D’s Wayback Machine part ][

So, you wanted some more pics, particularly pics of me?  Well, I’ll meet you partway- here are some pics, most with me in them, but you have to figure out which of those younguns is my younger self. 😈

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Oh, most them are clickable for larger versions.  Maybe I’ll go back and rescan some of the other ones in larger versions later. (done)

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Let’s start with extracurricular activities.  Outside of band, this was something I generally had nothing to do with, even in high school for the most part, but way back in 6th grade I seem to have partaken in one, though I have no memory of it.  And I only did it for that year apparently, perhaps because my aforementioned nemesis was also in the club.  Which club?  Well, it wasn’t a sport- shame on you if you know me and thought that! 😀 )It wasn’t drama as I wouldn’t take an interest until my final year of high school.  It wasn’t choir as that interest came even later.  It wasn’t backgammon, debate, french, leathercraft, comic books, D&D, or CO2 cars.  Wait- the school had backgammon and D&D clubs??  I think you might be able to guess it, it was none other than the beginning computer club.  Here is a picture- at least I’m 90% sure it is me in the photo- the 6th grade yearbook doesn’t give names under the photos for these group pictures.  The geeks among you might make a connection from this photo with the title of this post.

Beginning Computer Club

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The next several are of the one extracurricular activity that I was a part of for eight years.  Once I failed to make the army band, and then proceeded to fail an army physical (don’t ask, but- phew!) I quit altogether.  That was okay, I picked up singing a short time later when I became interested in musical theatre.  The first three are the normal concert bands.  In 6th I was in the lower band of course, strangely called “intermediate” as if there was another, lower band.  I suppose if you counted 5th grade band as the lowest instead, then I guess intermediate worked.  In 7th and 8th grades I was in the top band (symphonic), a trend that would not necessarily continue in high school.  The last two photos were from jazz band, which I was a part of in 7th and 8th grades.

6th Intermediate Band

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7th Symphonic Band

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8th Symphonic Band

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7th Jazz Band

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8th Jazz Band.

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No, I don’t remember why I put a big X through the saxophonist in the last photo.  I guess I didn’t like him.  I believe I had something nasty written on his other photo too.  I do remember he introduced me to the handheld Donkey Kong game & watch from Nintendo which he brought back from Japan.  When I discovered it was being sold on this side of the Pacific too, I obtained one for myself using the tried and true method every young income-free person uses at one time or another (“Can I have it Mom? Pleeeeeeze?”) 🙂

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The next few photos are just some random photos without me:

Gym

Just a photo to show what our gym uniforms looked like. Check out those socks we once wore!
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Wrestling

Urg- one of the two intramurals I have vivid recollections of. One was floor hockey when I didn’t understand what an “assist” was and tried to enter my name as one who assisted a goal which I did not. In one of the grades, I don’t remember which, I remember I truly stunk at wrestling and won the first game not because I actually remembered how to do the wrestling moves, but because my opponent was even worse. The next game saw me pinned within seconds.  And those socks again…  Nowadays intramurals are optional, but not in the early 80s.
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Check out those pants...

Even worse than the socks were the trousers on that teacher! 😛
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ArcheryCross-country skiing

Two gym activities I know for a fact the school doesn’t do anymore- too bad. Current kids do get ping-pong instead though…

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My school

A photo of the old junior high building. I think someone had said it was built in the 1920s, but I may be remembering wrong. It was replaced by a new one in the last 10 years or so.

