Thursday, April 30, 2009

What Not to Wear

This afternoon a student told me he wanted to nominate me for the TV show "What Not to Wear." I said I was game. When I asked why, he said "All you wear is brown. And your hair, it's just, blah."

Earlier in the day a kid told me I should buy a pair of really skinny jeans. Usually when kids comment on my appearance I tell them they can come to my house at 6 a.m. and pick out my outfit, do my hair, etc.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Precious moments #2

Me: Jeff's (the math teacher's) baby was born this morning - his name is Wesley!
Student 1: Like Wesley Snipes?
Student 2: Like Ron Wesley?
Student 3: Don't you mean Ron Weasley?
Student 4: I can't believe they named it Wesley! I am NOT calling that baby Wesley.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Precious moments

Student 1: [burps loudly]
Me: Wow!
Student 1: What, I'm not allowed to burp?
Me: No, it's a natural bodily function.
Student 1: Yeah, like when I heard you fart in your office the other day!
Student 2: Awkward!
Me: Everybody farts.
Rest of class: [breaking into chatter]
Me: Okay! Anyone who's talking in five seconds is going to have the teacher fart on them.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Budget talk in St. Paul

I've been thinking about state budget policy ever since my days working here in college, but it has taken on new meaning since I've joined a charter school board of directors! Now every 1, 2 or 3 percent has me reaching for the Pepcid.

The Minnesota House of Representatives has just passed a bill that would hold K-12 spending flat for the next two years. Minnesota Public Radio had a great segment that sums up most of the politicking: The Democrat-controlled House and Senate are trying to balance the budget by skimping on K-12 funds; the Senate bill, which passed a few weeks ago, included a 3% cut (HUGE).

Republican Governor Pawlenty is proposing a K-12 budget increase tied to school reform measures:
"If you look at the discussion around the country around school reform and accountability, adequate funding is important, I don't mean to diminish it," Pawlenty said. "But their bill is devoid of any meaningful reforms, either in the House or Senate, that would substantially, directly impact student learning."
Of course, it's questionable whether Pawlenty's reform measures - mostly merit pay - would actually "directly impact student learning."

At our school, we have budgeted for 0% increase or decrease from the state in the upcoming years. We are also considering enrolling in Q-Comp, the state's merit-pay system, which could get us an additional $20,000 next year.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Police State

Our school has been having issues lately with students using marijuana during field trips and selling prescription drugs on campus, so the administrators made a decision (bless their hearts!) to do something about it. This morning we were told that the K-9 unit would be coming in to search the school.

The officers came in with a big, goofy german shepherd who looked like he was probably a teenager himself in dog years. He was so excited about doing his job that he didn't have time to be graceful as he bounded up and down off of students' desks, sniffing for contraband. Every now and then they would have to plant a little baggie in a kid's binder just to keep the dog's hopes up. When he found it, he would just sit.

They found a couple of questionable items at the students' desks and some weed in a student's car. Meanwhile, many of the students saw this big dog and were afraid. Not to mention the fact that their stuff was not being treated gently. When we met as a school after the police left, one student asked if they would be getting an apology for the search experience. The response: No.

Later in the day I told the student that he had a right to feel angry.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Other People's Trash

For her senior project, one of my students coordinated a day of service for Earth Day that got the whole school out picking up trash at various locations. She did a great job and the students did awesome.

Best find - This shopping list:
Velveeta Cheese
Paper Plates
Frig Soda
Fiber 1

Peppermint Oil

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Time (mis)management

Came home this weekend with an unprecedentedly huge stack of grading and somehow managed to avoid it all weekend. Ah well, that's what my morning prep is for.

I spent way too much time prepping for my Geography of World Conflict class, but I'm really psyched about teaching colonialism this week. We're going to read some Bartolome de las Casas.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

More about financial literacy

My mom pointed me in the direction of, a site that has videos on all sorts of topics for educators. This month they are focusing on financial literacy and asking teachers to post videos on their blogs. I am glad to oblige.