Tuesday, May 24, 2011

3 Girls, 3 Cats

Normally in my apartment, there are two girls and three cats (2 male and one female), with the occasional male visitor.  Now, this may seem like a lot of kittens, but most of the time, it doesn't feel like a lot.  They're really quite entertaining, and they're great for keeping your toes warm when they get cold on those wonderful days in May when it's 45 degrees.  Oh, South Carolina, I miss the 90+ degrees of your usual May.  (Do I need to pack my parka for my summer trip to New York?)  They're also great conversation fodder, and a beyond wonderful outlet for when we come home from the ridiculous events and activities of our daily lives.

So for a little while this summer, our dear friend Hannah is staying with us. (Girl #3)  Unfortunately, she has the privileged choice of sleeping on the couch, the air mattress, or the futon in the living room.  Bless her heart.  It certainly can't be the ideal situation.  Since she started staying with us mid last week, we've had quite the fun times. 

Example #1-
Night 2. Cue interview preparation for two of us, plus planning and gearing up for family reunions.  We're all a little slap happy.  Hannah has a full glass of real, pulpy limeade in between her legs, and her computer in her lap.  She decides it's time for a shower.  Guess what she forgot?  Oh yeah, the completely full glass of sticky, gross limeade.  It made a puddle in her shorts, soaked the snuggie in her lap, the couch, and the carpet.  The other two of us? We're probably awful friends, but we grabbed rags and Resolve, and just cackled away as we cleaned.  When Hannah got out of the shower?  She informed us that she still had limeade pulp stuck to her legs. Gross.

Example #2-
Hannah got a job! YAYYYYY! We're so proud of her!  So proud, in fact, that we took her out to dinner last night to celebrate.  We went to Applebee's because she's been raving about Bee's Teas and they have all day happy hour.  We figured, for three bucks, why not try it?  So we met a couple of friends for dinner (after shopping and having great girl time).  We were all a little thirsty, oops.  So before dinner came, we'd all made significant dents in our gigantic but admittedly very tasty Bee's Teas.  You'd never have known there was alcohol in it.  Our newly employed friend got a little tipsy, and boy was the conversation entertaining.  I mean, who doesn't love a good, sweet person saying, "I can't feel my nose," pointing for it, and hitting mid cheek? 

Example #3-
Remember Nancy, the human body mannequin?  She had another adventure yesterday/ last night.  Background: I'm packing up my classroom for the summer.  Nancy obviously has to come with me.  Since she's the size and shape of a human body and I had a lot of boxes in the back seat and the trunk, the only logical place for Nancy to sit was in the front passenger seat.  I'll admit- she even startled me when I came up to my car at the end of the day, because it looked like someone was in there waiting for me. 

Now, picture yourself walking out of Example #2 with a group of friends that are already having a good time.  I made the casual comment, "Everybody say goodnight to Nancy!"  Well, as we approached the car, there was much confusion about Nancy being real or fake.  Then, they realized that I had a plastic bag over her "to hold all her parts in."  Apparently, that was inhumane of me.  Silly me, always forgetting that Nancy has feelings? Can you hear the sarcasm?  Anyway, Hannah decided to investigate whether Nancy was male or female.  She didn't believe that Nancy had girl parts.  So, she decided to do a little investigating.  Needless to say, Hannah ended up with a large handful of overflowing female reproductive and excretory organs.  I laughed so hard I cried, then kept laughing as Hannah's reaction got more and more outrageous until I was laughing so hard I couldn't breathe.

Example #4-
Background: Artie (my kitten, aka Little Man) and I were home by ourselves for a pretty good portion of last weekend. 
Scene: We're all reuniting and talking about our weekends.  Artie, being the man that he is, reached out and swatted Hannah's boob.  Annnnd he got his claw stuck.  It was hysterical!  I mean, I don't know who could blame him.  She has an absolutely gorgeous figure.

Anyway, I'm loving the visit.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Who is a minister?

