Friday, December 31, 2010

NYE - and teachers

I'm not sure if this is always the way teachers feel around this time of year. But I know that I do.

I don't really care about New Years Eve. I still have another semester to teach.

As a teacher (and generally controlling person) I don't really drink. I don't like being drunk. And I don't like the taste of most alcohol. So really - this is not the best day of the year for me.

I'll tell you what's a great night. The eve before summer vacation. Now that is a holiday. Oh The dreams and the new craft projects that will be attempted. The closets that will be cleaned out. Oh Heavens I love New Summers Eve*.

I look forward to 2011 - I think it's going to be a great year. I really am d.o.n.e. done with 2010. There were some great moments - don't get me wrong. And the second half of the year has been great. But again the teacher view on this whole situation is that school years take precedent over actual calendar years.

So as I look at a new calendar year and 5 and a half more months of the school year. I hope that things continue to be positive.

I wish you a happy and healthy new year - no matter which way you look at it.

*I think Summer's Eve might be a feminine hygiene product. I am not referring to that. gross**.

**Don't get me wrong being clean and healthy is a good thing. But those commercials are too much information.

A New Year's Prayer

Love you Scottie.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

How will people know you are smart...

Today I had brunch with two very dear friends. My friend Jeff is married to the lovely Kate.

I was able to hang out and catch up - we had a blast.

Both Kate and Jeff are engineers. Very smart people.

We were talking about my students and why it's important to be a good writer. Kate made the following statement and I want to put it on a poster in my classroom.

"How will people know you are smart - if you can't tell them about it." She talked about the fact that there are so many people who can't write, speak, or present their thoughts in a way that makes sense.

I am seriously going to make a poster of this statement. I might also find a way to have it printed on pencils.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

It's the small things

I was in Trader Joe's tonight - getting a few last minute things for my cookie extravaganza that will take place tomorrow with my friend Nicole.

I turned down the isle with the meats and cheeses and saw a man with his finger up his nose. He picked a good one and looked at his finger.

I had to turn around and walk away so as not to laugh out loud.

Ahh now my life is complete.

Have you seen the cord...

That goes to my camera?

Blerg. I had these great plans to post some of the projects that I worked on for Christmas prezzies. And sadly I can not find the cord to my camera. I'm sure it's in the house somewhere. This is what happens when we make plans...

So instead I'll just show you my inspiration and as soon as I find my cord I'll post what I made.

Check this out. Mine was for my friend Ellen. Who was my secret Santa at work. She loved it!

I also made these for a few of my work friends.

They were all very pleased with their gifts!
I love being able to make things for presents. When the budget is small - the time spent becomes valuable.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ummm what?

So early this morning I got up and went to Riverside to have a benign cyst taken off the back of my neck.

I'm find everything went well. Drove myself home and even stopped at Costco*

The only bummer is that while the nurse was putting on the giant band-aid on the back of my neck she says to me.

"You will need to change the dressing twice a day and put ointment on it when you change it. You also need to wait 48 hours before you shower."

Me: I can't wash my hair for two days?

Nurse: No, you need to keep it dry and not mess with the 5 stitches

Me: (Trying to be calm) Okay.

You see - I don't mind having a bath - that is actually sounding wonderful. It's the not washing my hair that creeps me out. I have VERY oily hair. The kind of hair that looks almost wet when i go for more than 24 hours without washing it. I wash my hair in the morning because by the end of the day it looks gross. So needless to say I am not looking forward to the next two days of greasy hair.

But Thankfully I'm on vacation, so if I stay locked up in the house for a day or two it won't matter.

Just call me Repunzel.

*Yes that's right friends, I went to Costco the week before Christmas! I know you are proud of me.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Winter Break

Ahhh Winter break. That Mid year reprieve that keeps teachers sane.

I have so many things to be thankful for this Christmas season. I have a wonderful Hubs who puts up with my long hours of grading papers. I'll be making many a filling dinner and spending lots of time with him this break.

I'm very lucky that our district has chosen to take a shorter summer and a longer winter break. So my dear friends, I don't have to go back to work until Jan 10, 2011. Next semester will bring it's busy schedule soon enough so I'll start planning after Christmas.

Until then here is the plan -

Coffee with friends and some old students
2012 Christmas party (attending with Kristine of Blog Stalking fame)
Wrapping of Presents
Getting a few more presents to finish off the list
Christmas with the Family
Craft Days with friends
Blogging about all of the Christmas presents I've been making
Sleeping in
Taking the dog for walks

Ah I love breaks from school. But I do love when you know your students have also enjoyed the year so far - I have more fudge, cookies, mugs, Christmas cards, and starbucks gift cards than I know what to do with.

It's been a great year.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The end is in sight

5 more days of school.

19 more research papers.

150 business letters.

70 in class essays.

a handful of presents to make.

I'm like the little engine that could!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Grading Papers

I am in the middle of grading research papers. I'm down to 60. Which means I've graded around 100 over the last two (and a bit) weeks.

I really wish I could be doing a few crafts. But alas. I can not justify craftyness when there is so much to grade.

Today I was grading papers and this was a gem I came across that I thought I would share with all of you. I don't have the paper right in front of me so this is not word for word. But really the epic nature behind this still comes through in a paraphrase. The subject of the paper was Animal Rights.

"Society must take action against testing on animals. There are plenty of murderers and pedophiles in the prison system and those should be the people that companies test their products on - not animals."

It was one of those moments that made grading papers better.

I'm so close to Christmas break I can see the light at the end of the tunnel - but yet I just can't seem to see the end of the papers. Blurg.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Two More Weeks!

That's all I need to get through in order to get to Christmas break.

I will be doing some activities with supplemental reading books, grammar, and a literary terms test over the next week - then finals!

I can't believe how quickly this semester has gone by. It feels strange to me that so much has happened in 2010. I'm looking forward to seeing it go. Last spring was rough and I'm glad to be looking a new year in the face.

Plus -PROM is coming in the spring. I will be helping the class of 2012 put on prom this year. It's going to be so fun. Or at least I think so. But I'm kind of a nerd like that.

My only problem now is getting about 100 research papers graded. I've been pushing through a lot of them. And I have read some great papers. And then... there are those where I start verbalizing my frustrations.

I really don't know how some of these kids ended up in an advanced English class. I know they mean well. But their writing is - well - it needs some work. I think that the biggest problem young writers have is that they don't read over their work. They think that the sound awesome.

I guess that's what revision is for!

Two more weeks.... here I come vacation!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving Run Down -

Why does gravy make everything better.

Wold Peace could be achieved with my father's gravy I'm sure of it.

So I had a week off of school. Which was wonderful. I didn't get enough grading done. But when do I ever get enough grading done. Really though... 160 - 4+ essays.

I did get a class set done and made it through part of another class. It was a good showing really. I wanted to get 10 done every day. But it just didn't happen.

I spent too much time with family and friends. And really when is that ever a bad thing.

Tomorrow I begin teaching the business letter. To my sophomores. I'm also going to be teaching them how to grade on a rubric. That way they can self grade their own paper - well - them and a partner in class. We'll see how it goes. I've done peer grading but it should be interesting to see how this turns out. I'm going to make a VERY detailed rubric for them to go over. That way all I have to do is spot check to see if they have done it right.

Personally I think it's hard to mess up a business letter once you have learned the format. But looking over the MLA on some of these research papers. I don't think these kids listen to a thing I say.

Maybe if i cover their papers in gravy they'll all get A's...

It's a thought!

Saturday, November 20, 2010


I know I say it often - but I love where I work.

The kids are great - staff is great - it's just great.

