Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fight! Not quite.

One of the things I love about teaching Junior High is how easy it is to break up, or prevent, a fight.  Well, one between boys at least.

All sexism aside, I have never had to do more than scream “STOP” to break up a fight between boys.  On a couple of occasions another teacher and I have had to literally peel a two of girls apart.

Today was no difference.

As I was walking back to my classroom right after school (holding it in for 2 hours makes for a quick dash to the bathroom right as the bell rings), a certain aforementioned Math teacher that seems to not have the inclination to take care of it herself, called me over to inform me that she had heard there might be a fight headed that (she pointed) way.*

So I headed off in that direction and as soon as I got outside I saw a big crowd of students.  Teachers, we all know that a big crow of students means that SOMETHING is going on.  So I headed off in that direction.  Kind of like a similarly charged magnet, the crowd was repelled by me and started moving away from the school as I came closer.  I ‘chased’ them to the edge of the property simply by walking towards them.  While I was standing there, trying to decide if a) a fight was going to break out and b) if I could do anything about it since they were off school property, our cop appeared next to me out of nowhere.

We stood there, watching, talking about the situation for a couple of minutes.  No fight had broken out yet, but you could tell something was up.  He took off to get his cop car as I started to walk to the edge of the property, just to make sure nothing happened there.  As I moved closer, the crowd mover further into the neighborhood.  Finally the cop showed up in his car, drove right into the center of the crowd and just stopped there.  The crowd dispersed.

After 17 years, it still amazes me how simply being there can prevent a fight.  I said nothing to any of them, I did nothing to separate them.  All I did was walk towards them.

Just for the record – size does not matter.  Neither does gender.  That’s no excuse.  I have known small female teachers that command an incredible amount of respect from their students,l and are as capable of breaking up a student fight as 6’1” (more lbs than I want to admit) me.

Thematic Photographic: Parallel

(Henceforth referred to as T.P.)

As a math teacher, this week’s theme is close to my heart, although I’m still going to push things to the limit.

Looking eastward from Promontory Point, Utah.  This is where the western railroads connected with the eastern railroads on May 10, 1869.  For better or for worse, the claim is that this connecting of the east to the west helped the “taming of the west”.The Spiral Jetty on the Great Salt Lake. Constructed in the 1970’s as an piece of art, this juts out into the Great Salt Lake.  When Writer and I went there you could already see a lot of decay, the water spirals inside the land spirals were already filled up with sediment.  Still, I include it in the “parallel” theme because the land spirals into oblivion, never meeting with itself. And finally, “The Parallels of the 1969 Ford LTD and the 1970 LTD”, a compilation I made of the front end pictures of my second car and my 5th car.  Basically the exact same car, there are nothing more than trim differences between the two.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Horrific Crash

Copied straight from the email that came with the picture:

Brace yourself before looking at the image below.  A pilot at low level has no control over his aircraft. It narrowly misses a crowd gathered for the airshow and slams into four buildings.  One can only imagine the horror of the occupants inside those buildings.

Now click here to see the picture. If you dare!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My buddy Max Hall, revisited.

Nine months ago I commented on Max Hall’s victory speech after BYU beat their arch-rival, the UofU.  Today, 9 months later, I got a couple comments from someone named “Anonymous”.  The first one said:

Anonymous said...

Its a rivalry. I'm sorry that you were offended by your "buddy Max Hall". His comments just make the rivalry all the more competitive. Please, don't bother with your self-righteous perceptions of what he said. They are ridiculous and down right stupid and make you look like a little baby. I wouldn't have thought that he would have gotten to so many people, but I guess his mild comments really stung some people. So what if he doesn't like the U. How many Ute fans say crap about BYU all of the time? And I'm not crying. Just let it be a flippin rivalry and stop your crying!

September 26, 2010 4:11 PM

The second one:

Anonymous said...

haha, dude grow up. You're that hurt by what he said? Time to put some pants on and get out of the past like Uncle Rico.

September 26, 2010 4:12 PM

First of all, if you won’t even use a pseudonym, don’t bother me with your trivial insults.  Second of all, unlike you, I am out of the past.  I wrote that post 3/4 of a year ago, immediately after his comments.  This is the first time I’ve thought about what he said in, like, 8 1/2 months, and if you hadn’t commented, it probably would have been a lot longer.

