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

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Amazing Night

So last night I was a part of the 2012 Lip Sync competition - The kids had a blast - I had a blast. It was really just an amazing night.

The crowd that showed up was a good size and there was lots of laughter to be had.

Here is the video my dear friend took - she was out in the audience. I am singing to a teddy bear in case you can't tell what it is. I dressed in pj's and pretended that the bear had broken my heart.

It fulfilled many a childhood dream of mine. And I have some amazing students who came out to support me. It's nice to know that I work in a community that encourages such "good clean fun."

On an even happier note I am only two days away from spring break. I can handle two days. At least that's what I keep telling myself. I am collecting my first set of research papers tomorrow. There are only a few kids that I'm worried won't turn something in.

So two days of Vocabulary tests, MLA tests, Turning in research papers, and watching The Great Gatsby. I think I can handle that.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Rant, 4 days left, and Anthony Bourdain

Rawr! I want to know how to vote to save 160+ teachers.

I know that it has to be in a way that is good for everyone and that everyone must be informed. But there are a lot of fears about what will happen if we do lose all of those teachers. That will affect class size - and I can't imagine what it would be like to be in a room of 25 1st graders. How do you try and teach that many kids to read.

But then I try and think back to my own childhood and I wonder how many kids were in my class.

How is making this many teachers stressed out a good thing. I know that the district is trying to do what is best for it's people. That they really want to make decisions that will benefit all students. But all of this drama is driving people crazy.

Tell me how to save my friends. Tell me how to encourage people to save teachers. That's all I really want to know.

Okay - 1 day down 4 to go. Tomorrow should be a blast. If I can hold it together for 1st period. Those kids have been driving me a bit nuts. I just wish they would take what I have to say seriously. Must EVERYTHING be a joke.
I am also a part of Kristine's (shout out) 2012 class Lip Sync tomorrow night. I will be performing MamaMia all by myself. (This is when I secretly start singing All By Myself by Celine Dion) I have to mend the dress I am going to wear. and find some shoes. I really wanted red shoes, but nothing out there called my name.

Oh and you have to check out Molly the Owl my mom told me about it and it's pretty amazing. I showed it to my class today and we were able to watch for about 45 minutes. (This was during my Intro to Education class.) She is a good little momma owl. I have the page up and there are currently 16,000+ people watching the owl. amazing!

And Even though I was feeling pretty spicy when I got home after our 'I'm here to tell you stuff, but I am not going to really tell you stuff' meeting today - I turn on the TV for a little relaxation and there to my utter joy is Anthony Bourdain on the travel channel. So I'm going to try and grade a few papers - enjoy the rest of Tony - mend a dress - and see what Molly is up too.

Spring break - get here now!

Saturday, March 20, 2010


I hate being in between teaching units. Right now my 10th graders are done with Caesar but too close to spring break to start Night. So we are doing a quick little poetry unit.

Just a week and a half because they did the CAHSEE this week and next Friday begins glorious spring break. I love that my district gives us two whole weeks off!

So last class I showed them what Slam poetry is. Got an amazing example of off the website Edutopia. And found an example in one of the student work books I have. The kids were amazed that poetry could be 'cool'.

Then we made our own poem. We started with the subject. School.
Then each person wrote down a sentence on a piece of paper.
Then we mixed them up in a bag - read them out loud and figured out what order they should go in. There were some amazing statements made. One of my favorites was -
'the motivational posters don't inspire me at all'

They were excited to see how it all came together and how simple sentences could be turned into poetry.

I can't wait to see what they will create this week!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Shut Up!

"No really Shut Up!" - me
"Mrs. Parsons it's true I really like this book" - D
"Shut your face, you are lying to me" - me
"I was talking to my mom about it - and even turned off the TV this weekend so I could read more. Know how I promised I would get to page 88 - well I did it!" - D

I almost started crying. This is the same D we have talked about before. Please be aware that I wasn't really telling him to shut up - I really don't like saying that - it was that I was so shocked I couldn't believe what he was telling me.

I have a list of books the kids can pick from for their supplemental reading. And looking at the list and knowing D's ability I picked something that wasn't on the list.

I suggested that he pick up Monster by Walter Dean Myers

It is a really amazing story about a young man in prison and his struggle with the court and his life.

