Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Presidential Quotes

One of the things I've noticed around the blogosphere is that bloggers are quote happy right now and that made me remember an assignment I did during my long term assignment in the fall. I posted it on Buckhorn Road in the comments section and thought I'd simply post it here for all to see and (hopefully) use in their own classrooms. I tried to pick presidents throughout our history and narrowed the list down to what is on the assignment. The students really responded to this assignment and I read some great responses to the quotes. There was one in particular that the students liked more than the rest but I'll let you guess which one it was.

Pick Two Quotes and give a 5-7 sentence response to each quote. I want to know why you like it and what it means to you. Be descriptive in your writing. “I like it because I agree with it” is not going to be acceptable for this assignment. Put your responses (1 for each quote) on a separate piece of paper and staple it to this sheet. Each response will be worth 15 points so there is a total value of 30 points for this assignment. It will be due when you return to class.

George Washington: "Few men have virtue to withstand the highest bidder."

Thomas Jefferson: "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance."

James Madison: "The truth is that all men having power ought to be mistrusted."

James Monroe: "National honor is the national property of the highest value."

John Quincy Adams: "Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost."

Martin Van Buren: "It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn't."

Abraham Lincoln: "If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong."

Theodore Roosevelt: "To announce that there must be no criticism of the president, or that we are to stand by the president, right or wrong, is not only unpatriotic and servile, but is morally treasonable to the American public."

John F. Kennedy: "The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie--deliberate, contrived, and dishonest--but the myth--persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic."

Lyndon B. Johnson: "You ain't learnin' nothin' when you're talkin'."

Gerald Ford: "A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take from you everything you have."

Ronald Reagan: "America is too great for small dreams."

George W. Bush: "We will bring the terrorists to justice; or we will bring justice to the terrorists. Either way, justice will be done."

My own favorites are from Reagan and Lincoln, short and to the point.

Now playing: Forsaken - Skillet
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Monday, April 28, 2008


Worksheets are the stepchild of education in many ways. They're trite, dull, lack authenticity, and are pretty much looked down upon in education school. They're also very handy and don't deserve the reputation they have. Plus they may be the one thing to settle a rowdy class down enough to actually teach them.

The reason I'm bringing this up is a conversation that's been going on over at A to Z Teacher Stuff regarding an out of control class that a teacher inherited. There were several good suggestions but the one that stood out was the suggestion that they students get worksheets to keep them busy the entire hour until they get under control. Apparently there is a comfort factor for students with worksheets that gets forgotten by teachers and so-called experts alike. Student gets worksheet, student does worksheet, it's almost pavlonian once you hit middle school. I think that sometimes we spend so much time trying to reach their zone of proximity and trying to make lessons more authentic that we forget that sometimes the simple approach works the best.

Let's see how 6th period likes nothing but worksheets for a while. That and detention slips may get them back into line. Nothing else has worked so far and I did find six algebra worksheets over the weekend that should do the trick.

Now playing: Here With Me - MercyMe
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Thursday, April 24, 2008

Bring your child to work day

So today was "Bring your child to work day" in the valley and so my daughter got to accompany me to school for the day. She was so excited that she got up early(!) because she thought I may have left without her.

We got to school in plenty of time and she got a tour of the campus and a picture taken next to the cobra monument that is in the quad area. Because I had pushed the chapter quiz back a day she also got to help pass out and collect the homework and even participated in the math battles against other classes. She ended up doing pretty good considering she was going against 7th and 8th graders. She even beat a couple of them. They were a bit embarrassed to have been beaten by a fifth grader to say the least. She even took the multiplication quiz that we do as an opener (she got 49/50 right) and her high score allowed me to tease the kids who got more than one wrong on that quiz as well. (Insert the 'are you smarter than a 5th grader' jokes here)

Everything was fine and dandy until 6th period rolled around. Now even though I had warned them numerous times to sit down and be good when my daughter was there, they were their typical chatty selves. Even though I told them if they acted up I'd make their lives miserable they didn't listen. Even though only half the class was there today they were still a pain in the grade book if you catch my drift. Oh, and I got to hand out two detentions today as well. One in 6th and one in 1st (why can't kids get to school on time?).

