Sunday, May 31, 2009

Christopher Lee

The Boy just saw Christopher Lee at our favorite Liquor Store. The Boy asked if I wanted to go with him, but I decided to stay home and sweep instead. Grr.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

20 Something Bloggers!

Thanks for being so welcoming 20SB!

The Difference between playing Super Mario Bro 3 when you are 9 and when you are 26.

When I started this blog one of things I read was to stick to your topic. My topic; teaching and learning in a nutshell. I will try my best to follow this rule. However, since its summer, other things are going to creep in. Starting with Video Games!

The Boy and I bought each other a Wii for our respective birthdays. We had thought about getting one for awhile and this month when we both realized we both still wanted one, we went for it. Wii sports came with it and we bought Mario Party 8 as well. I'm open for suggestions for other great games as I've been out of the gaming world for a really long time. (As in since 1998 when I fell in love with Spyro the Dragon!) Though I do dabble in the world of Spore every once in awhile these days.

The other great thing about getting a Wii and having a boyfriend who is a computer engineer is that you can hack the Wii. I would never have ventured into the hacking by myself, but The Boy is a genius. We now have emulators (for those of you that aren't as geeky as him, they pretend to be the older consoles) for Ninetendo, Super Ninetindo and Sega. We might even be able to get a Playstation 1 emulator as well, so that I can play Spyro again! eeeeee!

When I was a kid, my brother and I spent a lot of time at the Hinsdale Youth Center. Not sure what that place looks like now but when we used to spend our time in the building there was a pool room, (like billards, not swimming) a game room with free arcade games and nintendos and a gym upstairs where you could play organized games.

In the game room there were about seven nintendos with an assortment of games that kids could play. There was always a line and whenever you "died" and you had to give your spot up to whoever was waiting. The kids like my brother, born to be gamers, were in there the whole day. I would try to play every once in awhile, but mostly hung in out in the gym and pool room.

When I did get to play Nintendo at the HYC, on slow days, I loved playing Super Mario Bros 3. Sometimes my brother would come over and give me tips and show me shortcuts, but mostly it was just me playing those first world levels over and over. With The Hack we can play Super Mario Bros 3.

I was playing by myself yesterday while The Boy was at work and had a good laugh. I couldn't believe how much I remembered from those first two levels. Also funny is how different it is to play as an adult.

TV: At the age of nine I played on old TVs (even old for that time) where you pulled a button out to turn the TV on and spun it for the volume. At the age of 26, I play on a beautifully large flat screen TV with a remote!

Volume: At the age of nine, at the HYC you either had to keep your TV on mute or very low so that it didn't distract the kids playing next to you. At the age of 26, I'm in my own house and so can play it as loud as I damn well please. It's extra fun that way.

Seating: At the age of nine I played on school chairs, plastic and easy to clean, but very uncomfortable after about 20 minutes. (This is why I make my students move around all day.) At the age of 26, I sit on The Boy's big blue cushy couch. I can even lean back and use the head rest.

Controller: At the age of nine, the controllers were sticky after months of being in use, I learned to hit the button a split second before I actually had to. I had to sit really close to the TV because the cord connecting the controller to the TV wasn't very long. At the age of 26, not only are controllers unsticky, they are also wireless!

Snacks: At the age of nine, I used to buy a bag of chips or M & Ms and sit there munching while I played. At the age of 26, I have my own kitchen and food stash. Before playing yesterday, I chopped up the whole melon we got in our CSA (community supported agriculture) box and munched in between moments of death (which there were many because now with unsticky controllers I'm always hitting the button too early) and reloading.

Play time: At the age of nine, I usually had other nine year old boys breathing down my neck while I was playing, waiting for their turn. (No wonder I played so badly.) At the age of 26, I can play when I want. (And its sexy when The Boy breathes down my neck!)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Aaahh, the sweet smells of summer!

