Friday, May 31, 2013

Why sixth graders can't be spies:

Like every teacher in the world these days, I have trouble with kids taking out their phones and texting when they are supposed to be working on something else.  Frankly, I'm not much of a stickler for the no-phones-in-class rule, but it is a school policy so I follow it.  I have one student who is super sneaky.  I never see her texting, but the girl who sits next to her, (I'll call her A), does and it bothers her that the texter gets away with having her phone in class.  So A came up with a system for the texter to get caught.  She stayed after school one day and worked this out with me, (all her idea.)  She said, "I am going to give you a signal when B is on her phone.  What should the signal be?  It should be something subtle, but obvious to you.  Hmmmm.  What should it be???  How about if she takes her phone out I will scratch my forehead like this," and she scratched her forehead like a meth addict. I agreed and then promptly forgot about it.

The next day during quiet reading time, A had apparently been scratching her head like crazy because she did an obvious "Heh HMM!" and I looked up and her forehead was all red.  She gave me the eye that said, "WATCH ME!" and then she went back to reading.  Apparently the phone wasn't out right that second.  So I watched.  Soon A scratched her forehead so I quietly asked B to come up and see me.  I was going to tell her to give me her phone until the end of class and rock her world by letting her know that I knew she had it when she was so sneaky.  Then A interrupted and said, "Oh no!  I just had an itchy head that time!" 

Cover blown. 



Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

Some of my favorite people in the world are American veterans from past, present, (and future).  Both of my grandfather's served in WWII.


That's my grandpa on the right.  He served in the infantry in Italy and Algeria.  He was a company clerk.

My other grandpa was a cook for his company.  He loved to cook.  He always made us big pancake breakfasts.


That's both my grandpas on the left and both my grandma's on the right.  I know you always wondered how I got so good looking.  Now you know.

My dad was in the navy during the Vietnam war, but thankfully he never had to go overseas.  He was a welder and said that he made a number of bbq grills out of airplane parts for the officers.


I couldn't find a picture of my dad from the navy, but I did find this one from when he was an acolyte in the Episcopal church.  He looked almost the same when he was in the navy.


There. But instead of the cross I wanted to put a gun or a welder thingy but they didn't have those stickers on Photobucket.

My sister Beth was in the navy too but I also don't have a picture of her in her uniform.  She looked pretty cute in it.  Instead I'll post this cute picture of her:



My sister Amy is currently serving in Afghanistan.  She comes home next month.


And of course, my favorite non-relative veteran is George Washington.


He is the original American veteran.

Thank you for your service, Veterans!


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Hammocking

I came home from work the other day and spotted Mitch relaxing in the hammock I got him for Father's Day last year and that he never uses.  I immediately went over to join him and you'd think I was trying to spray him in the face with the hose the way he jumped up (Or tried to jump up.  There is no quick jumping out of a hammock).  I had to literally push him back down while simultaneously trying to get on the hammock, and he couldn't really fight because if he did, he'd lose hammock-balance and would get flipped on to the ground.  We struggled like that for several seconds until he finally got away.  My question is this:  Why can't he just romantically laze in the hammock with me for a while?  I picture this:

"Ahhh... I love you."
But I end up with this:

"You fucker."

Hammock-snuggling is not that bad, MITCH.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Sometimes I'm pretty smart

I had a stroke of brilliance at work last week.  I have this kid who I love, but who honestly, drives me absolutely nuts.  He is anal and needy and a total butinski.  Because he is so anal, he is super organized and always has his work done.  This leaves him lots of time to point out everyone else's flaws which drives his classmates NUTS.  If he sees a discrepancy between what another student said they did and what they actually did he literally cannot stop the loud, annoying, tattling words from spewing out of his mouth.  He MUST correct the situation.  His neediness manifests in asking me a question every 1.5 seconds no matter what else I'm doing (talking with another teacher, teaching the whole group, working one-on-one with another student, going the the bathroom, etc. etc.) which drives me NUTS.  I bet he has said, "Mrs. Lindahl...Mrs. Lindahl...Mrs. Lindahl...Mrs. Lindahl...Mrs. Lindahl...Mrs. Lindahl...Mrs. Lindahl...Mrs. Lindahl..." a billion times this year. But generally, he is a sweet kid and a good student.  Just annoying.

I have another student who I also love, but who also drives me nuts.  He is a very bright kid, but is so slow-moving and dreamy that he is always ten steps behind the pack.  I passed out lists of missing work last week and this kid's list was looooooong.  I was trying to motivate him to do his missing work, but every time I turned around he was off in La La Land again.

