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

Now about them kids…

I guess it’s time to return to the topic of kids- subbing and at church.  The past week I was back to two days of subbing after my big half-day Thanksgiving week.  I was lucky to get even that as only one district I am signed up with had classes at all that week, and only Monday and Tuesday.  Monday of course is a photo day for me which left only Tuesday for work.  So this past week I did middle school for two days in two different districts.  What happened in both cases was the teachers were taking a second sick day in a row, but fortunately this did not spell disaster like in that one BD/ED classroom in near-urban district.  The first class was a Spanish class, and half of a husband-wife team.  They even had classrooms right next to each other.  This is the second time I have ever encountered this, the first being in hometown district where a husband and wife both teach the same grade of science- one on each of the two teams for that grade.  Incidentally at that school there is also another married couple, but in their case they teach two different things.  So back to Spanish, it was a very easy day- for all classes I showed a video.  Now, she teaches both 7th and 8th grades, but everyone still got the same video- the celebration of Christmas in Mexico.  What was it?  Oh, yes- Piñatas, Posadas, and Pastorelas was the title.  I’m sure you’re familiar with the first- a seeming staple of Mexican celebrations.  The other two mean a party and a Christmas play, respectively.

Wednesday I filled in for an 8th grade resource teacher, though she had one 7th grade reading group.  This was a bit more interactive than the Spanish class, at least for some of the periods.  As mentioned, I worked with a reading group for one period, led an interesting homeroom activity where the kids picked sides with questions about what is more important to them and then some explained their choices, acted as an assistant in a language arts block, watched over a tutorial period, and led another block period with reading a story together and then watching over the kids as they defined words from the story.  A varied day for sure, unlike typical middle school classes.

Next post: the kids at church this week- I’m already tired of writing…

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.

Monday

Monday: Industrial technology in hometown district.

In near-city district, only 7th and 8th grade take this class- I think this year the teacher at one of these schools only teaches for four periods.  What does he do with the rest of the day?  In hometown district all three middle-school grades take this class.  The other two districts I’m in don’t have 6th graders in junior high (they don’t call it middle school) so…

Anyway, I arrived at about 7:30 and headed across the hall from the office into the IT room.  Dropped my stuff and looked for the plans.  Dug around a bit on the front table- there were the seating charts, buried, but no plans.  Hmm.  Open his office door, looked, no plans.  Right then.  Fortunately I knew he had an assistant so I shrugged it off for the moment, though last time I subbed here the assistant was gone too so we watched videos all day.  In other words, there was still a chance everything could go wrong.  Ah, there she was walking in, and sure enough she knew what we were doing.  Because she was there, the students would work on their projects or modules.  For 6th grade, their work was enlarging drawings of cartoon characters by using a grid, which they had to draw themselves on the large sheet of paper.  Tweety Bird, Marvin the Martian, Woody Woodpecker, Dumbo, Pink Panther, and more could be seen all around the tables.  Students had to carefully draw the character making sure every line was in the correct grid box.  It was interesting tho see the different ways students accomplished this.  Most outlined then filled in the details starting at random spots, but there were a few who worked from top to bottom, filling in everything for one row before moving to the next.  Several I couldn’t tell as they were far enough along that they were going over it in marker or even coloring.  I was called on to do spot checks when students felt they were ready, so I had to compare their drawings with the originals and let them know if I saw something that wasn’t right.  The second period of this I actually had a line at one point waiting to be checked.  As it turns out, 6th grade hands for the most part still aren’t attuned to finer writing as most looked no better than I with my poor fine motor control could draw, but there were definitely a few exceptional ones and I said so.

7th and 8th grades were on modules.  That meant that pairs of them were in different areas doing different things like building roller coasters and other objects with K’Nex; working on computers on audio engineering, electricity & magnetism, and more; working with woods or plastics; and a number of other things.  This time my job generally worked like this- I would see a help light on, go over to see if I could help, then ask the assistant when I couldn’t answer the question.  Seriously, I last worked with plastics and woods when I was in high school or lower, and I just didn’t have experience with the software they use.  I think out of a couple dozen help calls throughout the day, there were maybe three I didn’t have to refer to the assistant- not that I should really call her that because today I was the assistant and not a very good one due to lack of experience.