I'm so glad its over. So very glad. The last day went relatively smoothly. In the morning I sent some of the kids to the first grade classroom to help that teacher pack her things (first graders aren't very good at that!) I had sent kids to Kindergarten the day before as well. Then, they watched a bit of Monster's INC and then we joined up with fourth grade to go to the park.

I brought my towel for a blanket and camped out on the grass with Sophie for the three hours we were there, every twenty minutes or so I would get up and make sure my nine students were still inside the park. It was sunny with clouds and not too hot, there were trees, grass and shade so it was very nice. Some of the other teachers had brought kites, balls, bats and frisbees for the kids to share. The organized chaos was quite bearable. The Boy brought me lunch on the motorcycle. Twas lovely.

We got back to school with about two hours to go and watched "The Amazing Panda Adventure with the fourth grade. Cosmo had been giving me trouble day, disrespectful comments, whining, refusal to follow directions, the works. But it came to a head during the movie. He had been sitting quietly watching the movie for about an hour next to Allen on one side of the room. Cassie and Fiona were on the other side of the room reading books and picking their heads up only at the action parts. One second I look over and Cosmo is next to Allen, the next he's shoved himself up next to Cassie and Fiona and has started talking to them. I asked him nicely (even used the word 'please') to move back to where he was sitting for two reasons; 1, he has been smothering Fiona lately and 2. Everything was quiet before he moved. He refused and I asked him again, he refused, then said he would and then didn't move. I tried one more time. Nothing. Sophia popped up and said, "That's it. You stand up right now and come with me." And out of class he went for a stern talking to.

I know that Fiona said that she talked her mother into letting her go to ADLR next year for seventh grade but I'm afraid that she'll change her mind over the summer and I won't ever see her again. So after every one was dismissed I gave her my email address and told her to keep in touch and that I was really proud of what she had done this year. She gave me a big hug and promised to get in touch. I hope hope she does. I would hate to lose track of her.

It really was great to come home that day. Wheww. I'm really looking forward to classes starting this summer. I can't wait to be on the other side of the desk for a change. I hope the summer camp with Sophia goes off without a hitch. We have one trip planned for the end of the summer and perhaps even a drive to Roswell (no alien stuff without you Grant, I promise!) to see my first roommate from college, Ben's parents are coming down to visit and revel in their beautiful house. It should be a really nice two months.

Next week I'm working with an education consulting firm that I love. I was introduced to the woman who runs it, Marta (not real name) during my E.A. year when she hired me to write some of the Social Studies curriculum that we use now. These workshops are going to be a Standards Based Checklist that she created for teachers to easily track what their students know according to the state standards during the course of a year. I love them. I really wish ADLR used them. On Monday, I'll be speaking at a pueblo school and on Tuesday for two other charter school in the city. I've done five or six workshops for her now. I'm almost not even nervous!

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Huzzah! Finished! More tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

These are the days of Hell.

The last days are always the worst.

Last year at about this time the Sr. Callejo was putting together last minute field trips for everyone to go on. I think I went on one of them with my class. Refer to this post for why field trips with ADLR are terrible. On Monday night Ben said, "You know, tomorrow morning Sr. Callejo is going to hand you some permission slips at the last minute and you're going to have to go." I was sort of hoping that because he said it, it wouldn't happen. No such luck.

Tuesday was epic before that however. My class had Performing Arts at nine. So we did some simple math and I sent them on their way. Now, a little history. The performing arts teacher is seriously a trip. Ms. Tours is a great dance teacher, but that's really all she is. She has zero control over the students who want nothing to do with the dancing. She'll work with the girls and leave the boys to their own devices in the very back of the large cafeteria.

On this particular morning, she took them to one of the smaller conference rooms to watch a movie on African Dance or some such thing. About forty five minutes later, Cassie came running into the office where I was organizing and filing paperwork to tell me that "the boys are fighting!" So I shoved my paperwork aside and sprinted through the hallway trying to decide the best way to break up a fight between boys that both bigger and stronger than me. Luckily by the time I got to the room they had already been separated by the other kids (note; not Ms. Tours who look completely frightened.) Fonzo was sitting at one end of the room and Cosmo and Allen were at the other sort of shouting insults back and forth.