How could I get Kid 1 off my back for two seconds and get Kid 2 to finish all his work?  The solution:  Assign Kid 1 to "help" Kid 2 finish his missing work list.

As soon as I proposed the idea, they both thought it was brilliant.  Kid 1 went from being on my heels every second of class, to tenaciously nagging Kid 2 in ways that I'm sure nobody has ever been nagged and cajoled and browbeaten ever before.  The result were wonderful:

1. Kid 2 finished about 2/3 of his missing work, bringing his grade up considerably.
2. Kid 1 was off my back for a few days which was a welcome relief.
3. Kid 2 was WORN OUT after a few days of having someone relentlessly dog him about every little thing.
4. Kid 1 and Kid 2 both privately expressed maddening frustration in having to deal with the other every day which gave me unbelievable satisfaction because I successfully deflected their annoying behavior off of me and on to each other.

Brilliant.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Annoying

I'm kind of irritated with Kira today because she keeps doing an annoying voice that for some reason gets under my skin like I just stepped on a mound of fire ants and then my legs turned into the legs I have in my dreams when I can't run anywhere because my legs weigh 400 pounds each.  I should have known better than to let HER know that the voice bugs me so much, but it bugs me so much that I couldn't help myself but to say (scream), "STOP DOING THAT!!!!"  Which for Kira (or anyone between the ages of 11 and 15) means OMG KEEP DOING THAT! 

Also, I took the time to clean, fill and remember to bring my special water bottle to school today.  I had it in my bag and hauled it up to the fourth floor and just as I was unlocking my classroom door, she grabbed the bottle out of my bag, said, "My throat hurts, I'm getting a cold," and then took a long, sloppy swig off my pristine water bottle that I prepared especially for myself.  Now I can't drink it.  I wanted to push her down the steps.

However, I don't need to resort to child abuse because we spend every day in the same place, and by merely being the woman who birthed her and who takes care of all her needs, I am a total embarrassment.  As a teacher at her school I can simply go on the computer and get her schedule and see where she is every minute of the day, and now I am contemplating going into her 1st period class and pretending I'm having a stroke by limping and drooling and possibly peeing my pants and begging her to help me.  But you know what?  She wouldn't help me (and that would piss me off), and if I did that she'd keep doing the voice forever and ever, and I'd be stuck in pee-pants for the rest of the day.  There is no winning with a middle school kid.  They can't lose a contest of annoyingness. 

Also, there are only ten days left until the end of the school year and I may be just a tish touchy because every kid I come across is upping their own personal annoying factor exponentially each day and it's pushing me over the edge. 

Before my classes every day I prop my door open because I LIKE IT LIKE THAT and every single day the same kid comes in and pulls it shut behind him.  Every day I make him go open it up again.  It drives me fucking crazy. 

The kids in this school are all issued new beautiful free planners on the first day of every quarter.  They are to keep this planner with them to write down important information for classes, for parent correspondence, and to use as a hall pass during class.  I made it abundantly clear the first few days of school that if they don't have their planner, they weren't leaving my room.  I have one girl who asks me EVERY SINGLE DAY to go to her locker/go to the bathroom/get a drink/talk to a teacher/etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc, and EVERY SINGLE DAY I say, "Do you have your planner?" and EVERY SINGLE DAY she gets huffy and says, "NO! GOD!" and then sits down and pouts.  EVERY. SINGLE. DAY

Don't believe me that they are increasing their annoyance-level?  Yesterday the journal question was "What do you think is/will be/was the best age to be?  Explain."  And I came across these gems when I was correcting them:

"I think the best age is when you are a baby because at that age you don't have to go on the toilet.  You can go in you (sic) diaper."

And:

"I think that the best age would be a baby so I didn't have to go on the toilet." 

They don't even want to use a toilet.  In light of that, I'm pretty impressed that I can get them to do schoolwork.

I've been trying to get my students to FOCUS these last few days of school and you know what?  It is really really hard.  They are starting puberty and have spring fever and their brains are shutting down for the big sleep until they are in their early 20s.  The only super active parts of their brains are the parts that turn everyday items/phrases into inappropriate and not-very-clever sexual innuendos.  That part is spot on.  One day someone noticed that it was 69 degrees in the room.  HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! Hilarious. One of my little angels learned the phrase "friends with benefits" and thinks that she made it up and nobody over the age of 13 knows what it means so every time the word "friends" is said, she says, "with benefits!"  and everyone laughs and thinks I'm not laughing because I don't get it.  I GET IT.  If it was even remotely clever, I'd give them my kudos, but it's just annoying. 

