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Call of Duty

17 Apr

It was just another April duty morning. I was wearing my raincoat, but it wasn’t raining. the traffic was flowing well and the parents didn’t really need me to direct traffic yet. I was able to smile at the middle schoolers and their parents as they drove past me. I even waved to a dog.

The car with the dog pulled ahead to an acceptable point and, in almost clown car fashion,  three rather tall boys got out. Must be 8th graders, I thought as I watched one of the boys go to the trunk where, once tit was popped, he pulled out a poster board, Yup, 8th graders, I thought as I congratulated myself for my Sherlockian perceptiveness. Eight grade Family History Night was almost here.

Mom had barely pulled the car out when she realized the trunk was still open. She quickly jumped out, leaving the door open. That’s when the real drama began.

Somehow, Mom missed the fact that the little dog, a tricolor Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, had jumped out behind her. I called, but she didn’t hear me. So I ran. The dog was in the traffic lane. Fortunately, the scared little dog ran up onto the sidewalk, Mom still oblivious. By the time I arrived, she was back in the car, sans dog, who cowered beside a small tree.

Although I spoke to the dog gently it was clearly sacred. And although I moved slowly to save it skittered away under mom’s car. I yelled and caught her eye just as I heard her release the parking brake. I was able to grabbed the dog gently and pick it up to show Mom, who was horrified to realize she’d not only lost her dog, but almost run it over. She got out of the car once more and ran around to take the trembling dog into her arms. They got into the car together and drove off. And I went back to directing traffic.

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Tales of a traveling trophy

10 Apr

I couldn’t give it away.

The OBOB trophy perched atop the school’s trophy cabinet for 11 months. I was told I needed to bring it to the regional meet and someone there would be responsible for getting it to the State Tournament for Oregon Battle of the Books. Worried, I’d forget it, I took the trophy a few days early, wrapped it in a blanket, and put it in the trunk of my car. I spent the next few days in fear of being rear-ended, but looking forward to passing the responsibility to someone else.

I didn’t get to.

After we won the regional OBOB tournament, I was told I would be the one responsible for getting it to the State OBOB tournament. I wrapped it in the blanket once more and returned it to the trunk of my car. It only stayed there until the next school day, when I took it out and put it on a table in my classroom. It sat there until a few days before the State OBOB tournament, when, once again, I wrapped it in a blanket,  put it in the trunk of my car, and spent the next few days in fear of being rear-ended.

Thursday evening, I received this email:

Screen Shot 2018-04-06 at 8.02.18 AMA short e-mail conversation followed.

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Finally, tournament day rolled around. We did well, but didn’t win, so I didn’t have to put the trophy back in my trunk. Someone else  gets to experience the joy of displaying it for a year, and the responsibility of transporting it next year.

Winding Down

31 Mar

During Spring Break I stayed up late.
Now, I have to go to bed at a reasonable time.

During Spring Break I got up later, without an alarm.
Now I have to get up in the dark, with the alarm.

During Spring Break a pot of tea, kept warm on the stove, followed my morning coffee.
Now, my morning coffee will be followed by a mug of cold tea, nursed all day.

During Spring Break I went with the flow.
Now I must work within a schedule.

During Spring Break I knit a lot.
Now I can only knit at night.

During Spring Break I wrote a slice every day.
Now, I will write a poem every other day for NaPoWriMo with my elective class.

During the month of March I wrote a slice everyday.
Now, for the next 11 months, I will Slice only on Tuesdays.

I hope I see you there too.

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The funny thing about 8th grade

22 Mar

I am teaching 8th grade this week. Sixth graders at my school have gone to Outdoor School and, for several reasons, I opted not to go and swapped places with an 8th grade Humanities teacher who was eager to go. I haven’t taught grade eight since the 1988-89 school year – my first year of teaching.

I was mostly surprised by how quietly they work. I think it is partly due to their maturity, but mostly, I think it is because they are allowed to work and listen to music. Most students have headphones in and follow the classroom rule of phones face down, one earbud in, one out. I know some of them are on sites other than those they are supposed to be, but they all switch back and work again once I swing past to observe and answer questions. They are all getting done what needs to be done, even of they take occasional detours.

They were working so quietly and so focused yesterday that I sat at my desk a little more, scoring some papers. Suddenly the silence of the room was broken by “Macho Man” by The Village People. The room erupted in laughter. I made a joke about an 80’s flashback. The red-faced student apologized. And then everyone went right back to work.

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Prep work

17 Mar

I had Friday off as compensation for the two 12-hour days of conferences. I was exhausted and didn’t have much energy for anything dramatic. A rainy day, it was the perfect day for knitting.

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I finished the socks I started earlier this month and could finally begin the sweater project I’ve been dying to do.

With any project, it is important to start the right way. I gathered my materials: one pattern, two sets of needles, and five skeins of yarn in four colors.

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The first step is to turn each skein into a yarn cake. That requires setting up the swift and yarn winder. My rocking chair has the perfect arms for the job.

Within a short time, I had six cakes of yarn. I was turning the handle so fast as I wound the grey (colorway: Great Gray Owl)  that popped off the winder. That’s why it looks a little wonky.

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And then the moment I’d been waiting for arrived – the moment when I got to cast on.

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Snow Day Rituals

20 Feb

Last year, we missed 10 days of school due to snow.

This year, we have had no snow days. It doesn’t seem fair. It seems especially unfair that we had snow this weekend and icy streets Monday morning – President’s Day – a day with no school.

There is hope. Snow is in the forecast, though it is hard to say if there will be enough to impact the school day.

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There are myths about how to ensure a snow day. The one we used at my previous school was simple: wear your pyjamas inside out.

A quick online search reveals that other places have other traditions  Here are a few

1. Place an ice cube in the toilet and flush it (one for each inch of snow you want). Alternatively, I also found a site that says to flush six ice cubes. It was also very clear that it must be ice cubes, not crushed ice.

2.  Several sites suggested sleeping with a spoon under your pillow.

3. Run around the kitchen table five times before bed (and chanting “I want it to snow” three times in a row).

4.  Eat ice cream for dinner.

5.  Do a snow dance on your front yard (while wearing your PJ’s inside out).

6.  Go to the freezer and open the door and dance singing SNOW DAY, SNOW DAY, SNOW DAY!

7. Put a spoon in the freezer.

8.  Put a white crayon in the freezer. Then,  put it under your pillow when you go to bed.

I am not doing any of these tonight, but who knows how I might feel later in the week.

This week’s book talks

16 Feb

It has been a whirlwind week! Although I was only at school for three days, I managed to talk about seven books.

Wednesday, I shared the Sibert winner and honor books.

 

Thursday, I book-talked Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly, the winner of the Newbery Award.I wrote about this book back in May. you can reread my post here.

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Friday,  I book-talked Vincent and Theo by Deborah Heiligman. I won the YALSA Award for Nonfiction and was a Printz Honor book.

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