Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Huge Loss

My nephew died last night from a brain aneurysm.  He was 29 and in great health.  I never heard him say a cross word to anyone.  He was the type of guy who everyone wanted to be around.  He is the love of my niece's life.  Everyone in my family is reeling.  I won't be here for a few days, but want to wish everyone Merry Christmas, and to ask that you please pray for everyone here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Really? An observation?

So my school district has mandated that all teachers be observed at least every two weeks (preferably every week).  The administrators use a web-based checklist to do informal observations.  Then, the data is compiled and shared with us at our monthly staff meeting.  The whole checklist is very Marzano-ey with points given for showing objectives and DOK.  I really don't mind being observed.  I teach how I teach and I can rarely be found slacking off (ok, there may have been a time or two when I -gasp- stopped to eat something or even worse...went to the restroom).  But, scoring me, in a special education setting, on the DOK that I am teaching seems a little far-fetched.  For one thing, I am not teaching content.  I'm teaching skills like Kind Talk or Flexibility.  These are newly acquired skills that just aren't generalized very often (when my student do that consistently, I'll be out of a job). 

But I digress...
This week is finals week (don't get me started on calling it finals).  So, a lot, lot, lot of my time has been spent accommodating my students according to their IEP's.  I have read the common assessment in Math 3 times (it is a doozy, too).  So imagine my surprise when my principal walked in with her Ipad in tow all ready to be wowed.  I thought to myself, "My scores are going to be so low because a).  I'm not teaching anything to this student, b). We aren't using any technology at all, and c).  I'm not even interacting with my other student in the room because he is taking a break/playing with Legos.  Great."  I think if it was me, I would have doubled up on the observations last week.  At least then I would have gotten to see something other than a bunch of kids taking tests and teachers proctoring/keeping the students on task when all they want to do is have Christmas.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Birth of an Idiom

Years and years ago I was teaching a lesson about figures of speech.  The class and I were brainstorming idioms that we knew.  We had the usual it's raining like cats and dogs, break the ice with someone, and being on edge.  Then one of my young friends raised her hand and said, "Get your cow socks on."  Instead of looking at her like everyone in the class was (with that mix of she's crazy/I'm annoyed),  I asked, "What does that mean?"  She relayed that it meant to hurry up because you are dawdling and her dad used it all the time.  So I wrote it down.  Then I retold the story to my DH who thought it was funny enough to begin using.  So now, it is actually an idiom we use in our house.  That's not the point of this story though.

On Saturday night, my family had it's Birthday for Jesus celebration.  My parents, my sister's family and my family get together for pizza, birthday treats and presents every year.  After the Bible story and before the real gifts we play a game called Whackadoodle (someone made that name up, clearly).  You may know it as Chinese Christmas, except for in this game no one knows the contents of the gifts because they are grab bag gifts purchased from the Amish store just down the road.  The gifts are always ridiculous nicknacks or just plain weird.  Well this year, my mom cheated and put in three that she wrapped herself.  One of them was a set of pink flamingoes.  We played through the game and my family wasn't in possession of the blush-colored birds (though we are now the proud owners of a full set of punch cups minus the bowl).  All was well.  Our party proceeded fairly uneventfully (unless you count the cutthroat game of LeftCenterRight).  Around 9:45 or so, it was time to head home.  When we opened the back of the truck to load up the gifts, there they were.  THE FLAMINGOES!  So what did we do?  Plotted our revenge.  That's what.

The next day after church, we swung by my sister's house with a mission.  Flamingo the yard in broad daylight (it was much easier not to get caught because they weren't home, but we were still very sneaky).  We put the pair right in the middle of their front yard.  I ran back to the truck yelling, "GO GO GO!" As we were pulling away, the Cubscout shouted, "How's it feel to get flamingoed?" to no one in particular.  The Clover was all like, "Oh yeah, we just flamingoed them."  And that dear friends is how a new idiom is born.  Because now, when the teacher is asking for examples of idioms it will be my children who cause the question marks in the eyes of their peers after they raise their hands and say, "Get your cow socks on" AND "You just got flamingoed," as their examples.