If you are familiar with the African-American community in the South, a minister is anyone who has a good heart, helps the members of the congregation with their various and sundry needs, and occasionally preaches on a Sunday, even as a guest.  They aren't necessarily paid by the church, they're all very different, but they all have two very important things in common: love of God and love of people.  I think that this community's ability to accept even those that aren't ordained as clergy is a step in the right direction.

Today, the Presbyterian Church (USA) took a HUGE step and I'm so excited for what this means!  They changed the ordination requirements.

They used to say that all ministers, elders, and deacons live in “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman or chastity in singleness” (G-6.0106b in the church’s Book of Order).


Now they say, “Standards for ordained service reflect the church’s desire to submit joyfully to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in all aspects of life (G-1.0000). The governing body responsible for ordination and/or installation (G.14.0240; G-14.0450) shall examine each candidate’s calling, gifts, preparation, and suitability for the responsibilities of office. The examination shall include, but not be limited to, a determination of the candidate’s ability and commitment to fulfill all requirements as expressed in the constitutional questions for ordination and installation (W-4.4003). Governing bodies shall be guided by Scripture and the confessions in applying standards to individual candidates.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Poor Nancy

Oh, Poor Nancy....bless her heart!

Nancy is the life-sized model of a woman with all her organs and such exposed to the world.  Working with Nancy is a bit like doing dissection, just without all the fermaldehyde and grossness that I, as a science teacher, love.  We've finally gotten to the point of the year where we're working on the human body and the functions of the numerous parts of the body.  All the human aspects of biology are my favorite things to teach.  I love this time of year-- I just wish it wasn't coinciding with standardized testing.  Talk about a boring three hours-- sitting/ walking around the classroom and only being able to stare at a class full of students taking a long test.  LAME!  Thank goodness it's just this week, and then it's over. 

Anyway, back to Nancy.  She has seen and put up with A LOT!  First of all, she's been ogled and groped by handfuls of teenage girls and boys, not that half of them knew she was a girl.  She's had her guts pulled out and twisted around.  She's been cut and drawn on to look like she was bleeding.  The poor girl has had it rough.  Let's not even talk about what she's seen and heard.  She's having to put up with 7th and 8th grade kids all day, five days a week, and she doesn't get the outlets I get.  I mean, she can't even roll her one eyeball when they say something ridiculous.

Like, student: "Ms. Green, how come Nancy doesn't get ashy?"
Me: *palm to forehead*
Another student: because she's plastic!
student: like a blowup doll?

oh man.

And now, an ode to Nancy:

Oh Fancy Nancy,
You must be so antsy
to get a pair of pantsies
and head away from the negative nancy
that rules my classroom.

We wish you all the best in your future endeavors, Nancy!!!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I need a cardigan drawer.

Yeah, those words just came out of my mouth.  I can't believe it!  I guess I'm really a teacher now.  If not, I at least have a really colorful teacher wardrobe.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

the merry-go-round

My life is moving forward= quickly!  Sometimes I feel like I can't keep up and I can't believe how far my life has come (positively) in such a short time.  Other times, like today, I see the progress, but see certain aspects of my life still spinning in circles.  I feel like I keep ending up back at square 1.  Need proof?

1) Constantly moving.  For the last five years, I have moved in July/ August, and then again in May.  I'm pretty sick of it.  Especially since the older I get, the more stuff I collect.  And the more furniture, etc. I have.  Aren't you supposed to settle when you graduate from college? Silly societal expecations.  I moved last weekend, and I really hope it was the last time for awhile, but then again, our lease ends in December, so we'll just have to wait and see.  Oh, patience was definitely not one of the virtues God blessed me with.

2) Again with the patience.....my love life.  Maybe I should say lack of love life?  At any rate, my dating life is.... pathetic.  I went from my college roommates calling me "the serial monogamist" to the girl who doesn't go on second dates.  Or sometimes, the girl who doesn't go on third dates.  It's getting old, fast!  I keep teeter tottering about whether or not to date, but at the end of the day, if I don't date, do I have any chance of finding a good man to eventually settle down with?  I know, I know...God will put him there in His time, when it's right.  But for now?  I feel like I'm back at square one. Again.