I read it for my adolescent lit class in college and fell in love.

It's written like a screen play rather than a typical novel.

Knowing a bit about D's reading level I knew it would be good for him - okay let's be real I really hoped that it would be good for him. I just really wanted him to read something, anything.

And it turns out - he's reading. He's reading and he's talking about it with his mother. He liked it so much that he had taped himself reading it. He even said that he told his friends about it - and they are now planning on checking it out from the library after he is done reading it.

I'm still shaking my head in disbelief. Utter and true joy - but also disbelief.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

We've got the beat!

Yeah... We got it!

Friday was 80's day at work. This is what I was able to come up with -

I woke up a bit early so I could krimp my hair. Yes I still own a krimper.

When I got to school I helped my friend Nicole get krimp-a-fide

I love that I have a job that encourages me to participate in spirit days and I will also add that the kids love it.

But I'll let you in on a little secret - I love to do this stuff. What other job would let me show up looking like that! LOVE my job!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

2 and 1/2 weeks to go

Spring break can not get here fast enough.

Yesterday I was explaining to one of my classes what there is left to do before spring break. And I almost cried. It was purely out of stress. I could not believe what I have left to teach.

I plan on helping students complete - two more body paragraphs - concluding paragraph, works cited page, MLA test, EAP test, finish Gatsby and turn in their final SR check. And because we have block schedule - I only have five class periods to do this. So we are looking at 500 minutes.

Gosh looking at that is almost laughable.

When I was explaining it and near tears I looked at the board and just looked back at my class and said - how are we going to do this. *Shakes my head even thinking about it now*

J: Mrs. Parsons what would make it better?
Me: Gummy Bears
The class: laughter
J: Really?
Me: Yes - Gummy Bears make everything better
Class: more laughter (and some nods of agreement)

This morning J dropped by my room and brought me a bag of Gummy Bears. Bless her little heart. It did make my day.

And I have had a better day than yesterday - and I'm giving partial credit to the bears.

Monday, March 8, 2010

An odd gift.

I received this from two students today.

This little cat arrived after much fan fair and a lot of "Mrs. Parsons you are going to love this!"

As you can see I have shelves up in my room. I have gotten a lot of gifts over the years and I wanted to be able to have them up in my room. Well two of my students decided they wanted to make it onto the shelves.

This is what they made me. It's a ceramic cat with doll hair glued to the top. They got the pink hair by cutting dolls hair - evidently there were a few trips to Good Will and also the dollar tree.

Let me tell you - it made my day. I laughed so hard I thought my cheeks were going to hurt all day long.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

state testing

Makes me want to rip my hair out. In the next three weeks I will be a part of....

CAHSEE - California High School Exit Exam
EAP - Early Assesment Program
DWA - District Writing Assesment

And after spring break Comes the CSTs (California's state tests)

It's not that I am against testing. That's not it at all. I think that holding both teachers and students accountable is a good thing. But as a teacher it puts a lot of pressure on me. So this week I'm getting my kids ready for this full few weeks of testing.

Currently I am teaching 4 different classes. I don't mind it so much because they are classes I have taught before - but I do feel like I can't catch my breath sometimes. I think part of it is that I am now three weeks away from spring break. In our district gives two weeks for spring break. TWO WEEKS!!! two amazing weeks of sleeping in and staying up late. I can't wait.

But in the next three I need to finish teaching the research project to my juniors, prep my sophomores for the cahsee (and I want to do a slam poetry unit) - gosh once I put this down it doesn't seem like a lot. Maybe if I keep saying this it will become less and less.

And if I follow the simple and very helpful words from Creation Corner I choose happiness.

PS if you want any good craft ideas - head your little self over to Creation Corner - She is awesome! and has links to other awesome sites!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Oprah likes to make people cry.

I watch Oprah - I dvr it - I know some of my friends think I'm crazy for watching. But I learn things and I know about the world. That and I find her kinda crazy so it's fun to watch what she might do next.

Today she had a smattering of guests and then she highlighted a middle school in Florida that had created a flash mob. (A flash mob is dancing that appears out of no where but is completely choreographed) This school had rewritten the words to a Black Eyed Peas song to that it talked about books. So like the sap that I am I see 1500 students singing about how awesome books are and what happens to me. Nerd Alert - I tear up.

