Thursday, November 23, 2017

A Wonky Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving.

For #ThrowbackThursday, I'm revisiting a post from November 18, 2010. It was Turkey Day at the continuation high school. Turkey Day takes place the Thursday before Thanksgiving. They serve all the students and many in the district a turkey lunch (although it's served between 9:45 AM and noon). I managed to make it to the school this year (I've missed the last two), but alas, nothing blog-worthy happened. 

It's that time of year again. Today was Turkey Day at the continuation high school.

The administration puts on a school-wide movie to entertain the students while we wait to be called. The TV in the classroom has to be hooked up to the in-school "network" for us to be able to see it. When I finished showing 1st period a video in the VCR, I had to switch the cable so that instead of connecting to the VCR, it connected to the in-school "network".

It's harder to explain than to do. When the teacher told me that he was going to send over the school's tech guy to do it, I told him that I could manage. I did. Unfortunately, there was some interference in the picture.

The students were annoyed by this (we could see the movie, it just wasn't completely clear). They wanted it fixed, so I called the office.

I told them: "The picture is a bit wonky. Could someone come and take a look?"

Michelle thought my word choice funny. She had never heard the word "wonky" before. She wondered if it was a real word.

I was startled. She'd never heard "wonky" before? I understand when these students haven't heard long academic words before, but "wonky"?

I spelled the word for her. Told her that it was indeed a real word. She took my word for it.

The tech guy did come, and rather quickly too. However, the problem righted itself just before he got to class, so he wasn't needed.

(This wasn't my first Turkey Day. I blogged about previous years here and here.)

It's amazing how the technology has changed in just seven years. The classrooms no longer have TVs. Instead, each classroom has a projector that connects to a computer. The "in-school network" is no more. If the school wants something shown to each class, they email the video clip to the teachers, and the teachers can play the video clip on the projector at their convenience. 

And they no longer house the students in one classroom for the day. Instead, they have the students go to each of their classes in the morning, and they call out groups of 30. The newer method works a whole lot better.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Brave

The schools have taken the whole of Thanksgiving week off, so it's back to the "summer schedule" for the week. Wednesday is the day I talk about a TV show that you've probably not heard of.

I've been attempting to figure out an obscure show I've been watching recently, and I can't come up with a thing. Because, I've just been barely keeping up with the network shows since the fall TV season began. In fact, there are three shows that I'm recording and storing for when all the shows go off the air in December.

So, instead of a show you've not heard of, I'm going to talk about a new fall show I've been enjoying. It's called The Brave, and it's on NBC.

Via Google:
In the dark and complex world of America's elite undercover military heroes, Defense Intelligence Agency Deputy Director Patricia Campbell and her team of analysts wield the world's most advanced surveillance technology from headquarters in D.C. All the while, Adam Dalton and his heroic Special Ops squad of highly trained undercover specialists use their unbreakable bond and commitment to freedom to save lives of innocent people and execute missions in some of the most dangerous places in the world.
The reviews aren't good. And I didn't want to like this show. I recorded it primarily because it started before all the other shows this season started. And then I got sucked in.

Each episode is exciting. The stakes are clear. The Special Ops team has a difficult goal to accomplish, and they fight like hell to make it happen. They're in some exotic locale, and the odds are stacked against them. But somehow, they manage to make it through successfully.

It's one of those shows that you don't need to know a lot going in. And apparently no one is watching. It looks like no new episodes are going to be ordered, which means that this show is all but cancelled at this point. However, as there isn't a lot of backstory, it's one of those shows that you can watch when you're looking for something exciting to fill the time during this holiday season.

Here's the trailer:

That's pretty much the first episode. You can find the rest of the aired episodes on NBC's website.

Have you seen The Brave? Are there any new fall shows you've been enjoying?

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Careful What You Wish For

At the heart of much speculative fiction (and fiction in general) is a question. What if? On Tuesdays I like to throw one out there and see what you make of it. Do with it as you please. If a for-instance is not specified, feel free to interpret that instance as you wish. And if you find this becomes a novel-length answer, I'd appreciate a thank you in the acknowledgements 😉

What if every lie you told last week came true this week?

