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April 28, 2003
Learning In Hand: Day 1

This was our first day using the Palm handhelds in class. Good news, nothing was broken, I consider the day a success. Actually, the day went quite smoothly with the exception that the class was just excited and as a result, anytime they moved without the handhelds around (we were very careful when the handhelds were out) they generally moved by jumping, running, skipping, etc. They were just so excited! I had a parent comment that on Friday, their student just wanted the weekend to hurry up so he could go back to school. (Yes! Now that's what I'm talkin' about!)

Here was our day:

Go over general rules like keep the handheld in the center of the desk, only use the stylus on the screen, not that grungy finger, etc.

Using the Palm Emulator and an AverKey Scan converter that displays what is on my computer on the TV, we went over basic Palm skills and what each of the buttons do.

Introduced Grafitti (the symbols used to "write" on the Palm) and we went through the Grafitti tutorial on the Palms as a class. They, of course, picked it up quickly, well at least those with decent fine motor skills, which not all of them do. For an easy reference, I have placed the Grafitti symbols under our cursive alphabet in our room.

We then learned about beaming applications between Palms and we beamed the game Giraffe that is used to practice Grafitti.

We then talked about using the keyboards and recharging our Palms.

In these pictures, they are writing a thank you letter to our principal and technology departments using FreeWrite (It even has a spellchecker.)

So over all, a very good day. Now on to day two.

Class dismissed!

Posted by Christopher at 06:56 PM

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April 25, 2003
The Sims: The Screamin' Expansion Pack

Have you ever played the insanely popular game The Sims? If you haven't, let me just briefly explain the game. You have a Sim or a simulated person that you can control and tell it what to do. You can build their house, try them to get fall in love with other Sims, so on and so forth. Basicly you are trying to keep your Sim happy. This is done by making sure that all of your Sim's needs are being met. The Sim needs food, money, potty breaks, relationship, etc. As the player you try to keep the needs in balance. To a person who has not played the Sims it probably sounds terrifically boring, or at least it did to me. Then a friend got the game and ten hours later I was hooked heading toward Walmart to grab my own copy.

But I digress...

Being a teacher is kind of like playing the Sims. The teacher is the player with (in my case) 25 little Sims running around, with the additional hitch that those 25 Sims don't always (or should I say frequently) do what they are told like their Sim counterparts. So the teacher is basically trying to keep the Sims learning (instead of keeping them happy.) This is done by making sure that all the Sim's needs are being met. The kids need instruction, time to practice, food, potty breaks, relationships, motivation, a good learning enviroment, instruction in the way that he or she is best suited, etc. If the needs aren't kept in balance, then significant learning is very, very difficult to achieve. To make matter worse there are some needs that can't be met by the teacher, only outside forces can control those needs. One variable that a teacher has some control over is motivation. Motivation can make or break a child's learning. It a student is motivated to do something he will go at it with all energy. The unmotivated student has lost the game already.

Today I got a chance to really motivate my students. Today I told them about the handheld computers that we were going to be working with for the rest of the year. Their reaction... well it can only be described as screaming. Ear peircing, high pitched screaming. After the screaming, we had the 1,487,739 questions that had to be answered immediately. I think I got to 127 of those questions. Those kids can't wait to come back to school on Monday. And I can't wait to either. Well after I get over this silly sinus infection. The adventure continues!

Class dismissed!

Posted by Christopher at 10:33 PM

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April 15, 2003
Stuck

Only one screw-up today on my part, well at least big screw-ups. I put a couple of pieces of Easter candy in my pocket and forgot about it. One particular piece of bunny shaped candy, you can never trust those bunnies, decided to implode in my pocket, spilling his peanut butter guts inside my pocket. When I reached into my pocket to grab a pen that I carry to sign something for one of the students, bunny's peanut butter guts came out to. "Free peanut butter with every signature!" I announced. The reception was less then stellar, no takers on the free peanut butter offer.

The test was more difficult today. This session was writing. Students were given a writing prompt and had to start with pre-writing/brainstorming all the way through final draft in an hour, one ten minute break. It wsa painful for several of the kids, and painful for me to listen to their complaining. I really want to share a specific example from the test, but I fear the MAP police and any sharing on my part would be a breech in test security.

One student really needed to use the restroom, I asked if he could wait until the whole class went, he said yes. When we went, all the students were out and the class was waiting on him. This was during the break from our test so I had a schedule to keep. (Yes, the needs of the children matter nothing to the mighty test!) I poked my head in the boy's bathroom and saw his feet under one of the stalls.

"Everything come out okay?" I asked. "Should I call 911?"

"Nope"

"You gonna make it? We kinda need to get back to the room," I hinted.

"Yeah... well... It's really stuck up there..."

"Whoa! Say no more! Come down to the room when you get it unstuck.
_____

1037949119_s04-arthur.jpg

Well, u-- um, can we come up and have a look?


What Monty Python Character are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Class dismissed! Run away!

Posted by Christopher at 06:11 PM

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April 14, 2003
Welcome to Screwsville

What a horrible day. Just the worst day that I have had in a very long time. Of course it would happen on the first day of testing. The day was a series of momments of dumbness that sprang from my onw stupidity. Everything dumb thing that happened to me today was my own fault.

For your comfort, I will list the momments of stupidity in the following, handy numbered list.

1. During my Monday Morning Meeting, I realized that I had left the examiner's manual for the test on my night stand. I was reviewing it the night before. I transformed into Speed demon mode as I raced across town and back.

2. I made a very stupid error in which I will not recount at this time. Let's just say I was almost in tears after I realized what I had done.

3. Another teacher, seeing my sad state and taking pity on me, was kind enough to use a dollar to get a soda out of the machine. I marched down to the machine and didn't see the dollar "changer." Went and gave the money back. She insisted that there was a dollar changer, I insisted that there wasn't, I had just been there for crying out loud! We walked down there and I took a quick glance at the machine and proudly proclaimed, "See! There isn't one!" To which she replied, "It's right there."

4. While recounting all my stupidness to some teachers after school (we were waiting for a meeting to start) one teacher who was half listening to my story of woe said, "Oh, bad day, I guess that is why you have red marker all over your butt... That is what you were saying right? Oh, you didn't know about that one." I decided to change to avoid further humiliation. I transformed into Speed demon mode as I raced across town and back.

5. On the way back, a bird flew into my windshield. Thankfully, nothing on the car is broken.

I did have three good bits of news, again formatted in a numbered list:

1. I was notified that the Board of Education had elected to extend my contract for the next school year.

2. As I was looking at today's session of the communication arts test, all of the skills tested were items that I have covered many many times. So as long as the kids remembered what we have gone over... oh, I'm doomed.

3. I forgot the third one.

This is a cartoon that I am thinking about using in my parent infomation letter about the Palm handhelds.

Class dismissed!

Posted by Christopher at 09:36 PM

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April 08, 2003
Please Vote

If you live in the Rolla, MO area, I want to urge you to vote today.

Take special care to vote yes on the special bond issue that is on the ballot. Remember this will not raise your taxes, it maintain the current tax rate. It will benefit all three of the elementary buildings in the Rolla district, including, getting rid of all temporary buildings, making libraries an acceptable size, improve the kitchens, improve the traffic patterns (this is so needed), and it will put a bathroom on my end of the hall so I don't have to hike my students 10 miles one way, every two hours to water them (it will just be two miles, since I am in the middle of the hall.)

Thank you,

Class dismissed!

Posted by Christopher at 07:08 AM

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April 02, 2003
Heat Wave

Here in Missouri, we hit a bit of a heat wave. Well at least in comparison to the weather that we have gotten used to. Today's high was around 84 degrees F. Of course they don't have the A/C on at school, so I prepared for a hot, sweaty day. But the more I though about it, I didn't want to sweat, so I decided that I was going to keep the room as cool as possible. So today, no computers on unless we needed them, no lights on in the room, windows open as wide as possible for what little breeze was available. We got some odd looks as students and teachers walked passed the darkened room. But I will say that our efforts were not in vain. Our room was cooler. It was around 80 most of the day. Though warm, a welcome change from the cold.
_____

Other fun school news:

Another teacher does Social Studies and Science with my class. Sometimes it can be quite an ordeal keeping late work straight. Sometimes students will try to play me against the other teacher, saying that they already turned it in when they didn't. Today about half the class insisted that they turned an assignment in when the other teacher said they hadn't. They kept whining and whining until I finally took their recess away until it was done.

"I don't know what she did with it, but I turned it in."

It finally got the point where I had to give teacher speech 32 entitled "The World Ain't Fair." They complained more so I whipped out teacher speech 7,648 entitled "Sometimes We Just Have to Do Things When We Don't Want To" followed teacher speech 96,786 "Mr. Wright Is Getting A Little Ticked Because of All Your Complaining, So Just Do What He Has Asked and You Won't Owe Him Recess For the Rest of Your Life." (I very rarely use speech # 96,786. It is the last resort.) That quieted most of the naysayers. So about half my class had no afternoon recess (I VERY rarely take away recess, once in a blue moon), working on the assignment that they didn't turn in. During recess, I double checked with the other teacher to make sure that the list was correct. She said that it was. It was a pretty tough afternoon, but we learned some tough lessons out of it.

That was until the other teacher found me after school carrying a wad of papers. "About those papers that your students said they turned in..."

"Yes..."

"Well..."

"No please, don't tell me..." I sighed.

"Yeah, I found them, they did turn it in. What should we do?"

"Do you know what my afternoon has been like? What I have gone through, how many tears have been shed?"

"I know..."

"No you don't. Well let's just drop it but don't tell them. Most of them have done it twice, they will never let me forget it."

Well at least half of my class should really be ready for the Outer Space questions on the MAP.

Class dismissed!

Posted by Christopher at 09:52 PM

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March 31, 2003
Educational Experts

I recieved my Examiner's Manuals for the MAP tests straight from the educatonal experts at the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE). I have been assigned to read both manuals (Communication Arts and Science are tested in the third grade) so that I will be familiar with testing proceedures. Being a standardized test, the test must be given the same way to each student that doesn't have modifications in their IEP.

My initial reaction: What a mess. Really, the educational experts really need to get their act together. In one section it tells me that I should have students fill out the Student Information Form before the test, in another, absolutely NO MAP materials should be given to students before the test, the list includes the Student Information Form. Contradict much? Yes. In our meeting this morning to go over the materials, we were told that the book was wrong. My goodness.

Here are some tips from the educational experts (I don't think that I am giving away trade secrets):

-Administer the test in the middle of the week (schedule won't allow it)
-Avoid taking the test prior or after holidays, vacation, etc. (thanks to the extra week we can do this one)
-Avoid testing after strenuous physical activity
-Observe timing guidlines (or be jailed!)
-Read oral directions at a moderate, steady pace
-Schedule breaks to maintain an unhurried pace and a relaxed atmosphere. Be sensitive to students' fatigue level and attention span (yeah right!)
-Help students to approaching testing in a relaxed, positive way (*snickers*)
-Blah blah blah blah

Whoops I think I have developed a bit of a bad attitude. My apologies. I hope that I don't fall asleep while reading the Science manual tonight.
____

Palm classroom outlook: 99.5621234%. The equipment was ordered today, but you never know...

The PTO for Wyman pitched in $3000 and some other unspent federal funds were found. Yippee!
_____

Well the birthday for my blog has come and gone and I forgot to do something for it... other than the new addition to the side bar. On This Day lists any entries that were written a year ago. A fun look at the older entries. Easter was this early last year?

Class dismissed!

Posted by Christopher at 07:40 PM

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March 30, 2003
The IEP

Last Wednesday I was involved in an IEP meeting. IEP stands for Individualized Education Program. An IEP is a very important document for children with disabilities and for those who are involved in educating them. Done correctly, the IEP should improve teaching, learning, and results. Each child's IEP describes, among other things, the educational program that has been designed to meet that child's unique needs (source).

I have been involved in several IEP meetings, mostly for students in speech. As the general education teacher I really don't have to be there, but I try my best to be there because I will be responsible for many modifications that are in the IEP. These "small" meetings include the speech teacher, the parent, and me. However this last meeting was not small for several reasons, it involved a change in diagnosis, a change in services, and most importantly a change in schools (he will be moving to a different building that has an ED [emotionally disturbed] room.) The counslor, ED room teacher, speech teacher, EMH teacher (she tested him), myself, and a parent were all squeezed into a tiny little room.

Basically, the test findings were shared and then the revised IEP was basically read to the parent. I guess that would be fine but the IEP is filled with all kinds of technical jargon, that was explained to the parent sparingly. Upon reflection of the meeting, I realized that no one on the team actually said your son will no longer be attending Wyman, he will be going to another building, today will be his last day here. The move was suggested but never directly stated, which makes me feel a little uneasy. There were several things that made me uneasy about the whole situation, the number of people in the meeting (five teachers, one parent) would intimidate me as a parent. It almost as if we were ganging up on the parent. Was all the technical jargon really needed? It certainly didn't help communication, which is one of the things an IEP is supposed to do.

However, through all that, I think that the correct placement was made and I certainly hope that the new enviroment will help my student achieve. I will continue to pray for him and would ask you all to keep him in your prayers.

I am thankful for those special education teachers that are required to keep track of all that paper work. Sure I have to do some but not nearly the amount that they do. Maybe Anna could give us even more insight into the IEP process. :)

Class dismissed!

Posted by Christopher at 07:34 PM

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March 24, 2003
Reminder

During my planning time today, I took a mini field trip. I went to visit one of the homes of one of my students. No one was home but the experience was quite eye opening. The home was an old beaten up trailer fashioned out of some shiney metalic metal (I'm sure that it gets really hot in the summer). The place was a dump yet someone lived here. Not just someone, one of my students. I became sad to think of all the things that this child will have to overcome just to get on a level playing field with the majority of the students in my class. Sadder still, I'm not sure if that will happen. Habits have been set, attitudes, formed. The cycle has already started again and I can't do anything about it. The forces of home are strong whether they are positive or negative.

The only hope is the only hope that the rest of the world has.

Though the trip was uneventful but I'm glad that I went. (We did get an angry call from Dad who thought that I was a Truancy Officer.)
____

I need your help. This year, my church is celebrating its 75th anniversary. We are doing this on three different Sunday, each one focusing on one of the 25 years in our history. The second Sunday celebration is coming up this Sunday. One of my tasks is to create a video of interviews from some church members from that 25 year period. Last time, the song, at Pressed's suggestion that was kinda the theme was "I Went Down to the River To Pray" sung by Alison Kraus from the "O Brother, Where Art Thou" soundtrack. It was really nice and that song went well with that time period and the interviews. I am getting ready to start editing the video for Sunday, but I am really at a loss for song. Do ya'll have any music suggestions for me? It would be nice if it was from that time period (1953 to 1978). Thanks in advance. You guys are great!
____

Did Blogger add pinging rescently, cause the blogger site have been showing up as updated on my blogroll. I can't explain to you how happy that makes me!!!!!