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Couldn’t figure out which one was me in each photo, maybe because you never met me? Okay, okay- here’s a little help from the lunchroom:

Eating lunch

No sleeping in for me

Whenever I have had a subbing day this year it has almost always been a result of getting up early and hitting the web. Last night I was able to secure a job in 6th grade a little after 10 which didn’t have a start time until almost 8:30, meaning I could sleep in, at least a little bit. Okay, knowing about the snow meant I should be up about 20 minutes earlier to get shoveling out of the way. Still, I could get up about an hour later than usual. Of course you know something was bound to happen, and happen it did at about 4AM. That’s when I was jarred out of my sleep by what I thought then was the neighbors slamming the door. It took me about a half hour to get back to sleep. I was worried because it didn’t sound like a door slamming, but what else could it be.  Well, eventually I did get up at about 6:45 and didn’t worry about it all day.  Unfortunately it wasn’t quite early enough as there was more snow than I would have hoped waiting to be shoveled, making me a little bit late.  At least I still arrived before the kids.

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Yesterday I subbed for music at one of hometown district’s middle schools- I actually got a call for it about five minutes before the alarm was set to go off.  Very uneventful.  We watched videos in all classes.  At least I got to see Blue Man Group, a group I had never heard before though I of course knew about them.  Other class videos included Stomp and The Wizard of Oz.  Today I was excited because I was subbing in an elementary school, and what that usually means is getting to teach instead of just babysit.  Well, not so much.  The plans didn’t include videos, but they did include a test, lots of reading and working on their own, and skit performances for social studies, in which they are studying Greek Mythology- a topic I really enjoyed myself when I was in 6th grade.  Well, there was a spelling game too, and at least that was interactive.  I also worked in a short math review not on the plans before they started working on their assignment, and at least one other subject, vocabulary, was more interactive as well.  Additionally, I worked in some word puzzles which I like to do in elementary classes.  Definitely a more productive day for me than yesterday, overall.

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So back to what woke me up.  On one of the forums I read someone who I know lives around here made a post humorously telling California to keep the earthquakes to themselves.  Say what?  I read his post then had to go to my newspaper website to see just what he was talking about.  Sure enough, there was a 3.5 magnitude earthquake a short distance from us.  An earthquake.  In Illinois.  At 3:59AM.  That’s right, not a slamming door.  Well, I guess if our tornadoes can be exported to other areas, I shouldn’t be surprised when earthquakes are imported to our relatively-geologically-stable part of the country.  Here’s a link to the story (click the title), and a short excerpt:

Small earthquake wakes up northern Illinois

To some, it sounded like a train derailing, a snowplow taking out a car, a plane crash, a sonic boom.

To dogs, it was clearly something to panic about.

But the U.S. Geological Survey said what woke people well before dawn Wednesday was a mild, 3.8 magnitude earthquake whose epicenter was about three miles beneath a farm field a short distance south of Pingree Grove, near Route 20 and Switzer Road in western Kane County.

It started rumbling at 3:59 a.m. Wednesday and lasted just seven seconds.

Partially immersed

日本語が話せますか?

If the characters above got rendered properly in your browser you should see Japanese writing.  The proper response for me would be, say what?  Of course, if I knew what that said the real response should be:

いいえ、私は日本語を話さない。
Sorry, I guess you probably don’t know Japanese either.  The first question was, “Do you speak Japanese?”  The response was, “No, I do not speak Japanese.”  When encountering a Spanish-speaking classroom, I always start with, “No hablo español, solamente inglés.” (I don’t speak Spanish, only English).  It’s fun to see the kids’ reaction, especially if I add a little bit more from my severely limited Spanish vocabulary.  With Japanese, I can’t even begin.  Three times in the space of two weeks I found myself in dual language classrooms- twice for Japanese, once for Spanish.  What kind of class is this you may ask?  I will answer.  Once upon a time the way to teach kids a foreign language was to offer it as an elective in high school.  Then, someone learned that the best time to learn new languages was as a young child, so they added the classes to the junior high curriculum (in some cases making kids take five different ones in sixth grade!).  This trickled down to intermediate grades with one language twice a week like gym.  Still not happy, the powers-that-be started dual-language classes allowing children as young as six to start learning a different language, and that is where we are today.  In such a class, the younger grades slowly learn the language, and then they start instructing in that language as they get older for a sort of immersion experience.  In the Japanese class, this means that for the entire afternoon teachers and students use only Japanese.  The teaching assistant took over this duty of course since I would be unable to converse in or even understand Japanese.  It was an experience not unlike working in a deaf classroom as I have done before, but knowing that I could converse with the students in English when necessary.  This was sixth grade, so they were on their sixth year of this.  They seemed pretty proficient to me- having read Japanese books for starters and giving a book report in Japanese.  When it came time for me to instruct, however, we all went back to English.
The Spanish class was 4th grade, so they weren’t as proficient in their second language as 6th grade was in theirs.  There were no book reports or the like in Spanish, though of course it could have just been the day.  When trying to read the Spanish social studies book, it became clear many did not understand very well.  Unfortunately I did not have a Spanish-speaking assistant at this time as I did for Japanese.  When math time rolled around, the Spanish-speaking assistant finally arrived and I expected she might take over for a bit, but she didn’t so we did the subject in English as I could do little more than the numbers and operations in Spanish.  As it turned out it was probably a good thing we did it in English as they had a difficult enough time with the topic in their primary language.
So what’s next, dual language French? Italian? I guess I may find out.  It’s odd that this is the first year I have been in this sort of classroom in all my years of subbing.  Bilingual and regular foreign language classes yes, but not dual-language.  This may mean then that the chances of doing it again are somewhat remote, so we’ll see.

Who wants to be a superhero?

No, Sci-Fi channel (or should I say SyFy?) didn’t renew Stan Lee’s reality show for a third season.  But apparently 106 5th and 6th grade students in Berwick, Maine wanted to be superheroes.  Or at least dress up as them.  After a university in the UK set a Guinness record of the most people in one room dressed as superheroes with 103 students and staff members a teacher at Knowlton School decided to try and break the record.  Their new record, if their attempt is accepted (i.e. no one else tried for the same record with more people), might be short lived though as the university vowed to take back the record if anyone were to break it so whether or not they will be in the next Guinness World Records book depends on how quickly this university can respond.  It may well be that the teachers at the Maine school were clever with their timing as summer time means break time so it may not be until fall or later when the university tries to take back the record.  For the full story (with pics!), click the link below:

‘Superhero’ students gather in Berwick to set new Guinness World Record

While I’m waiting…

I wrote a post two days ago, but because it involves a video I need permission to link to and the ones I asked have yet to respond.  Well, I don’t really know if I’ve asked them yet or not- if I send an email asking a question, is it asked when I hit the send button or when they read the email?  Apparently they are swamped at work right now.  Sigh.

So, how about this week then?  Well, on Monday I drove to Crystal Lake to observe a job photographing cars for online/magazine classifieds.  While this sort of job is done by one person at any given dealership (or rather, group of dealerships) there were two there I was able to observe and question since one was in training.  Training?  I wasn’t told about that, or the meager $250/week during such training, but hey- it’s $250/week more than what I made over the last several summers.  I guess it’s roughly equivalent to an $8/hr fulltime job, but only when training.  After that, it’s $7/car commission.  The ones I observed do around 100 cars a week, so that’s $700 per week right there.  I called the owner back Wednesday and said I was still interested, and will meet with him next week.

Tuesday I felt like I was in uniform with the rest of the kids as I subbed in 4th grade.  You see, the school I was at has a dress code (the only one in any of the districts I’m in as far as I know, well besides the standard stuff like no exposed midriffs, no beer t-shirts, etc).  They can wear red or blue polo shirts with I suppose certain pants or shorts (not sure of the exact code on the legwear), and I just happened to wear a red polo shirt that day so I ended up matching a third of the class 😀 .At one point during the day all the red-shirts were grouped together in the same general area doing partner work and I just had to comment on it.  And for the Trekkie readers, yes we all survived as we weren’t on an away mission 😛 .It was a pretty enjoyable day.