Just out of curiosity, how many of you out there really have any respect for people who comment anonymously?  How many of you, like me, only bother posting their rants because it’s amusing to make fun of them?

Darwin Award for 2010

How many of you out there smoke?  How many of you out there, even if you don’t smoke, know that smoking while pumping gas is, well, just plain stupid?  (Ok, some will argue that even if you’re not pumping gas it’s stupid, but at least death takes a lot longer).

Not this guy.  He gets out of the car with a lit cigarette in his hand, takes a puff off it and starts to walk around the car.  I get on the intercom and say “Welcome to Chevron, smoking is not allowed at the pumps.”  He takes the smoke out of his mouth and sets it on the top of the pump.  Nope, I didn’t forget to say he put it out first, ‘cause he didn’t.  It’s still burning.  You can probably imagine what I wanted to say at this point, but settled for “please extinguish the cigarette.”

I’m still trying to decide if he is suicidal, or just a complete dumbf*&%. 

And talking about idiots, how about this guy.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with a cheesy smile when getting your picture taken, unless it’s your mug shot.  I didn’t look up what he was being arrested for, but this is from a new paper we’re selling at the Chevron called “Busted”.  Some entrepreneur figured he could take all the mug shots off the internet site, publish them in a newspaper and sell them for a buck.  And they sell like hotcakes.  We’ve even had people buy them to see if they are in there yet, or to look up friends.

So, I’m just thinking “Dude, I hope you were arrested for public intoxication, because then you’d have an excuse for that smile”.

Laugh for today…

Sir Duke, of the late, great Motel West sent me this.  Made my day.  Although it’s funny throughout, his take on “YMCA” at the beginning is my favorite.  Especially since I got my letter fairly recently.

Friday, September 24, 2010

As seen on…

the front of a student’s notebook:

“I love you with all my butt!”

I didn’t have the guts to even ask what that meant.

Still Life

The Written Inc. photo assignment for this week is “Still Life”.  As defined in the assignment, still life is “If you put it on a table and carefully arrange it so you can take an artsy picture of it, it's still life.”

I’ve never been good at arranging things for pictures, I’ve taken a lot of family portraits, but always left the arranging to other family members.  But I gave it a try this morning, with “morning” as the theme.  The other two pictures I’ve included are still life of a different ilk.  Nothing was arranged, I just snapped a picture of the things as they naturally laid on the table/desk.  The middle picture is of the office desk at the original Free Wheeler Pizza store.  The last picture is also is from my Free Wheeler collection, taken during the remodel of the last Sugarhouse store.  I don’t normally give my pictures titles, but this time you get them.  Just seemed right for this kind of assignment.

“Morning Has Broken””Office” “Remodel”

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I thought I was done with CSI.

I haven’t seen an episode of CSI since the 9th season when Grissom left, and I didn’t think I’d get hooked again.  I have the whole 9th season on DVD and although I feel Willows filled in Grissom’s spot quite well, and the new guy was interesting, I pretty much had given up on it.  Ever since Grissom asked the question “Why would anyone sell their college books back?”, he’s been my hero.  Without him, it just wasn’t the same.

So I come home tonight after 4 days of teaching and two night of parent/teacher conferences, exhausted and starving, pop some leftovers in the microwave and flip on the TV.  Voila, it’s CSI.  I missed the first half of the episode, and yet I’m hooked again.

Not because tonight’s episode happened to ‘star’ Justin Bieber, the teen heart-throb singer that I get to hear about every single school day from hoards (ok, a couple) of my female students.

Because Sara Sidle is back.  I know.  It’s pathetic, but I just have to find out what the hell happened to Sara and Grissom.  Dammit, they were supposed to live happily-ever-after in the wilds of South America.  She should NOT  be back in Vegas, unless he came back too.  And if he is, where is he?  Not at CSI as far as I could tell from a 30 minute piece.

Enquiring minds want to know.  Off to f.y.e, and Barnes and Noble to see if I can get season 10.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I teach in a Labyrinth.