Class dismissed!

Posted by Christopher at 07:21 PM

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March 21, 2003
Revolving Door

My class has been a bit of a revolving door this year. Since the very first class list that I got at the end of the last academic year I have gained 8 new students and lost 4.

Even this week I got a new student and he was here for Monday and Tuesday and then sick for the past couple of days. Today, his little sister came to bring his books back and told me that they were moving again. Another student that I got last quarter (the unmedicated ADHD child) will be moving to another building that has a behavoir disorder room. He has been "sick" the past two days and dad has not appeared for either his parent/teacher confrence or his meeting that was scheduled to discuss the move. That meeting has been rescheduled for Monday and if they don't show up, the team gets to take a feild trip to see dad.

Time seems to be moving at an incredible rate of speed for the past couple of weeks, it seems that the weekend was just the other day. I have decided that the pressure of the state testing is what is making these weeks fly by. There is so much I want to do before testing.

Speaking of testing, we did get a bit of good news at school. They are now pushing testing back one week because of snow days. That gets me extra time to get the class in shape for the test. Whew! I wonder if it will make any difference?

There is still no word of what cuts are going to be made next year. It has been difficult for me to have that looming over my head in addition to all of the events going on in the world and still remained focused durning the school day. I find myself in the teacher's lounge (funny name, there is no one lounging in there) every spare second to watch FOX News to the latest information. Just one more thing to divide me attention. I am thankful that the current events have not affected the students. In fact they haven't talked about it at all, which I suppose is good. I don't think that any of my students are dealing with parents who have been called up to serve our nation, though there are student in the building who have. I can't image teaching at a school that is near a military base or in a school on a base. Those teachers are to be commended. The students in military families must deal with stress of parents being gone and in a hazerdous enviroment. I would imagine that it would be hard to focus on multiplication and adverbs for those kids.

This entry has been a bit of a stream of consciousness. Sorry about that. I guess I just needed to write that. Well anyway. I only have 15 minutes of plan time left so I suppose I better do some planning.

Classed dismissed!

Posted by Christopher at 09:58 AM

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March 17, 2003
Learning In Hand

Now for the good news that I spoke of in the previous entry. I am 95% sure that I will be piloting the Palm program. Each child will have a Palm handheld computer checked out to them for the year. There has been all kinds of really cool educational programs written for the Palm and they are free.

I have all kinds of ideas and all kinds of fears. I have been doing all kinds of research from other teachers and classrooms that have this program. Here are a few sites that I have found interesting:

-Planet 5th Home
-Learning In Hand (Check out Mr. Vincent's Day, a photo essay.)
-Hi-CE's Palm Pages
-Palm's in the Classroom

After testing this year, I will probably get the Palms out this year just to try them out, and get some of the kinks worked out of classroom management in a classroom with handhelds.
___

Now from the e-mail forwards file...

Take this survey as a salary review. (Click open to view.)
___

BTW, we are quickly approaching the 1,000th comment!!!!!!!!!! Who will it be?

Class dismissed!

Posted by Christopher at 09:24 PM

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March 06, 2003
Love and Logic

Last Tuesday we had a Practical Parenting Partnership (PPP) Meeting. We had a presentation for parents on a discipline model called Parenting with Love and Logic. Great stuff that reaches beyond parenting. I would suggest teachers, parents, and even folk who work with other people to look into Love and Logic. Basic concepts of Love and Login stress ownership of problems, natural consequences, empathy, and choices. (You can find links for Love and Logic under Searching For This Week on the left.)

According to the Love and Logic tenats, there are three basic kinds of parents (teachers, etc...) I found this list enlightening. I will share the three types over the next three days.

Type 1: Helicopter Parents
-This parent hovers over children and rescues them from teh hostile world in which they live.
-Provides children of weakness and low personal wealth
-Makes excuses for the child, but complains about mishandled responsibilities
-"Takes on" the responsibility of the child
-Protects the child from any possible negative feelings
-Makes decisions for the child
-Provides no structure, but complains, "After all I've done for you..."
-Whines and uses guilt, "When are you ever going to learn. I will always have to clean up after you."
-Whines and complains about having an irresponsible child who causes "me" so much work and responsibility
-Uses lots of words and actions which rescue or indicate that the child is not capable or responsible
-Protects child from natural consequences, uses guilt as the teacher.

To be continued...

Posted by Christopher at 10:30 PM

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February 27, 2003
Kids Say the Darnedest Things

I haven't actually been in school much actually. Wednesday, we got out of school at 1:00, thankfully we won't have to make up those hours. Today, we were out the whole day.

So to tide myself over until I can actually get back to teaching, two stories from the half of a day that we were in school on Wednesday.

Story One:
Girl Talk

When students come in, in the morning, there is Morning Work on their desk for them to begin working on. However, time before the bell is used for other things like breakfast, going to the bathroom and more importantly talking. During that time before the bell, students can talk to each other or me, kinda of an easy way to ease into the day. Wednesday morning, a few girls were taunting some of the boys.

Girl one to boy one: You can't talk girl talk.

Boy one: Yes I can!

Girl two: Nu uh! You're not a girl you can't talk girl talk.

Girl one: Yeah! Boys can't talk girl talk, well except for Mr. Wright.

Girl two: Yeah he has had girls in his class for TWO WHOLE YEARS!

(At this point I wanted to remind them about the three and a half years of elementary education classes in which the the girl/boy ratio was 25:1, but I resisted.)

Boy one, unphased: I can too!

Girl one: Fine, how do you girl talk?

Boy one, skipping around the room, speaking with his best lisp: Let's go to the mall girls! We need to buy some expensive shoes!!!! Aren't these shoe fabulous!!!

(I personally thought he did a pretty good job.)

Later...

The girls are now asking all the boys as they come into room to do their girl talk.

Boy two: Why?

Girl two: Because we are proving that boys can't talk girl talk.

Girl one: Except Mr. Wright.

Girl two: Cause he has had girls in his room for TWO WHOLE YEARS!

(Again I resist)

Boy two: That's fine, cause you can't talk boy talk.

Girl two: Yes we can!

Boy two: Then do it!

Girl one: Duh! Errr!

(Well it seems as if the girls have the boys down pretty well.)

Story Two:
A Few Questions

After it was announced that we would be dismissing early, half my class began to panic, wanting to call their parents. So I popped in a movie that the class hadn't finished since they had the sub last Friday. (They kept pestering me about it so in order to supervise the phone calling I popped in the movie.) While the movie, The Secret Garden, was playing, Jake, the unmedicated ADHD kid that makes me want to tear my hair out, came up to me and said, "Mr. Wright, I really like this movie, but there are a few questions that I have that I haven't found in the Bible."

Thinking to myself: "Oh great." I really said, "Okay."

"Well how is it that in the beginning there were only two people and then all these other people and how did God die, but how was he born when he didn't have a mother?"

Thinking to myself: "Great, all kinds of forbidden topics wrapped up in one really big, confusing question." Outloud, "Well I don't remember anywhere in the Bible where it says that God died."

"Sure it does on that cross thingy."

Me, "Oh" Thinking: "Oh great, lets add the trinity to this mess."

"Oh, and one other thing." (Notice how he doesn't wait for an answer, just blurted out the next thing on his mind.)

"What's that, Jake?"

"You know that you and I are brothers in that God kinda way."

I say to Jake: "Yes I know." Thinking to myself: "Okay God, I got the message. Boy you sure do love irony, and I promise, it is not lost on me."


BONUS STORY: (Cause I like you guys so much.)
911

While kids were calling their parents, one of the girls needed to know her mother's phone number at work. I looked it up on the information sheets that the parents themselves filled out. The information sheet said that her mom was currently working at Pizza Hut. I dialed the number on the info sheet and handed the phone to her. I reminded her to ask for her mom.

She listens for awhile, says nothing and then hangs up the phone. "That wasn't my mom, Mr. Wright, that was the Rolla Police."

"WHAT! And you just hung up on them?"

"Yeah" (Now it was at this point I should have used this teachable momment to tell her that she should have appologized and to say that she got a wrong number, but I didn't. Remember this, it is important later.)

"Well, go the office and see if they have a different number for your mom's work."

She returns with a different number on a Post-It. I dial the number and hand her the phone.

She listens for awhile, says nothing and then hangs up the phone. "That wasn't my mom, Mr. Wright, that was the Rolla Police."

What can I say, Wednesday was a full day for only being a half day.

Posted by Christopher at 09:00 PM

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February 25, 2003
Mental Note to Parents

To all parents with school age children: Please do not call your child's teacher at their home after 10 pm. Really, it can wait. Promise.
___

In other news, while I was on the phone, I added some more clickable smilies to the comments.
___

Mental note to self: Make phone number unlisted.

Mr. Wright, (needs to be) out!

Posted by Christopher at 10:04 PM

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February 23, 2003
Snow, Snow Over the Whole Land

Snow, snow over the whole land
across all boundaries.
The candle burned on the table,
the candle burned.

ATTRIBUTION: Boris Pasternak (1890–1960), Russian poet, novelist, translator. "Winter Night," st. 1, Doctor Zhivago: the Poems (1958), trans. by Richard McKane (1985).

I am offically tired of snow. And not the snow so much but the drastic changes in weather, Friday night was very pleasant, a nice temperature, today Nanook of the North couldn't survive outside for a half hour.

Snow will cause me to miss another day of school. Grrrr. This will be day number five that I have not been in the classroom.
___

Pressed claims that folks are looking for pictures of me on his site. Don't bother looking, I have one here for you.

mrwright.jpg

Link found via lily of the valley.

Well, the pic is an approximation.
___

Well I can't say that this suprised me much.

From the article:
"The guitarist said P.O.D. is not as righteous as their reputation."

That didn't surprise me much either.
___

Quotes of the day:

-What has been hidden by snow is revealed by a thaw.
Swedish proverb (I am hoping Rolla will be revealed by the thaw.)

-Each should sweep the snow from before his own door and not worry about the frost on his neighbor's roof.
Chinese proverb. (Don't worry, I'm not getting on nobody's roof so you can stop worrying about it.)

Mr. Wright, out (of town, still)!

Posted by Christopher at 10:10 PM

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February 22, 2003
Interface

I have safely returned from my conference at Tan-Tar-A (pronounced tan tear a). Some of the sessions were good, others were not so good. I will be a tad more detailed in the future but I would like to share some interesting facts and observations that I took away from the conference.

-When naming the rooms in a large resort, name them something that will help a person find the room in a short period of time (for example, between sessions). Instead of giving a name like Drawing Room Terrace A, you could name it the Room Deep Within the Bowels of the Resort Center that is Well Hidden So You Can't Find It. That will give the indication that it is alright for a person to give up looking for the room.

-When you finally do get to Drawing Room Terrace A and in the middle of the session the fire alarm starts sounding, DO NOT do the sensible thing and follow the exit signs. If you do you will enter a labrinth that will take you even deeper into the bowels of the center leaving you in a parking garage on the other side of the lake, causing you to hike back to the resort center (which is not on fire) approximately 5 miles.

-Why is it I never get the door prizes that I want, just the CD with corn vocabulary word powerpoint on it?

-Got a cool recipe that you should try out from one of my sessions.

Earthworm Pizza

Take quite a few earthworms and draw them across an exactoknife. Clean out all the junk inside and then wash the gutted worms. Boil the worms in garlic flavored water for a few minutes and then spread on pizza of your choice. Bake and enjoy!

The lady that had tried the recipe had actully made and tried this and enjoyed it.

-I always sign up for the sessions that have to do with integrating literature into other subjects and I am always disappointed because I already own all the books that they are recommending. That means two things: 1) My mom gave me a bunch of cool books and 2) SBU did a good job in preparing me in this respect.

-Go with a couple of people that you know to these kind of things next time. It's not the going to the sessions that got me so much but the eating at the huge tables set for ten people by myself that was a little annoying.

-I discovered the SmarterKids Foundation that gives grants to schools in the amount of 20-70% of the cost of a Smartboard and projector. I would really really like to have one of these setups in my classroom. So much so that I once considered putting a donate button on this site with all donations going to getting a teaching station like this for my classroom, but ultimately decided against it. I will see if my principal is interested in looking into this.

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 11:11 PM

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February 18, 2003
Sub

I went to fill up my nearly empty gas tank on my car and this is what I saw...

Thanks to Evette for the pic.
___

That was just a little fun before the actual entry begins.

Many times I think that itis easier to just be at school than to come up with plans for a sub to do, especially if it is a sub that you don't know. On Thursday through Saturday I will be at a educational conference called Interface. Interface is a conference focuses on new and interesting methods in teaching science and math. Specifically I will be attending such interesting sessions like: Worms in the Classroom, Have You Read Any Good Books?, Razzle Dazzle Math, Problem Solving Pizzazz, Technology Quest, An A'maize'ing Plant - Corn, Songs and Stories for Math and Science, Have Fun and Get it All Done, Seasonal and Thematic Center Ideas, Make Math a Barrel of Monkeys.

Of course while I am gone, life does not stop. So I made some plans up after school today. Below are the plans for Thursday. A few notes, normally, I do quite a bit more in a day. Also, I don't normally write it down in a narrative form like this. ## signs are deleted names or other information that does not really need to be published on the Internet.

Thursday, February 20, 2003

Hello and welcome to Mr. Wright’s class.

-Turn on the computers at the back of the room. Username: ### Password: ###

-Morning work is on their desks, after moving their magnets on the lunch count; they should begin working on morning work.

-After the pledge, you may take attendance with the lunch chart or by calling attendance. Remind students of their jobs for the day (behind the desk labeled “Hoppy Helpers,” I have changed them from yesterday so you do not need to do this) and have the attendance helper take the attendance to the office.

-After the pledge, ### and ### will leave for reading. ### will leave for QUEST at around 8:45.

-8:30: English Review. Page 125 in English books. Do sections 6-10, problems 30-60. They WILL need to write sentences on sections 7, 8, 9. Go over directions for each subject. They can work alone and quietly on the assignment.

-When ### and ### return from reading, ###, ###, ###, ###, and ### will all leave to go to Math class. You shouldn’t need to remind them of this.

-9:20: Have students get library books and AR folders out, line up for specials.

-9:25: Specials, Library.

-9:55: Pick them up from Library, take them back to the classroom to drop-off books and then line up again to use restroom and drinks.

-10:15ish: A video for the Book Fair should be coming around check with ###. Show the video.

-After video: Have person #3 from each table to get reading books from the back of the room for their table. Have students read, popcorn style calling on students to read one or two paragraphs at a time, to read the remainder of the story. Feel free to ask question in the margin of the teacher’s manual to encourage discussion. When the story is completed, have students, answer questions 1-5 on a piece of paper, using complete sentences. Also, tell them to use examples (quote or paraphrase) from the text of the story to completely answer the questions. As they finish have students return books back to shelf.

-11:20ish: Line up to use bathrooms. All students MUST wash their hands with soap for lunch.