So after the quiz tomorrow I get to make 6th period's life miserable. Worksheet city and if they let out a peep, they either get detention or a referral. Good thing I have a bunch made up already...

Yea and 10 out of 25 students are failing in 6th period right now too...

Now playing: Piano Concerto No. 2, Allegro, Opus 102 - Disney
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Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I hate it with a passion. There are few things lower than a bully in a school environment and I tend to stomp on throats when I find out it's going on. Today it once again reared it's ugly head. Right before 5th period started one of my favorite students came rushing (with tears streaming) in asking to be switched out of my math class. My obvious question was why? It turns out that one of her classmates (who was literally just reinstated today) threatened to beat her up in the very near future. Oh, and they're both in the same math class...

So I send her to her 5th period class after she flat refuses to go to the dean's office to report it and then call the dean's office myself to tell them what's going on and I tell one of the hall monitors as well just to make sure that everyone knows what's going on.

Now I do know that everyone involved was talked to including some witnesses, but until I see the attendance list I won't know if miss bully will be coming to class. My question is how do I handle her if she shows up? I will go talk to the dean's office in the morning to see what they suggest but my natural inclination is to verbally rip her effing throat out for threatening another student.

There is some good news to report though. My current assignment got extended until Memorial Day so I'm set for the next month.

Now playing: Electric Head, Pt. 2 [Sexational After Dark Mix] - White Zombie
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Monday, April 21, 2008

Ugh, Mondays

OK, so I was hopeful that Monday would continue on the good track that Friday ended on and that my classes would get into the swing of things without too much trouble.

Oh, really?

I ended up filling out 9 detention forms for 3 classes. That's just the ones that I filled out and handed to the students, that does not count the additional three or four that I have pinned to the wall ready for use the rest of the week. Nor does it count the ones I plan on filling out tomorrow because I ran out of time today. I could literally send 12 kids to detention without blinking an eye.

All because they can't stop flapping their gums. You would think with just 5 weeks or so left in the year they would pay a bit more attention so they don't end up repeating 8th grade or taking summer school but I guess summer school is more fun than swimming all day...

Silly me...

Now playing: The Unforgiven - Apocalyptica
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Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Pope

The Pope left the USA today after a six day visit. I did not know what to expect of him when he was elected although the bits that I did hear over the last few years gave me hope for the Catholic faith and their new leader. He was supposed to be an interim Pope, a stepping stone for the next one if you will. That's what the experts thought. Boy were they wrong.

He is a great man, a truly great man. Every time I heard him speak I got a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. The look in his eyes every time he was introduced and stunned by the roar of the crowd told me what a humble man he is. And the topper was that he not only addressed the child abuse scandal several times in his sermons. But he also read the riot act to the Bishops and Cardinals and basically told them that this had better not happen again, especially the cover ups and the transferring of problem priests from one parish to the next. The crowning moment was when he met privately met with some of the victims of this terrible scandal to apologize and pray with and for them. The Catholic Church should rejoice and thank God almighty this selection.

To bad some people like that moron Bill Mahr couldn't resist taking shots at him and the Church. I won't dignify that dope by repeating what he said, just turn him off when he comes on the air.

Finally, understand that I am not Catholic anymore. I belong to one of the Vineyard churches here in the valley. However I still follow what the Pope says and does, and in this case it fills my heart with joy.

I hope and pray that I could somehow make that kind of a difference in the classroom when I finally finish school and begin my career in earnest because then I would know that during my brief time on Earth that I made it a better place to live.

Now playing: Meant To Live - Switchfoot
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Friday, April 18, 2008

Poster Day

First of all let me say that I am feeling much better. Not 100% but pretty close. Lucky for me it was just a 24 hour thing. Chances are I ate something that bit back if you catch my drift. I would even wish that on 6th period and that's saying something!

Today was poster day and it went better than expected. I wish I had brought more glitter glue because the kids went nuts with it. I also wish I had brought a few more markers, but other than that it was a huge success because everyone got something out of it. The kids got to have some fun and they learned something even if they don't realize it.

I got an easy day and my room looks way cool with the posters. The reaction from the students later in the day when they walked in was priceless. Now the room has some character.

Of course 6th period didn't get to do posters, they had to work, which they did little of. So I filled out some detention forms for Monday.