Every year we hold a canned food drive. This year our ASB director (Award Winning - by the way) set a goal of 10,000 cans.

We have a school of 3,400+ students and a staff of over 150.

Over two weeks we added to the growing pile of cans. I offered my 5th period a deal. If they gave me money I would go to Winco and by cans. Well they were more than generous with their donations. I made three trips to the store and purchased over 500 cans. All together with the cans students brought from home we donated 598 cans.

The entire school raised 10,378 cans. The food pantry had to bring three trucks to take all of the food back.

It was a great day to be a bronco.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Not all Caramel is like that Caramel

So I had this plan. It was a great plan.

I love going to check out Creation Corner she has a link party every Friday and I saw this project

and I thought - I can totally make that happen for my book club.

We read - Water for Elephants. Which by the way is a super fun book. It's a quick read and a little saucy in some places. I am looking forward to seeing how it's going to be adapted for the big screen - but not super excited that "Edward" is going to be playing the main role.

So because our book was about the circus I thought it would be fun to have food themed around the book. Who doesn't love food on a stick.

And so there was a plan to go to our friend Ellen's house for a good ol' time. Well Ellen's daughter got sick and so we had to make a quick change and our very generous friend Jess offered to host at her house.

She was awesome and put together a party in a matter of minutes - full on with food on a stick. I planned to bring caramel apple bites.

Sadly my caramel apples did not look like this:I had a little issue.

I couldn't find the same caramel bits that had been used in the recipe. So I thought that it would be okay to use branch's caramel pieces. I put them in a sauce pan and started to melt them down.

I used my melon baller to cut out my little mini apples. I was on my way to mini apple greatness.

Or so I thought...

I set out my parchment paper and was ahead of schedule. I was able to see that the caramel set and thought people were going to be amazed by my crafty-goodness. I went to bed dreaming of my delicious treats.

I got up in the morning and this is what I found:
Here was the problem. The apples were very juicy which is typically a good thing. But in my case it was bad. My caramel melted right off my apples.

But I had to bring some treat to book club. I was determined not to show up empty handed.

So thank goodness for supermarkets.

I tried - and that's what counts right?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Book Club

Today I am meeting with my friends to discuss the quirky novel Water for Elephants.

I am looking forward to an afternoon of fun, laughter, some good food, and a great discussion about a fun book.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

True Story

Tonight I went out with a couple of my teacher friends for dinner.

As you know My Car is out of commission. And my friend Jess offered to take me home. She asked if I wanted to come out to dinner with her and our friends.

So we went over to Panera for dinner.*

My Friend Jess is dating Mike - Mike is Dave's brother - Dave is married to Nicole - Nicole is also my friend. It all comes together in the end. And feels a bit like 6 degrees of separation. Somehow I now feel the need to mention Kevin Bacon in this post.

Anyway... I was enjoying a delicious half roast beef sandwich and small bowl of tomato soup. We were all having a normal conversation when Mike (Who was also enjoying a roast beef sandwich) mentioned that he would like some horse radish sauce - I said I would go get some for the table.

I walked up to the counter and there was a man sitting near where I was standing. I ask the girl behind the counter for the horse radish sauce and see one of my former students. I say hello to E - tell the girl behind the counter that I know him because, he was a former student. Then the man sitting near the counter says strikes up this conversation -

Random Guy - So you're a teacher
Me - Yes
RG - You teach around here
Me - Yes
RG - High school teacher (nods his head in a weird way) - so does he get extra credit if he gives you extra sauce?
Me - No, he's a former student... (Please imagine the awkward silence that then took place)

I get back to the table and share that I think that a strange guy just tried to flirt with me. We all laugh at the table and continue on with our meal. Then the strange thing happened. Mike was trying to pour some of the horse-radish sauce on his sandwich when the tiny plastic cup holding the sauce flew out of his hand and went flying across the table. All. Over. Me.

I was laughing so hard that I couldn't speak. It was like it happened in slow motion. I saw it headed towards me and I couldn't react in time. Jess had to help clean me off. I don't even know how it was possible but I had horse-radish in my pocket, on my shirt, on the collar of my shirt, in my hair, on my leg. I was spicy and awesome.

The moral of this story is - well... I'm not sure what the moral of the story is.

So........ Happy Friday tomorrow!

*Stop what you're doing and go there for dinner or lunch or brunch or linner** ASAP - your brain will overflow with joy at the deliciousness.

**Linner is the meal to be eaten between Lunch and Dinner.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

1, 2, 3, 4

A lot of people say that counting to ten helps you to think clearly before you act.

I had to do that a lot in the last 24 hours.

It's complicated and there are curse words involved (on a students part).

But as usual Kristine (of blog stalking fame) came through with a thoughtful heart and a witty reply.

Here is the video she sent to brighten my day - I hope it does the same for you!

Thanks Sesame Street for always knowing the right thing to say!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

oh this little car of mine

I am surrounded by good people.

Today a dear friend of mine and I drove over to get some Starbucks - and on getting back to school and getting out of the car noticed that there was a river of green coolant coming from the car.

There had been a small slow week that has been there for about a month. (Yes I know that i should have taken care of it - but time and money put it at bay).

So I'm very lucky that my dear friend got on the phone with her husband. I got on the phone with my dad. And within 10 minutes - AAA was on it's way.

My dad showed up and about 15 minutes after that the tow truck showed up.

While we were waiting about 7 different staff members asked to make sure everything was okay - and that help was on the way.

I love that I work at a place where people truly care about one another!

It made my Wednesday - even though my car doesn't work.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

ummmm really

I had a parent tell me this week.

That the reason their child doesn't turn in homework is because:

"Homework bores the hell out of him."

My Response:

"I don't assign homework to 'bore the hell' out of students - I do it so that the standards are covered and they are prepared for the next lesson."

Is that really what parents think is an okay statement to make to a teacher.


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Please tell me that was a spelling error...

And not you really thinking that's how you spell Role Model.

I was helping a student look over their research paper and I came across this little jem.

Ro-models are very important in society.

I point it out to the student and he starts laughing, I start laughing. The class looks over at the two of us who are laughing so hard that I'm crying. Ask what's going on - I take a deep breath and share the spelling of Ro-models. The class laughs.

It was a great Friday.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Problem Solving

Here was a Dad's solution to his kids water bottle exploding in a backpack.

The student was worried that their book would not dry in time for me to grade their annotations. So freaking out - the kid asked their dad what to do. The dad suggested that they put it in the microwave. Well the sticker, that the book store put in to make sure no one steals the book, was still attached to the inside cover. That sticker has metal in it. So when they put it in and turned it on the book set on fire.

Mom was not home at the time of this event.

-happy ending - The student did get full credit for their work. They had awesome annotations.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

This is the FBI

True Story:

Talking to my dad on the cell phone about going down to the car show today.
House phone rings.

"Yes your husband told me to call you this is Mark from the FBI"
"Ummmm who are you looking for"
"Yes, Your husband told me to call you - I don't have his name here in front of me"
"Ummm this is the Parsons' residence"*
"Oh I might have the wrong number - do you know anything about a kidnapping?"
"No - you have the wrong number"
"Sorry to bother you." - Hangs up.

So was this a prank call? Or is there some random family out there waiting to hear from the FBI about a kidnapping. I don't think that's something to joke about - and not on a Saturday morning at 10am.

On a lighter note - we are going down to the car show with my dad and having dinner with the parentals later tonight when mom gets home from her job at the yarn shop.

*We went over to a friends house last night - so I know where my husband was and we were not in the presence of the FBI, just a bunch of math teachers**. So I have to addmit that I was a little worried for a second about say my name - but I figured there are a lot of Parsons out there.