-After most have finished with reading: In Math books pg. 188 and 189, do problems 1-3 on the overhead as an example. Students should complete problems 5-19 on paper to be turned in. You may choose to assign the rest as needed.

-11:40ish: Line up for lunch, they may need coats if they are going out to recess.

-After lunch and recess: pick up from recess, bathroom and drinks. Take them back to class and have them clear off their desks for Miss ###. Change with Miss ### when she is ready. With Miss ###'s Class: Pass out Math workbooks that are at the back of the class. Turn to page 71, Subtracting Money. Do problems 1-4 on the overhead with them, have a student guide you through the process (start in the ones, if needed regroup, then tens, etc.) Emphasize that the dots (decimal points) MUST be aligned or it will be wrong. The answer MUST have a dollar sign, dot in the correct place and regrouping marks if need to be correct. They should do numbers 5-22 (13-18 should be rewritten on another piece of paper) in their book. This class will need lots of extra support. Pay careful attention to ###, ###, ###, ###, and ###.
### and ### will leave for Mrs. ### at 1:00.

-1:30: Be ready to switch back with Miss ###.

-When you get back in the room, ### and ### will go to Mrs. ###.

-Pass out Scholastic News (on desk). Read together the monkey article. Have students silently read the rest of the issue. They should complete the back of the Scholastic News. DO NOT TURN IN.

-2:00: Afternoon recess, no duty.

-2:15: Pick-up students from recess and use restroom and get drinks. Have students pick up milk on the way back from the bathrooms. ### and ### will go back to Mrs. ###.

-2:25ish: You will not be doing Agenda. (The kids will ask about this.) Begin AR. Students who are on target (75%) can move around the room to read. If they are not reading them must go back to their seats. They may take tests on the computer by signing up on the board or go to the Library (only 3 at a time). They know how all this works.

-3:05ish: Students return to seats to clean up and get ready to leave. First bell, early bus. Car riders. Second bell late bus. I have bus room duty today.

-Shut down computers before you leave.

Discipline:
-Students are in table groups; numbers are hanging above each table.
-If a whole table is working well and being responsible third graders they can get points on the board with tally marks.
-If one individual is being not responsible they need to put their name on the not responsible then they owe 12 laps a check in 18 laps two checks is 23 laps and letter. Please leave a note with any discipline problems!
-If you need the class to get quite try clapping three times.
-I told the class that they can earn up to two party points (little sweethearts, perfect) on your recommendation or loose up to two party points (I’m never coming back to this class again.) based on behavior. Please make a recommendation on how many points need to be added or taken away. This is a big deal so they will probably ask. Party Points : ________
-Reliable students: ### and ###
-Students to watch: ### is unmediated ADHD and will very likely do little work. If he doesn’t get stressed out he will be pretty quite otherwise he will be pretty disruptive. Kids like to nick pick him, try to discourage them. In the morning, if he is out of control, send him to Nurse ### to have a cup of coffee. ### and ### like to constantly talk. ### and ### should not be together in line (at least five people apart) at any time.

Hope you have a great day.

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 08:09 PM

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February 16, 2003
Not One Poop Out of You Madam!

Another weekend wasted away. This one worst than most. There wasn't even church today due to the layer of ice that was plopped down in our laps.

Good news! Even though several school districts in the area will not be having school, we will, which make me very happy. So far we have been able to preserve our spring break, and I would like to keep it that way!

Last Friday, we had a meeting about how written responses would be evaluated on the Missouri Assessment Program. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to go because it was quite eyeopening, and very frustrating. So frustrating that I was pretty angry about the whole ordeal by the time I left. I tried not to blame the lady that was going over the information with me, don't want to kill the messenger, but it was very difficult.

Here is an example of a prompt that was given to my students. Describe one picture from the story that you just read and and use specific details and/or examples from the story that explain how that picture helped them understand the story better.

Let's pick apart this prompt, and please remember that this is for a 3rd grader.

1) The student must pick one picture from the story.
2) The student then needs to actually describe the picture. To get full points the student must describe the picture without using descriptions from the text. (Please note that this is not mentioned in the prompt.)
3)The student must then give examples and details which in MAP speak means the student either needs to directly quote the text or very closely paraphrase it. If the student does not, it is considered a generalization. (The prompt mentions none of this.)
4) The student should then notice that examples and details are plural. The need to give more than one. However, to get all the points, the students has to some how divine that three details or examples will be needed. (At this point I shouldn't be surprised that this requirement is not in the prompt either.)
5) They then have to compose an answer for the prompt keeping all these thing in mind (well not really in mind because they don't know about half the requirements).

I was pretty upset because many of my students were giving some wonderful answers using such reading skills as predicting, summarizing, and inferring, but since they were not taken directly from the text, they were not counted. Never mind that predicting, summarizing, and inferring are considered to be higher levels of thinking!

I felt like the test is set up in a way that does not 1) breed success or 2) confidence.

So now over the next couple weeks I will be taking precious time away from teaching content and spend time teaching MAP taking skills, skills that will NEVER be used ANYWHERE else. Makes sense right? Let's get rid of this test and do something more productive with our resources, for cryin' out loud!

Mr. Wright, out!

P.S. Extra points for those who can name the TV/Stage show that the title for this entry came from.

Posted by Christopher at 10:10 PM

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February 13, 2003
Tough Week

Ths week has just been tough. A day off of school, some unexpected lesson developments, unexpected meetings, unexpected date changes concerning state testing and today it was the kid's turn to just go crazy. That combined with my lack of patients today, made the day a battle of wills. Three kids ended up in tears (caught two cheating on tests and one could not understand that hitting someone is not appropriate response to being called a nerd) and I would have ended up in the fetal position in the back of the classroom if another student tattled on someone else.

It also seems that I am not the best teacher to deal with children who have ADHD (attention deficiet hyperactive disorder) that is not being treated. I take that back his father told me that they treat his "ADHA" with a cup of coffee in the morning at home. He also told me that they don't usually remember to give him the coffee and when that happens I need to give him a cup of coffee with creamer and two spoonfulls of sugar. EXCUSE ME? Needless to say, this new student has been "challenge," (I think that is the nice way of putting it.) one that I have not been too successfull with.

And tomorrow is Valentine's Day. Joy. On the bright side, it is the last party of the year!

Today's quote of the day: (for some reason this is a common overgeneralization with pural noun test among students:

"Have you graded the testies yet?"

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 08:10 PM

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February 12, 2003
Another Good Day

You know it's going to be a good day when while you are working in your room before school and in walks a sub and says, "I'm here!"

Confused I reply, "That's great! Now why are you here." Turns out I had a meeting at the administration office that no one told me about. I imporvised some easy plans and headed out the door.

You know it's really going to be a good day when at said meeting, you were suprised with the info that your your building and only your building has been "randomly selected" to take the state standardized tests early! This would be like being on a game show and winning the opportunity to stick ten toothpicks in one of your eyeballs. Now we have one week to review for testing after spring break instead of two. *BANG*
___

Buffy fans, not sure if you know but the First Evil has its own blog. Keep up on its latest plans to kill off the slayer line.

Mr. Wright, out.

Posted by Christopher at 10:14 PM

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February 08, 2003
The Palm Rollar Coaster

The saga of the Palm computer classroom has been vomit inducing. The ups and down have been dramatic and quick. To help illustrate, WIT presents a timeline of the events leading up to now.

  • Day 1: My principal comes back from a conference about using Palm handheld computers in the classroom. She is very excited about the idea and has signed up to be a pilot school in the program.
  • Days 2-9: These days are being refered to the Dark days. Not much was said becasue we were waiting to see if we would be accepted to the program.
  • Day 10: We are notified that we have be accepted to the program. All is right with the world, we are planning outfitting at least two possible three classrooms with the handhelds. I would be teaching one of those rooms.
  • Day 11: Our principal calls SuccessLink (the folks starting the program) to see about how much money they were giving the choosen school districts. Their responce: "We want you to pilot the program but we aren't giving you any money to do it." The idea is quickly put in the "Who Knows" pile.
  • Day 12: Principal is excited again. She will find the money!
  • Day 13: We get the full details about the budget cuts and laugh at ourselves for even thinking we could do that.
  • Day 14: Title monies are found to be used for technology. We check in to seeing if those monies could be used for this project. A glimmer of hope.
  • Day 15: Only $3,000 in the title monies, the idea of only doing one class is offered, I of course am the low man on the totem pole and realize it won't be my classroom.
  • The way it stands as of last Friday, they are going to buy half the equipment this year, pray that they can find money next year to finish it up. They will only do one class. Amazingly I have been chosen.
  • I refuse to get my hopes up because When I get there Monday, they will have desiced to spend the money on a computer lab. *SIGH*

And so the rollar coater spins us around...

BTW, the dates are totally made up. They are there to illustrate a point.

Mr. Wright, (feelin' a little queezy on the vomit comet) out!

Posted by Christopher at 10:59 AM

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February 06, 2003
A Good Day

You know its not going to be a good day when the first thing that one of your students says to you is, "Mr. Wright, why are we here on Saturday?"

And thus began my day.

That was quickly followed up by a memo from our principal concerning the budget cuts. Hilights include: any classroom (the $342 that I blogged about earlier) moneys left over cannot be used at all. Lost that. Staff that leave after this year may not be replaced. Classes sizes will go up next year (umm, I'm going to need some more furniture). All field trips are cancelled (which is too bad because we had some really nice educational field trips that would have provided some really cool first hand experiences). Summer school will drastically change, and not for the better. Now please understand, I am not complaining, it is just that these cuts make me a little nervous, so this issue is on my mind so that is what I blog about. One good thing, the administration has said that their top priority is maintaining personnel and the promised salaries. That was a little relaxing.
___

Speaking of budgets, it looks like Harry is going to break mine.
___

Now from the "Don't Read This Book To Your Kindergarten" File, May I present some sections from Don't Hurt Me, Mama. (Yes this is a real children's book.)

-"Before we moved, Mama and I used to go to church... But after Daddy left, we didn't go out anymore."

-"Mama couldn't find a job. And sometimes she drank too much. Then she got mean and hit me, even when I wasn't bad."

-"'I'm hungry Momma,' I said. 'Get your own breakfast,' she answered. But when I tried to pour the milk, it spilled all over. 'You can't do anything right,' she yelled, 'just like your good-for-nothing father, wherever he is.'"

It does end happily, but this is probably not a good bedtime book. Sad huh?
___

On a funnier note, some more reading from the teacher's lounge. Not sure on its validity.

The following is an answering machine message for the Pacific Palisades High School in California. The school and teachers were being sued by parents who wanted their children's failing grades changed to passing grades even though their children were absent 15-30 times during the semester and did not complete enough school work to pass their classes.

This was voted unanimously by the office staff as the actual answering matching message for the school:

"Hello! You have reached the automated answering service of your school. In order to assist you in connecting to the right staff member, please listen to all your options before making a selection:

To lie about why your child is absent, press 1.

To make excuses for why your child did not do his work, press 2.

To complain about what we do, press 3.

To swear at staff members, press 4.

To ask why you didn't get information that was already enclosed in your newsletter and several flyers mailed to you, press 5.

If you want us to raise your child, press 6.

If you want to reach out and touch, slap or hit someone, press 7.

To request another teacher for the third time this year, press 8.

To complain about bus transportation, press 9.

To complain about school lunches, press 0.

It you realize this is the real world and your child must be accoutable/responsible for his/her own behavior, class work, homework, and that its not the teacher's fault for your child(ren)'s lack of effort, hang up and have a nice day!"

Have a good day!

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 08:17 PM

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February 03, 2003
There Goes the Paragraph

Well, my kids are unclear on how to make a paragraph. Not what a paragraph is, but how to physically make it. It's not from my lack of explaining it. EVERY single time we write, I remind them to indent at the beginning of a paragraph. I've said two to three finger spaces, I've used other words other than indent, I've done everything I can think of. I had no clue why they were doing this.

That was until now. While going over some of the research papers, I finally figured out what they are doing. The most common thing that I am seeing is when there is a new paragraph they are not indenting but they are skipping a line. So I thought to myself, "SELF! Why would a good number of my students be making the same EXACT formatting problem?" Then it hit me. In my weekly newsletter home and in probably in every other peice of correspondence that I have sent home I have not indented and added a blank line to signify a new paragraph. All the research that they got off the internet, same formatting. They are just doing what they see. This type of formatting is not wrong but it is not what is wanted on our tests. It seems as if I have been shooting myself in the foot. I guess it is time to change my ways.
___

In other school related news...

I recently posted about the possibility of piloting a program in which each child will get a Palm handheld device. My principal recently got an e-mail asking for principals and teachers to meet and talk about the program. My principal said that she would like to start with a third grade class and a fourth grade class in the building. So she would like me and a fourth grade teacher to go to the meeting. It looks like it is closer to becoming a reality.
___

And now some more fun facts...

-If you yelled for 8 years, 7 months and 6 days, you will have produced enough sound energy to heat one cup of coffee.

-It is impossible to lick your elbow.

-Twenty years make up a vicennial period.

-67.5% of men wear briefs instead of boxers.

-Every day, the average person swallows about a quart of snot.

-Obsessive nose picking is referred to as rhinotillexomania.

-Over 75% of people who read this will try to lick their elbow.

-47% of the quarter complete.

Did you try and lick your elbow? Tell me about it in the comments.

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 09:49 PM

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February 02, 2003
Mr. Wright's Class and the Oobleck

On Friday, Mr. Wright's class took a little break from the normal hum drum of the academic day, though we were still learning. In science, they are talking about the different states of matter, so we whipped up a batch of oobleck.

Oobleck is a non-Neutonian (big word!) fluid. This means that when a small amount of force is used, it acts like a liquid, but when more force is applied, it acts like a solid. For instance, one can slowly put a spoon in Oobleck, but it is impossible to stir it quickly. Another fun activity (though potentially messy!) is to pour a little Oobleck in the palm of your hand and watch it puddle like a liquid. Now make a fist and quickly open your hand. The Oobleck will have formed a hard ball from the pressure of your fist; but when the pressure is release, it will seem to "melt" into a liquid again.

The ingredients and proportions to make oobleck are 1 box of cornstarch, 1 2/3 cups of water and 4 drops of green food coloring.

Enjoy a few pictures of our fun...

oobleckhands.jpg

goop.jpg

holding.jpg

slop.jpg

As the kids got finished play around I asked them to scrap exess oobleck off into the blow, take a paper towel and head down to the restroom to wash their hands. On student decided to not listen to me and instead of scrapping he decided to shake it off, causing a glop of oobleck to fly through the air and land on the forehead of one of his table parnters. I admit it, I laughed, I laughed hard. Thankfully she is well adjusted and thought it was funny as the rest of the class did. I got a picture of it and hope to post it on www.mrwrightsclass.com.

The activity was fun and a nice rest from all of our report writing.