Thursday, April 17, 2008


I hate being sick. I really do. Last night I went to bed and I was fine. I woke up this morning and felt like I walked into a Pepto-Bismol commercial. Needless to say school was more like survival than actual teaching but I managed to gut (pun intended) my way through it. The nice thing is that tomorrow is an easy day. The kids get to make math posters so I don't really have to teach, just make sure they don't thrash the room.

And so far the lesson of the multiplication tables has stuck with 6th period but one of my biggest talkers was not in class so we'll see.

It also looks like my assignment will be extended until late May. The teacher I am covering for needs more time with her son who needs more surgeries (poor guy) to correct some issues, so if you're of a mind for prayer keep them in mind. Trust me God will know who you're talking about.

Hopefully I'll feel better tomorrow and be back to normal on Monday.

Now playing: Prayer Of Saint Francis - Sarah McLachlan
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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

55 Minutes of Hell

That's what 6th period received today. They got the distinct pleasure of doing their multiplication tables for 55 minutes along with four quizzes that will count for a grade. I made them repeat the 6's three times and then the 9's twice because they were not doing them the way I wanted them to. The very best part was that when they got to the 9s and finished them their spirits began to lift, right until I rewound the overhead back to the 2s and made them start over again from the beginning, and the coup de grace was when I told them that they were not going to be doing posters on Friday because they were doing this instead.

Now I did this for two reasons. The first was because they needed to know that I don't make empty threats, and the second reason is that as a class they are failing and really need to work on their basic math skills. I made the quizzes count because I told them that I would never give them work just to keep them busy, plus I wanted them to take the quizzes seriously, and there's nothing like an impending F for an 8th grader who wants to go to 9th grade to motivate them.

OK, I have to admit I enjoyed making them miserable for a day. I really enjoyed it, but I'm just shallow that way. We'll see if the lesson sticks with the kids who were there today. I had several kids absent who now get to make up the four quizzes. Plus tomorrow I'll just start handing out detentions the second someone gets out of line.

It's Drill Sargent mode until I leave which is the 25th of the month unless the regular teacher decides not to come back.

Now playing: Labor Day - Black Eyed Peas
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Saturday, April 12, 2008

Out of control

That's what 6th period is rapidly heading for if things don't change and quickly. Friday was not good, and Monday for them is going to be worse. First thing I'm going to do on Tuesday (Monday is a staff development day) is start writing out detentions for about 7 students in that class and then start to hand them out the second they get out of line which should take about 12 seconds. In addition, I asked the registrar for contact information since I don't have access to the software that has it so I can start calling parents and ask them why their child can't behave in my class. I'm also going to start using the referral forms that I have started on with several students to see if that does not get the message across. It's so frustrating because every time they get on the right track someone is there to make sure the class descends into near chaos. I really don't want to go into Drill Sargent mode but I don't seem to have a choice.

Oh, and Tuesday the get to spend the entire period working on multiplication tables since they can't seem to take it seriously for two minutes, I'm hoping that 55 minutes of them will do the trick. Plus they really need the practice. Speaking of practice, they won't be doing the poster project that the other classes will be doing next Friday since I'm going to spend an extra day drilling them on their multiplication tables. Too bad for them but maybe next time they'll take me seriously when I tell them to get busy or else...

But then again, probably not.

Now playing: Your Love Is Extravagant - Casting Crowns
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Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Class has been odd this week, although I think that rearranging seats in 1st period and in 6th (again) is helping out. So is the absence of a few students who tend to make life hard to myself and the other students. The one thing that really set me off yesterday was that first period didn't stand up at all for the pledge. Since when is that OK in my room? You can probably guess how I handled that situation. Needless to say today they all stood up at once when it came on the TV.

I also think that not using the overhead projector seems to be helping as well since they can't sleep with the lights on. I've also been getting my observation hours done. I'm well on my way for secondary and done with special ed. Now I have to do my ELL ones. I do think that the students have realized I make them work because they've started to ask when their regular teacher is coming back (April 28) and a few kids are looking forward to that date. What I didn't tell them is that she may not come back at all this year (Insert evil laugh) so they may be stuck with me until June. I can't wait for the interim tests to be done with so I can get back to the regular schedule of teaching math.