I'm a Pollyanna type person most days, so I'm going to end with this and try to follow my friend Alrinthea's advice.  This was her status on facebook, and I think everyone should try it.
Do something Brave today. Give love. Accept love. Make a move that sends the butterflies in your stomach into a tailspin. Say what you mean. Regret nothing. Smile at someone who needs it. Be Kind.  

True Life

These conversations are sprinkled throughout my days. :)

L: Ms. Green, do you have a boyfriend?
Me: No.
R: That's good. That means she has high standards and she doesn't have to go through her young life taking care of kids.
L: No it's not, I'm just saying, I mean, no offense, but she's getting older and she has cats. She's gonna be 30, have a HUNDRED cats and be yelling, "Get off my lawn!"

haha.  some of the things they say come straight from their parents' stereotypes and mouths.  And do they not realize that a HUGE part of my job is taking care of kids?

Also, we had this really cool thing called the Choice Bus come today.  I took one of my classes, and even though I had many of our more difficult to control students, they did an AWESOME job!  I didn't even have to correct one of them for anything.  It was such a great feeling.  On second thought, maybe they were just petrified because they got to experience a jail cell.  Maybe it'll help persuade them to hang with the right crowd, study hard, and graduate from high school then subsequently go to college.  I hope they'll make good decisions!  The point of this? It's teacher appreciation week, and I so appreciate my students today. This is one of those top-of-the world moments.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Moving on Up

Movin on up.... I now live in a lovely gated apartment complex. We are on the second floor, which I love, and my kitten loves having stairs to play with. 

Pros
Pool
Gym
Walking trail
Awesome roommate
more space
SO close to Target!

We're almost situated, and we love it!!!!  My wonderful, wonderful parents came and helped me get situated, and let me use their big ole white minivan to move the furniture.  It was great having my mom's strategic planning and my dad's muscle to help out.  My lame baby brother was too busy to come help and play with my kitten.

So, in addition to the literal moving up of my life, I've successfully finished (I hope) the first leg of my grad school career, and I'm almost to the point where I can say "1 full year experience" at work. Exciting times. :)  Wish I was feeling wittier today.

Learning through Food

I try to keep up with the world of education, even though so frequently the news about education in the US makes me irritable.  I love to read about new programs and old and new methods that work.  Here is one a friend referred me to today.  So neat!  Imagine a bunch of today's technology-driven middle schoolers heading back to our country's farming roots.

http://vimeo.com/23050094

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Don't go to school unless you're ready to have your picture taken...

Just a word of friendly advice.  If you're having one of those days where you overslept, barely have on any (if at all) make-up, and your hair's in a ponytail, guess what???  You're gonna need to be prepared to have your picture taken.  It'll coincidentally be school picture day, which you forgot (true story), or the day that the yearbook kids have conveniently come by to snap a picture of you working.  For instance, today...I'm in crazy work mode, looking a mess, hair in a ponytail, wearing smudged glasses because for some reason they won't come clean today, and i forgot to brush my teeth this morning because I was running late, so I just feel gross.  In come the yearbook kids trying to get a picture of me working.  Obviously, I feel a hot mess, so I can only imagine what I look like.  Dare I sneak a restroom break to look? Better not...don't really want to know. Stay on your toes!

What teachers make

What Teachers Make

http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DfuBmSbiVXo0%26feature%3Dplayer_embedded&h=601c5

This is a great video.  Thanks to a dear non-teacher friend of mine for finding this and sending it my way.

How much do we forget?

How much do we forget?

My dad and I love to watch game shows together.  One that we used to watch pretty frequently is Jeff Foxworthy's "Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?"  My dad has always insisted I should go on the show.  I've always refused. Why? Because I don't have enough confidence in myself to believe I could win if I went on the show, and I obviously don't want to get on the show, stand up there and say, My name is Amy Green.  I'm a middle school teacher, and no, I'm NOT smarter than a fifth grader.   Obviously, I'm smarter than the average fifth grader as far as reasoning, life skills, and basic knowledge.  However, I'm sure that I've forgotten many of the minute details.  Every now and then, a question on the show stumps me.  

