Tuesday, October 31, 2006


The good luck garnered by wearing the unwashed, Gatorade stained undershirt all day wore off with one minute to go in the first half.

I have no idea what to do with the kids whose independent reading level is 1.5 -- 2.5, read each book three times, write notes on post-its, discuss the book with me, have portions of the A.R. quiz read to them, and still get 1 out of 5. No idea. There are no strategies left. The cupboard is bare.

The Smarty Pants awards: when kids demonstrate mastery of skill clusters they write their names on various shorts -- I've got camo, board, and lime-golf -- and we hang them from a clothes line by the windows. The only thing better than seeing those things covered in Sharpie-written names is correctly predicting, everytime, which kid will write his name directly over the crotch. Everytime.

Someone at the Arizona Department of Ed read portions of this blog, and on that basis, wants to fly me to some resort near Phoenix to speak to educators on the topic of my choosing. I hereby formally welcome all similar invitations.

I burned a CD with two tracks: 1) The Imperial March from Star Wars, and 2) the London Something Choir singing the Hallelujah Chorus. As we work on killing Evil Run-Ons, I ask for the thumbs-up, thumbs-down for each sentence and then blast one of the two tracks. I've done this maybe 482 times in the last week and I still haven't gotten tired of it.

Most teachers I know reference their schools as school or work. As in, "I'll be at work until 6:30 most days." Rarely will they include the proper noun identification of their school. KIPP teachers, however, are huge fans of the proper noun. As in, "I'll be at KIPP until 5:00 most days." It's pretty annoying.

I've never meet a successful educator who thinks merit pay is a bad idea.

Cafe patrons in the Mission on Halloween almost universally think it's cute when a bunch of 7-year-olds barge into the place, tear-ass to the front counter, grab fistfulls of candy, and tear-ass back outta the place, slamming various doors and making noise. Almost no one thinks it's funny when a bunch of 7th-graders do it. Except maybe me, and maybe only because I'm trying to erect ideological distance between myself and those around me. Or maybe I'm just glad they're not out smoking the icky and getting kicked off my basketball team.

My point guard, on why her family's immigration was a good thing: "Because back there, at this age, I'd have to be out selling things."

It's still unclear whether the greater mid-week paper grading lubricant is coffee or cheap beer. I'm afraid that if I haven't been able to come to a clear decision at this point in my career, such a realization may never come.


Blogger Coach Brown said...

The problem isn't merit pay, the problem is how you are going to qualify that teacher deserves merit pay. I don't buy the "it makes teachers go against each other" debate. Competition should make you better.
But how do we assess?

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the cd tracks. Great idea.

4:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is it something about the month of October that destroys all logical thought and makes us think in brief like this? I feel like I have been doing it for the past 2 weeks as my kids are still acting crazy and won't be quiet! I am developing some of their behavior disorders, ADHD, and rage issues... normal?

6:58 PM  
Blogger pseudostoops said...

Ah. Smartypants awards. I meant to ask you about the shorts on the clothesline, and now it all makes sense.

5:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just wanted to say thanks for your blog.

i love the cd tracks, and the smartypants, and hope you don't mind me stealing the idea.

and i also hate hate hate october.

10:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I'm not a successful educator because I think merit pay is a terrible idea. Although I can imagine a system that would be entirely run by my peers, I expect that in most cases administrators will play a large role. I'm betting you've never been in a school where the administrators were all good-old-boys who liked the status quo, had clear favorites, and considered the main mark of their success the quality of the athletic teams.

8:09 AM  
Blogger Polski3 said...

Re: Your low reading kid....can he/she draw pictures about what they've read?

9:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love your version of Smarty Pants. My version involved an old pair of jeans, a hot glue gun, and Smarties candy rolls. I wore the pants for Halloween, went as "Little Miss Smarty Pants"...

2:13 PM  

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