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 09:45 PM

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January 29, 2003
Tighten That Belt

Well the financial situation for the education system here in Missouri is only getting worse. Sure, we knew that cuts to our budget were going to be steep next year, but I wasn't expecting that they would touch this year's budget. I was wrong. Gov. Holden is now threatening to cut the budget for this year. Unless (there always is) the legislature decides to sell bonds against the tobacco settlement, money we don't have, he plans to cut $360 million dollars from public education. How does that translate? Four million loss for the Springfield Schools, 20 million for St. Louis Schools, and a little under a million for my own school district. I have heard (not from an official source) that one district would be in such bad shape that they would end school one month early to shore up funds, leaving teacher without a paycheck for a month.

There must be some other ways to reduce spending. How about the state doesn't fund the MAP (Missouri Assessment Program) this year. That would free up all kinds of money. We also have a program in Missouri called career ladder which pays teachers for time that they spend outside of the school day in student contact. This would hit the pockets of many teachers but at least schools wouldn't be without salary for one month. I must confess, it is easy for me to make this suggestion because you have to be teaching for at least five years before you can benefit from this program. This being my second, I don't qualify.

I fear that Poo Poo Monster Face Holden is holding the money hostage in order to get the legislature pass legislation that he wants. Educations is just going to get caught in the middle. Great! Well at least we have the welfare of our children at the forefront of our concerns.

Want to know more?

- STL Today

- Kansas City Star

- Jefferson City New Tribune

- KSPR

Mr. Wright, out!

The following is an article from the Rolla Daily News about the budget cuts:

Rolla schools could lose $1.2 million if governor makes threatened budget cuts

Rolla Public Schools would lose about $1.2 million from its current budget if Gov. Bob Holden follows through on his threat to cut $259 million from public schools.

Dr. Terry Adams, superintendent of schools in Rolla, said district administrators are preparing plans to make "significant" cuts if that state money is removed from the budget.

Dr. Adams and district finance director Vicki Gorman are in the beginning stages of that planning and Friday he said it is too early to identify specific areas that might be scaled back or cut.

Last week Holden announced that in order to balance the state budget, as required by the Constitution, he wants to sell bonds against the state's tobacco settlement funds. He outlined his plan at last Tuesday's Missouri School Boards Association-sponsored meeting in Jefferson City.

Holden warned the Republican-controlled Legislature that he would be forced to slash spending on public education if lawmakers don't approve his latest plan.

Having spoken to state senators and representatives, Dr. Adams said he's not been able to discern how legislators will decide on the governor's plan. "It would be anyone's guess at this time," he said.

The proposed cuts would amount to about 11 percent of the money allocated under the state's basic school funding formula. School districts also would lose a portion of their state aid for transportation, remedial reading and so-called gifted students.

Gorman said being this far into the school year would make it difficult to cope with cuts of the magnitude proposed.

Moreover, Dr. Adams said the budget for the upcoming fiscal year was, until just recently, being built with the anticipation of state funding growth totaling about $1.4 million.

"It just appears that's not going to be there," he said Friday of that expected funding growth.

Being forced to cut $1.2 million from this year's budget combined with the $1.4 million shortfall in next year's would be "devestating," Dr. Adams said.

"It won't be good. It's a matter of choices and they're not choices we'd want to make," he said.

Posted by Christopher at 10:18 PM

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January 27, 2003
These Preztels Are Making Me Thirsty

Not many posts here lately. It is not because I haven't had time, I've had plenty of time what with cancelled school because of snow and cold weather. I just haven't had anything to blog about, or at least anything that I thought I could add something new of value, though I have been following the events and issues that have been storming through the blogosphere.

Aside from all that, here are some things that have been going on:

-Each classroom is given a budget of $400 a year. We recently got notice that we need to use that money, if there was any left, before March 1 or loose the money. I went to the office to see how much I had left, I honestly didn't know how much there would be. Evidently I have been very economical because I have $342 left. So I brought home some educational catalogs. The office staff encouraged to spend the money, so I will.

-My class in currently in the middle of a research project. I had planned that we would spend one week of intensive work on this project and then move on. With all the days that we missed last week, this thing is turning into a two week project. I have made the whole process as simple and a step-by-step as it can be but it is still difficult for many kids. I have been using a teaching method called Power Writing, which is basically new way to describe main idea and details. The kids love the research part, but the writing in not as fun. I have been trying to make them understand the importance of not copying another person's work. It has been an interesting time.

-We also have been diligently working on our multiplication facts. I am trying to drill in to their head the importance of memorizing the facts. Some folk think that you shouldn't force kids to memorize the facts, but it just makes school so much easier. Something that I am now only realizing. No I didn't memorize the facts in grade school, if I had, I would have been stronger in math that I was.

-Cursive. Ugh. Probably what I was dreading the most about third grade is teaching cursive. I was recently reminded (like today) of how difficult the capital t is to make.

-Super Bowl - Yawn. Playing Halo on several linked X-Boxes - Who hoo! AND Michael brought a package of Coffee n' Creme Double Stuff Oreo.

-Special thanks to Ganns for the kind mention on Mere Maddness.

-Just got finished watching the Alias that aired after the Super Bowl post-game quite simple rocked my world, it filled the hole left by the abscence of 24 last week.

-60% of the school year complete.

And that's how the world looks from my side of the big desk.

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 07:40 PM

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January 23, 2003
My Portrait

Wouldn't be wonderful to know how other people veiwed you? This past week I have had that chance. As a project in art this week, my class drew portraits. The subject? Me. I was a little frightened of what I would see, but I must say I was very impressed with the results. For the project, I was asked to stick around for about three minutes so the students could observe me... I should think that they are quite tired of looking at me, but in the interest of art, I did. Our wonderful art teacher then asked me if I could be any place in the world where would it be. That place would be the setting of the portrait. The first thing that came to my mind was on a roller coaster and then my mind went totally blank. So I told them a roller coaster. The art teacher then gave me this look that seemed to say, "Are you out of your mind! A roller coaster! How are we supposed to draw that! You are absolutely insane and you have just made my life fifty times harder than it really needs to be. Now get out of my room." What she really said was, "What an interesting chanllenge, Mr. Wright. Thanks for sticking around." She asked. *Sigh*

Here now, a few samples of the results along with my comments and thoughts. Click on the link to veiw the picture. (Note: The portraits are 640x480, so they are a bit large, but the detail is lost when they are made smaller.)

In our first set, pay careful attention to the picture on the right. You will notice that the roller coaster that I am on is actually on fire. In the portrait on the left, please note the faceless ghosts on the coaster with me. Spooky! (The student, asked me if I was scared. I, of course said yes.)

In the picture on the left is actually a pretty accurate depiction of what I would look like after the Ebola virus killed me.

Have you ever wondered what your third grade teacher would look like with his or her arm growing out of his/her ear? Wonder no more. The result would look strikingly similiar to the portrait on the left. I hope you can see the detail.

I'm looking kinda buff in the portrait on the left. Wait! Is that lip stick I'm wearing? No that's just my ruby red lips! On the right, you might notice that my fractured left arm have never completely healed.

And finally, on the left, I have no legs or feet, nothing for the torso down. On the right, I would like it noted that I have NEVER had blue hair and my ears only turn that color of red when I am upset. More of those ghostly coaster riders again.

Like I said, I was very impressed with how they did. It was not an easy task. I'm not for sure what it meant, but the art teacher said later that it appeared that the kids all pictured my as a boy. I'm not for sure if she meant that they think of me younger than I am or what, but it made me think... hmmm... I'm still thinking.

Mr. Wright, (I don't own any brown shirts that say "Tuff") out!

Posted by Christopher at 01:23 AM

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January 10, 2003
She's Gonna Blow!

Weak stomachs should skip this section of the entry.

Well it finally happened. I have been teaching for one and a half years and it has finally happened, the thing that I have been dreading. It all started when one of my students called across the room, "Mr. Wright! Susan* is throwing up."

Now I need to bring some folks up to speed about something. I have dubbed myself a sympathetic puker. My saying is, "If I see it, hear it, or smell it, I will be joining the party." This is the reason I have been dreading the first puker in my class.

Fabulous! I turn around thinking that Susan* will be standing over the trash can, but instead I see Susan* sitting in her chair, bent over, vomit coming out of her mouth. Evidently, Susan's* plan was to try and contain all of the vomit in her hands. A plan which failed and covered her hands in the yucky stuff.

"Susan*, go get the trash can and get down to the nurse."

Susan* stood up and when she did, the spew that had collected in her shirt plopped on the floor. By this point I was having trouble containing composure.

"Alright! Who wants extra recess?"

I am going to force my kids into becoming bulimic to get extra recess. *Sigh*

Outside, I took out the cell phone in my pocket, called the office (that was an interesting conversation, trying to explain why I was calling in on an outside line) and asked them to get someone into the room to clean up the mess. I'm not qualified to do it. Actually, I would have doubled the mess, if I had attempted to clean it up. I'm still feeling a little queezy.
___

In the super cool news department:

My principal came into my classroom the other day. She said she just got back from a technology conference and saw a program that gave each child a handheld Palm to have for the year. The thinking is that children need to be able to use technology, but computer are so expensive to purchase, you could get a palm-top device for a fraction of the price. She said that she wanted to pilot the program in her school and she wanted to talk to me and a few other teachers about the idea. That would be so cool to get to pilot a program like that! This is just in the idea stage, so nothing is firm, I'm sure that there are all kinds of hoops that we would have to jump through just to be able to pilot the program... but I can dream.

Here is an internet site about the program, along with video of actual classrooms using the program.
___

Fun Facts:

-Length of a day on Earth: 24 hours.

-Length of a day on Pluto: 153 hours.

-55% of school year complete.

Mr. Wright, out!

*Name changed.

Posted by Christopher at 08:05 PM

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January 06, 2003
Back to Work

Well I am back to work. I am very thankful for the winter break, not many people get that kind of break for the holidays.

I was very thankful that my real kids have returned to school not the monsters that left for Christmas break. It always amazes me the affect that Christmas has on kids. I actually thought that the day would be slow and laborious, but it actually went by very fast. It was a good day.

Two odd stories from today:

I had a student come up to me, looking like he was in pain, holding his crotch. "Mr. Wright, Mr. Wright! I hurt my ankle!" Then before I thought about it I said, "That's not your ankle." He doubled over in laughter. I probably shouldn't have done that.

This story uses inviso-text to edit this story. Highlite to reveal, if you want to, but be warned. I was standing behind a few male students, they didn't know that I was there.. They were looking at one of the many snowmen that I recieved as gifts. One of the students reached out to the snowman and said, "I wanna grab your titties." I let him know that I was there and gave him the look of death (patent pending). At the very least, he will be more careful in the future. I wonder where he heard that? Give you three guesses and the first two don't count. Made me a little upset.

After a month of trying I have finally got Gallery working for my church site. Take a look!

India trip update! Those of you who are familiar with our little family of blogs are probably aware that Michael and Stuart are currently on a mission trip in India. After a some initial delays they safely got to India. They have had to deal with some issues. The temperature in India is much much cooler than normal, leaving some of the team members without coats in a bit of a lerch. One group was going to show a video, however the video projector broke. This was the only kind of evangelism that they were allowed to do in this area. I heard the other day that a member of the team bought about $1,000 worth of equipment so that the video could be shown. Cool stuff! Also in the cool stuff catagory, church members have been diligently praying for the the teams health, at last report none of the team members had become sick, which is quite unusual, but not unusual when you serve a big God.

A final note today for Star Wars fans. Love Star Wars: A New Hope but don't have time to watch that loooong movie? Then try Star Dudes, A New Hope in under five minutes!! Note: This is a Flash movie and will require the appropriate software. It will take awhile to download.

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 07:08 PM

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December 18, 2002
Ma! Run and Get in the Cellar!

Snow last week, this week 65 degrees and a huge rainstorm along with a tornado warning. Happy, happy, joy, joy! It is about 10:16 and the sky is still an spooky gray color. At least it is not tinted green.

I have some very jittery kids in my class this morning and the constant thunder is not helping the situation at all. Well at least I had only had three crying.

Mr. Wright, out!

UPDATE: The skies have almost returned to normal and a funnel cloud has NOT ripped through our school. Whew! Another crisis averted. A few of my kids thought that they were goners though, but all 24 (one is not here today) of them survived the day.

[The following paragraph may not be for all readers.]
I've been feeling ill today. I think it is something that I ate. I wasn't even sure if I was going to make it to school. I am still feeling pretty awful. It kinda feels as if a heard of moose paraded through my stomach, deficated, and left huge piles of steaming dung there to rot. I can't stand up without feeling queezy. So I have been trying to find ways that I can spend my day sitting. It has not been fun. Right now I am thankful for the rolly chair. This of course puts into question whether I will be able to go to church tonight. At this point I am not going to make it. Pressed will not be pleased. *Sigh*

Posted by Christopher at 10:12 AM

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December 14, 2002
We Need a Sedative STAT!

Whew, what a week this has been.

For starters, the kids have been totally crazy. Just off the wall. My normally sedate class was evidently kidknapped by aliens and replaced with this unruley crew, I want my polite (most of the time) class back. When a child gets in trouble they have to put their name on the Not Responsible list. That means 6 laps at recess, each check adds 6 laps, the third check (which I got to this week, first time this year) includes writing a letter to mom and dad explaining why they are trouble, a written plan to correct the behavior, and an all expense paid visit with the principal. It is not a fun time and all of this is done during recess, not to mention the 24 laps! That would scare me enough not to get in trouble.

There are three possible external reasons that I have come up with for this dramatic change in behavior:

1. Weather changes - Weather has been a bit unpredictable (well, when is it predictable?) here lately. Weather changes definately has an effect on children behavior. Double that effect when snow (or even worse, the possibility of snow) is thrown into the mix.

2. Christmas! Who can focus on multiplication when there are sugar plumbs dancing in their heads. To read a pretty accurate description of what happens to normal children durning this time of the year, please refer to the entry: Twas the Days Before Christmas.

3. Friday the 13th. I don't know why, but kids are accutely aware of this day. I don't know how many kids asked me if we could move our test over multiplying the perfect doubles to a different day simply because of the day.

Next week doesn't promise to be any better:

1. See reason one above.

2. Reason two is even closer!!!!!

3. I think the full moon is next week. I know some of you are freaking out because I list this as a reason, but ask any teacher, health professional or law enforcement officer, wierd stuff happens around the full moon.

4. Related to reason 2: The Christmas party is on Friday!!!

5. Friday is a half day and then we are off until the 6th. Well at least the kids are, I have to come back the 3rd.

In other weekly news:

-Saw Anything Goes at the St. Louis Rep. Third time I saw it and this was the best of the three. A-

ICON-anythingGoes.jpg

-Shopping with the youth. C- They too are affected by the craziness.

-Saw Star Trek Nemesis tonight! I am still digesting it but I hope to have a review up at the Screening Room soon. Initial reaction: Sweet!