**As an English teacher - hanging out with 6 math teachers was a bit daunting - but we had a blast. Who knew math teachers were so wild and crazy! I sure didn't.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

yes that's due today

Why is it that students love to have 'no clue' when assignments are due?

I write it on the board - say it out loud - post it on my website - should I call home too?

I know that it is important to have it posted in multiple places because students don't really pay attention when I talk*. I also know that some students are visual learners and when they see it they remember it. I also encourage my students to write their homework down in their reminder binders.

Yes - you are in an advanced class
Yes - there are going to be multiple assignments due on the same day
Yes - I expect you to look over the website while you are absent
Yes - you still have to take the quiz today even though you were gone last class

No - I don't offer extra credit
No - you can't get an extension on that assignment
No - I'm not going to stop everything I'm doing and tell you what you missed while you were gone for a week and a half.

But - even with all of this I still love these crazy kids. They make me laugh even when they are being insane - I had a kid searching through his back pack today looking for his grade check for band. The girl next to him turns and looks at him and says "You are a hot mess!" I echoed that statment - the kids laughed, I laughed, it was a good moment. The kid couldn't find his grade check. He has a 90% in the class - but is a little scatterbrained.

It's all about balance - and one of those things is turning your work in on time.

*it must be because what I'm saying isn't important (please note the sarcasm)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Oprah and Martha

As we all know - I like Oprah.

Today two worlds collided - Oprah had on Martha Stewart.

The queen of talk meets the queen of crafts. I was in heaven.

All of my life I have loved crafts. I scrapbook and make cards and am always thinking of projects I could take on. I also like to read craft blogs. If you have not gone to check out Creation Corner then you need to. Tasha is amazing and will help you link up with other amazing craft blogs and show you projects that even the anti crafter can take on.

I grew up with Martha - I was the kid who would watch a Martha show and look at and decide - I'm going to make that. One of my favorite projects was a Christmas topiary - you take a foam ball and then a bag of fresh cranberries - and tooth picks cut in half. Pierce each cranberry with the toothpick then push the cranberry into the foam ball. You can display it by using a wooden dowel and pushing that into the foam ball as well - then place it into a container of your choice. It kinda looks like this when you are done - also has great directions on how to make your holiday shine a little brighter.

I look forward to the fall holiday season kicking off. I love the thought of sitting around and thinking of things I can make to make the house a little more holiday-tastic and what fun treats I can make for my friends.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Happy little thought

If you are a teacher - and have a card to prove this to be true (like a CTA or School ID card) you can get discounts at certain retailers.

Office Depot - will give you a 15% discount on copy and printing- you can also log into your own account to see how your rewards are adding up - check it out

Joann's Fabrics - 15% off all your crafting needs!

Barns and Noble - 20% off books and supplies for the classroom.

Staples and Office Max do it too!

So next time you are out and about - ask if the store gives a teacher discount. It might save you some moola!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

it is the second S*

I have a hard time saying no.

I am a people pleaser and sometimes that becomes a problem. The Hubs gave me a magnet for the fridge in my classroom a few years back that says. "Stop me before I volunteer again". I make myself look at it at least once a day at work. Part of it is that I don't like to let people down. I like to be involved. I enjoy being busy.

As I look at the year ahead I get excited about the fun things that I get to be a part of - not just in my classroom but on my campus and in my community. I am co-advising with Kristine (of blog stalking fame) for the class of 2012.

I don't have to go to home football games. I enjoy it. I like hearing kids yell "Hey Parsons!" - it makes me feel needed. There is still a very big part of me that doesn't like to be the girl sitting on the sideline. Growing up I spend a lot of my time with the ASB. I was able to be a part of the foundation of a school, we were the first graduating class. It was nice to be a part of history. Even if it's local hometown history.

Speaking of high school. Tonight is my ten year reunion. I am on the planning committee (there's that volunteering again). There is a part of me that worries, because not a lot of the people I kept in touch with will be there tonight I'll have no one to sit with. Thank goodness I get to bring my husband tonight. I can't imagine facing this on my own. Bleck - it would be terrifying. I was kind of that weird girl in high school. I wouldn't say that I was popular - but I think I was well liked.

Now I tell my students - if you are weird in high school people don't know what to think of you. the weirder you are as a high school teacher the more you are loved. It's very strange but very true. I am still very much the same person I was in high school - I want to be involved and I want to be well liked. I don't like it when people are upset with me. It not that I want to be the person who people walk all over - but I want to be the person people can depend on.

I enjoy serving others. In whatever capacity that is or becomes. I guess it's a good thing I work in a place that stands for that. Character Leadership Attitude Scholarship Service - CLASS.

*this blog post title comes from Kristine of blog stalking fame.

Monday, September 20, 2010

spirit week

I love my job. Today I got to wear a Bobba Fett shirt* and jeans.
Tomorrow I get to wear a wig and act like I have a secret identity.
Wednesday I will wear my cape and dance in a rally.
Thursday is twin day.
Friday is extreme spirit day.

It's a good life.


Today was another day in the library for research. It's amazing to me that some kids don't know how to find a publishing company or copyright year when looking inside of a book. They spend so much time online and not in real libraries that they don't know how to work when they are in one.

While they are working I'm reading the new book for book club. I'll read a page or two - go help a kid - three or four pages - help a kid. And while I was in the middle of a page a kid strikes up this conversation

R: Why are you reading that
Me: It's for my book club
R: I can't read like that
Me: do you mean while standing up or because I only get a few pages in at a time?
R: No - I don't like to read for fun. I only read the stuff I have to and I don't really even enjoy that.

This is a conversation that sadly happens more often than I would like it too.

So go read a book - and because it's banned book week - go read a banned book!

*Bobba Fett is from Star Wars - he's a bad guy.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


I have had a few parents ask me "What can my child do to get an A in your class."

Be an A student 100% of the time.

I almost want to ask them "Are you an A+ parent all of the time" - my guess would be no. I think that part of the reason kids are so tempted to cheat is because they don't want to upset their parents by getting bad grades.

It is a very sad reality that some of these kids are more afraid of bringing home an A- than being called out for being a bad kid. WE all have days that aren't our best. I know that there have been lessons that have turned out a bit less than stellar.

Heck if I were giving myself a grade on getting papers back to kids I would give myself a C on average. I'll let you in on a little secret - there have been times at the end of the grading period that I've given a participation grade rather than plowing through all of those papers.

I guess it's hard for me to understand parents who want their child to get an A+. I was not that kid, those were not my parents. I got C's in some of my classes in high school and in college. I turned out okay. I'm a good citizen of the world - I don't beat my dog or cat. As an adult no one cares about the GPA I got anywhere in my educational career.

If your work is amazing - you will get an amazing grade. If you have a bad day - your grade might reflect that. It doesn't mean that you won't go to college, get a job, have a spouse, procreate or any of the other major events that will happen in life.

It might just mean you get an A-.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

thank goodness for dads and husbands

Today on my way to work. I was only about one mile from work. I heard a pop. and then smoke started coming from underneath the bonnet (hood). So I pulled over - started to have a little panic attack. More so because I didn't know how I would get to school. So I called my husband. He was a sleep and didn't pick up the phone. I called my parents. They picked up - very luckily. And we made a plan that Dad and Hubs would take care of it while I was at school.

Happily one of my fellow teachers stopped when they saw me and offered me a ride up to school. I am very very thankful for her.

Turns out it was a water hose that popped. The 'smoke' that I saw was only steam. And Dad and Hubs were able to fix it for a grand total of 15$.

It was one of those moments that added to the week of adventures and feeling overworked.