My school was built in the mid-70’s, designed for the “open classroom” model.  That means the classroom area was basically one huge room and each classroom was a sectioned off area of the whole.  The one time I substituted in an Elementary open classroom, the areas were separated by bookcases, movable chalkboards and other furniture.  You could hear things from every classroom in the school, kids could see between these partitions into the next classroom and were constantly distracted.  Whatever educator thought this was a good idea should be tazered.  Fortunately someone figured out and by the time I student taught there back in ‘93 the building had been fitted with those really cheap sorta-walls and at least the rooms were visually private (and sounds were muffled).

The problem with that is when you try to turn one big square into 30 classrooms and a library, you get a mess.  Halls that give 7th graders nightmares and 9th graders joke material.  A ventilation system that, well, doesn’t ventilate half the rooms and poorly ventilates the other half.  AND 3/4 of the classroom have no windows whatsoever. Which brings me to the point of this post.

Halfway through 2nd lunch the power went out in the whole neighborhood.  Just imagine the fun of being in a 30 x 30 room with 36+ fourteen year-olds, in total, complete darkness.  Yeah, fun, like hemorrhoids.  Fortunately for me, it was my prep period, and when they decided that classes were going to stay where they were, and that the kids at lunch would head back to 3B when it was over, all I had to do was wander the halls herding kids into the appropriate class and do bathroom checks (“Hey, are you guys in here peeing, or destroying things?”).  Not great, but better than trying to keep them in control in dark, humid and hot rooms.

I did, of course, stumble through my lightless room, feel around for my camera bag and go back out and get some pictures.  Which are here:

This last picture was kind of fun.  I had taken a shot of this classroom and because I had to leave the shutter open for 2 or 3 seconds, all the students were blurry.  So I explained to them what I was doing and told them they would need sit perfectly still while the camera took the picture.  As you can see, the majority of the were cooperative, but at least the uncooperative ones give you an idea of how long the shutter was open.

So I took the picture and of course they all wanted to see it.  As I was walking around the room showing the picture to them I asked the class if they knew why people never smiled in really old pictures.  I told them that it was because back then people had to stand still, like they did for me, for so long that it was impossible to keep a smile the whole time.  They were shocked when I pointed out that they had held still for at most 3 seconds, and those people had to stand still for up to 5 minutes.

It was yet another great moment for me in teaching.  No light, no ventilation, humid, hot, their regular teacher out in the hall cooling off, and they were actually paying attention to me.

This has been a good year, even if it goes sour, it’s still been better than last year.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lisa and Jim

Sunday, September 19, 2010

So it’s a door ya want, eh?

I gots doors.  In fact, I spent the whole day changing doors.  I’ve had the same back door since I moved in 16 years ago.  Before I built the back door, it got a lot of direct sunlight, and it got pretty beat.  Even a new coat of paint didn’t do too much for it.  So, last summer I bought a new one for it.  And just got around to putting it up.  Here’s the before and after pictures:

In case you can’t tell (and if you can’t, why the hell did I spend all day on it), the green door on the left is the “before” picture, the wood door on the right is the “after”.

And in response to Writer’s latest post, here are a few pictures that I rounded up from my plethora of photos:

I put this on the back wall of my classroom one of the first few years I was teaching.  It’s supposed to be the teacher in the room on the other side of the wall, and I had more than a couple students comment that it made them nervous, they felt like Mrs. H was watching them all period. This one was at the same school, a couple of years later.  My room was upstairs, and at the end of the hall are three doors that lead into the balcony of the auditorium.  During my time running Stage Crew, I realized that one of the doors was a fake, I figure just so things looked centered, and that there is just wall behind it.  My good friend, Ms. B, and I decided it would be funny to set this up for Halloween and somehow get the principal up there to “find” it.  The principal and vice principal were coaxed there by one of the secretaries, and when they saw it, their only reaction was “Rossi & B… again!”So those are my door pictures.  Click on any one of them to see them better.

First time ever.

Just checked my stats for the blog, and this is the first time ever the USA was not #1 in page views.  Somebody in the Ukraine has gone through 11 pages, so far, in the last little bit.

Hello to the Ukraine!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Reason #s 245,365.6, .7 & .8 why I still teach.