During the middle of the day the regular teacher came in with several people from administration.  Apparently he was trying to get the computers updated as they were about seven years old- a difficult proposition for this economic climate.  I wish them well in this.  Following the last class chess club came in, but I had no part in that so I bid them farewell.

On to Tuesday…

Donning my explosion-proof suit

Back to the school entries- it’s been too long.  Before I continue though, one of my friends mentioned that I have been too general with my district descriptions, that she is always wondering which district I’m talking about.  I have been thinking about how to refer to these districts because I want to play it safe so any wondering eyes from those districts don’t lock on to my posts and figure out who this is in case I post something I shouldn’t.  I could of course refer to the districts as A, B, C, and D, but that would probably get to be just as confusing.  How about I come up with some better descriptions:

♦ Hometown district = the district in which I live, presently my favorite district I might add.

♦ Near-city district = the district I work in that is closest to the big city, Chicago, to where I live and bears a few similarities.  This is the district that has the really tough ELL and BD classrooms.

♦ Next-door district.  Of course, there is more than one town next to me, but the ones to the north, east, northeast, and southeast of me I am not signed up in at the present time.  Two are too small, and the other two called me so rarely I didn’t sign back up with them.

♦ Supersized district.  This district has a lot of schools.  It encompasses one entire town plus parts of at least three others.  It of course isn’t as big as Chicago’s school district, but what is?  Besides which I am not signed up for that one of course.

With that out of the way, I was in near-city district today doing something quite crazy- I returned to the classroom I had big problems in just a few months ago.  C will be glad to know that this is officially a BD/ED classroom, no LD kids to be found, unless they are also BD or ED (behavior, emotional disorders).  I was in my full faculties when I accepted this assignment just so you know, tired but not so much I didn’t know what I was doing.  I reasoned that there were unusual special circumstances last time- all four teachers/assistants were sick the day before, and I was one of two subs that day.  If you think young kids need consistency, these kids are like autistic kids in their such need.  They just broke down without it and I happened to be one of the targets that day.  So, in full figurative battle gear I headed to the school this morning, expecting anything.  I was early, got a look at the plans, talked with the other teachers, then read a book until the start of the day.  Fortunately I was the only sub this time.  The kids arrived, I waited for the explosion, then.. nothing.  It was actually a quite pleasant day.  One 8th-grader was absent for the first few periods meaning I didn’t have him at all which turned out to be a good thing as when he arrived it was apparent he remembered last time and got visibly upset if I just talked to him.  As for the rest, they had no such problem even if they did remember last time I was there.  Also making for an easy day, two of the classes involved just listening to an audiobook while the kids followed along (and they did, I guess S.E. Hinton is a hit with them), and one class was a single girl watching a movie.  The other two had potential for disaster as they actually involved my input and/or teaching, but the other teacher smoothed things out before they happened.  Kudos to her for using her planning time to keep watch as I led reading a story together before they could get a chance to work independently, which is what they are most comfortable with.  The other two, assistants, were off in watching the ones in specials at this time.  The last class was tutorial, and because this is the last day of the week (Good Friday tomorrow) the ones who did well that week got to watch part of a movie.  The other teacher took the ones who didn’t earn it to another room.

You were looking for a, err, more exciting day, weren’t you?  Admit it!  Sorry I had to disappoint you :mrgreen:

How about the other three days this week?  Well, I subbed for art in hometown-district yesterday, special-ed math the day before (same district), and, lessee…  oh yes- Spanish in the near-city district on Monday.  All days went very well.  The Spanish lesson, oddly enough, was actually social-studies lesson on Latin America rather than a lesson or worktime on actual Spanish.  At that school the 6th-graders don’t take Spanish so it was all 7th and 8th.  They also don’t do industrial tech which leads me to wonder what they do instead of these classes.  Art was movies for all followed by a little drawing.  5th grade had the most problems but the rest of the day went well.  The only real thing to report for the special-ed math day was 8th grade at the end of the day- they were so quiet and really worked- was this really 8th grade in April (the start of 8th-grade-itis, a common condition in those who know they will be in high school in a few short months).  That and there was a little mess-up at the end of the day when I found out I was supposed to bring the 8th graders down at 2:00 for an assembly.  Couldn’t they have announced it at 1:55 or something?  Oh, well.  They only missed 15 minutes of it.

