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Teacher vs. Wild February 27, 2013

zombie survival tips

The cover of a confiscated book, made of a bunch of stapled together sheets of paper. Please note that the pages of the book are empty.  I take full responsibility for this fact, and will probably regret it in the event of a zombie apocalypse.  This represents quite a bit of initiative for a kid who spends most of his time draped over his desk.

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Bad Moon Rising February 26, 2013

Test Your Knowledge of Urban Education!

WHICH SCENARIO DID NOT HAPPEN ON THIS, THE DAY OF THE FULL MOON?

  1. Did I lock my classroom door today to keep out a disruptive student? Again?
  2. Did the kid proceed to kick the door for about a half hour, rendering me a super effective teacher? Again? 
  3. Did the rest of the class placidly continue with their work, ignoring the distraction, and increasing their stamina for responding to multi-step fraction word problems?

If you picked 1 or 2, you have not been reading my blog for very long, have you? And you missed the nearly identical situation detailed a couple of weeks ago here .  There is little doubt that this blogging strategy will not earn me tons of readers who have fashion blogs (although you are so super welcome!), but I would like to suggest that you picture me, a smallish woman, body blocking an eleven-year-old while wearing a snappy Loft jacket of tiny railroad cap stripes–I wear it in recognition of the fact that my class is, well, a train wreck.  Sporty!

Down the hall, in my colleague’s classroom, I am pretty sure that they were performing a re-enactment of the flying monkey scene from the Wizard of Oz, with one small exception: the flying monkeys in the movie don’t fight EACH OTHER. At the very least, it is reassuring to know that it’s not just me!

It doesn’t occur to us until later, after the crisis has ended and we are at home recovering: what if this kid is angry enough to bring a knife to school? So many of them have demonstrated their absolute willingness to beat the hell out of each other; it’s the main strategy for dealing with the overwhelming threat of another human LOOKING AT THEM. You know that there are weapons unseen on these kids, probably far more often than we want to think about.  Every day is a WTF day.

Good thing I have an invisible and  invincible force field around me at all times.

 

Minecraft Invasion of the Brownies Mod February 24, 2013

Fudgy Chocolate Brownies

http://img4-2.realsimple.timeinc.net/images/1010/Brownies_300.jpg

Real Simple Fudgy Chocolate Brownies

My kid is cyber-whining because he wants me to pay money to sign up for a server that will enable him (theoretically) to play a Hunger Games mod on Minecraft! It is hellish.

I have already lost 90% of my readership with that first sentence.

And I will proceed to piss off those Minecraft folks who wind up here via a search. I should probably be censoring my language because the average age of Minecraft users is nine.

He has already used my YouTube/gmail account to ask people stuff that I don’t want anyone thinking that I would ask (no, he doesn’t know my password)! Talk about a damned slippery slope! You KNOW those responders will not be censoring their language to protect young sensibilities.

Combine this onslaught of “Please, Mommy” with the fact that it is Sunday, which means that tomorrow is Monday, which means—that which must not be spoken—let’s face it; there are few alternatives that can compete with the making of the brownie.

Yes, it’s a band-aid.  Yes, it has potentially detrimental side effects. But think of the antioxidants! Or don’t; I don’t care. I made the brownies.   They are helping. I am not over-indulging, and I am not taking prescription medications either (a miracle, that).  I linked you to the recipe.  There’s my charitable act for the day (except for you Lenten Chocolate Giver-Uppers).

Just for the record, I shall not be spending diddly squat on a Minecraft server until one of those little paper number tickets brings it on home to mama.

 

Nerf Ops February 21, 2013

Filed under: humor,life,parenting — peachyteachy @ 1:37 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

The crew awaiting intruders

I am three hours deep into an eight-year-0ld boy playdate.  2.9 hours of that time have been dedicated to intense, high volume combat play using nerf weapons and a wooden rubber band gun.

Overheard: “I just want to see what will happen if I shoot you in the balls.”

How about a nice chocolate covered cherry, boys? Candy diversionary tactics rarely fail—except when they decide to demolish the chocolate covered cherry in order to examine and possibly remove said stone fruit.  At least our guest is not a charter member of the Brotherhood of The Three Food Choices (“I eat only white bread, American cheese, and organic kiwi fruit.”).

I would get all supermom on them and break out a craft project, but my wisdom and prior experience tells me that I would spend twenty minutes getting it ready and cleaning it up, while they would create masterpieces for exactly thirty seconds, then shoot the creations with nerf darts and rubber bands.

Later, after Playmageddon, I have to go and ransom my car from the garage. I had what I hope is a terrible dream where the mechanic said “Fifteen hundred.” Ouch.

Still, I can’t complain. It’s winter break and it beats working.

Oh, hell. Someone just said “super glue.”

 

Destination: Grease February 20, 2013

Filed under: family,food,humor,life,Uncategorized — peachyteachy @ 7:16 am
Tags: , , ,

If you are looking for the YouTube link to Sandy and Danny belting out “Summer Lovin’,” you are about to be sorely disappointed.

I shall, instead, detail our periodic mini-vacay to visit the number one son at college, in the tiny town that can no longer support a substandard tapas restaurant (see Tapas con Pepsi and you will get the idea).  The good news is that the tapas place has been supplanted by a much higher functioning sushi- based establishment, and the shrimp served there now does not produce the aroma of ammonia.  Sadly, due to some tummy sensitivity issues, I am wary of much of the beautiful variety available, and went with a safe “teriyaki” dish.  Clearly, not the priority of the kitchen, so mediocre at best.

