Sunday, January 31, 2010

Don't Want U Back For the Weekend

So, what happened this weekend was Shef and I and Claire the babysitter got the stomach flu from Mac.

I graded a total of three papers.

Cupcake came over and babysat for an hour and a half until Shef started ralphing and then she beat a hasty retreat. I don't blame her.

I scoured the fouled bathrooms (which had been professionally cleaned on Friday) to prepare for the showing and open house today.

I took the kids over to my mom's house to accommodate the real estate obligations. My mom beat a hasty retreat. Not that I blame her.

Finally, we're feeling a bit better. Shef insists he'll be able to go back to school tomorrow. We'll see. If he goes back, then I will too. How will I get all the papers graded and the grades recorded by Wednesday and begin two new lit units on Tuesday? I have no idea, but as we know, I'll get it done somehow. Claire probably won't be coming back to help any time soon. The series of text messages I got from her today sounded pretty grim.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Think I'm Addicted To Your Light

Before Winter Break began, I had 200 papers to grade. I've chronicled my progress extensively. I'm sure everyone is tired of hearing about those goddam (That's for you, J.D.) papers.

My total left to grade is now 16. Sixteen! That's not so bad, right?

Except now I've given my final exams.

The exams are flooding my backpack and littering my desk.

And my grades are due next week.

And kids and parents keep emailing me asking if I will round up, if I will accept just this one piece of late work, if there's ANYTHING they can do. And why did they get 21/24 on that assignment, anyway?

And I'm starting new units in both classes.

And Dan is working at his office pretty much every minute from now until Monday morning.

And Mac vomitted all over my car yesterday.

So, I think I might take a nap to prepare myself for the misery that will be this weekend and next week. Mac is napping right now, so I think that might be right thing to do.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Grow Glow Whoa

So, the treadmill was totally fine. True, I was wearing shorts in front of the students. My legs were definitely showing.

But, I just pretended it was completely normal. "Hi," I said to the kids, cheerfully.

"Hi," they said. I was pleased to note that they did not look horrified.

I ran for 30 minutes, and it was no problem. I'm doing it again tomorrow. This will be the key to my marathoning success. Thank you, High School Weight Room, I preemptively owe it all to you.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Best Day Ever

Shef has the day off, but Mac has school. When that happens, Shef and I have a tradition of dropping Mac off at his place and heading to a certain coffee shop to have cinnamon rolls while we play a board game. Today, we played SpongeBob Operation. I won once, and Shef won once.

Later, we worked on a literacy project. I read Shef a picture book with important themes, and then I suggested he respond to this book using Comic Life, a cool computer program I bought for Dan for Christmas.

Instead of responding to the picture book with important themes, Shef responded to the trailer for Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakwel.

He did a nice job with the drawings, and we had fun playing with fonts. He hit the major plot points of the trailer. You can check out his work here.

Good work, Shef. It's been a fun day.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Point of Interest!

I've gotten some positive feedback on the logo and title. I'm glad. It seems a lot of people secretly hated my previous background and font colors. And, of course, several strongly suggested that I hurry up and come up with a new title.

I'm pleased that people cared enough to feel those feelings, to tell you the truth.

Anyway, the new logo was to be for my business as a freelance writer. This was before I decided to head back to the classroom full-time, which is a decision I don't regret, as it turns out. I didn't even regret it last week, as we dealt with several extremely difficult problems at school.

Way back in March when I told my friend Renee I was going back, she said she was glad. "You just don't like teaching when you're pregnant," she said. That is so true.

I'm still hoping I can be Word Savvy in the summers, maybe. Or, I'm thinking of getting a job teaching some kind of alternative summer school. Isn't that weird? It would probably be a mistake.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Best Year Ever

This is has been a hard week, but it's now over.

In the tenth-grade classes, kids researched their new podcast. In the eleventh-grade classes, kids talked about poetic images in Their Eyes. I was stressed about Tea Cake's gambling in Chapter 13, but the boys told me it was fine.

"He won," they said. I suppose that's true. At least someone did.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Walking On Air

It's been the longest week already. So far tonight, I've planned a lesson on folklore for my American Lit class. I decided to do that because I was so utterly confused by a scene in Ch. 6 of Their Eyes Were Watching God, and I figured the key to figuring it out had to be related to folklore. Zora Neale Hurston was an anthropologist and folklorist before she became a novelist. Also, there are talking vultures in the scene.

I did find some interesting information about folklore, and I'm reasonably convinced the juniors may enjoy writing some folk narratives tomorrow.

I guess we'll see.

I've also graded three papers. I think my total number of papers to grade is now under 100. I don't know how I'll get them all done, but the only thing I can do is keep trying.

Also, I have a fleece scarf tied on my head.

Friday, January 8, 2010

It's High School Musical 3 In the Background. We Own That.

It's especially fun to be an English teacher when you're reading a book that you really like personally, and that the students don't totally understand on their own.

That way, they NEED you a little bit. And you get to dork out about symbolism and motifs and the beauty of the language.

I'm reading of two of these books right now: Their Eyes Were Watching God and Macbeth. One with American Lit and one with the sophs. This video is about that. Next, I think Rachel should make a video wherein she demonstrates her Shakespeare arm flourishes and talks about the "rhythmic nature of the relationship" between Hermia and Lysander.

TokBox - Free Video Chat and Video Messaging

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Summer Sun

Today I picked up the children and headed to Target because we were out of some necessary items: grocery bags, dishwasher soap, lotion with which to slather our terribly dry Minnesota skin.

By the time we got there, it was 5:00, so I just bought us dinner at the Target Cafe. That's a little gross, but Dan had already told me he'd be pulling an all-nighter at the office. What he said was he'd be home in time to drive Mac to school.

Now, the kids are finally asleep, the house is a disaster, and I collected another set of essays to grade today. So, let's review the current contents of my in-box: 24 more "short" stories, 56 McCarthy compare/contrast essays, and 50 essays about human nature as revealed in The Crucible.

I might as well give up now.


Message to all the parents who so kindly suggested I give more immediate and personalized feedback on their kids' essays: SHUT UP! REALLY! SHUT UP!!!! And also, back off.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Say Hey

The first day back was just fine. The kids seemed pleased to see me and each other.

I showed the 4th hour class the giant stack of papers I graded on my vacation. "I graded this many papers," I said. "Isn't that good? I worked hard on them, and now I'd like some praise and encouragement."

The class went ahead and applauded and cheered. That felt good.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Six O'Clock Already

Tomorrow, we'll fly back to Minneapolis, where the high temperature will be eight degrees.

It was nice being in the sun, but I seem to have gotten some kind of rash on my face.

"My face feels funny," I told Dan.

"Yeah," he said, "it actually looks pretty blotchy."

I'm sure the sophs and juniors will enjoy looking at this on Monday. I'm sure I'll enjoy flying back with the boys while Dan flies back alone. I'm sure it will be super easy to get them off the plane, into a cab, and back to my mom's house to pick up our car. Then, it'll be a piece of cake getting them to sleep in our freezing house. Getting up at 5:15 the next morning, feeding them, and driving Shef to school will be a cinch. And then I'll start making a difference once again with the youth of America like it's nothing at all.