For the other two districts I haven’t worked much in them as of late.  Next-door district continues to have next-to-no assignments available for some reason and supersized district actually canceled the last two days I signed up for.  Thanks a lot.  At least they didn’t do it the morning of so I was easily able to get other assignments.  Speaking of canceling, I wonder how long it will take to cancel this next one I signed up for?  This isn’t bitterness talking, but reality.  You see, it’s a three-week assignment.  Yes, you read that right- three weeks.  As a noncertified sub, they are sure to pull that one away when they realize what happened.  I have my suspicions it wasn’t even meant to go up on the system.  Perhaps another sub canceled the assignment by using the system instead of calling the school.  I will be genuinely surprised if I still have the job come next Friday.  I am more than willing to do it-  I just don’t think the district will let me.  Anyway, make your wagers and I’ll keep you posted.

Cultures & ELL

I bookended my three days in elementary (Tuesday was in a mentally impaired classroom) with middle-school jobs at the same school.  Monday I subbed for a specialty teacher who teaches a course about cultures.  I am not sure what it entails, but is a separate course from the normal history/social studies courses.  Being a specialty course there are two classes each of grades 6-8.  Actually, 8th grade is a completely different course from the other two grades, so I guess the cultural studies is only for the two grades.  8th grade was a course on business- they were making products and campaigns.  It wasn’t too exciting a day.  The 8th grade classes were working independently in their groups so I just walked around and watched mostly, occasionally giving some input.  6th grade had videos, and 7th grade had a test.  The highlight was 6th grade, before the videos.  I got to read them stories with problems they had to find solutions for, like for example a couple of kids who wanted to build the largest snowman their town had seen.  They did eventually build it, and without special equipment (you know how heavy even a normal snowman can be- just think back to the last time you made one and had to push those large balls to become bigger ones, then lift two sections into place on a traditional snowman).  They had to figure out that the kids built a ramp out of snow to push the giant balls up to form the head and body, then tore it down after the snowman was done.  It was really interesting to hear some of their solutions like making the sections by throwing snowballs at a smaller one until it was big enough, or the snowman was laying down.

So that was Monday.  Friday I was down the hall in a different multi-age room.  It wasn’t one grade at a time- each class was mixed.  It was ELL, so the classes were according to their ability in English.  My largest class was six students.  What made this ELL class different was the large variety of cultures represented.  Rather than 95% Hispanic, the students were from Poland, Albania, Taiwan, Korea, and several other places in addition to Mexico.  They ranged in ability from new to English to lived in the US all their lives (what were they doing in ELL??) with immigrant parents.  The students were all very good, willing to learn.  There were only a couple of chatterboxes, but even they worked.  The classes consisted of three writing classes abtly called Writing I, Writing II, and Writing III.  These classes all had a writing prompt and spent the period making an organizer, writing a paragraph or more, then editing and finally sharing their pieces.  Two of the classes were literacy courses and we read stories together, went over vocabulary, then they made sentences from the vocabulary words and worked on packets about the story for the rest of the time.  The last class was a class of just one.  This was the student who knew very little English.  We worked on a noun packet together.

Either of those two classes I would sub for again in an instant.  That ELL class was completely unlike the one at the other school in behavior.  In actuality I had another ELL class at the other middle school in the district last year that was similar, but a little crazy due to an assembly.  Like this one, I had a period where I worked with just one student.  In that case it was an Italian student instead of the Korean student at Friday’s school.  Both kids were really great to work with.  Overall Friday was more pleasant even than that day.

Well, Monday will be an off day due to Presidents Day.  I remember when I was in school we actually got two days off in February for Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays, but in the 80s they combined the two into a general day to celebrate all Presidents.  I felt cheated when this happened.  A year or two later they added a day off for Casimir Pulaki (I think that’s how it’s spelled) but that didn’t last more than a couple of years.  I’m still not sure who Pulaski was.  In any event, I’m not sure what my next post will be about.  I’ll figure it out I suppose.

EDIT: Oops- forgot a title!