Wednesday I was in another elementary school subbing for an MI (mentally impaired) teacher.  He had eight kids, mostly 6th grade, so they were in their last days at this school.  So was the teacher apparently as he will be retiring after this year.  In fact, there seem to be half a dozen retirees-to-be at this supersized district school- When parking that morning I saw no less than six reserved spots for retiring teachers, including the teacher I subbed for.  I didn’t park in his spot, but I wonder if I should have?  Back to the class, Ironically, the largest student there was one of the 5th grade girls.  It was mostly a day of simple things like alphabetizing words, identifying letters and coins, and reading a simple book with them.  The end of the day had the students making predictions on how many blocks the kids could stack in a minute, then seeing how good their predictions were.  There was one who liked making predictions of forty-something or seventy-something, even after seeing the last student stack less than 20.  Well, I said what sort of class this is.  Theu also made cards for the teacher which is how I really discovered he was retiring since I had mostly ignored the names on the reserved parking signs on the way in.

Today saw me back in supersized district for 7th grade language arts.  For the first time in a long time, I saw one of my former students from church in one of the three block periods I had.  This school apparently has an abundance of teachers as the average class size was only 15 students.  In junior high.  This would seem to me to be the probably first place for cutbacks if they have any for next year from our sagging economy.  The students listened to a reading of Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling, which I just now discovered while finding these Wikipedia links is actually a short story in The Jungle Book, which likewise I never knew until now is a short story collection rather than a full novel.  I knew the movies were based on the book of course, I just always thought it was a novel- you learn something new every day!  Of course, never having read the book this was the first time reading this story for me as well.

So that catches me up for now.  Hopefully I can move that one post from drafts tomorrow, just as soon as I get the permission I’m sure they’ll give once they have a chance to respond to my email.

A middle school week

(Big Nate ©Lincoln Peirce)

This past week I could be found in a middle school every day.  In fact, I was in one school for three days for two teachers.  I started the week in near-city district at the school that was closed for a few days a couple of weeks ago due to swine H1N1 flu.  Yes, I’m still fine, thanks for wondering 😉 ..  The class was IT, though in actuality he only had four classes (I believe I mentioned before that at this school 6th grade doesn’t take this class).  To make up for it, he had a tutorial, something usually only the core teachers have, and lunch detention.  It is my understanding that under normal circumstances lunch detention has only ten or less students.  Monday had 23 😯 ..  Most didn’t have passes though as was supposedly required.  Huh.  So as typical in this class which doesn’t have an assistant like in hometown district, students didn’t work on IT projects.  Instead, students had to read a packet then do three worksheets based on it.  Yeah, kind of a blah day for the kids.  The packet only covered about half the chapter that the worksheets had questions on I discovered later in the day.  So naturally I informed the students of this… hey, are you kidding??  Like they needed an excuse to be lazy and not do it.  “Hey, I didn’t find the answer in two seconds so it must be in the half I didn’t get to read so I’ll just skip the question.”  My lips were sealed about this little discovery 😈 ..

Tuesday and Wednesday I subbed for sixth-grade math.  Not that I taught any, nope.  Still in near-city district, I was at their other middle school and the teacher left plans just having students work on problems out of their books.  This is the sort of assignment in which one hears about subs falling asleep…  They were generally well-behaved, at least in my book.  The resource teacher however, who came in for a couple of periods, didn’t think so as she was very…not friendly.  My highlights were going over the warmups (not listed in the plans, but I did it anyway just to have something to do) in each of the math classes, but for her one social studies class I just suffered in silence as I babysat.

Thursday I was in hometown district, so I didn’t have to drive as far.  This time I was with 7th grade language arts.  They had a spelling test, afterwhich they worked on a persuasive writing packet for the rest of the time.  You may be thinking, “Spelling test? But it’s only Thursday!”  Well yes, but this district had an institute day Friday making it a four-day weekend instead of three (Memorial Day ya know).  Near-city district on the other hand was supposed to have a four-day weekend, though Tuesday instead of Friday being the off day, however for them Tuesday was a buffer day that got changed due to the winter’s snow days.

