Friday, May 23, 2008

Senior Awards Assembly and other random vents

This morning is our Senior Awards Assembly. And I do mean this morning. The assembly will last for at least 3 hours. In the gym. On the bleachers. For 3 hours. My back is already complaining. As are my freshmen in my homeroom. They don't understand why they have to attend. I don't understand why they even came to school today. Oh, wait! The SOL field day is this afternoon after lunch. I'm sure parents said something to the effect of, "Either go to school for the whole day, or not at all." So all but two of my homeroom students are here.

Tradition kind of dictates that teachers and staff dress up for the Senior Awards. Then, we change clothes for the afternoon of Grease-like fun and frolic. The PTB evidently never tell staff and teachers to dress up, so about half the staff are in jeans, and the other half are dressed to the nines. New teachers are particularly shocked to see that maybe they should be in nicer clothes. Teachers who have been here for awhile take the "I'm not doing it unless I'm told" stance, and come in jeans just to be spiteful. I wore a dress because last year I was told by other teachers about the dichotomy of dress on this day. I figure it this way: Parents are at this assembly, it's for the graduating class, and they deserve a modicum of respect. So I wore a dress. Big deal. I'll change after lunch, before I go out to my duty of SOL field day.

Speaking of that....
I'm listed to be in two different places at the same time. Huh. I'm supposed to be at the front of the school for the 'Inflatable Basketball and Velcro Wall' station. I think that means there will be a huge neon-colored inflatable basketball goal that students will play basketball on, and I've been told the Velcro Wall is just that - a velcro wall where students put on a velcro suit, jump at the wall, and try to stick. Also, I've been assigned to an inside room supervising the playing of board games. So, here's my dilemma: Do I go outside and drive myself nuts trying to keep up with all the crazies throwing themselves and others on a velcro wall? Or do I go crazy with boredom in a room where no students will be? Board games? Are you serious?? I may wander between the two as I see fit.

I'm looking forward to 3:00

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Channeling Kathryn Turner

I'm losing my voice, and I'm at that husky stage where I sound like Kathryn Turner, Demi Moore, Lauren Bacall - take your pick. Fun. So, no teaching for me today - my voice is getting softer by the minute. I found a great video about the arctic, made by the same people who did March of the Penguins, about the impact a warming climate and sea has on a polar bear and walrus family. Baby polar bears and baby walri - can't lose. Meanwhile, I'm eating Hall's like candy. I have an appointment at the Health Cottage this afternoon during my planning. (The Health Cottage is a great perk for our school system - a nurse practitioner on staff who can prescribe medication for students and staff - - for free!)

Got a few scores back, for those students who did not have the read-aloud option. So far, my students are doing well. Only one failure, and that student is eligible for expedited re-take next week. My head ptb made me fist bump with him in the hall. Creepy factor: 8.75.

I'm worried about my read-aloud kids, because they're the ones who have struggled all year. We're hoping for those scores sometime today. Getting those scores, and seeing many passing scores, will go a long way toward making me feel better!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Countdown to lift-off


We are done with SOL testing, except for those who need to take make-up tests or those who scored close enough (missed it by that much) to be allowed an expedited retake. Now, that would be good - if we knew the scores. No scores yet. No scores on the horizon. Great.

OK - so no more SOL review, and we're back on regular schedule today and tomorrow. I don't know what I'll teach, because we're all burnt out. I started showing the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind yesterday during one of my 2-hour sessions with a class that was through testing. It's an Earth Science movie - did you know that? Yep - halfway through the movie, I paused the action on a still shot of Devil's Tower. Me: "Can anyone tell me what that is?" Random students: "A volcanic neck!" Swish! Earth Science! It's all good... So, I guess we'll finish watching that in that class - and maybe start it in another? I dunno.

Added to that - Yearbooks were handed out in homerooms just now. Do I want to fight the yearbook battle today, or should I just allow about 15 minutes per class for oohing and aahing over the books. Again, I dunno. AND - a teacher just came to me, and asked if he could observe my class today! What? Today? Not a good idea. Y'see, the PTB have decreed we must all observe in another class 4 times each school year. My observations are done, but many teachers procrastinate, and don't get the observations done until there's almost nothing left to observe. I told him he could come in tomorrow - not that he'll see much, but I'll be teaching...something.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Yep - I'm slack. Completely missed the 20-day mark. Oh well, so it goes.

We are SOL testing this week, which means the schedule is just crazy. We only have 3 classes each day, and each class is 2 hours long. Gak. Some days (like today) that's OK - I have my planning for 2 hours at the end of the day. Sweet. Other days, like Friday, Monday, and Tuesday coming up - I get no break at all. Not sweet. I also get to see my Resource class for 2 hours today. I have a hard time getting them to be productive for 45 minutes each day, now I have to ask them to work on something (anything!!) for 2 hours. I'm hoping some of them (the seniors especially) decide to take the day off so I don't have to fight with them. I talked with one of my seniors (who is never out) and he said he has some movies which are 'government related.' Should be interesting....

This morning, one of the new teachers in the building was approached by an assistant ptb. He actually came to her door, and and did the finger crook at her. She went in the hall, and he told her that students were checking out because "Mrs. __________ isn't teaching anything today anyway." (She teaches a non-SOL science course - usually populated by juniors and seniors) She let him know that she was, indeed, teaching today and those students were lying. They have an exam they are preparing for. She also told him she was offended that the ptb would believe she would not be teaching/reviewing. Then, the head ptb came by to try to smooth her ruffled feathers - telling her they were checking in with all teachers, making sure they were not telling students to go ahead and check out because no instruction would be happening. Yeah - he lied. No one has checked with me, or anyone else that I know of. She told him she was still offended. As she put it to him, "I've heard all the announcements for the last week or so, informing students that teaching and activities would still be taking place, and they are to be in school."