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 11:49 PM

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December 13, 2002
Begin Humming Pomp and Circumstance...

graduation_wacky_0411_5.gif

Happy graduation Addie and JD!!!

Yes, this is all you are getting, so don't ask. Sorry! Maybe you should have graduated in some other month. Maybe one without... I don't know... CHRISTMAS. You just have to deal with your corny animated GIF.

Mr. Wright, out!

P.S. The peson responsible for this mess has been sacked.

Posted by Christopher at 11:29 PM

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December 05, 2002
Not Again!

Well another snow day. That would be two of our three built in snow days that have been used. *Sigh* I really think that we could have gone today. Oh well.

To pass the time a quiz for you:

You are 28% geek
You are a geek liaison, which means you go both ways. You can hang out with normal people or you can hang out with geeks which means you often have geeks as friends and/or have a job where you have to mediate between geeks and normal people. This is an important role and one of which you should be proud. In fact, you can make a good deal of money as a translator.
Normal: Tell our geek we need him to work this weekend.

You [to Geek]: We need more than that, Scotty. You'll have to stay until you can squeeze more outta them engines!

Geek [to You]: I'm givin' her all she's got, Captain, but we need more dilithium crystals!

You [to Normal]: He wants to know if he gets overtime.

Take the Polygeek Quiz at Thudfactor.com

I'm cooler that I thought I was! Whoo hoo!

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 12:07 PM

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December 04, 2002
Oh the Weather Outside is Frightful

In accordance with the prophecy, snow has fallen across the land and school children and more importantly teachers everywhere are rejoicing.

Now what am I going to do... guess I will finish 24 from last night since I can't go back to sleep.

snowday.gif
"All kids off the bus and start pushing!"

Oh, its a good thing I didn't say anything to my students like, "There is no Santa Claus."

...And live in Spain. Here is why.

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 05:30 AM

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November 25, 2002
Always Look On the Bright Side of Life

Well today was much better. I decided to spend the whole afternoon on science, nothing but science and we had a blast. We did some experiements dealing with physical science. The results really surprised the kids, there were gasps among the audience. I read a few chapters out of the book that I am reading out loud too, Sideways Stories from Wayside Schools. The kids love the book. It doesn't hurt that I really like it too! It has been awhile since we had fun in class, so I guess the attitude change is slowly beginning to work. It was a good day.

In my readings, I came across this quote that has proven itself in my classroom last week.

I've come to a frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It's my personal approach that creates the climate. It's my daily mood that makes the weather. As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a person's life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal. In all de-escalated and a person humanized or de-humanized.

-Haim Ginott
___

Take a look at my Top 20 Movies. I'm sure this will change as I think more about it. So what are your favorite movies?
___

Do you love e-mail forwards? Most of the time I don't. Here is a friendly reminder that you should think of before you press the send button. Thanks for the link bloggedy blog.
___

And finally, are you look for a Christmas gift for that hard to buy person? Here is a wonderful suggestion. (Serious inquiries only please.)

Mr. Wright, out!

Bonus points to the person that can name the movie that the quote for the title of the entry came from.

Posted by Christopher at 06:53 PM

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November 19, 2002
Another Meeting?!?

I am tired today. I was out of the class the last half of the day for a meeting and then after school I had another meeting. I have to be careful with my head, it might pop with all the information that has been shoved in there today.

The first meeting was concerning a method to help those kids who are falling through the cracks becuase they do not qualify for special services but really struggle in school. One of the things we looked at was the socio-economic background of children. This background is something that students cannot control but it so heavily colors their belief and attitude toward school.

Below is a table that compares three socio-economic levels, poverty, middle class, and wealthy and how they veiw different things in our society. This is taken from Framework for Understanding Poverty by Ruby Payne, a book that I would like to read when I find it.

 PovertyMiddle ClassWealthy
POSSESSIONSPeopleThingsOne-of-a-kind objects, legacies, pedigrees
MONEYTo be used, spentTo be managedTo be conserved, invested
PERSONALITYIs for entertainment. Sense of humor is highly valuedIs for acquisition and stability. Achievement is highly valuedIs for connections. Finacial, political, social connections are highly valued
SOCIAL EMPHASIS Social inclusion of people they likeEmphais is on self-governance and self-sufficiencyEmphasis on social exclusion.
FOODKey question: Did you have enough? Quantity importantKey question: Did you like it? Quality importantKey question: Was it presented well? Presentation important
CLOTHINGClothing valued for individual style and expression of personalityClothing valued for its quality and acceptance into norm of middle class. Lable importantClothing is valued for its artistic sense and expression. Designer important
TIMEPresent most important. Decisions made for momment based on feelings or survival Future most important. Decisions made against future ramificationsTraditions and history most important. Decisions made partially on basis of tradition and decorum
EDUCATIONValued and revered as abstract but not realityCrucial for climbing success ladder and making moneyNecessary tradtion for making and maintaining connections
DESTINYBelieves in fate. Cannot do much to mitigate chanceBelieves in choice. Can exchange future with good choices nowNoblesse oblige
LANGUAGECasual register. Language is about survivalFormal register. Language is about negotiationFormal register. Language is about networking
FAMILY STRUCTURETends to be matriarchalTends to be patriarchalDepends on who has the money
WORLD VIEWSees the world in terms of local settingSees the world in terms of national settingSees the world in terms of international view
LOVELove and acceptance conditional, based upon whether individual is likedLove and acceptance conditional and based largely upon achievementLove and acceptance conditional and related to social standing and connections
DRIVING FORCESurvival, relationships, entertainmentWork, achievementFinacial, political, social connections

Another book that sounds interesting concerning this same subject that I would like to read is Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich. Barbara is a journalist that gave up her job to take a poverty wage job to find out what it was like. This book outlines what she learns. I found it very interesting.

Any teachers that might be reading this, I wonder if you could share some web resources that you have used or find useful. Specifically, websites concerning Four Block. I'm interested in upper elementary but I will take anything you got. Thanks. Leave those sites in the comments.

I hope that table works.

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 06:27 PM

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November 14, 2002
Which Would You Rather and Other Stuff

One of the questions that I am asked is so which do you like better: teaching third or second grade? My answer is a qualified… I don't know. I can say that I am enjoying this year, professionally at least, fifty times better than last year, but I can't really say that I enjoyed teaching one grade over the other because of a few factors:

+The class that I have this year is drastically different from last year. I have commented many times in this blog that I don't like one class over the other, but this year's class is much easier to handle than last. Not really sure if what I am seeing is a little more maturity because they are third graders or it is just my class.

+This is only my second year of teaching. I don't know if the differences that I see between the grades are caused by maturity of the kids of a year's more maturity in me. I did start this year differently, I started out the year mean and I have gradually let up. Last year, kind of by default, I did the opposite and I think that strategy (or rather lack thereof) contributed to some of the problems that I experienced last year.

One thing that I do know: this time last year I was praying for a snow day. I was tired and I kept saying to myself "There is no way I can do this for thirty years." I don't feel that way this year, and I think that the two reasons as well as the slight change in maturity in the kids has made this year not as… oh I can't even think of a word to describe what I felt.

And now for something completely different, well almost:
___

Third graders must think that the water from the water fountain out in the hall is magical. They certainly don't like to get water from the one in the back of the room. The fountain in the hall is right there by my room so it is not like they get to be out of the room for a long time. They could probably waste more time by going to the one in the back of the room, but the water from the fountain in the hall tastes better, or at least that is what they tell me. Actually I think that they like it better because it is colder. That or it really is the fountain of youth. And the Spanish thought that it was in Florida, it was out in the hall all the time!
___

Being the Social Studies Curriculum contact has been quite eye opening. The most valuable information that I have gained has been information on the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP). Last year, because of the financial situation of the state, Missouri decided not to fund the science and social studies portions of the MAP test. Schools were given the option of funding the tests themselves or not giving those sections of the test at all. My district was one of the few districts in the state who decided not to take those tests. However through a rather strange series of events, including an extension of the sign up date to take the test and a statistical anomaly in our scores three years ago, it is a very good chance that we will be giving the tests. That came as a shock to some teachers who were not as diligent in teaching those subjects this year. Shocking, I know, but it happens.
___

Yesterday I received two prank calls. The first was 3:45 in the morning. I got up and stumbled into look at the Caller ID. It said anonymous caller. I didn't answer; I just went back to bed. Then again, this time at 11:05 at night, I was asleep and the phone rang. I ran to look at the Caller ID, anonymous caller. This time I answered, "Hello?"

"Ah, Chris?"

"Yeah."

"[Edited for content, needless to say, it made me angry.]"

I hung up the phone and then couldn't go to sleep for the rest of the night. They were high school or college age. I guess I will have to change my phone number and get it unlisted. Hopefully they have moved on to bother someone else.

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 06:45 PM

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November 02, 2002
It's Halloween, Everyone's Entitled To One Good Scare

I am glad that this week is over. Halloween is the biggest holiday at Wyman. Parents come out in droves. It is estimated that there were over 300 visitors in our building last Thurday. That is alot of people.

Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Many people think that it is evil, and I wouldn't argue with the fact that there are evil things that happen on Halloween and that some of its roots are evil, but the same could be said about Christmas.

Some of my favorite things about Halloween are:
-The old black and white horror movies. This year I didn't watch any because I didn't have a functioning TV.
-Fall really starts to show its true colors around this time, I like the cool temperatures too. Though this year has been colder than most, I still like it.
-It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! I am a huge fan of the Peanuts gang and I enjoy watching this every year. I watched it with my class and it brought back that cozy feeling. I will always remember how they say tricks or treats in the movie rather than trick of treat that I am used to. I also remember the way Linus says pumpkin. Something is just weird about the way he says it. The only drawback to the show is the World War I Flying Ace story line goes on a bit too long, kids get bored during that part.
-The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is one of my favorite spooky stories. The Disney cartoon of it is one of my favorites! It is a wonderful story that has an open ending and doesn't answer all the questions that it asks. We read a watered down version of it in class and we wrote about what we think really happened to ole Ichabod Crane. Then we wrote our own scary stories.
-I like black lights, and so does my class now.
-Last year I made oobleck with the kids, but we didn't have time this year. No real Halloween connection other than it is green and gooey.

By the way, the Secret Service Agent get up was the bomb, it went over even better than the funeral director from last year. Everyone loved it, kids, teachers, parents, and pricipals alike. I didn't put the whole suit, sunglasses, and ear piece on until after lunch. My principal said she freaked out the first time that she saw me. She thought it was for real for a sec. Many people thought that I was one of the Men in Black. I think I have an idea for next year's costume... a FBI agent, like Fox Mulder! What do you think.

So what were you up to this evil Halloween? Did you dress up? Can you figure out what movie the title to this blog entry came from? Let me know when you speak out in class.

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 01:12 PM

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October 18, 2002
In Case of Rapture, This Blog Will Be Unmanned

add_toon_info.gif
(Copyright Gospel Communications International, Inc - www.reverendfun.com)

The assembly that I was complaining about, was really cool! It was a video presentation with about being street smart and staying away from drugs and the like. The really cool part is that it wasn't just any ole video presentation, it used three projectors, three synchronized DVD players, a nice sound system, and a super huge screen. It was ultra cool! To add to all of that coolity, the video used celebrities to get the message across, including four bands, all of them Christian (DC Talk was one of them). They used some funny clips from movies like Shrek, Cats & Dogs, Spy Kids, just to name a few. The good folks from MADD sponsered the show. I did find one thing interesting, every they told kids not to drink beer they would always tack on "until you are 21." Well they almost got it right!

Oh, and I have another assembly on Monday! Whoo hoo.

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 05:39 PM

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October 16, 2002
Challenge

"The surest path to high self-esteem is to be successful at something one perceived would be difficult. Each time we steal a student's struggle, we steal the opportunity for them to build self-confidence. They must do hard things to feel good about themselves." -Dr. Sylvia Rimm

I used to think that self-esteem is stressed too much. We have to make everyone feel good about themselves. There are no losers. The danger of these attitudes is overinflated egos. People who think too much of themselves. My question has been why can there be no losers? That is not preparing students for real life, because in real life there are times when we "win" and when we "lose." The quote above got me thinking. The danger is not too much self esteem but the kind of self esteem. We should be encouraging self esteem for overcoming hardships and chanllenges, not for beating the other guy. Looking back over the past months, I can think of several occasions were I have reduced the challenge for some of my kids to the point where an activity is pointless, to easy. Sometimes it is hard to know when something is too difficult and needs to be adjusted to help a child achieve success and when the child just needs a little prodding.

This of course is all in the context of education. I don't find my self esteem in beating the other guy or in overcoming adversity. I find it in Jesus Christ. You see, self esteem can fluxuate wildly when it is tied to things like those listed in the above paragraph. What if you don't overcome the challenge, what if you loose? Self esteem take a nose dive. However, when esteem is found in Truth, there is no need to worry about low self esteem.

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 09:56 PM

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October 15, 2002
Ignore the Truth

In science we are studing about the different body parts that make us. One topic covered are cells. We drew pictures of cells and labeled them, we have compared and contrasted an animal cell versus a plant cell. So I decided we needed to look at some real cell, not just illustrations. The school has a microscope that can connect to a computer and show what is being veiwed on the microscope on the computer. I was then able to also display it on the TV in my room so this could be a whole group activity. The kids loved it. I had a chance to show the differences in the plant and animal cell. In showing the kids the cells and how all these cells magically fit together to create a living person, I was struck with a truth. How are people able to ignore the power of God, when his very creation has His fingerprints all over it. Biologists work with God's creation yet some deny the creator's existance. How amazing. There is no amount of data that could make me believe that the earth, animals, and people was created randomly, accidently. The microscope allowed us to take pictures of what we were looking at. Take a closer look at God's creation.

Well the new Wyman page went live today, though I don't think that it is completely ready, but I am not the one calling the shots.

Mr. Wright, out!

Website Update: I think I have solved some of the display problems in the blog. I got tired of having blogs set up using CSS being so different in different browsers and OS. So I just plopped it into a table and I am done with it. Next, I will tinker with the colors and get the color scheme a little more consistant. If you are still having display problems, let me know.

Posted by Christopher at 05:22 PM

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October 14, 2002
Another Assembly

One more assembly and I think that I am going to start screaming and dancing around in a weird way. Wait! I take that back, we have another one on Friday. Today we had a German folk singer to come and entertain (they didn't seem very entertained) the kids for a hour and fifteen minutes! I was given a set of concert etiquette rules that I was supposed to go over before they went to the assembly. Rules included clapping after songs, sitting on one's tush, realizing that the singer is from Germany and that he might have an accent and that we shouldn't laugh at it, and what Herr means. One of my boys went to get a drink just before I went over some of this information and evidently saw the man practicing on his banjo (yes, banjo) and upon hearing the news that the man was from Germany said, "He's from Germany?!?!? I just saw him and he didn't look Germinian!" Hey, if you don't know the word, just make it up!