After listening to everyone's shouting accusations of who had started the fight and why, I pulled Monte, Fonzo and Cosmo out of the conference room, asked Ms. Tours to keep my kids a little longer and headed upstairs with them. We spoke to Cosmo first, but while we were talking to him Fonzo flipped out. I mean; flipped out. He start screaming hysterically, making suicidal statements, pounding his fists, sobbing, slamming the desk and the chair he was near; flipping out. We had to call the cops, they came spoke with him, calmed him down, got in touch with Child Protective Services (who said when we called about him that there was nothing they could do) and get contact with Fonzo's sister.

I left the office to deal with the fight at 9:45 (I remember looking up at the clock on the wall before shooting out of the room) and didn't get down winding up lose ends with the police and paperwork until 1:30 in the afternoon. It was crazy. Monte and Fonzo were suspended for three days (i.e. the rest of the year.) Cosmo was let off the hook because it turned out he was trying to break up the fight and keep Fonzo from beating Monte's face to shreds.

That afternoon we spent organizing and packing up the classroom. I noticed that Cosmo and Allen were all of a sudden not in the classroom. I went out into the hallway and around the corner and found them talking to Sr. Callejo and Ms. Tenny, the fifth grade teacher. They were trying to wiggle their way onto the fifth grade field trip to Santa Fe the next day. Sr. Callejo then looked at me and said, "Well, can they go or do you think that's not fair to the other students?" I said, "That's completely not fair to the other students." So he asked I wanted to take my whole class. I said, "No, I don't want to take my class." He looked at me a bit surprised and said, "Remember, years from now that these are the things your students are going to remember." I don't remember exactly what I said next, but I shooed the boys back into the classroom and said to the principal, "Look, the day before isn't enough time for me to organize chaperones, I have a lot of things left in the classroom to do and I just don't trust these kids, I barely have control over them in the classroom. I don't feel safe going on a field trip to Santa Fe." He agreed. Jeez, I thought, if they can't even stay in their own classroom they certainly shouldn't be running around in Sante Fe. I was really annoyed that he asked me in front of the children, that's the third or fouth time he's done that and made me look like the bad guy because I'm the one being practical.

He did pass out permission slips for a trip to the park for the last day of school. So there are no plans, just that we are going to the park. I didn't even know until the last half hour of the day. I'm hoping for organized chaos, but I'm betting it's just going to be chaos.

I think though, that I'm the only teacher who has everything done for the year. Paperwork filed, reports finished and passed out, classroom packed labelled and ready to go. That makes me feel good. When I leave school tomorrow, I will actually be leaving school. It's going to feel good!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Most Beautiful Thing

          I grew up in the Berkshire Mountains of the northeast.  Every time I tell people here in the Land of Enchantment that I'm from Massachusetts, everyone assumes I'm from Boston.  I tell them that actually I live about as far away from Boston as possible and still live in the state.  Most people have never even heard of the small city that is near my even smaller town.

          The mountains that I grew up in hid most of the horizon, it was rare that I had a view of the entire sky while I was growing up.  Moving out here has completely changed that as anyone who has been out west can imagine.  One of the most amazing things that my mother and I experienced on the drive from MA to NM was the expanse of horizon we saw in Texas and into New Mexico.  Yesterday on I25 South Ben and I watched thunderstorms roll in from from the West.  I watched lightening strike and at one point counted ten different storms.  Talk about Enchantment, I couldn't take my eyes away.  It was nature at one of it's most glorious moments:


Saturday, May 23, 2009

Paperwork Done

Paperwork finished! Only three days left!

So close!

