The Sneeze Girl

Today I went to the Science Museum with my nieces and nephew (and my parents).  It was the first time since this past summer that I’ve been there.  So… that means it’s the first time I’ve used my teacher ID to get in FREE!  My dad got a museum membership so he could take the grandkids multiple times and by flashing a school ID he got a nice chunk-o-money off of the membership price.

Another perk of going with grandparents…  We went to the Omni movie about the Amazon.  When the ticket-taker dude saw that Grandma and Grandpa had these little cane things that change into stools, he suggested that we go upstairs and use the special needs entrance.  This turned out to be awesome!  We were the first ones in the theater and could get the best seats!

So… back to the title of my post…


This is Diana with Megan and Jack.  There is a door that opens over Diana’s face and water vapor similar to the force of a sneeze comes out.  Since Megan has been sneezing, it was a very timely lesson.

The exhibit was about the human body.  This exhibit is one that has been used in the past.  Why do I know this?  Because I’ve been going to the Science Museum for years, and Diana is a former student of mine.  When this exhibit first appeared, Diana was in high school.  I would guess that Diana is probably in her mid-twenties by now.  This picture is of a 14 year-old Diana.

So even though I didn’t actually see Diana.  It was fun to see Diana, the sneeze girl, once again.


Caroling the Board

Last night I went caroling.  It’s not an activity I do often.  But this time there was a twist to it.  We went caroling at school board members’ homes.  Since we’re still negotiating, we figured we’d spread a little Holiday cheer and make sure that they all got our proposals and latest contract update.

We split into 2 teams.  My team had 4 houses to go to and the other had 3.  As it turns out, none of our 4 were home.  The other group got lucky and caught one.  But each member now has a copy of our proposals, from us.  Not the district version.

We did sing at the house of one board member.  Her husband is a teacher in another district and could appreciate our songs.  The clever band director from my school came up with lyrics to some carols.  Try them out…  they’re kind of fun!

To the Tune of O Tannenbaum:
Initiatives, Initiatives,  You steal my time from teaching
Initiatives, Initiatives,  You steal my time from teaching
We “Write to Learn,” we “PLC”
We “Mondo” and “5 Steps Easy”
Initiatives, Initiatives,  You steal my time from teaching
To the tune of Silent Night:
Special Ed Load
Over Load
Never ending, no let up in sight
Not effective when time is so tight
Give us time to teach children
Give us time to teach kids
To the tune of Hark the Herald:
Hark, the Herald teachers sing
Dreaming of effective things
Time to teach the kids in class
Class size less than critical mass
We need time to teach our students
We need time to read assignments
We need time to give feedback
Kids come to school to obtain that
Hark, the Herald teachers sing
Dreaming of effective things
To the tune of We Wish You a Merry Christmas
We wish you would cap our class size
We wish you would cap our class size
We wish you would cap our class size
To do kids more good
Quit adding initiatives 
Quit adding initiatives 
Quit adding initiatives 
And let teachers teach

Holiday Traditions


Do you know what this is?  If you’re Scandinavian you know.  It’s lefse.  It’s made from potatoes.  You butter it and put some sort of sugar on it.  You roll it up, and eat it.  Is is my imagination, or does every culture have something similar to this?  The Latino culture as tortillas.  Even when I was in Tanzania, there was something similar to this – chipati.  Some sort of flat bread-like thing is present in many cultures.

Yesterday was the first time I had made lefse in several years.  I have an aunt that makes it several times each holiday season.  But for some reason, my family really has to work up the energy to do it.  My parents peeled, boiled and riced 10 pounds of potatoes yesterday morning.  In the afternoon, we put a pretty good dent in what turned out to be, 4 batches of lefse.  My specialty is the frying part.  I used my lefse stick for the first time and I’m pretty good at flipping the things.

We had some relatives over and they all joined in the fun.  It actually is a fun activity to do as a family.  My cousin’s six-year-old son actually was a natural at it.

So, dear reader, I just thought I’d share my Saturday activity with you.  Happy Holidays!


Do you really think I’m that stupid?

This is the question that is often on the tip of my tongue, yet it never makes it past my lips.  It is so easy to detect cheating.

Last quarter I had 3 kids turn in homework papers with practically identical work.  I don’t know who did the original work, but it was completely wrong and the other two had no clue and still copied it.  Even the location on the paper was the same.  Stray marks or boxes are copied that don’t make sense…  Really.  Do I look that stupid?

If you’re turning in homework papers that have most of the points and work, but you completely bomb a test, don’t you think I’m going to be suspicious?  It’s pretty easy to tell the difference between a clueless student and one that is on the right track with a few minor errors.  Don’t you think I’ve encountered this sometime in the last 15 years?  Do you really think this is an original idea?

One of my good teacher buddies teaches Chemistry.  She has some lined paper in her classroom that is green.  I’ve gotten a few assignments from a kid on said green paper.  I happened to see a few of my students heading into her class the hour before they’re in mine.  So today, as I was going through the homework, I figured out which student’s work was being copied.  I kept him after class and asked if the green paper student was copying his homework.  Yep.  So I told him if it happens again, he’s getting a zero along with the green paper kid.

After school, I stopped by my friend’s classroom to tell her what I had figured out.  She confirmed that she took the homework paper away from a different student and gave it back to the owner.  So now I know that there were two kids copying his work.  Kid #2 said he forgot it at home and wanted to turn it in tomorrow.  I guess we’ll have a little chat tomorrow…

They really don’t get it that we have a plethora of experience in spotting cheaters.  And guess what?  We talk to each other and share information!  And to top it off, we send that information to their coaches and it results in extra physical training as a punishment. Heh heh…

That’s what you get for thinking you can pull one over on me.


Like Terms

Is it really that hard to add like terms?  Do I really need to simplify it so much that a 1st grader can understand it?  Apparently.  The right side of my photos is getting cut off and I’m not sure how to fix it, but you’ll get the idea…


2 pears + 1 pepper + 2 yogurts + 1 apple + 4 clementines + 2 apples + 3 yogurts + 3 pears + 1 pepper = ?


5 pears + 2 peppers + 3 apples + 4 clementines + 5 yogurts

2p + e + 2y + a + 4c + 2a + 3y + 3p + e

= 5p + 2e + 3a + 4c + 5y

The order doesn’t matter.

Really?  Is it that hard?