obama since the primary season started. As a journalism student, I always believed that journalists were supposed to keep their own personal preferences personal. (My best friend's father was a journalist and managed to get himself on Nixon's enemies list. We were proud and afraid at the same time. Keith Olbermann's obvious political preferences probably have him spinning in his grave.)

Yesterday's rant, and yes, let's face it, Keith was in full rant mode, should have been paid for by the Obama campaign. (And please remember, I am no fan of Hillary.) And Keith's sign off---"Good night and good luck:" do NOT go invoking Edward R. Murrow. You are no Edward R. Murrow, Keith, and you never will be.

So, this Memorial Day weekend, let's all go take a think: think about those boys at Lexington and Concord, those boys at Gettysburg and Antietam, those boys at San Juan Hill, those boys at the Battle of the Somme, those boys at Normandy, those boys at Pusan, those boys at Khe Sanh, those boys and girls in the Gulf War and those boys and girls in Iraq and Afghanistan and you decide who you want defending this country and representing it around the world. And do you want Keith Olbermann making your mind up for you?


Friday, May 23, 2008

Stick a Fork In Me, 'Cause I'm Done

I packed them up and I sent them home; it's a holiday weekend and it was payday. Can it get any better?


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

What's Up on CNN?

While watching John King and his map, that infamous toy he has become so competent at using during this primary season, I happened to see him, at least I think it was him, mapping Senator Ted Kennedy's head. He popped the top off and then he proceeded to draw around the cancerous tumor that was discovered today. Now, I might be mistaken. It might have been someone else at CNN, but people, someone on the network was ghoulishly drawing around the man's tumor-laden head.


Monday, May 19, 2008

Field Day Kicked My Butt

Our annual homage to all things physical started with the chicken dance in the gymnasium at 8:30 AM today. It didn't end until I danced to the mariachi band playing on the playground at 1:45 PM. We played hard today.

Oh yeah. Test scores came this afternoon, too. Only one surprise right out of left field. Creepy principal's daughter passed (BIG HURRAH) and my one kid who I lamented over endlessly passed, too. However, Bob Marley didn't make it through Math and neither did another one of my geniuses who hasn't got a lick of sense. The thing I discovered, though, was that 14 of the 17 kids who didn't make it through math this year were taught by the same teacher in the same class. We do math compacting, which is a fancy way of saying we departmentalize by ability. The majority of the kids who didn't pass were in the lowest class and were served by not one, but two, math teachers. I'm not sure what to say - because all of those kids who failed were not helping themselves - these were the ones who never did any work, who goofed off quite a bit and didn't have much parental support. Even my AP said that one of the kids in my homeroom who failed the math section spent more time playing and staying in trouble than he did worrying about working. Oh, yes. She was referring to Bob Marley.

And speaking of Bob, his mother made an appointment last Wednesday for a conference with the 5th grade team to see what could be done for him and his failing grades. (Are you kidding me?) We had eight days of school left when we had this conference. She reported to us that Bobby was an A/B student and that this was quite unusual for him. It was all that I could do to stay in my seat. I've seen the perm record. The only A s and B s in it are in his name.

Now come on. Bob isn't an A/B student and he isn't gifted. The other members of my team laid it on the line. He doesn't work. He thinks he can get by with his charm. He is lazy. He doesn't write down any assignments and he is completely unmotivated. I finally said that if he didn't pass the Big State Test, I was going to recommend that he be retained in the 5th grade.

All hell didn't break loose, but I think it was close.

So, now Bob and some of his closest friends are going to get a shot at summer school. If they pass the test, they get to go to 6th grade. If not, we get to discuss their futures.

Can't wait.

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Friday, May 16, 2008

Count 'Em !!!!


Monday, May 12, 2008

Look For Me Tomorrow with Her!!

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Quick, Before My Connection Dies Again

So many things to say and so little time...

My internet has been acting like crap, but while I have a connection, I thought I would catch you up: ten days, people. Ten.
One of my geniuses withdrew on Friday. Explain, please.
Four more days of lifeguard training for PrepGirl. It's been driving me crazy. She's fine.
I had to represent my fellow teachers at a meeting headed up by the assistant superintendent. I wouldn't have been the other teacher for all the proverbial tea in China. She was on the dark side. I represented goodness and light.
Did I mention that we have ten days left?
Happy Mother's Day, girls. Hope this is a good one.


Sunday, May 04, 2008

Back From the Dead and Ready to Party

So, camping with 65 fifth graders: it's not just a job, it's an adventure.

I came home tired, dirty.... I'm sure you all can fill in all the adjectives you can think of. Have you ever been with your students for more than 24 hours? Just fill in those blanks.

Some kids said this was the most fun they had ever had. And I believe it. Because some of these kids have never seen the great outdoors.

But let me tell you... that assistant principal daddy was one of our chaperones and he was worthless. Our own PE coach was a chaperone and he was also worthless. (He hit on every GS leader in the area.)

But in other news, PrepGirl tried out and made the Varsity cheerleading squad and got accepted into Honors American Studies for next year. BrownBear is trying to get into Algebra next year - not pre but regular. So, I guess my summer has come and gone, because both of them are flipping right past June, July and August, so they can write down things that happen in September, October and November.

And last night was the art auction. Remember, tequila, your boss and parents. Never pretty.

But, and can I get a hallelujah, the magic number is 15.

And I can do FIFTEEN.

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