Speaking of observation, being in an English room has really sparked my enthusiasm for my chosen subject again. I am going to ask him if I can teach a lesson, especially since Wednesdays are specifically for writing and that is one thing I really enjoy teaching. Speaking of teaching (wow what a cool segue) I'm closing in on my teaching degree. My main sticking point is that one class is not offered in the fall when I need to take it and my adviser's suggestion was to take it at UNLV. I am going to take a friends advice and push for an independent study instead. Otherwise I'm screwed for a full semester and I can't do my student teaching until fall of 2009 which screws me for the internship I really want to get. No pressure or anything...

Now playing: I Am One Of Them - Aly & A.J.
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Monday, April 07, 2008


Somethings not right in my classroom and I can't help but feel that it's me. For some reason I've lost my connection with my students. They're not responding like they used to. In the space of a few days they've totally lost interest in learning. I plan on switching back to the white board from the overhead projector but I don't know if that's going to make a difference. I'm also going to change up the seating again which may snap them out of this funk. I really need to do something or lots of students are going to spend 4 years in middle school instead of 3.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


No, not all of you who comment (and thanks btw!), I mean posters for my classroom which is pretty bare. I've been contemplating having the students make posters dealing with math to put up in my room. There is some upside to this, it'll be a welcome change for the students, and it would add some personality to the room, but I have serious reservations about this.

1. 6th period. I seriously doubt that they'd be able to handle this assignment. Too many kids that would rather talk and disrupt my class.

2. It cuts into valuable class time. This kids are so behind it's not funny, every day is needed just to get my students to even be close to caught up.

3. Would they actually learn anything? Or would this just be a wasted day?

Any ideas?

Friday, April 04, 2008

I hate my students

You read that right. As of 2:11 I despise my students, all of them. Let me give you a quick rundown of what my day was like.

Period 1 alternated between a comatose drool and hyper chatter.

Period 2 didn't give a crap and even had one kid cheat on a multiplication quiz.

Period 4 didn't care about anything except gossiping.

Period 5 was almost awake.

Period 6 was the icing on the cake. One moron took twenty minutes to get a workbook from their locker. Moron #2 cheated on a quiz. Since when does 19 wrong become 14 wrong? And moron #3 bracketed his name with swastikas. So I had two referrals and one detention to fill out. Plus I have to change the seating for periods 1,2 and 6 (yet again). Fill in every stereotype of 8th graders you have and that's what I had to deal with today. Monday I'll love my students again, right now I want to backhand them. Good thing I live across town from them...

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

My last post was March 11?

Wow, I can't believe it's been that long since I've posted anything. It's not like I've not had anything to blog about, I've been to flipping busy to post here for all 5 of you to read. So in a nutshell here is what's been going on...

1. 6th period is still 6th period. One kid came in late, put his name on the tardy list and then erased it thinking I would not notice. He got suspended for three days. I changed the seating for the third time since the end of February and it's getting better but still not where I want it to be.

2. The semester is almost over at Nevada State College and I'm working hard to get all my observation hours in as well as the projects etc... And I'm trying to get registered next week for both summer and fall. It looks like I have 6 more classes before I graduate. It's gonna get crazy.

3. I had a student in 4th period ask to get her book from her locker and never come back. She got written up for that one. Hopefully a suspension will follow. (She has quite the file in the Dean's Office) Why students think sub=id10t I'll never know, but by now they should know that I don't play around.

4. I was informed on Tuesday that there are school wide intern tests on percentages, proportions and ratios next week. So instead of going into decimals, we're skipping ahead three chapters (that's how far behind my students are) to study those concepts and then going back to decimals. Should be LOADS of fun.

5. Today was wacky, even for middle school kids. My comatose class (1st period) was chatty, my chatty 4th period class was a bunch of zombies (didn't go over well with me) and 6th period was almost an actual class instead of controlled chaos. Go figure.

6. 1st and 2nd period are now a section behind everyone else. They just don't get the concept I'm trying to teach them so tomorrow we'll give it a go for a second time. Still not sure how to approach it tomorrow, hopefully inspiration will strike on the way to school tomorrow morning.

7. My family has way to many flipping birthdays in March. As in 7. I dearly love my little sister but I really wish my niece (who is a total cutie-pie) could have waited until APRIL to give birth.

Now playing: Armin van Buuren - A State of Trance (Part 2)mp3
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