          I have finished my lesson plans for perusal by the administration, I'm working on making my grade book make sense to someone other than myself, I have report cards to write up and only three days of school left!  Bah!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Marianna's Mother's Decision, Fiona, Paperwork

Marianna's Mother's decision finally came in yesterday afternoon. She has decided to retain her, no word on testing or not however. Interesting. She has also promised to bring Marianna back to Alma De La Rosa. I don't think she was planning on getting back to us however. She picked Marianna up from school early on Thursday and I asked Janice, the admin. assistant who came to get her out of class to ask her mother if she had a "letter" for me. Twenty minutes later, Sr. Callejo called me out of class to discuss situation. The letter also states that Marianna will not be back for last week of school. (Grr. I hate it when parents do this, it looks really bad on our attendance reports that are sent to the state.) But at least we have a plan for her for next year.

Fiona will be coming back to ADLR next year. For awhile her mother said that she was going to have to go to a city middle school if we had to leave our current location. It seems like she has relented however, which is very good news. I would have been so sad to see her go after these two years. I'm going to pass my email to her anyway, just in case her mother changes her mind at the last second.

Cosmo had his last day of in school suspension yesterday. That morning Sr. Callejo buzzed into my room to ask if he could be let out early because he had done all his work and had behaved well for Janice. I said that I didn't think that was fair to all the kids who had served all of their suspension time well (like Denise and Marianna and Allen.) Cosmo is always saying that he doesn't think I'm fair, that I treat the girls better than the boys (wonder why? umm...the girls rarely have to be told to do anything twice) So I sat down directly across from him and got right in his face and said in a low tone, "This is an example of me being 100 percent fair. Did I ever let anyone else out of in school suspension early? No, I did not. It would not be fair if I let you out." He grudgingly agreed but I think he was still pissed about it.

I've realized the last few times that he has been that angry, that he looks like an angry gangsta, like someone off of law and order. Like someone who feels like not only the person he disagrees with, but the whole world is set against him. Not just an angry kid pissed off because he's sick of being a kid. He looks like an angry gangsta. It takes me a second to remember that its still a child I'm looking at (a child that is bigger than me, but a child none the less.) He's so smart and so caring, I really hope that side wins out as he continues to grow.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Four Days Left!

It's true! Only four days left of the school year. I'm swamped with paperwork, place cards, testing requirements, grades, report cards, retention paper work and on top of that, we have to pack up our classrooms! Craziness! I think my students have a good start on the packing, we shall pick that up in earnest next week. I'm so behind on paperwork though, I'll probably be at it all weekend.

Cosmo is trying to get out of his three days of in school suspension. I'm tempted. I let him eat lunch with the class today, because I took pity on how lonely he must get all day upstairs with only the administrative staff to keep him company. I've decided however that he need to fulfill his punishment.

Tonight was Awards Night and Kindergarten Graduation. The latter I think is ridiculous. You get high school graduation and college graduation if you are lucky, but I draw the line at Kinder graduation. I have kept mum about this particular opinion of mine (as I do with other political opinions) at school but Sr. Callejo told me a story that tore at my heart the other day. A mother came into thank him for holding a Kinder graduation ceremony because this would probably be the only time she saw her son in a cap and gown. (Yup, the kinder kids will be wearing caps and gowns.) I mean, that story got me for a second, but then it just made me a bit mad. The kid is six years old and already she has lost faith in him.

The Awards ceremony was nice. Each teacher recognized students in his or her class that stood out because of achievement and attendance. I chose my three best girls; Callie, Fiona and Denise. I wanted to be less gender heavy, but I didn't have a single boy that I thought deserved it even a little bit.

I have rediscovered the musical, "Les Miserables" along with the "Wicked" trilogy. I'm so looking forward to summer.

It rained today, smelled so nice outside.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Five Days Left! And a forgotten favorite lesson!

There are only five days left of school. Last night was the Indigo Girls concert, so I'm not at Alma De La Rosa today. However, yesterday was a doozy.

