Saturday, November 26, 2005

Yeah, yeah, I'm still here...

I can't believe I've been away from the blog for so long, but I guess I have. Amazing how one little thing can suck up all your free time.

Case in point...hubby's knee.

My hubby is a wonderful guy. And a wonderful guy like hubby, who also happens to be a historian, volunteers to help our 8th graders go on the last field trip of the year (before the edict on "no field trips after Thanksgiving due to the fact we've run out of money for fuel for the buses" goes into effect). The trip is to a local Civil War battlefield that hubby spends a lot of time at, giving tours, volunteering, etc. So hubby is having a grand time, the kids are loving it, the teachers are loving it (he gets really into it when he's doing things like this) and he hops down into a pit where the large cannons are to show the kids how they work and - BAM! - he lands wrong on his 52 year old knee and screws it up big time.

At the time he thought he just twisted it and winced his way through the rest of the field trip. He gets home and it's the size of a large grapefruit. I get home and we go to the ER. A few days later we have it drained and the doctor says it's either a hairline fracture or a torn ligament. Great. He's in a knee brace and is told to keep it up, keep off, and ice it. Well, the best place to keep off of it, keep it up, and keep it iced is in front of the computer.

So, while hubby is being good and following doctor's orders, he'd doing it in front of the computer, and I'm doing anything in the house that requires walking, which is pretty much everything. Hence no time to blog.

Sigh. If it's not one thing, it's another.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Angry Boy II Update

Some of you may have recalled my posts on Angry Boy II (sad to say I have two of them) who has a lot of "anger" issues and who earned himself a place in alternative school after trying to clobber someone with a lunch tray. So we're sitting around the lunch table yesterday trying to figure out when Angry Boy II is going to return to our regular classroom when Mrs. Squirrel walks in. Mrs. Squirrel has news about Angry Boy II and it looks like we won't be seeing him for a long time. Turns out Angry Boy II was expelled for a calendar year from Alternative School. Why? No details, but considering the blow ups he had in our building, I can only imagine. What's going to happen to him? I have no real idea. The State will probably step in and he'll be court ordered to go to school somewhere.

The sad thing is that this kid is emotionally disturbed but he can't last in a school long enough to get him tested and identified as such. No identification, no resources, no help. Perhaps the best thing for him would be to be made a ward of the court (again) and then someone could help him.

Goodness knows we tried.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Melt down!

Last year we had a student on our team we called Meltdown Boy. Meltdown Boy would, and did, have meltdowns at the slightest provocation. Someone picked on him on the bus? Meltdown? He forgot his band instrument? Meltdown. You put a "did not have homework" stamp in his agenda? Meltdown.

Meltdowns could range from grabbing onto his hair and wailing "I can't remember!!!" followed by laying his head down on his desk in dispair after he's been called on to answer a question, that, I might add, he volunteered for, (we learned really quick to call on him really fast, before he forgot what he wanted to say) to laying down on the floor in the middle of the classroom and sobbing his eyes out.

When he first landed in our classrooms we thought he might be special ed, possibly midly autistic. However, according to his mother, he's simply depressed, lacks social skills and is ADD. he's also brilliant. However, when she says he lacks social skills, she is not kidding. This kid has absolutely no social skills to speak of, which, in the world of middle school monsters, is certain to get you teased and abused to no end. And apparently one of the biggest abusers his his little brother who, we hear, is a holy terror. Meltdown Boy is, in the words of our Star Football Jock, the "only kid who really scares me because he's so crazy." That's saying something.

In any case, the other day we're walking by the guidance office on the way to meet with a parent up in the office when Miss Reading says, "Look who's sitting in Guidance, sobbing his eyes out,". We look (the entire front of the office is glass - there is NO privacy whatsoever), and there he is in all his Boo-Hoo Glory. Meltdown boy, another year older, and he's still just sobbing his heart out.

I honestly wonder if this kid will survive his first week of high school.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Wham! Bam! Let's go Glam!

Seventh grade boys are an odd bunch. Then again, that's what makes them so darn amusing (and infuriating) in the first place.

Case in point. I have a lot of skaterboarders on my team. Last year we had the jocks, the kids who played football and basketball. This year we have the little boys (skaters are, for some reason, invariably small) who are completely into skateboards. They sneak skatobard catalogs into the classroom and read and compare every chance they get. I never once saw a boy with a catalog last year, a game magazine perhaps, but a catalog, never. Now I find them everywhere. My advisory kids, in fact, have so many catalogs that they sit there and comparison shop. Some of these kids, in fact, began selling their Halloween candy to classmates in order to fund their addiction to radical t-shirts and skateboard decks.

In any case, there are two trends among the skater squirts that are a bit more than a tad weird, and they began showing up this week.

First trend - skater squirts are wearing girls jeans. Apparently the reason they are wearing girls jeans is because they're tight (very, very tight if you've seen the styles lately) whereas boys jeans are very, very loose (so loose you could be three skaters in one pair). Skaters like tight jeans because the loose ones get in the way when doing skateboard tricks. However, it's really weird seeing some of our boys in these skintight jeans. In fact, one of them, Whiney Boy, looked as if he was having trouble walking. I'm wondering if their parents have any idea what they're wearing to school.

The other new thing is eyeliner. Dark, smokey, almost Goth eyeliner. And the little seventh grade girls just adore this new fad and are whipping out their eyeliner pencils and dolling up the boys in between classes. This whole trend, along with the jeans, has Mr. Social Studies just about beside himself. He's retired military and boys just don't do things like this in his book, even goofy, space cadet, seventh grade boys.

However, as I'm standing there in my room it occurs to me that my boys are now starting to look like David Bowie and the Spiders from Mars. The Glam movement is alive and well in my classroom! All they need is a little glitter and they'd be set.

I happened to mention this to a few of the boys who, thankfully had heard of David Bowie, but never heard of the Spiders, Mick Ronson, Sweet or any of the other Glam bands from that era. So sad, their musical background is a void.

Perhaps I need to whip out and play my Velvet Goldmine CD during class?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

When technology bites you on the butt


I love technology at the same time I hate it.

We have these laptop labs at school that we got last year and they're just the neatest things to roll into your classroom and use. The kids love them, they get computer experience, and they usually learn something. It's amazing how quiet the room will get when they're doing something on a computer.

In any case, I had this great review lesson to do over our systems of organization unit utilizing a fantastic website we finally got the district to pay for the licenses for - BrainPop. The kids love this site. It's good for all sorts of subjects, has cartoon movies that teach content, a "pop" quiz, and more. All in all, I'm looking forward to this lesson, the kids are excited about getting the laptops, and even Mrs. Squirrel is going to come watch the lesson for one of my observations.

Except the network was down.


See, our network, for some reason I have yet to determine and no one can tell me, will work fine until about 7:30. Then it will either shut down completely, or internet access is so slow it's all you can do not to fall asleep watching a page to load. And wouldn't you know it, it comes back up around 3:30....when we don't need the darn thing.

So, knowing how technology can reach up and bite you in the butt, I had a plan B - Review Bingo!!! And loads of leftover Halloween candy for the winners, so all worked out okay although I think the kids have had way too much sugar this week.

But you know, what's the use of having the technology if the stupid network won't even stay up?