First of all I want to welcome all the new people who have come by to visit my blog thanks to Carmi, Written, Inc. and his Thematic Photos.  Carmi, Peg Cherre, Mustang Sally & Kalei's Best Friend: Welcome, welcome, welcome!  You all get a virtual fruit basket, a bar of virtual bath soap and a virtual tuna casserole from the Welcome Wagon.  Enjoy.

Now, on to the meat of this post…

Almost 2/3 of my students this year were also my students last year, so I know them pretty well.  This one student, who showed very little interest in math last year came into my class this morning and asked me if we were going to have test today.

Me: “Why?  You planning on sluffing?”

Him: “No, I just feel like I have a math brain today.  I was hoping we were [having a test today].”

I had already noticed that he was working a lot harder this year, but was still surprised (happily) when he told me that he just felt like doing math this year.

Reasons .7 & .8:

This year I’m teaching an Algebra A/B class.  The class meets every day rather than every other day like all the other classes*.  It’s meant for the kids that struggle with math, despite having good attendance and behavior.  Since I had most of the 8th graders last year, I pretty much hand picked the class and it’s one of those classes a teacher looks forward to.

Two of the students in the class worked hard just to pull a C or D in my class last year.  They killed themselves just trying to understand PreAlgebra.

Today they were simplifying square roots, and understanding it.  Not just plugging it into the calculator and getting 8.9442719, but doing things like √80 = 4√5.  Phenomenal.

Yes, today was one of those A+ days that make it worth having to work a couple days a week at the Chevron to make ends meet.

*We are on the block schedule, which means every student has 8 classes altogether, but only 4 meet on any given day.  They alternate days (A day, B day), so each class meets every other day.  On the other hand, my Algebra A/B class meets on both A and B days, so I see them every school day.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ok, this doesn’t quite fit the bill, but I’m gonna sneak it in.

When I read that this week’s Thematic Photograph from Written, Inc was going to have something to do with numbers and letters, these pictures jumped right out the dark recesses of my brain.  Alas, when the actual criteria for the picture was posted I found out that the picture was supposed to actually have numbers and/or letters in it.  (Expletive deleted), I really wanted to use these pictures.

After much arguing with myself (2.3 seconds) I decided they were the pictures I’m going to use anyhoo.  Hopefully I will be forgiven for living up to the spirit of the law, if not necessarily the letter of the law.  So, here are my number pictures:

A little over a decade ago I borrowed a few digital cameras for my classroom and sent out groups of kids and simply told them “Go take pictures of 2/3”, or 1/4 or whatever fraction their group got assigned.  I told them that they were going to have to be able to explain their pictures to the class, so they wouldn’t just go take random pictures.  Here’s three of the ones that I (think I) remember the explanations for.  Keep in mind that it was a long time ago, and I don’t think I’ll be able to explain it exactly the way they did, and give me a little leeway on the quality of the pictures, digital cameras were in their infancy at the time.

3/4 – because there are 4 things altogether and 3 of them are the same.

1/2 – because it’s a picture of half of my car. (Car #41, I’ve had 14 since then.)

And my all time favorite: 2/3 – because there are 3 there, and only 2 of them are completely in the picture.

Saw this at work Monday night.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

And you thought I couldn’t sing.

Seriously, that really is me. (Yeah, right!)

Love is in the air, da, da, da, da, da, ???

Her: wassup gangsta
Him: Hi!
Her: i love you
I don’t know how to explain this feeling that I have for you
Him: u to
Her: i knew it…
I see the way you look at me
can you feel the magic?!?
Him: Oh ya
Her: Your super cute
i hella want you :)
Him: you to
And they say teenage boys aren’t romantic.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Old people don’t have friends.

I was walking down the hall with a student of mine when another teacher passed and I waved and said “Hi”.  The student said “You can’t do that, old people don’t say “Hi” in the halls.”  A few feet later one of her friends passes and she waved and said “Hi”.  I asked how come she can say “Hi” and I can’t.  This is when she informed me “Old people don’t have friends, they’re supposed to spend all their attention on their jobs!”  I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry.

I laughed.

Monday, September 13, 2010

How to put a link into your comment (on Blogger)

I figured this out over the weekend.  Hope you find it useful.