Everything went alright until the afternoon, which is about par. Cosmo has started playing football. Everything is about football. He loves to regale me with how many times he had to run up and down the hill during practice the night before. Yesterday at lunch he told me that he couldn't get in trouble for the rest of the year or he wouldn't be able to stay on the team and I said, "Wow what great leverage to hold." Then he asked me if I thought he could throw an apple (he had one in his hand) from the inside of the cafeteria where we were sitting across the driveway of the school, across the next street and hit the house on the south side of the street. This was a good long distance that perhaps Tom Brady could have made. But not my dear Cosmo. So I said, "No, I don't think you could make that throw and even if I did think you could make it, I wouldn't let you try because that's totally not allowed." He gave me a sly smile continued to beg which I mostly ignored other than to say "You better not," about three more times.

Well. He did it. And than had the gall to be upset when I wrote him up. He was given in school suspension for three days. At first I felt a little guilty because of what he told me about his football team and then I snapped out it. 1. He was dumb enough to tell me about it in first place and then 2. He was dumb enough to be so directly disobedient that he had to know I was going to write him up. I do not feel guilty.

Oh and while I'm out Teacher Rhonda is substituting for me. Awesome. Tomorrow is going to be rad! (so. not.)

A forgotten lesson: Before the election, I signed the school up to do an online election. I thought this would be it, but no, I got totally into it. My friend Brigid was working for Tom Udall at the time and I invited her to come speak to my fourth graders and give an unbiased perspective on the two candidates! The kids asked some good questions as well as some inane ones. (One of the fourth graders, Lacey is obsessed with knowing what happens to a person's property and financials after they die, she has asked each speaker we've had about it.) I created Voter Registration card based on the one I received from the state of New Mexico. The Boy used the computer to actually make it a card, with the school mascot on it and Sr. Callejo signed it as the Registrar. It was totally rad.

When the big day finally came, Sophia taught our class all day, so I could go around to all the classes and help them through the internet voting program! There was even a map that popped up (like the one on CNN) so that the kids could see how kids in other states were voting. Only seven voted for John McCain, one of the girls, Brita doing so because "Well, the other one kills babies." (Awesome.) After the election we had an all school assembly and Sr. Callejo asked me to talk to the kids about it one more time. So I stressed that in this election more young people had voted than in many years past and that when they turned 18 it would be their turn to vote for real. I really hope they remember that.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Favorite Lessons from this year!

So in the interest of being less negative, I decided to write about some of my favorite lessons of this year.

During Balloon Fiesta, (while I was still teaching fourth grade) Sophia and put together paper mache project. Simple enough, the kids had a great time and they were beautiful to look at when they were finished. Another teacher, Mr. Dido brought in a tissue paper balloon and we talked about how real balloons fly. I got to tell them my story of taking a ride in one and being in the chase car. It was the perfect example of teachers working together to create a great lesson for kids.

Before Thanksgiving (still in fourth grade) Sophia set up a soap making lesson! The kids actually made soap. I did some introductory lessons about simple chemistry and we pooled money for the materials. Parents came in and helped with some of the more complicated steps. All the kids were involved in all the steps and at the end we wrapped the soaps up and the kids sold them and used the money towards the "Earth" field trip. Fun and learning was had by all.

So far, these have been other people's (mostly the awesome Sophia) ideas. But this one is all mine. It started to snow one day (still fourth grade) and the kids were so excited for recess. Except that Sr. Callejo imposed every kids' worst nightmare; indoor recess. The kids were devastated. He does this because we are living in New Mexico and he think parents will be mad if their children are outside in less than 60 degree weather. Anyway. Well the bathrooms are across the driveway so I took the kids to the bathroom and on the way there and back I had them catch snowflakes on their shirtsleeves and look at them up close. When we got back to the classroom I read them the story about Snowflake Bentley (which I had just happened to order the week before) and then in small groups of three they looked at pictures on the internet of snowflakes magnified. The kids loved it. I felt really good about it!

Now for the sixth grade. There have been many moments, especially since Monte moved into our school. Monte is questioning some part of his gender. This has opened up a can of worms that until he came was just not something that was part of the class' world. But there have been at least three conversations where I think I really made a difference in the way that the kids saw people that do not follow the usual gender identity pattern.