Speaking of near-city district, as you already surmised from my opening paragraph I was back at Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s schools as a 6th grade resource teacher.  No, not that one, but the one for the other team.  I’ll tell you, her first period was very busy.  Do this, then this, then this, then this…  Fortunately she gave me time constraints, otherwise it would have turned into a do this, then this, then leave a note on how we ran out of time for the rest period.  Out of the rest of the day, team teaching with another teacher followed by a tutorial period, two of the periods were quite interesting as there were two subs in the room- a lot of teachers were out- could Memorial weekend have anything to it I wonder..? Come to think of it, there were a lot out on Thursday too in hometown district…  Anyway, there was a little more restlessness in these students than the ones earlier in the week which I fully understand since it was a holiday weekend coming up after all.

So that was my week at work.  I do hope I get a chance to fill this week, all four days of school, but I suspect I won’t have four full days.

Week in review

This week was mostly unremarkable.  Monday I was in second grade, Tuesday and Friday PE, Wednesday sixth grade science, and Thursday I was in third grade.  The highlights, or in one case “low”light, were probably the PE classes and the third grade class.  Science was a “students work on projects while sub circulates” day- not that it was a bad day, just a relatively uninteresting one.  Second grade just wasn’t memorable this week.

Tuesday’s PE class included some 4th and 5th graders who played a game called “homerun derby” where they used a fat bat and tried to hit a small gatorskin dodgeball across the room to a predefined homerun zone.  The 4th grade class didn’t get a single homerun leading me to switch to actual game mode toward the end.  5th grade did better.  The big part of this job though was the work with mentally and physically impaired students- three classes to be precise.  These classes started with some running, though some were pushed in wheelchairs or otherwise helped along by assistants meaning those assistants got a bigger workout than many of the kids.  Then with varying degrees of success the students practiced hitting the ball when pitched to them.  Again, the assitants played a big role here, not only swinging with them, but in some cases just getting them to the plate to take a turn.  The third class had more severely impaired students, so they didn’t even have the ball pitched to them.  Instead, there were T-ball setups, one of which I brought out to them.  The classes ended with free-time as these kids can’t go for a full 30 minutes of structured gym time.  They got to choose balls or oversized scooters (2 feet x 3 feet (!) I think) and spent the rest of the time with them.

The third grade class was truly a low point.  I was worried from the moment I read the note saying to get the help of one of the teachers next door if the class gives trouble instead of calling the principal over, which apparently one sub did three times last year.  I actually did not have to call him over, but the one time he did come was in the middle of a crisis so of course I ended up looking bad.  I’d better cross this school off for any sort of permanent job should my life go in that direction.  There was one student who actually got so mad at one point he stormed out of the room slamming the door behind him.  This was shortly after the principal’s visit when some students were set on finding some money that was thought to be lost or stolen instead of working in their reading groups.  Another student got frazzled and needed some calming time, saying he had a bad day yesterday and was trying to avoid one today.  Well, depending on what that bad day entailed, he may have failed as it was certainly a bad morning for him (and me) from that point on.  By the afternoon things got better though the math group tended to be every bit as chatty as the regular class (they switched for math).  There was also an assembly at the end.  The student who had stormed out during the morning was supposed to sit next to me, but instead the principal had him help with the awards presentation, rewarding students for positive behavior/work over the last few months.

The other PE class was my reward for Thursday’s third grade.  Over the entire day I only had five classes.  This had part to do with the fact this teacher worked in three different schools and so had two travelling times, and part to do with Friday being a light day with only one class at one of the schools instead of the usual four, so I was able to go home for lunch (this was in hometown district).  All classes went very well.  The first school had a volleyball unit going and her classes had their first day playing a real game so I had to go over the rules, though we really didn’t keep score.  The other three classes played some tag games.  It was a nice way to end the week.