Earlier this week, I was spending time with some of my favorite campers.  These are children I met through Camp Happy Days, an organization that provides support to kids with cancer and their siblings.  They're great kids, and I got to spend an entire day hanging out with them while their parents were at work.  We baked and decorated cookies for Santa and our own enjoyment, had a feast of a lunch from Chic-fil-A, watched a movie, hung out, played and talked together, and, most relevant to this blog post, played school. I got to be the teacher.  Not something new to me, but hey, whatever made the kids happy.  The girl I was playing school with is in first grade this year.  We played for well over an hour.  At one point, I was "teaching" math.  We did some basic math problems, but then my "student" asked me to give her some patterns to try.  I did my best.  She pronounced them, "Easy!"  I then asked her to make me some patterns to show me what hard patterns would be like.  Safe to say, I would have failed that first grade math test.  Those patterns kicked my butt!

This really made me think: if I've forgotten so much about patterns and the foundations of my math skills, what else have I forgotten?  How much of what my teachers taught me have I forgotten? Have I remembered the things that are actually important? As a teacher, WHAT are the most important things for me to teach my students?  How often do I forget the little moments that remind me why I teach day after day?  Beyond school, how many things that should be cherished have I completely forgotten about? 

AC/DC

I've Got Big Balls

Song credit to AC/DC, which plays in my head every time I remember this story.  This happened awhile ago, but what blog about teachers (especially one that is partially written by middle school teachers) doesn't have some perverted stories?

You know those little hair elastics that have the glitter woven into them with the balls that you twist at the end, kind of like a hairbow?  Well, they make big ones. Really big ones.  Like 3 inches in diameter.  Big, three inch in diameter balls.  In beautiful colors like yellow, orange, and brown.  I don't know if those are the only colors they make them in, but they're certainly the only colors I saw them in.

Setting: 8 AM one morning, teacher's feeling a little crabby, and the kids are "wilding out."

I'm wandering the classroom checking homework and the progress of their daily Get Started!, when all of a sudden I hear, "Get off my balls! They'll break!!!"  That grabbed my attention.  I look over and one of my female students has these two big balls in a nice shade of orange in the palm of her hand and is rolling them for "a massage."  Needless to say, many inappropriate comments came from that side of the room for the rest of the period.

Feeding the Rumor Mill

I'd like to preface this by saying that middle school students may gossip more than adults, and that's saying something.

Things I learned today in 8th grade science.

You learn something every day, right?  This is an email I sent to another of my fabulous co-workers today, based on the conversation I had with my 8th grade students walking back from lunch.

Me:
1) Apparently I'm pregnant.
2) The baby daddy is either Mr. Ball or Coach Spalding.
3) The odds are leaning towards Coach Spalding.
4) His wife is going to come up to school and snap and pop her neck at me for stealing her man.
5) You're gonna fight me for him.
6) You'll probably win (this I agree with).

I found this rather amusing.  Hope you have a good afternoon!


Her:
I'm a softy.. I would never beat you up.... your taller than me
Can you send this to spalding he wanted to see it

Of course I did....oh, the rumors that middle schoolers are capable of creating.  Thank goodness these ones are pretty harmless and change based on which male I'm talking to at any given moment.  In retrospect, no wonder middle school was so awful.  These kids could be seriously damaging if I actually did have a crush on one of these men

Friends and Laughter

I'm beginning to think I'm a blog-aholic.  It's a great break from work, though. 

Here's to wondeful co-workers.  I have a great team of teachers (Middle School teaches in teams).  One of the teachers I work with is particularly punny and has a bit of a reputation with the kids for making corny jokes.  Nevermind the fact that the majority of his jokes go right over their heads.  Anyway, I was teaching homophones in my english tutorial classes the other day and wanted to insert a few puns.  The lesson started with a reading comprehension exercise "A tale of tails." 

I later sent a message to my coworker, and this is our conversation:

Me: I meant to tell you....I was talking to my tutorials about homophones today and we talked about puns and plays on words, and I told them about you but was completely at a loss for a "punny" comment.

Him: you were "green" with envy

Him: you were too busy using the "amyg-dala" part of the brain

Get it?? Because my last name is green and I'm Amy G....oh, silly.