I also just absolutely love how the girls have turned out. They really are a bit of a hint of what they will be.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

SAT, Pedis, Manis and Dog!

Ok, SAT meeting yesterday. It was the last official meeting of the year and we had 5 students to talk about. Marianna from my class was last on the list.

Marianna is one of my lowest students. I had her last year and was unsure whether to promote or retain her. Sr. Callejo and I got together and decided that because she was progressing (albeit slowly) we would retain her and monitor her progress this year. Well this year she had Teacher Rhonda for the first six months of school and she basically stopped progressing.

I had parent teacher conferences about a month or so after the switch. I explained to her mother that after working with Marianna all last year and so far this year, I felt that pushing her into seventh grade (she's about three years behind in both math and reading) would be too much of a leap and she would feel left behind and frustrated. The mother was disappointed but understood what I was saying (through a translator.) I explained to the mother that I would put Marianna through the SAT process we would see where we landed in May. She agreed.

Well, Marianna is still behind and is still progressing slowly. Going through her educational history, we learned that she had been taken out of bilingual classes and put in monolingual classes before she was fluent in either language. Because she was not able to continue learning in Spanish it became it was hard for her to continue learning English as students use their first language to help them learn the second. I've also noticed some interesting things about her reading. For example, when reading Dr. Seuss, where there are repetitive words she'll still miss the same word ten, twelve pages in. When she is reading English or Spanish she'll skip whole syllables. Both of these are red flags and when I brought them up at the meeting some of the other teachers suggested testing for Special ED.

The mother refused testing outright. Which surprised me. I had heard stories of parents refusing testing but had never seen it happen in person. Sr. Callejo explained to me (in a very patronizing way, that "that's a big deal, a big label for the Latino culture to deal with." Oh, how I hate that...he makes it sound like 1, I don't know that Special Ed is seen as a negative label by most of society, 2, that I don't know anything about the Latino culture and 3, I need things explained to me because I'm just an Anglo.) So, I said, "Well, it's a big label for everybody, which is why we explain to the parents that they can still refuse services after the testing, but that the results of the testing will help us learn how to best help the student."

Anyway, we gave the mother a few options; 1. Marianna is held back in the sixth grade, 2. Marianna is tested, 3. Marianna is held back and tested, 4. Marianna is promoted to seventh grade and tested, 5. Marianna is promoted. We back and forth over the options, assuring the parent that the first time a student is recommended for retention, the parent could override (not the second time though.) She just couldn't decide. So I suggested we give her a few days to decide. She agreed that she would let us know by Monday.

I've a bad habit of tearing at my cuticles. I've had this habit...gosh...since middle school I think. My mother could probably tell you exactly when she noticed. It's I'm stressed/I'm bored habit. My thumbs have always have always gotten the worst of it. Two years ago, I noticed that my tearing habits had moved to my toes as well. This I put a stop to. I got a pedicure every other month or so, so that they would be too pretty to tear. It worked! Here is the latest:

I made a deal with myself that if I could just let my fingers and thumbs heal and the nails grow a little, I would go and get a manicure. It took two years, but I was finally able to do it. I went for two manicures and the second time watched very closely. I will probably never be able to do a pedicure as well as the ladies at Magic Nails, but I could probably do a manicure alright and lo and behold, after two or three tries, I think I got the knack of it:

I guess it's a little fuzzy, but there are little pink ditty dots! Yay! I hope I can keep it up!

So an update on the dog. We are not getting a pitbull. (Everyone hear that?) I guess people actually read this blog because I've had a few interesting calls from family about it. My parents made it very clear that they didn't think this was a good idea for all sorts of reasons. But for me it finally came down to the idea that I don't want my parents to visit (as they will be in November and...well...the rest of my life) and be afraid of the dog. Even better, years from now when we have little ones running around I don't want my mother sitting at home thousands of miles away worrying about what the dog might do to the children. So no pitbull.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Summer Plans!

