Saturday, October 11, 2014

Technology Wins, Technology Losses, and This Week's Cheap Hedonism


  • Used Google Forms to give a post unit assessment of which activities helped students to learn best.  The results were instantly seen.  Great info!
  • Taught all my 6th graders how to use google docs so that they can work on their writing at home since they are not allowed to bring home school issued lap tops.
  • Created a collaborative doc with my 8th graders, a list of interesting compare/contrast topics

  • My 8th graders spent more time using the comment function to chat than selecting a topic.
  • I hit "Reply All" by mistake and thereby let my boss know I think she is full of BS
  • Isn't that enough of a loss not to dwell on any others?

Cheap Hedonism:
  • Apple pie, Vanilla ice cream.  Just buy the pre-made crust and give yourself a break, already.
  • Pumpkin carving with my son while drinking hot apple cider, maybe with some spiced rum in it.
  • Going to a bake sale and getting something really decadent, and saving it for later to have with a good cup of coffee.
  • Fresh brussel sprouts before they are all gone.  Cut in half, roast on a cookie sheet with garlic and ginger and thinly sliced fresh jalapenos.  When they come out of the oven drizzle with honey.  Holy cow.  This works with turnip too, but not quite as good.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Flagstaff Hut Overnight

When taking an overnight trip with forty 8th graders there are bound to be wins and losses...
To mix it up, let's start with the Losses


  • Not enough food
  • One group of boys dumped their canoe
  • 2 hours of sleep--sleep talkers, snoring, and creaking bed+restless sleeper added onto staying up WAY too late.
  • 6 am kayak with a boy who usually has an elephant-sized chip on his shoulder
  • guest speaker who grew up in Dead River
  • learning constellations from an astronomer 
  • one group of boys dumped their canoe
  • watching my students just play without any toys or electronics at the "Vista"

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A Week's Worth of Wins

I haven't posted for over a week.  Here's a week's worth of wins and losses:


  • Students posted fascinating questions on Question Board such as, If the earth is rotating so fast, how can an airplane keep up with it when you fly a great distance?  
  • Presented with the other Classroom Management Committee members a well-received workshop on constructive praise the the growth mindset.
  • Student who is identified as having "ODD" and ADHD once again has their medication.  
  • Wrote individual paragraphs to each of my 6th graders and their parents about the student's writing ON TIME FOR PROGRESS REPORTS
  • Found the Waterville High School football field (NOT EASY) on time for kickoff.
  • Went zip lining with my son and father.
  • Finished a readers' theater piece my students will be performing when we go to the Flagstaff Hut this week for an overnight.
  • Students who were out for four days due to suspension are LOST when it comes to plate tectonics
  • Just before presentation on constructive praise, a co-worker told me that she has known about this for years and it's a complete waste of time for her.
  • As I was writing comments about my 6th graders' writing, I discovered one student had not put a single piece in her portfolio.  I admittedly did some head scratching, dredged up what little I could remember about her work in general and whipped out the B.S. skills.  Not proud, but hey,  it's the first half of the first quarter.  I'm sure I'll get to know her as a writer.
  • I am concerned that I am becoming one of those teachers who would rather have a drugged quiet student who doesn't disrupt my class than a coherent student who is a pain in the neck.
  • I didn't really make it to the field in time for kick off, and I missed my son score the 2 point conversion.  It's okay, he made some other great plays that I saw.
  • No losses in zip lining, really.  My 12 year old gave me grief because I didn't get a pic of him hanging upside down.  And I realized that (while breathing deeply so as not to explode in rage, and say something like, "Listen you thankless little brat...") this is one reason that people can't stand FaceBook--it's all about Look at me!  Look at me!  Two years ago my son couldn't have cared less about pictures, but now it's all about the post.  

Sunday, September 14, 2014


According to Will Richardson, I have not been blogging.  Blogging is "Links with analysis and synthesis that articulate a deeper understanding or relationship to the content being linked and written with potential audience response in mind".

One of my favorite blogs' posts are very little more than links.

And another of my long-time favorites, that used to make me laugh so hard I would choke,  doesn't usually have any links.

Maybe neither is a "real" blog.  I use food blogs a lot, but have very little patience for the back story.  Honestly, I don't care where you are, who first made this for you, or what it is "reminiscent of"  (gag).  Just show me the photos, tell me it's good and how to make it.  I guess it's like porn.  Just skip the shitty story and get on with it.

In any case, here are a few of my favorite food blogs. Spoon Fork Bacon
                                                                                       Gina's Skinny Recipes
                                                                                       Hungry Again

Am I blogging NOW?  

Weekend Hedonism: Dreaming

I stayed at a loft reserved for cooks or grounds keepers on North Haven Island this weekend.  The people who own the INCREDIBLE estate were not present, so my friend and I freely roamed the grounds taking photos and cutting flowers for bouquets.  Many of our photos started with, "Take my photo on my private beach"  or "Take my photo on my dock as I watch for my sail boat to return" or "Take my photo as I sit at my granite table in my gazebo overlooking the harbor."  It's so much fun to daydream. 
On my private beach 

 One of the gardens at my summer home on the island

The sheep--a hobby

Second bit of cheap hedonism:  brandywine tomatoes, when baked with a little garlic and oil are one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted.  Really.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

No Orienteering! Pleeeaseee!

WINS:  Used register tape that I have been hanging onto for about 5 years.  Had students sketch what they think the Earth looks like beneath them, all the way to the core.  1cm = 100km.  Shared in small groups, then flipped over and used textbook to draw an accurate model of the interior of the earth.   My son's fever went down.  I don't have to water my neglected tomatoes because it has been pouring all day.

LOSSES:  WAY more students than I had thought did not finish the last lab.  Polled one of my classes on interest in orienteering...out of 22 only 2 have interest in learning how to use a map with a compass.  Wow.  And they answered with heavily drawn, even block lettered, "NO!"  At least I know and won't waste our time because it's not required.  I just usually teach it for fun and so students can show off.  BLOG LOSS:  Every time I edit my page because I reread it and it needs revision and editing it appears to my fictitious readers as an update.  That's so dorky and annoying to my imaginary readers.   

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Open House and Fevers

WINS:  At Open House last night more than the needed number of chaperones signed up for our upcoming field trip to the Flagstaff Hut, part of the Huts and Trails system.  Also, my team mate and I talked with all the 8th grade parents at once rather than having them wander from one room to the other and repeating ourselves and just mingling, trying to politely say that Open House isn't the venue to discuss their child's progress.  It was much more productive this way.  New (for me)Classroom Management Strategy:  This one happens outside the classroom:   the "two-minute relationship builder".  You spend two minutes every day for 10 days talking with a student about non-school things.  You target kids who have had a lot of undesirable behaviors in the past.  I've been doing this with two students in particular.  It's easy because they are in my homeroom, but I need to make time for one student in particular who is not in my homeroom.  

LOSSES:  Only about 1/5 of our students attended Open House.  The numbers seem to get lower and lower the higher the grade level.  My son is home sick...possibly with hand foot and mouth disease (what a wretched name).  Seven students in his class have been out this week, some with this diagnosis.  Sore throat, body aches, out!