I have about finished up a new website for my school. My task was more than I expected becuase there were too many cooks in the kitchen. I wanted the site to look more professional, others wanted "a fun kid font with bright primary colors," others wanted Rolla colors and mascot, and still others wanted Mr. Buzz, our character education mascot. So I created three different versions of the same page, and I think that I have met many of the requests. Hopefully it will be up soon.

On website news: I will soon begin the process of upgrading Movable Type (the program that makes this blog possible) soon, so I don't know how this will effect being able to see the page. I don't think it will, but I might effect people on the Gone Ape Network trying to post on their own blogs, so be forewarned.

One other issue, would any tech wizards out there be able to give me instructions on how to show the latest entry on one page from several different blogs, or even better, a portion of the latest entry. All blogs are Movable Type. Any help would be great!

Mr. Wright, out!

UPDATE: Well the upgrade is done, after a few frightening momments. I changed the template again. I'm still playing around with it. On Internet Explorer, the text flops off the right side of the screen, which I hate. Sakamuyo reports that in the Galeon browser (based on mozilla), the blog body section cuts off most of the masthead. I need to stop for tonight, I have got to get some grading done or parents are going to start calling. This template added the search to the left. It will search Blogging with Mr. Wright, Avoiding Evil (for awhile), Future Hope, Time to Believe, The Screening Room, and Out of My Mind.

Posted by Christopher at 05:43 PM

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September 29, 2002
Adventures in Teaching

The co-op schedules various emergency drills throughout the year so we're prepared for any crisis. September's drill was a fire drill, so that involves going outside. The boss sits out in her car and calls the center from her cell phone and tells us to evacuate. I had prepared the kids for the drill earlier in the morning, but then it had started raining, so I assumed that Debbie would postpone the drill until Monday or Tuesday. Nope. She called during Learning Center time. I had the dramatic play center open, which involves dress-up clothes. (I also had the block center, writing center, and puzzle center open, but
that isn't important to the story.)

It is sprinkling and looking rather ominous when Debbie calls at around 10:50. I reluctantly gather up the kids from their centers (they weren't happy with me--Center time is their favorite part of the day). I immediately realize I'm missing someone--quick roster check--it's Tia. I send the line (OK, chaotic huddle--we're working on a line, but haven't mastered it yet) of preschoolers outside with the other adults and race through the house to find the missing child.

Then I discover Tia. She's sitting on the toilet. Tia is very close to being potty-trained, but still not there yet. She's very proud of herself for going on her own initiative...she beams at me as I run in and says, "Wook, Miss Nanna, I'm going poopoo in da potty!" I try to lift her off the toilet (how do you explain a fire drill to a delayed three-year old?) and she lets out a bloodcurdling scream, "I'M NOT DONE YET!!" Well, what am I to do? The boss is outside, watching, waiting, and likely evaluating me as a teacher to decide if I'm trustworthy...

I decide since it's our first drill of the year, Debbie will cut me some slack and won't get too angry. So I let Tia finish (gosh, how long does it take her to go?) and explain that we would come back and wipe in a few seconds (she's still in Pull-Ups, so it wasn't a big deal). We race out into the main room of the house...and I notice that poor Thomas has been left behind, busy playing in the dress-up center. He's oblivious that the class has left him (oblivion is a common state for him). Secretly, I suspect that he was left behind for a reason; I think everyone wanted a good laugh at watching me wrestle with him. Thomas is a little...odd. The co-op has a bet going that he will be gay in 20 years. He's definitely a WLK (early childhood abbreviation for "weird little kid"). He likes to play dress-up and do hair and pretend to put on make-up and all. When he's dressed up, he also walks like a girl, doing the hip walk. Anyway, Thomas is all decked out in a long purple skirt and bright red high heels. He is busy admiring his reflection in the classroom mirror and pretending to put on lipstick and fix his hair. Unfortunately, Thomas also has a temper and a bit of a problem transitioning. Most of my kids have transitioning problems because they're little and are special ed, but Thomas is particularly difficult to transition. So I know he will be traumatized for the rest of the month if I yank him out of his high heels. I try to explain to him that we're going outside and I'm met with a blank stare (by this point, we've been inside for several minutes after the alert and have no doubt perished in the pseudo-fire). No time to transition smoothly--especially since Thomas knows that we normally don't go outside at preschool. So I grab his hand and try to pull him with Tia and I. He keeps stumbling in his high heels. We're not getting anywhere. I tell him to take his shoes off...and he starts yelling that he doesn't want to. I get desperate and pick him up with my remaining arm. (I've got Tia under the other arm because she tends to randomly fall over a lot and I don't want to risk her falling in front of the boss-lady.) Finally, I head outside of the house with two armfuls of children. Debbie was about to come in after me...but then starts laughing hysterically. I guess it did look pretty funny. Here I am, holding a little girl who keeps tugging at her rear end because I yanked her shorts up without ensuring the Pull-Up was in proper position. I suspect her shorts were twisted and her diaper not fully in workable order. Then I have Thomas tucked under the other arm, dressed in a skirt that's pulled up to his armpits and red pumps, still screaming because I didn't give him adequate warning of the scenery change. I put Tia down and instruct her to go down the hill to Ms. Lynn, the speech teacher. She (for once) complies without needing multiple repetitions, leaving me to fanagle with Thomas. She pulled at her shorts the whole way down the hill, but at least she listened. I put Thomas down because he's about to either kick me or bite me; I can't figure out which. Neither one seems inviting, particularly since he's wearing high heels, so I take his hand and firmly order him to walk. He tries--but the ground is so wet from the rain that his heels keep sinking into the ground. So I pick him up again and finally make it down to where the rest of the class is waiting...a whopping 7 minutes after the boss told me to evacuate.

To top off the whole experience, Debbie does remind me that I've not brought the emergency cards, the phone, or the first aid kit with me. I apologized and was forgiven. I suspect that had I not emerged with two preschoolers under my arms, I may have gotten in a bit of trouble. The sight, however, of one little guy in a skirt and heels and a little girl still mumbling "I still have a poopoo in my bottom!" exonerated me from any blame. I guess she realized she'd caught us in a bad time...and that it'd gotten worse because the kids knew there really wasn't an emergency and were none too happy about being taken from their Learning Centers.

I told her next time to give me a time when she's going to call a drill so we can be prepared. I know that that goes against the theory of a fire drill, but it's the only way we can all get out in the time limit. Three year olds rarely move quickly when necessary (though they're speedy when I'm trying to slow them down!), and special ed kids simply can't handle the change without warning. In a real fire, I wouldn't have let Tia finish and my aide would've gotten Thomas out already. I think they left him in for me to see and deal with. At least they all had a good laugh over it...and I did, too, after the incident was over and I realized how idiotic I must have looked with my two little darlings...

Then the afternoon session started with a different, and much quieter, group of kids. One of them, Ozzy, is autistic. I suspect he will eventually be very
high functioning. But for now, he is learning those skills to be able to participate in normal society. Ozzy has lots of sensory issues (I guess I shouldn't be talking considering I'm also tactile defensive, don't have tags in any of my clothing, avoid play-dough, and couldn't eat pudding until college because of the texture). His issues always make for interesting stories. We had jello for snack (another food I used to avoid because of the texture). He actually ate it and enjoyed it--I was surprised. Well, Ozzy can't stand elastic. He was wearing sweatpants--I'm surprised they were still on. Ozzy tends to strip in the car on the way to school and undresses at least 3 times during my session. Anyway, he had one hand continuously stretching out the elastic waistband. While one hand was repeatedly pulling his pants off his waist, the other hand was attempting to steer the spoonful of jello into his mouth. I should also mention that he won't let the spoon touch his palm, so he has poor feeding skills because he can't get leverage from his palm. He was carefully aiming the spoon of jello towards his mouth while stretching out his pants. *bloop* The jello slides off his spoon and *plop* lands the exact moment he has his pants stretched off his body. So the poor kid got jello all over his...well, you know what body part I'm thinking of. He looks shocked and horrified for a few seconds and then starts screaming bloody murder. I've already got my rag (I am prepared when I supervise snacktime!) to wipe it up and I'm making my way over to his chair. Before I can get there, Ozzy starts frantically rubbing the spot through his sweatpants. I assume it was to spread the gooeyness around so it wasn't centered over his..., but I don't know what goes on in his mind. Ozzy has the jello completely mooshed around under his pants. It's starting to ooze out through his pants. Needless to say, I had to clean up the poor little guy after that. He certainly didn't enjoy having me wipe him up (particulary in the crotch area), but I think he was relieved to get the jello out of his...

So I have a crossdresser in the morning class and a kid who got jello down his pants in the afternoon session. Teaching is certainly an adventure!

All names changed.

Posted by Anna at 06:54 AM

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September 07, 2002
Nurturing, Not My Bag

I think that it would be interesting to go around to the different classrooms at my school and see the different styles and personalities of each room. One of the things that would be most intriguing to me would be the difference between the female teachers' classrooms and the male teachers' classrooms. If I were honest, there is very little sympathy for certain things in my classroom. Here is an example of a typical medical complaint in my classroom: (Moms everywhere will be horrified):

Child: (In the most pathetic, whiney voice possible) Mr. Wright, (insert dramatic pause, sigh for dramatic effect optional) I have a headache (or other ailment). (Flutter sad puppy eyes.)
Mr. Wright: (Usually in the middle of answering another child's question) I'm sorry.
Child: It's really bad.
Mr. Wright: What do you want me to do about it?
Child: I dunno.
Mr. Wright: Sorry, I left my magic wand at home; otherwise I would use it to get rid of your headache (or other ailment).
Child: Mr. Wright!
Mr. Wright: Well, when you figure out what you want me to do, you come tell me and we'll do it. Okay?
Child: Okay. (Limps back to desk, and adds sad little cough)

Horrible isn't it? I'm just so mean. Actually I have discovered that children who actually have a medical issue will say that they need to go to the nurse, and without question, those students who ask to go to the nurse, go. Conversely, those students who won't suggest going to the nurse are just trying to get out of doing something they don't want to do. I guess they feel that saying that they need to go see the nurse is too obvious, and they would be found out. So they wait for me to suggest that they go to the nurse and that way it will appear that it was my idea. As a matter of fact, whatever they come to me and say they think they need to do, I will allow them to do that within reason of course. Just they other day, I had a student complain that they had a headache and they told me that they thought they just needed to lie down. We have a red wagon with pillows in the back of the room, so the child went to the wagon, laid down for five minutes and got back up and finished the day, and we didn't even have to bother the very busy school nurse. Now there are a few students that I have, who are very shy and who normally will not talk to me unless I talk to them. If they complain about something, then it is straight to the nurse! Now if I can just figure out a bathroom plan that will work.

In other news: my desktop computer is going crazy. It has taken to restarting itself while I am working on it, not while it is just sitting there. So I decided to start from scratch by reinstalling XP. So I start the backup process, burning files to a CD-R, five minutes into the process, it restarts. I have wasted four blank CDs so far. Any tech heads that happen to read this, please advise. UPDATE: In trying to run a ScanDisk from the XP CD I recieved this message: Setup has determined that drive C: is corrupt and cannot be repaired. Folks, this does not sound good. The little Tech Demon has taken up perminate residence in my desktop! Does anyone know how to do an exorcism?

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 12:45 PM

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September 04, 2002
100th Episode

Hey everyone. Welcome to my 100th blog entry. Take a momment to sit in awe of this accomplishment. Okay, that's enough. Thanks for stickin' around.

Tip for Teachers:

Preview your movies before you show them. Luckly I did before I showed the Animal Life Cycle video. The video started out good, paralleling our text exactly. Same vocab words and everything. It even had a section on trout hatcheries (we will be visiting one next week!) It was wonderful, but then things turned sour. The video went one step further than our book: fertilization, complete with a nice little animated graphic of a sperm ramming his head into the side of the egg. My initial instincts screamed no!!! I decided to get a second opinion. Off to find my wise mentor. She was also excited about the almost perfect match to our curriculum, however, was unsure about our friends Mr. Sperm and Ms. Egg. Off to the principal. She was in a meeting at the time. So I have decided not to open that can of worms. I'll let the fifth grade health teacher deal with that. I've already had to deal with panties, mounting, and mating penguins, I think I will forgo this discussion. This entry should play havoc with google searches on this site.

In cool new product news: Have you been to a restaraunt that had that awesome foam soap in the bathroom? Well now the good people at SoftSoap have brought this wonderful product home in the form of Foam Works. Whoohoo!

IdeaJoy has found The Screening Room. Now if Pressed and I knew if we are going to keep it or what we are going to do with it. Any suggestions?

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 10:28 PM

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September 03, 2002
The Envelope Please...

Well I have made some selections for my theme music for each subject. Thanks for all those who made suggestions. Here is the track list:

  • The Original Batman Theme (AR)

  • Respect (Spelling)

  • Conjunction Junction (English)

  • A Noun is A Person, Place, or Thing (English)

  • One is the Loneliest Number (Math)

  • The Four-Legged Zoo (Math)

  • Back in Time (SS)

  • Don't Know Much About History (SS)

  • I wanted to use Time Warp but considering its source material I didn't

  • New York, NY (SS)

  • Weird Science (Science)

  • The Book Report (Reading)

  • You Can't Judge A Book By Lookin' At the Cover (Reading)

  • Bows from Your're a Goodman Charlie Brown (Getting ready to go home)

  • Na, Na, Hey, Hey, Goodbye (Leaving)

  • The Chicken Dance (For fun)

  • The Funky Chicken Dance (Techno) (For fun)

  • Let's Get Ready to Rumble (For fun/morning)

  • We Will Rock You (For fun)

  • Cotton Eye Joe (Techno Remix) (For fun)

  • Several Schoolhouse Rock Songs
An honorable mention goes to one of Kim's friends who suggested Help! for the kids when they need help. I started this today, as expected it was a little rough. I am going to keep with it for a week. They all could recognize The Batman Theme and associate it with AR, but for the rest of the songs they were asking, what subject is that? I will stick with it for two weeks and if it is not working by then I will get rid of it. At least I tried one of my hairbrained ideas.

Notes on the Day:

-Got a new student today. That brings me up to 25, the other rooms have 23 and 24. Evidently I was requested, not sure how they heard about me. Gee, that puts a little pressure on me. I personally think parents should not be able to request a certain teacher, however, I don't have a problem with parents requesting to not have a certain teacher. Oh well.

-26% of the first quarter complete. Somehow that doesn't seem possible to me.

That's all from this side of the desk.

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 08:00 PM

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August 30, 2002
E-Mail Forwards

These always make me laugh:

How to Tell if You Are A Real Teacher

  • Real teachers grade papers in the car, during commercials, in faculty meetings, in the bathroom, and (at the end of the quarter) they have been seen grading in church

  • Real teachers cheer when April 1 does not fall on a school day.

  • Real teachers drive older cars owned by credit unions

  • Real teachers clutch a pencil while thinking and make notes in the margins of books.

  • Real teachers can't walk past a crowd of kids without straightening up the line.