I remember the good old days when kids were sweet and not annoying.  Right before Kira started middle school she was shopping at a t-shirt shop with her grandma.  Grandma said she'd buy Kira any shirt she wanted.  Kira chose one with a cute bird on it, but Grandma refused to get it because it said, "I froze my pecker off in Minnesota."  Kira didn't know that pecker was a euphemism for penis, she just thought he had a really cold beak and that was the joke.  Grandma had to explain it.  After Kira knew what it meant, she didn't think it was all that funny.  She thought a bird freezing its beak off was funnier.  She just wanted a shirt with that bird on it.  The good old days. 

Never mind about my pecker.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Remember, eel holes

Mitch woke up this morning and noticed the words "eel holes" written on his hand in his own writing.  He couldn't begin to fathom what it meant or when or why he wrote it.  He was still thinking about it in the shower when his phone beeped reminding him of an appointment he didn't know he had. He looked at the phone and all it said was "Remember, eel holes, 10:00."  Mitch vaguely remembered having a dream about the ubiquitous problem of eels coming out of the river and crawling around on land.  Apparently he had some brilliant idea for trapping them in eel holes but now he can't remember it.  Anyone know anything about eel holes or capturing land-dwelling eels?

"Where's mah HOLE!"

Friday, May 17, 2013

Kira in the Car

Kira and I were driving to school listening to the radio when she got a look of utter horror on her face.  I said, "Oh my god! What's the matter?"  And she said, "Aren't you listening to this story??!"  There was a news story on the radio about cyclones in Japan.  I said, "You mean about the cyclones ravaging the coast of Japan?"

She took a breath and looked relieved and said, "Oh.  I thought they said cyclops."


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

High Fashion

The family went out and had a lovely dinner with my parents who are in town for a few days.  After dinner we said our goodbyes and got in the car when Sam remembered that he had a present for my dad.  It is a belt that closes with a seat belt buckle instead of a real buckle because both my son and my dad think that is cool.  (Coolness skips a generation, apparently.)

Anyway, Kira and I were looking at the belt and it has a word on it which we assumed was some fancy French brand name.  We were trying to pronounce it, "Ehrmahgerd".  We said it over and over again; "Ehrmahgerd, Ehrmahgerd Ehrmahgerd..." And then we figured it out. It isn't a fancy brand name. It is, "Oh my god" the way a dopey teenager would say it. 





My dad is going to love it. I can't wait to see him wearing it. 

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Movie Review: Oblivion

We went to see the movie Oblivion last night.  Mitch and I are always a little wary of Tom Cruise movies because they are all ©TOM CRUISE movies, know what I mean?  It's not so much Tom Cruise acting as another character, because Tom Cruise never transforms himself into another character.  He instead turns all the characters he plays into ©TOM CRUISE and a person can only stand so much ©TOM CRUISE.

Anyway, it was another ©TOM CRUISE movie but it was pretty good despite that fact.  Before the movie begins, Earth apparently was in a war with an alien force who destroyed our moon which caused a lot of problems.  The planet was destroyed but Earth won the war.  Most of the people of Earth moved to Titan, a moon of Saturn, but Tom and his beautiful partner Victoria are stationed on Earth to watch over these giant machines that are sucking up sea water and converting it to energy.  Tom is on "drone maintenance" and Victoria is "control" so she sits in their tower and works a giant iPhone and tells him what to do and where to go.

Tom keeps having dreams about a different beautiful woman on Earth before the war but that's just stupid because he was never on Earth before the war!  Where is this coming from?!  Then one day a capsule crashes to Earth and Tom goes to investigate.  It's a bunch of pods containing humans, one of which is the beautiful woman from his dreams.  Confusion ensues.

It was an entertaining movie, and beautiful to watch.  Here is the gist:  Earth - Amazing; Drones - dangerous and unsafe for humans.  I loved the little helicopter plane that Tom flies around in the movie, but if I were to actually ride in it, it would be a barf-o-rama.  What I didn't like is that women chosen to play Tom's love interests seem to be played by beautiful eighth graders.  The man is 50.  That's just gross.  

"Hey, little girl, I lost my dog, will you help me find him?  Hop into my van and we'll drive around and look.
Want some candy?"

"Oh, sorry mister, but I have to go home and finish my science project."
"Hey, little girl, you're parents have been in an accident, I was sent here to get you and bring you to them.
Open the door."  
"But my mom just texted me and told me to finish my chores.  I'm calling the police, you old pervert."