Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Popsicles Anyone?

It's that time of year when you feel like you have to have a bit of flexibility in your plans because you never know what the weather will be like, and how that will impact your day.

For example, a little over a week ago we had a fire drill because it was 70 degrees outside. That was a Friday. That following Monday we had a two hour delay due to ice. Tuesday we had a two hour delay, then an early dismissal, due to ice. And Wednesday we didn't even go at all, due to ice.

So, I tossed away a few activities we had planned simply because we had run out of time. It's not ideal, but that's the way it goes.

I just hope we don't end up having a lot of cancellations like we did a few years ago. We ended up adding 30 minutes to the school day to make it up.

No one liked that.

Monday, January 14, 2013

If it's 70, and January, it's a Fire Drill Day

There are certain things you can almost bank on when it comes to predictability.

For one, if it's January or February, and the day is clear and unseasonably warm, we'll have a fire drill.  We're required to have one a month, and trust me, it's much nicer to have one when the weather is nice than it is when it's stupidly cold and rainy or snowy.

So, Friday, last period of the day, we had a fire drill.

Which was fine with me as it was nice out and the kids were bouncing off the walls anyway.

And today?  Well, it was 25 this morning and never got about 30.

Good thing we didn't do the fire drill today!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

When Technology Bites Back

It has been a day.

We had our Learning Links math test, an on-line test, scheduled for the first two periods of the day today. This means that every seventh grader had a laptop and was trying to access the network at the same time everyone was trying to send in attendance and get the day going. Well, with nearly 400 kids, that's a lot of activity on our network. Many kids had to be patient, a challenge for most seventh graders, and kept trying until they finally got online. I finally gave up and simply walked my attendance up to the front office.

For the record, listening to 30 kids fuss about computer issues can fray nearly anyone's nerves.

After much fussing and trouble-shooting, all my kids finally got online and got their test finished before third period arrived. Mrs Social Studies wasn't so lucky. She had kids that couldn't get on for nearly an hour so her kids had to take their laptops to another room to finish, under the supervision of someone from guidance, while the rest of the kids went to class.

And that wasn't the end of the craziness.

We were about two thirds of the way through third period when the building lost power. This usually happens once or twice a year, usually when the weather is bad, and after a few minutes we get power back. Today it was simply rainy and drizzly, so the weather wasn't an issue.

And it took nearly two hours before we had power.

I know we had it easier than the PE department did, what with 200 kids in the dark in the gym, but goodness it got old really quick being stuck in the room in the dark with my third period.

I did have the emergency lights working in my room, so we could at least see a little bit. In fact, I did have the kids take their quiz by writing the three questions on the whiteboard directly below the emergency lights, rather than put it on the document reader. They were not wild about that, but hey we were still in class and at that point I thought the lights were going to come back on shortly.

After a while however, it became apparent that this was going to take a while. And then the whining began. First they all had to go to the bathroom, so Mrs. Social Studies took the boys and I took the girls and we walked them to the bathrooms. The girls at least had an emergency light in their bathroom, but the boys were faced with pitch black. At this point we suggested they use their cell phones as flashlights.

After that adventure we went back to the dark classroom and tried to keep them somewhat quiet. Which was a challenge. They kept asking if they were going to get to go home. There were a few I would have gladly sent home by this point. Then, when the clocked ticked past our usual lunch time, the cries of hunger started up.

Good gracious. I found a box of graham crackers left over from a lab we did this fall and had just enough to give each kid half a cracker. Surprisingly that settled them down somewhat.

Finally, after just a little over two hours, the power came back on. We completely skipped fourth period, and sent the kids to fifth period, used part of fifth and sixth for lunch, and finallyhad a normal seventh period.

And those kids who didn't finish the online math test? Some were still working when we lost power. And they'll have to start over and take it again, poor kids!

So glad tomorrow is a Friday.