Sophia asked me this morning if I thought she was crazy to try and create a small summer camp. I said, "No, I don't think that's a crazy idea at all and I'd like to help!" Cooking, knitting, making soap, wrapping soap, taking the dog for a walk (her dog), making ice cream, taking hikes are all some fun ideas we have come up with. We will also do some reading and math along the way. I hope it works out!

Eight Days Left

Eight days left. Solo ocho. I can do it!

I did finally get an update on Allen, the boy who had professed suicidal thoughts during class. He was admitted to the hospital, placed under observation, put on antidepressants and was released today. So, with any luck I should see him tomorrow. This is good because he is only person left that I need to administer my end of the year tests too.

Also, we had the last SAT (Student Assistance Team) meeting of the year. The little sister of one of the students I had last year was up for today and my former student, Azul showed up as well. Every time I see her, I just want to strangle her.

Each year, since starting at Alma De La Rosa, I've had one defining day. During my E.A. year with the kinder class it came the day I was substituting in the third grade. We were working on a math lesson, I think it was measurement conversion. Anyway, I was interrupted when I heard one boy say, "Oh my gosh, this kid just said that instead of teaching you should just take off your clothes and strip!" I think he was just so surprised by what the other boy had said he couldn't keep quiet. I didn't know what to do. I explained all this to Ms. Hernandez when she returned later that morning and the boy was told to report to the Sr. Callejo's office. The mother was called, he was was a big day for me having never been in that position before.

The next year, Azul decided pretty early on that I was too white to be her teacher and made it clear that she didn't like me. I didn't realize until to late that she had it in for me. One day as the year was coming to an end, I think it was March. I was leading the class out to recess. I left my Nalgene water bottle and my computer (this computer acutally) on the reading table that was just inside the "door." (I use the term lightly as we didn't really have really walls.) While I was leading the class out, Azul convinced Fiona and another girl Heather to put hand sanitizer all over the outside of my computer and INTO my drinking water. Before I sat down to eat with them half an hour later I added some water to my bottle. I drank some at lunch and I thought it tasted funny but I chalked it up to the custodian just cleaning the water cooler spout. Then the third graders came over for Science class and as I began the lesson, I took a large swig of water. Three of the third grade girls shouted that I should stop drinking the water. They explained that Azul had been bragging about what she had done at recess and that they were scared I was going to die. Azul blamed it all on Heather and Fiona and neither of them had the gumption to stand up to her bulling nature.

This year was perhaps the most embarrassing. I had only been working with the sixth graders for about a week. They were in groups, working on some word problems when smoke started coming out of the heater! I got everyone out of the classroom, told one of the male teachers to pull the fire alarm and the entire school evacuated. It turns out that a CRAYON had been shoved into the heater. I couldn't believe it. It took about two hours of standard military rule teaching but I was able to get the culprit to confess. Allen.

Anyway, those are my embarrassing stories. Must get back to tying up lose ends for the end of the year...eight days left after all. More on SAT later...that's a good story too!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Almost Done!

There are only ten more days of school left! Huzzah! I say. Our last day is the 28th of May, but I have one day that I have already put in to take off to see the Indigo Girls play in May. Ten days...ten days isn't bad.

The end always comes around so fast. I have given the required reading and math tests to ten of my twelve students, two were absent on Thursday. It doesn't really feel like the end until after these are finished.

We have also heard that we will probably be moving back up to the westside of the city for next year. This is good and bad. Good because our enrollment will almost certainly go up and because we will have more space there. Bad because it means another round of packing everything up and spending two to three weeks of class time next year unpacking it all and because I'll be spending a lot more in gas next year.

Last Wednesday was interesting. One of the harder boys to deal with, Allen had a hard day. During Literacy he didn't realize I was behind him listening when he said to Cosmo, "I can't wait until I get home so that I can kill myself." I was shocked, but able to explain to him that because I'm something called a "mandated reporter" I had to report what he had said to Sr. Callejo.