Tomorrow is Book Club. And let me tell you - it can not come soon enough. We will be discussing the book we read over the summer - A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

I am looking forward to it. And Friday. ohhh the weekend cannot come soon enough!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

busy busy bee

This has been one of those weeks - and it's only Wednesday.

Monday - full day of work. then back to school night. Why is it that I could be in front of an entire gym full of students and be fine - but a room full of parents I break into a cold sweat.

Tuesday - full day of work. then a staff meeting. it ran 9 minutes over. people started walking out.

Today - full day of work. dealt with an academic dishonesty issue then site council after school.

I love that every day I add that there was a full day of work. As if i would not work a full day.

Next week is homecoming.
This weekend I'm headed over to my gramma's house to sew myself a cape.

our theme this year is "A Hero of a Homecoming".

I'm busy and tired. Today I woke up at 6:18 - I need to leave the house by 6:43 to make it before the traffic gets crazy.

needless to say it's been a long three days.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Good Teacher, Bad Housewife

I'm a good friend, good teacher, good family member - but one thing I know I'm not good at is housekeeping.

I don't like to clean. I like a clean house - but I'm bad at keeping it that way. I know this about myself - I have embraced it as one of my faults.

But today while I have the ability to have the house to myself my plan is to attack the laundry situation. I don't mind putting laundry in the machine - it's the folding that I don't like.

I guess this goes back to why I don't like grading. It's the teaching I love - if only I didn't have to give grades.

I would love to try the following experiment.

- teach all semester - assigning homework and essays but let students grade their own work. Give plenty of rubrics and make sure they understood what was expected of them. and at the end of the semester allow them to give themselves a grade. I would be willing to bed that there would be some kids who would give themselves an A no matter what - and there are the other kids who would give themselves a grade lower than what they really should have gotten. But I think for the most part kids would give themselves the grade that the deserve. I hate that there are so many kids who ask the question "what can I do to raise my grade" but they never ask "what can I do to learn more"

And isn't it the learning we should all be worried about. That's why I got into this field - not to give grades but to help kids learn.

But like all things in life if you are going to have the fun - there are the responsibilities that go with it.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Guilt Bag

This is something every English teacher knows about.

It proves that there are simply just not enough minutes in the day.

I have a guilt bag. It's the bag that I take to work, put papers in, and hope that I'll get a few moments here or there to grade. (Insert laughter because it never happens). Every day I bring this bag from my classroom to my car - car to house - house to car - car to classroom. Secretly hoping that someone has graded those papers in the night. To my shock and surprise Santa has yet to show up and grade my papers.

I have to force myself to grade. It really is one of the hardest parts of my job. I have plenty of rubrics and forms to make sure that I am being equitable when grading. But it pains me to see a kid who worked so hard on something just well... stink as a writer.

This is why homework is important. I give homework so that there is some kind of buffer in the system to help the kid who isn't good at writing essays. If a student does all of their work - and puts their best effort in, they will almost always* get a C or better in my class.

So the battle of grading continues - it's a three day weekend. To be honest I have around 40 full essays and 100+ shorter pieces (two paragraphs) that I need to grade this weekend. Partly because back to school night is on the 13th and I don't want to deal with angry parents.

I've already gotten an email about how I need to reconsider their child's grade. I was tired when I was putting grades in and looked at the wrong column when I put grades in so it looked like half the class was failing. No matter how I phrased the email I still felt like I was a complete moron.

Thank goodness there are still 2 and a half days left of this weekend! Now I'm going to go make a cake in my new pampared chef bake-ware - that grading can wait a little while longer.

*It has happened on a rare occasion that the child gets a D ~ but I don't think they have ever failed.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Money and Education

Yesterday I got the news that the financial struggle had come crashing down - and it happens to take my Education program with it.

Three years ago I helped to write a grant and we received funding to the tune of 90,000 over a four year period. The team of grant writers was overjoyed! The program we were building was for kids who wanted to be teachers. Last year I was able to teach the class and we had a wonderful time.

This year 16 kids signed up - but due to low numbers and the current enrollment being far over what was originally projected, they needed to cut the program. This is the first time in school history that they have had to cut programs. Tomorrow hundreds of new schedule changes will be happening and students will be changing classes in a hurry. I'll be getting a new class all together.

With all of this change and all of the disappointment.

Here are a few things that I am thankful for.

1. That the students who were in the class for those two short weeks are planning on starting a Future Teachers club and will be trying to raise money to go to the Museum of Tolerance in the spring.

2. I have amazing friends (who happen to also be coworkers) who were there for me and gave me lots of hugs today.

3. I will now have a prep period at the end of the day. It means that this Friday my day ends at 12:10. That's pretty awesome.

4. My wonderful husband who is so supportive and has done everything in his power to make sure I'm okay. Including let me do the ugly cry (oh yes - it was bad).

5. I have a job, at a school that I love, with people I love.

6. Kristine (of blog stalking fame) is letting me help advise the class of 2012. It feels good to feel needed again.

So even though I am very sad to be losing my program. I still have much to be grateful for.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Good Friends - Our dog Tonka is a bit of a wild woman. She got bored one day about three months ago and ripped the wires out of our air conditioning unit. At the time it wasn't hot. And we were saving for our trip to Australia. Then we were gone for a month. And now it's H.O.T. hot - the southern California summer is very much alive and well. The current forecast for the week is 100+.

Our friends Dave and Nicole are very handy - Dave offered to come over and help Bren fix the air conditioning. We were overjoyed! Nicole and I went out to get some yummy lunch and when we got back - the house was a bit cooler. It is awesome. I'm so very thankful for wonderful friends who give of themselves so willingly.

Now I just have to remind myself of the bill that will go up now that we can stay nice and cool.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

True Story

Picture it - first day of school. Last period of the day.

I'm tired - I've given the same speech over and over. A child walks in, sits down and begins to send a text message before the class has even started. Before the bell even rang this kid is texting. Heaven help this child.

D - 'sitting, texting, unaware of the wrath about to be placed upon him'
Me - What is your name?
D - D
Me - Why are you texting D
D - ummmm
Me - D - this is a great way for me to tell the whole class that I don't like texting. I hate it - I think it will be the downfall of the English Language. Because the word 'cuz' does not mean BECAUSE.
*At this point I think that D is terrified*
D - I'm sorry it will never happen again. I promise.
Me - it better not.

I smiled at him to let him know he was not in a huge amount of trouble - but then later I found out that he is the younger brother of one of my favorite students. Sooo as it turns out he had been warned that I'm a little crazy.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

day two and the feet still hurt

Ummmm when is it okay to switch to wearing slippers in my classroom.

House shoes as I like to call them.

Because really who wants to teach 30 - 14 year old wearing shoes that hurt your feet. Not me friend, Not me.

Today was day two - but because my school is on block schedule, it's kind of like the first day of real teaching. We read Everyday Use - 7th period liked it better than 1st. Or at least they were more vocal about enjoying it. And in 7th period there were seriously 10 people who interrupted class. I hate that. Pass for this kid, Some kid saying hello because they were going to go to the bathroom then they remembered that they missed my class... bla bla bla - seriously being interrupted with 35 kids in a room does not help the flow. But I managed.

Needless to say - it's good to be back - but what's even better is that tomorrow is Friday.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

first day of year 6

feet are tired. voice is tired. mind is tired. it was a great day.

The funny thing about teaching is you can gauge the year by how the first day goes. And let me tell you - it's going to be a good year. Other than the 11 minute drive that took 40minutes!! It really was the start of something awesome.

The kids laughed at my jokes, respected me when I asked for quiet and had the right amount of 'I'm scared' for my liking. A friend of mine who teaches 12th grade said this at lunch and I tend to agree...