Can it!

Take me out to the ball game...I'd really love some peanuts

It's so rewarding to see my students apply something I taught them. I feel like it doesn't happen very often, but lately, I've taught them the meaning of two phrases. The first is, "Can it!" We all know this is a polite way of saying "SHUT UP YOU CRAZY WILD CHILD!" I used it as a last resort yesterday, and that same student was ordered by classmates to can it at least twice this morning. The other example, which I find really amusing, is that I taught them "that's enough from the peanut gallery." I said this during my fifth period class, and the idea that they wouldn't understand this didn't even flit across my mind. When they all looked at me with that student-patented what the heck is that look and began to actually ask, I explained the origin and the meaning of the term. Now, everytime one or more of my students chime in unecessarily during 5th period, at least one of my students retorts with, "That's quite enough from the peanut gallery!" They really do crack me up.

PS- While on car duty yesterday afternoon, I was trying to corral all the kids into one area.  I was the only teacher out there at the time and had quite a number of kids.  Logically, I wanted them all in one space so they'd be easier to monitor.  To get them to go down the hill, I started saying
down, down, everybody down
and motioning with my hands.  One precious sixth grader with a host of issues and Asperger's immediately crouched into the fetal position and hit the ground.  It was so funny in the midst of everything, but also so remarkably sad because that's what he feels he has to do to stay safe.  I apologized to the poor kid at least half a dozen times, but it really did make me laugh to see him so obedient and quick to respond.

16 and Pregnant

Apparently it's cool to be a teen mom

I guess I should have taken my cue from those tv shows "16 and pregnant" or "teen mom."  Apparently, my students (and many other students at the school) think it's a fantastic amount of fun to be a mommy.  Don't get me wrong; I am looking forward to the day I become a mommy, but somehow I just don't think all-nighters and constant feeding and poop changing is going to be a ton of fun. 

My students, however, are excited to be mamas.  The new trend is to swaddle a teddy bear or some similar stuffed animal and carry it around as if it were a newborn.  This morning, I got yelled at because I was holding the door open for the students and one of my girls' babies "got too cold."  This may have been rude, but I literally laughed at her.   Another of my students uses her jacket as a baby.  These "babies" supposedly require changing in the bathroom, constant attention and affection, and even extra warmth from blankets and jackets.  As a team, we've decided to sotp the baby epidemic, and I've started a collection.  Anybody want a stuffed animal or a teenagers' jacket???

Whew! A breather

This is an oldie from last fall, my first semester teaching.

Much Needed Breather/ Time of Thankful Reflection

After a WONDERFUL (and I'm sure all of us can say that it was) week off, I'm missing my kids.  While we're not terribly ready to go back to work full-time tomorrow, the Thanksgiving break was definitely something to be thankful for.

I'm thankful for my students.  I am.  That sounds much less meaningful than it is.  I am so ready to see my kids and hear all about their breaks.  I know many of them got to see family they don't frequently see, and some even got to go on vacations.  One student, J, was so excited for the break because it meant she got to travel and see her dad in jail.  She doesn't have any memories of her dad before he was sentenced, and she's hoping he'll be released sometime next year for good behavior.  At any rate, she adores her dad and carries around a picture of the two of them in her bookbag.  I hope her visit was good, and not too painful.

I'm thankful that I got to spend time with my family this holiday.  Many of my friends (especially those serving overseas) did not get such a wonderful time to reunite with family and friends.

Most of all, I'm thankful that there are ONLY THREE WEEKS until Winter Break!!  At least in our house, the countdown is on and a plethora of Christmas movies is waiting to be watched.  I know that our three weeks will be tough getting back into the swing of school and then the whole week leading up to Winter Break, but I'm confident that we'll make it and that our spirits (and those of our students) will be high.

Erin, Heather, and I will be starting a new adventure this week.  Monday thru Thursday, we'll be tutoring a small class from 3-4 and another from 4-5.  We'll be working with the students who are performing significantly below grade level on their MAP tests.  This will be interesting because our students will be grouped based on their ability level, and not their grade.  On the plus side, no more crazy homework club and no more dance for Erin and Heather.  Wish us luck and patience!

