Dot Dot Dot (Also: 4.7 miles!)

Posted on September 18, 2009Filed Under Exercise, Herb Caen, Teaching, testing, Twitter | 2 Comments

Back in the day, the San Francisco Chronicle had a columnist named Herb Caen. With the exception of eight years or so in the 50’s when he jumped ship for the Examiner, he wrote a daily column for the Chronicle from the 30’s until he died in 1997. He’s the one that invented the word beatnik. He called what he did “3 dot journalism.” As you know, because you followed the convenient link provided above, he called it that because his column was usually just a long series of short comments or news items or intimations of coming news items, broken up by a series of ellipses. (Good extra credit question: “What is the punctuation we usually refer to as dotdotdot really called?” )

It finally dawned on me today that that is where Twitter stole their idea from. (D’oh! Sentence ending with a preposition!) Good Tweeters (it’s really difficult for me to even type that “word”) are channeling the spirit of Herb Caen. I haven’t done any research, (I did use to read his column fairly regularly), but I would bet that in at least one or more columns he wrote about what he had for lunch. Also where he was at that moment. Also what the latest scoop was.  If you have enough followers, Twitter lets you be your very own Herb Caen.

But @ 140 characters each, it would take a lot of Tweets to fill a column. That’s what I hate about Twitter; it encourages shallowness. (Yeah, yeah…you can call it succinctness if you want…)  So, as is my wont, I’m going old-school, Herb Caen stylie. I’m going 3-dot…

At lunch the other day (baked chicken, mashed potatoes, an apple, orange juice, mini carrots – tasty cafeteria food…) I was reading the school board minutes/agenda that they leave in the lounge. I noticed that the County Office of Schools, in their annual letter to our district, projected a net reduction of 142 students. In the same packet, I see the report to our board that our actual enrollment is up by 157 students. That’s about a 300 student difference. I’ve also noticed that a lot of the new kids at my boy’s school, as well as many of the kids at my site, are coming from private schools. A lot of others are coming from districts that, because of budget cuts, are significantly increasing class size. Since we are one of the few basic aid districts left in California, we have been relatively unscathed by the budget cuts this year.  Our district is hiring rather than laying off…

I carried my friend’s GPS device around today. He got it for mountain biking. It keeps track of elevation change and distance traveled and speed and a whole buncha other stuff. It’ll monitor your heart rate if you buy the attachment. You can sync your data with Google Maps, and you’ll get a nice path of your route overlayed on a satellite photo. I carried it around today in my pocket because I wanted to see how far I walk in a typical day of teaching. I know we all spend most of the day on our feet, but I’ve suspected for a long time that we also rack up a lot of miles in a “normal” day of teaching. Walking up and down aisles, pacing from one spot to another to keep them focused, walking to the library, heading to the office for a meeting, getting breakfast (egg and bacon scramble, hold the cheese – the lunch ladies are so good to me and make a special one without the cheap government cheese – and a biscuit), doing yard duty, etc…

4.7 miles today… I would say it was a fairly typical day…

I was guessing 2-3 miles…

4.7…

This year’s kids seem much more immature and coddled than I’ve seen in years. Even the lunch ladies said something about it today, AND the other 7th grade English teacher, so it’s not just me. But they do seem to be better readers than usual…

And they’re so nice this year…

Our API went way up this year. Except for our EL kids. So we didn’t meet our “goals” mandated by the state… Also we still are supposed to have 100% of our kids proficient or better in English and math in the next 5 years. We’ve been at about 70-75% in ELA for years. Ever since they started keeping track. You will never get 100% of the kids proficient. Not when you count English learners and special ed. Not in a million years…

This is kind of fun…

Comments

2 Responses to “Dot Dot Dot (Also: 4.7 miles!)”

  1. Ms. W on September 19th, 2009 10:27 am

    The coddling must be a nation-wide phenomenon, because my Ohio 7th graders are more helpless this year than I’ve ever seen them! They appear to have never encountered a non-multiple choice question; one yelling yesterday, “Why can’t you put the answers on and side and we can pick?”, on a test about types of characters. This is the same period that a kid sat for 24 minutes (I timed it) not doing anything because she didn’t have a pencil… what happened to “Hey, Ms. W, I need a pencil?” This caused me to fly into my “You have to be proactive, not reactive” rant. However, starting Outsiders on Monday, so all is well!

  2. mrC on September 20th, 2009 7:32 pm

    Thanks for testifying! So it’s not only our little Disneyland here. I thought I was just getting old and crabby (not that I’m not, but…) Just the other day, I had to quell a “he keeps touching my desk… I do not” thing that erupted out of nowhere. “Does he have cooties too? What are you, five?” I think that’s what I said.

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