S: I want my kids to have a bit of fear and be a bit timid on the first day of school. I don't want them thinking that they can make jokes with me yet. We aren't there yet.

There should be a healthy respect for the teacher up in the front of the room. I want my students to feel like they don't really 'get' me yet. The process of getting to know them and them getting to know me is the fun part.

As for tomorrow Adv 10 will start to read Everyday Use by Alice Walker. It's a good one to start with and I look forward to seeing how much they already know - and where I need to take them in order to get them to the goal of AP English 11.

I will be going to get something yummy from the fridge and put my feet up. Tomorrow I'm wearing flats.

Monday, August 9, 2010

back in the sadle again

There is nothing like a trip to an office supply store to get the teacher juices flowing. I have a serious love for office supplies. Today I was able to get scissors for 0.25 cents! So I bought 6 pairs. I also got personal pencil sharpeners for 0.05 cents so I got 6 of those as well. In all I spent 24 dollars but am now set for the fall semester. If I can get a few kids to bring in tissue boxes then I'm golden.

The goal for this year is to have a personal 'edit and project' box for every table group. I was thinking that I would put the kids back into the flying V as I like to call it. This V helps the kids focus on the front of the room. But I also have all advanced English classes this year - and I might put them back in table groups. It's a constant battle really. The groups allow them to talk a bit more - but they also have the ability to swap papers and discuss when I want them to. hmmmm I think this year it will also depend on how much work needs to be don with my room.

Tomorrow is teacher day. This means that I'll be at school around 7am and get my keys back - meet up and learn what the admin have in store for the year. Then it's off to my room to set up shop. I will also get my picture taken for the yearbook. Last year a lot of us made funny faces. This year I might just bring my crown and wear it in the picture. Who doesn't want to look like a queen in the year book.

This year because of budget cuts classes are f.u.l.l. I love having 28 in a room. 30 is okay, 31 I can handle (but I don't have to like it), 32 gets a little crazy at times, 33 and up and it can become crowd control. I have 35 kids in my 7th period class. So at the end of the day it's going to be a wild ride. I hope that a few of the kids get shuffled around. I have some classes with lower numbers so even a little movement will help.

I'm looking forward to the year ahead. We'll have to see what adventures are ahead.

Friday, August 6, 2010

So I'm Back

I feel like there are a lot of things to cover. I will not be able to post it all now, because I'm trying to get back to a normal sleep schedule. After all the first day of school is on Tuesday - first day with kids is Wednesday.

My brain is still trying to get a hold of this time situation. Because it still feels like I should be awake until about 3 am. But I made it to bed at 1 yesterday - that's two hours better from the night before.

The trip was wonderful. I gained 5lbs - but we'll say 2kg because it sounds like less. Why aren't we on the metric system. I mean really - what are we doing with this bologna about feet and pounds. It's a bit to complicated for me.

Here we are at LAX getting ready for our flight. It's hard to think that this was over a month ago. The flight took us 13 1/2 hours to get to New Zealand where we almost had to run to catch another 3 hour flight to Sydney. We got in at 9am Sydney time and had to wait almost an hour to get our bags. It may not have been an hour but it sure did feel like a long time. We got through customs and then we were out to meet the family. Tracey (mother in law) and Liam (brother in law) were there to pick us up. Liam is now taller than Bren. I couldn't believe it, neither could Bren really.

Here is a Koala that we saw at a wild life park we went to. He was loving himself sick with the eucalyptus leaves he was eating.

Here is Tas (sister in law) and Bren at the museum of natural history. This is a taxidermy kangaroo - Bren is pretending to snub it.

ps. I would like to post more pictures but it takes a long time on here and I'm not sure if there is a faster/better way to upload pictures. If you know of a way can you let me in on the secret.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A tree grows

How did I miss reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn when I was in my teenage years.

My book club read it for our big summer read. Normally we go about 4 or 5 weeks in between books. But because people were going to be away for summer trips and none of us had work we chose to go for a longer gap as well as a longer book. We last read Angry Housewives Eating BonBons (a book about a book club - which we read for book club), and so we picked one of the books those women read as one of our books.

There are few books in my life that make me want to name children or pets after the characters - this book was one of them. I'm not crazy about naming a child Frances - but someday I will have a cat named Francie.

This was not a 'my life is now different because I read this book book' - It was a 'I could read this again after I finished the last page book' - the kind of book that makes you happy and sad, and as much as my friends tease me about being a fan of Oprah, I heard her say this once and it totally applies to this book.

"It's the kind of book that makes you think the characters are going on without you when you put the book down and go do something else"

Francie is the kind of girl who might just be the perfect character. She is witty and brave - sassy and loving. I adored every second of it. It reminded me a bit of Angela's Ashes. The idea of being so poor but still so alive and aware of the world.

I loved that she was always saying 'I wonder' - she was a lover of books and the page that describes her understanding words for the first time - and therefore was able to read - made me cry. It was so well put and really just what it feels like to read for the first time and really get it.

I love that I am here in Sydney while reading it. It always seems like there is time to read on vacation - that somehow doesn't really exist when I'm at home. I also love that it's cold here. It's nice to curl up with a cup of tea and a blanket and read.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Aussie Aussie Aussie

Here are some things that you might not have known about Australia -

A flashlight is called a torch.
Food is fresh and yummy, there is a yogurt bar in the local shopping center that has 10 different types of fruity delights.
French Fries are called chips - and you can buy them in bulk at the local chips shop.
Meat pies are at almost every bakeryshop and they are always good.
It's tomato sauce and not ketchup .
Most people eat their chips plain - sometimes with chicken salt.
Chicken salt is salt with chicken flavoring mixed in. and it's amazing!
Every aussie woman is wearing tall black boots. And I want a pair.

Seriously though. Everyone here is dressed in a way that looks kind of like 'I'm doing the shopping - but I could also be going to a job interview' - I would love to dress like that. I always get a bit lazy and tend to love a tshirt and jeans a bit too much.

Almost all of the shops have dark colors. It could be because it's winter here and so everyone is dressing for the season. Black skirts, tights, jumpers, scarves. I'm loving it.

We are having a wonderful time with the family here. I made meatloaf on the 4th - I had to celebrate the 4th in my own little way. And I feel like meatloaf is one of the most american meals ever. We enjoyed it with roasted potatoes. It was raining and cold.

It rained like mad today and Bren has been loving every second of it. I just wish I had a hoodie with me because every time we go out it seems to rain only when we are walking outside. Everytime we step inside the shoping center - it stops raining.

Murphy's law I guess. Hope you all are enjoying the sunshine at home!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Shelter Dogs

We have a shelter dog. She is insane - loves to dig and bark and play. She has a toy duck that she sings to in the morning.

This morning while enjoying a cup of coffee I saw this commercial - and cried. That's how you know it's a good one... or that I'm a sap.

Monday, June 28, 2010

He comes from the land down under

A little over 6 years ago I got married to my best friend.

He and I dated for 4 long years. He was in Sydney - I was in Flagstaff (going to NAU).

In two and a half days we leave to go to Sydney for a month.

We will be spending time with his family and enjoying a long needed vacation.

Here are a few things I am looking forward to:

- Spending time with Family
- The train ride up to see Nannie and Pop
- Cherry Ripe candy bars - think mounds with cherries in it
- Tasty Cheese, this is really the title of this type of cheese, it's not like cheddar and not like jack but somewhere in the middle, and it's amazing
- Walks into the junction - His family lives in a little suburb outside of Sydney and we are able to walk into the local train station to go into the city.
- Public transportation
- The beach - It's winter time so there will be no dip in the water for me, but it sure is pretty.