I was just sitting in amazement that those kids would be so into singing about books!

And now for your viewing enjoyment - and a little search from YouTube: Please enjoy!

Thursday, March 4, 2010


The class stops and turns. There are a few students who start to giggle. They turn to look back at me and I am staring at the child who has fallen asleep - his head is down the paper that was supposed to have notes all over it was blank, and I continue to look in hopes that he will feel my eyes sending lasers* into his brain to wake him up.

So he wakes up but when I ask if he had a good little nap he says "I wasn't sleeping - I just dropped my highlighter."

Oh pumpkin. That's a cute little lie and I'm sure you are embarrassed that you fell asleep in class but let's be real for a moment. You were asleep - It's not the first time you fell asleep this week (he continued to catch some zzzzs three different times before the class was over). I feel bad for a split second - but then I think about the fact that I too would love to catch a moment of sleep - Hi who doesn't love a nap. EVERYONE loves a nap. But I can't sleep during class.
It makes me remember my first year teaching and the kid who slept every day of class. I think that kid ended my class having a 12%. I don't even begin to understand how that happens. He came to class everyday - he was always at school - but did nothing while he was there.

He sat in the back of the room, and slept. He the first thing he would do is comb out his hair. He had big hair. One day I got mad. I was so amazed that someone would not want the amazing education that I was handing out. So I yelled to the back of the room - Hey WAKE UP - he raised his head and said that he didn't have a pencil so he couldn't do his work. So I got a pencil and tossed it towards the back row. By the time my helpful little pencil had gotten to the back row the child's head was back on the desk and so the pencil lodged itself in his huge hair. He didn't know it - but the rest of the class was laughing so hard that he had to figure out why. That and I freaked out that I might have possibly hurt the kid. No worries - the kid was not harmed.

I know that kids will continue to fall asleep in class and I will continue to try and keep them awake with my amazing teaching skills. Or maybe just my loud voice.

*I don't really have lasers in my eyes - I don't know that I would really want them because I never want to hurt a kid. But maybe if I could move without making a sound so I could just stand there and wait for them to wake up. That would be great.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Nerdy thought of the day.

I love typing.

My Mom made me take a typing class in the 9th grade. And even though I didn't really see the point at the time - I now love that I don't have to look a the keys.

Today I was able to type up a sample essay to use with my sophomores and Skype with Cuirstaun at the same time.

Oh Multitasking I love you so!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Email oops

Today a random child walked into my room during class and so I turned when there was a break in reading (We are reading The Great Gatsby right now mmmmm Gatsby). I turned to the child and asked what he needed.

M: Hi Mrs. Parsons - Did you get a funny email from me
Me: Yes M I did - but I didn't have time to read it yet.
M: Don't open it
Me: What do you mean?
M: Someone hacked into my email account and sent inappropriate messages to all of my teachers and my future college coach.
Me: *with a slightly nervous laugh* ohhh that's not good
M: No - It's really not - and I'm really upset.
Me: Good luck figuring out who would do this... your college coach, man that stinks.
M: yup, I'm kinda freaking out - you can open the apology email that I sent - there is nothing inappropriate in there. Okay I have to go figure out who else to apologize to. Have a good day.
Me: Bye!

Poor kid. I can't even imagine how much that would stink!

Is there a support group for this?

There is something I need to come forward about.

It's embarrassing - but I have been confronted with it. And I must face the reality...

I am a bad flosser. I think I take care of my teeth. But today I was presented with the fact that I am on the verge of having gum disease. I feel like when anyone says the words gum disease that crazy gofer shows up.

I sat in the dentist chair today and the Dr. sits down and says that he would like to see me in 3 months because my gums are in the pooper. He didn't say pooper - but I feel like that's what he wanted to say. He did, I saw the look in his eyes.

I left the office with a 15$ bottle of mouthwash (it has antibiotics or something). Then I took my gum diseased mouth over to Walmart* to get a new electric toothbrush and a new mouth guard. No - I don't play hockey - I grind my teeth. So much so that it wakes the hubby up in the middle of the night.

So I'm going to turn over a new leaf. A new tooth even!
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