The next evening found me eating a sandwich whose plate level bread was sodden with whatever moisture should have remained separate from the bread.  News flash: insufficient grilling of grilled sandwiches makes for grease sponge.

Clearly, I am in need of a new strategy for eating out on a weekend out of town in Culinary Desert, USA.  As always, your suggestions are shredder fodder  welcome, but I am leaning toward one new and shining policy: 

Order dessert as main course.

It’s cheaper, so if they screw it up, one feels less disappointed and pissy.

Restaurant staff can relax a bit, and may be inclined to add extra whipped cream to show their appreciation for your loving gesture.  I keep my favorite blog/waitress in mind here, javaj240.  Surely, it is logical to assume that dessert orderers are a more jovial lot than your average customer. . .

In a related story, I am also considering just bringing along my Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer, which is my new favorite product of all time based on Amazon published reviews.  I think you’ll agree that it was worth wading through the drivel above to get to the drivel below.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
33,960 of 34,241 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No more winning for you, Mr. Banana! March 3, 2011
By SW3K
For decades I have been trying to come up with an ideal way to slice a banana. “Use a knife!” they say. Well…my parole officer won’t allow me to be around knives. “Shoot it with a gun!” Background check…HELLO! I had to resort to carefully attempt to slice those bananas with my bare hands. 99.9% of the time, I would get so frustrated that I just ended up squishing the fruit in my hands and throwing it against the wall in anger. Then, after a fit of banana-induced rage, my parole officer introduced me to this kitchen marvel and my life was changed. No longer consumed by seething anger and animosity towards thick-skinned yellow fruit, I was able to concentrate on my love of theatre and am writing a musical play about two lovers from rival gangs that just try to make it in the world. I think I’ll call it South Side Story.Banana slicer…thanks to you, I see greatness on the horizon.

Was this review helpful to you?
18,720 of 18,905 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saved my marriage July 30, 2012
What can I say about the 571B Banana Slicer that hasn’t already been said about the wheel, penicillin, or the iPhone…. this is one of the greatest inventions of all time. My husband and I would argue constantly over who had to cut the day’s banana slices. It’s one of those chores NO ONE wants to do! You know, the old “I spent the entire day rearing OUR children, maybe YOU can pitch in a little and cut these bananas?” and of course, “You think I have the energy to slave over your damn bananas? I worked a 12 hour shift just to come home to THIS?!” These are the things that can destroy an entire relationship. It got to the point where our children could sense the tension. The minute I heard our 6-year-old girl in her bedroom, re-enacting our daily banana fight with her Barbie dolls, I knew we had to make a change. That’s when I found the 571B Banana Slicer. Our marriage has never been healthier, AND we’ve even incorporated it into our lovemaking. THANKS 571B BANANA SLICER!

Was this review helpful to you?
10,766 of 10,886 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT Gift August 3, 2012
Once I figured out I had to peel the banana before using – it works much better.
Ordering one for my nephew who’s in the air force in California. He’s been using an old slinky to slice his banana’s. He should really enjoy this product!
 

Happy Only Tuesday February 12, 2013

Filed under: education,teaching,Uncategorized — peachyteachy @ 8:33 pm
Tags: , ,

When the student body infects the teacher body with the dreaded stomach bug, is it looking at the silver lining to think of it as a good day for (net) caloric intake?

Don’t worry; I waited until the kids were gone before practicing involuntary, temporary bulimia (minus the binge) in the garbage can in my class.

Also, I have not been struck by lightning. Unless you call a kid standing in the classroom doorway flipping the lights on and off for 40 minutes before he is escorted elsewhere “lightning.” With all the f-bombs he was dropping, I figured it was kind of like going to a club. And trying to read.

 

Meaningful P.D.: Make a Cake February 9, 2013

One of the buzzwords in education these days is “meaningful professional development.”  The ascent of the buzzword has been accompanied by, as any chimpanzee might have predicted, a decline in the variety and quality of said professional development.

Any P.D. that I have attended that struck me as useful or inspiring in any way is generally marginalized by the organization as an entity.  Case in point: a few years ago, I attended a week-long Character Education convention presented by some of the forerunners in this arena, who also happen to be situated within an hour of where I live and work.  There were exactly zero other employees from my district there.  It was probably the best and most relevant P.D. I have ever attended.   In the years ensuing, I have seen my urban district all but turn away from the concept of character ed,  while I have seen violence in the spirit of students set in earlier and stronger every year.

Most P.D. these days, at least where I am, tells educators what “We now know, ” and the fact that the P.D. we received a year or two earlier is no longer best practice, and that if we don’t incorporate a, b, and c, our rating in our evaluation will be career-threatening.  So we do what we are told to do, regardless of whether our experience, knowledge, intuition or  philosophy agree or not.  And the test scores plummet, or, at best, stay the same.

I did receive a helpful tidbit at a workshop I attended a few years ago.  The presenter, a lovely, retired teacher, said that she made her family a chocolate cake every Sunday.  Not just in retirement, but while she was a teacher.  This would imply that she did not spend every waking hour on a Sunday attempting to create lesson plans that provide evidence for every detail of a rubric of teacher performance, while leaving out any possibility of shifting a schedule, taking extra time to teach concepts, or acknowledging that a student could experience some kind of growth or success that might still not be reflected in an increasingly difficult high-stakes assessment.

Sunday, for today’s teachers, can feel like insanity.

Making a chocolate cake, stepping away from the madness—that makes sense to me.

Crazy Cake seems fitting, and they used to make it in the Depression. If you link to the photo, you will find yourself in the middle of a recipe for Wacky Cake. So that’s what’s happening here.  A day ahead of schedule.

 

 

 

 
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