The last time we were back was in 2006 - so this is a long overdue trip. I should go pack some more and make sure I have enough socks and sweaters. It's a very strange process to pack in shorts and tank top - but be counting the number of sweaters I need to take with us.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Advanced 10

I have dislexia.

I was in classes that helped me with reading from 2nd to 5th grade. I tested out of RSP when I went to middle school but still struggled with reading. My 8th grade English teacher refused to let me go into advanced English or Spanish when I went on to high school.

Now I teach advanced English. This is insane to me. Don't get me wrong - I LOVE it. I've had advanced 11 for a few years now and l.o.v.e. it.

This year in my mail box I got the memo that I would be teaching Advanced 10. I was a little shocked and then progressively excited.

I found out what the books are and now I'm interested in adding two more supplemental books to the list. We have four books for supplemental reading and I would like to be able to let students choose four - these are the four that are already on the list

Joy Luck Club
Native Son
All Quiet on the Western Front
Things Fall Apart

Core Lit:
Of Mice and Men
Julius Caesar
Animal Farm

If you were going to add two titles what would they be?

It's world lit - I was kinda hoping for a good piece with a latino/a background.


Monday, June 14, 2010

ohhh vacation - I love you

I left my keys with the front office at 11:45 today! It felt great.

I did get some filing done in my room - I could always do more, but it is what it is.

Here is the plan for the summer.0

  • Next 16 days prep for Australia trip!
  • July 1st - fly to Sydney
  • Have fun with family and friends
  • Eat way to much food - but it's oohhh so yummy
  • Aug 3rd - get back to the US
  • Aug 10th - get ready for the new school year.
I can't believe that it's going to be my 6th year teaching. It's so weird to think that I've been teaching this long. This last year has been the hardest by far. It was hard because I didn't have the connection to the campus like I had in years past.

For four years I was a class adviser and I loved it. It was so amazing to guide wonderful kids to do wonderful things in their lives.

But it was hard to not go to things that I had gone to for so long. I love being involved in campus life. It's been a part of who I am for close to 15 years. I was in student government in high school, and was an RA in college. It feels good to give back. It feels good to be involved.

A few weeks ago I applied for a leadership position on campus but I didn't get it. To be honest I'm still crushed. I'm getting over it, but it was a hard loss.

Next year I am really hoping that something falls into my lap. I know that great things are a head of me. I don't know what it is yet. But I just hope that clarity and a bit of time off helps me find it.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Night and SR projects

So because I don't have children of my own - I have to boast about the 'children' I am in charge of at school.

This Student read The Book Thief

This one read Because of Romek by David Faber
It's hard to see but she wrote a quote from the book and his number

This student read In My Hands by Opdyke - It's the biography of a Catholic girl during the Holocaust who saved Jews by hiding them in the basement of a Nazi official

I'm so proud of my little cherubs!

Monday, June 7, 2010

a week to go

So a lot has been going on over the past few weeks.

I had the amazing opportunity to be nominated for the Crystal Apple Awards and received runner up. I was able to speak for a moment and really was amazed by the outpouring of love and support from my fellow teachers and the members of the LDS church who host the Awards.

My brother Evan got married this past weekend. He had been dating Rachel for three years and they were engaged last summer. We had a wonderful time and I'm so happy for them.

This is the last week of school. It is always the hardest week of the year. I would rather be experiencing the first week - it's the amount of grading the last week that kills. It feels like you are in the last moments of watching the sand fall out of a timer. There are so many emails and so many parents wondering what is going on with their child. I would love to be able to say to them. There is currently nothing you can do to save the grade, but if you have the ability to make a time machine and go back to force your kid to do their homework - then we are in business.

I want to take my camera to school tomorrow and take pictures of some of the amazing projects my sophomores did to capstone our Night unit. I had them choose SR books that would connect to Night. Their project was to make a memorial to honor those 11 million lives lost. They did so well. I'm so proud.

It's been a wild few weeks. And I know that this post is a bit all over the place. When summer starts in a week I promise I will sound less crazy!

Monday, May 24, 2010

The end is near

the end of the school year.

So today I could feel the end. The kids are done. I feel done. And I am ready for the summer to begin.

I assigned what I thought was a simple project last week. We read two pieces and discussed gender rolls. I asked my students to watch a tv show that had a family in it and then write two paragraphs about gender rolls. Just two paragraphs.

But you know... that's a bit hard. Half of the kids did it.

The Sleeping kid feel asleep twice. At one point he was so obnoxious that the class asked him to step outside. You know it's bad when other kids ask someone to step outside.

The school year is winding down and I am ready for it to be over. It's that I don't love my job. Because I really really do. The problem becomes when the students feel like they can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I just hope that the next three weeks will allow my little darlings to get their work done.

It doesn't help that I am also on the count down... to SYDNEY! Bren and I will be going to the land down under July 1 for a whole month. I can't wait to eat yummy food, spend time with family, and see all of my favorite places in the city.

So here we go... with great speed - towards the end of the year!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Gender Rolls -

as discussed in an 11th grade classroom.

We are currently reading two different pieces. "I Want a Wife" by Judy Brady and "Not All Men are Sly Foxes" By Armin Brott.

They were so funny to listen to. I am always so amazed by what young people are willing to discuss. It makes me so very proud to be a part of their education.

We discussed the rolls of mothers and fathers today.
Here is a little blip on their thoughts -

Me - Okay so how do we define what a man is - J when do you think you become a man.
J- I think when your father sits you down and tells you that he is proud of you and the actions you have taken in your life.
Me - wow that is a pretty powerful statement.
H - Mrs. Parsons what if you don't have a father in your life
Me - I think a father does not have to be biologically linked to you - It can be any man or mentor in your life. That helps create an adult.
H - *smiles and nods his head*

After class K comes up to me and says -
K- I'm so glad we had that talk today. It helps me understand what it might be like to not grow up with two parents. I think it's important to hear other people's viewpoints. It gives me a greater sense of the world around me. Thank you.

Those are the lessons I love teaching.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


While teaching Night I am also teaching a small writing unit. Personal Narratives are so fun to read after the kids are all done.

I use Freedom Writers as a jumping off point. Today the theme that my students were writing about was Heroes. What it means to be one - who their heroes are.

We went around the room after they were done writing and discussed who their heroes are. It is so amazing to hear a group of 15/16 year olds discuss who they want to be like when they grow up.

One student spoke about her grandfather and that he was just so kind, and loving. She got a little choked up when she let us know that he passes away two years ago. In this room full of wild teenagers they all felt a moment of connection with one another. They did not make fun of this girl because she was sad - they comforted her.

As much as these kids talk about their own heroes. There are so many days when my students are my heroes. They teach me so much and they don't even know it.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


I love teaching Night.

But - I'm a crier - Today and tomorrow (block schedule) I am reading chapter 5 with my students. This chapter discusses the fact that Elie has an infection in his foot and is forced to go into the hospital unit. As readers we find out that had he stayed in the hospital unit during the evacuation of Buna he would have been freed by the Russian army. This makes me cry.

Then the part that makes me cry every time I read it - Akiba Drumer is taken away and asks his friends to say the Kaddish for him. (the Jewish prayer for the dead). Elie then talks about the fact that three days later when they are meant to say the prayer they forget.

Gets me every single time.

I do love how sensitive the kids are - they really love reading and learning about this time period in history. It makes me feel like I'm doing a good job with my lessons when a group of 30 tenth graders are so quiet and interested in what they are reading.

speaking of good teaching - I've been nominated by my peers for teacher of the year. eeek

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Grading papers

Why is it so hard to sit down and grade papers. I did get a bunch graded today while I was lucky enough not to have to test during CST testing.