  • Real teachers never sit down without first checking the seat of the chair.

  • Real teachers have disjointed necks from writing on boards with turning their backs to the class.

  • Real teachers are written up in medical journals for the size and elasticity of kidneys and bladders.

  • Real teachers have been timed gulping down a full lunch in 2 minutes, 18 seconds. Master teachers can eat faster than that.

  • Real teachers can predict exactly which parents will show up at Open House.

  • Real teachers know the shortest distance and length of travel from their classroom to the office.

  • Real teachers can "sense" gum.

  • Real teachers know the difference among what must be graded, what ought to be graded, and what probably should never see the light of day.

  • Real teachers know that the secretaries and custodians run the school.

Coming soon: You Might be in Education If...

From the classroom (it's my "plan" time),
Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 10:13 AM

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August 28, 2002
I Gotta Pee!

Wow the kids were slow moving today! We successfully completed our morning activities and that is it! The morning is the shortest part of the day. So that means that I am two days behind in science. Wanna guess what we will be doing extra of for the rest of the week?

One of the reasons that we are behind is because there were some unforseen medical problems. I have at least three kids with bladder conditions or a weak bladder. I have several kids that must go to the bathroom at least every two hours, I have one that is very embarassed of this condition, so in order to get him to do that, I have to parade my class down to the bathroom every two hours. We spend half our day in transit to and from the bathroom. Last year it was across the hall from my room, this year it is a 2 mile hike to get there. By the time we get back from the potty it is almost time to go again!

Sometimes I wish I had a weak bladder, but of course, at teacher school, I was equipped with the top of the line bladder 'o steel.

Notes on the day:

-I always have music playing in my class, not real loud, those students who are distracted by it are put on the other side of the room. Today I was playing the Robin Hood Prince of Theives soundtrack. At the end of the CD, it has a recording of Bryan Adams singing "Everything I Do" (that brings back fond memories). One student, let's call him Geraldo, said to another student: "Now listen to that! That is what I like to listen to. It's got a beat to it." I guess Mozart doesn't have a beat.

-One of my kids, Belle (name changed of course) told me that she would be visiting New York City tonight so she would be unable to complete her homework. This of course got my interest. I questioned how she would be getting there and if she would be in class tomorrow. She said that she would be in class and that she wasn't sure how she was going to get there. "Not staying long!" I replied. "Long enough," she said. I told her that she should bring the class a postcard from New York, unfortunately she doesn't have any money. I guess that is just my bad luck.

-Percentage of school year complete: 6%

That's all from this side of the desk.

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 03:51 PM

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August 27, 2002
Under the Microscope

Well I have an observation today by my principal, at my request, today. I wanted her to see how I was using the AverKey (a device that will allow what is on a computer to be displayed on a TV) that she okayed for purchase. (I'm doing lesson plans in PowerPoint now, isn't that crazy?) That went okay and was expected, but what was not expected, was the 15 minute surprise visit from my new superintendent! I was going around checking work when I turn around and there he is talking to some of my kids and he then he left! I didn't get to talk to him because I was too busy. He did come back later though. I was glad that I changed my clothes at the last minute today to put on a tie because he is big on professional dress. I think I scored a few points with the man in charge. I do regret not getting to show him what I was doing with the AverKey because he is also big into technology. Oh well, one can do only so many things in a day. Needless to I was extremely tired after lunch and I still had the longest part of the day to go. We took a little break in the afternoon. I certainly felt like I was under the microscope.

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 07:31 PM

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August 22, 2002
Turn With Me in Your Bibles to Education 5:1

Whew, this week is going fast! It seems like Wednesday today! I have had little time to stop moving though. I am starting to get back in the swing of things at school. As a class, we are starting to hit our stride. It takes awhile to get used to each other, especially them to me cause I am not like the teachers that they had last year, but we are getting used to each other. I am ready for school to be out.

Now for the notes on the day:

I was standing next to the door that goes out to the playground at the beginning of recess, recieving hugs from students from last year (there was a whole line of them.) Another student who I didn't have last year, got so swept up in the moment that he starting giving me a hug... until half-way through the embrace when, I guess he came out of his lemming trance and realized that he didn't really know me at all and that this situation could be slightly embarrassing for him. So here, we will call him Randy, was in mid-hug with someone who he didn't really know. So what does he do? Well the only logical thing that one can do in that situation: pat my belly. I was dumbfounded.

I now have a high school student in my class the last two hours of the day. I don't really want her because she is more in the way than being helpful. Oh well.

Pressed (by the way, thanks Pressed) read this at last night's Loft, turn with me in your Bibles to Education 5:1:

Then Jesus took his disciples up the mountain and gathering them around him, he taught them saying:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Then Simon Peter said, "Do we have to write this down?"

And Andrew said, "Are we going to have a test on this?"

Philip mumbled, "I don't have any paper."

Bartholomew asked, "Do we have to turn this in?"

John whined, "The other disciples didn't have to learn this!"

Matthew asked, "Can I go to the bathroom?"

Judas complained, "What does this have to do with anything?"

And James said, "I don't get it."

Then one of the Pharisees who was present asked to see Jesus' lesson plan and inquired of him, "Where are your theological imperatives and long-term objectives in the cognitive domain? Be sure to activate prior knowledge and align it to the curriculum."

I changed it a bit.

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 06:58 PM

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August 20, 2002
The Honeymoon Is Over

Well I am a little upset right now. Disappointed is probably a better word. I collected work today from my students and I found that many did not follow directions. Did this surprise me? No, in fact I expected it. So, tomorrow I get to begin the day with Teacher Speech #48a: Being Responsible and It's Effect on Your Grade, You Silly Kids!!!!!!!!!!! This speech is always delivered in a very stern manner, stern may not be a strong enough adjective, very life and death. I center alot of my class about being responsible and the frightening thing is that to many kids it is a new concept! You don't have to be responsible when Mommy does everything for you and cleans up your little messes. I have one Mom that comes in each day and puts up his backpack, picks up his work folder, and takes down his chair. It is no wonder that he gives me a weird look when I don't come over to him to answer one of his questions. HELLO!!!! MOM YOU ARE NOT DOING ANYONE A FAVOR HERE!!!! (WARNING: The following text is not for the weak of heart, INVISO-TEXT* on:) This section has been edited, if you would like to read the full entry please e-mail me. (End of INVISO-TEXT) Now I know what you all are thinking, that I am being mean and you would be right, I am being mean but I am also being truthful. Too bad I can't be that truthful to mom.

Now I should say that this class is like having a room full of angels, (well, sleepy nice people) from the characters that I had last year but I am frustrated and venting, thank you for your indulgence. It should also be noted that I have some VERY responsible students that will get A's in my class. Well most likely.

NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT... (Hehe, Monty Python is funny!)

There is a new blog in the Gone Ape Blog Community. Check out Future Hope and wish Erin a good school year.

Now I am feeling bad about what I wrote up a few paragraphs. I will probabaly come back and delete that later.

I would ask that you would keep Anna in your prayers as she is getting ready for school, she has what looks like to be a very tough year ahead of her working with some very needy preschoolers. Phil. 4:13.

I was going to write about something else but it is gone.

Mr. Wright, out!

*To veiw INVISO-TEXT simply hilight.

Posted by Christopher at 05:53 PM

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August 17, 2002
Picking Your Brains...

I need your help!

I had this idea for this school year but I need some help filling in the blanks. In class, when we transition from one subject to the other, sometimes it can be a bit loud, depending on what activity we were coming out of. So instead of repeatedly telling the kids over and over what we are changing to, I thought that I could come up with a "theme song" for each subject. For example, this year in reading and AR our school theme in rocks (boring I know, I didn't choose it), in our classroom it is caves (caves are made out of rocks, follow me on this one) and the saying as you can see on the class website is Batty for Reading! As a result I thought that the "theme song" for Reading and AR could be the old Batman theme song. Whenever they heard that, the kids would know that it was time for AR. An added benefit would be that the kids would know how long they had before I started, the length of the song. I think that it could work, however, I am having trouble coming up with songs.

That is were I need your help! I need a song for the following subjects:

  • English

  • Science

  • Social Studies

  • Handwriting/cursive

  • Math

  • Another Reading song

  • Spelling

  • And any other subjects that you can think of!!

The rules:

  • All songs must be appropriate for third graders, I don't want any angry parents.

  • Some kind of link to the corresponding subject. (I know that the AR example above is a little conviluted.)

  • Submit your suggestions in the comments.

The Reward: If I choose your suggestion I will list them in a later blog entry with your name! I know, lame reward.

On a totally different topic, I have cleaned up some of the mess on the ole blog. All the calendar numbers are the same size now, among other issues. I also added the number of entries next to each catagory. I think I like this. Tell me what you think.

Thanks in advance for your help.

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 03:17 PM

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August 16, 2002
Preordained Before the Beginning of Time

The second day of school and it has already happened (though a slight variation of the original)! Here's the scoop: We were getting ready to go to specials which today were PE and Music. In PE students must wear tennis shoes so a few students were changing into their tennies. One student, Bo (name has been changed) was searching through his backpack desperately when he said... are you ready for this...

"Where in tarnation?!?!?"

Well thankfully, I wasn't giving directions because I had to take a moment to myself to regain composure. It never stops making me laugh.

Today on recess duty, Jeff (student last year) saw me and began running toward me full steam with his arms out wide. He talked to me the whole recess, the other kids that I had last year that were standing around me could hardly get a word in. ("Ally, I'm talking to Mr. Wright, you go play.") I must say, I secretly enjoy when I see one of last year’s students in the hall and they can hardly contain themselves. I of course, don't encourage it because they usually get in trouble by their current teachers.

Today went better than the first day. To answer Heather's question in the comments, no names on Not Responsible yesterday, 4 today with one check mark, I got mean today. Even raised my voice once, but didn't yell, I save that for the BIG issues.

I talked to JD yesterday and he said his day went well. He evidently has earned the reputation of having really hard classes. For those keeping score Heidi was the mean one.

I'm looking forward to the weekend, a relaxing one, with little movement.

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 06:25 PM

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August 15, 2002
I Made It!

It is so awesome to see the power of prayer work. I think it is there all the time but we just don't take the time to notice it. Well I didn't have to take anytime to notice it today, it was in action. The day went great (I was a little concerned when one of my kids asked me how to make a "d," a print "d".) Everything went together well and all transitions were as smooth as a baby's butt. That can't be said for the rest of the school. This was our first year of all day Kindergarten and well for those of you who haven't had any prolonged (much more than a week) experience with working with really young children don't really have a clue of what a feat that is. It's huge and today, as expected was rough. I'm glad I am not a kindergarten teacher (for more than one reason).

My class this year is very different from my class last year. Last year I had more than my share of kids with BIG personalities, as a result it took me quite awhile to fit all those personalities into one room and for them to realize that I was the biggest personality. I learned to control them and learned to love them. This year, so far, this class is quite the opposite. There are really no big personalities at all, at least not the size that I had last year. They are kind of like "I don't care, whatever." Only one complained when I assigned a big writing assingment on the first day (and I put a quick end to that!) These of course are first impressions and like last year I am sure that they will change with time, especially if I loose of gain any kids over the year.

So it is a good beginning to the year. We will see tomorrow as the honeymoon begins to end.

Posted by Christopher at 07:33 PM

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Here Goes Nothing!!!

Again thanks for all your support. You guys are awesome!!!!!

Don't forget JD. First year of teaching and no student teaching. Wouldn't want to be in the position that he is in. Hehe.

And I'm not sure when Anna is starting but she will have her hands full!

Well I a leaving.

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 06:50 AM

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August 14, 2002
No Quizzes This Time

Tomorrow I begin my first day as a third grade teacher with students in the classroom. This teacher has not done his homework. I don't really have any formal plans for tomorrow, I have an idea of what I want to do, but let's just say that I will be winging it. It makes sense that I am writing in my blog instead of writing some notes down. At least I'm not doing any of those extremely addicting quizzes! I'm sure you are glad too.

I had a whole day of working in my room today and I still did not get any plans done because I was busy doing stuff for other people, like installing print drivers, picking up computers, writing field trip notes (I am going on Friday, September 13th... look at that date again... Yes, I'm doomed.)

Tuesday was open house, kids could come to meet me and see the room. One of my favorite people made a cameo appearance: Jeff, who I have written about on many occasions in this blog! I was talking to three different parents about three different things, when I hear from across the room (imagine Dennis the Menace from the old black and white TV series) "Heeeeeeeeeeey Mr. Wright! Guesssss who's here!" Unfortunately I didn't get to talk with him.

Tonight I was getting ready to drive back to Rolla and I remembered that I had a hair cut appointment that I was sure I missed. Had no clue when it was but I was sure that I had missed it. I called to make another appointment and Donna (the Saint who cuts my hair) says, "Aren't you the Chris that is down for tonight at 9:00 pm?" I told her that I was not sure but I would come by and if another Chris showed up I would leave. She started on my hair at about 8:50, I was feeling awful lucky, when the door opend and Donna said, "Oh, hi Chris." Oppps. Well I had the fastest hair cut that I had ever had!

I would like to thank everyone who said that they were praying for me and this school year. I covet your prayers (can you do that?). I have been praying quite a lot for this class and that God would equip me to best meet my kids' needs. Thank you agian.

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 10:31 PM

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August 12, 2002
Overheard or Seen At Teacher Meetings

-----
Directions on a bag of M&M's:

Teacher Vitamins

Here is a bag of teacher vitamins. Follow this simple guide to solve all your problems:

-Take a BLUE pill when under too much beginning school stress.
-When undergoing meeting overload take a RED pill.
-Take the BROWN pill when you need a quick chocolate fix.
-For inspiration while creating bulletin boards swallow a YELLOW pill.
-Running out of cash at the end of the month, try a GREEN pill.
-Developing a headache from long term planning, pop an ORANGE pill.

If all symptoms appear at once eat the whole bag.

WARNING: Teacher Vitamins may cause weight gain.
-----
"You will just have to be flexible on Thursday (the first day of school), there will be a lot of crying and a lot of vomiting; and then the kids will get here." --Principal discussing the need for flexibility on the first day of school.
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"Well they can come in from recess, then we can milk them, and take them back out." --Teacher discussing the possibility of a weekly extra reward recess and getting there snack milk in as well.
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"There's a teacher code of ethics too!" --New teacher joking around when another teacher asked if something was in the teacher code of ethics.
-----
Teachers are funny.

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 07:03 PM

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August 11, 2002
Messed Up

Well as you can see the blog is a mess and a bit different. I was adding some more links to the template when bam! the blog went all weird on me. The style sheet was not working. So I went back to MovableType to get the default style sheet and changed the style a bit. I did not have time to get everything back in order so that is why things look a little odd. I'm not sold on this style so things could be changing even more. So please excuse he mess.

