Thursday, April 19, 2018

Quite the Handful

When I called ahead for subbing assignments, I was offered this middle school special ed math class for two days. After the time I had with sixth period, you'd probably think I'd turn it down. (There were other teachers out, so I did have options.)

But the instructional aide, Ms. S, said the rest of the day wasn't so bad, and I knew Ms. S was there the whole day. How bad could it be?

Ms. S and I arrived at the same time on Thursday morning. She clued me in to how things needed to proceed. She'd run things. She knew the kiddos. She knew the routine. I'd just have to follow her lead.

But... Oh, by the way... Ms. S had to leave early that day. You know, right before sixth period.

First through fourth periods went pretty well. They were working on solving inequalities and then graphing those answers. We had to take it slow as they were having difficulty. But that was to be expected. That's how things go in a special ed class.

I got to watch what Ms. S did all day. My job was to replicate that for sixth period. I've done that sort of thing before.

Sixth period arrived. And they were pretty much as I remembered them. (Samuel still won't sit. Ashley still won't focus. Edward had been moved, so he and Ashley didn't have issues.)

I attempted to get through the lesson. And I kind of did. It took longer than the other periods. There were all sorts of distractions (*ahem* Samuel. Ashley. *ahem*). But for the most part they let me teach. (Classes don't always. I appreciate it when I am allowed to get them through the lesson.)

So, a win. Sort of.

I was told they were the brightest group of the day. The were also the largest. Put them in sixth period, and that's why they were the most difficult.

Do you remember what classes you had at the end of the day? Were you burned out by then, or did you have a class in play mode?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Wednesday, April 18, 2018


I was covering this middle school special ed math class for two days. The lovely thing about special ed classes is that they have instructional aides (IA) who are generally very helpful. On these days Ms. S was teaching the class.

Ms. S was going over something with the students when I noticed Ricardo. He had his head down on his desk. I went over to him and politely requested that he sit up and do what Ms. S was asking of the students.

Ricardo ignored me, not budging from his position. He could have been sound asleep for all the movement he made.

Again, I tried to get his attention. But Ms. S shook her head. Let him be.

A bit later, Ms. S explained the situation.

Ricardo was not well pleased to be in this math class. He had previously been in sixth period...

(I covered this sixth period once. It did not go well.)

...but because sixth period was such a handful, the teacher had managed to get a student transferred into a different period.

Ricardo had been rebelling previously. He had only just gotten to almost acceptance, Ms. S explained. But having his head on his desk was much better than what he could have been doing.

There's a reason I usually let sleeping dogs lie...

Did you ever fall asleep in class? Would you have liked to be transferred out of a wild class?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Tuesday, April 17, 2018


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 fictional world ever devised actually exists someplace?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Monday, April 16, 2018

Nearly Finished?

Remember this scarf?

That was as of March 5th. Today, it's still going...

The yarn ball is smaller. The scarf is bigger. But it still feels like I'm so far from finishing.

This is what happens when one knits a fingering weight on size 3 needles. (Read: very thin yarn and very small needles.)

Although, to be fair, it's not the only thing I've been working on. I pulled out a Bullseye Beanie for B (and because I needed to restock--for the record: that beanie is finished) and I spent a week knitting a hedgehog for H (also finished).

Still, it seems like this scarf isn't going anywhere. But, I weighed the yarn, and I've got about two more pattern repeats before I'm out. I can get that finished this week. Maybe? Which makes me nearly finished. Right?

Then I've got two more scarves of a similar design to go...

Then again, maybe I'll set this aside and find something to knit that goes along with T.

Do you have any ongoing projects nearing completion? Have you pushed anything to the side to complete the A to Z Challenge?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Mud Hen

I am told this is a mud hen or an American coot. A flock (or whatever you call a group of these) appeared a few months ago. They've been relatively unobtrusive neighbors.

Do you have a lot of different birds in your neck of the woods?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Friday, April 13, 2018

Listening Skills

Eighth grade science. They were to watch a video on genetics and answer questions on a handout. (Here's the video if you're interested.)

Showing videos is one of the basic skills any sub needs. I know all the tricks from "press play" to how to set up the computer to hook up to the projector so everyone can watch. I've even figured out how to troubleshoot most of the audio problems that might crop up.

But this day we were doing things very differently.

Each student was assigned an in-class Chromebook. (This is a laptop computer with limited memory but easy connection to the school's wi-fi network.) They were to retrieve their computer, search for the video, and then watch it on their computer on their own.

This is actually kind of a great way to do a video. If they miss something, they can back it up. They listen to it on headphones, so they're locked into their own little world. And I don't have to watch the thing (especially over and over and over again), although I heard bits of it, kind of like a group singing in the round...

The students got their computers. I passed out the questions. I walked around to make sure they all found the correct video. Just as I settled in while they were working, a student raised his hand.

"Can I listen to music?"


I get this question a lot. And the answer is usually yes. When they're doing independent work, it helps some of them focus.

But they were watching a video. With narration. And people explaining things to the camera. They were supposed to listen to it so they could answer the questions.

I was so taken aback by the question that I sputterd a bit. The boy helpfully offered that his teacher sometimes lets them.

I asked how he could listen to music and watch the video. He didn't understand my question.

Flummoxed, I figured trying to explain why the music was a bad idea was just going to go over his head. So, instead I gave him a straight no.

Unless he has some mad listening skills and can listen to music and a video at the same time...

Nah. I'm clearly putting more thought into this than he did.

Did you know Bill Nye did other shows besides his Science Guy stuff? Can you listen to music and watch a show at the same time (and understand both)? Do you listen to music to help you focus?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Klepto Kid

Eighth grade U.S. history. The advanced class. So, that meant no "issues" right?


Fifth period walked in. I gave my usual intro, looking back to the board to point out where I had posted my name for their reference. That's when I noticed the projector was on.

I was not using the projector.

So, a kiddo decided it would be funny to turn the projector on. *big shrug* I went to grab the remote to turn the projector off...

The remote was missing.

(It seems like this year's eighth graders might be a bunch of kleptos.)

I asked nicely for the remote to be returned. They questioned if I was sure the remote had been taken rather than, say, I had misplaced it.

Ahem. I hadn't been using it. It was sitting, minding its own business, on the front table. They sure know how to shift blame...

So, it came time for me to demand the return of school property. (At least this time they weren't offended by my accusations.)

Naturally, no one fessed up. So, it was time to explain what was going to happen if I did not get the remote back. (This explanation comes from experience. It ends with an assistant principal coming to class to search everyone's belongings.)

Less than five minutes later, a student "found" the remote on the floor behind his desk.

Remote returned. All was well.

The culprit? Likely the boy that "found" it.

But honestly, I don't care. If the teacher wants to chase that down, I left her all the particulars, including how that boy had been near the remote at the time it went missing.

My lesson: keep a better eye on random stuff as the kiddos have been walking away with it. Especially eighth graders.

What is something you lose frequently? Do you manage to find it?

Today's A to Z Challenge post brought to you by the letter...