I have about 10 more to grade for my Expo classes and then 30 for my regular American Lit kids.

The Am Lit ones are only 4 pages so that shouldn't take to long to read and annotate (aka grade) 120 pages. oh blurg!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

No Teacher Left Behind

Now I know we have heard of NCLB. But this week it was N-T-LB around my neck of the woods.

178 were on "The List" - this became a curse word around our campus for the last month and a half or so. I was not on "The List" - but a lot of my friends were. 8 in my department alone. And let me tell you - the tone on my campus was "No way - No how" - we were not going to lose any of our amazing, fantastic, stupendous*, down right cool teachers.

So the district and the union 'battled' it out. (They didn't have swords or anything - but that may have been amazing to watch) And to our delight gave us the option to vote early this week. 95% of the teachers in the district voted to keep our 178! And so all is well in the land.

It felt so good to know that our department would stay intact. We will be taking 7 furlough days next year. 3 teacher and 4 student days. That does make me think - now how am I going to teach all of this in 4 less days - but then again, homework isn't always a bad thing.

*I feel like the word stupendous is not used enough. It really is a great word.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Polka Dot tutorial

Nicole and I got inspired by Creation Corner and created some amazing crafts for the baby shower we put together for Kristine.

Nicole and I are big fans of peppy and cheep - so we found fabric at Walmart and you can also use a coupon at your favorite craft store to get the foam wreath. The polka dots are made out of nice thick scrapbook paper. It is important to note that this wreath is really built for indoor use.

Here is a Polka Dot wreath that we made as decor (and turned it into a gift)

1. Get a foam wreath at your favorite craft store.
2. Get some scrap fabric of your choosing.
3. Cut the end of the fabric and tear the fabric into strips.
4. Wrap the wreath with the fabric. (we chose to use two alternating fabrics.
5. Hot glue the fabric to the wreath.

In the mean time get out some scissors (or in my case the Cricut) - you might also want a cat to come and hang out with you. Meg loves to craft. And cut out lots of circles out.

Then what you do is glue the circle to the wreath. We chose to make it 3D. And did that by using our old school elementary knowledge of folding paper to make pop-ups.

Here is a side view.

Here is the wreath half way done. As you can see you can place the dots all over the place.

Here it is all done! We took a piece of fabric and made a loop to glue to the back in order to hang it up. It went over very well. And it took no time to make.

this will make up for my lack of blogging

there has been a lot going on in the last two weeks.
Here is an update -

Baby Shower for Kristine (of blog stalking fame)
MS Walk to support Cuirstaun!
Week of impass with the school district - now we have something to vote on soon! (YEY)
Awesome Haircut
Dinner with friends for pre birthday fun
Breakfast at pancake house to continue birthday weekend
Plant a tree!
Birthday tomorrow

fun times let me tell you!!!!

And now for some pictures!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Cleaning and Crafting

I can't talk about the crafting - that will come later (with pictures and even a tutorial!)

The cleaning is a slow process, I'm not a very quick cleaner. I stop, I check blogs, I play with the cat.

I will be vacuuming the stairs in a moment.

Tomorrow I will be participating in the MS walk - a dear friend of mine was diagnosed with MS this past October. A bunch of my friends and I will be rocking our walking - 3K!

I can't wait to show off my craft skills. And I'll be sure to take pictures of the shower on Sunday!

It's going to be a great way to end spring break.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spring break Blues

Trust me I'm happy to have two weeks off. REALLY HAPPY

but last week on Tuesday I started feeling under the weather. Then I was very sick - for the next three days. So Saturday I went out with Gramma and then went to our friends for dinner and game night. We had a blast!

but I am still sick (this is day 7 of not feeling well) and it has put a major damper on my plans of cleaning and grading papers.

Saturday I am going to participate in the MS Walk and then Sunday I am throwing a baby shower for Kristine (of Blog stalking fame).

This is the list of things I would like to get done over the next few days.

Clean the:
-base boards
-family room

-Craft projects that shall not be named until after the shower.
I'll be posting pictures soon.

-Shopping for food items for the shower

-Grade a total of 30 papers (one class set) - research papers take a long time to grade.

I think I can do it - and I'll have help from the Hubby.

I'll keep you updated on my progress!

Sunday, April 4, 2010


100 things about me for my 100th post.

This is in no particular order – they are just random facts – the numbers just help me keep track of when to stop.