Before recess, Sr. Callejo called him into the office. Later he called me up as well. Allen's mother and step-father had come in after they have received a phone call from Sr. We had a talk with them about how seriously debilitating his attitude has become and that what he had said earlier was the kind of thing that we take very seriously. They agreed and said that he had been saying things like that at home as well. They said they were going to take him to a hospital to have him checked out. Off they went. We never heard anything. I'm looking forward to him being in school tomorrow morning.

Thursday was Fiesta Fandango, our annual party in honor of Cinco De Mayo. There were lots of great dances and some awesome circus acts. My two sixth grade girls, Fiona and Callie did a fantastic dance that they choreographed themselves. Absolutely amazing. These girls can move their bodies in ways that I could never make mine move. Takes my breath away.

Also...I'm trying really hard to keep from tearing at and picking my nails and cuticles. I've been doing well for about three weeks. Yay! My mother would be so proud!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Unpacking and Dogs

The unpacking continues. I got all my knitting supplies organized and put away yesterday. We have a loft area in the upstairs that has a little sink, refrigerator and lots of cabinet space. We have nothing to put there so I decided that's where all the yarn and other knitting supplies would go.

I have a beautiful antique looking sewing table that I got for free when I moved into my first apartment here in La Pasa. It's perfect for the vintage sewing machine that my grandparents, bought me for my Master's graduation. I think it makes the hallway look like a museum!

If someone knows how to change where the photos show up in the blog let me know. I would love for the knitting cabinet picture to show up under that paragraph and the sewing table picture to show up under that paragraph. But alas.

We have most of the books put on bookshelves and the furniture where we want it, we have an almost organized kitchen. We still have to completely organize all the clothes and put things on the wall. The washer and dryer get here sometime on Sunday morning.

I was able to get into the clases de Espanol that I wanted at the Uni! So excited about that. Ben keeps teasing me by saying that now I'm going to a real college! Ha! I can't wait to buy the books! Class will todos los dias de la verano, but that's alright because the more I hear it the quicker I'll be at picking it up. Mostly, I'm really looking forward to being on the other side of the teacher's desk.

School was tough on Thursday. Not only was it the last day for the week (we have a four day schedule) but I had six boys all day! Why? you may ask? Because two girls were absent and the rest plus Fonzo went on a dance field trip. Oh. It. Was. So. Difficult. The boys are so disrespectful and frustrating.

I have come to the conclusion though that sixth graders are a lot like first graders. They don't walk in lines very well, they aren't sure where their bodies are and they smell weird. I also think that most of the time, it's not that these kids don't want to be respectful, I think its more that no one has ever truly expected it of them. Crazy.

Yesterday, while we were shopping The Boy and I visited an adopt-a-thon for the Humane Society. It makes me cry. I want a dog so badly. We are planning on getting one this summer, but it just can't happen soon enough. It's so hard to look at them in the cages. I stopped going into those pet stores in the mall years ago because I would just come out crying. It wasn't so bad when we had Jax and Allie and Jo and Leo and then just Leo because I knew I was doing my part in giving a dog a good, safe and happy home. After Leo passed away, it was really hard on me to know he wasn't at home (makes me cry now) but I was able to make friends with the dog that lived next door at our old apartment. Maggie was so sweet. I would pet her and give her treats. When we drove away from the apartment with the last load of stuff, I just burst into tears because I knew I probably wouldn't be seeing her for awhile and I wondered if she would miss me.

I was set on getting a puppy, mostly because that would mean that The Boy and I would be in charge of all the training and wouldn't have to worry about bad habits that are already instilled. But after seeing all of the adult dogs that don't have homes it makes me not care. We aren't set on a certain breed at all but don't want a tiny dog and we don't want a huge dog. Something Leo size would be perfect. There were so many pitbull mixes there and so many in this area on the internet, that I think we will get one of those. Seriously, as I'm sitting here in tears, it can't happen soon enough.