My family has found our perfect Christmas tree and started decorating to get in the spirit.  Best wishes for your search for trees and decorations.

Words of wisdom...or not.

Words of wisdom...or not.


Here's a nugget of information for all you first year/ soon-to-be teachers: middle schoolers, particularly seventh graders are weird.

That's it. They're weird.  Some amusing examples to follow.

1) The darkest child in the seventh grade wearing a t-shirt that said "I'm the original blonde."

2) Fill in the blank test question: J.J. Thomson discovered electrons through his __science___ experiments.  Good answer, kid, good answer. I marked it correct.  I didn't have the heart to mark it wrong.  I mean, it IS true.

3)Student: "Ms. Green, wanna know what all the students say about you?"
Me: A little nervous, but curious "Sure."
Student: "You have a really big butt.  Like, you have a donk. Insert lyrics, tune, and dance moves to 'she's got a donk'."
Me: "Okay then. Moving on..."
The rest of that class was interesting.

More to come.  Sorry for any grammatical errors to the ELA teachers out there.  I've got a running list, just can't remember them all now.
PS- Today, one of my students took the stickers off his Axe deoderant and stuck them across the bridge of his glasses/ his nose.  I was teaching, and when he answered his question, I looked at him and cracked up.  I did get a picture, so hopefully you'll be able to get a good laugh.

flapjack

Flapjacks are just pancakes, right?  WRONG!  One habit middle school students seem to have it taking a word, removing it from its context, and applying an entirely different meaning.  It's usually pretty obvious when they've done something like this.  With my students, I noticed a particularly large number of the boys calling each other flapjack, as in "Shut up, you flapjack!" Aside from the fact that they KNOW they're not allowed to use the SU word in my class, it's pretty obvious flapjack was meant as an insult.  So, being the logical teacher that I am, I banned the use of the word in my classroom/ presence.  Did I know what they meant it as? Absolutely not.  Teacher's privilege :)

I was talking about this with a friend of mine, and he suggested that I use Urban Dictionary and see if it had a different meaning.  It did.  This is what I found:



1.flapjack

a very saggy, flat looking breast.
she must in her 40's, look at the flapjacks on her.
by sick Dec 14, 2003 share this
2.flapjack

noun; a handjob given to a man with a flaccid, flopping penis;
Even though I was not fully hard, I still got a rocking flapjack.
Last night this girl was flapjacking me for like 20 minutes.
I got flapjacked by this fat chick in the car last night.
3.flapjack

Light, fluffy breakfast item; Pancake
Lets grab some Flapjacks from IHOP
4.Flapjack

The sexual position involving two guys and a girl where the girl is held suspended in between the two men, tossed up into the air, and either one of the men try to catch the woman, in either hole, on his penis. Painful for everyone involved.
Sean and I flapjacked that bitch last night. Now we are headed to the hospital.

ewwwww ew ew ew ew eew ew ewwwwwwwewwwwwwwwwewwwwwww!!!!!! 

You should've seen my face.

So middleschool!

Middle school is a time of many changes; we all know that.  When I was in college, I would go home and laugh at my middle school aged baby brother's adolescent angst.  I thought the way he drove my mom crazy was hysterical and would sit in the living room and laugh and laugh.  My mom would holler, "Just you wait!!!"  Admittedly, I was a little cocky and thought my time would never come, or at least not until I had middle school age children.

My team and I frequently shake our heads and say something is "so seventh grade," or whichever grade the student we are observing is in.  Usually, we shake off the tweenager drama, etc.  Right before Spring Break, however, I had the distinct displeasure of telling one of my students she was being, "SO middleschool."  She looked at me and replied that she felt she had been insulted, but wasn't quite sure and what was it that I meant, anyway?  I laughed and told her that "SO middleschool" means her tweenager-ness was getting on my last nerve and there was no other way to describe it.  Now, my kids know that if they are told they're being "SO middleschool," they better shape up or something less fun is coming their way.

For example, see this photo: SO middleschool!