  1. I love the antiques road show. Hi KCET I’m so thankful for you! I love to play the game ‘keep or sell’ and I’m really good at guessing how much stuff is going to cost.
  2. Anthony Bordein is my secret boyfriend, I don’t know what it is about this chain smoking chef – but I have a total crush on him. (I have many secret boy friends) The secret is that they'll never be my boyfriend.
  3. I like watching shows that make me say “Are you kidding me?” - The TLC show I didn’t know I was pregnant is one of them. Really Lady a baby fell down your pant leg and you didn’t know what was going on? Are you kidding me!
  4. I can look into a see’s candy box and know which ones are my favorite candies. When I was a little girl, on my birthday, my mom would take me to South Coast Plaza and I would pick out a half a pound all for my very own self. Dark Chocolate. Has to be Dark Chocolate
  5. I love A&E’s Intervention – It amazes me how people give up their lives for drugs/alcohol. I feel bad for the families but always feel amazed when the person goes off to rehab.
  6. I’ve known I wanted to be a teacher since the 5th grade. It’s because I have had amazing teachers.
  7. Speaking of teachers I can name almost all of mine. Good, Bad, and Ugly.
  8. I had a cat growing up called Silverbelle – She was my cat. Period. She would sleep on my pillow at night. She was amazing and would sit on my shoulder like a parrot. She was freakishly quiet would never meow. I think that Meg the cat tries to tell me secrets that Silverbelle whispers to her.
  9. I met my husband in 1998 – and it was a family joke that we would get married someday. In 2004 the joke came true.
  10. I love to cook but I hate to clean the kitchen.
  11. I only applied to one university when I was a senior in high school. Thank you Northern Arizona University for allowing me to attend your wonderful school.
  12. I have 3 best friends currently. I have only had 8 best friends in my life. I always try to clarify which best friend I am talking about – but that I also have three best friends, so no one feels left out or slighted.
  13. The first time I left the country I was not with my family. I took a sister city trip to Japan when I was in the 8th grade.
  14. I have spent way more time in Australia than I have in Mexico. (I live aprox an hour and a half from the boarder. And have only been there once for about 5 hours.)
  15. I used to think keeping in contact with teachers was weird. Now that I’m a teacher I’m glad that some of my students still want me to be a mentor.
  16. I was picked on a lot during my middle school years. I know it’s supposed to ‘make you stronger’ – I think it just made me more willing to cry in public.
  17. For being an English teacher – I’m a really bad reader. I can not tell you how many times I have started and stopped books, I can think of three right now that are half way done just waiting for me to find them and think they are interesting.
  18. If I could I would be on the Golden Girls. I adore that show – partly because I grew up watching it every time I went over to my Grandmothers house. Now I watch it and understand so much more – and it’s a little spicy!
  19. Gummy Bears are amazing. Enough said.
  20. New York City is somewhere I could go every year. The last time I was there was 1999, and sometimes I worry that I won’t recognize it without the twin towers.
  21. My bathroom drawers are filled with beautiful fantastic makeup. I don’t wear it very often.
  22. The crockpot is a fantastic invention. I wish I cooked with it more often.
  23. I have been at a wedding where there was a burrito shaped grooms cake and a RoboCop ice sculpture.
  24. They will always be Samoa’s in my house. This caramel delight nonsense is out of control.
  25. Disneyland is the happiest place on earth. For reals – not for fakes. We went there for our honeymoon.
  26. I love to take pictures.
  27. Crafting is like a physical release of tension. Scrapbooking is my craft of choice.
  28. I would be a stand up comedian or comedy actress if I thought I could make it.
  29. Growing up I watched Sesame Street – and now I think I’m going to try and get a hold of the 80’s versions for my future kids. Cookie monster is for cookies – not vegetables.
  30. My life is a musical. I openly sing in front of people. I sing to my students when they complain. Don’t cry for me Argentina the truth is I never left you!
  31. I call my students – My Kids – I’m sure this has caused confusion on multiple occasions.
  32. My husband is a Star Wars fan – therefore I’m a Star Wars fan.
  33. I was afraid of the oven for many many years. I am still very cautious when I have to deal with it.
  34. I would wear a T-shirt and Jeans every day of my life if I could.
  35. I have only had two boyfriends.
  36. I check to see if the blogs I follow are updated a couple of times a day. It’s a bit obsessive.
  38. I love opals – diamonds are fantastic too – but there is something amazing about an opal.
  39. I have been dying my hair for over 14 years.
  40. When I have kids I look forward to serving breakfast for dinner. Those are some of my best memories from childhood – Thanks Mom!
  41. My ultimate goal is to be teacher of the year – Brendon jokes that even if we won the lottery I would keep teaching until I won.
  42. The busier I am the happier I am.
  43. I was a Resident Assistant for two years in college. Those were some of the best years of my life. I lived in an all female hall – l.o.v.e.d. it!
  44. Documentaries are one of my favorite genres of film.
  45. Fahrenheit 451 is one of my favorite books of all time. I cry every time Granger talks about his grandfather. Sometimes it startles my kids that I will cry in front of them.
  46. I swam for 3 years in high school – I wish I still did.
  47. High heals hurt my feet – but if they didn’t I would wear them every day. – I’m 5’11”
  48. I have a lot of wonderful jewelry. I would rather save up and get the real stuff rather than get ‘costume jewelry’
  49. I have mixed feelings about going to my 10 year reunion. There were a lot of people who were mean to me in high school – why would I want to run into those people again.
  50. I’m very pale – I had a student ask me once if I had a skin problem. Nope – just pale.
  51. I hate to have my toes done. It creeps me out – nail files are awful.
  52. People watching should be an Olympic sport and I would win the gold.
  53. When I watch the real Olympics I cry whenever someone is crying on the gold podium – it really doesn’t matter what country they are from.
  54. Airports make me feel very awkward. It comes from the fact that hubby and I had to travel and leave each other for months at a time for our entire courtship.
  55. I love to garden. It calms me – I hate to pull weeds.
  56. Young Adult Lit is one of my favorite genres of literature.
  57. I didn’t eat bananas in college, the texture weirded me out.
  58. My mom and I don’t think we look like each other – so when someone points it out to us we both say ‘really’. Our voices are very similar – in college I used to call myself and leave a message so I would remember things, I would hear myself and think my mom had called.
  59. I think there should be better drug education in schools. “Don’t do drugs” comes out of my mouth so often that kids have deemed it a ‘parsons-ism’.
  60. I love teaching the research paper. I know my teacher friends think I’m mental – but it’s always something that makes the kids feel so accomplished when they finish it.
  61. It takes me way too long to get papers graded and back to my students.
  62. If it were up to me I would eat dessert after every meal.
  63. I have my mom’s triple chocolate cake recipe memorized – the secret is sour cream.
  64. I hate runny eggs.
  65. Post-its make my heart flutter.
  66. One of my most favorite memories from school is getting a new box of 64 color crayola crayons. I am very particular about my brand of crayons – rose art isn’t worth it.
  67. The Barefoot Contessa is one of my favorite shows on food network. My best friend Casey and I love her because we think she might be drunk most of the time.
  68. When my sister-in-law Natasha and I get together we are baking maniacs. When she stayed with us this summer for 6 weeks we baked ourselves into oblivion.
  69. I never know what to eat for lunch when I’m on vacation from work. It makes me very uneasy.
  70. I’m not fun when I’m sick. All I want to do is drink hot tea and watch tv on the couch.
  71. I am terrified of failure. When I was 15 I took the drivers permit test and failed – a friend of mine was there and he told others that I hadn’t passed – so I waited over a year to go take the test again. So that meant that I was almost 18 before I got my license.
  72. I love big hair.
  73. I will stop and watch fireworks like a little kid. When I was growing up my dad got his pyrotechnics license and so we would watch the 4th of July fireworks from way closer than other people – the louder they were the better.
  74. I love that my hubby has an accent. Even if it is slowly fading away. He still says jumper and not sweatshirt so that’s good.
  75. I have never seen my dad without his mustache.
  76. In-and-Out – Animal Style – nothing better.
  77. Root beer is my very favorite soda.
  78. I hate 3D movies – they make my head hurt.
  79. I truly enjoy driving, I would drive by myself for the 8 hours it would take to get to NAU and I loved it.
  80. Thin Mints need to be kept in the freezer.
  81. One of my dreams is to go to beauty school. I would love to cut hair for a living.
  82. I cut my own hair in college. Looking at the pictures – I was doing an okay job.
  83. I love Martha Stewart – Growing up I would do many a craft inspired by what she taught me.
  84. I would love to have dinner with Dr. Maya Angelou.
  85. I watch Oprah – even though my friends think I’m nuts.
  86. My students joke (and so do many of my friends) that I couldn’t talk without my hands.
  87. I would like to learn sign language.
  88. I studied Spanish for two and a half years in high school and a year in college. I’m left with – Donde esta el baƱo, y – Mi gato es muy guapo y - Me llamo Kelly.
  89. My grandmother is from Panama and speaks beautiful Spanish – sadly you saw the extent of mine.
  90. Sourdough bread is my very favorite bread – unless it’s an egg salad sandwich, then it has to be whole wheat. Mmmmmmm
  91. I wish I was a dancer.
  92. Every time I see a ladybug I think of my cousin who passed away.
  93. I like to write in my books, this causes problems when I check them out from the library, so I try not to sit near pens.
  94. I don’t tell my students my real age until after they graduate.
  95. I would like to sing the national anthem at a pep rally some day.
  96. When I was in high school I carried a metal lunch box every day. Fraggle Rock – it now sits on top of my fridge along with my Pigs in Space lunchbox.
  97. I wish I was as clever and witty as my husband. And I’m pretty clever – so that’s saying something.
  98. I love the ocean but hate dealing with the sand.
  99. I could sit and watch the tiger exhibit at the wild animal park for years and years.
  100. If I won the lottery I would travel around the world for a few years. I would love to be able to say that I’ve been on every continent.

There you have it – it took me a couple of days to put this together. It’s surprisingly harder than I thought to put 100 things about myself down on paper – well not really paper but you get the idea.

I hope you enjoyed – and a big thanks to Everyday Reading for the inspiration.

Monday, March 29, 2010


To Tweet or Not to Tweet - that is the question.

There are a few teachers out there who tweet. I think that there will be an increasing number as the technology grows and becomes more accessible.

I was talking about Twitter with a few of my students and what they think of this phenomenon. Most of the kids in my Intro to Ed class use twitter - and all of them knew what it was. I asked them what they would think if a teacher used twitter to send reminders about projects and homework. The room exploded with support and suggestions.

The overwhelming consensus was that students (and they said parents too) would love it if their teachers were able to tweet they would 'follow' their teacher.

I'm very interested in this whole experience. And if it gets kids to do their homework, then I'm all over it... maybe
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