We’re sort of in the dog days of the school year. Instead of being hot and muggy though, it’s been wiiiiiiiindyyyyyyyy and cold, but there be laziness in the air for some reason. Maybe that’s why I’m so laggy on posting lately. The kids really haven’t been doing much of anything, and they’re rubbing off on me.

We’re steaming through Tom Sawyer. This year I decided to increase the pace. I’m shooting for five weeks. Most years, with the vocabulary and the grammar pink sheets and spelling and all the rest we do along the way, I spend about seven weeks. We’re doing 2 chapters a night most nights and with the Moodle working nicely, things seem to be going better so far.

Of course there is always a significant percentage who just don’t read it at home. At all. This year I’m trying to read a whole lot more of it out loud to them.

“We understand it better when you read it. You act it out and explain it and stuff. Plus you read the dialog so we can tell what they’re saying.”

“They do talk funny. And you mean you like my ‘acting’? I’m touched.”

“We didn’t say that. It’s just easier to understand it.”


You know that old adage, “Be careful what you wish for, it might come true”? Somebody actually e-mailed me saying, “I wish I could see your classroom.”


I had a kid come in to my room before school at the beginning of the year; he wasn’t one one of my students.

“My dad told me to come in and just look around. He said he was here at open house, and since I didn’t get you this year, he said I should just come and look.”

Well then.

One of my student servants had some time today, so she took some pics for me. (The other servant chose to read Dracula for his literary analysis paper. The paper is due Tuesday; he’s on page ten, and he’s a little crabby.)

The whole space can’t really be captured in a few pics. I have nearly the largest room in the school. I’ve lived in an apartment that was smaller. It used to be the typing room back in the day; I even have a little stage where the typing teacher’s desk was, and old brass power outlets in the floor from when they went to electric typewriters.

So there’s a lot of room for shtuff. My room gets “tidied” once a year before Open House in May. That’s one of the servant jobs. Open House is a month away; they haven’t started yet. So…

Here we go (all of the pics can be clicked if’n you want to see the full-size version)…

Command Post

This is my desk. Yes, I have two monitors. No, I won’t tell you how I got the extra one. Yes, the sink and water fountain work. No, I don’t let kids back there to use them.

That green thing on one of the monitors is a Weepul. If you want to see seventh graders turn back into 4th graders, start offering Weepuls as rewards for selling magazine subs. They’re always jealous that I have so many scattered throughout the room.

The comics in the background are weird, mostly non-super hero ones, like Milk and Cheese – Dairy Products Gone Bad.

This is the view from the podium. That’s the ShmartBoard I’ve been using and trying to figure out what to do with. In the foreground is my overhead with the new CPS clicker receiver that EInstruction sent me. With a little plastic skull on top.

All the pink crumpled papers on the floor are from us shooting baskets at the recycling bin with our used up pink sheets. Baskets net them extra credit. (Get it? Net!) They don’t make it very often, as you can see, especially since I moved the bin behind the ShmartBoard. There are two more Weepuls peeking out on the lower left.

This is my “mini me.” He’s pose-able, and I’ve carved a bunch of palm frond heads for him. Right now he’s holding their “A Page” assignments.

Next to him is the pencil machine. 25 cents please.

The wicker mermaid…well, that’s left over from our home ec department’s children’s holiday store. It was a donated gift, that the home ec lady knew she couldn’t sell. “I knew she’d fit right in here,” she told me. One of the kids thought it was a lion. We haven’t let him forget that yet.  The dancing chicken is peeking out from the left. Yes, it plays the Chicken Dance Song. Kiss lunchbox on the right. Outsiders projects on the wall behind. God knows what’s in the piles on the table. I’m afraid to look. Oh look. There’s a fluorescent tube and an old clicker. Oh, and those Picture Day handouts I forgot to hand out. D’oh.

Be careful how you look at this one. I t might turn you to stone like Medusa’s hair. This is just one part of the electronics junkyard. That’s a mini printer in the lower left. Keyboards, mice, cables of all varieties. Floppy disks, for God’s sake.  There’s an old laptop in there somewhere.

I think that might be enough for today. We wouldn’t want to overload anyone’s senses right away. We still have a lot to see on this tour.