Friday, February 18, 2011

Giggling on the Couch by Myself

According to the Internet, this email has been circulating for over fifteen years and actually originated as a contest in The Washington Post. I'd never seen it before finding this blog however, and it made me upset the dog with my laughter.

Subject: Why do English teachers die young?

Every year, English teachers from across the country can submit their collections of actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays. These excerpts are published each year to the amusement of teachers across the country. Here are last year's winners.....

1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.

2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.

3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.

4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E. Coli, and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.

5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.

6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.

7. He was as tall as a six-foot, three-inch tree.

8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM machine.

9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.

10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.

11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie,surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m. instead of 7:30.

12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.

13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.

14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.

15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.

16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.

17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant, and she was the East River.

18. Even in his last years, Granddad had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.

19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.

20. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.

21. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.

22. The ballerina rose gracefully en Pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.

23. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.

24. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.

25. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Sunshine on a Cloudy Day


My grandmother (and my parents with whom she lives) has had a rather sucktastic week that started with a few days in the hospital and has ended with her being checked into a rehabilitation facility. It hasn't been fun for anybody except Atticus and Norah. My children
love their Gigi because "She's silly, just like us!" and they always enjoy checking out new places. We've visited the hospital enough in the last few months that they're old pros and look forward to going. It doesn't hurt that Gigi is always so excited to see them and humors all their energy. I'm not sure if being spun around in a recliner is exactly what the doctor had in mind when she moved Grandma to the rehabilitation center, but it seemed to put her in better spirits.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What are they doing to our public schools?

I intended to write an entire post about why I attended a rally in Indianapolis yesterday, but honestly I'm a little too tired and disgruntled to compose anything decent.
For background, check here.
For information about State Superintendent Tony Bennett's bias for creating charter schools (his wife is a highly paid consultant for establishing charter schools), click here or here.
For a very apt response from a teacher, try this one: What if other professionals were held to teachers' standards?
The State Senate voted yesterday in favor of creating more charter schools. There is no evidence to support the idea that charter schools are better for students than public schools. In fact, the two charter schools in our city have scores that are far lower than the rest of our public schools. Twenty-one of the twenty-five worst performing schools in the state are charter schools! The problem with creating charter schools is that the money to do so comes out of the budget for public schools. There is no increased tax money dedicated to charter schools, so the public schools must trim away at their existing programs in order to run the facilities for the charter schools.
Some of the legislation currently under discussion would prohibit collective bargaining for working conditions. This would eliminate class-size limits. Do you want your child in a classroom with one teacher and forty students? I certainly DO NOT want that for Atticus and Norah, and I know that I would not be able to teach my own students well if I had 240 students stretched throughout my six-period day. Heck, this legislation allows them to eliminate our preparation period too, so I could have a seven-period day and 280 students. Can you imagine how detrimental that would be for students?

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Books for Reluctant Readers

There are very few moments that are more awesome to teachers than when a student who doesn't normally like to read gets drawn into a good book. After a lackluster fall semester, I feel like I've struck gold in choosing books for my 8th grade scholars to use in literature circles this semester. They may get the impression that it makes me grumpy to catch them reading their novels instead of doing assigned work, but it actually delights me.

My students got to choose five of the following nine books to read and they have been really excited about them. I've had kids who have never shown an interest in reading before come find me in between classes to exclaim, "Miss! This is the best book I've ever read!" It's music to my ears!

Practicing to Be Gameshow Contestants

I'm not completely sure how this thing fit into the science theme at the public library event yesterday, but the kiddos enjoyed it anyway.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Three Years Ago...

...we became a family of four. Paul and I are so lucky to be a part of this family and I couldn't possibly be any more grateful for the past three years of our lives.We love you Atticus and Norah!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Snow Day #3

Personally, I'd rather have the days off in June when we can spend them in the garden or at the pool, but we had a nice time today anyway. We made some finger paints and tried our hands at making valentines. The final product wasn't all that impressive, but it looks like we'll get a second chance to work on them tomorrow because school has already been canceled for a FOURTH time (the side roads apparently aren't clear enough for school buses).

Singing Lessons