Well I officially go back to work tomorrow. I say officially becuase I have been there for the last three weeks. Tomorrow, Tuesday, and Wednesday will be teacher meetings and Thursday is the first day of school with the kids and I must say that I am nervous. Changing grades has made this feel like my first year of teaching again! I suppose that the nervous feeling never goes away. Cursive scares me, and so does the MAP test.

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 11:01 PM

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July 29, 2002
The 21st Century Teacher Applicant

Let me see if I've got this right. You want me to go into that room with
all those kids and fill their every waking moment with a love for
learning. Not only that, I'm supposed to instill a sense of pride in
their ethnicity, behaviorally modify disruptive behavior, observe them
for signs of abuse and T-shirt messages.


I am to fight the war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, check
their backpacks for guns and raise their self-esteem. I'm to teach them
patriotism, good citizenship, sportsmanship and fair play, how and where
to register to vote, how to balance a checkbook and how to apply for a job.


I am to check their heads occasionally for lice, maintain a safe
environment, recognize signs of potential antisocial behavior, offer
advice, write letters of recommendation for student employment and
scholarships, encourage respect for the cultural diversity of others,
and, oh yeah, always make sure that I give the girls in my class 50
percent of my attention.


I'm required by my contract to be working on my own time summer and
evenings at my own expense toward advance certification and a master's
degree; and after school, I am to attend committee and faculty meetings
and participate in staff development training to maintain my employment status.


I am to be a paragon of virtue larger than life, such that my very
presence will awe my students into being obedient and respectful of
authority. I am to pledge allegiance to supporting family values, a
return to the basics, and to my current administration. I am to
incorporate technology into the learning, and monitor all Web sites
while providing a personal relationship with each student. I am to
decide who might be potentially dangerous and/or liable to commit crimes
in school or who is possibly being abused, and I can be sent to jail for
not mentioning these suspicions.


I am to make sure all students pass the state and federally mandated
testing and all classes, whether or not they attend school on a regular
basis or complete any of the work assigned. Plus, I am expected to make
sure that all of the students with handicaps are guaranteed a free and
equal education, regardless of their mental or physical handicap. I am
to communicate frequently with each student's parent by letter, phone,
newsletter and grade card.


I'm to do all of this with just a piece of
chalk, a computer, a few books, a bulletin board, a 45 minute
more-or-less plan time and a big smile, all on a starting salary that
qualifies my family for food stamps in many states. Is that all? And you
want me to do all of this and expect me

NOT TO PRAY?

Source Unknown

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 09:35 AM

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July 19, 2002
I Come Back to You Now At the Turn of the Tide

Well I have started preparing for the new school year. I spent several hours in my new classroom Thursday and plan to do so again today. The problem is actually working and not talking with other folks. I am actually getting a late start when compared to some of the other teachers. A husband of one of the new second grade teachers said, "Well so much for three months off." I chuckled to myself. I am having trouble deciding how I want to set up the room and as a result I am have trouble getting anything else done. I just want to get it done so that I can worry about other things.

I am also getting ready to finish up my first two online courses through MU. I haven't decided if I am going to take any in the Fall. What I really need to do is take the GRE so I can be admitted. Well I have six year left to get the degree. Sigh.

TODAY'S THOUGHT: 1 Corinthians 15:33

P.S. Pat on the back for the person who can name the movie that the title of this blog entry comes from. Hint: The movie has not been released yet. Hehe. Pressed, you can't guess.

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 10:57 AM

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June 03, 2002
The Battle of the Universities

Sorry about the cheesy title.

Well, I have signed up for graduate classes on-line for this summer from Mizzou. I will be working on getting a Master's in Educational Technology.

I enrolled in two classes for the summer, Introduction to Web Development and Foundations of Educational Technology. Both sound thrilling don't they? One glitch. I got a letter from Mizzou saying that they had no record of my degree. I thought this odd because I had asked and paid for SBU to send my transcripts to Mizzou at the beginning of May. This ticked me off a bit cause ECC, which is not known for having all their eggs in a row, sent my transcripts. I called SBU today and they said they had sent those records back on May 6. I called up Mizzou to check and make sure that they had gotten the records and why they had sent me this nasty letter. As it turns out, they had all my records that I have sent to them, they had not sent it to all the correct offices. Whew! No reason to be upset with SBU.

And thank goodness for toll free numbers!!

That is ALL that I have done today. This doing nothing has its limits and I have had about enough of it for awhile. Tomorrow I am going to Six Flags for a little fun, that is if it does not rain.

Mr. Wright, (everyone needs a toll-free number) out!

Posted by Christopher at 05:32 PM

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May 23, 2002
Year One: Thoughts

Well my first year is over and I made it. As I think about all that this year brought, and I am speaking strictly professionally, I think that it has been very successful.

My class, who at the beginning of the year, prompted many other teachers to say something like, "Oh, Chris, I'm so sorry. I'm not sure how a class like that got together." turned out to be a bunch of kids that I am extremely proud of. They may not have been the best behaved class, but we had character and lots of it!!!! I think I actually made a difference too! That is a satisfying feeling. Hearing the principal say that the class is totally different from the beginning of the year and they are one of the most caring and sharing classes in school makes me think that something was done correctly.

Parents of the children, have been WAY too kind to me. They have said some very kind things supporting what I have done and encouraging me to continue.

I could not have landed at a better school. Wyman is quite simply the best! The second grade faculty has been the best of the best. We have gotten along so well, not one single argument, which is rarely heard of. When I got the job I was concerned about second grade. It was the grade that I knew the least about. Looking back, I can say that being in second grade has been a blessing, simply because of the people that I work with.

The folks at Wyman have a tradition on the last day of school. As the last bus is leaving the bus room, all the teachers line the halls clapping while the song Celebrate is played over the intercom. Then after all the students are gone the real fun begins! All the teachers that are retiring are given a paper crown and are loaded up on a cart that is decorated with streamers. They are pushed down the hall toward the doors "for the last time" and they toss candy to the teachers lining the hall. After that, teachers who are able, do cartwheels down the halls and then the teachers who are... not so able join in by doing somersaults, pseudo-cartwheels and quite frankly, flopping about on the floor. It is quite a sight. This year we were even treated to sight of the retiring teachers dancing back down the hall. It was a good time. Teachers from other schools rush over to Wyman just to see all the fun.

It is awesome to look back over this year and see how what I originally thought was chance (being hired at Rolla) and happenstance (ending up in second grade) and in some cases misfortune (THIS CLASS?!?!?!?) turned out to be God's totally awesome plan. Before I got this job I was beginning to worry and wonder if I was even going to get a job. I had the ignorance to question God's sovereignty over everything. It is nice to sit back and acknowledge that now.

Now on to next year...

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 06:14 PM

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May 22, 2002
Days in the Sun

Well the last week of school has been nothing but play. Tuesday we went to Lion's Club Park for a day long picnic. I helped supervise the basketball games. The rays of the sun reflected off of the white concrete.

Today we went to UMR to watch the Golden Eagles parachute. It started out really cool, they jumped out and did some twirls with smoke. When I started to really get into it (and the students) when it ended. It lasted all of what seemed like two seconds. Below is a picture that one of those clever librarians snapped of me while I was having fun.

MVC-010S.JPG

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 09:10 PM

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May 09, 2002
Field Day

I'm not a big field day fan. I can't remember enjoying them as a child and I even subbed in a fifth grade classroom on field day (hated that!). Today, was my first field day at Wyman. Good news! It was very well organized. Look as some cool pics of our day here!

Leave your field day memories in comments link below!

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 10:07 PM

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May 03, 2002
What Does Mounting Mean?

The librarians at my school like to make life difficult for me. I don't know why. I have been nothing but nice to them but they continue to just complicate my life.

For example. The day before Christmas break I was going to show A Charlie Brown Christmas to the class. Some other teacher with more senority than I wanted the film and so the film that I got was called The Pebble, or something like that. It was basically about these peguins wanting to mate and they attract the opposite sex by carrying around a pebble. Ugh! Jeff yelled (cause he yells everything), "Mr. Wright, is this movie rated G?"

Well they continued to complicate my life Moday when they allow, Cain (not his real name) to check out a book about hamsters. Innocent enough, right? Not so much. Cain brought up the book and asked, "Mr. Wright, what does mounting mean?"

"What?"

Cain showed me the book with a picture of a hamster on top of another one. The caption: "To mate, a hamster will mount..." I don't remember the rest nor do I remember what I said to him.

Let's just say, vengence is a dish best served cold!

Mr. Wright, out!

*NOTE* The above is to be read as a sarcastic diatribe and slightly blown out of proportion. The librarians are actually very helpful, unless they are angry and then they become kinda unpleasant. (That is sarcastic too.)

Posted by Christopher at 02:56 PM

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May 02, 2002
An Awesome Thing

An awesome thing happened this morning. I got to school at about 7:20 this morning, like normal. I went about my usual routine, starting up computers, making copies, counting up table points, etc. When I heard a teacher outside my room say that it was National Prayer Day and that they were getting a group of teachers to pray around the flag pole. That naturally got my attention and headed out of the room in a flash. Sure enough we gathered around the flag pole and prayed for the kids, the administration, parents, and teachers.

How awesome is that? We were standing around the flag pole, right next to where the kids are getting off the bus and parents are dropping off kids. It was a wonderful surprise this morning and I needed it to make it through the day.

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 06:05 PM

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May 01, 2002
May

May is the busiest month EVER! Something everyday. I hope I make it!

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 09:34 PM

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April 25, 2002
The Cave

Well where to begin? Today was my day to go on a field trip to Meramec Caverns. Yesterday Mrs. Rinehart and Mrs. Eyeberg went. Now I was kinda of put in charge of this whole fiasco cause, well, it was my idea. Last time I open my mouth! I was nervous all day because I knew that I missed some little detail and I messed everything up. Last weekend I even had a panic attack that I had put the wrong dates on the permission slips that went home. I even got to school on Tuesday at 7:00 am just to put my mind at ease. (We didn't have school on Monday.) Everything was fine for Mrs. Rinehart and Mrs. Eyeberg, with the exception of a few money problems that were not my fault.

Today was Mrs. Baxter and my day to go. Now my class has gotten alot better behavior wise since the beginning of the year, but I still have a few little darlings that really need to be put on a leash for the safety of themselves and those around them. One of those little guys is Jeff (not his real name but the same kid mentioned on the About this Site Page. For days, I have been coming up with strategies for handling Jeff while 34 stories underground, from falling into the river, to becoming separated from the group and discovering a new section of the cave that no one knew about. As it turns out I had no reason to worry because Jeff is terrified of the dark. For the whole hour and a half tour Jeff had a death grip on me with, usually, two hands! The guide was telling the kids that if they get separated from the group and if the lights go out to stop feel to the left for the hand railing and scream. Jeff proudly announced, "I don't have to worry about that because I got a teacher!" I didn't tell Jeff that I forgot my night vision goggles on the bus. At one point Jeff told me that he wished his mother had never signed that stupid permission slip.

Wow, this is getting be a long entry. If you would like to read about the situation that I wasn't totally prepared for, click more below.

After the tour, I allowed the students to look through the gift shop with specific instructions that if a child did not have money to just look and not touch. Mrs. Baxter and I were on patrol to make sure that students followed the instructions. We got the kids out of the gift shop without incident (with the exception of the couple of students who were crying because they did not have any money to buy anything, Jeff being on of them). We started eating our lunches outside when Caleb (again, not his real name) came up to proudly display his new red cowboy hat and $8.00 watch. Now, I knew that Caleb did not have any money so I asked him how he got it. He said that he bought it. I asked to see a receipt. He had none after I explained what one was. Then he changed his story and said another parent had bought them for him. I may be stupid but I'm no idiot, so Caleb and I went back into the gift shop and I asked all the clerks. None of them remembered Caleb or the purchase. I made him return the items and apologized. Needless to say that Caleb has lost a whole lot of privileges for the rest of the year.

Well I am tired and I need to take a small nap.

I hate field trips, especially when I am in charge of them.

Mr. Wright, out finally!

Posted by Christopher at 05:16 PM

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April 23, 2002
Front Page! Whoo hoo!

Well I have made the front page of the newspaper. Well at least my classroom door and the sign I made did.

rolladailynews.jpg

Cool!

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 06:05 PM

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April 17, 2002
Street Beat and Panties

Another field trip today. Today we went to UMR to see Street Beat. It was basically a history of Jazz dance starting in the 20's and going up to the 90's. The kids enjoyed it, but my favorite part would be during the swing dance section of program. Of course the ladies were being lifted up and they did some flips. One of my students next to me, Seth (not his real name) said to me, "Mr. Wright, they are lifting those girls up so that I can see their panties!" After I stopped laughing, I explained that they weren't panties. Oh, it is never dull.

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 09:45 PM

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April 13, 2002
Wrapping Up Loose Ends

It has been a busy time at school. Next week we are beginning the yearly testing. The second grade will be taking the Terra Nova test.

Some might be wondering about what happened with the movie. Well, it was interesting. Most of my students didn't get into the movie before it started because we were in the lobby getting popcorn. As I expected most of the little guys there could barely sit there for a half hour. This movie was not made with the attention span of a first or second grader in mind.

One event that did happen, thankfully not to one of my students involves a childs arm, the cup holder in the seat and large amounts butter substitute. A child in the Transitional Class got so bored that he decided to see if his arm could fit in the cup holder. Much to his excitment, his arm did go in, however, he was not so excited when it didn't come back out! On of the other students reported this to his teacher and the teacher went to help the child. One problem, even with the teacher's help his arm was still caught in the hole. The teacher went to get a tub of butter and brought it back. She slathered up his arm and it slipped right out. Lets just say that I laughed my butt off.

If you have seen The Rookie you know that it is very long. So long that we barely got back in time to the school. But we made it back.

Over last weekend, I went to Texas to Youth Lab for youth leaders and workers. The event was well worth the time and money invested in it. My hope is that it will help the leaders including myself better serve the youth in our church.

Some of the speakers also helped me confirm some of the things that I a doing in my class with some of my more diffucult students.

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 08:11 PM

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April 02, 2002
Back to Work

Back to work! Today was a pretty good day. The kids seemed pretty low key today, which was just fine with me! As I expected, the servers, AR, and e-mail were not working. However, the phones are working, JOY!

I stayed at school to help out with the fundraiser until 6:00 and then voted.

Tomorrow I am taking my class to see The Rookie. That should be fun. I read a review that said something to the effect of people with short attention span should NOT see this movie. I get the pleasure of taking 22 little short attention spans to see this!

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 07:35 PM

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March 26, 2002
Spring Break

Spring break is finally here and it is well deserved for me and the kids in my class. It was a rough week at school last week. The administration building caught on fire in the middle of the week and destroyed all the servers, phone system, records, etc. It was nice not having the phone ring in the middle of the day though!

They have said that the new servers will be up and running by the time we get back on the second. They already have part of the website back up and running. So I do get Spring break but there are several people who don’t.

Mr. Wright, out!

Posted by Christopher at 03:19 PM

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