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

What a week

The Thursday before last, I shot all of one car at two dealers- highly unusual, so on Monday that was more than made up for by having 18 cars to do between the same two dealers.  Normally this would make me quite happy, but not so much on a Monday following a snowfall.  For starters, I knew I couldn’t leave as early as normal because the dealers needed time to clean up their lots.  The first one was still doing it when I arrived.  Monday nights I have small group at my church, so it is the only night I need to finish on time so starting late and then finding I had so many cars to do, some of which would have to be brushed off, was less than thrilling.  I finished the second dealer a little before 7PM, then headed back.  It was dark and I was traveling 50MPH, so I can probably be excused for not seeing the massive pothole in the right lane.  I kept moving, but I feared it would cause my tire to go flat on the way home.  It didn’t and I was able to drive the car for the rest of the week, but when I brought the car into the shop Saturday because I needed a brake job, surprise!  A $500 repair bill.  Actually, it was higher but he gave me a break (on top of the four brakes 😛 ) because my mother and I were good customers.  $210 was for the brakes, $30 was for the oil change- that meant the rest was for the new axle and bearings on the potholed wheel.  Incidentally, I was an hour late for small group, partly because I stopped to eat on the way.

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Tuesday I found myself in supersized district to sub- a rare occurrence these days as I can find few jobs available there even the mornings of.  And sub I dd- in bilingual kindergarten.  Fortunately there was an assistant with me for both classes- a different one for each class.  The morning had Spanish-speakers who knew very little English.  The assistant ended up running most of the morning.  It was a struggle.  Oddly enough there was a boy who I’m told actually knows English and very little Spanish, yet he was required to do everything in Spanish like the rest of the class!  The afternoon was supposedly Polish-speakers (hence the different assistant) but all of them knew English so I was actually able to take charge of this group.  I felt I accomplished much more with this group.

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Wednesday I had only a half-day in, what do I call it again- next-door district?  It was for middle-school math.  The website said 7th grade, but when I got there I found out it was 8th grade.  Oh well, the system has been wrong before.  It was actually quite easy- most of the classes had tests, though I also went over homework answers.  This teacher actually teaches five different classes out of her six teaching periods- unusual for middle school.  Usually there are no more than three different classes, repeating the same lesson for more than one.  Her one repeated class was in the morning so I only had two different lessons, though I did start the 5th-period class which would have been my third different plan.  She arrived less than ten minutes in and took over.

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Totally forgetting Wednesday when I had that entire afternoon free that there was a dealer in Barrington with two cars, I could kick myself when I realized I had forgotten and would have to fit them in Thursday instead.  This is a small dealer that only has a couple of cars every few weeks.  At least I did remember.  Eventually.  So I started off the morning by going there.  Of course, there had been some more snow Wednesday night so I didn’t get there too early.  I did the cars and was on my way to the next dealer when- 25-min in I realized I still had a set of keys from the first place.  Oops.  I turned around, angry with myself once all over again.  The better part of an hour wasted.  So I finally arrived at the next place, their lot cleared of snow, and found I had another bunch of cars like Monday.  Two of them were too loaded with salt to do (hey, I just used three forms of a homophone/nym!), so I breathed a sigh of relief and headed to the final dealer with a good three hours of light to go, though it would be less by the time I got there.  I finished with some light to spare.  You are probably wondering about Monday right now.  Yes, I did run out of light Monday, but when there is pressure to get things done at the end of the day like that I get all the photos out of the way first before I do the options and print the stickers, which tends to be the bulk of my time spent.

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Friday I had only one dealer in the afternoon so I took a morning job in next-door district (still not sure if that’s the name I gave it).  It was for 3rd/4th grade.  When I arrived, I said who I was there for and was handed a folder for a classroom that turned out to be 1st and 2nd grade.  I looked at the name and it sounded right when I said it to myself, but while I didn’t quite remember the spelling of the name I knew it didn’t look right.  I asked another teacher if this teacher taught 3rd/4th grade last year as sometimes that info doesn’t get updated on the sub system (remember Wednesday).  She thought for a few seconds and then informed me there was another teacher upstairs with almost the same name!  I went back to the office to verify I was in the right class and found out that I was indeed given the wrong folder.  Both teachers were out this morning, probably both for the same meeting I knew at least the one was at.  I went upstairs to let the other sub know we had been duped.  She had almost the same story as me, knowing something wasn’t quite right with the room she was in.  We traded folders and I finally got a chance to look at the right plans.  The morning actually went quite well.  For the afternoon, instead of the usual two or three cars I had nine because for some reason the other photographer either didn’t go there the day before like he usually does, or they didn’t have any ready when he did which would have been strange considering nine were ready this time.  Well, more commission for me I guess- something I will need because of the car repair bill.  Sigh.

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Saturday I was supposed to go cross-country skiing with a few guys from church, but when I called around Friday I couldn’t find anyone who rented skis close by, and the one store that was recommended to me closed at 6PM Friday night, too early for me to go there.  Well, I hope the others had a good time.  Instead, I stayed home to receive that repair-bill shock…

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Well, that was my week.  How was yours?

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…

Friday

Well, that Thursday entry was less than exciting I think.  Hopefully this will be an improvement- 8th grade.  In near-city district.  At the end of the year.  When another job popped up in a different district I was tempted to dump this one for it, but in the end I didn’t have any issues thanks to required worksheets to be filled out while watching a movie.  It was a social studies class, but she also taught one literacy class- I think all teachers teach one class outside their specialty to save on paying for another teacher since the numbers allowed for this.  Obviously, if this would cause the class sizes to be 35+ they would probably pay for an additional teacher.