Monday, November 20, 2017


Last week I wrote up a list of stuff I needed to be working on rather than that mini backpack. I'm happy to note that I got much of that list done.

I was able to complete those two unicorn gift card holders...

(And now I have to make another, but that's a different story.)

I did finish the hat stands, and I was able to use them...

(They still need a bit of tweaking as the yarn came a bit unraveled, but that's an easy enough fix.)

I even finished the jellyfish for the donation, but naturally I did not take a picture of it.

I did manage to make some of the wreath pins, but they weren't quite finished (nor did I make as many of them as I would have liked)...

(They're small. The arrows point to them.)

And as for the Russian Poncho... yeah, I didn't even touch that. (Sorry, Heather.) Nor have I done any Christmas knitting.

I did, however, tear apart the mini backpack and rework it. And I'll show that off at some point. (I haven't had a chance to take any pictures other than the ones at the craft boutique.)

Progress. Sort of.

Friday, November 17, 2017


Remember the whole "stop looking at me" conversation I related on Wednesday?

That same day, all the English classes at the continuation high school were writing the quarterly district essay. (I was covering graphic arts.)

The next day, I covered one of the English teachers. (They were out grading the essays.) And I found this on her desk...

Click on picture to make bigger (so you can read it).

So, instead of working on the required essay (which was worth quite a bit), this student took exception to "being watched", too.

I'm not the only one.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Must Do "Work"

The previous day, the English class had to do the writing assessment that this school district requires of all its students. So, on this day, the teacher left them a video.

You'd think they'd be happy to have a video. Some were.

This one boy, however, was quite upset. He needed to get some work done. He wanted a computer.

The schools now have class sets of Chromebooks (read: lightweight laptops) that teachers can use for various lessons. As this class wasn't going to need the Chromebooks for this lesson, the computers weren't accessible.

The boy insisted. He needed to get something accomplished. I thought this laudable, so when he asked if he could borrow a Chromebook from another class, I allowed it. (It was supposed to be a relaxed day for them, so if someone wanted to do work...)

In the end, six students went and got Chromebooks.

But, they were rather noisy for those doing classwork...

I quick peek over their shoulders, and I found out what all the noise was. Were they working hard on class requirements? Of course not. They were playing a first person shooter game.


Later in the day, Terrence showed up. He informed me that he needed a computer. (No, he didn't ask. Apparently, asking permission is for others.)

Well, I stopped him. I asked him if he actually planned to work. I'm sure you can imagine his response.

(I explained what I had observed earlier in the day. He promised me he was going to do work.)

You know I didn't leave it at that. I went to look over his shoulder...

To find him doing work. Slowly. But, not games. So, progress.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Stop Watching Me

The memo read, "In order to be in compliance with CIPA regulations, all students must receive instruction regarding internet safety annually..."

The "instruction" was a short video that all the kiddos had to watch. Simple enough. I explained to the group what was up, and I put the video on.

"Can I go to the office to pick up my schedule? I've already seen the video."

I explained I realized that she had already seen the video. Last year. But she had to watch it again. She could go to the office after.

Oh, you'd think I was planning to torture her. (You've all see instruction videos for things like this. I freely admit it was as tedious as you imagine.) She whined. She needed her schedule right then. The video was boring. She didn't need to see it again.

So, I stopped the video. Reiterated that it was an annual requirement. That most jobs required such trainings regularly, and she was going to sit still for the video whether she liked it or not. And I'd start the video over each time she complained.

That got the complaints to stop (especially when I did actually start the video over). But she wasn't watching. She was watching me.

I turned and watched her right back.

"Stop looking at me."

I explained that she should have been watching the video.

"I can't watch the video with you looking at me."

I explained that if she was watching the video, she wouldn't notice me. She debated this. As long as I was watching her, she'd watch me right back.

Deep sigh.

I wish I could tell you this was the first time I've ever had this debate. Sadly, I've had this conversation (with different students) many, many times.