So I arrived in the morning to handwritten plans, a videotape, a few stacks of papers, and two machines I could play the tape in- one a TV on a cart, the other a projector with a combo DVD player/VCR.  Being the tech person I am, I chose the projector, but first I had to hook everything up.  I plugged the projector and DVD player in and connected them with the supplied A/V cable.  Well, finished connecting- for some reason some connections were already there while others were not- interesting.  I had time to test it out, so I did.  Eww, was that it for volume?  I turned the projector volume to max but then it just sounded bad.  Hmm.  Wait, there is an additional speaker on the bottom of the cart, but how to plug the video into the projector and the audio into the speaker?  The cable was such that it couldn’t be split.  What was this?  A second audio cable!  Only- no.  It had a mini-end to plug the computer (also on the cart) into the speaker, but neither the speaker nor the player had a place to plug in the mini end, but all was not lost- the projector had an audio output and it was a mini- problem solved.  The player went to the projector, the projector to the speaker.  Done.  The only issue I had all day with this setup was the speaker A/C plug kept coming loose, but fortunately not during the video.

So in the end four classes saw the video ( a very unexciting one about Congress), the one literacy class had a quiz and a reading assignment from their books, and the tutorial (study hall) was… very small.  Only a handful of students apparently had tutorial with this teacher.  I caught up on some book-reading during this time.  Then I was done with an off period.  Or not.  The office called me and had me watch over a group of kids in the gym where they had some free-time (it was an LD class, but I saw a few friends from the BD/ED class there as well with another teacher).

So that was my week in review, in five posts.  How was yours? 🙂

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.

From teens to tots

As most of you know I generally sub at any grade level I can in the districts I’m signed up for.  That could mean anywhere from K-8, though my most comfortable levels are around 3rd-7th and during the less lean times I stick to them for the most part.  However, these are not those times and I will pretty much take anything that comes up.  8th grade is actually not uncommon at all for me to take even in the best of times, and neither is 2nd- adding one level to each end of my comfort range.  However, pre-kindergarten is pretty rare.  Not just for me to take, but just to be offered since it is not one of the required grades.  Come to think of it, I don’t think kindergarten is required either but it has pretty much become standard since at least the middle of last century to prepare kids for 1st grade.  Now of course many, many families take advantage of preschool, so it is no surprise that school districts are picking up on this age bracket as well.  I’m not sure just what the requirements are to enroll ones child in public preschool but they are probably simple like “must be able to walk” and “must be toilet trained.”  In some districts they actually have to be considered special-needs kids to qualify, so toilet trained is not necessarily required for these kinds of kids- I can attest to this as assistants regularly change kids of all ages, usually behind closed doors but there was one classroom where they changed an 8th-grade-aged boy right in the classroom with very little in the way to prevent seeing those parts usually covered up, not that any of the kids would have cared anyway since they were all similarly impaired.

But back to normal kids.  Monday I was in an 8th-grade science classroom at the very early district meaning an arrival time of 7:15AM- this coming after I had maybe 4-5 hours of sleep.  Fortunately this lack of sleep always hits one the following day as opposed to the current day, and Tuesday was no exception.  The kids had a video to watch about the first 25 years of NASA.  They talked about the start of our aeronautics exploration back in 1915 with the inception of NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics) though the birth of NASA itself wasn’t until 1958, and continued with the US response to Sputnik, the trips which eventually landed us on the moon, and remote exploration of the planets.  This was a 60-minute video so I didn’t get to see the whole thing, but I suppose it must have ended talking about the three space shuttles up to that 25-year point in time.  There really isn’t much to say about the classes themselves- they were six identical classes.

Tuesday I found myself at the opposite end of the scale, but only at the end of the day- I started as an ELL resource (pull-out) teacher for 1st-5th grade.  In fact, most of my morning was spend with some kids from the very classroom I subbed in a few weeks ago.  We went over some reading, some letter names and sounds, played some games… Pretty enjoyable.  I then went to Wendy’s (baconator- mmm) to grab some lunch and headed to the other school where I would be in preschool.  This was where my lack of sleep two nights before would catch up to me.  I really did nothing much in these two classrooms (half an afternoon in each of two preschool classrooms as a floater) except act as an extra set of eyes.  I had been in one of the rooms a couple of weeks before during ISAT week and that day they started with putting simple puzzles together but today they would start by doing some coloring.  St. Patrick’s day pages of course, this bing March 17th and all.  There was one little girl who smiled at me with a “you don’t see me doing anything wrong” smile the entire way as she headed to the trash, hands behind her back, to throw away here pages because she messed up coloring the first page.  Uh-huh- nice try.  I fished them out and she had to go back to coloring them.  I guess I did get to do something- I got to read a book about some kids trying to catch a leprechaun for his you-know-what.  I tried to give it a bit o’ an Irish lilt as I read the leprechaun’s lines, and other parts of the story.  During their centers time I had to gulp down the rest of my caffeinated water as apparently the caffeine from the Dr. Pepper I had for lunch was very weak and I was in danger of collapsing on a chair.  But I made it.  They were in their centers for an hour before I went to the other room which then finished up their own centers- both rooms have pretty much the same routine, did some singing and listened to another story (read by someone else in the room regrettably), packed up, and went outside to play until their buses arrived.

So how was today?  Maybe I’ll tell later.  Another LD classroom, self-contained, 5th and 6th grades.

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